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Hot Worlds in the Passport Universe

Official Web sites from Black Sun

The Black Sun home page is at

The Avatar Gallery is at

Companies and individuals who are building worlds can be found at

The Worlds Travel Guide is at

Worlds built by the community of Black Sun users

Some of these worlds can be visited with the old CyberGate program from Black Sun (which is called CyberGate and runs independently of Netscape). CyberGate is an impressive application, and if you are having trouble with Passport, I recommend that you try CyberGate (download it from the Black Sun Web site. The new program (called Passport) can be used to visit all the worlds.

Pool World

Gerry (a.k.a. Prince Charming) invites us all in to take a dip in his virtual swimming pool, complete with fish and shells decorating the outside. Dive in! You can actually submerge yourself in the water, but watch out for the shark! If you get too tired from doing flips off the diving board, take a snooze under the palm trees, or order a drink from the bartender. No tipping, please.

Passport client users can open Pool World by pointing to: CyberGate users can enter this URL:

Beach World

Figure 11.26 ch5ea.jpg
Simberonís Beach World.

At Beach World, life truly is a day at the beach. In this exciting world, you can let loose under Black Sun skies, climb the lighthouse, or just relax in a beach chair and listen to the soothing sound of waves splashing upon the shore. Want to save this moment? No problem, Beach World has a resident photographer that will take your picture for you! This one's not to be missed .

Passport client users can access Beach World at CyberGate users can enter this URL:

The Castle

Full of wonder and magic, you never know what you'll find in the Castle. Speak with the Spider King; be dazzled by the Master of Colors. Join the magic banquet, and revel in the chaotic festivities. But don't get lost in the maze!

Passport client users can access the Castle at CyberGate users can enter this URL:


Feeling hot, hot, hot? This fiery environment will definitely warm you up. Run among the volcanoes or dance around the animated flaming spritesóthis place is the location for venting some anger or toasting your marshmallows on a cold winters eve…you may want to visit Pool World after a stint in Flames!

Passport client users can access Flames at CyberGate users enter this URL:

Gotham City

Discover the darkened streets of Gotham, but keep an eye out for the Caped Crusader! Fly through skyscrapers, or prowl through murky back alleysóbut be aware, Gotham is a city full of mystery and danger…always keep an eye out for the Bat Signal, you never know when Batman may appear, or when you may need his help.

Passport clients can access Gotham City at CyberGate users enter this URL:

Mayan World

Explore ancient Mayan ruins and climb the temple steps of the Sun God, but be careful…the ancient ones are always watching! Once you have visited the towering pillars and stone monoliths of Mayan World, you will see why this is one of the favorite meeting places under the Black Sun.

Passport client users can access Mayan World at CyberGate users enter this URL:

Winter Wonderland

Come play in the snow in this fantastic Winter Wonderland. Watch the snow fall, the North Pole spin, and hear a holiday angel sing carols and greetings. You can also select one of the custom penguin avatars and instantly join the flock of fluttering winter birds! For a surprising treat, take a couple of steps back to see where you're really at.

Passport client users can enter Winter Wonderland at

Companies building Black Sun and other virtual worlds

Barnegat Communications is an Internet service company specializing in providing a Web presence for small- to medium-sized companies. It offers high-quality page design, site hosting, virtual domains, search engines, and more to create rich VRML worlds.

CGI Inc. combines its expertise in 3D graphics, animation, and modeling to create rich VRML worlds and Web site design. It offers a wide range of design formats including HTML, Java, and VRML, created with the latest tools.

Cybercore Design specializes in creating virtual worlds tailor-made to suit your every need. Their first priority is to give you high impact scenes with minimal file sizes for quick downloads.

Cybertown is a futuristic off-world town with entertainment, information, community, and interactivity. Cybertown's design division also creates sophisticated VR worlds for other companies.

IntelLink Inc. combines decades of expertise in 3D graphics, animation, programming skills, and (most importantly) marketing savvy to create exciting interactive VRML worlds and dynamic Web sites. Its wide range of design talents include VRML, HTML, Java, and CGI (PERL and C)ócreated with the latest tools. IntelLinkís creativity was the driving force behind the creation of Passport clientís launch contestóCyberRoute 96.

Lost Wax Media Limited is a VRML research, design, and production company based in London. It specializes in designing and building multi-user virtual worlds for corporate and financial sector clients. Please e-mail for further details.

Market Central Steel Studio is now creating commercial virtual worlds for progressive Internet sites. It is continually releasing new models with enhanced features, so stay tuned.

Planet 9 Studios builds virtual worlds on the Internet for business and entertainment purposes for clients such as Apple, Intel, and Microsoft. It built the first VRML world, called Virtual SOMA (representing the South of Market district of San Francisco).

Ross Finlayson offers services in many areas of computer systems, including integration of legacy applications, and cutting-edge applets. Its development experience, combined with the latest in 3D design, offers rich and exciting VRML worlds.

