Seminars & Colloquia

David Smith


"The Road To Croquet and Qwaq Forums"

Wednesday March 19, 2008 01:30 PM
Location: 3211, EB2 NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)

This talk is part of the Future of Games Series


Abstract: Croquet is a powerful open source software development environment for creating and deploying deeply collaborative multi-user online applications on multiple operating systems and devices. It features a peer-based network architecture that supports communication, collaboration, resource sharing, and synchronous computation between multiple users on multiple devices. Using Croquet, software developers can create and link powerful and highly collaborative cross-platform 2D and 3D applications and simulations - making possible the distributed deployment of very large scale, richly featured and interlinked virtual environments.

In this talk, we will cover the roots of the Croquet system. In particular, we will focus on three key areas - the evolution of graphics from 'The Colony' in 1987, the first 3D adventure game directly to the interactive graphics in Croquet; the development of object oriented programming and message based systems at Xerox Parc in the 70's to our current programming model; and the development of the core engine underlying Croquet - a realtime deterministic replication model originally conceived in 1978.

The conclusion will be a multi-user demonstration of Qwaq Forums, a realtime 3D collaboration enterprise application built with Croquet. Qwaq Forums is a secure 3D environment that includes spatialized voice chat, interactive drag and drop document editing and manipulation, live video, and other richly collaborative tools.

Short Bio: David Smith is Chief Technology Officer at Qwak. He has been focused on interactive 3-D and using 3-D as a basis for new user environments and entertainment for almost twenty years. He created 'The Colony', the very first 3-D interactive game and precursor to today's 'first person shooters' like Quake...except Colony ran on a Macintosh in 1987. 'The Colony' won the 'Best Adventure Game of the Year' award from MacWorld Magazine.

In 1989, David used the technologies developed for the game to create a virtual set and virtual camera system that was used by Jim Cameron for the movie 'The Abyss'. Based upon this experience, David founded Virtus Corporation in 1990 and developed Virtus Walkthrough, the first real-time 3-D design application for personal computers. Walkthrough won the very first 'Breakthrough Product of the Year' from MacUser Magazine.

The Croquet project is the culmination of David's work on 3-D component based architectures for the development and deployment of complex peer to peer environments including interactive entertainment. His first experiments in multi-user systems and interactive environments laid the groundwork for much of the architecture and user interface of Croquet.

David co-founded Red Storm Entertainment with Tom Clancy, and Timeline Computer Entertainment with Michael Crichton. He also co-founded Neomar, a wireless enterprise infrastructure company and 3DSolve, Inc. a simulation/training company.

Special Instructions: For more details, see the Future of Games Speaker Series web at

Host: R. Michael Young, CSC/DGRC

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