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World Review: AWDebate
Main Review

Compatible with Operating Systems:
Win XP Win 2K Vista

World Status: Operational

World Purpose: Business

Age Suitability: Anyone


AWDebate is one of the ActiveWorlds universe VR environments. Termed a P30, this means it is 30 cells, by 30 cells, or 300m x 300m in total size. All in all a small world. It is the second to bear the name, the first having closed a few years prior, after the administration decided that there was no real call for it. Both serve identical purposes, and the younger one was created because the administration of AW realised that every virtual environment with the capability, was making money out of conferences in VR, and mixed reality VR/physical conferences.

This is the entire purpose of AWDebate. It is a dedicated VR conference suite.

AWDebate in all its Orwellian Glory

The World in Brief

Upon first entering the world, visitors are placed in the lobby of a fairly expansive building complex. A virtual glass conservatory inside a larger glass structure.

Visitors would be forgiven for thinking that this is 1995, when they look around this structure. It keeps to a strict minimum of polygons, and has a very Spartan design, with occasional identical table and two chairs groups scattered about the cavernous corridors. They almost seem like private conversation spots. However, on closer investigation, these are completely non-functional. They are there solely as decoration and cannot be used for private conversation.

The layout is a little puzzling, with five rooms all told in the building, not including the conservatory. Three of them are conference rooms, clustered in a wing straight ahead of the entrance. Off to the left is a help and guidance room, which was bereft of any help or guidance at the time of this review ? just an empty room. Behind the entry point is another conference suite; the largest. Off to the right are permanently open doors leading out to an ?outside area? of curiously identical trees placed in regimented rows.

The conference rooms seem to be the focus of the world, perhaps unsurprisingly. What is surprising, is that each is quite a little hike from the entrance area. There is a small nook of teleports to aid travel between rooms, but this too is a small hike away from anywhere else. There are no return nodes in the rooms, back to it of course. To do that, you have to walk.

Of the four rooms, none seem particularly suited to mixed reality conferences. The largest of the four, does have the capability to show external files such as powerpoint, but lacks the capability to show streaming video. This is a definite oddity since the platform itself is perfectly capable of such.

The largest of the conference suites, seating 60

Still, it is a fair size, with accommodation for 60 avatars plus the speaker, in widely spaced rows. Once seated, all text chat and sound in the room is cut off from the rest of the world by means of a bot ? a plug-in program, which depressingly, has a knack for dying frequently mid-conference, causing concurrent conference sessions to bleed into one another. If the bot is not online, no localised silencing or text restraint takes place ? all VoIP and chat is heard by everyone in the world all at once.

If 60 attendees is too ambitious for a given conference, the other rooms accommodate smaller crowds, although all three lack the ability to display external files such as PowerPoint presentations or word documents. Two of the rooms are still quite large, holding a max of 30 attendees, whilst the last only holds 25 plus the speaker.

One of the 30-seat conference suites


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.



The small size is somewhat puzzling, as in all other platforms, the trend is towards 100 plus in attendance, but ActiveWorlds clearly do not feel that their platform is going to be used for conferences very often. This is further reinforced by the conference registration procedure.

To register a conference, a full year?s citizenship must be purchased, at a cost of $70 usd. This citizenship account must then make a manual application to join the ActiveWorlds forum, a process which can take up to a week to complete. Once this is done, a post outlining the purpose of the conference is made, and then both the community and ActiveWorlds staff members pick it apart, and decide whether or not your conference can go ahead. If it can, you are assigned use of the bot for a certain time period.

No other means of booking the venue is permissible, and makes use of this facility somewhat bizarre. This may also explain why at time of writing, not one single event using the facility is listed on those forums.


Overall, it?s a half hearted effort by an aging and often out-of-touch VR platform, to appeal to new media channels, that has not been fully thought through, and has not been designed to take best advantage of its own technology.

There are far better VR conference facilities around.

Find another.


Rating 30 / 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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