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AVATAR 98 : Rolands Speech


Active Worlds Technology:  a brief history, an assessment of where we
currently stand and a peak at plans for the future.

Roland: so I don't really have a formal presenation prepared for this...I've been to busy watching the Star Wars preview again and again...
Roland: and again...
Roland: but here's what I'd like to do
Roland: I'd like to start out with a brief history of the development of Active Worlds
Roland: this should be a fun review for those of you who have been around since the beginning
Roland: and interesting for those of you who are more new to online VR :)
Roland: then I  want to give my brief opininon of where we currently are, and where we are going
Roland: and then open it up to a general discussion about the AW technology, inclyuding Q&A
Roland: so let's start with the history of AW...I'll try o cover this as quickly as possible
Roland: development on AW first started in early 1995 at Worlds Inc
Roland: for the first six months or so all work was done by a single programmer, Ron Britvich
Roland: aka Protagonist
Roland: I joined Worlds Inc. in September of 1995 and started working on AW with Ron shortly there after
Roland: By then Ron was already up to build 38
Roland: so I don't know much about the builds befor then :)
Roland: so I'm not sure how many people remember build 38, but it was a...tad...bit less sophisticated than what we have now :)
Roland: basically we had a three dee window and a field for entering chat text
Roland: there was only one avatar, the immortal Cy
Roland: there was only one world, AlphaWOrld
Roland: you could build
Roland: most of the time :)
Roland: to become a citizen, you had to immigrate via a web page
Roland: the system emailed you back an "immigration number" that you had to enter in order to be come a citizen
Roland: it was an ingenious way to keep people from creating a zilliion ciitzenships, since you could only have one citizen account per email
Roland: address
Roland: the first thing I added to AW was the first "action" commands...

Roland: teleport, bump, visible on/off, etc...
Roland: this allowed people to add a little bit of behavior to their buildings
Roland: it was very primitive, but a big step forward nonetheless...
Roland: most of those action commands are still with us today...amazingly enough
Roland: they are starting to show their age I would say :)
Roland: however I also fear they may be a little bit much for some new users to grasp...someday I'd like to see something a bit more user friendly...
Roland: but anyway :)
Roland: Moving on to around February 1996
Roland: that was when AW first became a 32-bit app
Roland: back then of course most of us were still on Win 3.1
Roland: but this new beast Windows 95 was starting to make the scene
Roland: so going to 32-bits was the first step to movingover to Windows 95 completely...
Roland: also at that time, the amzing concept of "dynamic downloading" was introduced :)
Roland: if y'all remember, the early AW browsers were shipped with all
the art included, all textures, sounds,everything 
Roland: the install was 4 1995
Roland: with most people on 14.4 modems still...that was a hefty dowload

Roland: anyway we added the ability for the browser to download the art files on the fly, from a web site
Roland: removing the requirement that all art be shipped with the browser
Roland: to this day that was probably one of the most difficult-to-implement features I ever was surprisingly
Roland: anyway...that feature allowed us to move quickly to April 1996
Roland: when we first introduced the amazing concept of...more than one world!
Roland: wow
Roland: it's not just AlphaWorld anymore...
Roland: at the time, we first called them "zones", but over time that term was dropped in favor of the less-techy sounding "worlds"
Roland: Version 1.0 of AW was released in summer of 1996
Roland: for that we also managed to add....multiple avatars!
Roland: wow
Roland: not just Cy anymore...
Roland: and also, I believe at more or less the samem time we added avatar animations
Roland:  something we pretty much take for granted now...but once upon a time everyone was looking pretty...stiff
Roland: now for some reason my records of 1996 are sketchy...I don't recall exactly what was added when
Roland: but fall 1996 saw he first best version of version 1.1
Roland: build 133 I believe
Roland: that was when we introduced the integrated web browser
Roland: which was a huge step forward for integrating 2D and 3D content seemlessly
Roland: well, for people that had IE anyway :)
Roland: we also added the amazing "picture" command :)
Roland: something else I'm sure we all take for granted now :)
Roland: but there was a time when you were limited only to the textures on the object path, nothing else
Roland: the picture comman allowed people to customize their buildings and creations to a degree never before possible
Roland: we also added linking to WAVs and MIDIs anywhere on the web at the same time
Roland: version 1.1 also allowed textures on avatars...
