[Twisted-Python] Hacking Reality

Jason L. Asbahr jason at crash.org
Sun Sep 30 10:59:44 EDT 2001

Greetings, Twisted folks,

As Chris mentioned, Reality is about to undergo some refactoring.  
If you are interested in this process, drop a line.  Perhaps a new
reality-dev list at twistedmatrix.com is in order.

For those of you I haven't met yet, I'm a game developer and serious
Python addict.  I've committed a large portion of my adult life 
working toward the growth and development of virtual worlds.  My 
current project is the culmination of many years of work.  

The specific game design I'm working on is called "Netsu" (which is
Japanese for "heat" or "fever").  It's an anime-inspired world which
incorporates multiple perspectives of play and a reputation network
for players to self-organize.  It's going to be fun.  :-)

As I develop use cases and other design documentation for Netsu, I
intend to keep them as portable as possible between gaming systems, 
so that they can benefit the most people.  I anticipate this work
feeding back into Twisted Reality, expanding it to be a more general
simulation framework.

And now a little history...  

The genesis of the project began with my work on virtual reality
systems in the early 90's.  I developed virtual building 
walkthroughs for architects, VR games, and created the first 
hardware accelerated PC-based virtual actor system for Compaq.  

This work was all done with C and C++, and it was during this 
period that I realized the need for a dynamic and interactive 
way to "reach inside" the simulation and manipulate it.  And 
that's how I first became acquainted with Python.  :-)

The next major phase was to build a 3D client engine with Python 
embedded as a control language.  The fruits of that effort are 
described in the paper I presented at Python 7, "Beyond: A Portable 
Virtual World Simulation Framework".   (This was also the first 
mention of 'Netsu'.)

In 1998, the next phase of development took a turn when I was 
recruited into Origin Systems to work on developing the Python 
foundation for the Ultima Online 2 project.  The focus during the 
period was on innovation on the server side and on client-server 
communication.  The results of that labor are described in another 
paper presented at Python 9, "Python for Massively Multiplayer 
Virtual Worlds".  

[ Both papers at: http://www.asbahr.com/papers.html ]

To this point, the software developed was all closed source.  The
desire for an open source virtual world system was lurking in my 
head, but it wasn't until the O'Reilly Open Source conference in 
2000 that my plan for the open source virtual world crystallized. 

[ The notes made during that period have evolved into the Linux 
Journal article which I'll share with you shortly. ]

At the 2001 O'Reilly conference, while presenting on the UO2 design 
work, I took the opportunity to discuss my plans for the future 
open source virtual world system.  The response was extremely 
positive, which included the invitation to write the LJ article 
on the subject.  :-)

Currently, I'm working on combining a number of existing open 
source technologies to build the new virtual world system.  
These include the 'Nebula Device' 3D engine from Germany on 
the client side, the Twisted framework for server-side and 
client-server communication, and the OpenCyc knowledge base 
as server-side archetype repository and artificial intelligence

Glyph and I have been meeting periodically over the last few 
months to discuss these issues, which intersect nicely with his
long term plans for gaming.  I've also been meeting with the 
Cycorp folks (who happen to be just down the road from me) to 
discuss integrating Cyc and driving Python class generation 
from Cyc.  I'm in the process of integrating Python into the 
Nebula Device, which will be quickly followed by integrating 
PB and making Nebula one of the first 3D clients for Twisted.  

Recently, Chris and I began to share some thoughts.  As I 
mentioned to him, after I wrap up my current consulting project
(porting Python to the Playstation 2 and developing a GUI for
designers to build Python logic), I'm devoting 100% of my time 
to Netsu and open source development.

I am committed to delivering the next generation open source 
virtual world framework for gaming, education, simulation, and
training.  It is my hope that this collaborative approach for 
virtual world simulation grows, spreading the Twisted word and
providing a foundation to help other developers achieve their 
own goals.  

Join us!  :-)



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