Virtual Forbidden City – Live. History in the making

The virtual forbidden city project, beyond space and time has now gone live.
This has been a fascinating journey to follow, that is as much part of the history of my involvement in virtual worlds as anything.
forbidden city
Way back in 2006 John Tolva and I bumped into one another again, having both worked together on Wimbledon and also having helped with another of the projects that came to Hursley for some extra development skills from Rob and Daz and many others.
John had hit the nebulus Second Life on the same day as I had, for no reason that we could fathom. We then noticed one anothers blog posts.
So the famous virtual world serendipty that I have learned to trust kicked in veyr early.
John was exploring options for the project that rolled on from his previous one of Eternal Egypt. John specializes in running large innovative projects that use the web for more philanthropic reasons as part of what is called corporate community relations.
So there we were in SL, I had my personal shiny new island Hursley and he and his team were looking at how they might represent the forbidden city in the growing world of the virtual, non game metaverse.
So I loaned the team the island, and a massively detailed chinese build started to form in the sky over the next few weeks whilst they procured their own official island.
That island then became the venue, after the 2006 innovation jam, for our CEO Sam Palmisano to announce virtual worlds as one of the top five findings from this virtual chinese palace, and getting this all on the cover of business week.
So Second Life proved a testing ground, but the development then moved platforms to a more controlled environment. The team chose Torque. (Yes the very same platform we used for the initial CIO metaverse work so you can see how this flow is going!). As this was a service that was focused on one subject in many ways, like a game, it does not need the full dynamic nature of SL. Also the scaling of this needs to work in a different way, running on and with underlying IBM infrastructure this becomes part reference account for being able to build and run things. Being torque the client download is large(ish) as it contains most of the reosurces you need as there is no need to stream the forbidden city all the time as its not constantly changing in structure, though new content can be delivered.
John’s post on the launch is the best reference I think (hence only a single picture here from me). You will also find it on
One other feature that I always have to mention is the ability to not just follow NPC tours, but to be a tour leader yourself. This means teachers and educators can guide a tour around adding their own structure to the experience for a willing group of participants.
Enjoy Beyond Space and Time

2 thoughts on “Virtual Forbidden City – Live. History in the making

  1. Having spent some time in Beijing recently, I wandered around the virtual forbidden city.. opposite the nine dragon screen is a doorway, however on the virtual version… there is no door?
    Of course its easy to be mistake… but the photographs tell a different story.

    so how accurate is virtual forbidden city…just virtually>?

    Thanks a traveller from the west!

  2. Pingback: eightbar » Blog Archive » Virtual Forbidden City

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