Saturday, February 21, 2015

Keybindings - Using WASD in ActiveWorlds

I've been gaming quite a bit in my time away from ActiveWorlds, and on my return I found movement with the directional arrows rather unsatisfying.  Thanks to some help from GC and The Alphaworldian, I've got a new setup that I would like to share in case anyone has a similar problem.

You can access the "Keyboard Controls" window from the top menu bar.  Select Options > Configure Controls.  Here's mine, with WASD movement setup in the rightmost column:

Some notes:
  • "Move left/right" and "Sidestep" seem to do the same thing.
  • "Look up/down" are bound to middle mouse scroll up/down.  Toggle move mode is bound to middle mouse click.
  • You can bind two keys to the same action, so I've got old arrow movement and WASD movement both in place. My WASD movement is defined in the right column in the image above. 
  • With WASD movement, the "Quick chat message" button becomes more useful. I believe tab is the default binding for this -- you can use it to quickly set "focus" to the chat window after you've bound letters to other actions. 
  • I haven't had any luck binding the "Escape" key.  The Keyboard Controls dialog uses it to cancel actions, so it doesn't seem that it can be defined from here.
The only thing I'm really missing still is free camera movement with the right mouse click, reminiscent of World of Warcraft.  Using the middle mouse to look up/down has been the closest approximation I've found so far.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Activeworlds goes "Free To Play"

Earlier this month, Activeworlds abandoned the subscription model in their main universe for a "Free to Play" model, where citizenships would be free and additional features would be sold in an online store.

I've been a longtime proponent of this sort of model for AW, so I've returned to the universe and may even resume regular posting on this blog.  I've been updating the Southern Highlands in SW City over the past few days... adding some new SWI Content to the 'Emerald Strand' region of the highlands.

The "Farm Kit" is a downloadable set of AWGs that allow SWI players to farm and cook in the world.
I'll probably be doing some more projects like these as I get time.  It's nice to be back, I've missed being able to build, but the 70 dollar price-point of citizenships just wasn't worth it anymore.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Noticeboard: now a free resource -- models, avatars and textures formatted for Activeworlds

Hey everyone.  Coming out of the woodwork to share a link that has come across my radar.

Cy Award-winning artist Susan 3D (formerly Lady Murasaki) has made her online resource -- -- free to use.  She has designed many objects, textures, avatars, and other resources such as tutorials during her time in AW and I expect that opening the site up to everyone will be very valuable to the remaining private world owners.

In addition to this, she will continue to post resources to the site.  See this AWForum Thread today for the most recent updates.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

AWBuilder Turns One Year Old

One year ago today, on Feburary 2, I set up a humble blog on Tumblr in the hopes of creating a new web resource for ActiveWorlds users.  I had envisioned a place to chronicle my projects, as well as a place for tutorials and for my comments on how AW was doing.  For many months, through high times and lows, I put time and effort into this place, and I think it paid off.  Here we are, a year later, and AWBuilder is host to over 100 posts -- tutorials, downloads, commentary, even the occasional shoutout to other people's projects.  I'm pretty happy with the blog, and from the analytics I see that the AW community is as well, as this page has maintained decent traffic even while I'm not making frequent updates.

AWBuilder had some really great momentum in Spring and even through Summer, but in Fall we hit a change of pace.  I began hinting at some projects I was working on outside of AW (/r/virtualreality) and my foray into other virtual world software.  On the forums and here on the blog I had become increasingly vocal with my displeasure of AW's direction, and for the past few months things have just seemed so... stale, moreso than ever.  Coupling this with the trouble on the forums and the "all is well" attitude that you'll see from AWI and die-hard fans, I found myself in an uncomfortable place.  My citizenship expired in January, and I've taken the opportunity to dive into the great ether that is the Internet to see what else is going on in the world of virtual worlds.

Looking back on my month away, I have to say... the outlook for virtual reality in the future is VERY EXCITING.  I mentioned /r/virtualreality... I try to post a news article there once a day to keep the conversation going, and I've found some incredible things.  Research on all areas of peripherals, from contact lenses that display HUDs to pop-up books.  Worlds designed as therapies for burn victims.  The creativity of research into virtual and augmented reality projects seems unlimited.

Back here in the present, outside of the protection of academia... the outlook for the present isn't so awesome.  In my conversations, I've found that many people consider Second Life to be "yesterday's virtual world."  We seem to be at an intermediary period, where the concept of a general virtual world is accepted and fairly well-known, but it isn't big.  It isn't "the 3D internet."  Not yet -- something is still missing.  With all of this research into hardware, I'm inclined to believe that the answer will be found in a world that takes advantage of immersive technology.

As an addendum to that last though... if Second Life is yesterday's virtual world, what does that make ActiveWorlds?  Some food for thought.


So what's next for AWBuilder?  I'm not sure, to be honest.  As a resource, it is completely functional just the way it is, and I expect that it could continue to be for many years, even if I never updated it again.  I expect that I will occasionally... I really have enjoyed working on this blog, and I'm very proud of the content here.  If ActiveWorlds can find a way out of the rut it is in right now, I may even return to regular posting.

Hey, a guy can dream, right?

Anyway, if you want to continue following my projects, I spend most of my time these days working on  I've been moderating this reddit since August, and it has grown into a nice discussion forum.  We're starting to get at least one post a day and I'm even starting to recognize regular commentors. :p  My goal for the reddit is to be a good measure of where VR is heading, and to be a good place to discuss virtual worlds old and new.  My friends from ActiveWorlds are more than welcome to join in. :)