How many High Fidelity users would be able to "garden" in this scene at the same time?
Easily 25 without lag. A lot of this depends on the system that is running the High Fidelity Sandbox software which hosts it, the equivalent of an Second Life sim. However, unlike an SL sim, you run Sandbox on your own hardware. It can be locally hosted on your own laptop (and accessible by an automatic NAT punchthrough service), hosted on your own servers, or running on the cloud. So the biggest limit is the resources you provide to Sandbox and the bandwidth you provide. There isn't a fixed cap.
How far away are we from a full garden sim, with plants which respond to virtual watering, weeding, sunlight, etc?
There's no reason it can't be done today, although if we wanted wholly procedural plants which would grow organically in the truest most realistic sense, that's a bit away. But with the reasonable technical constraints, it can be done right now. For my own domain, I intend to create something like my old Lemondrop's Forest sim from Second Life, with glowing and magical mushrooms, plants of every kinds, creeping vines, etc!
How complex can this garden get without lag (i.e. how many physics-enabled objects)?
This depends on the server and bandwidth, but you'd be surprised how well our system handles lots of high-load entity operations. Unlike using a game engine, HF is designed from the bottom up to handle the unusual high-performance demands of a physics based multiuser virtual world, built upon all the experience and wisdom accumulated from our engineers and designers, some of whom were the original, core architects of Second Life. Their experience and takeaways from the unique demands of a distributed virtual world, and the lessons they learned about those friction points, is a very valuable asset unique to our company, which means our team is uniquely experienced and knowledgeable of the demands of this kind of platform.
We are making enormous strides in 2016 and the future is looking very, very bright for High Fidelity. I ditched Unity at the peak of my career to hop on board at High Fidelity, because I'm certain this is going to be the new hotness and become the standard VR platform to persist decades into the future. As Linux is to operating systems, and Apache is to web hosting, we expect High Fidelity to become the gold standard open source VR platform. Like OpenSim or OpenGrid, we're not interested in being a service that owns and operates the hardware, we want to give it to you for free, and for you to run the virtual realities of your dreams, without our telling you what you may or may not do!
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