Roland: it was all flat-shaded polygons before that :)
Roland: MP3! yeah :) I want that too... hehe
Roland: anyway...we managed to release version 1.1 in December 1996
Roland: just in time, because...
Roland: in January 1997, Worlds Inc., unable until even the very end to understand the value of what they had...
Roland: cancelled AW and laid everyone on the project off...
Roland: fortunately for us, however, instead of just tossing it in the trash, they put it up for sale...
Roland: so certain other individuals who DID perceive AW 's value worked their butts off for two months in order to acquire AW from Worlds
Roland: by the way, I wasn't one of those people...I took a two month vacation :)
Roland: but by March 1997, Circle of Fire had full rights to the AW technology...and work resumed!
Roland: first day of official operations I believe was March 8, 1997
Roland: By May 1997 we had version 1.2 out
Roland: version 1.2 introduced the concept of tourists for the first time...we added this because it was becoming apparent that we needed a way to get poeple into AW quicker
Roland: the immigration process, although simple, was confusing enough people that we felt we needed an easier way for people to see it
Roland: somewhere around then we also introduced the amazing"sign" command :)
Roland: allowing people to customize their work even more...
Roland: actually I 'remember exactly when we added the sign command...but it was sometime around then
Roland: sorry, I mean, I can't remember...anyway
Roland: version1.2 also introduced the object password...since object theft was becoming a rapant problem
Roland: rampant
Roland: it allowed people to protect their hard work with a password so others couldn't just take their models and use them elsewhere
Roland: an ability, interestingly enough, till completely missing from the web today
Roland: still
Roland: also summer 1997 saw the first introduction of a new product...the uniserver
Roland: for the first time, someone (with a a lot of money :) could run their own AW universe separate from COF's
Roland: this is still an emerging concept...but now there are at least half a dozen different AW universes that I know of
Roland: more on that later :)
Roland: August 1997 saw the release of 1.3
Roland: in my opinion, probably the most significant new version of 1.3 to date
Roland: it introduced most of the new features that shape AW as we know it today
Roland: including...
Roland: the worlds list'
Roland: the contacts list
Roland: telegrams
Roland: joining
Roland: eject
Roland: privilege paswords
Roland: and fully integrated HTML hel
Roland: those were just the biggest chnges:)
Roland: and then, with build 177, in September 1997, something shocking and terrifying appeared...
Roland: the registratinscreen :)
Roland: oops
Roland: registration screen
Roland: since this is a technical presentaation I don't want to go into the details of why that was added :)
Roland: suffice to say, it kept us busy for a good month getting it in :)
Roland: and on October 8. 1997. registration was first switched on
Roland: and AW citizenship was no longer free...ah well
Roland: :)
Roland: then work started on version 2.0
Roland: in some ways, less of a major version feature-wise, but behind the scenes 2.0 involved an ambitious re-implementation of much of the underlying client/server architecture
Roland: AW was growing fast, and it had outgrown some of the limitations present in 1.3
Roland: among other things, the avatar limit was raised from 12 to 50
Roland: making discussions like this one possible :)
Roland: multiple objet selection was added, a nice tool for builders
Roland: and everyone's favorite new feature, the VRT clock :)
Roland: we also raised the infamous cell data limit
Roland: keeping the hated building inspector at bay for a little while longer :)
Roland: more on the techy side, we dropped the use of an internet protocol known as UDP
Roland: UDP had been used since the beginning to implenent the chat and avatars
Roland: it was a great solution in theory, unfortunately in practice it didn't work for too many different people
Roland: so it was dropped...and th reliability of AW went up quite a bit

Roland: also 2.0 introduced message sets for the first time
Roland: allowing the creation of non-english versions of the browser for the first time
Roland: this summer saw the release of the beta of the new SDK
Roland: this is a powerful new tool for developers to add new behaviors to worlds like weve never seen before
Roland: some of you may have witnessed the first ever SOCCER GAME we had in AW just a few days ago
Roland: :)
Roland: thanks to the SDK and the hard work of several determined AW citizens :)
Sidris: Roland, if you can (I probably missed it) could you tell us about gravity, when it was implemented, a bit of the history behind that?