Simberon designs, creates, and hosts interactive 3D worlds, along with custom avatars and bots to enhance the interactivity of these worlds. Simberon also develops custom worlds, avatars, and bots for commercial clients.

Superbusiness NET develops successful Internet business Web sites for entertainment, high technology, and retail companies, with an emphasis on interactive multimedia sites, Shockwave, and VRML design. SuperBusiness NET also develops high-end database solutions for Intranet and commerce applications.

3Name3D offers full-service development capabilities for the game, film, broadcast, and Internet industries. 3Name3D specializes in 3D visualization of environments and characters, such as sports stadiums, dinosaurs, and VRML avatars.

3RD Dimension Technologies develops and provides 3D photo textured computer models. This company has hundreds of realistic looking models for use in your 3D worlds. They also do custom modeling to meet your needs, and can make your face into a 3D avatar.

Virtual Horizons offers multimedia communications and 3D visualization, with special emphasis on VRML for corporate and business uses.

Some Individual Userís Sites and Worlds

David Maloneyís (Guy) site at, has dozens of avatars and worlds built in VRML and running in Passport.

Pam Miller's (Imagica) Flamingo World and other worlds she has made are at Find the Flamingo City Times at

A great place for information about world building can be found at Gerry Paquetteís (Prince Charming) Inner Sanctum at, and Gerryís information on avatar creation is at

Digiís Diary: Why Virtual Worlds are not Virtual Reality on the Internet

Sometimes I hear people referring to virtual worlds as ìvirtual reality,î and I feel duty bound to say ìnot!î There are several reasons why. I can go on and on about how virtual worlds are a new form of human contact, and not an artificial reality, but as real as talking on the telephone. But the best way to explain the difference is to tell a story.

Almost 100 years ago, Thomas Edison was perfecting his film cameras and manufacturing a box that came to be called a Nickelodeon. The Nickelodeon was set up at fairs or popular street corners, and for a nickel, people could step up to it, bend over, and peer in to witness a short film loop. These machines created a sensation for awhile, and were making Edison and others the first returns from their enormous investment in developing the movie camera and film. With the Nickelodeon, you got an immersive, private experience of a short, flickering film. Quite a dazzling experience for the turn of the century, but it left some dizzy. Moreover, women did not like the idea of men being freely able to stare at them while they were bent over the box.

One day, the key engineer who had built Edisonís film camera (and who has received virtually no credit), came into the great inventorís office and proposed that he could build a projector that would place the image on a large white screen. He went on to say that they could rent a theater or music hall and charge admission, and audiences could share the experience in large numbers. Edison was furious, and threw his engineer out of his office, claiming that such a move would undercut sales of their Nickelodeon machines, and was also ludicrous.

That engineer eventually left the Edison laboratories, formed his own company, built the projector, and opened one of the first cinemas. At the same time, the Lumiere brothers in France were creating wildly popular cinema experiences.

In the early 1990s, a new kind of Nickelodeon was invented, called the immersive virtual reality (VR) system. Most of us have seen itóthe head-mounted display and data glove. Many of you have probably tried it, as there are a few of these systems at arcades, cybercafes, or even some home units. I have stepped into VR systems of all types although most of them made me very queasy or even nauseous. It is not an experience I have rushed back to. My girlfriend at the time had even tried it, and she will not let anyone show the pictures I took of her while she was wearing all of that gear.

Meanwhile, by early 1995, after years of hearing about VR as the next big thing, quietly onto the Net emerged the medium of virtual worlds. Instead of a solitary experience requiring special equipment, virtual worlds allowed thousands of people viewing a shared virtual world on their common computer screens to be immersed in a common story. Like watching a good film, or reading a book, you can immerse yourself in a social avatar setting, and really feel as if you are inside the story. Virtual worlds step beyond cinema in that the story unfolding on the screen is written, directed, and acted by the citizens in that world. Players in the virtual world can even design the stage sets and props (as in Passport, AlphaWorld, or the Palace).

Oh thank goodness! Maybe it is just Digiís own personal preferences showing here, but I am so relieved that the future may not bring us hundreds of thousands of people walking around wearing funny goggles, totally isolated from the people around them. Hey, with walkmans, cars, and our dangerous and unfriendly cities, we are already isolated enough! Just imagine if the only way to play in virtual worlds was with all that strange gear: the Kindrick baby Mark (who you met in Chapter 9, ìOnLive! Travelerî) would never have been able to get up out of his crib and get into the OnLive! Traveler world all by himself. When we all have wall-sized computer/TV/communicator screens, after the turn of the century, virtual worlds will really seem like places we can step into! Perhaps those old VR head mounted displays will turn out to be useful for some high-powered training or entertainment, but I expect that we will see many of them find their final homes in museum display cases.

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.