Oct 29, 2006

AW Pricing

This is a repost from the AW Forums from a thread about pricing in AW and it's effects that I had written explaining my stance on this issue. It will also help to clarify my train of thought when reading the "Interview with Inactive Worlds" (which is posted directly below this post for those who have come to read it). Both are the same topic, and both are worth your read.

This post appears (or may no longer appear depending on when you read this) in a thread concerning statistical graphs charting the massive losses in user base since 2001. For those who do not know, the main address for the active worlds forums is simply: forums.activeworlds.com and for as long as the thread exists, you may click on this link here to follow it's recent progress in the community. I thank you for your time in advance.

If the people in here are willing to keep it civil - meaning no total rampages or loss of tempers, then I'm more than willing to discuss this like a rational human being, this also applies to AWI (stonewalling, aggrevation, closing this thread, deleting this thread)This is an issue, and just because it's been ignored for nearly six years now doesn't mean it went away, it simply means it was ignored for six years while somebody hoped it would go away.

Whenever the topic is raised over the past years, it always leads to the same results. I have yet to see an overwhelming response saying that they thought the prices were fine.I also wanted to clear this up ahead of time - the people in the forums constitute the active and diehard users of this software. The opinions in this thread (at least by myself) do not mean I hate AWI or are trying to spread negativity. I am voicing my concerns, discussing rationally and bringing hard data to the discussion of why the prices are too high. This is a seperate concept than "I Hate AWI" or "We're trying to destroy the community".

We are clearly not doing either if we are backing with numbers, offering reasons for change, and doing so showing that these methods can actually be beneficial for both the community as well as the company. I fail to see how this is detrimental in any fashion - so I beg all involved (including AWI) to leave that baggage claim at the door.

There is a definite correllation between the numbers on those graphs and the price hike. The other thing I was thinking of while looking at those graphs was that they represent around 250 - 300 citizenships a month at $70 a year for nearly six years.

One observation from that is at their peaks they were charging $20 a year but had citizenships nearly at 3,500. We currently see an average of 150 - 400 users in here at any given time. So this indicates that the turnover for citizenships is also much higher since the price increase (whereas 300 new citizens a month for six years didn't seem to add to the overall user base).

What this leads me to is that when they are seeing 1/10th the userbase and subscriptions at quadruple the original price, while at their best before they raised the pricing they were seeing ten times the subscriptions at 1/4 the price. Some basic math with these figures shows they are making much less revenue from the higher citizenship prices than when they were lower.

One possible reason, and I can understand this to a degree, was that during that time there was indeed an open letter to the community about how they would not be able to create a version of the browser past 3.3 (indicating they were possibly about broke at the time). So for a short term gain, and to return to fiscally responsible numbers, they opted to raise prices and cut back on some of the features (like tourist access). For a short term gain, this was just fine, but they should not have decided to keep this as a long term strategy because it would have (and has proven to) do more damage than help in the long term scenario.

One of the other concerns I have are with AWI's assertion that:

1. They have no competition
2. They are not Second Life, nor are they trying to be.
3. AWI is successful.
4. The pricing is comparable to other MMORPGs

Without going on a rampage or screaming obscenities in this thread, I would like to address these point for point. These are not taken out of context, but simply in some visible order so we may discuss these things and maybe see their line of logic (at best).In a manner of speaking, all four of those points are directly interconnected and rely on each other in some fashion. If you were to call AWI today and ask them personally, I am sure they would agree to those points and that they believe in them.

Here is why they concern me; This topic came up again after the original thread was deleted in an area of outside discussion. During this discussion the following graph was also presented. Presented by MMOGChart.com, this is a statistics site that deals with Massive Multiuser Online Game statistics comparing all of the major MMOG game based on Users participating.

The thing here is that, in one breath AWI claims to be comparable to other MMORPGs (at least in price and if you ask them they feel also in quality and experience). This is a fine stance for a company, but there comes with it a major problem to their line of logic.

On a statistics site which tracks the major MMOGs, there is clearly representation for Second Life (with around 70,000 users as of that update) and also There (for which the graph abruptly stops possibly due to lack of activity). So, we now have a problem with the line of logic, being that AWI says they are not Second Life and they are not trying to be Second Life - which is fine. But they are also saying they "have no competition" and that they are comparable to MMORPGs (again, at least in pricing though they feel this experience is also worth it which leads to a direct comparison with other MMOG)

The problem is, on this graph, Active Worlds, in any form, is not listed. Even if it were to be listed (simply do a side by side comparison of this graph with the other AW specific graph in this thread) you would realize that as an MMOG they are dead last in most respects.

