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Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Farm in Voxel Farm

In the past months we have been working on a very cool system. I will describe it briefly for now, but I would really like to hear your opinions on this. We call it "The Farm".

The idea is simple: we are building a cloud service where everyone can contribute to any voxel world or scene they like. Whatever you contribute is remembered, but it is also kept on your own layer. Whatever you do, you cannot overwrite other people's content. And it is really up to others to decide whether they see your work.

When they do decide to see your work, your contributions to the scenery will be merged in real time. This is one of the key advantages of using voxels. So it will look as if everything was created as a hole, in reality what you see is the sum of different content streams which remain isolated from each other at all times.

This is pretty much like Twitter (or Facebook). You can tweet anything you want, if you have no followers, nobody will really see it. Like Twitter, this is real time. If someone is following you and you change a part of a world they happen to be looking at, they will see the changes in right away.

What I find powerful about this idea is creative groups can be assembled ad-hoc. If you and a few friends want to create together, there is no need to setup servers or anything like that. People in the group just need to follow each other.

If someone in the group goes rogue, it only takes people to un-follow that person to make all of his/her changes disappear.

We want your grandma using this so we have made it very simple for people to participate. You just need to say you want to use the Farm service for a particular project (a world) and you are set:

This system is also similar to source control systems like GitHub. At some point someone may decide to merge all contributions from a team of builders into a single "stream". Anyone following that stream will get the changes then. A project manager (or a Guild leader) can decide which team member streams to merge, which ones to reject.

We are using a revolutionary server-side architecture to achieve this based on Dynamo/Reactor patterns. We can guarantee very low latency by design, also to remember all your data, but this will likely require a small monthly fee from everyone involved. Commitment to this level of service has really high requirements.

That's it: Everyone participates, everyone decides what to see and it is very simple to get in.

Oh, and very important: You data is always yours.