Jul 12, 2006

Meanwhile... Back at the ranch.

Second Life Under Attack?
It seems according to the following blog that the Second Life grid is increasingly under attack by various people all over the world. From what we are reading, people are making self replicating objects (because you can scripts stuff) and setting them loose in the world until the entire grid is choked and the server dies.
It was a matter of time before somebody created a virtual reality equivalent of a Denial of Service attack. I've personally always wondered what such a thing would actually look like.
I think next we should be expecting to see something like Particle Popup Ads :) I shudder to think of this... especially in the Active Worlds universe where this can be created with apparent ease.
New Ratings and features
Alot of new things have been added to the world as of recent. One of which is the Eclipse Evolution security system (thanks to Mark Randall). This has allowed us to set up a much better security system for our upcoming concerts (around the stage and staff only areas). Also included with the Eclipse system is the ability to setup jump points around the world for easy transportation.
We have already setup a handful of jump points around the world to the more interesting places to check out. If you want to know what's around you simply type ^jump/near in the chat field and you will be given a list of the six nearest locations. Or for the more adventurous, try typing in ^jump random() to be launched to a random location in world.
Also added to the world is the Hermes Extended Chat Network. Now nobody will be out of range for chatting in the world. If you would like to have a private conversation and not be global, simply type h:end in the chat field to leave the extended chat network. To rejoin, type h:begin.
The official rating (yes we finally figured it out) for the world VR5 and the City of Nidus is now NR, meaning that the world itself is Unrated Content. It's possible to argue that the world is technically rated as PG in the Active Worlds universe, but because the web embed defaults to PG we are unable to rate the world to something like X or R. If the world rating is changed to something other than PG then whomever comes into the world using the web embed will automatically be bounced to AWGate. Normally we don't have a problem with this, except that during the times we were promoting the Metaverse EX 4.1 browser on Download.com, people who downloaded it were being bounced to AWgate (as well as the web embed users).
Just in case you were wondering, yes I just said we are listed on Download.com. For all of the users who have been accusing us of trying to spread malware, spyware or virus with a "hacked" browser, this is proof that it is a clean program.
Also of note: Metaverse EX is not a hacked browser or universe. We've had a number of people accusing us of hacking the browser or universe and releasing the Metaverse version illegally. At no point did we modify the executable or DLL files for the Active Worlds client to achieve the look and features that we made. In fact, everything availible in the Metaverse EX version was accomplished by simply editing the open ini files and graphics.
We made our own toolbar graphics, modified the ini files, and setup the content in the additional folders included with the install. These steps are in no way prohibited by Active Worlds, nor does it break any licensing agreements. No more than the AWE version would break these agreements.
What the Metaverse EX version of the browser actually accomplishes is that it streamlines the browser and makes it simpler to use and navigate. Unlike the standard AW browser which clearly uses the Winamp icon on their toolbar to represent Builder Mode, we chose to use the image of a hard hat to represent this mode. Couple of the features are new to the browser, but use old nearly forgotten commands to accomplish them. Everything in the EX version is done through the INI files.
Aside from that, our version listed on download.com (search for Metaverse) shows that 340 + users around the world have downloaded it. That's 340 + new users to Active Worlds. I remember the old mantra "Think AW Rocks? Tell a friend!", and that's just we are doing. We've exposed AW to 340 + people so far and are looking for ways to expand the range.
On the flipside, the last version of Active Worlds browser shown on Download.com happens to be Version 3.2, and has horrible reviews from the users. We would like to turn the old way of thinking around and possibly win back some users AW has lost over the past couple of years.
I would like to state for the record as well that anyone in our world shouting that the browser is hacked or illegal will be shot on site. Period. Just because the world is NR now doesn't mean you get to be obnoxious or outright beligerant.
So here's the deal. Only one rule for our world (as usual): respect others. If you do not respect others in this world you're out. No questions, no "just kidding". First offense is banning for a week, second time I'm making up a rediculously high number for the security bot to automatically bounce you. Third time I'm permanantly banning you from the world. Just because the world is open for rating G - R doesn't mean you can't act like a semi-respectable adult.
Some Works in Progress
Meanwhile.. back at the ranch. There is a new warning at our gate explaining that we are now NR rated. There is also an Accept and Decline hyperlink to make sure visitors have read and understand this.
The second thing is that the Accept hyperlink actually bounces to a new PHP on our server (custom written) called scatter.php which will randomly place visitors around our gate and try to keep people from piling up (like they do in AWGate).
Which leads me to... another PHP project to customize HTML content based on fields entered by a user. Linked with the Active Worlds Embed for websites, this should allow users to customize the embed control script for their own location or world. In other words: Any user can goto that page, fill in fields like "World Name", "Location" etc and the PHP will add them properly into the HTML code for you to copy and add to your site.
I hope that was simple... oh well. It'll be cool when we release it...
Another thing we're looking into: Ability for a PHP code to redirect properly to a website address in time with another PHP which is used to display static images in Active Worlds (PHP TV Systems).
Let's see... umm... Oh yeah. Aztech Rising is returning to VR5 for an encore concert July 29th 2006, 10 PM VRT. Again, price of admission is FREE and first come first serve. this tme around we have massively updated the arena with a new stage, new gift shop, and an awe inspiring amount of custom eyecandy for the concert. The first concert was jus a test, now we're going all the way!
Hope to see everyone there :)
Looking to the future - MPL Knight


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