Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Submissions for April Newsletter

So long as I'm blogging, I may as well contribute my articles to our monthly newsletter!  I'd like to try to submit two each month for as long as I'm keeping AWBuilder up and running -- one commentary and one tutorial.  Right now, I'm leaning towards "From an era gone by..." as the commentary and "Tutorial - Navigating the ActiveWiki" as the tutorial.  I think those are both pretty solid articles and would be good for the context of the newsletter.

If you guys have any suggestions or other articles you'd like to see go up, let me know!  Otherwise, it'll probably be these two. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

From my Teleports List: AirSpeed

Alphaworld - SW City - AirSpeed
Builder: SW Chris
Teleport: AW 2417.74S 3444.94E 22.70a 263
Jump Point: ^jump AirSpeed

AirSpeed debuted during AWReunion 2010 last year to tremendous reception and has since... well, what exactly happened to it, anyway? Nobody talks about it anymore.  The same goes for the GameFest games... even the hit Weir City from the GameFest doesn't garner much traffic, and it won a Cy Award!

I'm not sure what it is about games in Activeworlds that causes them to meet relative obscurity, but I'd like to do my part here to at least tell you all about AirSpeed!  AirSpeed is a wonderful presentation that uses v4 objects to maximum effect, lifting the player off their feet and into a high-flying obstacle course!  Players sail through the sky dodging objects and collecting bonuses that can remove obstacles further ahead.  The game has been masterfully divided into three 'stages' that become increasingly more difficult. Because of the game's design, the backdrop can provide as much of a challenge to deal with as the obstacles directly in front of you -- I want to catch all of the action!! :)

Anyway, upon completing AirSpeed SW City Interactive players can receive a small reward for their troubles.  The game is a fun distraction and certainly worth sharing with others.  Give it a try!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday Night Project

I did a bit of idle building tonight, and I'm working on a project now that I'd like to share my progress on.  I don't think that I can actually say too much about it yet, but I can show you what I've built. :)

For this project, I wanted to set up two buildings that oppose each other across a street.  My conceptual goal is to use the structural frame of the building to imply that the buildings are actually two halves of a whole, and that they've been pulled apart.

"The Right Building"

"The Left Building"
I don't think you can see the beginnings of that concept so well in this picture, but it's there.  There's also some work I'd like to do with the ground, but this is where I'm at for tonight.

The whole shebang
This is the overview shot from above.  I think the far walls do a better job conceptually than the forward walls, but I wanted to get a draft done for the project tonight because I'm not sure that I'd have time to continue working on it with everything else that I'm doing these days.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. :)  Catch you all later!

Friday, March 25, 2011

'Facebook Questions' Released

Facebook Questions was released today as a new update option on Facebook profiles.  Similar to status updates or link sharing, users with 'Questions' enabled can quickly select the option and begin creating a poll that other users can respond or even contribute to.  Questions hasn't been enabled for all-users yet, and as of this writing is an opt-in program that you can join by visiting

A couple of our Activeworlds related Facebook Pages have wasted no time in getting set up for this new feature.  Check them out!

Official Activeworlds Page

How did you find out about events in Activeworlds?
SW City Page
Who would win in a fight?
I'm sure there's a lot more to come, but so far it seems like a good start.  The questions themselves aren't any more intrusive to your wall than other updates that people make, so hopefully it won't cause too much of a stir.  The @tagging that you can make in status updates can also be made in poll options, which is a really cool feature and I can see some uses for getting the word out that way.  Feel free to visit the links above and give it a try!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weekend - Events for the Weekend of 3/25/11

Hey everyone!  There will be a lot of events in Activeworlds this weekend, so I'd like to throw up some links for you guys to keep track of everything!  I think I'll start doing this on busy weekends to help 'direct traffic' in regards to events. :)

Note:  If you're looking for events or looking to advertise your event, I recommend that you register with AWPortals, because you will have access to view and create events on the AWPortals Events Calendar and you will also receive a weekend newsletter.

