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InfoQ Homepage News Presentation: Second Life’s Architecture

Presentation: Second Life’s Architecture


In this presentation, Ian Wilkes, VP of Systems Engineering, describes the architecture used by the popular game named Second Life. Ian presents how the architecture was at its debut and how it evolved over years as users and features have been added.

Watch: Second Life’s Architecture (1 hour)

After a quick overview of what Second Life is today in terms of code lines and users, Ian details on the two main components: the client, which is running on the user’s PC, and the server. UI, the graphic rendering and 3D tools are running on the client, while the server simulates the world. A physical server (1 CPU) is responsible for about 16 acres of land and it is connected to neighboring ones which are each responsible for another 16 acres. The server is responsible for the objects existing in its area, the scripts running, the users logged in and standing in its area.

Ian continues by sketching the architecture, the challenges met and the solutions employed, resulting in the following diagram:


The presentation concludes with Ian answering questions from audience.

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