One of the things I’m increasingly interested in is the role of gaming technology in the office. As Sun, with its OpenWork program and increasingly global workforce, gets more and more distributed, we need integrated core services such as secure identity and presence, audio conferencing, multi-party chat, etc etc etc. Today’s massive, multi-player online games are as close as we have to examples of systems that integrate all of these things in a coherent way. Unfortunately they’re almost always closed systems, and lack some of the basic features that an enterprise would require (yes, I need to be able to have an internal meeting without worrying about pig grenades).
We’re working on two separate threads of this right now. The first is Project Darkstar, our Java-based infrastructure for multi-player on-line games. We’ve been getting tons of attention since our announcements and demos at GDC, and there’s more to come at JavaOne. The second is a SunLabs project called MPK20. The name is a play on the building naming scheme in Menlo Park, where our campus currently goes up to MPK18. MPK20 is the next building, but it will only exist in virtual space, so that we can finally get some reasonably sized auditoriums, window offices for everyone, etc. Lots of cool work going on with this - check out the demos at JavaOne for MPK20 as well.
We’re not sure where this is going yet, but the more time we spend on it, the more we’re convinced that there’s something there. If you’re interested in this space from a research or product perspective, give us a shout - there’s tons to work on. Also, we’ve got some developer positions open - check out this, this and this. Game on!