DoD Virtual World Framework

colonteeΛογισμικό & κατασκευή λογ/κού

4 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

260 εμφανίσεις


Prepared by

Lockheed Martin

1140 Kildaire Farm Road

Cary, NC 27511



DoD Virtual World
Framework


Vi rtual Worl ds and Gami ng

Current State, Future Vi si on, and Archi tecture




Prepared for

Offi ce of the Under
Secretary

of Defense

for Personnel and Readi ness

Lockheed Martin Proprietary Information


i

“We need a giant leap forward in our
simulated training environment for small
units in ground combat …to replicate to the
degree practical using modern simulation,
combat scenarios that will test our small
units…”

Gen J. M. Mattis, USMC Commander
U.S. Joint Forces Command


Lockheed Martin Proprietary Information


ii

Contents

1.0

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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1

2.0

WHY A VIRTUAL WORLD
FRAMEWORK

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3

2.1

W
HERE
W
E
A
RE

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4

2.2

C
OLLABORATIVE
V
IRTUAL
W
ORLD
P
LATFORMS

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4

2.3

C
RITICAL
M
ASS

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4

2.4

R
EQUIRES

S
IGNIFICANT
I
NVESTMENT

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4

2.5

V
ISUAL AND
P
HYSICAL
F
IDELITY

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4

2.6

C
OMPLEX TO
U
SE

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5

2.7

I
NTEROPERABILITY

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5

2.8

D
IST
RIBUTION AND
S
ECURITY

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5

2.9

D
EVICE
S
CALABILITY

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5

2.10

N
EGATIVE
T
RAINING

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6

2.11

F
LEXIBLE
B
USINESS
M
ODELS

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7

3.0

TECHNICAL LANDSCAPE

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8

3.1

P
ROCESSING
P
OWER

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9

3.2

S
OFT
WARE AND
A
LGORITHMS

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.

9

3.3

P
OWER
S
TORAGE AND
M
ANAGEMENT

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10

3.4

D
ISPLAY
T
ECHNOLOGIES

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11

3.5

T
HE
I
NFORMATION
U
TILITY

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11

3.6

S
ENSORS
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12

3.7

T
HE
N
EXT
C
YCLE

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13

4.0

WHAT IS REQUIRED

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16

4.1

O
PEN
S
OURCE

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16

4.2

H
UGE
I
NSTALLED
B
ASE

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17

4.3

P
LATFORM
S
CALABILITY

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18

4.4

D
ISTRIBUTION

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18

4.5

S
ECURITY

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18

4.6

U
TILIZE AND
D
EFINE
S
TANDARDS

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19

4.7

F
UTURE
P
ROOF

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19

4.8

B
USINESS

M
ODELS

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19

5.0

THE WEB IS THE PLATF
ORM

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20

5.1

J
AVA
S
CRIPT

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20

5.2

T
HE
L
IVELY

K
ERNEL

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21

5.3

W
EB
GL

-

S
HADER
F
OCUSED
G
RAPHICS

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22

5.4

XML
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23

5.5

COLLADA

-

A
R
EAL
3D

S
TANDARD FOR
D
ATA
I
NTERCHANGE

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24

5.6

XMPP

(J
ABBER
)

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24

5.7

HTML5

-

N
EXT
G
ENERATION OF THE
W
EB

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25

5.8

R
EPLICATED
C
OMPUTATION
,

C
LIENT
/S
ERVER
,

AND
S
TREAMING
D
ATA
T
YPES

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.

26

6.0

PROPOSAL

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28

6.1

S
TANDARDS

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28

6.2

C
OMPONENTS

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28

6.3

M
ODEL
/V
IEW

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28

6.4

S
TRUCTURE

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28

6.5

S
YNCHRONIZATION

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Lockheed Martin Proprietary Information


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6.6

S
ECURITY

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6.7

C
LOUD
-
C
OMPUTING

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29

6.8

S
CALABILITY

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29

6.9

M
OBILE
A
CCESS

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29

6.10

A
PPLI
CATIONS

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29

6.11

A
FTER
A
CTION
R
EVIEW

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29

6.12

A
DOPTION

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29

6.13

F
UTURE

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30

7.0

ARCHITECTURE

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31

7.1

C
ORE
C
ONCEPTS

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31

7.1.1

Participant

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31

7.1.2

Comp
onent

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31

7.1.3

Bobble

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7.1.4

Model/View/Controller

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32

7.1.5

Deterministic Computation

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32

7.1.6

Time Stream

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33

7.1.7

Reflector

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33

7.1.8

Replicated Computation Model or TeaTime

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33

7.1.9

Client/Server

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33

7.1.10

Streaming Object

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34

8.0

VWF SYSTEM OVERVIEW

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35

8.1

B
OBBLES AND
R
EPLICATED
C
OMPUTATION

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35

8.2

R
EPLICATED
B
OBBLES

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39

8.3

VWF

M
ESSAGES

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40

8.4

T
IMING IS
E
VERYTHING

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40

8.5

B
OBBLE
T
IME

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41

8.6

T
HE
VWF

R
EFLECTOR
/S
EQUENCER

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42

8.7

T
HE
VWF

C
ONTROLLER

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43

8.8

VWF

M
ESSAGE
E
XECUTION

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43

8.
9

R
EPLICATED
M
ESSAGE
E
XECUTION

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44

8.10

S
TARTING
,

J
OINING
,

AND
P
ARTICIPATING

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45

8.11

S
TARTING
U
P

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45

8.12

J
OINING

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46

8.13

A
DDING
U
SERS

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47

8.14

P
ARTICIPATING

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49

8.15

N
ICE
S
IDE
E
FFECTS

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50

8.16

C
OMPONENTS

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50

8.17

T
HE
F
UTURE OF
VWF

C
OMPONENTS

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50

9.0

SAMPLE IMPLEMENTATIO
N

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52

9.1

INDEX
.
HTML

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53

9.2

VWF
.
JS

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57

9.3

VWF
-
MODEL
.
JS

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72

9.4

VWF
-
MODEL
-
JAVASCRIPT
.
JS

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..

75

9.5

VWF
-
MODEL
-
SCENE
.
JS

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78

9.6

VWF
-
VIEW
.
JS

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81

9.7

VWF
-
VIEW
-
HTML
.
JS

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84

10.0

SAMPLE APPLICATION

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86

11.0

DATA AND MESSAGE FOR
MATS

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92


Lockheed Martin Proprietary Information


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11.1

B
OBBLE AND
C
OMPONENT

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...

