Back to Contents

Old Year/ New Year.

 By Ewasx As this year winds to a close, I still marvel at what it has brought to me.
January saw my first tentative steps into cyberspace. Email, weather, local news and an occasional chatroom visit was all I needed in those very early days to keep me interested. After a few weeks of that (during which I learned that hard lesson mentioned in a previous essay), I started to discover the news/internet/services sites. What a fantastic way to get just the news you want to read about instead of slogging through paper pages of pseudo-news fluff. 
One day I was reading one and I saw an interesting blurb in the "Cool Internet Sites" column. The piece read: "Tired of the same old 3D games? Want to not only converse with others in a cool 3D real time enviroment but be able to build your OWN world with nothing but your imagination as the limit?" Does that sound familiar? 
Well, after that fateful day my life changed forever. I was immediately hooked. I was a tourist for about as long as it takes to register! LOL The rest is, know. Since joining, I've taken my time with this because of the extreme newness of everything. I did have one advantage. I'm a modern Si Fi addict and VR has been the theme of choice in that genre during recent years. Heck, I was in the middle of reading the supposedly seminal novel that inspired Active Worlds' creation when I found it. 
Some of the seemingly strange concepts that many people struggle with when first joining Active Worlds were routine for me. Concepts like dealing with human minds at the other end of the line without any way to 100% conferm who or what that person is. A concept that is very difficult for many in AW to come to grips with but one that seems perfectly natural and normal to me. I've played out that scenario many times in my mind while reading the likes of Stephenson, Gibson, Scott, Hogan and Williams, just to name a few. I mean, who really cares what that person looks like at the other end? For that matter, why should they care what you look like? Personally, I plan to NEVER meet any of them in the Real World. Why would I want to possibly throw away a wonderful friendship that could be negated because of deep instincts of self preservation, just because I feel the need to see the meat body? 
Because so many cannot conceive of having a friendship with someone in VR without feeling that they need to know the person in the Real World, I've had some awkward moments when some tell me they can't understand how I can be satisfied with just typing to a VR friend on the chatscreen. I used to try to explain it to them in detail but I've found it only results in confusion more often than not along with a few occasions of downright hostility (I never really understood the hostility but I'm no psychologist) so I just tell them to read "Trouble and Her Friends" by Melissa Scott. Warning: If you think the human race is so simple that love can only be legitimate between the opposite sexes, then this book (or for that matter, this author) is not for you. If, however, you feel that humans can and do have the capacity to love beyond the simple black & white attitude of narrow minded moralists, then I highly recommend you give this book a try. The concepts of human interaction in VR are awesome. 
Well, that was the old year for me. The new year? Major changes are in store! Things I never thought I would even consider learning, let alone attempt, are on my "To do" list now. I found that cultivating friendships with like minded builders, apart from the fact that they tend to make endearing and long term friends, has had an unexpected perk: They are more than willing to help with anything that may be giving me trouble. I just hope that I don't drive them to distraction or away in the coming months. It also helps to have wonderful building partners who share my dreams : )
 Back to Contents
This document maintained by Tripper
Material Copyright © 1998 Simon Says