What you’re looking at above is a screenshot of SpotON3D, an OpenSim-based web plugin running in Facebook. Now in closed testing, SpotON3D is, as company Co-Founder Tessa Kinney-Johnson tells me, “A fully functional web plugin experience that can run in your Facebook page. In other words, just like FarmVille or any other Facebook app working with their API. Everything works as expected, minus the bugs we’re working on, of course.”
As the above screenshot suggests, you’ll be able to make prim-based content in SpotON3D in Facebook. “Of course you can create dynamic content. This is not Unity, where you have to basically know C# to make even the most basic environments. This is our flavor of the OpenSim platform, fully functional right down to content creation and deliveries, classified ads, offline messaging, full group support and much more.” (The company plans to roll out mesh next year as well, too.)
SpotON3D’s focus, she says, is “NOT on recreating the SL experience. It's about taking the Web 3.0 vision to reality and going where no other platform like this has been able to before.” Using proprietary technology, Kinney-Johnson declines to go into specifics on how the plugin works, except to say how it does not: “We are NOT server side rendering... [w]e are NOT a Unity based bridge system... We are NOT a trigger for a pre-installed client to pop up a simple login screen.”
SpotON3D will also come with an internal economy, and a basic form of land ownership/usage -- read on:
“We’re exploring the option of adding Facebook and Google monetary systems into our own as purchasing currency options, but for now PayPal is our preferred economy system.” New users will get to inhabit vacant “PodPads”: "These are simple 20x20 themed 3D land points they can occupy for free for the first 30-days - a ‘good for everyone’ web space perfect for turning around and beaming their Facebook friends and family directly to their location."
Speaking of Facebook, you’ll be able to create an account with your Facebook ID, or “a character-driven avatar account if they prefer.” So far, it’s look pretty impressive. The company is a startup funded to the tune of $250,000, with a team of nearly two dozen paid staff and “volunteer Web 3.0 professionals.”
So far, so impressive. If the Facebook implementation works, it could help bring a new and large userbase to 3D experiences. But the challenge of bringing it out of Alpha into the public forum awaits. If you want to give it a try as a Beta tester, you can request an invite by e-mailing the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much thanks to Philippe Pascal for the tip!