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World Review: Leaves
Main Review

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

World Status: Operational

World Purpose: Dreamworld, Education, Simulation

Age Suitability: Anyone


Leaves is a world of natural wonders, wholly given over to the replication of nature, and the beauty of wild areas, online. It is a technologically created wilderness, a place with the barest human touch, virtually. A place of peace and beauty for people to roam, as if roaming a physical location. A place to examine a wider variety of natural feeling landscapes and scenic beauty than is possible in any one single place physically.

Leaves is all about using a high degree of illusionary reality. Most of the tree and plant textures started life as digital photos. Most of the plants are two-dimensional ?facers? that rotate to constantly face the viewer. This drastically lowers the model vertex count, from maybe 2000 per model to 8 per model.

The result? Instead of a small number of incredibly realistic plants, Leaves gets away with huge, sprawling vistas of tens of thousands of digitally real-looking plants, until you get right up close.

As an additional advantage of this technique, the fog distance in the Leaves virtual world can be set to a very high value on even a modest computer system, allowing the visitor to see for miles ? perfect for a landscape view.

The World in Brief

Leaves was founded in April 2000. The world is in many ways, akin to a landscape oil painting. In the words of the world?s founder, Cotarr:

?Building scenery in a computer environment is all about illusion. If you step close to an oil painting, the techniques used to apply paint to the canvas look like smears and dabs, but when you step back, the technique suddenly appears to come to life, almost like a photograph.?

This effect is all throughout Leaves. Built mostly of low-polygon count flat objects, it manages to cram thousands upon thousands of them into a given scene, each representing an entire flower, bush or tree. Three dimensional rocks lay about, building up into hills and mountains, and the whole area is criss-crossed with lakes, streams, rivers and hundreds of different waterfalls.

Key to any world?s success is its interactivity. Leaves is no exception. It maintains a novel scoring system. As soon as any visitor comes in for the first time, Leaves assigns them a unique ID. That ID is then tracked, along with the user?s position. Every time they approach a notable feature of the world, Leaves sends them a congratulatory message, telling them they have found feature number X of Y, and some background detail about the immediate area. There are different scoring systems; one for bridges, one for waterfalls, one for points of interest, one for caves, one for walks, even a small one for buildings...

Each scoring mechanism tells the user if they?ve never been to that particular feature before, the number of such features they have found ? eg, bridge 20 of 102 - , and how many more there are to find. With hundreds of each feature to find, this deceptively simple mechanism encourages eager exploration ? especially as visitors can compare their scores.


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.

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.

For all its wondrous landscape, and hundreds of thousands of plants, rocks, and animals, Leaves isn?t that big; the entire world is just an area of about 3.2 square kilometres. Yet, in that small space just 180 metres on a side, the feeling of nature sprawling forever, is carefully maintained.

The paths are small, winding, and numerous, the place expands both above ground and below ? caves criss-cross, and paths double back on themselves. Thus, even in this small space, you can wander for days, without finding everything there is to see.

The scoring system, which continually tracks your progress, announcing each time you stumble upon a new landmark for the first time, and telling you how many you have found, is your constant companion, and encouragement to explore further.


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.

Leaves has a community of regulars; from the trusted ?gardeners? who place rocks, raise mountains, and plant vegetation in locations seemingly natural for others to enjoy, to those who just enter to walk serenely through the landscape, feeling at peace or refreshed.

Also, there is the endless stream of newcomers, both individually, and in small classes of students, who come to Leaves to participate in VR based field trips, and the ability to study the feel and dynamic nature of the natural world, even if they have no physical access to nature.


Virtual environments as classrooms, museums, theme parks, or galleries. Holding conferences or training for the job at hand. Holding their own, or beating back the physical for locational learning.

Leaves is dedicated to recreating nature in VR. It offers students from locations without access to extensive nature reserves ? such as those in cities, or desert environments ? access to all the beauty of nature. It allows those whose teachers cannot risk a physical field trip for safety reasons, to show their students what nature can offer.

Individual subjects can benefit, beyond appreciation of nature: The many mountains and waterfalls ?erode? naturally, and represent geology and geography well. Art students find leaves works like a landscape oil painting ? one they can immerse in totally, and see the same landscape scene from a million different angles.

The regular builders ? the gardeners of leaves, who place rock and vegetation, wood and water as if it was totally natural, are themselves highly skilled, and on-hand experts, willing to impart what they know of nature, to curious minds.



Leaves is a beautiful world, a stunning attempt to recreate the peace and tranquillity of nature, yet interactive enough to keep people coming back for more. This world is faithful to nature to the extent it is ideal for educational field-trips, without any travel required, and that makes it superb.


Rating 83 / 100
Newbie Friendliness
/ 15
Community Values
/ 15
/ 15
/ 15
/ 10
Automated help
/ 10
Code Integrity
/ 10
/ 10

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Client OS:Win 2K, Win 98, Win 2K, Win 2K

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