Events for the Weekend of 3/25/11
Events are listed by order of occurrence. VRT time is GMT (-2)
Please leave a comment if you know of events that have not been posted, and I will add them!
  • Sunday, March 27, 2011
    • Active Worlds Town Hall Meeting
      • 6:00 p.m. VRT - 8:00 p.m. VRT
      • Location TBA
    • CitBing0
      • Prizes: Citizenships, Cit extensions, and donated objects
      • 8:00 p.m. VRT - 11:55 p.m. VRT
      • CitBing0 World
      • Website: Link

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tutorial - Navigating the ActiveWiki

Over at the ActiveWiki we get a lot of questions from folks who aren't used to wiki software, and consequently have difficulties both navigating and editing the Wiki.  I've offered to teach a class on the subject before and have even taught individuals directly.  As a followup to that, I feel that a quick tutorial may help ease a lot of the confusion in getting around.

Vintage Logo

Before I begin with the details, you should think of the wiki as an outline.  The navigation throughout the entire wiki is formatted as an outline, where important or general topics link to sub-topics that are elaborated on.  You won't find pages on the ActiveWiki that are titled "How to Build," but you will find very detailed lists of the building commands and very intricate examples of how each one works.  The key to successfully navigating the ActiveWiki -- or any wiki, really -- is to know what you're looking for, and then to pursue that as a topic.

Noticeboard: AlphaMapper Facebook Contest!

Clear out your schedule for this upcoming Saturday, because you'll need the free time for a new contest coming to the AlphaMapper Facebook Page!

Sometime after 12:01 VRT on Saturday, an image will be posted on that Facebook page.  The image will be a screen capture from AlphaMapper itself... and once it is up, the game is on!  It will be up to fans of the page to scramble to find exactly what part of Alphaworld that the image came from!  If you're unfamiliar with AlphaMapper, it is a great utility that you can use to see 'satellite images' of Alphaworld.  The utility allows you to find coordinates in the world and save a web link that you can use to visit the location again on the map!  These web links will be used in the contest -- when you find the correct coordinates, just navigate to the top of AlphaMapper and click 'Link to Location.'  A link will appear, and you can submit that link to win the contest!

The winner of this contest will recieve a one month citizenship.

You have to be a fan of the AlphaMapper Facebook Page to participate in the contest, so get to it!  Byte keeps the page updated often, and he's made some really exciting progress towards the next update of the AlphaMapper!  So as I said, get to it, and good luck everyone! :)

UPDATE: You no longer have to be a fan of the Facebook page to participate, and Byte has added Twitter to the mix as well!  This forum thread has all of the details -- submission will be handled by e-mail now, and the content will only be posted to the Facebook or Twitter pages.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

KnowledgeLand - My First Experience in Virtual Reality

While growing up I had the great fortune to be given the (now classic) JumpStart game series.  The games occupied a good deal of my time when I was younger... I think I played them out of order but I really enjoyed them.  Anyway, through this series I was introduced to KnowledgeLand -- an early online game that incorporated many of the JumpStart properties into a virtual world where you could interact with other players and collect trading cards to upgrade your 'character' -- or avatar.  Here's an image of the back of the cover:

Windows 95!?  Get lost, we don't serve your kind here.
Quite the throwback, isn't it!?  To my great dismay, I lost the KnowledgeLand disc when my family moved when I was 10 and I never recovered it.  A few years after I had discovered Active Worlds a few people I spoke with remembered the program, and I wanted to find it again.  A quick google search reveals that details about KnowledgeLand on the internet are pretty scarce -- as of this writing, it doesn't even have a Wikipedia article!

Frustrated, I gave up the search until very recently, when I found a lone YouTube video from another nostalgic user who -- by chance -- still had a copy of the game.  I've included it below:  it's a 10-minute long demo of some of the game's basic functions.  Mostly character creation, dealing with the trading cards, and some areas that I have very vivid memories of.

As far as I can tell, KnowledgeLand was released in 1996 and I was playing it when I was still in elementary school... which is about at that same time.  You may also note that this is contemporary with the early years of Active Worlds.  KnowledgeLand was quite different from Active Worlds -- or perhaps AlphaWorld if we're going back in time far enough.  There was no built environment, and the game is quite obviously marketed towards children, though I'm sure there was a fair mix of interested adults as well.

Though I was still a very young child, this was my first experience into the virtual world and I'm sure some of you may have had similar experiences in other such worlds.  As far as I can tell, the internet was wide open for these sorts of developments in the late 90's -- there's quite a comprehensive list in the book Avatars!, by Bruce Damer, which features Active Worlds and Alphaworld.  Some names that I recognize include WorldsChat and The Palace.

