The Virtual World (VW) Sandbox allows users to collaborate on developing, designing, and playing simulations. While this is a great benefit, one of the biggest challenges in writing the VW Sandbox platform is maintaining synchronization of the world between multiple clients (i.e., synchronizing the system from one computer to another).
The backbone of the VW Sandbox is the Virtual World Framework (VWF), which previously required that all simulation logic be deterministic—sometimes referred to as "deterministic lockstep simulation"—to maintain synchronization.
This is extremely difficult because:
We are moving the VW Sandbox simulation model away from deterministic lockstep simulation and modifying the programming interface and APIs in a number of notable ways.
As a result:
While this change requires additional bandwidth and increases the complexity of several under-the-hood systems, we feel that the benefit of providing a smooth, responsive real-time experience far outweighs the cost.
If you are interested in a deeper dive on this subject, please read Rob Chadwick's extended remarks here. This feature set is now available in the development version of the VW Sandbox for your testing. As always, please contact Rob Chadwick with thoughts and comments.