Again, I reiterate that I have no desire to ridicule AWI about this, or as I have been accused before, to "tear apart the community or hold this browser hostage". To say I am gravely concerned with these numbers, and be willing to voice these concerns in public means I do not fear the problem, nor will i deny there is a problem.

As a citizen of this system, I am willing to discuss it with others in a calm and rational way - while possibly finding solutions. I want only to see that the company involved is also willing to do this, and I may add that stone walling the issue or marginalizing it as a non-issue does nothing for finding reasons or solutions - those are merely tactics of an entity that have no useful arguments for their point.

Secondly, this is far more than a simple "temper tantrum". I would like to get that out of the way early in this thread as well. Tantrums have no reason and no proof to explain why things should change. Discussion and rationalization requires a little research and proof, of which we have, and I am sure we can easily find more if the need arises.

To summarize my points:

1. AW is not the current leader in the market.
2. They have competition
3. The current pricing has been shown to be excessively high
4. Current pricing has shown to be actually creating a long term loss
5. The original $20 per year was shown to have brought in more money than current $70 per year.
6. If AW wishes to compare to MMOGs, that is fine though they should face the reality that they are absolutely last in the active market.
7. AW can learn alot from it's competition.
8. AW is successful, but only through the sales of servers which is now it's real revenue source.

They may not be Second Life nor do they want to be, but if they are implementing the same types of features as Second Life, Saying they are comparable to MMOGs, and pricing in that realm - they might as well take a good look at how Second Life and other MMOGs are implementing these type of features too. (Walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and looks like a duck then it's a moose?)

Just because you stopped charging tourists automatically didn't make it free if you started charging world owners to allow them in the worlds. Changing my shirt more than 3 times a year doesn't cost me $30 for a review process. I can buy virtual clothing in other programs for about a dollar and change up as much as I want after the initial price of the item for no additional cost.

Please face the facts, AW is in competition with the likes of Second Life. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Just learn from your competition and prior mistakes in order to move on and be better, that's all.

AW Universe is also a flagship product. When people search for Active Worlds, this is what they normally get in the results. If you are trying to sell this product, it's a good idea to make your floor model the best it can be. When potential server clients see a bustling, happy and large user base with the floor model - it's easier for them to visualize what it can do for them.

I feel that if I were actually willing to walk away and leave this topic alone, then that would contribute to tearing apart what community there is left and abandoning the environment that I have been a citizen of since 1998. Many good years. I cannot ignore it for that sake alone.

Oct 28, 2006

Interview with Inactive Worlds

Explanation: A few years ago, we wrote a parody of what an interview with a fictitious company called Inactive Worlds would be like. Obviously this is a parody of Active Worlds and their very real responses. While some of this may seem quite absurd, keep in mind that these are very real assumptions made by AWI from 2001 to the present day, regardless of the actual proof involved to the contrary. I would also like to mention here that neither VR5 or I hold any ill-will against AWI or it's browser - but I feel the need to point out the absolute absurdity of their stance on these issues for the public to plainly see. Above all else, take this with a grain of salt, some things are exaggerated in order to make the point, but are based entirely on real replies to these questions.


As we walked up to the offices that cold October day, I couldn't help but remember the situation we were in the last time we had been invited to do an interview with Bob Stoll, CEO of Inactive Worlds. While the issues we brought up were incredibly valid, and in most cases has proof to back them, the interview itself seemed pointless. That and we were kindly escorted off the property by the very real security at the time.

I could only wonder what this trip would be like, and if we would finally get some straight answers. This is 5 years later, and Inactive Worlds still has the same issues it did the first time. The general consensus seems to be among most of the active and oldest users of this software that the pricing is still out of control. I knew this was going to be a touchy subject, so I simply prepared myself to be escorted again off the property...

Darian Knight:
So, Bob... long time no see :)

Bob Stoll: Who let you in here!?

Darian Knight: You invited us for the interview... remember?

Bob Stoll: Oh, that's right. You actually got past the security guards? [mumbles under his breath]

Darian Knight: Umm yeah. So shall we get on with this interview?

