However the stable from which it sprung has no weight in the present VW community. A community I might add, for good or ill , that has been crystallizing around the Second Life nucleus for several years.
For most of 2009 our efforts to stimulate interest in web.alive environments containing MellaniuM content were futile. Eminently competent consultants we approached stated that NORTEL was now bankrupt and web.alive would founder with it. When AVAYA bought the Business Unit of NORTEL that contained web.alive we were told that AVAYA will excise web.alive as an abomination and absorb NORTEL ignominiously into the overall larger telecom behemoth that it will now become. So on the whole we had been instructed to understand by some very competent and extremely knowedgable individuals that our efforts have been in vain and that "THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS WEB.ALIVE.
Early in the development of MellaniuM we had idealistic notions of acedemia waiting in the wings to recognize the value of high polygon modelling for realistic architectural renderings of archaeological significance. We were blogged about by Shawn Graham in his Electric Archaeology blog "AutoCad into UNREAL" who even mentioned the importance of experiencing a space as imagined by Diane Favro and Michael Lynch. (Strangely enough a comment was inserted by Al Meyers of Rome Reborn rights fame saying he would love to talk to us) Within a few weeks we experienced the unalloyed joy and privilege of receiving a model of the Arch of Titus from UCLA which we rapidly rendered into UNREAL. Within weeks we had been sent by the Kings' Visualisation Lab the entire "Theatre of Pompey" a massive rendering in minute detail in a 3D Studio Max file. We enthusiastically prepared a short paper for VSMM 2008 to collaborate with Maurizio Forte and his extremely competent cohorts to illustrate our realistic virtual world developments.
The resulting actions from all these efforts was at best a resounding silence and at worst a threat lawyers would be unleashed to contact us if we breathed a word about the work we had produced.
Ironically enough we were in contact about the same time with Prof. Bob Stone of Birmingham University, a founder and former president of the VSMM, and asked him if he was attending that year. He professed somewhat cryptically that he would likely never venture to another VSMM conference but that he would be very interested in how we were received at the conference. Bob has been a touchstone for us in the realm of virtual worlds especially when we informed him of the fact that we had been nominated for an award at the LAVAL VIRTUEL 2010. He congratulated us profusely and exclaimed laconically that he too had been nominated and actually had won awards there but they had fallen apart before he arrived back home
When Billy discovers a dragon in his bedroom, and tells his mother, his mother insists there's no such thing as a dragon—even when the dragon appears on the kitchen table, and eats all Billy's pancakes but one, grows so big that Billy's mother has to go through windows to get to other parts of the house, and even runs after a bakery truck with the house on its back.
Strangely enough MellaniuM were afforded more than just faint praise by some influential bloggers namely Dusan Writer when he stated in a blog post "Second Life and the 3D Pipeline"
"Meanwhile, elsewhere on the game platforms, MellaniuM has created a bridge from Autocad to the Unreal engine that is beyond stunning – and provides a low-cost, flexible platform for visualization. Being able to create highly detailed rendered models and bring them seamlessly into a virtual platform is significant, and folks should be rejoicing from the mountaintops, at least among the architecture, landscape, design set…or anyone who wants to properly provide a walk through of something that has detail and looks REAL."
One can never say that Dusan minces his words, however several months later he, admittedly, made a throwaway comment by saying there are "a few ideas poking around with Web.Alive, maybe, which is a product that should, well, die a quick death in my opinion – I mean, haven’t we moved past Unreal?"
Billy went downstairs to tell his mother. "There's no such thing as a dragon!" said Billy's mother. And she said it like she meant it.
One has to admit that change is in the air. I recently was pleasantly surprised to stumble across a podcast of the Gronstedt group "Virtual Worlds in the Enterprise: 2010, The Year Ahead" with Sam Driver of ThinkBalm, Jennifer Belissent of Forrester Research, and Doug Thompson (SL: Dusan Writer) of Remedy Communications. January 14, 2010 where Sam Driver expresses some remarkable insight into the potential of web.alive if AVAYA ever considers utilizing a redefined unified communications strategy. With its behemoth global reach and enterprise network capabilities what can they not achieve with the vision to employ web.alive as a holistic collaborative platform?
And last but not least how will the USDA decision eventually pan out in the next three years. It is somewhat sobering to realize that the majority of the requirements specified in the RFP are available now on the the web.alive platform they do not indeed require a three year contract period to develop and implement.
And at the FCVW Erica Driver of Thinkbalm stated with no compunction to all present that everyone should check out all the virtual world platforms available and see which fits the clients need,
and I must give Erica Driver the last say since she declared recently in a TWEET
"Thought of the day: Avaya has a great opportunity to change the face of unified communications with its web.alive immersive technology because they are already a unified communications provider, and also have immersive tech in their portfolio. "