The community around Second life is building up and there are more and more skilled people joining in, as a result some pretty interesting projects are starting to emerge in the secondlife forums, here’s a heads up of a few that i think are especially interesting…
Second Life Protocol
First up there is the SL Protocol Reverse Engineering effort being run by Reuben Stein, this has fired up an interesting discussion thread on the SL forum, the initial posting sparked some serious debate with Reuben being accused of all sorts of things including illegal reverse engineering and opening up SL to a host of security problems. Luckily Phoenix Linden stepped in on behalf of the SL development team to clarify that Linden Labs were in support of the Reverse engineering effort providing it was good natured and not to the detriment of the community.
After this post a few more people emerged and admitted they had been looking at the protocol for some time, a few had actually written bots that work in SL (something that was not widely known before). In addition it was revealed that the entire protocol was described in a file present in everyones install directory and protected only by a simple bit of XOR encoding.
One of the most interesting things to come out of the project (or be uncovered by the project publicity) is the libsecondlife library project coded by Eddy Stryker which provides a C API for writing Secondlife clients, I’ll be having a play with this soon if i get time.
Offline Builder and .obj importer
The Offline builder is a Second life plugin written for the popular Blender an open source 3D editing tool. It gives you a panel in Blender that gives access to the primitives types and options that you have in SL itself.
This tool written by Jeffrey Gomez has tremendous potential, it’s in beta stage at the moment and the functionality to import the objects you create into SL isn’t built in yet, however the ability to build offline and import in will certainly lead to more ambitious projects and a greater audience of content creators.
For the time being Jeffrey has written a 3D model importer script which you can use to get objects inside SL.
Whats next …?
Another amazingly useful bit of tooling would be a virtual machine to test Second Life scipts out in, I haven’t seen anybody having done this yet but please let me know if you have. I guess that some people are waiting until Linden Labs adopts Mono as thein game scripting engine.
SL offline chat client
I know that some people have already started looking at this one, but with the sudden amount of information available on the SL protocol it’s only a matter of time before IM clients and plugins start to appear.