In real life, I work on virtual life

I don’t like to post very much about my personal life; this isn’t a personal blog and I’m not really a fan of putting personal information on the internet. But on the other hand, I suppose that my thoughts might be more interesting to read if I talk a little more about myself. Plus, I have an opportunity to promote some of my day-job work and I’m not going to miss it.

For the past year or so I’ve been working on a project called Lively by Google, which was just released today. I left the game industry last year and joined Google after my previous employer shuttered the office that I was working in. I’m pretty passionate about video game development (if you couldn’t tell from this blog), so some of my friends were a bit shocked to see me leave the industry and get a “regular” software engineering job. But what they didn’t know is that I was secretly working on something that, while not exactly a game, is pretty darn close. Lively is a free 3D virtual world for hanging out and chatting with friends. It’s about as far away as one can get from horror games, but I’ve really enjoyed working on it and am looking forward to seeing how it is received. If you have a Windows computer and are interested in browser-based 3D chatting and room creation, check it out.

13 thoughts on “In real life, I work on virtual life

  1. This isn’t really my kind of thing 😉 Congrats, though! I was going to check it out, but realized that it isn’t available for macs yet. For shame!

  2. I know, right? It’s just a function of time–I’d really like to work on a Mac version eventually. Wouldn’t be hard with what we’ve got, but we’re a small team and had limited resources.

    Ha! I remember you wouldn’t tell me what you were working on. I tried it out last night just to see what the fuss was about.

    What’s the vision for this? Is it more than another VRML? Is this trying to compete with Second Life?

  4. The goal isn’t to be like VRML, but Second Life isn’t exactly the model either. I think the goal is expand social networking (Facebook et al) into 3D and then go from there. This is the first release–there’s still a lot to do!

  5. I was hoping to like this Chris, but I’m sorry after it kept crashing my firefox browser. Not to mention how long everything takes to materialize, i was no longer interested.

  6. I tried it out just now, and it seems to be pretty popular already.
    I had to try many different display names before I found one that wasn’t already taken, and I tried some rarities!
    It looks pretty cool so far.
    Nice job Chris. ^_^

    However, it does run a little slow on my computer..
    But it is kind of a browser-based game, so considering that, it runs pretty well.

  7. So you work for Google now Chris, cool.
    How does it feel to work for the other evil empire???

    Couple of tech questions, was this developed using C++ or Python?
    Does this use OpenGL to accelerate the 3D?
    Just curious…

    It’s funny I just downloaded the add on and went to the page, some of the top rooms people have created have sex in there title.


  8. > Scott

    Sorry it didn’t work very well for you–it’s still a beta after all. But try back again soon; we’re actively squashing the bugs that people find.

    > sylphglitch

    Actually, Google is the one of most non-evil company I’ve worked for, I think. It’s also the largest, but I’m enjoying it a lot.

    Lively is written entirely in C++, plus some Flash/Actionscript. We have some tools that were written in Python as well, but those are just for internal stuff. It’s not based on OpenGL, but it does support hardware accelerated graphics.

    As for the sex rooms, yeah, we knew that would happen. They get taken care of pretty quick, though.

  9. I’m downloading it now.
    I remember long time ago (around 10 years or so to be exact) there was an online VRML were people could built their own worlds and some of them the users could build a house, like a privative ‘chatroom’; and some others even got message boards. I don’t quite remember the name, though. I think I might enjoy it XD

    One thing I always wanted to ask you, Chris. You enjoy so much survivor horror games but…Do you ever got the chance to work on it? Or even have some project?
    Maybe you could organize some kind of ‘lively-horror’ experience. Fights might be impossible, but to create a mood and some simple puzzles could work.

  10. About being evil,
    I guess that’s good to hear about Google.
    On the other hand they are one of the few companies that in my book could take down MS.
    You have to be pretty evil to do that…

    I kinda figured it was down in C++, but what do you use for 3d accleration? If not OpenGL, then DirectX?

    To Ulimecia,

    There have been several things like what you talk about throughout the years. Are you thinking about the original VRML browser that SGI put out years ago??

  11. Sorry for the double post, it looks like Google is using DirectX9 for it’s 3D. That would explain the windows only port for now..

  12. > sylphglitch

    We’re actually built upon a cross-platform 3D engine that uses DirectX on Windows and other things on other platforms. But yeah, we use DirectX on Windows.

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