So I'll leave you all with a question: what was your first experience into virtual worlds, or maybe just online game environments in general?  Was it Active Worlds, or another virtual reality environment?  Was it an MMORPG?  Let me know by leaving a comment! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Noticeboard: AWTours Meeting TODAY at 6pm VRT

Hey everyone!  Bach Zhaa will be hosting a meeting to get volunteers together for a new effort in AWTours world today @ 6pm VRT.

Alternatively, if you cannot make this meeting, you can post your opinions in this forum thread.  I myself cannot make the meeting, so that's what I will be doing. :)  I'll probably CC those thoughts over here as well later tonight, that will all depend on how much free time I have before my next class.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

From an era gone by...

Rest Area - AWTeen 2557.556s 1160.247e 0.4a 269
As a caretaker in AWTeen world, I spent a good chunk of my time in 2006 designing and holding events to keep the world population entertained.  It was fun work and with a steady -- though small -- stream of new users coming into the world it was usually satisfying as well.  One handy device I quickly learned of after taking the helm with events was that older builds can be great fun to explore, and ended up making that my focus for a while.

At about the same time, pcnate of was still active in AWTeen world.  In AWTeen, pcnate is infamous for his AWTeen Interway -- a massive undertaking that criss-crossed AWTeen with very well designed roadways.  The network focuses around controlled-access freeways that exit onto smaller roads as they approach points of interest.  The Interway was invaluable for builders during the cities boom in the mid-2000's, as it was a literal networking of our cities.  Back then, you hadn't really 'made it' until a roadway connected your town to the rest of the world.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Noticeboard: AWPromotions

Hey everyone!  Got busy towards the end of the week so I've not been posting, but I'd like to share an excellent new site by Urbane Chaos.  AWPromotions is a wiki-styled website that comprehensively displays sights to see in our Universe.  The front page offers an explanation of what the Active Worlds software is, and then -- in a clear style -- the sidebar offers a tour through our universe from the comfort of the 2D browser.

There are also some informative pages that will certainly be helpful for new users and should be distributed.

For anyone with some spare time and interest in learning about our virtual space, this would be a great place to direct them!  I encourage everyone else to check it out as well. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Updates in Arklay

Hey guys, I've done some more building in Arklay world and I'll be posting photos up here each day that I make progress.  We're working in Arklay world to build up a map to test Droog's upcoming paintball bot.  In addition to this, Droog is working on the paintball bot tonight and I'm eager to hear of his progress. 

Remember, Droog is interested in feedback and ideas from the community.  You can reply to his request in this thread.

World Overview, facing southeast.
The empty interior of a warehouse in the southern part of the world.
A yard of shipping crates in the northern part of the world.
Along with these locations I've built, I've also worked some secret paths through the surrounding cliffs and across the rooftops.  Ideally, I would like players to have access to many areas of the world and use their environment to their advantage.   Hopefully I'll have some more done tomorrow!

Noticeboard: Pelican3D Sales to Support Japan Recovery


Yesterday Pelican of announced that through April 1, 100% of model sales will be going to support the tragedy in Japan.  Donations will be sent through the Japanese Red Cross Society.  He also noted that you could donate directly by telephone at 1-800-733-2767 or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation.

I'm sure by now that we've all seen video of the earthquake, tsunami, and now a potential nuclear crisis.  The human toll in this is enormous, and it's extremely encouraging to see people stepping up to organize and assist in the recovery.  Please help where you can, because even a few dollars adds up to quite a lot if everyone pitches in. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Building - Basic Terrain Manipulation

For private world owners, manipulating the terrain is very simple and can go a long way to adding character to virtual landscapes and scenes.  Terrain editing used to be a caretaker-only right, but as of Active Worlds 4.2 Build 1015 can be given to users through the World Rights list. Public worlds also have limited terrain editing abilities, and rely on bots such as Demeter to allow builders to manipulate terrain on their property.

This tutorial explains simple terrain editing for users who can edit terrain directly.  Terrain in Active Worlds is manipulated at the intersection of coordinate grids.  You can view the coordinate grid by pressing F10 in Active Worlds.  This is the easiest visual way to distinguish between different areas terrain, especially if they have the same terrain texture or are on the same elevation.

A Scene from AWGate...