93

11.2

C
OMPONENT
API:

API

SPECIFICATION FOR IN
TRA
-
MODEL INTERACTIONS

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94

11.3

M
ODEL
S
TIMULUS
API

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94

11.4

V
IEW
S
TIMULUS
API

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95

11.5

M
ODEL AND
V
IEW
R
ESPONSE
API

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95

11.6

R
EFLECTION
S
ERVER
API

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96

12.0

NEXT STEPS

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97

12.1

D
EVELOPMENT

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97

12.2

VWF

M
ARKETING

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13.0

CONCLUSION

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14.0

REFERENCES

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100


Lockheed Martin Proprietary

1

Vi rtual Worl d Framework

Virtual Worlds and Gaming
-

Current State, Future Vision, and Architecture

1.0

Executive Summary

The present document addresses the need for a Virtual World Framework (VWF) provides a list
of requirements for such a system, and proposes an approach toward its creation in the form of
a draft architecture design.

The overarching goal of this document is to clearly define an approach to creating a single,
secure, and sustainable DoD virtual world training platform. This platform must allow the DoD
services sufficient flexibility to desig
n and build the specific pieces of a larger federated system,
but must allow these pieces to dynamically interoperate as required. Further, this platform must
be designed for delivery via existing computer platforms, the new generation of mobile devices;
a
nd there must be a clear path toward integration with live augmented reality training. Finally,
this platform must be sufficiently open and extensible and not be seen as yet another
technological dead
-
end. Virtual world platforms have an extremely short sh
elf
-
life, so it is
essential that a path be chosen that ensures that there will be significant pressure on the
continued evolution of the system that is created.

Key elements of a successful platform are:



Training available 24/7, via the global information

grid across the spectrum of training
audiences; from individual home station users and small units to large force Combatant
Command users.



Possess a high level of realism. The platform must take advantage of modern graphics
capabilities, and offer a clear

path to ensure that the system can integrate new advances in
the area as they become available. Further, the platform must provide realistic object
interactions including physical models and artificial intelligent characters, and societies.



Use common app
lications, references, and operational capabilities. The platform must allow
integration of existing key applications as well as new applications that will be developed.
This includes both 2D and 3D applications and support for both server
-
based and client
-
based execution. A common shared ontological/behavioral model will need to be explored.



Rapidly scalable and composable by the training user without the need for specialized skills.
The platform must be accessible to and extensible by a wide range of user
s and third
-
party
developers, and there must be a clear model for developing and integrating easy
-
to
-
use
tools.



Rapidly modifiable to replicate new operational capabilities or changes in the real operating
environment. Quickly support mission rehearsals
. The platform must have a clear content
pipeline that ensures a simple path for creation of new content, importing of existing content,
and a clear path for integration of real
-
time data acquisition and deployment.



There must be a well understood path tow
ard enabling a two
-
way interface between live and
virtual training systems and their virtual representations in the federated virtual world.
Operations in the federated virtual world and live and virtual training systems will need to be
synchronized in re
al time so as to enable stimulation of sensors, visual replications, and
interactions between platforms operating within and outside of the federated virtual world

Lockheed Martin Proprietary

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across the spectrum of training environments or systems securely. Support for future
augment
ed reality systems must be considered.



Support information operations, cyberspace, nuclear or catastrophic warfare, space, civil
affairs, language and culture, and other soft skills training requirements across the globe.
The platform must be open and exte
nsible in virtually every dimension required for the vast
complexity of training the next generations of soldiers.



Be interoperable with interagency partners and multinational capabilities in order to train to a
comprehensive approach. The platform must en
able a number of orthogonal missions while
maintaining a common extensible framework. In short, if two groups can interoperate in the
real world, they must be able to interoperate in the virtual domain.


There are a number of key technical capabilities that

the platform architecture must address
from the start. These are virtually impossible to add to an existing platform as they are deeply
integral to how the system operates.



Support for detailed after action review. “Key
-
frame” world states and all signifi
cant state
modifications and data interchange (user actions, audio, and video) must be archivable and
streamable. This includes both 3D world interactions, but should also include document
management, and document and world versioning (storage is basically

free). A “rewind”
capability would be optimal, but likely computationally expensive, as most world
modifications are “lossy” and cannot be easily revoked.



Support for replicated computation and simulation. This allows for very complex direct user
and
physical interactions that would otherwise place a significant load on a server.



Support for client/server interactions. These are typical “game” interactions where precise
interactions are not required.



Support for bi
-
directional data streaming interactio
ns (audio, video, VNC). This allows
sharing of legacy applications, as well as enhanced user
-
to
-
user communication modalities.


Lockheed
Martin Proprietary

3

2.0

Why a Virtual World Framework

Captain Chesley Sullenberger may be an extraordinary pilot, but it wasn’t just his heroism tha
t
brought Flight 1549 down safely in the Hudson river. It was the rigorous simulation training
that’s an essential aspect of the U.S. aviation system. Pilots have to fly for years before they
can command an airliner, and even experienced pilots must routin
ely train in simulators and
pass “check rides” at least once a year under the supervision of Federal Aviation Administration
inspectors. This training focuses on extreme scenarios, such as the US Airways crew
encountered. “Pilots don’t spend their training

time flying straight and level,” says airline pilot
Lynn Spencer, author of
Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the
Skies over America on 9/11
. “In simulator training, we’re doing noth
ing but flying in all sorts of
emergencies. Even emergencies become just another set of procedures when repeatedly
trained.”

Virtual world simulations have proven time and again their value in providing real
-
world training
in almost every dimension. The i
mpact it has had in the realm of flight training is undeniable and
immense. There is simply no other way to train to successfully land an airplane in the water.
The same will undoubtedly hold true for training in other extreme scenarios, such as the
battle
field. The challenge is that though flying and landing an airplane is complex, this
complexity is quickly dwarfed by even modest scenarios that can take place on the battlefield
simply because the number of degrees of freedom in the situation is so much gr
eater. The rules
of physics dominate the simulation of an aircraft, but they do not necessarily apply to what your
enemy, or even what your buddies, will do next. Further, extremely high
-
fidelity flight simulation
can be accomplished by bringing the world
to the pilot sitting on a high
-
tech chair with a dome
over it. Recreating the equivalent for a moving soldier carrying a weapon will not be as easy.

