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]
After a year of research spanning four continents and interviews with dozens of people
across the internet
, Dancing Ink Productions
will release their findings from the Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds project on Thursday, January 29.
Game Theories: Are these virtual worlds the best place to study the real one?
The Gross National Product of EverQuest, measured by how much wealth all the players together created in a single year inside the game. It turned out to be $2,266 U.S. per capita. By World Bank rankings, that made EverQuest richer than India, Bulgaria, or China, and nearly as wealthy as Russia. (by Clive Thompson)
for a Virtual World? Then you might want to start with the VirtualWorldsReview
Terror and Technology Online
Shockwave-demos its mid-May virtual trade show, marketed vigorously to the readership of the Journal of Homeland Security
. "A new perspective on how the war on terror can and should be fought. Exhibitors will gain brand influence by presenting to influential market players."