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VWN World Review: ActiveWorlds Gate 4.1 - PFV

World Review: ActiveWorlds Gate 4.1
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Last updated 24/06/2007
Codebase Developed by:
Available for Development: No
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Compatible with Operating Systems:
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World Status: Defunct

World Purpose:

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World-Type

World Review: ActiveWorlds Gate 4.1

The ActiveWorlds codebase reinvented itself in June 2006 with the 4.1 version of it?s software (previous version was 3.6). In addition to a whole host of changes and improvements, they completely rebuilt the entrance and helpdesk world, AWGate, into something, which strived to be more than the glorified chatroom of the old.

The old ActiveWorlds Gate 3.6 suffered from having no real activities for people to partake in, other than chatting with one another around the globe in the centre of the world. Since chat faded out if you drifted too far from the globe, this gave people no real reason to explore.

So, has the new greeting world changed?

Well, the globe is still there, but it?s not standing alone in the middle of a near-featureless world this time. All around it are hedges, trees, cum-de-sacs, statures with plaques, and dozens of interactive objects; some in plain sight, some hidden away. You can track down evil gnomes, pick flowers, and have them attach to your avatar. You can wander for hours in little paths between tree copses and find hidden rewards to click on.



The Educational World Teleports - Interactive, Exploration reward

The World in Brief

This world functions as the introduction to the capabilities of ActiveWorlds for new users of all ages. As such, it has to be family-friendly, and yet try to appeal to all ages. It has to draw people in, and show its not just another chatroom. Does it succeed?

Well, it seems to succeed in part.

The world is the same size as before, 1.4 square kilometres of island, nestled in an endless sea of equatorial blue water. It bristles with life, with interest and with activity. There are a half dozen different interactive exploration experiences in the form of secret areas to find. A mineshaft awaits exploration, a human head, explored from inside, all the innards to be played with. A zen garden awaiting in quiet tranquillity on the surface.

Other interactivity abounds in the form of vehicles. Magic carets can be unfurled and rode upon. Three anti-gravity scooters, belching fire and smoke, exist likewise. Finally, in the harbour there are jetskis, and sailboats able to take several people on each, ready to sail off into the limitless blue yonder.

A huge piano keyboard sits to one side, near the globe. Each key large enough to stand on, doing so presses it down. The note sings clear over the whole world; everyone can hear how good you are with music, or how atrociously bad.

Also notable, for the first time, ActiveWorlds Gate now includes links to gameworlds ? uses of ActiveWorlds purely for gaming. This is something they always used to see as a pariah, and would take the money of game developers, but never ever mention they were doing it. The existences of this area, right out in the open, marks a possible change in policy for ActiveWorlds itself.




Gameworld Teleports, in Public

 


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.

 

 

Explorers
For some, its the thrill of discovery, the freedom to strike out, to pioneer. Whether its mapping new lands, or exploring unknown fields of endeavour, to be first, to boldly go, this is what explorers live for.

The world is the same size as before, 1.4 square kilometres of island, nestled in an endless sea of equatorial blue water. It bristles with life, with interest and with activity. There are a half dozen different interactive exploration experiences in the form of secret areas to find. A mineshaft awaits exploration, a human head, explored from inside, all the innards to be played with. A zen garden awaiting in quiet tranquillity on the surface.

Other interactivity abounds in the form of vehicles. Magic carets can be unfurled and rode upon. Three anti-gravity scooters, belching fire and smoke, exist likewise. Finally, in the harbour there are jetskis and sailboats able to take several people on each, ready to sail off into the limitless blue yonder.

A huge piano keyboard sits to one side, near the globe. Each key large enough to stand on, doing so presses it down. The note sings clear over the whole world; everyone can hear how good you are with music, or how atrociously bad.

 

Socialisers
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.

The community in ActiveWorlds Gate 4.1 is pretty much exactly the same as it used to be. Mostly regulars, chatting with their friends, a mix of outside life topics and events, standard chatroom really. There is no attempt to be other than a general chat facility.

The same old limitations for new visitors are present: The avatar choice is disappointing, with only two free avatars, no degree of customisation, and only a limited selection of extra ones if you pay. Personalised avatars are not acceptable in the gate, as they try to maintain a strict G rating, and cannot control what a personalised one might say.


Simple actions such as dancing with your partner in public, are, whilst possible to do graphically using a range of pre-loaded sequence files, it is best to keep them to textual emotes, for the far superior range of expression.

Emotes are supported, and starting any line with "\me" will output your text as an action line in orange instead of a speech line in black.

Additionally, there are two sub-channels for chat. Whispers are direct person-to-person chat, whilst telegrams are the same thing, but with an answer machine service - messages will be recorded for you if you're not online when they are sent.

To compliment this, there are a range of filters - you can add people to your Contacts list, and monitor when they're online.

However, it is impossible to block avatars in most places, and it is possible to have people annoy you by continually walking their avatar through yours.

There are moderators, called GateKeepers, who are volunteers and work to keep the gate G rated. The problem comes as no two GateKeepers have the same idea on what G rated is, and, as they are volunteers, have no direct responsibility to ActiveWorlds itself.

This results in frequent problems, and a continual churn rate of people leaving the gate. Some leave to find homes in the other worlds of ActiveWorlds, some leave altogether; their first experience a disappointment.



View from inside a mineshaft

 

 

Overall
Overall, the new world tries so very hard to succeed, but it lacks the community focus to elevate it from a simple chat space back into a world again. Even to this day, you?ll find most visitors grouped about under the globe, never moving, just chatting away. To them, it does not matter what is done, its just a chat room. The challenge to the world administration is, how to bypass these people, and attract the newer ones, that this, is now truly a world.

 

ActiveWorlds Gate 4.1 Rating 70 / 100

Newbie Friendliness
13.0
/ 15
Believability
11.0
/ 15
Administration
8.0
/ 10
Code Integrity
8.0
/ 10
Community Values
9.0
/ 15
Immersion
12.0
/ 15
Automated help
2.0
/ 10
Entertainment
7.0
/ 10