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Intel's IDMOO Experiments
Intel Architecture Labs up in Hillsboro, Oregon have brought us IDMOO (Intel Distributed MOO). These are a series of experimental text and voice chat supported VRML and Java avatar worlds. We will look at two very different worlds: IDMOO 1 and 2.
Download the various IDMOO Browsers from Intel's site at: http://connectedpc.com/iaweb/idmoo/.
IDMOO 1 Interface
Figure 14.3.1: id1ba.jpg
IDMOO 1.0 Browser Client
Click to get print resolution
As the figure above shows, we are in a kind of pavilion with other avatars. I was engaged in both text and voice chat (note the highlighted speaking man icon) with a gentleman from Montreal named Rocky. The sound was clear when it came in but rather difficult to tell when you should speak or hold. As you can see from the text, Rocky was having a hard time also. This points out the value of having more than one mode of communication!
Another feature of the IDMOO 1 is the Views Window (on the right) with its avatar mannequin and 'pegs'. I had selected the 'peg' on the lower left and changed my view from my own eyes so that I could see myself from the side and Rocky (facing me). Clicking on the mannequin will bring the view back into my own eyes.
Download IDMOO and try out some of the basic technologies and tricks, including:
- Personally created VRML avatars and rooms (you can link in your own VRML 1.0 worlds)
- Queued audio and text chat.
- Multiple views of the virtual environment.
- URL-based browsing of Intel Distributed MOO servers world wide.
The World and the Community
I did not do much exploring beyond the pavilion but I am told that there are quite a few worlds ported together through Intel's IDMOO servers.
Figure 14.3.2: id1a.jpg
Custom avatars built by IDMOO citizenry
The times I have been in IDMOO, I have met one or two people, all using the default 'dummytar' avatar you saw in the first image in this section. This avatar looks just like the dummytar in AlphaWorld (maybe there is a universal dummytar?). The above shot was provided to me to show custom avatars built by users. Even though its name contains the world MOO (meaning MUD-multi user domain, Object Oriented), IDMOO is neither based on an actual MOO (as are Pueblo and The Sprawl) nor has the community structures designed into all MUDs.
A Sneak Preview of IDMOO 2
Figure 14.3.3: id2da.jpg
Click to get print resolution
Intel gave me a sneak preview of their next experimental world, IDMOO 2. This world is the first virtual world written entirely in Java and loads its two dimensional worlds dynamically from Web. The first world built with IDMOO 2 is a fish tank full of simulated fish with realistic swimming behaviors. Some of the fish are avatars, which means people are driving them. Other creatures, such as the shark in the figure is a biot, an autonomous agent acting like a piece of biology. The shark can eat fish (but not user-embodied avatar fish). In this world, you can clone fish and watch them being eaten by the shark. Users can communicate through the fish tank with text chat. You can download IDMOO 2.0 from: http://labtoys.hbtn.portland.or.us/Idm20Worlds/docs/public/ The Web site also contains a great deal of information about how to make Java-based virtual worlds.
Both IDMOO 1 and 2 run on PC's with Windows 95.