AVATARS 98 NOVEMBER 21st 1998
The following are just a few of the testamonials we received by email for the recent Avatars98 event, the first conference held inside cyberspace.
From: email@example.com (John Bray)
Subject: [contact] Contact Consortium conference, an outsiders perspective
I've never been very interested in virtual worlds, and MUDs, MOOs and avatars have passed me by, but I was intrigued by the idea of a virtual
conference, and went along this year.
Having the conference across multiple simulated worlds was confusing, but I guess inevitable when its purpose is the design of such worlds. I tried
out the Active Worlds one, which I guess was the main venue, though I wasn't sure.
It was very easy to install and setup the Active Worlds software, it ran well first time, with a 4 pane system: help, view of the world,
conversation history and information panel. The last was effectively an internal web browser. Movement was easy, though it needed a Doom-like
slide sideways to make it possible to move along aisles while looking sideways, and looking up and down could be awkward. The frame rate was
fine in this 200 Mhz machine, though jumping into a new environment it could take an age to set up all the graphics and associated web page.
The organisers had laid out a virtual convention centre, with central plaza with information walls, dealer's area, art show and function rooms
all nicely rendered, with loads of posters and signposts to help navigation. This and the crowds of avatars helped atmosphere, but the key
effect was surprisingly the background hubbub sound file that brought it alive. Areas without it felt much more dead.
The art show layout worked well, with artwork displayed in the world itself in panes on the walls. The reduced resolution and rendering needed
to present them at particular perspectives did spoil the quality, and I would have liked to view the proper file along in the neighbouring window
(Clicking on the image sometimes did this, but others took you to the exhibitor's web site, which wasn't what I wanted)
The dealer's area felt right, though it was hard to tell which avatar was the dealer, and I had no real questions to ask.
The programme rooms were well designed, with lists of speakers outside (if only this could be done in real life!), and a podium to identify the them.
I think the programme was too heavy, as many advertised talks seemed to have failed, but I did get to Derek Woodward's talk, which shows how the
medium could be used. He was talking by cutting and pasting 3-4 lines of text at a time, of good prepared material, and showing slides on the panes
at the back. Cut-paste did break up the flow, and the slide resolution was low unless you crowded him. It would have been better to better to display
the material in the browser window, with slides above and some scrolling reveal of his text below. An audio feed + slides in a separate HTML page
would have been best.
I wasn't very clued up with the dynamics of interaction, how to hover on the edge of conversations and how to break in, especially with typing
delays being much longer than speech ones. I spotted Reed there, but it was hard to sidle up for a private word without feeling you were shouting
at the rest of the audience, as there was no limited broadcast option. As far as a substitute for a real conference went, the 3D world did very
well, with only a few years improvement in rendering giving a real substitute for 'being there'. I would like proper audio though, to hear
speakers and have proper volume control for conversations.
At the moment, I'd still rather fly round the world to see you all in March.
Date: 23 Nov 98 22:06:27 PST
From: Jeffrey Willard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Bruce Damer
Subject: Re: [thanks]
Thanks for the acknowledgement. I spent three hours in the Avatar Cafe at the Palace as advertized. A few people asked me about Avatars98, after I mentioned it, but I didn't get the impression anyone was there looking for an Event.Unfortunately, it seems most of the avatars in the Palace are not interested in cyberspace. Except for me of course!!
It may be their two-dimentional outlook on life. Some of the visitors had a one-dimentional view, if you know what I mean. It just gives me a better
appreciation for the work you do in Promoting Avatars and the community that surrounds them. It has been a great learning experience for me.
I have an apartment in the business district at Cyber Town, a 3D chat room at the Dew Drop Inn in Colony City, many trinkets in my turf in Dreamscape, which I found to be very addictive. The people there are paying customers and there is a definite synergy taking place there, with the Golden Knights, Acolytes, and various groups vying for status and prominence. There is a whole group of dark people and a rabbit clan, and a group with kimmi heads. Very interesting psychology taking place. I ended up with about 70 hours in world, mostly while I was working on something else.
I was finally able to wander around the exhibit hall today. It is really impressive, I know when I was there during the event, I could only move a few meters and the text was flying by so fast I couldn't even see what I was typing. I wish I had been able to help you out more.
I'll write up a little blurb for you, about my stay in the Palace, and send it out to you tommorrow. Thanks again.
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 19:51:51 -0800
To: Bruce Damer
From: Ron Meiners <email@example.com>
Subject: Fwd: booth bitmaps
still buried... but did want to get my head above the viscous movement-inhibiting fluid for a moment both to express my amazement
(wonder, excitement, high regard, kudos, generic flabbergasted appreciation) for the event, AND to thank you and the staff personally for
all of your help.
Okay mostly raving nonsense from here on out. Thanks thanks congrats amazements and more thanks!
Annnnd more later!
From: Nick Kings <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Soft Toys
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 11:47:16 -0000
I had a great time being a greeter for 2hrs. I'm sorry I couldn't actually get time to wander about and soak up more of the events and
take part. I'm looking forward to seeing the papers and transcripts. One thing... It was nothing like a real conference!! Where are the arms full of cuddly toys? What about all the bits of paper you read on the train, on the way home?
*smiles* I JUST WANT A FREEBIE TSHIRT :-)
GREAT EVENT PEOPLE
Snow Dragon aka Snowy aka Nick
Knowledge Management Research
From: Robin Sircus <email@example.com>
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.5 [en] (Win95; I)
To: ccon list;
Subject: Re: avatars98: Avatars98 Report Pages Up!
I never dreamed of being a drag queen. :))))))
Why don't we start calling Virtual Worlds something like Self Created Worlds or something a little more real. This word virtual has a not so hidden negative or demeaning conotation, or at least some people use it that way or refer to the internet that way, as something not quite real, like the imagination. People like you and me know that the creative power of the imagination is to create reality and we never had so much tools and opportunity for creation than we have now. Thersa just sent me over to Naima and this is bible stuff, fantastic. Will encorporate it all into Camelot World Castle. My team group is coming together just now and we will set to work soon,
Living, learning and working in Created Worlds
Of our own choosing. My imagination is opening to truly fantastic future realities that we have the power to create now. We are going to blow the doors off the old world view and the old world politics and the old view everything.
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