I’m joining the Blue Mars team because after working in virtual worlds for over seven years, I’m now convinced that Blue Mars has the best strategy for bringing 3D immersive worlds to a mass market. If you’re already reading this blog, you may not need convincing, but here’s just five reasons Blue Mars stokes me so much:
Blue Mars is Cloud Bound
3D virtual worlds are incredibly compelling experiences, but they typically require a high end desktop computer with an expensive 3D card, and a long delay, to install and enjoy. However, a cloud-based delivery system provides a powerful alternative that does fit today’s market: high-end graphics quickly delivered on a light client via broadband, not just on laptops, but televisions, even iPads, launching the experience about as fast as you’d play a YouTube video. Months ago, Jim announced that Blue Mars will soon have a cloud-based version. (And just yesterday, he told me it’ll hopefully come before the end of this year.)
Blue Mars Uses COLLADA-Compatible 3D Meshes
COLLADA meshes are important because they are compatible with industry standard 3D graphics software like Studio Max and Blender, which is free and open source. I’m passionate about user-generated content online, because it enables anyone with enough talent and commitment, regardless of their background, to transform their lives with opportunities that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. Ideally, that means the tools they use in virtual worlds should be the same tools that industry professionals use. That way, rising Blue Mars stars can go straight into making movies or videogames.
Blue Mars Has a Well-Planned Content Protection System
Since commerce in user-generated content is the lifeblood of virtual worlds which depend on them, it’s crucial that content creators feel their work has strong, internal protections against content theft. In Blue Mars, uploaded content is protected with a time stamp and a unique registration code -- more on that here. That also means items can be exposed better in online commerce and in search. While no system is perfect, I believe this is probably the best available means to make user-to-user virtual commerce easy and profitable for developers.
The Blue Mars Team Have Their Game Faces On
Avatar Reality’s CEO, Jim Sink, comes straight from the Xbox Live team, which helped the 360 beat out Sony’s PS3 to become the biggest next gen console. Jim hired Trent Ward, an acclaimed game designer who’s worked at Ubisoft and Electronic Arts, to make the Blue Mars experience intuitive and fun. Virtual worlds must succeed as playful, game-like experiences before they can succeed at anything else. To top it all off, Jim also hired John Zdanowski, Linden Lab's former CFO, who grew Second Life at the height of its boom times, to help give Blue Mars a thriving economy.
Yes, Blue Mars Can Run on Macs
I know how popular Macs are with Internet creators; that’s why it’s so important that Blue Mars can run on a Mac, with a bit of effort, and that other Blue Mars alternatives for Mac owners are coming soon.
No doubt, Blue Mars is still in beta, and evolving, and rough around the edges. But that’s actually one of the things that excites me most, just as it did seven years ago when I first entered Second Life as an “embedded journalist”: Blue Mars is truly a new world, a fresh frontier offering metaverse pioneers new vistas of experience and opportunity. I know it will be wonderful to see the wonders you create, and write about them here.