Bob Stoll: Of course! Inactive Worlds is always glad to be of service to the community! [smiles]

Darian: Ok then. I guess the thing that is burning in people's minds is "Why are the prices for Inactive Worlds so high, and why are features that are a given elsewhere being considered "an additional option" for a price in here?

Bob: First, I would like to state that we do not charge for extras. There is a simple flat price of $6.95 a month or $69.95 a year for citizenship. I am not sure where you are getting your information from, but it is wrong. Our pricing is comparable to other MMORPGs today.

Darian: Actually... I was referring to things such as Voice Chat in worlds, Customized Avatars, Personal Avatars, and Tourist Access. These are all "optional" add ons for a world or user correct?

Bob: Mostly for world owners, yes. Voice Chat is not vital to the user in operating the software, nor is a personalized avatar. Therefore they are deemed optional and thus will have an additional charge involved.

Darian: But in places such as Second Life, Voice Chat is not additional, it is a part of the entire system as a given. As well as being able to personalize your avatar - for instance in SL it may cost me a couple of dollars to change my shirt whereas by this browser it may cost me $30. The difference being that in Second Life I keep my other clothes that I have bought and can change into them whenever I want for free. In Inactive Worlds, I would be charged $30 for the review process for each change, even if it was a shirt.

Bob: While that is an amusing comparison, Inactive Worlds is not trying to be Second Life. In fact, Inactive Worlds has no competition at all.

Darian: Didn't you just say that Inactive Worlds is comparable to other MMORPGs today?

Bob: Yes, that is correct.

Darian: And wouldn't that put you in the same market as them?

Bob: Sure, but Inactive Worlds has no competition, so it's not our concern.

Darian: Well, judging from the numbers, Second Life is considered an MMORPG. Which in turn puts you in the same market as Second Life. Though saying Inactive Worlds has no competition seems slightly skewed. In this market, it seems the competition doesn't view Inactive Worlds as competition in the least.

Bob: How do you figure?

Darian: We are referring to the updated graph and tracking of MMORPGs found here. [hands him the graph]

Bob: So what is this supposed to prove? Inactive Worlds isn't even listed on this graph.

Darian: Well that's mostly the point I am making. If you are comparing your services to MMORPGs and saying the pricing is on par, don't you think the browser itself should be on par with your competition? At least have comparable numbers for users? Your user base is so low it would barely register on that graph compared to any other system listed.

Bob: I already told you, Inactive Worlds doesn't have any competition. And besides, we are working on rebuilding our user base, you know that right?

Darian: It's very possible that the pricing will play a large part to hinder your attempts in that direction.

Bob: I disagree.

Darian: Alright. So how do you justify the inflated pricing that is still in place, six years after the price hike devastated your user base numbers? According to the numbers, Inactive Worlds has yet to recover from that day, where you used to have nearly 3,500 new users a month, since that time (six years now) the company is lucky to break 300 new users a month. You are operating at 1/10th the user base for four times the citizen price. According to the numbers, you are taking a huge loss every month for the past six years in the revenue from citizens versus what you were making with the pricing set to $20 a year.

Bob: Amusing. And what do you have to back that claim?

Darian: This graph here

Bob: We will not change our prices. They are comparable to other types of MMORPGs out there. Are you saying this isn't worth $6.95 a month?

Darian: Yes.

Bob: Why do you insist on dredging up a six year old grudge against Inactive Worlds? Do you not like the community so much that you would try and tear it apart, and hold the company and it's software hostage? This is just yellow journalism, that's what this is.

Darian: Well, first off, I'm not simply dredging it up. It has been an issue since day one and has not been sufficiently addressed for nearly six years now. It is painfully obvious simply from the numbers alone that after six years, the 90% of your user base did not return and you are at the same levels as when you increased prices. Secondly, I love this community or I would not be here - that I have the tenacity to call you out on obvious delusions does not make me a yellow journalist, nor a hater of Inactive Worlds or the community (whatever is left of it), it simply makes me a very concerned customer. As for trying to hold the software and company hostage, the only time in history when this has been actually done was during the price hike itself by Inactive Worlds. [at which point I hand him this set of letters].

Bob: We didn't have a choice back then. We had to increase the prices because we were on the verge of closing down operations.

