Over the last few years the idea of serious games has come on to the scene as computer game technology has outstripped anything that can be created in a university or other research environment, it has even spawned its own conference (that I am going to try to attend this year). It is obvious that many people can relate to the interaction offered by these games and that they can be used to represent real world and fantasy a like to impressive results (check out Virtual Notre Dame built on the original Unreal Engine if you can find it). However, game engines continue to move forward as computing technology progresses, luckily some game developers are nice enough to make their development tools available for non-commercial use. The most recent entrant is the Quake 4 SDK. I think all of us here at AVSP would agree that game engines are likely to be the next round of technology that will be connected to geospatial technologies…that might be because that is one of our areas of research for our day jobs…but we aren’t the only ones looking at this intersection. Well, either way keep an ear out for the discussion we recorded last weekend that is actually kind of an introduction to Virtual Worlds and Virtual Reality.
Microsoft has unveiled their Windows Live Developer Center, which offers APIs, resources and documentation for developers who want to write applications that connect to Microsoft services. Of course, Virtual Earth is part of the Windows Live platform, and some resources have already been posted for working with its APIs. I am finishing up a column where I give my own thoughts on the whole move to Service Oriented Architectures, and its impact on GIS and geospatial technologies.
But, if you are a developer, or interested in Microsoft’s move toward web-based applications and services, definitely keep an eye on the new Live Developer Center.