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Virtual worlds seek to provide an online setting where users can interact in a shared environment. Popular virtual worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, however, rely on share-nothing data and strict partitioning as much as possible. They translate a large world into many tiny worlds. This partitioning conflicts with the intended goal of a virtual world by greatly limiting interaction and reducing the shared experience. The authors present Meru, an architecture for scalable, federated virtual worlds. Meru's key insight is that, compared to traditional distributed object systems, virtual world objects have the additional property of being embedded in a three-dimensional geometry.
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