Virtual Reality and Virtual Worlds Projects
Secondlife is a Virtual Reality platform designed by Linden Labs. The platoform allows users to create a graphical environment to their liking. The platforms height of users was likely in the mid-2000s when major media outlets were covering stories related to the platforms success. The original platform has had it share of alternate organizations creating almost-identical environments including OpenSim, Reaction Grid, and many more. Linden Labs current focus is now shifting to newer platform called Sansar. While the company states it is not to be considered a "Next-Generation" of the first platform, it mimics many of the same motifs.
I have been involved as a third party content creator in SecondLife for over 10 years. The platform allows for CAD creation and interactive programming with their internal language called LSL (Linden Scripting Language). While my more elaborate programs would involved back-end server communication and porting information to and from the "grid" (user visable environment), it also included user experience items, basic use programming, and team project additions. From 2015-2018 I worked for Wonderful World of Meeroos as a junior programmer and developer.
OpenSim and Educational Dissertation
OpenSim and similar software packages sprung out from the SecondLife theory and environment. The general idea and structure of SecondLife, but as an open-source package, gave to the rise of many interest groups that wanted a more controlled or personalized version of Secondlife. One such platform is now focused on educational benefits of using virtual reality as another learning tool. In 2010 I was asked to setup and manage one such platform for a friend in New York working on her disseratation.
In 2010 we started standing up and creating what was referred to as "Grand Central Grid" to use for Dr. Amy Fox's dissertation. The research was geared towards finding what benefits, if any, using virtual world environments for secondary and post-secondary education would provide. The study went on for the school year and involved students attending Vahalla High School of the same year. By the end of 2011 the server and project was wrapped up and her dissertation completed. I setup and deployed the server from the ground up and maintained the system and all technical aspects. Dr. Amy Fox is still working on more research in this field of study and her infomation can be found at this website. This project was probably one of my favorite projects and most challenging. We granted 24/7 access to the virtual environment for all participants, and boy oh boy do kids do the darnedest of things at 2am :-)
Wonderful World of Meeroos
WWoM (Wonderful World of Meeroos) is a game company inside the Secondlife VR Platform that created one of the more popular virtual pet breeding games. The game design is based on proprietary genetics engine that is designed to replicate the genetic modeling of breeding animals. The overall game also includes a storyline based on the mythical "Meeroo" animal, multi-dimensional discovery of the "World of Meeroos", and several side-game interactions that play into main storyline. The entire story is still in play and there are still things to be discovered!
I worked for WWoM for a few years as a junior programmer and developer. While I was never involved in the direct work on the core components, I did design some major aspects of the systems that are still in use. Two of the larger projects included building a search engine to allow users to find specific traits other players may be willing to trade with, a genetics "key reader" that gave the player more detailed information regarding their Meeroo, and several seasonal games that allowed players to unlock new aspects, tools, and breeds throughout the games storyline. I was also involved with direct customer support when needed, troubleshooting game-play problems, identifying potential security issues, and solving complex structure issues. I primarily worked in LSL (Linden Scripting Language), PHP, HTML, and SQL. I resigned from primary duties with Meeroos in 2017 but continued with some projects. In 2018 I stepped down completely from programming due to waning interest from players and the parent organization shifting more focus to other projects.