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Building a Collaborative Virtual Environment: A Programming Language Codesign Approach

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3 Author(s)
Al-Gharaibeh, J. ; Comput. Sci. Dept., Univ. of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA ; Jeffery, C. ; Bani-Salameh, H.

Developing 3D virtual environments requires an advanced level of programming expertise. In many cases, working on such an application involves a wide range of programming activities such as 3D graphics, networking, user interfaces and audio programming. At the same time, such applications are usually real time and performance critical. The complexity of developing such an application comes from two sources: first, the programming language used in development with its strengths and also the limitations it imposes. The second is the requirements of the virtual environment itself, with its dynamics and size. Some languages are more suitable than others for any given application domain, but in general once a programming language is selected, the main focus is the application itself and not the language used. This paper presents an approach where a virtual environment (CVE) and its implementation language (Unicon) evolved together over the course of the project development, derived from emerging functional and performance requirements. The Unicon language was improved and new features were added over time to meet new demands and address the complexities that arose at the application level. This approach was combined with developing a framework to build virtual worlds with a social integrated development environment and to populate those worlds with non-player characters.

Published in:

Cyberworlds (CW), 2011 International Conference on

Date of Conference:

4-6 Oct. 2011