Ewen Cheslack-Postava me@ewencp.org @ewencp

A Scalable Server for 3D Metaverses
USENIX Annual Technical Conference, 2012

Metaverses are three-dimensional virtual worlds where anyone can add and script new objects. Metaverses today, such as Second Life, are dull, lifeless, and stagnant because users can see and interact with only a tiny region around them. Current metaverses impose this distance restriction in order to scale to large worlds, as the restriction avoids appreciable shared state in underlying distributed systems.

We present the design and implementation of the Sirikata metaverse server. Sirikata scales to support large, complex worlds, even as it allows users to see and interact with the entire world. It achieves both goals by leveraging properties of the real world in its core systems, such as a novel distributed data structure for virtual object queries based on visible size. Applications developed by Sirikata users support our claim that removing the distance restriction enables new, compelling applications that are infeasible in today’s metaverses.

(Also see the full paper.)