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Beyond 2: The Open Source Virtual World Framework

Beyond 2 is high level framework for assembling, animating, and interacting with 3D virtual environments. Beyond's principle design goal is to be simple to learn and use, yet rich enough to host any sort of 3D graphics application. By releasing Beyond 2 under an open source license, we hope to guarantee the widespread use of Beyond as a platform for virtual worlds.

Beyond 2 establishes a foundation for four types of virtual world simulation: Physical, Logical, Cognitive, and Narrative. Beyond specifies an API for the Physical simulation model and provide bases classes and abstractions for the Logical, Cognitive, and Narrative simulations.

Beyond 2 builds upon the Twisted server and extends it to enable arbitrary 3D clients to connect to a common simulation framework. Twisted provides object persistence, remote method invocation, database integration, and more.

The original reference client for the Beyond system was a 3D engine known as the Nebula Device. Developed by Radon Labs, the Nebula Device is a free portable rendering engine that supports Direct3D and OpenGL and runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Beyond is currently integrated into the 3D engines and is able to direct object loading, animation, and rendering while communicating with remote simulation servers. Current work is on integrating Beyond into Unity3D.

The Beyond 2 paper will be appearing in an upcoming book on Massively Multiplayer Games and will also be posted here. Watch this space for more details! In the mean time, check out the paper on Beyond 1 for a glimpse at what's coming.

If you are interested in finding out more about Beyond 2, drop us a line.