I am also working on some virtual world software.
I’d be interested in collaborating with others.
Martin - if we are all working on virtual worlds already, that might be a good reason to collaborate!
We would want to identify the different components that need to be developed, then we can develop each component either individually or together and release the code on this forum under a Free Software license.
That way each of us can take our own code, others code, and others improvements to our own code, and use it for our own projects as we want. At the same time, everyones code can be combined into one big virtual world project if there are people that want to do that.
My current project involves creating a medium-sized fairy tale world to be used as a setting for interactive stories for children. I’m hopefully going to be doing this for my PhD. Before I can start on interactive storytelling code, I require a number of basic components to be programmed for Panda3D:
Efficient, patch-based LOD terrain (which I have already begun working on and made some good progress).
An avatar class for computer-controlled characters which implements a variety of steering functions and a pathfinding ability, handles playing animations and allows high-level control via Finite State Machine.
An avatar class for a human-controlled character, implementing keyboard controls to move the character around, mouse controls to look about, a 3rd person camera that follows the avatar, and handling animations (this class is pretty simple with Panda3D).
A 2D interface to allow the player to have conversations with computer characters and to interact with objects in the world.
I’m going to release each component of my code as I develop it anyway, because it’s just the right thing to do.
My only major reservation about starting some sort of collaborative project with Panda3D is the status of Panda3D’s license, which though permissive, does not currently qualify as a Free Software license according to the GNU definition and (perhaps worse) is not compatible with the GPL.
I don’t know if Panda3D would qualify as Free Software according to the Debian Free Software Guidelines, that would be something worth looking into.
I want any work I do for my project to be a contribution to society, in particular to computer game technology for schools and for academic environments, and for these purposes it will be really desirable to get Panda3D into a major Free Software project such as Debian or Ubuntu. That isn’t going to happen if the Panda3D license is not compatible or not considered up to scratch, a fact that in my opinion will limit the value of any contribution based on Panda3D, both to society and to research.