I've written about Vivaty before, the new add-on to your existing social network, modelling your entire network in three dimensions. Before, they gave you your own blank scene and avatar, allowing you to mix and match your own virtual 3D "profile page" which interacts just as we would do in real life. Now the embargo lifted one minute ago, time to spill something for the student developers of this world.
Previously running a series of Yahoo! products including Groups and Photos, I spoke to the Vice President of Products at Vivaty, Mark Hull, about these two new applications. Today sees the launch of Vivaty Create and Vivaty Studio, previously known as Flux Studio. The first thing I asked him was what the difference is between the two.
"With Vivaty Studio, users can create content for Scenes, as well as any 3D model, but also optimises what content they make in other programs; using other professional tools. Studio uses COLLADA [an open XML format] so it can interact with 3D Studio Max, Maya, Blender and Photoshop [CS3 and above]. After that, it exports to X3D format to make it browser compatible."
Vivaty Studio, previously Flux Studio, wasn't originally designed for Vivaty. It's a 3D development tool which can render imagery and more, and with the launch of Vivaty a month ago, it happens to tie in nicely with Scenes as seen on Facebook and AIM. The great thing is, if you've already made a 3D model, perhaps a design drawing for a university project or something to send to the architects, provided the file formats are the same, which in itself is highly likely, you can import it and make your virtual model a virtual reality... (pun).
I tried using it, and a "familiar face of software" appeared out of nowhere. It's a design tool, similar in appearance to AutoCAD, so I knew for me to use this would be difficult. I asked Mark about the complicated nature of the software.
"Today, we're focusing on the 3D designers, but we're keen to make it more open and easier to use for others. The first step is the Studio beta, but the main priority is for the overall user community. We don't have a time frame on this yet, but by allowing the users to create basic content soon, we'll be able to see what the users want and need. It's in the hands of the user community and the content they provide, and what they want."
"Not everybody is has 3D development skills, but the 3D developer community has many backgrounds and skills. Not everybody needs animation or design skills, many in fact have a wide variety of ranging skills. Some have been self taught, and some have been multimedia students at university. Studio helps create content, not only for Vivaty. In the near future, you won't need a technical background; it's useful, but soon anyone with a basic knowledge should be able to use it."
Vivaty Create is running this entire promotion; not only coinciding the release of Studio, but asking the community to use Studio to participate to the 3D web with incentives. Vivaty is encouraging those who use the community to send in new content, and even if you don't have the technical skill to create a Scene, ideas and other content can still be provided. Everyone can give their opinions, every one is shared and seen, but also this is to shape the future of Vivaty.
Naturally being a student, I of course asked about student involvement in this; how the academic arena feels about Studio, formerly known as Flux Studio:
"Students and Studio work really well. 'Flux Studio' has been out over a year, but now it's been rebranded as "Vivaty Studio" and added a few more features. Lots of people in universities around the world are using it as a de-facto program. It's a great tool, and of course it's free and in many users hands. We have universities all over the world; some US colleges signed up within the last 24 hours actually."
From today, Wednesday, Create is launched, the pilot phase of developing content for Vivaty Scenes. Third party creators are vital to creating the whole thing, and developers by nature are there to create content for other users. Having something visually rich and expressive is the first stage - Vivaty are taking submissions and provided your content to Scenes to make it available for all.