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]
Packet Garden observes how you use the internet, then takes that info and generates a 3d world based on it. [via]
The Croquet Project is a staggeringly ambitious attempt to create 'an operating system for the post-browser Internet' - a multi-platform, open-source, extensible, decentralised, peer-to-peer, 3D virtual reality metaverse [2,3], designed for 'highly scalable deep collaboration', led by Alan Kay.
Shockwave 3D Beta - Yet another re-entry into the world of Web 3D, this one long-heralded. It definitely looks a lot nicer than the last one we discussed here, but details on authoring are sketchy. Though it's pretty, it still doesn't really answer the question - is there a need/demand for Web3D?