Exploring and Building
Virtual Worlds on the Internet
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the following people and companies for their help in making this book possible. Many of these people built avatar Cyberspace for the rest of us to enjoy, while others were pioneering users who showed us how to live in a virtual world.
I would like to personally thank Mark Pesce for being an inspiration in how to stay creative and stay free. A big hug for Wendy Sue Noah for days spent driving from San Francisco to Boulder Creek to beta test chapters with the virtual worlds. Allan Lundell, Sun McNamee, members of the cybertribe, and Ranger John Turner and family, are all kind neighbors kept me fed and in contact with humanity during some very isolated times. Lastly, I could not have lived without the whole Boulder Creek community and its redwoods keeping life safe, clean, wet, and green.
Thanks to the World Makers
I would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the people and the companies whose virtual world software is featured in the book and included on the CD-ROM:
- Dave Gobel, Dave Leahy, Wolf Schmidt, Ron Britvich, Russell Freeland, Cole Larson, Maclen Marvit, Andrea Gallagher, Danny Viescas, Misty West, Leif Bennett and Rob Schmultz all formerly of Worlds Incorporated for bringing us the first wave of Avatar Cyberspace.
- Konstantin Guericke, Dawn Drake, Dia Cheney, Bob Rockwell, Walter Schwartz, Rob Rothfarb and the whole team from Black Sun Interactive.
- Cliff Figallo who was working at Virtual Places/GNNe (he is now an independent consultant) for giving me a great history of the WELL and his past community experiences at the Farm in Tennessee and explaining how that helped him build the community in Virtual Places. I would also like to thank Udi Shapiro, Mike Yudin of the Ubique and Virtual Places teams who work with America Online.
- Reid Hoffman, Tony Christopher, Judith Rubin, Tammy Sims, Greg Oberfield, and the whole WorldsAway team at Fujitsu Software Corporation. Katherine Bretz also of Fujitsu for her community building efforts in the avatar realm
- Skuli Mogensen, Rick Denny, Andrew de Vries, Gudjon Mar Gudjonsson, Sigurdur Olafsson, and the whole team at OZ Interactive.
- Scott Lewis, Jim Larson, Rocky Harris and the whole Intel team for their support of Moondo and Moondo II.
- Linda Stone, David Kerlander, Manny Vellon, and the whole Microsoft team for their careful review of the Comic Chat chapter and for hosting me so warmly at Microsoft and touring me through V-Chat.
- Steve DiPaola, Kevin George, John Wentworth, Stasia McGehee, Orca Starbuck, Eric Budin, Drew Lanham, J.M. Valera, J.R. Manes, and the whole Onlive Technologies team for their help on Traveler.
- Jim Bumgardner, Mark Jeffrey, John Throckmorton, Sean Calhoon, and all of The Palace teams from Hillsboro Oregon and Burbank California.
- Janet McAndless and the team at Sony Pictures ImageWorks for meeting me in Sony Community Place Browser
- Randy Farmer, Chip Morningstar, Benita Kenn, Matthew Burgess, and everyone working on the Microcosm project for Electric Communities.
- Dan Greening and Glenn Crocker of Chaco Communications for their work on Pueblo
- Kayla Block and the team at Sensemedia for bringing us ChibaMOO-The Sprawl
- Merilee Kern and Mike Hilgenberg of IDS for their support on the section on V-Realm
- Tim Takeuchi and his team at NTT Software for their help in bringing me up to speed inside InterSpace.
- Linda Lubken of Sierra Online for supporting our coverage of The Realm in Gaming Worlds.
- Mike Sellers formerly of 3DO for introducing me to Meridian 59.
Thanks to the studios, artists and tool makers
The creative community that designs worlds, avatars and tools are an integral part of this community and provided essential support and content for this book.
- Saul Kato of Sven Technologies for his excellent work in Avatar Maker (find it on the CD-ROM!)
- The great folks at Paragraph International, including Gregory Slayton, John Poluektov, and Leonid Kitainik for providing Internet Space Builder, a first class world builder created by their team in Moscow for you (on the CD-ROM too!)
- Todd Goldenbaum (now independent), John Shiple, Mark Meadows, Lisa Goldman, Gever Tulley, James Waldrop and the whole team at Construct Internet Design for showing what a great VRML studio can be.
- Tim Riley and Patrick Mahoney of dFORM Internet Design for believing in the Biota mission
- Peter Hughes (now independent), Eric Chen, and John Sculley of Live Picture/Realspace for developing the technologies to make us suspend our disbelief in avatars and their worlds.
- C. Scott Young, Barrett Fox, Frank Revi, and Eli Sagiv for being there and being creative.
- Paul Godwin and Phil Harrington for creating the Voce experience and showing the world new magic in sound, music and voice through avatar Cyberspace
- Fabrice Florin of Zenda Studios for innovating game play to enliven social worlds and for a great interview in the Palace.
- Michael Powers of Insideout for encouragement, teamwork on courses and conferences and for agreeing to cross reference each other's books
Appreciation to the students, researchers and philosophers of virtual worlds
Those who study, ponder, test, present, decompose, and wax poetic about virtual worlds have been key in moving forward my understanding of the almost infinite size of this new medium.
- Derrick DeKerckkhove of the Marshall McLuhan program of the University of Toronto for helping spread the medium and the message of avatars around the global village.
