Online Games and Virtual Environments (VE)

It is believed that online games and VEs will become the pervasive “3D web” or “3D Internet” that will enable real-time interactions and to access information, in a way that we cannot do with the current 2D web. By making 3D immersive environments well integrated with everyday computing activities, it becomes possible to develop engaging new applications for Science, Education and Health that can reach the widest audiences possible.
The large-scale virtual environments of tomorrow have to be sufficiently flexible (to support varied environments), powerful (to not limit functionality to the least common denominator), and extensible (to support decades of continued evolution, much as the Internet and Web have). MMVEs will have a tremendous impact on the way the Internet will evolve in the future due to their interactive and real-time nature. Online computer gaming/simulation is forecasted to become one of the most demanding applications on the Internet. Researchers in the networking arena need to be prepared to meet that challenge, and our success will depend very much on how well we understand the requirements of this new class of applications.
With the anticipated growth in this application area, we will be seeing more and more stress being placed on the underlying transport infrastructure to provide the kind of quality of experience (QoE) that these applications and their users expect. The quality of an end user’s experience is the true litmus test of a proper online game deployment. Only by understanding both the application needs and the underlying network facilities can one design networking mechanisms and develop pre and post processing schemes to ensure the required QoE. The next section gives an overview of some recent work that I have conducted and plan to continue pursuing in QoE.