Virtual forbidden city is a client-based VR, and it is a fairly hefty one, weighing in at around 200mb for the initial download, differing for each operating system by a few megabytes.

Once installed, Forbidden city takes quite a significant while to initialise each time, before you can actually use it. Helpfully, IBM made use of this time to present mandatory help screens full of information that you can read whilst the program initialises. As is normal, on each load it checks the central server in China, for updates before you can connect.

On a state of the art system with memory to burn, you only have a few minutes to read this detailed help. With older computers, you have...longer.

The reason for this delay considering the size and capabilities of the world, is never fully made clear. The world is pre-rendered in its entirety before use, so since the world is a city of approximately one mile in length complete with all buildings and major features, this may go some way towards explaining it.

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Images: China's Palace Museum,
Text: Virtual Worldlets Network, all rights reserved.