Virtual environments, the way they are designed today have limits on the numbers of users they can support at a time and do not provide immersive, rich interaction. Today’s virtual environments are being pushed to a point where they can no longer be contained on a single server.
To solve the problem, Intel has created a new way to construct virtual environments.
Basically, they break down all of the important jobs that a server has to do in order to run a virtual world. For example, all of the client connections can run on one group of servers, while scripted object behaviors and physical simulation (e.g. gravity, motion and collisions) are each running somewhere else. The users then interact on what’s called a “Distributed Scene Graph”, the intersection of all of these various constituent parts. This compilation can scale to allow for the needs of the application or event. If you need more detailed surroundings (like the one below), you won’t have to sacrifice script complexity or the number of interacting elements.
Similarly, you could populate a space with thousands of users without crashing the whole world. By separating the individual functions that compose a virtual world, each job can be allocated the proper amount of resources without taking away from the other functions.
So, if you want to throw a concert, you could set up the stage and the performers on one service provider so that the immense throngs of adoring fans won’t interfere with the show. Alternatively, scientists could collaborate on complex operations using intricate models. Then, these models could be used to educate hundreds of thousands of college students in a virtual lecture hall or a programmed archeological dig.
Maybe the fact that Intel can pull off increasingly complex environments with only a fraction of the processing power for the scene doesn’t impress you. If not, perhaps the fact that they are open-sourcing this new technology will. To read more about distributed scene graph, or to see a demo, or download the code for free visit http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/scalable-virtual-environments/