Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Forterra's Serious Games Large Scale Deployment

Seious Games and IT readiness

Virtual Emergency Operations Center Workers Assessing an Event

Via: Forterra Systems

Forterra Systems' Virtual World Software Supports Production Deployment Capabilities

OLIVE 2.3 Release Provides IT Readiness and Usability Enhancements Along With New Collaboration and Training Features

SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Forterra Systems, a market and technology leader in enterprise virtual worlds, announced today that it will ship the 2.3 release of its OLIVE ™ (On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment) software platform early next month.

The release includes IT readiness enhancements for web process integration, user authentication, and client packaging, as well as user adoption features to improve the initial download and orientation experience for first time users.

Many large commercial and government organizations had successful pilots with OLIVE in 2008, some of which were captured as case studies in the
Recipe for Success with Enterprise Virtual Worlds whitepaper.

In response to these organization’s positive feedback Forterra has developed the IT readiness features so these organizations can integrate OLIVE with their IT systems and web infrastructure in preparation for larger scale deployments.

IT can now integrate OLIVE based virtual meetings into web based intranets, extranets or portals, and be assured of the user’s identity based on authentication systems like LDAP. The 2.3 release enables integrating 3D meetings and events into existing web-based communities to foster enhanced brain-storming and design sessions, faster decision-making, and rapid relationship building.

The OLIVE 2.3 release improves the simplicity and speed for new users to join an OLIVE meeting. The small download install process embedded into web-based user registration processes mean new users can participate in a 3D virtual meeting within 5 minutes of an invitation. The new audio tuning wizard enables new users to quickly talk and listen with a headset using the spatially accurate 3D audio in OLIVE.

The addition of an API to integrate artificial intelligence middleware with a new Scenario Editor and a Media Dashboard feature will enable virtual Emergency Operation Centers to embed rehearsal environments around the various disasters team members must prepare for. Homeland security departments can now invite associated agencies to participate in drills or situation assessments virtually without having to be co-located.

"Everyone is excited about the transformational capabilities that virtual worlds will provide to business processes, but there have been historical challenges getting the platforms IT ready and widely used by all types of users,” noted Dave Rolston, Forterra CEO. "We are pleased to provide the features to now support the large-scale deployments our most advanced customers are planning for."

The key OLIVE capabilities being released this month include:
  • Flexible User Authentication that now enables OLIVE developers or IT staff to implement any authentication mechanism they desire. The new process enables independent client-side and server-side components for authentication, which allows for support of single sign-on (SSO) systems, as well as common account repository systems such as LDAP.

  • Web-based Content Management System (CMS) integration that supports web processes for registration of new users, client download, user authentication, and joining OLIVE meetings. A reference CMS package from Drupal is provided but these web processes can be implemented with any CMS through the PHP-based APIs provided.

  • A Custom Installer Process that enables customers to bind their custom developed and/or supplier provided 3D content into a small download installer that simplifies how users can participate in OLIVE based meetings.

  • User Interface Enhancements including an Audio Tuning Wizard that embed the important navigational and communication functions into a Control Bar for easy access. The audio tuning wizard allows users to quickly and easily verify that their headset and microphone is working and adjusted to the appropriate levels. A companion Side Bar widget enables facilitators to shrink the OLIVE interface while presenting applications in-world when using one monitor.

  • Telephony Integration that expands access to virtual meetings by providing a way for users with standard telephones to call in and participate (using voice only) with in-world participants. The telephony feature enables users without a PC to use any type of phone system, including mobile, PBX, and soft phones, to call into or be called from an in-world participant or speaker phone.

  • Media Dashboards that enable mixing a variety of media like streaming videos, MS PowerPoint slides, desktop or web-based applications onto many 3D screens within an overall dashboard framework. A specific media source can be selected for display on larger screens.

  • A Scenario Editor that collects all of the elements needed in OLIVE to practice a set of repeatable training procedures. The Scenario Editor assembles the 3D scenes, props, interactive objects, and camera positions for recordings needed to play out a scenario with the roles and outfits of supporting cast members.

  • An Artificial Intelligence (AI) API for non-player character development. Now 3rd party AI middleware vendors can be integrated to OLIVE to create and control computer generated avatars inserted into training scenarios.
About Forterra Systems

Forterra Systems is a leader in providing enterprise-grade virtual world technology for the corporate, healthcare, government, education, and entertainment industries.

Forterra's software enable organizations to collaborate, train, rehearse, and hold events using mixed media technologies integrated into a compelling 3D virtual world. Using the OLIVE™ (On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment) platform and industry standard PC hardware, customers can rapidly deploy realistic, collaborative, secure 3D Internet solutions that scale from small group applications to large scale simulated environments supporting many thousands of concurrent users for public and private use cases.