Still, it is clear that virtual worlds have an essential role to play in training the next generation of
s
oldiers and once a number of technical and social hurdles are overcome, will quickly become a
dominant aspect of training even for the complexity of the battlefield. If we look even further
ahead, virtual worlds will not just be an essential part of traini
ng; they will immeasurably
enhance the capabilities of the soldier while he is actually in battle.

A number of challenges must be met to provide an interoperable platform that crosses the lines
of the various services but ensures that their special capabi
lities and requirements are
respected. The services have begun experimenting with and developing training capabilities in
virtual worlds, but as is appropriate at this early stage, they have been taking their own service
-
unique drivers and objectives witho
ut considering the broader requirements and opportunities
that a common interoperable framework would provide. Such an interoperable platform would
allow for leveraging interoperable and scalable objects; systems and training experiences
across service lin
es; and perhaps even more important, a number of open, competitive business
models. A common VWF should lead to a more relevant training experience that is significantly
more cost effective.


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2.1

Where We Are

Virtual worlds have not lived up to their promise. There are areas of interesting capabilities and
successful point applications to be sure, but there does not yet exist a common framework that
exhibits the necessary range of capabilities that will allow i
t to be applied across the diverse
requirements that are imposed for training and collaboration within the DoD and beyond.
Further, none of the existing platforms have a viable business model that will properly incent the
huge number of participants that a
re required to build out the various components, applications,
and systems that are needed. In short, without a significant change in approach, virtual worlds
will remain a niche market with minimal impact on day
-
to
-
day preparedness and capabilities.

Ther
e are a number of key factors that must be addressed to enable the creation and adoption
of a successful VWF. There is no way to create a complete list, but these examples are
necessary elements of a successful end result.

2.2

Collaborative Virtual World P
latforms

In traditional multi
-
player gaming
-
based virtual environments, the focus of the platform is
allowing the users to interact with the world and other users with an extremely limited but
extremely optimized set of capabilities. Everything is focused

on low
-
latency, high
-
speed
interactions that ensure a very immersive experience. The trade
-
off is that these systems are so
focused on these dimensions that they are simply unusable for almost any other use.

By contrast, collaborative virtual worlds are f
ocused on a high degree of customizability of the
environment and high bandwidth communications between users. These are environments that
are focused on work and working together


even those that are intended primarily for
entertainment.

2.3

Critical Ma
ss

This is probably the most important issue. Platform developers and content providers must see
a return on investment on their efforts for a platform to be viable. Obviously, this does not
necessarily rule out commercial platforms, as the iPhone and Andr
oid demonstrate, however,
this is a very high bar for a small commercial business to attain. Further, larger companies are
extremely cautious in engaging in such a new area without some assurance of return and
control over the results, especially today whe
re the major growth area is in mobile devices.
Developing a new large scale platform on the desktop is not a compelling business opportunity
today.

2.4

Requires Significant Investment

Virtual world platforms are complex to create and difficult to extend.
The platforms themselves
are significantly more difficult to create than traditional 2D applications and operating systems,
requiring significantly more robust models of network collaboration, user interaction, data
streaming and management, persistence, a
nd synchronization. For the developers on these
platforms, most virtual world tools require significant expertise in areas such as 3D content
development, coding, physics, client/server architectures, etc. Though many virtual world
platforms provide very g
ood development capabilities, these tools are captive to that platform
and tend to be focused on the high
-
end developers.

2.5

Visual and Physical Fidelity

Virtual world platforms have a relatively short lifespan because they have difficulty keeping up
with

the extreme pace of technological innovation required by changes in the capabilities of
hardware, algorithms, and devices. This is particularly true of graphics and physics. Most
designers of a platform will strongly link the user interactions and object
behaviors to the

Lockheed
Martin Proprietary

5

graphics capabilities of the game engine they have chosen. This makes updates to the system
tricky at best. This is somewhat avoidable using traditional controller/model/view architectures,
where the model and its behaviors are independent

of the view that is expressed to the end
user, though this is typically avoided for “performance” reasons.

2.6

Complex to Use

Virtual worlds must provide far easier user interaction models than currently available. Virtual
worlds are difficult to navigat
e and it is too hard for the user to accomplish key tasks. This is due
to the additional degrees of freedom that the users have available to them in moving through a
3D space, the fact that the PC platforms that run the virtual worlds were designed primari
ly for
2D control, and the fact that a good model of interaction design in 3D has not been developed
yet. In the past, once a new user mastered moving a cursor around with a mouse on the current
PC interfaces, the rest was pretty straightforward. Moving a
round inside of 3D space is just the
beginning of the complexity involved in accomplishing a task in 3D. Games are successful
because the level of complexity required rarely goes beyond moving around in the space
(including jumping and crouching) and shoot
ing. More complex interactions often limit the
success of the game.

2.7

Interoperability

Content and code that is developed for one virtual world is almost impossible to move to
another. Sometimes this is on purpose, as it is for walled garden platforms a
nd their business
models. Even so, whether intended or not, once an object or avatar exists inside one virtual
world, the level of effort to move it to another is usually similar to effort of developing the object
in the first place. This is an extremely h
igh cost and ensures that content remains stuck behind
the wall within which it was created. Of course, moving the 2D and 3D content is a trivial task
compared to moving the associated behaviors and interactions. The problem goes well beyond
just the natur
e of the scripts and APIs that are used to create the behavior. Knowing when and
how a behavior needs to be activated and how it will affect the surrounding objects is an
extremely complex problem that will be difficult to address even with a common script
ing and
application programming interface (API) model.

2.8

Distribution and Security

Accessing a virtual world usually requires, at minimum, the installation of a new application on a
computer. Installing it in an enterprise can require getting corporate
permissions, setting up
proxy connections, and may require data audits to ensure the streams to and from these clients
are secure


and only sending the information that they are authorized to access. Installing a
virtual world server behind the firewall
can dramatically increase the level of complexity. These
are just a few of the first order problems that need to be addressed. Managing sensitive
information in a virtual world will require additional tools and capabilities such as mixed security,
where us
ers in the same virtual world may have different levels of access to information or
capabilities and information transit, where data can easily hop between virtual worlds.

2.9

Device Scalability

The boundaries between devices are rapidly eroding. A typica
l user today has almost as much
capability in the mobile device he carries in his pocket as he does on his desktop system and is
likely more reliant on the mobile device. This trend will accelerate, and it is quite possible that
for many users, most of the

capabilities of the desktop will be absorbed by the mobile device.
Certainly in the case of soldiers in the field, the mobile device is acknowledged to be the go
-
to
platform. This means that any virtual world solution must provide a robust capability acro
ss all of

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6

these devices. Further, as the image below shows, mobile devices are poised to eclipse
desktop Internet users in 2014.


