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Linden Lab Shines New Light on Second Life With Acquisition Of Technology From Windward Mark Interactive

2007-05-21 00:00:00 UTC

Linden Lab Shines New Light on Second Life With Acquisition Of Technology From Windward Mark Interactive

Windward Mark Interactive Developers Will Join Linden Lab's Growing Boston Presence, WindLight® and Nimble™ Technologies To Be Open Sourced

SAN FRANCISCO & BOSTON — May 21, 2007 — Linden Lab®, creator of 3D virtual world Second Life®, today announced the acquisition of graphics technology from Windward Mark Interactive. Linden Lab will acquire WindLight®, an advanced atmospheric rendering technology; Nimble™, a realistic 3D cloud simulator; and associated intellectual property and interests. Following this acquisition, Linden Lab will open source Windward Mark's leading graphics technology and integrate it into the Second Life Viewer software, bringing striking visual realism to Second Life.

The five founders of Windward Mark Interactive will also join Linden Lab's new office in the heart of Boston's tech and academic research communities.

Founded in 2003, Windward Mark Interactive develops video games and advanced graphics technology that brings realistic visuals to real-time simulators. The company's WindLight® technology uses patent-pending algorithms that imitate the ways in which light is affected by real-world atmospheric factors like dust and moisture, enabling the nuances of sunlight, clouds, water and weather to be accurately simulated in real-time. Windward Mark Interactive's other real-time visualization product, Nimble™, uses advanced physics models to realistically simulate clouds.

Following the acquisition of this technology, Linden Lab will integrate Windward Mark's WindLight® into the Second Life Viewer and will open source the code under a General Public License agreement. The Viewer (available here) featuring WindLight® will be immediately available for PCs, with a Mac version to follow.

"This is a great example of the benefits of an open-source model," said Cory Ondrejka, CTO of Linden Lab. "Our core development team is tightly focused on improving the Second Life experience in terms of stability and scalability, but open sourcing has enabled external developers to integrate additional enhancements that are also hugely valuable; WindLight® is one of these. We're excited to bring this technology to Second Life and pleased to have such a talented team of developers join Linden Lab."

"Boston is an internationally renowned center for academic and technological research, so it felt very natural to establish a presence there. We've had a number of key people working on the East coast for some time now, and Windward Mark's developers have a much sought-after skill-set that will pay huge dividends as we take the Second Life experience forward," said Philip Rosedale, founder and CEO of Linden Lab.

"We're very excited to be joining Linden Lab," said Asi Lang, president of Windward Mark Interactive. "The acquisition of our rendering technologies is a testament to their quality and to the talent of our development team. We're exceedingly proud of WindLight® and Nimble™, and it will be exciting to see how the Second Life community will further advance our technology when it is open sourced."

AllianceTM, the online game developed by Windward Mark Interactive, does not form part of the acquisition and will continue to be developed as a separate entity.

As part of Linden Lab's ongoing expansion, the company will be hiring developers to join its Boston office. It will be hosting a private recruiting party on the evening of May 30 for any interested applicants. Go to: http://lindenlab.com/jobs/vip.php for more details.

About Windward Mark Interactive

Windward Mark Interactive was founded in 2003 by five Harvard University students looking for a better way to create real-time worlds. Working with professors at Harvard and MIT, the team developed revolutionary rendering algorithms that paved the way for its current technology.

Since that time, the company has forged key relationships with industry leaders in the fields of graphics hardware, defense and aerospace, and online electronic entertainment.

Today, the Windward Mark team is composed of graphics researchers, military experts, and video game designers, all working together to develop stunningly photorealistic simulations in realtime.

About Second Life and Linden Lab

Second Life is a 3D online world with a rapidly growing population from 100 countries around the globe, in which the Residents themselves create and build the world, which includes homes, vehicles, nightclubs, stores, landscapes, clothing and games. The Second Life Grid is a sophisticated development platform created by Linden Lab, a company founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale, to create a revolutionary new form of shared 3D experience. The former CTO of RealNetworks, Rosedale pioneered the development of many of today's streaming media technologies, including RealVideo. In April 2003, noted software pioneer Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corporation, was named Chairman. In 2006, Philip Rosedale and Linden Lab received WIRED's Rave Award for Innovation in Business. Based in San Francisco, Linden Lab employs a senior team bringing together deep expertise in physics, 3D graphics and networking.

Note to editors: Second Life® and Linden Lab® are registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.