Active Worlds 3D Chat Plugin

Active Worlds is a 3D virtual reality chat plugin software. You can design your own virtual buildings, chat with friends, and play games.

It’s all web-based and real-time. The software download is available free at the Active Worlds web site at: http://www.activeworlds.com/products/download.asp. The download is large and best done on a high speed internet connection such as cable or partial DSL. That’s OK because you need to download a large number of files while actually running the software (for objects and terrain). This is not really practical on a slower dialup or wifi connection. The download and install are easy and take only a few minutes with a good internet connection and decent cpu speed. Unregistered (non-paying) visitors have limited areas that they can visit and very limited abilities to build your own objects, buildings, or terrain. AW has nagging messages that show up once in a while asking you to join and pay, but they are relatively tame and easy to ignore. There’s plenty of fun places available to visit and a good number of people to chat with. You can spend hours wandering around and seeing some of the phenomenal designing and building that goes on. You can even try some of your own in designated test building areas. The software REALLY needs a mapping function to help orient you in the space. Raw coordinates are handy for insiders and almost worthless for newbies. You can run, teleport, and fly. Laptops need to use special commands to fly (and some laptops just can’t do it at all). The screen is divided into several sections that can be easily resized for reading the supporting/related web sites and extensive help documents. The chat is worth the trip alone. The people are friendly, unless they are actively paying attention to their building or a game. I like the self-rating system and the real-time count of the number of people in an area. (answering the age old question “Is anybody home?) Don’t be confused by the bots that have canned messages or simple programs that appear responsive. Bots aren’t counted. They’re informative, but not much on relationships. The Worlds Admin is seeking partnerships with Schools and Universities. This is an interesting application and may really take off as time goes by. Good content and worlds with sound, visual and mixed with live interaction is a powerful combination. In this era of 3d virtual reality chat environments ACTIVE WORLDS is worth a download and a good long visit.