Finally, an extremely important platform in the near future will be wearable head
-
mounted
devices. This device will undoubted
ly become the cornerstone of training and beyond, across
the DoD, so must be considered when designing a new framework that will maintain its value
into the future.

2.10

Negative Training

Current 3D gaming technology continues to evolve at an extraordinary

pace, and the visual and
auditory quality are rapidly becoming very close to providing an intense and believable
experience. As this quality improves, we must ask whether this experience is translatable to the
real world in the way that flight simulation
is. Just because something looks and acts real does
not necessarily mean that it is. In fact, we may be fooling ourselves, and worse, fooling the
soldier into believing that his training experience is actually accomplishing the goals of preparing
him for t
he real situation. The potential problems are many. We can place a pilot into a flight
simulator where virtually every aspect of the experience is near
-
real and faithfully reproduces
the aircraft behaviors


even those behaviors that are counter
-
intuitive.

Placing a soldier on a
virtual battlefield is quite a different issue.

First, how accurate is the simulation that is being experienced? Recreating the complex
conditions that exist on a battlefield and the opportunity for exponential interactions between

the
various participants and components requires significant compute resources.

Second, how accurately is this information relayed to the trainee and how accurately are his
responses relayed back. Viewing the battlefield through a flat 2D screen and cont
rolling both the
trainee’s motions and weapon with a mouse is likely an unsatisfactory and probably misleading

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experience. In the actual situation, the soldier has an unhindered 180x180 degree field of view
while the screen might provide at best a 60x40 de
gree field of view


about 1/12th the visual
area


and ignoring the visual resolution and stereo (the reality is you cannot compare the two;
they are simply different animals).

Obviously, we must develop better metrics for understanding the quality of thi
s kind of training to
ascertain its value. Further, we need a better approach to providing actual in
-
world and
augmented reality experiences. Just as we create very realistic. fully simulated cockpits and
virtual worlds for flight simulations, we must exte
nd the reality of simulations for the soldier on
the ground.

2.11

Flexible Business Models

There is simply no one
-
size
-
fits
-
all business model for virtual worlds. There are as many
business opportunities as there are applications of these technologies.
Walled
-
garden
approaches such as Second Life and Teleplace impose a business model and these quickly fail
when the requirements of the application exceed the business model and capabilities of the
platform. Stand
-
alone open source projects such as OpenSim
or Wonderland cannot reach
critical mass because of the huge effort to productize these platforms as had to be done with
Croquet to create Teleplace. Even this level of effort is often not sufficient for success.

A successful VWF must address each of these

issues head
-
on.


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3.0

Technical Landscape

It is essential that we consider future technological trends and opportunities when designing a
new architecture, especially now, with such an extraordinary acceleration of the rate of change.
If this architecture

is to be relevant beyond the time of its release, we must have a clear
technical roadmap forward. Though Moore’s law is a particularly powerful mechanism, it is just
one dimension that must be examined. We must also consider the evolving relationship of
h
umans to computers, the impact of advances in software and algorithms, power storage and
management, massive hardware parallelism, wireless bandwidth, access to mass storage and
remote computation in a networked world, and display technologies.

A recent Mo
rgan Stanley report illustrated clearly how technology cycles tend to have about a
10
-
year lifespan before the next major change occurs. These changes absorb the capabilities of
the previous cycles, but usually demonstrate a very different perspective on t
he capabilities that
are delivered to the users. As shown in the chart below, we are entering the mobile Internet
decade, which is replacing the desktop Internet decade, which replaced the personal computing
decade. Clearly, the message here is that for an
y new architecture to be relevant today and
over the next ten years, it must be extremely focused on mobile connected devices.


Perhaps just as important, or even possibly more so, is to look at the next cycle of systems and
devices and what impact they
will have on a VWF, or even what impact a successful VWF might
have on the next cycle. What we can be sure of is the technological infrastructure driving us
toward this next computing iteration is powerful and must be understood and properly
leveraged. Let
’s examine the building blocks that will certainly enable the next compute platform
and attempt to forecast the nature of the system.


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3.1

Processing Power

Moore’s law is not inevitable, but it has demonstrated a predictive power that is quite
impressive. W
hat Moore’s law actually says is: The number of transistors that can be placed
inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. The actual rate
has actually been between one and two years since Moore first articulated his “law”
. (Doug
Engelbart first noticed this trend a number of years before Moore.) This has a direct effect on a
number of devices, including processing speed, memory capacity, sensors, and even the
number and size of pixels on displays and in digital cameras. Ad
ditional forces, such as
advances in hardware and software architectures and algorithms, have ensured that actual
compute performance has actually exceeded even this 2
-
year doubling.

Graphic processing units have been doubling in capabilities almost at a
9
-
month pace. Graphics
rendering is a highly parallelizable process, so adding more tiny processors scales up extremely
well. We are already seeing similar kinds of approaches to general purpose processing with
systems like Intel’s i7 8
-
core chips, but thi
s itself is just the beginning. Intel is already
experimenting with 100+ core devices, and we can easily see thousand core systems deployed
over the next decade. We will even see the first multi
-
core mobile devices in 2011 (LG
Electronics has already annou
nced a multi
-
core Android phone). It is extremely important to
note that many small processors can be ganged up to out perform a large single processor, but
require significantly less electrical power than the large processor. This points directly toward
e
ven higher numbers of cores on mobile devices in the future. Further, the traditional graphics
-
focused GPUs are already being repurposed for complex SIMD (single instruction multiple data)
general processing. This has a direct effect on such areas as physi
cs, signal processing, and
algorithms.

3.2

Software and Algorithms

The recent report to the President


Designing a Digital Future: Federally Funded Research and
Development in Networking and Information Technology. December 2010



noted that
developments
in software and algorithms have in many cases out
-
paced even the steady
exponential pace of Moore’s law. They reported:


In the field of numerical algorithms, however, the improvement can be quantified. Here is just
one example, provided by Professor Mart
in Grötschel of Konrad
-
Zuse
-
Zentrum für
Informationstechnik Berlin. Grötschel, an expert in optimization, observes that a benchmark
production planning model solved using linear programming would have taken 82 years to solve
in 1988, using the computers an
d the linear programming algorithms of the day. Fifteen years
later


in 2003


this same model could be solved in roughly 1 minute, an improvement by a
factor of roughly 43 million. Of this, a factor of roughly 1,000 was due to increased processor
speed,
whereas a factor of roughly 43,000 was due to improvements in algorithms! Grötschel
also cites an algorithmic improvement of roughly 30,000 for mixed integer programming
between 1991 and 2008
.”

