Sunday, August 7, 2011

SecondPlace, QwaqLife or TeleSim?

I am very much in love with both my two favorite virtual meeting technologies: Second Life, partly cloned by the open source OpenSim, and Teleplace, recently open sourced as OpenQwaq. In the pictures, two recent online conferences in Second Life and Teleplace.

I love both, but most VR users tend to strongly prefer one. I am interested in "serious" applications to, for example, online talks and e-learning (no value judgment intended, and please see "Telepresence Education for a Smarter World" for more), and I like both.

The Teleplace / OpenQwaq technology, on which my teleXLR8 online talk program and "telepresence community for cultural acceleration" is based, has much better built-in voice and support for multi user collaboration, document sharing and webcam videoconferencing, all very important features for "serious" applications, but those who prefer Second Life may find it too aseptic and square.

The Second Life / OpenSim technology, much closer to (and directly inspired by) the Metaverse of Snow Crash, has a certain built-in playfulness which is also very important (more important than I used to think) for "serious" applications, and is much more appealing to persons with strong artistic sensibilities, but those who prefer Teleplace may find its more, um, extreme aspects too annoying and distracting.

As I said, I like both. The "conflict" is mostly cultural and psychological, and I have no doubts that both technologies, especially in their open source versions, can easily support both work and play in both square and creative modes. For example, I have prototyped simple examples of videoconferencing and collaborative document sharing in Second Life, and OpenQwaq can import very creative 3D models and avatars.

Open ended, comments welcome.


  1. I have not tried OpenQwaq yet since I have not received the "all clear" from you to do so but I would like to try it out. Nevertheless, I was quite happy with Teleplace and since OpenQwaq is based on the same code-base I look forward to trying it out. I did not know OpenQwaq can import colorful 3D objects, avatars, etc. but would expect that to emerge especially in a now open source context.

    I also like Second Life and would be happy to attend teleXLR8 there.

  2. Very insightful blog post – at @PentacleTheVBS we are debating if this could be the new PC Mac war. We are trying got create an OpenQwaq version for small businesses, organisations and corporates called QUBE ( ) I will let you know how it goes and the comments we receive

  3. @Wiliam, you have got the login info now. I will host a teleXLR8 practice and stress test today Sunday at 10am PST (1pm PST - same time planned for Suzanne's talk, now postponed to next Sunday), please feel free to join. Everything that you can make in a 3D modeling tool can be imported in OpenQwaq using exchange formats like .kmz (Google Earth), but of course models should be light enough not to generate unnecessary lag.

    @Eddie, what you are doing is really interesting! What is your business model?

  4. Hi giulio,

    While browsing openqwaq documentation today, I discovered that openqwaq offers a Python integration (with a good documentation!). I didn't test it yet, but the doc tells us in the intro that this API is not only used to integrate python applications in openqwaq panels, but to control the 3D world from Python as well.
    I love Squeak but it is a somewhat isolated system. If we can gain access through this API to all the Python libraries from open qwaq, really the sky may be the limit...

  5. Hi Remi - yes, the Python API seems quite powerful, in particular I have seen a complex Python app in Teleplace which controls 3D objects quite seamlessly. As you say, the sky is the limit.