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VWN World Review: IMVU - PFV

World Review: IMVU
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Last updated 18/05/2005
Codebase Developed by:
Available for Development: No
Additional Information

Compatible with Operating Systems:
Win 2K Win 98 Win 2K Win 2K

World Status: Operational

World Purpose:

Age Suitability:


IMVU, coming from the people that made There, is a 3D interface for Microsoft MSN Messenger, which effectively turns an IM session into a 3D, visual environment for up to ten people at a time.

The basic premise is more individuality, as you are given an avatar, and a couple of sets of clothes. An almost endless variety of additional outfits can be purchased, and mix and matched to create a truly individual look ? even faces, and body features can be purchased.

As such, IMVU is a fairly commercial environment, but it does add a lot of functionality to a very popular IM client, allowing participants to see each other through their idealised appearance.

The World in Brief

IMVU utilises what seems to be an X3D engine, and so inherits many of the old issues with VRML ? you have to wait for the whole world to load before you see anything, which can be murder on a slow connection. Fortunately, the chat area worlds are small, big enough for a dozen people comfortably.

You cannot walk around in IMVU, so you are relegated to a single point in the room, but you can move your vantage point of the room to anywhere you like ? just your actual avatar will not move.

Chat appears as speech bubbles above the chatters? heads, that slowly move upwards and disappear, so if you leave the room for a moment, you may lose track of what someone has said, as there is no ?history? function.

Even so, it provides an enjoyable experience, and certainly deals with the ?disconnected? feeling a long, and crowded IM session can generate.

To add to the experience, IMVU largely does away with emoticons, choosing instead to do the same thing ? with the body language of your avatar. This can lead to anything from weird smiles, to some very amusing, and at times, very lewd gestures.

At the time of writing, IMVU are working on multiple-avatar gestures, so you can interact bodily with your friends. Whether this is by consent or not, is unclear.


Sub Reviews


Here at Virtual Worldlets, we look at all worlds, whether for entertainment, training, medicare, industry or military use. Thus, we have the situation where different uses judge by different criteria. Below are a series of sub-reviews, each tailored to a different aspect of the world.

Only those to which the world being reviewed has relevance to are displayed for each review.




The social life is the life for you. To chat, to roam, to gossip all day, and chatter all night. You are the heart of the party, and you are the soul. The drive to chatter, the need to gossip, stretching out, making connections, mind against mind, heart against heart. It keeps you going, it keeps you sane.

IMVU is a very social worldlet, it is designed for pure socialisation, and small gatherings. Each worldlet is custom generated for your conversation, and supports ten people. Environments are widely ranging, and a huge number of additional locations are available for download.

The ability to see chat, as if you were in a physical location is very reassuring, although it can be highly confusing if ten people are speaking at once ? exactly the same as a physical conversation.

On the other hand, the ability to customise your appearance, and create an avatar that is an image of yourself, as you would like to appear, say, minus 100lbs, is really a great way to bolster your confidence.




IMVU has some great ideas, and the personalised avatars really add that touch of special occasion to chat ? slipping into a sexy black number you recently purchased, certainly spices up a chat session.

The biggest hang-up, sadly, is the bubble chat disappearing. There is no way to scroll back if you miss something, and that does get frustrating.


IMVU Rating 67.5 / 100

Newbie Friendliness
/ 15
/ 15
/ 10
Code Integrity
/ 10
Community Values
/ 15
/ 15
Automated help
/ 10
/ 10