Improvements in software and algorithm performance goes hand
-
i
n
-
hand with the enhanced
capabilities and requirements of the new hardware. Certainly, we are just beginning to
understand how to leverage the massive numbers of CPU cores that are becoming available to
us. We are inventing new languages to deal with the p
roblem of developing algorithms for a
high performance GPU. We are even seeing huge performance gains on more traditional
platforms, such as JavaScript, in a web browser. Some metrics show that JavaScript has
improved by as much as 100 fold between 1996 an
d 2006. We have added the benchmark
performance of a 2010 Android cell phone for comparison with a 2006 desktop PC.



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benchmark

1996

2006

speed up

2010 Android

primes

0.15

0.02

8X

0.004

pgap

3.13

0.06

52X

0.441

sieve

5.05

0.02

252X

0.102

fib(20)

2.15

0.03

72X

0.072

tak

10.44

0.08

131X

0.073

mb100

8.4

0.2

42X

1.385

Source:
http://www.codinghorror.com
/ and the actual benchmark run was at
http://www.nicholson.com
/.

We are on a similar path with a veritable browser war going on between vendors right now, and
the main battlefields are HTML5 and JavaScript speed. Moore’s law will yield about five or six
doublings of performance in the next 10 years; this is a speed
-
up o
f a factor of 32 or 64. We can
easily imagine a speed
-
up of JavaScript that could match or even exceed the gains in hardware.
This does not make the case that JavaScript will ultimately replace high
-
performance compiled
languages like C++, but most game en
gines utilize similarly performing scripting engines to
choreograph the events that occur within the world. Further, especially in the world of simulation
and graphics, most of the hard
-
core computing will be done inside of the GPU anyway.

3.3

Power Stora
ge and Management

Though multi
-
core devices will certainly yield better performance per watt, the demands for
power will likely continue to grow faster than the battery storage density. This is a potential
Achilles heel for the mobile user and will require

more than a few innovations to deliver
appropriate solutions. As a baseline, we should be seeing at least a doubling of battery energy
densities over the next decade, as well as significantly better power management and lower
power requirements from proce
ssors and GPUs, but the demand for performance and features
of mobile devices will continue to outstrip the projected battery capabilities to service them. The
battery power and management has improved enough, however, that none of Apple Inc.’s
computers,
pads, or phones have user
-
accessible batteries anymore. The iPad, in particular,
has over a 10
-
hour battery life, and the MacBook Air 11.6 inch lasts over five hours with
constant network use.



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Alternative sources of power will still need to be explored
-

a particularly interesting one is using
the movement of the human body itself to power these devices. Though this may not be a
reasonable solution for the current generation of mobile devices, it would not be too difficult to
imagine situations such as a

soldier requiring 24x7 access to their wearable supercomputer
systems in the field wearing a lightweight, body movement
-
based recharger.

3.4

Display Technologies

The resolution of the iPhone 4 retina display is 960x640 pixels on a screen that is about
4.
5”x2.3”. Micro
-
displays are currently available that are far better than this, at 1280x1024 pixels
with a diameter of less than two inches. We will certainly see full 1080p HD (1920x1080) in a 2
-
inch diameter screen this year. Certainly, we will see higher

resolution displays for mobile
devices, but we are quickly reaching the limits of what the human eye can see in this form
factor. What is required is a new approach to the optics of the problem; we need to become
immersed in the image.

3.5

The
Information Utility

Access to information is available virtually everywhere and anytime. It is just a matter of price.
Much of this document has been written while I was in a vehicle driving between Cary, NC and
Orlando, FL with full access to the best res
earch library in history


the World Wide Web. I used
the same device


my cell phone


to find a place to eat and get gas on the road. My wife was
able to check my progress by tracking the location of my phone on her home computer. I was
able to purchase
and begin reading the new biography of George Washington without getting
out of the car.


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If anything, this access to information will become more pervasive, cheaper, and even invisible.
We don’t think about the availability of water, phone, or electricity
in our homes today. Electricity
was first introduced into the home to provide light at night. Today, the uses are uncountable, but
at the same time, these products of our age have become invisible; we are quite surprised when
they stop working. They are ca
lled utilities because they are useful (have utility) and have a
similar model of distribution from the utility companies via the appropriate pipes and into our
homes. In the same way, we are seeing the rise of the Information Utility companies, such as
Go
ogle, which provides a product, and the phone and cable companies that provide the pipes
through which it is delivered.

A big difference is that you don’t have to be at home to access these information utilities. We
are dependent on them


they are availa
ble anytime, anywhere


and just as it did with
electricity into the home, our expectations and dependence on them continues to grow.

Today, we make a conscious effort to access the Information Utilities. We turn on our phone,
run our browser, and type in

a web address. This utility, too, will soon become invisible; soon it
will always be on and always ready to answer the questions you have not asked yet. It will be
listening to your conversations, watching the events that occur directly around you and the

events in the rest of the world that concern you, and offer real
-
time and relevant information and
even advice as you move through your world.

3.6

Sensors

The urinals and toilets in many public restrooms are currently more aware of the presence of a
user

than a computer is. This is going to change dramatically over the next few years. Certainly,
as noted above, a mobile phone “knows” where it is


or at least be prompted to find out that
information. Further, these devices have a number of sensors that ca
n make them more
responsive. They have a video camera


sometimes even two of them
-

and audio capture (they
are phones after all) with the ability to convert voice chat into actionable commands using
extremely good voice recognition, a gyroscope, a GPS, a
nd a compass. This is a good start.
The main problem with all of these sensors is they spend most of the time in the user’s pocket
or purse.

Of course, there are other sensors that are available to the user of a mobile device than just the
ones it is buil
t with. We can access the video camera of our home computer to watch a burglar
go through our drawers while we are out, and we can monitor the traffic on the road ahead and
note that an accident has occurred and we should reroute ourselves. In the traffic
example, we
may be crowd
-
sourcing the GPS sensor data of the users that are stuck in the traffic jam to
create a global picture of the situation.