Roland: now we're working on versino 2.1
Roland: which will bring us whispering, and bot support
Roland: and file transfer
Roland: among other things
Roland: okay...that brings up up to now :)
Roland: so where are we going?
Roland: well..beyond 2.2, or 3.0, or whatever you want to call it
Haba: Roland, you mentioned "the amazing multiple worlds". When are we
going to see "the amazing multiple universes"?
Roland: as usual, there are a million things I'd like to see in that version, and we'll only get to a fraction of them
Roland: but some of the things high on the wish list include...
Roland: custom avatars
Roland: improved bulding interface...
Roland: I still think building is too hard :)
Roland: including the use of objects from anwhere...not just the one object path
Roland: the browser needs to have better support for multiple universes 
Roland: or, any support :)
Roland: better 3D hardware support would be nice too :)
Roland: that's tough though...the only way I see that happening is with a native
Roland: i.e. no more RenderWare
Roland: that's a big one...
Roland: also an issue I would really like to see addressed is...
Roland: easier world hosting
Roland: the original vision of AW was one of fewer, larger worlds that people spread out through...
Roland: but the reality has been one more of many, small worlds
Roland: people like to have their own, small private worlds...that they can control completely
Roland: which makes sense
Roland: it's like having your own web page...same thing
Roland: but the hosting problem prevents a lot of people from having their own worlds up 24/7
Roland: I have some plans for something I call a "macro sever"...a single server that can easily host hundreds or thousands of worlds at once
Roland: it's actually not that hard...I would like to see that happen in 1999
Roland: well, that's some of the big stuff anyway :)
Roland: I see I've overshot my time...dang....
Roland: but I don't have anywhere I need to be, so if you want to stick around I don't mind having a discussion now
Crow: I dont like having a lot of worlds... too many world now... I
liked it when there were only 30 somethign worlds... you could make a
would popular then... nowdays your lucky if anyone even comes in...
Rifraf: will there be a telegram "history so you can see what you sent?
Kasper Voyager: I think you left one big thing out: the invention of gravity which I think was in summer 96
Little Cupid: Roland - keep going - only our av's keep looking at their watches - we don't!  *grin*
Sidris: Thanks, Roland.  Fascinating presentation.
Zeke: It would be great if the TELEGRAM system could cross UNIVERSES ...

Roland: okay...
Tesla: How will the personal worlds you guys do compare to what The Palace has been doing in terms of personal Palaces?
Roland: so...not sure how to handle this :)
Bluescruiser: I like the multiple object paths.... I'm far to lazy to
make enough objects to build an entire world.
Sidris: Roland, please tell us about gravity!
Tesla: yeah
Roland: hmmm..gravity....what about it?
Sidris: Give us a little history, whose idea was it?
Zeke: that would be perfect for interaction !!
Kasper Voyager: I think it was a big improvement to the worlds
zg: very useful to have gravity
Roland: gravity I recall...that was total spur-of-the-moment
Roland: I added it one night when I was fooling around with collision detection
icey: gravity gives you the sense of the space
Roland: we liked it so much we decided to keep it :)
Drifter: flogisten keeps the planets alive, right?
Kasper Voyager: To me it made a big difference:-)
LuckyLuke: i only want to know about outgoing telegrams, Roland... are we going to see them?
Sidris: it was a totally new experience for me and at first I admit -hated it...
Zeke: cool ... is there any possiblity of having collision detection apply to avatars ??
Crow: what about people cheating and stuff... like non PS's using special avatars... is that going ot change?
Roland: a history of outgoing telegrams...yes, that would be nice
Zeke: how about a link of telegrams to email ??
Roland: the whole telegram mechanism could stand for some substantial improvement
LuckyLuke: when, Roland... outgoing telegrams?
MaiTai: I agree, like a "hide" feture
Roland: well "when" is the question I can never really answer :)
Sidris: with all the chat programs that work so well in tandem with AW, is telegram improvement all that necesary?
