A recording of Kent Bye and David A. Smith’s architectural & philosophical deep dive into real-time collaboration.
I finally got around to listening to this episode today. Croquet sounds fascinating in concept, but the demos on their site were unimpressive. Maybe they just need to do a better job explaining why what they were doing is better than what we have now in multi-user environments.
Maybe I’m limited by my perspective as a solo developer (I didn’t pick the name “vrhermit” at random) but I’m struggling to think of situations where I would use this–or any real time collaboration system.
I can’t get a sense of if this is a development platform, of just a means of communication that you can use in something you develop with other tools. The podcast made it sound like you would still need to host your own website or app on your servers, including any media and 3D content. Their API or OS or whatever you want to call it, just transmits the state of the world in real time (of near enough) not the actual data. If you and I are in a 3D scene together, looking at a globe, you could see me move the globe, point to it etc. But the Croquet network is not sharing the globe asset, just the scene state about the asset. If I, on my end, upload another 3D model and attach it to the globe, it seems like I would still have to produce a way to transmit that model to you outside of this network. You may start receiving data about its state right away, but until you have the model that data is worthless.
Yes, as far as I can’t tell they’re offering a network of message passing services and a browser-side virtual machine that uses the network to stay in sync with other VMs. So, to make an app you’d need your own site. That said, it could be (I think) a static site which is a biggish deal for folks who want multi-user dynamic environments. I wrote a replication service and JS lib for Transmutable Studio (RIP) and it was non-trivial.
Yeah, with all my comments above already said, I still signed up for the beta. Maybe later this summer I’ll have access and time to play with it. For me, it fits both categories of “wow, that sounds really neat!” and “I have no idea what I’d do with that”
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