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Background on Virtual Worlds

Page history last edited by Randall Sadler 11 years, 5 months ago

How did we get from the good old days of the of the blue DOS computer screen to today's full color graphics-instensive Virtual Worlds?  This section of the workshop will offer a brief overview of that journey and then examine a few of the Virtual World or MMOG programs available today.


Virtual Worlds:  The Classic Versions


British Legends. 


One of the original MUDs, still alive and slaying!




For those purists who want the classic DOS text interface experience.

In Windows, go to "start," "run," and type in the telnet address above (unless you have Vista--see below). or go to the website shown below and under "play the game" click on "other ways to play" and follow the instructions.



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SchMOOze University.


One of the few MOOs still around!  While MOOs may not be used to the extent that they used to be (okay, perhaps they are rarely used at all), they were the sites of huge amounts of communication and research, with the first MOO server release in the ancient date of....1990.

Originally, users connected to MOOs via telnet, which Windows Vista no longer includes as a basic feature. 




Quantum Link & Habitat. An Old School Virtual World!


Primitive by today's standards, but the beginning of the graphical virtual world as we know it today.  Not a 3-D intereface, but it was immersive, had an online community, and the users were represented by avatars (sound familiar?).  Created for the Commodore 64 computer in 1984 (the "64, by the way, is for the huge 64 kilobyes of RAM that came standard).  Warning--the video below is a promo video filmed for Quantum Link and Habitat and has a very high cheese factor!


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 Virtual Worlds:  Modern Times


 In addition to Second Life, a couple other popular Virtual Worlds are Active Worlds and There.  Here are video clips from both:


Active Worlds


This video clip is from the teen version of Active Worlds.  As you'll find in the links below, Second Life also has a teen version.

Warning:  Annoying music in this video.  You may want to turn down the volume!


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And here is a link to a great presentation by Ton Koenraad of Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences on the use of Active Worlds for language practice and assessment.  The presentation uses Voice Thread, which is another great CMC tool!









As you will see in the videos below, There as an interface that is more cartoon-like than either Active Worlds or Second Life.  In addition, one interesting feature of There is that when someone changes their clothes what appears to be an old fashioned Victorian dressing screen.


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Second Life


An example of Machinima, the making of movies in Virtual Worlds.  This one was an entry in the Second Life Machinima Contest.


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Real World Campuses in a Virtual World

A film taken of the Princeton University Campus in SL


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Some of the most popular Virtual Worlds:


Some of the Virtual Worlds for kids and teens:


Most popular MMOGs*:



*From http://www.mmogchart.com/



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