Darian: I understand that fully, Bob. And Inactive Worlds as a company were right in asking for the support of it's community during it's darkest hour. Everyone in the company were once citizens just like us, and part of the community. Back then, when there was an issue in the community we had a voice and Inactive Worlds listened. Back then you remembered your roots. But after that increase in pricing, many of the community voiced that they could not afford such payments and over 90% of your user base left. Now those of us who stuck it out are being ignored with the now (still) important issue you never addressed to begin with. You are a stable company now and in the black, and suddenly we no longer have a say. Or we have a say if it agrees with your company and only then. We feel hurt and betrayed after 6 years.

Bob: You're lucky we even listen! How many companies actually listen to their customers? We don't need to listen to any of you! It's a privilege just to get a response from us.

Darian: I am sorry you feel that way. I feel Inactive Worlds is lucky that only 90% of the community walked out on them and not 100%. They are lucky they didn't get swallowed by an investor when their stock nosedived and they were delisted. You are lucky that you have a community that is so devoted to your company that they are willing to pay you quadruple the price for a product that doesn't even come close to it's competition. You are lucky we stuck around for another six years, patiently waiting for a product that was comparable to other MMORPGs of the day. You are lucky we try to tell you what is bothering us instead of doing what most customers would do and just walk away and leave you to go out of business. You have no idea how lucky Inactive Worlds is for having us as a community. We are not just a couple of people throwing a temper tantrum - we are the ones who kept your company alive when it was ready to cease operations.

Bob: So what are you trying to say? You act like we owe the community something.

Darian: At this point, you owe them your job and company. But all they actually want is fair pricing. If they do not get it, you will lose your company. You lost 90% of your user base on your flagship universe, you are slowly losing the other 10%. If you cannot compete, your company will fold - and this time your community will not be there to save you. There was a time when you actually listened and this was driven by the community because you were an active member of the community yourself. Why not try going into the community and asking them , one on one, if they believe the pricing is too much.

Bob: We don't need to. The pricing is completely fair and will not change.

Darian: Even if you are taking a massive loss comparatively from $20 a year? Why would you advocate financial loss and a 90% loss of user base for a short term gain? The gains you must have seen back then to enable you to reach fiscal responsibility surely have worn off maybe a year after the fact, thus creating a long term loss. It doesn't make sense.

Bob: We don't make our money from the citizenships in Inactive Worlds, we make the bulk of our revenue from the sales of servers to corporate clients and businesses. So whatever loss you are talking about due to pricing is inconsequential.

Darian: Wait... your main source of revenue is from the sales of servers, which justify taking a consistant and massive loss of user base and citizenship revenue for nearly six years and running? Why take losses when you clearly do not have to? Especially if returning the fee to it's original level would dramatically help to increase the user base to the levels they were at before the price increase?

Bob: We cannot afford to lower the prices of Inactive Worlds citizenships. And besides, $6.95 a month is comparable to any other MMORPG on the market today. This is a free market, if you don't like the prices why don't you go where you think your dollar will be better spent? You don't have to be here, you know.

Darian: Inactive Worlds has got to be the only company in history that is dumb enough to tell their customers to leave if they are not happy with their product. Did you learn nothing the first time around? You lost 90% of your original customers.

Bob: This isn't the only server, you know. We have hundreds of galaxies and universes around the world for many clients. So it's not like this community really matters. We could shut it down today and continue on with our clients.

Darian: What makes you think other clients would trust in your company's ability to effectively run a successful 3D environment system for them if you can't do it yourself? You have already lost most of your credibility as a company, you have lost 90% of your base citizens and not gained them back and if you treat the people who stuck by your side in your darkest times like this, how are you treating just mere clients?

Bob: This means nothing to us. Inactive Worlds is the leader in 3D Internet Environments and has no competition. Our pricing is more than fair and will not be lowered, and that is that.

Darian: Ok fine. Can you explain then how since 3.2 of the software (possibly earlier) it has been possible to create photo realistic models and avatars, yet the closest thing anyone has seen to this is in a world called VR5? They are not associated with Inactive Worlds are they?

Bob: No they are not. They are a third party company and have no association with Inactive Worlds officially, I would like to make this perfectly clear.

