Monday, May 18, 2015

What’s Happening In High Fidelity?

By DrFran Babcock

   If you haven’t yet heard, High Fidelity, or HiFi, is a virtual world that was started a little over a year ago by Philip Rosedale, creator of Second Life and Linden Lab. I have been an Alpha tester since about a month into the opening for Alpha, and in this time there has been a lot of change.

Why Another Virtual World?

There is an answer, in case you were asking yourself this very question. HiFi is Philip’s dream for creating a world that has few of the main problems that dogged SL. The first of these is scaling. I can recall, back in 2006, when SL was the darling of the media. I remember getting my Nissan car in world, and being courted by IBM. Coke, etc. Why aren’t all these companies still in SL? It seems as if it would be a good place to market. However, consider that one video of a cat singing gets more hits than SL could ever muster. You see, each sim in SL can only hold about 50 maximum before performance starts to dip, and that’s not the kind of numbers that attract business. With High Fidelity, each resident can manage their own domain—essentially, a server (it can be your own computer) that runs a world. The size of this world is enormous, and it doesn’t put a stress on any central space that is going to have to bear the stress. Each of us can be the masters of our own worlds, and the scaling is infinite.

   The second issue that has always been a goal for Philip Rosedale is to reduce latency. In SL, performers always have to deal with a lag if they are playing together, so that group work suffers timing problems. The goal of HiFi is to create a place where a resident in California can jam live with a resident in the UK…without any delay in the sound reaching the listener. 

   I have been to concerts in HiFi where this is happening, and it’s a completely jaw-dropping experience. In addition, the sound is spatial. As you move around the level changes based on where you are—just like in first life. There have been times when a few people jammed, and I felt as if I was in a concert hall.

But, Can I Look Pretty?

   When I try to “recruit” people for HiFi, my girlfriends often ask: “When can I look pretty?” The avatars at this point, are still quite primitive, as you can see in the picture of me here. However, what’s amazing, is that everything that is coming is being built to accommodate immersive movement. Facial expressions and body and hand movements all add to the feeling that “you are there.” As HiFi Alpha Tester @Judas says: “You haven’t experienced a virtual world until you have reached out and touched someone and they smiled back at you. It really, for me, is a game changer.” 

   The pretty is coming. It’s important to remember that this is still alpha.

Interested In Joining?

Come see what’s happening in High Fidelity Alpha. The sign up page can be found here:
  Some basic info:
·  There is no money system yet.
·  There is a marketplace, and everything is free.
·  The scripting is done in JavaScript.
·  It’s Alpha; it’s going to be crude.

·  I will keep letting you know about High Fidelity, and you can join when you are ready.

See you there.


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