Surreal meetings and virtual spiders

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (416 Words)

I’ve had quite a few business ‘meetings’ lately, some on the phone, some over IM, but last night I experienced probably the most surreal meeting I’ve ever had. Last night, I had a business meeting in Second Life.

Now, I’d never used Second Life before - I generally have trouble keeping my first life under control, never mind having a whole extra one to manage - so I was somewhat underprepared anyway. The camera control system is a little unconventional and takes a bit of time to get used to, but that wasn’t the main issue. The main thing was that, whilst I was sitting around a fairly ordinary board room table in a black high-backed chair, across the table I was having a serious business conversation with Kirby, a diminutive dinosaur and something that looked like the Inquisitor from that Red Dwarf episode. Occasionally through the opening to the outside I could see equally bonkers avatars lazily drifting by the meeting room, presumably in transit to equally work-related venues. I know it’s a virtual world with all the lack of inhibition that entails, but it was the context - the fusion of the staid world of business and controlled insanity was definitely a double-take moment for me. I was half expecting a Navigator to fade in and offer to ‘fold space’ for me whilst puffing furiously on his ‘spice’ - right mate, you’re ‘travelling without moving’, sure. And not tripping off your nut at all 😉

Another interesting thing I saw today concerns spiders. It was the Theory and Practice of Computer Graphics Conference (TPCG07) recently, and in a rather cool turn of events, an Ogre render has ended up on the cover of the proceedings, thanks to Llyr ap Cenydd and William Teahan winning the ‘Best Paper’ prize for their “The Dynamic Animation of.Ambulatory Arthropods”, in which they realistically simulate spiders crawling over various surfaces. And thanks to a combination of superbly realistic animation (entirely procedural) and some nice Ogre materials, these spiders look bloody realistic. Scarily so. Take a look at the video for yourself - a rolled-up newspaper is highly recommended. And here’s a static shot:

More discussion and pictures in the forum, if you can handle it. I know I can’t 😕

I’m doing a spot of work for a client with the Wavefront and Biovision formats at the mo, which although appearing quite simple, had a few little nuances I wasn’t expecting. I might blog about that when I’m done.