Darian: That is fine. So how is it possible that a third party company with no association with yours and a dedicated three person staff for that world manage to vastly increase the quality of the system in ways that your own company have not in over six years with budgets of a quarter of a million dollars, but in a matter of 12 months with orders of magnitude lower funding? I mean, we're talking quality levels that are beyond your best competition - photo realistic. This is ten times better quality than even Second Life using a browser that was thought to not be capable of such detail.

Bob: I will not comment on that other than to say that we are looking into these methods.

Darian: You mean copying them, right?

Bob: No, I mean we are looking into making this software better and more comparable to other MMORPGs today. We are currently working with another company to create a MMORPG named Piko Island, which will have many advancements over our current 4.1 release of the software.

Darian: Yes, I read some of their forums prior to this interview. One of the testers had mentioned that the graphics look blocky and that they hoped the new version would look better. So tell me, are the new avatars for Piko Island going to rival the quality of the Adam Experiment in the world VR5?

Bob: I am not at liberty to say. Piko Island is a closed project.

Darian: Well, with the amount of money involved with a server like Stagecoach Island, I would have imagined that the environment would have looked a little better - or at least the avatars. Tell me, how is Stagecoach Island doing these days, surely they must be filled to the hilt with users like I saw around when they first opened up.

Bob: Well it is mostly empty now with a handful of users trickling in now and then.

Darian: So who were all those people I saw in there around when they first opened?

Bob: Those were mostly the original Inactive Worlds community checking out the new features of 4.1 before we released it for our main universe.

Darian: Wow, must have made your client think that the advertising capacity and claims you made were true. They must have been completely amazed at the traffic they were seeing. I wonder how they feel now that they have a nearly empty system after the majority of the Inactive Worlds community came back here... I wonder if they think the money was well spent...

Bob: I refuse to comment on that, and it is none of your business.

Darian: Ok, Bob. All I'm trying to say is that even after six years, the prices are still considered too high. It was painfully obvious in the thread for Inactive Worlds forums that the majority felt this way.

Bob: What thread? I don't see any thread about pricing.

Darian: That is because it was deleted by Inactive Worlds staff.

Bob: Besides, that wasn't the majority. We received hundreds of emails and messages from the community saying how much they were enjoying the environment and that they love our software.

Darian: More than likely because they were expressing that the prices are too high, but this doesn't mean they hate the company of the software. They want to make sure you know that these are two separate issues and should not be intertwined for the sake of making people look like they hate the company or it's product. You would never try to create a correlation between dislike of the prices and hating the company and community, would you?

Bob: [...]

Darian: Or attempt to pin the actions of the entire thread on a single person in order to marginalize it's importance as just somebody trying to tear apart the community, would you? It's not like you accused somebody of being a ringleader... did you?

Bob: [...]

Darian: I see. So an honest question was asked, and a large number of people showed up to answer both honestly and constructively. Offering both their voice that they felt the pricing was too high, but also many ideas (many backed with solid proof) on how to correct the situation. Some were very angry (which is expected) and others just trying to be useful by doing what the community did best - coming together to try and solve a problem put in front of them. Many solutions were offered with what seemed to be very good research behind it. Some of the ideas were trivial at best, while others could have been considered just plain logical and sound business. The majority of that thread agreed with each other on the one point that the prices were too high and -

Bob: It wasn't the majority! We have plenty of users who go about their daily use of this software completely oblivious to your little war in the forums. They are very happy, and don't need to hear about the negative attitudes you portrayed against the community and the company in that forum. You did a larger disservice to everyone by even saying you were unhappy with the pricing and the current state of the company. You should be ashamed of yourself!

Darian: Would you care to wager that?

Bob: What are you talking about?

Darian: Open a thread called Inactive Worlds Pricing. Place a link to it from IWGate so a larger amount of people even know they can say something. And If I and even StrikeMan agree to say only one post, do you believe people will agree the pricing is fair?

Bob: Of course.

Darian: Then open the thread :)

Bob: We don't have to. We already know the pricing is fair and comparable to MMORPGs which is why we will not be lowering it. We are a successful company and we do not have any competition. This subject is done and I refuse to talk any longer about it.

Darian: Ok...

Bob: If you have any other suggestions besides those concerned with pricing, we will be glad to listen. Thank you.

Darian: [...]

Bob: Ok then. I think I have proved our point very clearly now. I'll have securi-

Darian: That won't be needed. We'll show ourselves out. Thank you for your time.