This is what I like to see!!!
If you follow the blog here regularly, you have probably read my rant regarding the lack of use of some of the more obvious visual cues, such as this GateKeepers help desk.  After dropping into AWGate today, I just had to take a picture of this, because this is exactly what I like to see.  Not only is someone hanging out by the desk... but someone sitting there, legs crossed, just waiting to help a new user. The R2-D2 is a nice touch too. ;)

Nice, guys.  Keep it up! :P

(Also, I'll be posting some more ideas tonight about AWGate after a productive conversation last night at the AW Town Hall Meeting.)

Progress in Arklay World

Hey everyone! Thanks on all of the comments for the new utility! I'll update it again tonight with your feedback. :)

Droog began in-world testing for his new paintball bot in Arklay World last night. If you'll recall from the forums, Droog posted a thread about creating a new bot and people were overwhelmingly interested in Paintball. After some discussion I saved the current world -- the Besieged Map -- as a propdump and wiped the world clean, and now I'm in the process of building a desert-themed map suited to paintball. The map is based in a gorge, and will have two bases -- one on some cliffs and one on the opposing side in some caves. In between this will be a valley that features some rundown industrial buildings. I used to build paintball maps in AWTeen and the work for the Beseiged Map gave me a lot of ideas for building insular areas.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Building - Object Properties Box Tutorial

Hey everyone! Below is a flash tutorial I made this weekend for users interested in learning more about the object properties tutorial box. I might add more to it later, but for now... I like where it's at.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! All you have to do to use it is hover over the different parts of the box, and it'll highlight it and tell you how it all works! :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Break is here!

Hey everyone, and welcome to Anthony's Spring Break 2011! ;)

I don't really have any personal plans for this upcoming week, so I guess that means that we'll be seeing a more active period here on the blog.  There are a few goals here and in the universe as well that I'd like to accomplish, and I'll list them off here:
  • Arklay World:  I'm working on a game project in Arklay world, and although the game part of it may be a while yet coming, I'd like to finish the world environment for visitors.  I'll post updates of my progress as I complete it, because the world makes for a really great game map!
  • Instructional Videos: I've been talking about these for a couple of weeks now, and I would have plenty of time to get this started.  I'm not quite sure how I'll get this started yet because the AW video tool only captures the 3d screen, but I'm sure I'll figure something out. :)
  • Toolbar: I'd like to set up widget along the top of this blog that links directly to helpful or interesting articles I've written here.  The only reason I haven't done this yet is because I don't feel like I've written enough content to justify it yet.
  • The Black Sun: I've got some prime real estate in EBTS4 world that I'd like to work on sometime soon.  The Black Sun is a virtual bar/club that is a setting in Snow Crash, and I'd like to bring a true representation of it into the virtual space.  The Black Sun as described in Snow Crash isn't very visually interesting, so I'm going to focus on very visual scenes and interactions with the user to make the build engaging and interesting.  It's an awkward project, and hopefully I can get it done. :D
That's whats up at my end.  I'll post again tomorrow, probably continuing in my line of thought regarding architecture.  If you ever want me to discuss a specific topic, feel free to leave a comment on a post or on the chat box in our side bar.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Noticeboard: Feb-March Yellow Gazette Published

The Yellow Gazette for Feb-March is online at

Projects like the Gazette are one of the marks of a healthy community; where projects can be found in the hands and influence of dedicated world users who take it upon themselves to make their community a little better.  It's nice when the world leadership doesn't have to do all of the work! :)

It is the tendency of a community to only lament on the loss of a project after it's contributors have moved on to other interests, so if you like the Yellow Gazette be sure to let them know and show your support!

In-world offices of the Yellow Gazette (Teleport there now!)
For me in particular, the Build of the Month section featured a couple of interesting locations that detail some methods on game-making and environments that may be of interest to readers here.  Another article of interest explains the numbering system for primitive objects.  The prim objects were numbered in such a way to be intuitive and easier to remember after a simple introduction to the numbering system, so if you have a hard time with prims this may be helpful!

If you do follow-up and visit the Gazette, I'd like to know if any of the articles that I didn't mention caught your eye.  I'd like to see how our interests compare/contrast.  You can let me know by just leaving a comment below! :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why do we pursue Realism in the Virtual World?

