Project R-1294




The hype surrounding social software and online communities can be seen as a reflection of the changes in society and a search for methods to better cope with the needs of contemporal, 'real' society with these new technologies. In a global society, the need for local communities is growing ever larger. These new communities are one of the most important pillars of the so-called web 2.0 the new generation internet. Television and radio (e.g. in their function of supplying information about current affairs) are very important themes in daily communication between people and thus have an important socializing function. This socializing function can be extended and canalized in a virtual community where 'radio and television peers' can meet each other, communicate, debate and participate in common activities. It should be clear that the public broadcaster can play an important societal role in helping to create, develop and manage such virtual communities. The production of interactive 3D worlds is labor intensive and has long elapsed production times. The growing demand for fast changing 3D worlds and stories, support for online communities and the growing degree of realism in next generation media platforms will in further increase the scale of the productions. This project researches how investment and operational cost can be brought down and how 3d worlds can be easily adapted without concession to the quality. we consider following research topics. Within this project, a 3D world editor will be created that allows easy creation of 3D worlds providing end-users with an environment in which community formation and playful interaction with multimedia content takes place, stimulated by 3D storytelling. To this end, this project will employ an interdisciplinary approach, combining technical development with content-driven and user-centered methods to tackle the challenges that currently exist. Currently, 3D worlds are quite complex for users to navigate through, and little usability research has been done to date to navigation through and interaction with 3D worlds. Even more, likeability, playability and sociability are important new concepts that need to be researched. In this project, innovative research methods will be used at the start of the development of the 3D worlds, in order to take these concepts into account. The project partners intend to look into the development of a user-friendly, flexible story writing application for virtual 3D environments. The user has to be able to easily create a storyline that can be grafted to any scene that meets rough, abstract story requirements. The output format, however, should be flexible enough for a programmer to edit the script. By developing such a tool, we want to eliminate the drawbacks of previous generation story writing for interactive settings. From a more technical point of view, we aim to research a number of issues in building network architectures supporting the deployment of virtual interactive communities for large groups of users on existing broadband network infrastructures. We will investigate the influence of scalability on these components to very large numbers of users, manageability issues, state synchronization and the elimination of single points of failure. The process of dynamically and transparently partitioning the virtual world into subcommunities is also major topic of research. We will also look into various aspects of communication in virtual interactive communities, with the emphasis on novel types of interaction. This will include the application of audio and video communication throughout the community, broadcasting and conferencing issues and adaptation of network streams depending on available bandwith. We will organically develop storytelling knowledge and technology using an intermixed process. A best effort format is envisaged using existing technology. We will organize a workshop with best-of-class content and technology people that are willing to pioneer, cross boundaries and innovate. Based hereupon a first set of requirements is derived that may influence the development of the tools. A class will be organized as well. It teaches fundamentals and basics required for 3D storytelling adapted to an audience acquainted with classical media. This class can be augmented with hand-on-sessions with some of the early versions of technology being developed in the project. To validate the results, a set of proof of concept demonstrators will be built, integrating the different aspects of the project. These demonstrators will be built, integrating the different aspects of the project. These demonstrators will consist of a 3D world editor, incorporating scene design; simulations of scalable backend infrastructure; community communication and interaction facilities, including representation of profiles and avatars, and demonstrating matchmaking and communication tools; 3D world navigation; and a workshop and course in online 3D content stories.

Period of project

01 April 2007 - 01 April 2009