Saturday, October 11, 2008

Virtual Forbidden City

IBM's Almaden Island was one of the first places in Second Life I visited. Wandering around, I noticed a billboard apparently advertising a Second Life rebuild of the Forbidden City, China's imperial palaces in Beijing. Amazed, I tried to visit the place, but unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to. Even now, quite some time later, this sign is still up there, even though I've never heard of someone actually visiting it!

But it seems IBM is involved in more than one virtual rendering of the Forbidden City. In cooperation with The Palace Museum, the current inhabitants of the Forbidden City, they have published the Virtual Forbidden City. It is an IBM Corporate Citizenship project, intended to "provide the means for a worldwide audience to celebrate and explore Chinese culture and history."

It's a 200 MB download, and it runs in a window. You can just visit as a guest or register and become part of the community. I'm not sure what the added value of a community is for such an environment, but I registered anyway, to see what it can bring. As for visiting the city, I'm still at the gate as you can see below. Tonight I hope to explore more of the interior of the Virtual Forbidden City!

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