Roland: the best I can say is that I like the idea and I would like to see it happen
kato: like save telegrams to text file roland
Haba: actually the telegram system should be replaced with internal e-mail :o)
Kasper Voyager: Is it impossible to tilt objects in RenderWare?
Roland: well one thing about telegrams was, we didn't want to wind up just re-implementing email all over again :)
Roland: since we already have email :)
Roland: and it works pretty good :)
Haba: but it's not inside aw
CyborMan: it be nice to make AV's turn upside down
MACgator: we should keep them seperate
racgator: roland...may i ask a question.....why are there so many peacekeepers......we all have mute..i agree we need to be careful..but there is overkill dont you think???
Roland: the idea was to provide a light-weight way of quickly getting in touch with others
LaurieAnn: We could have an Ignore feature
CyborMan: my rides would be more real in a loop
Haba: you don't get notification when an e-mail comes to you
Haba: in aw, that is...
Roland: re: peacekeepers, I'm not involved with the peacekeepr organization, I can't answer questions about it
Zeke: yes ... but it would be nice if it was a user option to have his/her telegrams emailed to their email address when they are not online
racgator: ok roland..sorry
LuckyLuke: the tele's work fine... just ... i have a short memory and i would like to see what i told...
Rifraf: Teles are a good addition, Roland
Sidris: An ignore feature for teles
MACgator: the mute button could do with being big abd bold on the browser
Tesla: Roland: How will your personal worlds compare to what The Palace has been offering over the last three months (free)?
blur: Roland...who about having a "Whiteboard" here????
Roland: yes...ignore for telegrams falls under the category of "improved privacy"
Sidris: Think that green checkmark will ever become "controllable"?
Crow: I dont like mass-comunication, and teleporting and stuff... I like it when you had to find people and stuff... kinda like in the midevil times and stuff...
Roland: which includes a variety of features...
blur: who=how
MACgator: strawb,,,
Little Cupid: Oh yeah - good question Sidris!
Roland: including the infamous green checkmark...
kato: how about remove the check mark on peoples names roland..make that an accept mode
Sidris: Yeah, Swine, go to C4A and stop hollering!
Chloe: yeah the gren check mark...will it be controllable?
LuckyLuke: can u tell us about those features?
Uldor: no Strawberry :)
racgator: well thank you for your talk roland i really enjoyed it.....good luck with your future plans....bye all:-))
Drifter: I picked up avirus when I d/led C4A
kato: think alike sidris
Sidris: Couldn't it be done similarly to the invisible feature ICQ uses?

Roland: my idea there right now is to make contact lists more reciprocal...
Little Cupid:   <------ strawberry wine   :-))))
Roland: in other words, you can choose to only expose information to the people who are on your contact list
blur: Roland....could you get us a "Whiteboard" here please????
Haba: what about the full screen feature?
Zeke: good idea Roland !!
MACgator: c4a is free and virus free
Little Cupid: Blur?  Why do ya want a whilteboard for?   LOL
Roland: hehe
Bluescruiser: <Cheers for Roland>
Roland: hmm I don't know, I don't see a whitebaord happening soon
LuckyLuke: yes.... great idea... u can do a lot with that... : )))
Lightwave: whiteboard= chalkboard
Roland: it's a nice idea but there's so much other stuff that is more important
Glitha: so keep icq for the whiteboard
MACgator: yeah,,,the activeworlds quake2 server
Glitha: its free
Magine: good, don't load the awb up with unnecessary features
blur: A white board so we can exchange blueprints and communicate in more than just words
Magine: there are other programs for that, blur
zg: Roland - any chance of offline building anytime (preferrably soon)
Strawberry Wine: whats whiteboard
Little Cupid: LOL - use POW WOW ;-)))
zg: netmeeting blur
Kasper Voyager: I asked if it's impossible to tilt objects in RenderWare.
LuckyLuke: Roland.. those private improvements are VERY important to some ppl...
