The project that I’m working on, which I keep referring to as a “Second Life” project, actually started out to look at virtual worlds in general. We just seem to have drifted into SL exclusively. Penn State’s Virtual Worlds blog, which I’ve just been referred to for the details about running the SL client from a USB stick, lists several others, some of which I’ve heard of, some of which I haven’t. They have also missed out some that I know of, and, no doubt, there are others!

I was pointed to Kaneva a few weeks ago, from, I think Vicki Davies’ blog. I’ve not really managed to get into it, as getting registered, downloading the software and then creating an avatar seemed to be a really rather protracted process. I also didn’t like the system of “raves”. From what I can tell, it’s a way of saying that you rate someone quite highly. So far three people have “raved” me, and want me to return the favour. Not only do I have no idea who they are, I’d rather not be “raved” by someone unless I know who they are – just as I wouldn’t expect to rave someone until I feel that they deserve it. Now, clearly my views may well not sit well with those who think that many contacts = popularity – I’d rather have fewer, trusted links.
Maybe I just don’t get it yet!

From the website, this would seem to be a commercial company, offering to develop training / corporate / etc. virtual worlds.

Seems to be designed for social use. I wasn’t able to install the software to “have a look”, but did have a look at the Flash Demo. Given several of the terms, I think that it was originally German.

This looks promising. It’s open source, and would seem to be being used in Education. The software at the moment is still in beta, and you do have to have a server to install it too. They claim Croquet…

is a powerful open source software development environment for the creation and large-scale distributed deployment of multi-user virtual 3D applications and metaverses that are (1) persistent (2) deeply collaborative, (3) interconnected and (4) interoperable. The Croquet architecture supports synchronous communication, collaboration, resource sharing and computation among large numbers of users on multiple platforms and multiple devices.

Active Worlds
This was the first World that I had a play with, probably 3 years ago now, but didn’t get very far – as it didn’t seem to be that cheap for education, and I wasn’t quite sure what I’d do with it, were I to use it. It doesn’t need as big a download as SL does, but it still does require software installation. I think that they all do, though.

This was another tool I looked at quite a long time ago – again, going on memory, it seemed to be more slanted to younger teenagers, than to older teens/ adults, though I could be wrong, as I never joined at the time. I’ve just been back, and registered. The avatars look more like Lego people than real ones! However, other than Shockwave, I didn’t have to install any software, so that it useful.

I suspect that SL is the right choice to have made, though Croquet could be worth keeping an eye on.

2 thoughts on “Virtual Worlds.

  1. G’day,
    River City has been based on Active Worlds.
    We are giving it a try with a number of classes. Students are really engaged by this medium and have been actively working through the 3D problem solving science curriculum. A lot of effort has been made to make this curriculum ‘teacher friendly’ with lots of support materials, lab work books for students etc.

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