By request, I'll be delving into some theory tonight concerning my thoughts on the spacial architecture of our virtual world.  Depending on how I feel about this post by the end, this may become a series. ;)

As prevalent in our virtual experiences as it may be, Architecture is a topic that's not often discussed.  Even though Architecture as I know it is being experienced daily, only the most rigorous builders concern themselves intellectually with any sort of architectural theory behind their work.  These people are also (often, but not always) concerned with pushing themselves and finding new applications and new techniques for creation.  On the other hand, most everyone else -- everyone who is actively engaging Architecture -- gives it a passing glance... checking to make sure that they are adhering to arbitrary guidelines of realism or at the very least making sure that their walls aren't z-buffering.

I'd like to note that although I did not create this house, I went well out of
my way to landscape around it.  Why did I do  that? Why is there a door?  Is
there any point to the landscaping beyond my own aesthetic sensibilities?

I'd like to note that I'm not making this contrast because I'm some sort of architecture snob, but rather to begin a conversation on Architecture in our virtual world.  If you think about it from a purely pragmatic standpoint, it's a rather odd thing that we would engage in creating any sort of realistic architecture in a virtual environment.  For what use does a virtual avatar have for a doorway?  Why do buildings need to be on the ground!?  We can fly and shift through objects in our environment, yet the large majority of us have taken to conventional structures and only use our abilities to fly and shift when it is convenient.

This is something I find absolutely fascinating about our experience in Active Worlds -- especially in the public building worlds where this phenomenon is most prevalent -- because I don't think that is what most people had in mind before virtual reality existed.  Even environments Snow Crash, the inspiration for the Active Worlds technology, loosely followed laws of physics at best.  Check out this description of the popular Black Sun bar:

"The black sun is as big as a couple of football fields laid side by side.  The decor consists of black, square tabletops hovering in the air (it would be pointless to draw in legs), evenly spaced across the floor in a grid.  Like pixels."
Did you catch that?  In this example, the interest isn't so much in realism (although it is played on later), but rather in what is pragmatic and beneficial for the computer.  The author later describes also that the club is matte black, because it is easier on the computer.  He didn't even touch on an exterior description.  In a world where you can teleport to locations and shift through objects... is an exterior even necessary?

SW City's Nimbus Land is actually a hybrid of two opposing lines of thought:
a cloud city (which is inherently unrealistic) using realistic visual cues such
as doorways and pathways for the benefit of the user.

Probably not.  The difference is in that we create in such a way because it is comfortable for us, and intuitive for other users.  When I create a doorway in the virtual environment, it isn't because people can't find another way in... but rather because I want a visual cue to direct visitors on how to enter the building.  In much the same way, I place (most of!) my buildings on the ground because if they were high up in the air, most people wouldn't find them because a building is expected to be on the ground.  These are conventions that most builders have identified without much thought, and follow for convenience. In fact, I think that -- for most, this goes beyond convention and is actually felt as necessary for user interaction.  We've touched on how the convention of the doorway exists for a visual cue.  The cue isn't unnecessary, and in fact does serve a very practical purpose by directing users on where to go... and what would its alternative be, exactly?

What would replace a doorway?

This question really hits it home.  Why do we pursue realism in the virtual world?  It's not just because it is what we know, but rather because it is what everyone knows!  Most builders aren't trenching themselves knee-deep in theory and declaring a manifesto: they don't have to!  Some certainly do and I think they derive a good deal of satisfaction from that, but most builders you'll run across just want to make a nice house.  A nice house that they've tried their hardest to make easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing, and enjoyable to visit.  When it comes down to it, a house with no doors or windows that is a few hundred meters up in the air is, well... it's awkward.  We're conditioned to reality, and for better or for worse, it is our easy and common solution to mimic reality the best that we know how.

For this reason, we have a ground plane, though it is only a flat simulation of a true ground.  We've created sunlight... even though our virtual plane orbits no star.  We strive to make sure that our creations make 'visual, physical' sense, even though that floating object will never suffer the effects of gravity.  It is a peculiar habit, but it's a very poignant example of how our virtual forms can interact with function.

Form and function.  Now that's a big topic in architecture!  I'll have to discuss that further in my next entry. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Noticeboard: AD&DRPG Open Permanently

Hey everyone!  Just a quick note before I get into tonight's post -- I'll probably take a couple of days off the blog Monday and Tuesday to focus on my Calculus midterm.  I've got a lot of studying to do and won't have too much time to blog while I'm doing that.  On the plus side, after this week is over I will be on Spring Break and will have quite a lot of time to devote to projects. ;)

Now to the meat!  I want to use this blog to plug community efforts here from time to time that don't get too much press.  There are a lot of groups in Active Worlds who are actively seeking out volunteers and for whatever reason tend to get overlooked... and since I've got this nice blog now hopefully I can help to put a stop to that.

