I was an early player in Second Life…haven’t been there much in the past year. But the customizable avatars there really impressed me. The range of different humanoids you can create with it, and then accessorize by attaching prims to…cool stuff. I would definitely love to see avatars that are manipulated in that way.
When I saw the avatars in SL, my first thought was to take that concept and generalize it to include other body forms such as quadrapeds, insects, fantasy forms such as winged quadrapeds, etc.
Have you seen the makehuman project? It’s a python plugin for Blender, that lets you make humanoid models by manipulating variables. It is impressive, but the website is extraordinarily unhelpful in the way of documentation. (makehuman.org)
My project is not a world as open-ended as a metaverse. When I play an MMO like Everquest I chafe at how static the world is, and how I can’t truly ‘live there’ as a player. And when I mess around in Second Life, there isn’t really any ‘game’ there, although there are games there, within the world - it’s not the same.
My project is a smaller-scale game, meant to be played by hundreds rather than thousands, with an overriding theme and gameplay rules. It will depend on many of the same things a metaverse would, but will not put everything in the hands of the players.
So my needs have a lot in common with a more open metaverse, but I certainly do not need everything. Physics, for example, are not important to me beyond simple ballistic tragectories and bouncing for special effects - none of the physics will be relevant to the game simulation. This fact alone, I think, means my client-server model can be much more simple than a metaverse would need.
I definitely need online, in-game building of the game world, using prims (whether simple, or larger pre-built sections). I need customizable avatars. And I need to do my coding in a rapid development language such as Python.
My project is really just an idea at this point. I’ve settled on Panda3d to start messing around with testing some things, and it is nice for throwing together ideas quickly. I didn’t come to Panda thinking of it as my endgame solution, but I really think now that it is right up my alley =)