Saturday, February 17, 2007
Croquet by Analogy
Croquet is initially being made available as an open source software developer's toolkit (the Croquet SDK) rather than as an application. However, this seems to be a bit of a difficult concept for a good many metaverse enthusiasts who have downloaded the Croquet SDK with the expectation of immediately using it as one would an application. This would be like someone downloading a C++ toolkit and then expecting to be able to easily create and navigate 3D spaces through an already existing and well developed GUI - without doing any additional coding beyond what were provided as examples with the C++ toolkit!
Part of the challenge here is that the Croquet SDK contains code examples (in the form of Squeak "objects") that when launched, actually produce somewhat navigable and moderately functional 3D spaces. In doing so, these components of the SDK give the misleading appearance that one is using a true application per se. These code example "objects" provided within the SDK are more akin to demonstration "applets". So, to consider the Croquet SDK an application would be to miss the point of what we are seeking to build at this point in the project.
In this sense, today's Croquet SDK is not equivalent to applications such as ViOS or Second Life. Instead, an appropriate analogy (or low-res comparison) is that the present Croquet SDK is to a future Croquet-based metaverse application as a C++ SDK is to ViOS or Second Life.