Roland: offline building....welll
Sidris: Hey, telegrams and whiteboards are redundant.  Everyone uses icq and pw and has them.
zg: you can do it roland
Zeke: gosh ZG ... and I thought my ideas were bold !!  LOL
Magine: strawberry, it's like a drawing program
Roland: another nice feature to have
blur: SW a white borad is like a chalkboard
Magine: offline building, now that would be nice
zg: i get really high phone bills
Strawberry Wine: no blur
MaiTai: offline building would be a good thing
Strawberry Wine: its offline building
zg: i'd like to reduce them
Roland: however building is so tightly integrated with the server, it's really not possible to build without a server
Roland: however, that said
zg: hmm -local servers?
CyborMan: but if you built off line no one come on except to chat
MACgator: offline building ,,,yes
Chloe: Roland explain how many ppl give you suggestions...i mean how long the list of wishes are ...and how hard it is to implement things :)

MaiTai: under stand
Strawberry Wine: i hate the server i always loose it
Roland: the ability to run a world server on your PC, and build in it without being connected to the that's possible
kato: someone posted in the ng's they buillt'll have to read it...old article
kato: :-)
Bluescruiser: Roland.... Offline building might be done by having a world server serve to an AWB locally, independant from the net
zg: aah - that sounds good
Kasper Voyager: And how would you make sure that 2 ppl don't build in the same place then
MACgator: exactly cybor,,,offline building gets me to repay next year
zg: and then upload to the liove server?
Roland: that is something I've wanted to do for a while
Sidris: good question, Kasper
zg: it would only work if you controlled your own world i guess
Roland: well Kasper that is the problem...that is why you need a server
Zeke: after all ... 98% of the smarts is in the browser anyway !!
Sidris: well, wait.  duh...  you can see what's been built already even when you're offline
LaurieAnn: When will we see voice added?
Andras: no Sidris - you can't
CyborMan: only if it's cached
Roland: hmmm Zeke the world server may be doing more that you think :)_
HenrikG: what about mirror universe servers?  every time a world lose contact to it it goes down..
kato: about voice
Sidris: ok, then not so duh ;)
Bluescruiser: No, but you could build locally and upload, and make THAT subject to the BI's aproval.
zg: Yes - that would be nice
kato: LOL
Roland: mirror universe servers...another nice thing to have...difficult to implement though
Chloe:  Roland explain how many ppl give you suggestions...i mean how long the list of wishes are ...and how hard it is to implement things :)

Little Cupid: LaurieAnne - ya DON'T want voice added - believe me!  Try out TALKWORLD.    ;-))))
Zeke: well Roland ... I meant as far as the building interface is concerned ...
Roland: I do think about that one though
Andras: how about the "Online Registry" update?
Kasper Voyager: Roland: is it possible to add tilting objects?
Sidris: We have sooo many communication programs available, put the emphasis on improving the building aspects
Roland: ah yes, the infamous voice
nikona: Roland will we ever be able to tilt objects to build with like 45 degrees?
Crow: is it posible to make the cords floating instead of integers, so you can get a more accuret location?
kato: voice as an  "option"  would be nice
Zeke: yes ... rotation of objects along the Y-axis would be nice !!
MACgator: ....still wants MP£
zg: use traveller if you need voice
Roland: so far my experience with internet voice has been pretty negative
MACgator: oops mp3
kato: and a flag showing your using voice
LuckyLuke: hehe... why would u do that, roland?
kato: :-)
zg: mp3 :)
MACgator: no voice please
Roland: it works okay for one-on-one, sometimes...
Sidris: i.e. - netmeeting sucks
LuckyLuke: yes... the net is still to slow...
Chloe: crow you can get an accurate coord from the bookmark ini
Haba: better sound system before mp3!!!!!!
LuckyLuke: i agree...
Roland: but I don't see anyway we could have a group discussion like this with voice...
Little Cupid: So true Roland
LaurieAnn: true
kato: true
Ole Miner: true}
Roland: not with this many people,. not with the current technologyu
nikona: will we ever be able to tilt objects????
Zeke: Roland ... is it possible to do y-axis rotation with objects ??
Kasper Voyager: Not to mention you wouldn't understand my accent :-)
Roland: since so much of AW is about group chat...voice doesn't seem like it would help
MaiTai: it would be a disaster
LaurieAnn: lol
Little Cupid: LOL Kasper
Andras: object rotation!!!
