Thursday, October 12, 2006

Project Darkstar

Wow! THIS is pretty dammed cool. Sun is building a shareable server and tool system for games with five 9s reliability. That is awesome.

When I worked for public safety, we loathed to guarantee five nines for mission critical real time dispatch systems. Five nines is awesome for massive multiplayer games.

Two of the reallyDumbMistakes made while I was in that field are worth relating. The first was having two Development VPs in a row stating that real time 3D was of absolutely no interest to the company or to the public safety market. (Actually, the dumbest was a former company president making the absolute statement that XML was only Microsoft FUD and in no way would affect the public safety market, but I digress). The second reallyDumbMistake was a decision made with the formation of an Innovation Team charged with getting new ideas into Development. One of our senior staffers boasted proudly that when the first batch was submitted, they quickly eliminated any that mentioned games.

A few years later, a major and very significant RFP for public safety required the application of the XML 3D standard application language, X3D, in a game simulation environment for massive multiplayer training. Of course, the company had to license code from two developers in France just to get started because a "leader in spatial graphics technology for fusion of real time information" was caught flat footed.

Now Sun (Notice, Sun, not Microsoft that is twaddling along with the public safety industry) can provide THE key component for these serious 'games'.

And so it goes. It will be interesting to see if X3D clients can use the services of Project Darkstar. Given the open source Java implementations of X3D toolkits, I'd be surprised if the answer is no. If so, there is a very neat opportunity for some of the public safety vendors to get a fast leg up on their front running competitors.

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