Virtual World Software
Virtual world software allows real time 3-D objects to co-exist and interact with each other. It is the engine that allows your avatar to move around the virtual grid, sit down on a virtual chair or dance with a virtual partner. It includes the database of 3D object IDs that stores the objects you create. And it includes the viewer that allows residents to watch the interactions between avatars and their surroundings. Without it, there would be no virtual land to walk on or build houses on, no avatars to dress in outlandish or sophisticated costumes, and no scenery, sky or lakes to enjoy.
comprising several thousand computers that run its virtual world software. These servers store all of the UUIDs (universally unique identifiers) that are assigned to each individual 3D object and image within Second Life (SL). These 3D objects (called "prims") and images (called "textures") are the building blocks for all that is visual inworld. Each stiletto shoe and each flower has a UUID that must be tracked and monitored for its interaction with every other avatar, table or chair in the vicinity. Each parcel of virtual land and each building, tree and lake has a UUID to be tracked.
Second Life viewers
Linden Lab software engineers create
for all of the popular consumer operating systems, like Windows, Mac and Linux. After all, what good would it do to have virtual world software that people cannot use? But outside vendors publish viewers with enhanced features, like an improved interface that makes moving avatars more intuitive. Other vendors have created add-ons. For example, there is a plugin available that can maintain a user's anonymity. This kind of application could be useful for residents who want to role play a character whose actions would not be appropriate for the resident's real life, or for people who are famous and want to participate without attracting notice.
Linden Lab uses open source virtual world software for its servers and database to track the UUIDs. The open source software is in keeping with the company policy that allows residents to own the rights to all of the digital objects they create. It means that standard graphics packages can be used to design and build the decorative skins, or textures, for all of the 3D objects, the objects must be able to be manipulated inworld. This has resulted in a thriving virtual economy with markets for digital clothing, accessories, furniture, avatar body parts, virtual pets and real estate. And because the Linden dollar (L$) can be exchanged for real world global currencies, people can make real money from their digital creations.
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