Roland: okay...object rotation...hehe :)
LuckyLuke: good Q zeke
nikona: tilt objects
Lightwave: lol
Roland: maybe someday :)
Chloe: can we improve the building features??????? we have cc hat proggies galore :))
CyborMan: lol
Tesla: Voice seems to work great in OnlIve Travel;ler
HenrikG: it wouldn't be voice.. more like shout:)
Tesla: Especially for groups
LuckyLuke: thats a carefull no, Roland hehe
CyborMan: building is easy now
Roland: okay folks....I'm pretty burned out :)
Kasper Voyager: Yes, is it possible in RW?
Andras: :o))
Crow: Chloe..... but then you would have to make a book mark of it, and then go into the ini file and all that stuff... I wana just look... expecially when making stuff like roller coasters
MaiTai: very so
kato: thanks roland
Roland: I need to take a break
Andras: Thanks Roland!!
LuckyLuke: thanks Roland... : )))
Zeke: Hey Roland !!   THANKS !!!
kato: good job roland
Mauz: thank you Roland :)
MaiTai: if you can you can cuild
selda: thanks Roland
"tuna girl": thanks roland
BinaryBud: THANKS Roland!!!
LaurieAnn: Thanks Roland..
kato: *clap*
Lightwave: thanks roland
Haba: thanks Roland
MACgator: thanks roland
Zeke: We LOVE YA Man !!
Roland: I hope the little history I gave was interesting :)
zg: thnks roland - take care
Little Cupid: Thaaaaanky roland  ;-)))
icey: thanks roland
Sidris: Thanks, Roland.  Fine job!  **Clap**
Ewasx: Thank You Roland!!  : )
Magine: thanks, roland
HenrikG: cheers Roland:)
Rifraf: well done, Roland
Ole Miner: GREAT JOB ROLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!
MACgator: later all
BinaryBud: BB gives Roland the clap......***Clap***
Kasper Voyager: Okies, Roland :-) Thanks for this presentation, brought back memories :-)
Roland: it was fun for me going over the old versions last night and recalling it :)
MaiTai: Standing applouse for Roland !!
Ewasx: VERY interesting!
Sidris: One hand clapping....
Zeke: clap clap clap
LuckyLuke: **clap** **clap**
Little Cupid: *applause*
Sidris: ugh, BB!  LOL!
LaurieAnn: *clap* here,here
Roland: nice to have the perspective...remeber our humble roots :))
CyborMan: the old days
BinaryBud: :)
MaiTai: thank you sir for your time
Lone Dragon: Roland,how bout a tech lecture soon?
Roland: and remember...AW will always be a work in progress
kato: hehehe..i remember
CyborMan: when only AW was around
Mauz: see my JUST updated AW history page at  :)
Roland: it just keeps getting better :)
Crow: when is the original Cy going to be back in al the worlds?
Immigration Officer: Avvy Awards Ceremony will happen at 5pm Pacific Time
zg: we should all be thankful for that Roland
Zeke: aaaahhhhh ... the disclaimer !!! LOL
Little Cupid: Greaaat page mauz  ;-))))
CyborMan: no other worlds
Sidris: moisture packets and "stinkjets"!  yaya!
BinaryBud: The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
Little Cupid: Oh very good BB
LaurieAnn: Thankful for Protag also !!
Zeke: Er
Little Cupid: Woohooo to Protag!
Zeke: We're behind you all the way Roland !!
Chloe: *puttin on her high heeled texas boots*
LuckyLuke: well.. im glad with what it is now... if u can improve it... wow!! : ))
Ole Miner: Keep UP The Good Work
Roland: I look forward to the future versions that we'll soon be using :)
BinaryBud: The chief cause of problems is solutions.
Zeke: I am too Roland !!!
zg: :)BB
Roland: I will relay that to Protag :)
Zeke: Your hard work is noted and appreciated Roland !!
LuckyLuke: yeppers BB  : ))
Sidris: Chloe, the boots and that dress just don't get it, hon
Roland: okay...thanks a lot everyone
"tuna girl": : )
CyborMan: thank you
Kasper Voyager: When you whine about some detail not working right, it gives you perspective to think back to the BBS days :-)
Roland: enjoy AW and I'll see you around :)


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