The Air Force is exponentially increasing surveillance across Afghanistan. The monthly number
of unmanned and

manned aircraft surveillance sorties has more than doubled since January
2010 and quadrupled since the beginning of 2009. This is not a fire hose of information


this is
an ocean, and a rapidly growing one. Unlike the traffic example above where we have
computer
systems dynamically acquiring, interpreting, and forwarding the information generated from the
data to the appropriate people, we are creating more data which directly causes us to be able to
generate LESS information. Computers are the things tha
t scale exponentially; humans only
scale linearly. If you double the amount of data that a human must search, his probability of
finding the one important event has just been halved. Sensors without interpretation create
problems


they don’t solve them.

A next generation platform will certainly be instrumented with powerful sensors and will have
access to many others, but it is essential that it also have access to powerful systems that can
interpret this data and generate meaningful and actionable inform
ation. A user’s situation

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awareness is only as good as the interpretation of the data that is obtained from the world
around him.

3.7

The Next Cycle

The next major computing cycle will be built around a wearable, human
-
aware, wireless net
-
centric supercomp
uter. This will be a transformative system in many dimensions.

The user will have a constant and dynamic information overlay on the real world with a high
resolution, wide field of view head
-
mount display that looks like a pair of large sunglasses. The
sy
stem will be aware of where the user is, what or who he is looking at and what he is listening
to, and will be able to immediately respond to user requests or issues with minimal effort from
the user. Though someone watching the user of the system will sca
rcely notice him doing any
work at all, the user will have full access and control of vast information utilities and sensor
infrastructure. He will control it all with a glance, or a slight twitch of his finger, or a mere
utterance.

The table below illust
rates the changing capabilities over the last computing cycles, but
extrapolates the features of a new platform that might become available in 2010.

1990

2000

2010

2020

Macintosh Classic

iMac

iPhone 4

Human Centric System

Mac OS 6

Mac OS 9.0.4

iOS 4.0

Linux, Chrome, Android

8 MHz 68000

500 MHz PowerPC

1 GHz ARM

20 GHz
-

100 core

8 MB RAM

128 MB RAM

512 MB RAM

20 GB RAM

25 K triangles/s

8 MM triangles/s

28 MM triangles/s

.5 B triangles/s

178K pixels

786K pixels

614K pixels

8MM pixels/eye

LocalTalk
230.4 kbps

10 MB/s Ethernet

20 MB/s 3G
-
WiFi

100 MB/s 6G/mesh

40 MB Hard Drive

40 GB Hard Drive

32 GB Flash Drive

1 TB Flash Drive


Though existing fully proprietary operating systems will still exist, it is expected that open source
Unix variants will likely dominate the landscape. This is likely to be fueled primarily by Google’s
successful deployment of the Android platform. It is a

bit early to see what impact Chrome may
have, but it is important to note that it is actually a virtual OS that runs as a secure web browser
on a number of platforms already. What is important to understand, however, is that it won’t be
a Unix machine but

a web
-
based OS. The main aspect of this system is that the interface is a
next generation web browser where many of the technologies that we have touched on in this
document have matured to offer a fully functional human aware information management and
c
ontrol platform.

The key to the performance of this platform will be an extremely large number of relatively low
-
power cores that make up the CPU and an extremely powerful graphics engine. It is quite

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possible that the CPU and GPU will merge by this point

providing an extremely flexible
computation environment.

We will soon see the first high resolution, high field of view head
-
mount displays that enable
both a fully
-
immersive training experience


one that should replace the expensive domes for
flight sim
ulation


and a fully
-
augmented reality head
-
mount that will overlay virtual data,
including training simulations on top of the real world in real time. The display of 2020 presumes
a display with four times the number of pixels that current HD provides, b
ut this is wrapped
around the users eyes, giving him a full 180 degree field of view into his augmented world.


This is truly a network
-
centric system, so extremely high bandwidth will be required. This will
certainly be a mesh
-
type network where the user
s are leveraging the communication bandwidth
of their local partners to increase throughput in much the same way that Bit torrent networks
increase bandwidth of similar information to the participants.

Additional capabilities and interfaces that the system

will certainly have are:



Six degrees of freedom location awareness. Using a combination of video, GPS,
gyroscopes, and other sensors, the system will be able to track the users head position
in the world and provide an update to the augmented reality at 6
0 Hz or better.


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Pairs of video cameras in front and in back, which can be used to store events in real
time and play them back as required, allowing the user to “Tivo” their life. The video
streams can be sent directly to team members or archived as requir
ed. The video can be
used to construct 3D models of the world in real time that can be used in training later, or
be integrated in a global real time situational database that can be accessed by the
team; this is one way that your partners will be able to
see through walls.



The cameras will further be able to track the user’s motions to incorporate control by
pointing and other gestures. Also, the video streams will be used for real
-
time face
recognition and local threat analysis.



Voice recognition has
already evolved sufficiently to provide an excellent primary
interface to this platform. The quality of recognition is good enough to reliably replace a
keyboard. No doubt additional technologies will be needed to handle voice recognition in
more complex n
oise environments, such as combat.



Voice synthesis has also evolved to a point where it is extremely natural and comfortable
as a primary relayer of information to the user. When we couple this with voice
recognition, we are on the threshold of the convers
ational computer.



This wearable system will certainly be a full 3D augmented reality web environment, so
we see a descendant of the VWF discussed here as a central component to the
interface provided to the user.



The head
-
mount will be extremely light, no
t much more than a pair of sunglasses today.
The user will simply place this component on his head and pick up the matching super
computer box, which will be about the size of a cell phone today, and place this in his
pocket. The system turns on as soon as

it is worn and remains on until it is taken off.



Just as we depend on the light switch today to see in the dark


the next platform will
allow us to see the next reality


it, too, will be like turning on a switch in the dark.



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4.0

What is Required

Our p
rimary challenge is to enable a new virtual world ecosystem. Though this may not be a
sufficient solution for providing all of the aspects required for a next generation training platform,
it is a necessary step. As has been shown repeatedly, reaching a cr
itical mass of users and
developers is far more important than the quality of the system, or its range of capabilities.
Windows beat out the Macintosh in market share in the early part of the transition to graphical
user interfaces, though it was clearly a
n inferior platform, especially in the early days. However,
Microsoft was able to leverage its huge installed base of MS
-
DOS systems to provide a huge
accelerant into a critical mass of users, especially in the enterprise, hence easily winning over
the “su
perior” platform. Note also that they had a deep understanding of “good enough”


it
didn’t need to be the best.

