Jacqui Sinclair for the BBC in Italics
Bruce Damer's replies in normal text.
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you - it's been pretty
I'm still keen to cover the AVVY's in my newsdesk - which we
record next week. WIth that it would be great if you could tell
me more about the event... as I am writing my scripts at the moment.
Is this the avatar equivalent of the oscars?
Yes indeed, the Avvy Awards is focused on the designers of avatars,
the best overall, best humanoid, animal, fantasy, weirdest, most
compelling animation etc. It is like a combination of a fashion
show and design competition.
How on earth do 10 000 avatars fit on one screen at the same
10K avatars is the unique visitor count for the event which runs
close to 24 hours, usually we peak out at 500-600 folks simultaneously
in the event worlds.
Is there a pecking order - seating - floating plan just like
Yes indeed, last year we had an octagonal stage with two decks
of seating (walkable ramps as avatars usually don't stay in one
place or sit) that folks could mill around in. On the stage was
a large projection screen showing the finalists and winners. Like
in Shakespeare's globe many bolder or more mischievous folks would
run down and stand right on the presentation stage.
Would you like me to forward you screen shots of this event?
Do the avatars move around - and talk to each other?
Yes indeed, everyone present as an avatar is a real person, they
can text chat and in some instances talk with voice to each other,
the contestants, organizers and bots (automated personae) present.
How are the awards presented?
Are there speeches?
What categories are there?
plus anything else of interest - how are avatars nominated, the
winners chosen etc...??
Prior to the event submissions are gathered by online form, then
displayed in a hall of avatars for judging. At the event, usually
held at 6pm PST on the day of the big annual AVATARS cyberconference
as its grande finale, bots (automated personae) help to run the
event by making announcements and changing the display of finalists
and winners on a big screen. The big screen shows still images of
the candidate avatar designs for each category. The crowds scream
(text chatter) as each person's entry is displayed and a winner
announced, especially as in this tightly knit community most everyone
knows the person whose avatars reached the finals. A speech usually
precedes the event as thank-yous are made to the judges and all
of the volunteers who helped build, staff and otherwise contribute
to the AVATARS conference, which has many components including exhibits,
speakers, art galleries, webcam broadcasting, a greeter and security
detail, towne crier, botmeister and much more.
Categories include best humanoid, animal, fantasy, cartoon-style,
bang for buck (smallest number of polygons for best effect), most
compelling animation (movements, gestures), weirdest (abstract).
An emcee team, usually the conference chair together with the Avvy
Awards chair, coordinates the event and keeps the audience's attention
and excitement whilst the bot moves along changing the slides of
finalists and winners. The best overall category is tallied from
finalist and winners and is a high point of the event. Perhaps the
most popular point is the selection of the "people's choice"
which is done by a raising of the audience's avatars hands (if your
avatar can gesture) or a text gesture vote, a kind of audience noise
ratio meter of popularity done on the spot.
The judges are a carefully selected crew of three to six individuals
respected for their knowledge in the design of 3D spaces and characters.
Submission is open, as anyone can submit their avatar, and they
must provide access to the file containing the avatar model for
playback by judges.
One more thing, as each avatar is displayed during the finalist
and winners rounds, the audience has the chance to don the avatars
and walk around in their favorite avatars. All finalists and winners
are displayed in the available pick list to allow citizens to wear
them during the awards. In fact, votes for the people's choice award
often happen by attendees simply wearing their favorite avatar.
Prizes given to the runners up and category winners usually consist
of software to design future avatars or worlds, t-shirts or even
server software for dedicated worlds that the winner can run themselves.
Of course the greatest reward is the community recognition and many
past winners proudly sport the Avvy winners announcements on their
personal websites and in their personal worlds.
Immediately following the Avvy Awards is our annual "big surprise
experience" in which the entire audience is treated to something
special. In 1999 we unveiled a ten story high number "2000"
rolling over the "millen-o-dometer" to a new century.
In 2000 we dropped the floor out from under the crowd as giant pac-men
bots ate the space station an the collective attendees fell through
a two kilometer long wormhole to the "cosmic experience".
This year what we will do is entirely a secret :)
These surprise experiences give the audience a real rush as they
have spent hours immersing themselves in the experience of the conference
and are very open to the stage set of the surprise.
In the end making a successful virtual world event is all about
the same things that make good carnival, theatrical performace,
or street performance, great set, story, clearly creating a sense
of presence, attentive performers, and an keen audience.
For more information on the AVATARS conference series see the Contact
Consortium event pages at www.ccon.org/events
Feel free to visit the AV98, AV99, AV00 and AV01 conference worlds
Also please try Adobe Atmosphere at: www.adobe.com/products/atmosphere
Which is another, new platform we are working with that will be
part of this year's Avvy Awards.
See the Avvy Awards winners
and and runners up here
the Avatars 2000 Movie!
Superb job! Avatars2000 chair says to Casay and the other team members
who put the Avvy Awards together.
Party at the end of time!
Bruce happy and waving goodbye until Avatars2001
Avatars98 Avvy Stage running
inside the Active Worlds interface
Avatars 2001 Avvy Awards and Surprise
In-camera judging in the Avatars gallery. Casay, AV200 Avvys chair
with a judge trying on a horseman avatar in the gallery
The Avvy Awards stage showing conference chair Bruce Damer trying
to get the crowd's attention (image courtesy Daphne)
The unruly crowd in the stands (image courtesy Daphne)
Dinner, the best animal avatar for 2000, see the other
category winners and runners up here
Carter, winner of the best humanoid avatar for 2000 (image courtesy
Daphne) see the other category
winners and runners up here
Ryoko, co-winner of the best fantasy avatar for 2000 (image courtesy
Bob Wisti) see the other category
winners and runners up here
Best overall and people's choice was Robie see the other
category winners and runners up here
The blobs are eating the station! Pac men bots arrive to set the
stage for the Cosmic Surprise after the end of the Avvy Awards
The space station is being destroyed, bit by bit.
The Wormhole opens underneath the disintegrating Avvy Awards stage!
Through the Stargate! Emerging from the bottom of the wormhole