Virtual World Platforms

Shanghai’s 2010 Expo : Bringing Virtual Environments to the World

Shanghai Expo Virtual World

The World Expo in Shanghai next year will include a 3D virtual world that will act as both a gateway and a companion experience to the physical event. The world is being built in partnership with Dassault Systems and 3DVIA (which also partnered to create Microsoft’s Virtual Earth-3DVIA) and is based on Virtools. According to the Dassault press release:

“World Expo Shanghai Online is a revolutionary creation. It is not a simple copy of the physical Expo, but an introductory channel, extension and supplement to the Expo. Through the 3D lifelike experience technology, we are able to comprehensively present World Expo,” said Wang Liping, Chief Operation Officer of Expo Website Management Office and Deputy Director of Expo Communication & Promotion Dept. “As the host of 2010 World Expo, our responsibility is to carry its innovative spirit and extend it to every corner of the world. Thanks to the diversity, interactivity and broad coverage brought by the Internet in the era of Web 2.0, in conjunction with Dassault Systèmes’ 3D lifelike experience technology, Expo Online will bring more people to participate in and benefit from this special event of human civilization. The valuable cultural legacy from Shanghai World Expo will also be preserved forever in the virtual world.”

A video outlines the initiative, noting that the virtual Expo will include both informational browsing, and the ability to enter ‘experience pavilions’ where your avatar can walk around and explore (jump to 1:46 for the demo).

An early sample of three virtual environments can be viewed on-line at a numbered URL (click photo):

Shanghai Virtual Expo

This initial demo lacks avatars as shown in the video, which also hints at mixed reality events.

Individual countries at the Expo develop their own virtual pavilions. The organizers released detailed information on the development of the 3D space and requirements for applying to participate.

Virtual Expo Instructions

Mobinode also reported that Ogilvy Shanghai, Tencent and multi-media service provider Crystal CG Ltd are also involved in the project.

(Hat tip to Peter Finn for background info).


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