In the same way, current technical trends point to the World Wide Web as an extremely viable
candidate to support the major requirements of a n
ext generation VWF. Not only is it the most
successful business ecosystem of all time, but it is also rapidly evolving a number of key next
generation technologies that are central to the VWF. Much of this advancement is due to the
competitive pressures t
hat are placed on the web and browsers as platforms. This comes from
a number of directions


competition between the new Internet
-
focused platforms such as
Google and the established desktop platforms such as Microsoft Windows; competition between
browser

providers which is fueling huge increases in performance on almost every front; the
emergence of Internet
-
capable mobile devices with their unique requirements and limitations;
the ever increasing demand for additional web
-
based services, media, and appli
cations; and
the natural and open development of the web as a platform. Simply, the web is where the action
is; hence, this is the ideal rocket to ride as we create and promote a new VWF.

The characteristics that made the web a success are many, but we ca
n point to a number of the
key elements. These are the same elements that we would need to replicate, or preferably
leverage, if we were to create a successful new platform.

4.1

Open Source

The platform must avoid being a captive solution.
It m
ust be acce
ssible to non
-
business users,
especially education.
Quite simply, the World Wide Web is the largest open source project in
history. The source code for every web page is directly accessible and is a menu command
away. The reason this has been such a critic
al accelerator for the success of the web is that it
has ensured that every good idea that has been implemented is immediately available to
everyone who has an interest in understanding and re
-
implementing it. From a developer’s
perspective, the web itself

is an extraordinary resource from which to draw ideas. These ideas
are then further validated and codified into any number of important standards that further drive
innovation by allowing the developers to focus on their unique value add. Finally, the web

itself
is a continuous experiment, accessible to universities, companies, and even the users.


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Selecting the View>>Page Source above yields the full source code for creating this page
below.


4.2

Huge Installed Base

The system must quickly reach a critical mass of users and developers.
Clearly, there is
already a critical mass of both developers and users around the web. The challenge will be to
provide a compelling set of capabilities to attract these developers to
enhance their current
offerings and to provide new capabilities. This implies that we will need to closely follow and
utilize the existing frameworks and standards that have evolved over the last few years, as well
as provide compelling examples for them t
o follow and develop a suite of tools that enable them
to quickly create useful systems.


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4.3

Platform Scalability

The platform must work across OSs and devices (desktops
/
handhelds).
Information is power,
and access to information is empowering. More tha
n ever, the web is accessible anywhere,
anytime, and on any device. This is certainly no accident; it is a direct result of huge economic
pressures to provide continuous and uninterrupted access to the most important information
resource in history. Of cri
tical import is how the web can easily be transformed to service the
platform it is being delivered to. We are seeing an almost instantaneous evolution of web
services and businesses to provide value to the next generation of mobile devices. Even more
exci
ting is how new companies are continuously being started to service new opportunities that
arise. These are the true engines of value and wealth. That is the power of an ecosystem.

4.4

Distribution

The platform must be easily deployed across an entire orga
nization.
It n
eeds to work on both
sides of a firewall.
The web has established itself as the standard for virtually every aspect of an
organization’s infrastructure


from information access to complex training applications. The
web is a friction
-
free dis
tribution model; any web application can be accessed from virtually any
web
-
empowered device and from within virtually any organization. Once a user has a browser
and a connection, the world is immediately and readily accessible. Currently, all of the majo
r
browser providers are enhancing their platforms to include the majority of HTML5 technologies.
We believe that within the next two years, most major providers will support all of the key
technologies and all will provide them with additional plug
-
ins.

4.
5

Security

The platform needs to work with existing IT capabilities and requirements.

Enterprise IT
organizations have evolved extremely sophisticated capabilities around managing network
security, especially for web
-
based services. Though not perfect, the

current security
infrastructure is extremely robust and well understood. Enterprises have full control over access
to resources, as well as the ability to monitor complex transactions for undesired behaviors.
The additional capabilities that will be part

of the HTML5 frameworks will certainly challenge the
existing systems, but it will be an extremely broad front. All of the IT organizations and support

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companies will be working to safely integrate these new capabilities into their infrastructure to
ensur
e their employees remain competitive in the information economy.

4.6

Utilize and Define Standards

This is required for interoperability and scalability
,

as well as leveraging the huge existing
infrastructure of application code that has been developed.
As
the web has evolved, so have the
core standards that drive it. These include not just the document object models that make up
the web browser or the HTML code, but complex and powerful libraries of JavaScript, Ruby, and
Java code that allow developers extr
aordinary leverage to add value to their users. These are a
key aspect of the success of the new class of web “applications” that have been emerging over
the last few years. This trend will certainly accelerate with new and more powerful capabilities.
This

is an ideal environment for the creation and evolution of the VWF.

4.7

Future Proof

The platform must scale dynamically with new requirements and new opportunities while
protecting investments in content and infrastructure.
The web has demonstrated its a
bility to re
-
invent itself in virtually every dimension. Even the idea of a final product is turned on its head.
Every service on the web is constantly undergoing updates and modifications, sometimes even
on a daily basis, as the relationship with the user
s and customers is better understood and
becomes more refined. In a real sense, every web application is in perpetual beta mode.
Further, new companies creating new applications for the web are being started virtually every
day. There is no barrier to entr
y, and the users are willing to experiment with new services;
hence, it is an ideal Darwinistic ecosystem. New, powerful ideas can create new business
opportunities, displace existing businesses that are not maintaining an innovative edge, or can
be absorb
ed into larger systems. In the end, the user is the big winner.

4.8

Business Models

The platform must provide

an

interesting business ecosystem for small and large organizations.
It m
ust lower the cost of content development while raising the level of qual
ity and affordability.

The web is the basis of the largest continuous creation of opportunity and wealth in history. It
will remain so. There is no barrier to entry for anyone or any business. The value of the
businesses that are created is a direct result

of the innovativeness of the company and the
capability of the people.


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5.0

The Web is the Platform

Our challenge is to construct a new platform that exhibits these characteristics to ensure that a
robust ecosystem develops around it. The best and most o
bvious way for this to occur is to
simply leverage the World Wide Web, as creating a new platform with the same capabilities and
reach is virtually impossible.

However, until recently this has been impractical. No single technology for presenting 3D
conten
t has been consistently supported across all popular browsers. Any virtual world
environment making use of web technologies would still require the installation of a browser
plug
-
in or a custom player in order to render 3D images. While such an environment

would
enjoy the distribution benefits of the web, the client installation requirement more than negated
those potential gains.

Several technologies nearing maturity promise to change this equation.


