Monday, March 8, 2010

A Cross-Grid Content Store: An idea whose time has come?

This morning my thoughts drifted into thinking about the inevitable screw-over XStreetSL merchants are going to get real soon. Then I took a second look at a comment Imprudence viewer developer Armin Weatherwax left on that blog post(emphasis mine):
lol, I admit my thought is a bit far fetched... having those archives gives of course the possibility to exchange content in "new" ways, like from torrents or git repos. So maybe XStreet would have become less interesting for open content anyway - well, we'll never know.
Given not only the coming XStreetSL changes but also in light of the controversial third-party viewer policies and ToS "content trap", I now think Armin's idea isn't as far-fetched anymore. A far better solution than "torrents and git repos" would be an online store like XStreetSL, MetaLIFE, or Metaverse Exchange(the goals of MVX match the cross-grid store concept, but it currently just supports Legend City and SL) but would deal in content archived in the HPA format. This would kill a couple of birds with one stone:
  • No need to deal with "magic boxes", which are prone to delivery failures whenever the region the box is hosted on fails for whatever reason, and potentially costs you sales.
  • Easily make content in one virtual world, and be able to sell(not just give away) it to residents of any world that can use HPA-capable viewers such as Meerkat or Imprudence.
While these are excellent points for this idea, I can also see one point against it: The nature of content import at the moment circumvents the in-world permissions system(on import, you are the creator of the content as far as the system knows), as there is no content metadata to properly address it, which can lead to copyright infringement if not used responsibly. So as it is, it's a trade-off: sacrifice reach for control(walled garden), or sacrifice some control for reach(public park).

So, would this concept be feasibly possible? Ideas, thoughts, criticisms?

P.S.- Also, take a quick look at OpenSimWorlds and MyOpenSim as a couple of prototypes as how such a store might look like.


Melch said...

Antonius, I know we talke a while back about doing something like this in Drupal (then my free time faded away). But here is an idea: what if this also somehow integrated into the Unity3D asset server APIs? Then we could have inventory across the MetaVerse and Unity3D written games out of the box.

AntoniusMisfit said...

Hmm, cross-grid inventory access? That's actually a pretty good idea too, Melch. I can see that in terms of a "Dropbox for your Avatars". In fact I can see one method of achieving this(Unity3D notwithstanding): a specific viewer is written so as to add a folder to your inventory. When you place content you create into the folder, it gets exported to HPA format and stored either locally on your machine or a specified server. When you import content, you have the option of choosing from your stored HPA content.

I may suggest this to some third-party viewer developers.

Peter Stindberg said...

Actually I speculated about this recently as well, but what many content creators fear on opensim grids is losing the control over their creations even more than they do in SL. Giving out XML "blueprints" gives up even more control, since then not even the creator name gets preserved.