So six years later, and still no concrete answers. At least not from the company themselves. For the rest of us, we have the real figures and numbers involved and are not afraid to address them. I left that day in total amazement that after even this many years of not recuperating from that initial loss, that they would still outright deny anything was wrong.

I sat back in the van as we pulled out of their parking lot, the snow flurries beginning to fall. "Ya know, CP." I said to my colleague, "I can't hold it against them any longer". CP turned to me as we drove, "How could you not?".

I finally had found the answer I was looking for after all these years. I took a sip of my coffee and replied "I simply think they have never recovered from their delusions of grandeur from when they were the only company doing this. They simply do not see the real world like the rest of us anymore, that there is competition and they are being beaten. They simply refuse to see it".

CP kept driving, apparently in thought. "Ya know... that makes sense." he said, "I guess after all of those years on top, none of them could stand to accept that they are now dead last, a kinda shell shock so to speak...". I took another sip and gazed at the gently falling snow... "Too bad this will probably be the last time we do an interview with them..." I replied.

Without breaking his gaze on the road, came the reply I was waiting for: "But you have to admit. We had a hell of a time."

A smirk appeared at the corner of my mouth... yeah, we had one hell of a time. And the memories are more than worth it.

Looking To the Future - Wherever it Leads Us: Darian Knight

Oct 16, 2006

Virtual NES

Some testing in our current arcade will be going on over the next few weeks concerning the new Virtual NES system for use in the Active Worlds environment. So far, such included games are:
  • Super Mario Brothers
  • Metroid
  • Marble Madness
  • Kung Fu
  • Pacman
  • Rad Racer
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Castlevania I

These games require the latest version of Java which can be downloaded here in order to play.

Again, these games are extremely experimental in nature, as a Nintendo Emulator has really never been run within the AW environment. So far, it is not entirely likely that you will crash when using these games, though because AW itself is 4.1 and still buggy, the two running together could cause a problem.

If you are experiencing problems running any of those listed games in our arcade (BSOD or whatever) please send a telegram to Darian Knight (me) and let me know what was going on when it happened so I can relay this to Jamie Sanders (the programmer). Some older video cards may experience problems while running both AW and this emulator, so please make sure all of your drivers are updated before giving this a try.

Over the next week or so, it is anticipated that some new features will be worked into the Java Emulator specifically with Active Worlds use in mind (sound toggle, etc).

The most answered questions so far:

Q. How to I quit a game?

A. Just like any other game from our arcade - click the X button in the top LEFT of the browser itself. Not the X to close the browser, there is another X button that will exit the HTML from the 3D view. I may ask Jamie to implement the close button on the pages themselves. For those who have lost their X button on the top left, simply teleport someplace to get out of the screen.

Q. Help! My computer just randomly had a Blue Screen of Death!

A. Depending on the age of your video card, this could happen. Nothing serious, we assure you. Running two applications that are vying for graphics capabilities (or sound) can be demanding on a system of lower specifications. I have had this happen randomly on my 6 year old laptop because of the Nvidia GForce2Go card installed. There may be an update for your card availible to correct this (in my case there isn't an update for this card).

Q. Are these games legal?

A. The only definitive answer we have found is Yes. No ROMs are being copied to your local hard drive, so no copyrights are being broken. There is another Java Emulator that uses this technique for profit called NESCafe (they have advertising built into the emulator), and Nintendo of America has yet to give them a cease and desist order (after years of business). Virtual NES uses the same technique to load the games dynamically, so we are within the legal clear.

Q. What is so special about this version of Virtual NES? I mean, why couldn't we just link to games from his page and just bypass you?

A. Jamie has the main individual pages locked out for direct linking. He is slowly creating pages formatted for use in AW_3D target (meaning 1x size, lower sound requirements, etc). As well as retooling the actual emulator itself to be optimized for use in an AW environment (as opposed to the original which is optimized for a web page and has higher requirements).

Q. Big deal. So you are adding games to a virtual arcade in AW, it's been done before.

A. Sure. When was the last time you played the entire Nintendo library from within AW? The answer is never. This is a first in AW history, not just single flash games or a singe java game on a machine, but a single emulator Java code that can play the entire Nintendo library from a single site. That is the revolutionary part.

