It all depends on what you mean….
For the last few years, the word ‘virtual’ has been applied to everything to do with computers, digital technology or the internet. The phrase ‘Virtual Reality’ (VR) has often been used to describe computer gaming environments, simulations, or interactive experiences requiring the use of helmets, visors, gloves, sensors or other devices that are connected to a computer or video screen. But VR doesn’t have to be that complicated. Our three-dimensional VR environments (Web Worlds) are accessible via the internet via a simple 5MB download. They allow you to move around in the form of an avatar (virtual body), meet other people online and communicate with them. They offer far more possibilities than normal two-dimensional websites, are free to visit, and are very affordable to own.
That’s right. You don’t have to buy a CD, DVD or anything else containing special software to visit Web Worlds. You just download a 5MB piece of software (our Web Universe) and keep it as an icon on your desktop. Next time you want to enter, just click the icon. Activeworlds software works on the most common Microsoft platforms, but not yet on Apple Mackintosh. Sorry!
What can I do there?
You can visit colleagues in a private business World, meet new friends, build objects or even create your own environment.
The Activeworlds Europe 3D Universe is open to all and contains different Worlds where people can meet, chat, play games, visit other people’s Worlds and even build their own 3D home or private Web World.
As an ‘avatar’ (a virtual person), you can meet tens of thousands of other visitors in recognisable and professional environments, in real time and interactively. You are assigned a basic avatar (often in the form of a typical male or female American tourist!) when you first enter a world. You can move your avatar around the world using your arrow keys and a few others. It won’t take you long to learn how to walk forwards and backwards, swim or fly through the environments.
We have a team of moderators who help new visitors and regulate the chat to keep it pleasant for everyone. They have the power to temporarily or permanently eject people who are causing a nuisance.
Many of our people can be found online and can help you with your questions. Visit the Web World “EU Info” to learn more about our virtual helpdesk. Or visit our Web World “EU School” for building help.
A robot can take many forms. For example, it may be a visible ‘receptionist’ Avatar that greets people who walk within range, or an invisible system that opens trap doors if you’re standing on the right spot. We have opened a test world where you can test your own robots and games systems. If enough people demonstrate an interest, we may hold a competition for game builders or hold lessons on robot-building. Watch this space!
How to go 3D
To explore our 3D environments and their interactive possibilities for yourself, click Go 3D and download the browser. Welcome to the future of the Internet!