Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Interview with Richard Childers of VSE

Richard Childers, Virtual Space Entertainment founding Chief Executive, and now Executive Vice President, and Chief Creative Officer was cornered in Blue Mars earlier today, and agreed to an interview.

Inspired by Neal Stephenson's third novel, Snowcrash, and following a meeting with Henk Rogers, Richard and Henk decided that the future of Virtual Worlds was predicated on the new breed of high-definition engines, such as the CryEngine, which they had seen at the Game Developer's Conference in 2006, demonstrated by CryTek of Germany. The rest, as they say, is history, with Henk going on to form Avatar Reality and Richard forming Virtual Space Entertainment (VSE).

Originally VSE looked at forming an alliance with Sony, but eventually decided (lucky for us) to go with Avatar Reality and CryTek's CryEngine.

What was it about the CryEngine that really clinched it for you?
RC: It was the huge leap in High-Definition graphics that the CryEngine brought. Nothing had been seen remotely like it. We did load tests inside Blue Mars in the Avatar Reality labs, and getting 10,000 avatars into a single city was just awesome. It was impressive stuff.

Tell me about New Venice, VSE built that, right?
RC: Right, our own Blue Mars City is New Venice, an 8km x 8km virtual space which is already available to explore. We have also created the Tri-Tower, designed by Syd Mead; a Space Port, which is a space station connected to the surface of New Venice via a space elevator; and a huge underwater city where you can explore in a variety of submarines. All of this is already built, and will be released into New Venice when a regular Blue Mars population is established.

What other plans do you have for New Venice?
RC: We will add a Stadium just outside of New Venice where 100ft tall robotic dogs will race, and on October 19 we hope to launch, for National Geographic, a faithful reconstruction of the Tomb of the First Emperor of China, with its Terracotta Warriors.

So you do work for others too?
RC: Oh yes. We will be doing projects such as the Oceans Project in association with National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute, due for launch in March of 2010, and an exhibit on human origins exploring early hominids and bio-mechanics.

We will also be creating and launching a Science Center for TERC, a non-profit educational R&D organization based in Cambridge, MA, who themselves are working with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), the National Digital Science Library (NSDL) Resource Center, and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), to create a science learning community.

Other projects include work with Aramco and the Government of Saudi Arabia on virtual science labs.

So, about this wonderful condo in New Venice, I want it!
RC: Ha-ha. You will have to wait a couple of weeks, then we hope to be start renting out our condos. By then we hope Avatar Reality will have its Paypal-based economy in place and working.

When do you expect Avatar Reality to have Blue Mars ready for launch?
RC: Well I think by the 1st of 2010 is a realistic goal to shoot for.

Many thanks Richard
RC: you are welcome.