Q. What keys do I use to play these games?

A. The A and B buttons are the letters A and Z on the keyboard. The Start button is ENTER and the SELECT button is the Right Shift key (under the ENTER key). You also need to click on the game once to activate control of it.

Q. Original NES games? That is so old...

A. I don't see you making anything better...

As testing continues, I will add more games to the arcade. There are currently 350+ titles availible to play, so I am sure this wll keep you incredibly busy for many hours :) Enjoy! And when we are finished implementing and testing, we will make all of the links availible for all builders to use across Active Worlds.

Looking to the Future (With my Game Genie close by) - Darian Knight

Oct 6, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Anchors Away!

Testing our recent idea of anchoring an entire building to a small mover placed underground in order to make the building visibility independant.

Of the buildings so far using this in our world: Ground Zero and Starbucks. Works nicely even when you drop visibility to 30, they remain visible well past 30 meters of your visibility. Also using this idea - the rain particle effect around GZ. Extending the visibility of the rain farther than normally posible with a Particle Effect on it's own.

This proof of concept was put together to show the use of an Anchor ability for objects and particle effects - while the anchor option for Particle Effects should also allow the creator to arbitrarily set its visibility manaually (for effects like weather).

The Anchor checkbox would obviously only be availible for CT and as an option in World Properties (Enable Anchors).

Change of Lighting

Have been tweaking the lighting in our world so it's a bit more realistic for night time (or twilight). You will now notice a Moon in the sky as well as things looking a bit different in our world (we have been working on making the lighting properly reflect night time and moonlight)

Fixed the Arcade

The arcade was mostly not working as of recent, due to the secondary domain address being down. I quickly corrected this and switched the games over to the first domain prefix.

New arcade building sits behind the current one, and is being worked on by Wes to take the place of the one we have now. Hopefully we get a photorealistic arcade machine to go with it :) We'll see.

Oct 5, 2006

Bad Mojo Be Damned!

The secondary domain is offline for an extended period of time (vr5online.com) due to compliations concerning the privacy system. I other words, the company screwed it up and we as well as they are unable to reset it properly.

The solution for this is to simply allow it to expire lock, stock and barrel and renew from scratch. In the meantime, the main domain http://www.vr5-online.com is very much operational, and there should be no real drawbacks to the temporary loss of our secondary domain.

In Other News

Autolook is now enabled on the majority of our avatar selection. I know it took us long enough... but finally it's enabled, so your avatar should now move a little more realistically. It definitely made a difference versus the older, stiffer movement.

As a side note, I noticed that the Formal Butch avatar we "borrowed" from COFMeta as well as the Becca avatar look so much better with Autolook enabled on them! Btw- when I say we "borrowed" those COFMeta avs, I mean that they are not resident on our servers, but instead being called directly in the avatar.dat file from the COFMeta OP.

This was done not for the purpose of stealing content from AW, but to demonstrate the ability of reversing the avatar replacement that the SWCity patches do for ActiveWorlds where they add avatars with extra animations for use in Alphaworld, but only people with that patch will see it.

The COFMeta folder in our Avatars list is a working proof of being able to add animations to avatars from other servers and make them also universally seen in a world (as opposed to needing a specific patch).

Just one of the many successful experiments from the City of Nidus ;)

Galaxy Update

It'll take us longer than expected to move over to a galaxy - but we are trying to do this before our world expires in 2007 June. Alot of things going on in VR5 leading up to this, so please be patient. I'll try to keep everyone up to date as I get the information...

Emulation Nation!

Jamie Sanders of vNES fame is currently working with us closly to implement his now popular Java NES Emulator within our world as his own arcade! What does this mean for you? Literally *hundreds* of classic NES titles at your disposal to play in Active Worlds, making the Nidus arcade *the* most comprehensive arcade in any virtual universe!

What about the legality? Well from what we understand, it is illegal to offer ROMS to *download* from a website, thus proliferating piracy. The Java vNES loads the rom files dynamically and allows the user to play the library of games without requireing them to download the files locally, thus remaining legal to implement.

One popular incarnation of this concept is NESCafe, another Java NES Emulator that does essentially the same thing, but with advertising built into the app (which sucks when playing Super Mario 3).

Jamie has expressed interest in building a custom arcade in our world using his vNES, so as time goes on we'll be putting together the pages and files to begin implementing all of the titles :)

Look for it coming soon!