Why Linden Lab Is Building Its Own Engine for Sansar, Instead of Using Unity or Unreal

Inara Pey has done her usual excellent job of expertly summarizing last week’s Sansar Product Meetup, where the topic of discussion was why Linden Lab decided to build their own game engine for Sansar, instead of using an off-the-shelf engine such as Unity or Unreal.

So, rather than reinvent the wheel, I am just going to point to her blogpost, and tell you to go over there and read it all. Among the Linden Lab staff present at the meeting were:

  • Richard Linden, Sansar’s Chief Architect
  • Jeff Petersen (aka Bagman Linden), Linden Lab’s Chief Technology Officer 
  • Landon McDowell, Linden Lab’s Chief Product Officer

So you can get the scoop straight from the people directly involved.

While I think the reasoning for this decision is very sound, the unfortunate fact remains that since Linden Lab is a smaller company with limited resources, feature development will tend to lag behind off-the-shelf engines like Unity and Unreal, which have bigger development teams and lots of users. However, as mentioned in Inara’s notes, backwards compatibility of user-generated content (UGC) is a key issue that needs to be addressed in any successful virtual world. I still think that Sansar is on the right track.

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The 30th Anniversary of the World Wide Web

Today’s Google doodle reminds us that today is the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web (WWW), better known today as simply “the Web” or even just “the internet” (although the internet itself existed long before then). The WWW made the internet accessible to many more people, leading to an explosion of websites (over 1.8 billion of them at last count).

In an editorial on the Google Arts & Culture website reflecting on the anniversary:

The world wide web was invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 – originally he was trying to find a new way for scientists to easily share the data from their experiments. Hypertext (text displayed on a computer display that links to other text the reader can immediately access) and the internet already existed, but no one had thought of a way to use the internet to link one document directly to another. 

Berners-Lee created the world wide web while he was working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. His vision soon went beyond a network for scientists to share information, in that he wanted it to be a universal and free ‘information space’ to share knowledge, to communicate, and to collaborate. You can find out more about how his work on the world wide web at CERN began, here.

Tim Berners-Lee’s invention, started on a single NeXT computer, revolutionized the way the world communicates and shares information. In fact, it’s hard to remember how we used to do things “before the Web”! Tim could have patented his invention and perhaps made a fortune from it, but instead he made it freely available for the world to use.

The first World Wide Web server, 1990

So today, remember to lift a glass to toast Sir Tim Berners-Lee. The world today would have been a very different place without his invention! Among other things, you wouldn’t be reading this blog 😉