5.1

JavaScript
1

JavaScript (ECMAScript) is easily the m
ost popular programming language in the world today
with literally millions of web developers using it regularly. It is undergoing a number of critical
enhancements that will be essential to the development of a web
-
based next generation VWF.
Perhaps the m
ost important is the incredible increases in performance that the various
JavaScript engines have undergone over the last three years. This area has become a key
element in comparing the various web browsers, which is fiercely competitive. This is an area
in
which we can expect to see even more significant improvements moving forward.

Another important update is the completion of the updated
ECMAScript 5

(JavaScript)
standard that includes critical new capabilities that are essential for robust and secure
systems.
These include:


The
Object Capabilities Model
, which provides access control on an object
-
by
-
object basis.


Strict Mode
, which creates a far more robust application development and delivery model.

WebSockets

provide for full TCP connections between clients and servers.

Server
-
Sent Events

allow servers to deliver data to clients quickly and efficiently without the
overhead and delays of client polling. Together, they provide tools to create dynamic user
interf
aces that deliver a richer, better, faster, and truly connected user experience that is vital for
real
-
time dynamic, collaborative virtual world experiences.




1

Javascript is also known as
ECMAScript
, which is the scripting

language standardized by
E
CMA

International in the
ECMA
-
262

specification

and ISO/IEC 16262. The language is widely
used for
client
-
side scripting

on the
web

in the form of several well
-
known dialects such as
JavaScript, JScript, and ActionScript. ECMAScript 5 and JavaScript 5 are considered to be
ident
ical.


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Note:


A recent vulnerability has been found that directly
a
ffects the current WebSockets
protocol as well as Flash and Java. This has caused WebSockets to be disabled in
current browsers for now, but there will certainly be a solution for this within the time
-
frame of the proposed
VWF

project.

In addition, a number of extremely good developmen
t tools have evolved, which are essential to
developing more complex applications such as the VWF is certain to be. The Firebug plug
-
in for
the FireFox browser is especially useful.

JSON

(an acronym for
JavaScript Object Notation

pronounced /
ˈ
d
ʒ
e
ɪ
sən/) is
a lightweight text
-
based open standard designed for human
-
readable data interchange. It is derived from the
JavaScript programming language for representing simple data structures and associative
arrays, called objects. Despite its relationship to JavaScri
pt, it is language
-
independent, with
parsers available for most programming languages.

The JSON format was originally specified by Douglas Crockford and is described in RFC 4627.
The official Internet media type for JSON is application/json. The JSON filen
ame extension is
.json.

The JSON format is often used for serializing and transmitting structured data over a network
connection. It is primarily used to transmit data between a server and web application, serving
as an alternative to XML.


5.2

The Lively

Kernel

The (formerly) Sun Labs
Lively Kernel project is one of the best demonstrations of a full
-
fledged
operating environment written in JavaScript and running totally in a browser. This platform is
worthy of note here for a number of reasons: it demonst
rates just how powerful the current
browser and JavaScript are as a platform; it has a superb design that is well worth studying and
emulating; and it is similar to and was created by one of the key developers of Squeak, which is
the foundation platform fo
r the Croquet project, as well as Teleplace. Hence it further
demonstrates that the conceptual ideas posed in this document are not unreasonable.

Lively Kernel is a new approach to web programming. It provides a complete platform for web
applications inclu
ding dynamic graphics, network access, and development tools, and requires
nothing more than available web browsers. The developers call the system
lively

for three
reasons:

1.

It comes live off a web page; there is no installation. The entire system is writt
en in
JavaScript, and it becomes active as soon as the page is loaded by a browser.

2.

It can change itself and create new content. The Lively Kernel includes a basic graphics
editor that allows it to alter and create new graphical content, as well as a
simple IDE
that allows it to alter and create new applications. It comes with a basic library of
graphical and computational components, and these, as well as the kernel, can be
altered and extended on the fly.


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3.

It can save
new artifacts


even clone itself



onto new web pages. The kernel includes
WebDAV
2

support for browsing and extending remote file systems, and has the ability to
save its objects and "worlds" (applications) as new active web pages.


The Lively Kernel uses only existing web standards.
The implementation and user language is
JavaScript, known by millions and supported in every browser. The graphics APIs are built upon
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), also available in major browsers. The network protocols used
are asynchronous HTTP and We
bDAV.

The Lively Kernel is being made available as Open Source software under a GPL license. While
it is not ready for use as a product, we expect significant participation from adventurous
developers and academia.


5.3

WebGL
-

Shader Focused Graphics

Web
GL is a cross
-
platform, royalty
-
free web standard for a low
-
level 3D graphics API based on
OpenGL ES 2.0, exposed through the
HTML5

Canvas element as
Document Object Model

interfaces. Developers familiar with OpenGL ES 2.0 will recognize WebGL as a Shader
-
based



2

Web
-
based Distributed Authoring and Versioning

(
WebDAV
) is a set of methods based on
the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that facilitates collaboration between users in editing
and managing documents and files stored on World Wide Web servers. W
ebDAV was defined
in RFC 4918 by a working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).


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API using GLSL, with constructs that are semantically similar to those of the underlying OpenGL
ES 2.0 API. It stays very close to the OpenGL ES 2.0 specification, with some concessions
made for what developers expect out of memory
-
managed languages
such as JavaScript.

WebGL brings plug
-
in
-
free 3D to the web, implemented right into the browser and directly
controllable using JavaScript. Major browser vendors Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), Mozilla
(Firefox), and Opera (Opera) are members of the WebGL

Working Group.

WebGL

grants web browsers the same access to hardware
-
accelerated 3D graphics available
to desktop applications. Using WebGL, a web application may retrieve 3D content from any
accessible web location and render it using the high performanc
e OpenGL ES 2.0 APIs.
Basically, the web browser will soon have the same access to the 3D rendering hardware that
the high
-
end games have today.


A WebGL interactive shader application.


5.4

XML

XML

is short for Extensible Markup Language. It defines a s
et of rules for encoding documents
in a machine
-
readable form. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C.


XML's design goals emphasize simplicity, generality, and usability over the Internet. It is a

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textual data format with strong su
pport via Unicode for the languages of the world. Although the
design of XML focuses on documents, it is widely used for the representation of arbitrary data
structures, for example in web services.

Many APIs have been developed that software developers us
e to process XML data, and
several
schema systems

exist to aid in the definition of XML
-
based languages.

As of 2009, hundreds of XML
-
based languages have been developed including RSS,
COLLADA, and XHT
ML
, though it is NOT the basis of the JSON file format described above
.