Without further adieu, today we'll be taking a look at AD&DRPG World. AD&DRPG is a massive gaming world that drops the player into a medieval adventure.  Designed in the fashion of dungeons and dragons, the player builds stats and skills as they increase in level and gain better equipment.  The player's actions influence their moral alignment, and players can even PvP against one-another!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rescheduling Class to next weekend

Hey guys!  It turns out that today may not have been the best day to do this, so we're going to look at next weekend... perhaps after Byte's class. ;)

In the meantime I'll make it up to you by posting up some examples this week!  Apologies for the delay.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Closer Look at Advertising: Utilizing Twitter

Let me just get it out there now: I have a history with this idea.  Active Worlds doesn't have a very big presence on the Twitter scene, but I think we get fair use out of it. Flagg's twitter feed, for example, currently boasts 77 followers as well as having the feed displayed on several websites, such as this one.  SW City Interactive has had its own 'Switter' feed integrated for a couple of years now that is actually fairly popular around town.

Twitter gets a bad rap sometimes for over-emphasizing the insignificant, but when you're dealing with virtual worlds the potential for rapidly changing or spontaneous events makes a quick and easy solution like Twitter a desirable tool to keep on our belt.

Content creators in Active Worlds stand to benefit from the use of Twitter in a couple of ways.  The first is its ease: everything has been done for you.  You don't have to design a website, you don't have to pay anyone; you've just got to set it up and go.  140 characters or less, preferably.  Twitter, or any social media situation really, is a quick platform for providing quick updates to people who are interested in the same things you are.  If you already have a good following, this is cake!  If you don't, it isn't to hard to spread the word. :)  Read on!

GSK: "Suspension of AWTex Service"

GSK reported on the Activeworlds Forums today that his remote texture-hosting service AWTex would be suspending service until further notice.  He did not cite a reason, but did explain that a plan was in place for such an event that would allow existing content to remain available while suspending new further input from users.

As of this announcement, existing AWTex uploads should continue working properly and should not cause problems in-world.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Interactive Building Class: 5pm VRT on Saturday

Hey guys!  I just wanted to check in and say that, if all goes well, I'll be able to host an Interactive Building class this Saturday at 5pm VRT!

I also wanted to make a correction... that Byte's class will be taking place next weekend, not this one.  I'll try to get a full post up later... had a bomb of a paper due today. :(


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

AWI: Alphaworld Maintenance Wednesday

From Flagg:

AlphaWorld (AW) will be offline for maintenance on Wednesday March 2nd from 12pm to 2pm VRT (9am to 11am EST).
Just helping to get the word out here.  Doubt this will effect too many people, but if it does you should check out some of the other building worlds in the meantime.  Yellow is doing really well these days. :)

Decided on a class topic for Saturday

I'll be teaching a class in AWSchool on Saturday as part of the new AWUniversity effort, and the topic will be Interactive Building.  This continues in the vein where Byte began last weekend while covering timers, but I think I'll be moving in a different direction with it.  My feel of it as of today is that I won't be going over a specific command, but rather showing some examples of how to use multiple commands in tandem and encouraging creative uses of commands to achieve an interactive scene.

So for example, picture a scene where a man greets you upon entering a room and tells you that the door to the room beyond is locked.  You can open it, but he's lost the key!  If you can find the key, you can use it on the door and open it to continue forward.  This is an easy interactive scene to set up, and in its simplest incarnation only requires the use of the say and visible commands to set up.  You would, of course, want to use other commands to enhance the quality of the scene, but in general the creative combination of commands can provide a vivid experience in the virtual environment.

Ideally I would get to teach the class after Byte's shear/skew class, with some time for intermission.  I'd like to set up some interactive examples perhaps half an hour before the class starts and let people play with them, and then we could get right into it.  If you have any examples of things you would like to see just let me know, and I'll try to have that set up as well.

If I have some time to get into Active Worlds this week, I'll take some video of some existing examples of cutscenes and interactive games that I've worked on and post them up here.  Stay tuned!