Networked Virtual Environments: Design and Implementation (Siggraph Series)

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9780201325577: Networked Virtual Environments: Design and Implementation (Siggraph Series)

Networked virtual environments (net-VEs) offer a three-dimensional, virtual "space" in which users around the world can interact in real-time. Net-VE applications--already in use by the military and aerospace and entertainment industries--are used to enhance engineering design, scientific research, and electronic commerce. This emerging, rapidly proliferating field is propelled by globalization and increasingly sophisticated networking capabilities. Written by two of the field's leading pioneers, this book represents seminal work on networked virtual environments. Offering a comprehensive examination of net-VEs, the text covers the underlying technologies and provides a step-by-step roadmap for designing and building interactive 3D virtual environments. In particular, the authors focus on strategies for overcoming limitations that can impede real-time interactive system development and describe numerous practical techniques for creating successful, real-world net-VE applications.You will find in-depth coverage of important topics, such as: *Basic challenges in net-VE design *Relevant networking principles and Internet communication protocols *How to organize the communications infrastructure *How to manage dynamic shared states *System design for real-time, multiuser interaction *How to ensure real-time response and scalability by managing limited bandwidth and computational resources *Emerging techniques and standards for deploying net-VEs over the Internet Moving beyond the state of the art, Networked Virtual Environments points to future developments that will make net-VEs a pervasive form of professional and personal telecommunications. Authoritative, technically detailed, and comprehensive, this book will help you understand and participate in this exciting field. 0201325578B04062001

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Review:

Enjoying a multiuser virtual environment is easy--after all, its realistic interface is designed to be. Building a networked virtual environment (net-VE), on the other hand, is quite a formidable task. Networked Virtual Environments: Design and Implementation is a technical introduction to this exciting software development field and lays out many of the challenges net-VE developers must face and the weapons they have in their arsenal.

This book doesn't take you through the process of building a net-VE. Instead, it focuses on the architecture and standards that come into play. The writing is a bit on the dry side, methodically presenting the technical issues; however, the text works well for systematically building knowledge of this complex topic.

Authors Sandeep Singhal and Michael Zyda introduce the concept of net-VEs in general, explaining what a net-VE is and all of the technical hurdles programmers must clear. They also delve into the relevant communication standards and topologies. The book looks at recent developments and offers some basic communication techniques in Java, C++, and C via TCP/IP, User Datagram Protocol/Internet Protocol (UDP/IP), and multicasting.

There is a lot of material here, and you'll likely need more to fully implement a net-VE. However, this book gives game developers, graphics programmers, and forward-looking Web site designers an excellent technical background. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered: Prerequisites for a net-VE, relevant network architectures, common network protocols, resource management and optimization, VRML, and Internet gaming.

From the Inside Flap:

Networked virtual environments (net-VEs) allow multiple users to interact in real-time even though those users may be located around the world. These environments usually aim to provide a sense of realism and an immersive experience by incorporating realistic 3D graphics and stereo sound. Increasingly used for military and industrial team training, collaborative design and engineering, and multiplayer games, Net-VEs' envisioned future commercial applications include virtual shopping malls and showrooms, on-line tradeshows and conferences, remote customer support, and distance learning. In many respects, net-VEs form the foundation for a new generation of standard applications.

In recent years, we have seen a growing interest in the design and implementation of net-VEs. Several companies are deploying interactive environments for entertainment. Other commercial applications are being prototyped, and military training systems are growing in size, scope, and complexity. The research frontier into net-VEs is moving quickly, as new research efforts have been initiated at several universities and commercial laboratories. Finally, open standards for the delivery of net-VEs over the Internet are beginning to emerge.

The net-VE developer must possess expertise in a variety of areas, including network protocol design and implementation, parallel and distributed systems, graphics and rendering, asynchronous and multithreaded systems design and engineering, database development, and user interface design. Furthermore, net-VEs pose several problems of their own: managing consistent distributed information; guaranteeing real-time interactivity; and contending with limited network bandwidth, processing, and rendering resources. Increasing numbers of computer scientists are beginning to develop infrastructures for net-VEs, develop net-VE applications on these infrastructures, and use net-VEs in day-to-day work. Rather than starting anew, these developers and users can be more effective in their work by learning the tried-and-true techniques used by existing systems, as well as the emerging techniques being pioneered in the research lab.

This book aims to teach the design and implementation of net-VEs. It employs an "outside-in" approach that assumes that the reader has minimal experience with developing distributed applications. The book is organized into three parts. The first chapters of the book introduce net-VEs. They explore the basic challenges facing the net-VE developer and provide a historical perspective based on military, industrial, and research systems. Then, they offer a review of networking principles, with particular attention to Internet communication protocols.

The second part of the book discusses each of the components of a net-VE in detail. These chapters describe how to organize the communication infrastructure, manage distributed states, and design the system to support multiuser interactions, produce high-quality graphics, and ensure real-time response.

The third part of the book describes some of the more recent developments in the area of net-VEs. The final chapters concentrate on techniques for supporting large numbers of simultaneous users by managing limited bandwidth and computational resources. They also describe the emerging standards that enable net-VEs to be deployed on the Internet and analyze the additional considerations that Internet deployment requires. The book concludes with a discussion of the significant trends and needs in the net-VE technology area.

This book is aimed at several audiences.

Commercial net-VE infrastructure and application developers: The book enables practitioners to develop new net-VE systems by building on the knowledge gained from previous efforts. It can be used both as a front-to-back tutorial and as a topical reference. University students: This book can serve as the primary text for a one-semester or one-quarter course in networking virtual environments at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level. The book also makes an excellent supplemental text for traditional graphics, networking, or distributed systems courses. In these latter courses, this book exposes students to a real-world application for the core course material and offers insight into an area that bridges several different areas of computer science. Researchers: This book provides insight into the state-of-the-art of net-VEs. The discussion can also serve as a starting point for defining and exploring new techniques. The references with each chapter cover much of the significant literature in the field.

0201325578P04062001

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