May 29th, 2006 | Published in web
Second Life has been my new hacking obsession ever since I bought a laptop fast enough to run it. I don’t spend a lot of time socialising in the gameworld, but I am fascinated by the possibilities for makers of new user interfaces, useful virtual objects and playful toys. With every object being scriptable, aware and active, it’s a proving ground for Everyware.
Version 1.10 was released last week, and hidden among the exciting new visual modeling possibilities of shiny rendering and flexible objects was Second Life’s own XMLHTTPRequest: llHTTPRequest. Using asynchronous callbacks, it gives the platform an important new capability: communication with the web on demand. A lot of what we are learning about AJAX makes sense here, in this world of Asynchronous Lindenscriptinglanguage And Some-sort-of-data (ALAS!)
I’ve spent a few hours hacking on some toy objects with this new capability, starting with the mashup de rigeur: Flickr integration. My home in SL now sports a simple picture frame. Touch it and it looks up your avatar name to see what your favourite Flickr tag is, picks a random picture with that tag from Flickr and displays it on its surface. If it hasn’t met you before, it asks you to tell it what tag to use.
Because Second Life is so wonderfully visual, here’s a little demo movie that I recorded with Tom Coates: