The official Google Earth plugin
is one free download that makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. There's a full screen version of the program
(complete with underwater views and 3D buildings) which can be searched by entering queries at the end of the URL. There's a framed version
with support for layers, historical imagery, day/night cycles, and the Google Sky starmap.
Less useful but more fun are Google's collection of "experiments" demonstrating the possibilities of the Earth API, including a "Geo Whiz" geography quiz
, an antipode locater
, a 3D first-person view of San Francisco
, a virtual route-follower
, and MONSTER MILKTRUCK!
, a crazy fun driving simulator that lets you careen a virtual milk truck through the Googleplex campus, ricochet off the Himalayas, or explore any other place you care to name.
Lots more can be found in the Google Earth Gallery
-- highlights include
a look at mountaintop removal mining
a real-time flight tracker
a guide to trails and outdoor recreation
a 360 panorama catalog
geotagged Panoramio photos
and the comprehensive crowdsourced Google Earth Community Layer
And while it's too large to view online, don't miss loading the Metafilter user location map
into a desktop version of Google Earth! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 9, 2011 -
Fifteen years ago
this week, programmer Ron Britvich
launched version 1.0 of Active Worlds
. Started as an autonomous project of Worlds, Inc.
(a spinoff of educational gamesmaker Knowledge Adventure
), Active Worlds was one of the first and most ambitious attempts to create a 3D virtual community on the web.
Built on the architecture of Britvich's Worlds Chat
beta, Active Worlds debuted
in the form of Alphaworld
, a sunny green infinite plane open to public building
. In its opening years Alphaworld experienced a land rush of construction
, resulting in an anarchic starfish sprawl larger than the state of California
. A sister company, Circle of Fire, was soon founded to craft additional themed hubs
, and once individual ownership of worlds became possible the AW community spawned a veritable universe of hundreds of worlds
Although the company
has seen its ups and downs
since those heady times and its fortunes have slowly dwindled, the Active Worlds platform survives
to this day
. Look inside for a simple guide on how to log in to the (free) service, rundowns of the best worlds, links to essays analyzing the program's legacy, and other content summing up its venerable community
. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 4, 2010 -
Raph Koster's customisable, isometric, browser-based 3d environment has now entered open beta. caveats: Registration required, some Beta flakiness (previously)
posted by Sparx
on May 17, 2009 -
You've already pushed a hapless dummy down the stairs.
Now you can see what happens when that same guy gets behind the wheel
- or at least inside the cab - of a truck speeding toward a wall. Scant on documentation, but not hard to figure out (the 1 and 2 sliders control the position of two ramps). Anyone find a good technique for a high score? (2 MB Windows .exe)
posted by wanderingmind
on Aug 3, 2003 -
Some Friday Fun
"Banja is destined for everyone. Here, it is not a question of conquering, but of evolving within a whole way of life and of discovering its mysteries." Not a game for the bandwidth-challenged, unless you're REALLY patient.
posted by TheFarSeid
on Oct 25, 2002 -
The next wave in Filmmaking?
This summer, the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences, along with NVIDIA, will hold the world's first Machinima Film Festival
on August 17th in Mesquite, Texas.
Machinima is, simply stated, filmmaking within a real-time virtual 3D environment.
In an expanded definition, it is the convergence of filmmaking, animation & game development. Machinima is a very cost- & time-efficient way to produce films.
posted by lilboo
on Jul 12, 2002 -