- Patrice Arnera, Eric, Phillipe, Maurice, and the other students of Sophia-Antipolis University in France for providing five wonderful days in Florence Italy building virtual universities.
- Mark "Spoonman" Petrakis for showing how all of this is just a big theater of the virtual.
- Jonathan Grudin, Kate Ehrlich, Arnold Smith, Peter Polson, Jim Larson, Steve Poltrock, Noi Sukaviriya, Matt Belge, Richard Anderson, Greg Panos, Amy Bruckman, Steve Benford and Judith Donath for introducing and debating over avatars to the Computer Human Interface, Cooperative Work and SIGGRAPH communities.
- Paul Rankin and Patricia Griffin of Philips Research for their continuing support of research on avatar virtual communities
Thanks for getting me started in this industry
I wouldn't be here without them, so I would like to acknowledge them here.
- Mark Conway and Reed Riner for introducing me to SolSys Sim and showing me that this would be the 'next great thing' on the Internet.
- Jim Funaro, Reed Riner, Joel Hagen and all the others who put CONTACT together over the past 15 years and made the Contact Consortium possible. Thanks Larry Niven for putting the final stimulus on the conception of virtual worlds back in March 1995. Terrell Hoffman and Chris Kekenes who helped get the Contact Consortium going as a forum for avatar virtual worlds.
- The core members of the Contact Consortium including Lynn Macias, for helping us to put on a great Earth to Avatars 96, Nancy and Roger Zuidema for being there through thick and thin, Wendy Sue Noah for her positive energy and community building, and Stuart Gold for his tireless work on TheU Virtual University and architecture competition
Thanks to the book production team
Utmost appreciation to the patient and courageous team at Peachpit Press for pressing forward with what was obviously a risky new book project and a very difficult challenge (to keep up with the worlds!). Along with Peachpit, there were many other people 'on the project' who deserve mention here.
- I would like to especially thank my editor Jeremy Judson for his flexibility and creative input into this work and Peter Gordon of Addison Wesley Longman for introducing me to Ted Nace, then publisher, and helping me to sell this first ever book on avatars. Jackie Dove our patient copyeditor, Nancy Ruenzel new publisher at Peachpit for supporting this venture right away, Hannah Onstad, Gary-Paul Prince and the whole marketing team, Kate Reber for technical support, Mimi Heft for great interior design concepts; Victor Gavenda who build the CD-ROM interface, and Roslyn Bullas for getting all the agreements signed.
- Warmest thanks to Roger Zuidema and Steven Hanly for their work on the cover art, interior art, CD-ROM and Website art.
- Thanks to my agent at Waterside Productions, David Fugate for helping negotiate for this book and Bill Gladstone for getting it in front of the whole computer publishing industry.
- Greatest appreciation to Rusel DeMaria and Alex Utterman for educating me on the fascinating world of computer games, helping me to find an agent, advice in writing this book, and for throwing great summertime parties.
- Kudos to Nick Herbert for advice about selling a book, and both writing and procrastination in the writing process.
- Darek Milewski for encouraging me to write the book in the first place
- Gratis to Steven Lambert and Gail Nelson for hosting me on my visit to Microsoft and helping me understand the computer book industry.
- Hey, Steve Weiss at New Riders thank you for just saying 'this book has to be written, go for it, Bruce'
- Of course, deep appreciatin to all my family in Canada, including my parents Enid and Warren Damer, and my many siblings, notably bro Eric who gave the web draft a quick read and encouragement.
Thanks to you who agreed to appear in the book
Brave souls who agreed to take a visible role in this book, may your avatars live long and prosper!
- Mark Pesce for a great interview that afternoon in Florence.
- Clifford Stoll for caused me to have some second thoughts about avataring!
- Rob van der Haar for giving a great early history of virtual community, including de Digitale Stad
- Reed Riner for his thoughts and deep experience in virtual communities for learning.
- Wendy Sue Noah for her essential guide to netiquette in Appendix B.
- Laurel of Louisiana in the USA for her wonderful landscape architecture in AlphaWorld
- Tazunu Inoue of Japan who showed us his AlphaWorld Japanese palace
- The Kindrick family of who wrote their story for the Onlive Traveler chapter
- The Chicago Five: David and Debbie Maloney, Bill DeVercelly, Jody Christensen, Jeff Wilson, and Pam Miller (the 6th Chicago Five)
- Larry Kay and Pat Paquette of Toonsmiths for being great Guinea pigs in AlphaWorld building 101.
- Rick Noll and Graham Evans who build beautiful Active Worlds and help newbie apprentices like me.
- SeaJay (Charles Langley) in WorldsAway for showing me his turf and giving me some of the folklore of the Dreamscape
- Coyote (Fabrice Florin) of Zenda Studios for a great interview in the Palace.
- Nabih Saliba (a.k.a. Gekko) who created Webtown in Virtual Places and told his story for us.
Thanks to all you people out there in the industry who pitched in
An incredible community of talented people all made their contribution to your author's learning curve and helped make this book a true log of the development of this new medium
- Dave Marvit for his pioneering and deeply felt experience in these new realm and insights gained through the incredible Starbright project.
- Bruce Blumberg, Pattie Maes and the research teams at the M.I.T. Media Lab who are going to show us all what an avatar can be.
- Matthew Burgess and Bill Welty for the venture captitalist's clear view.
- Scott McLaine of 3rd Dimension Technologies for being a pioneer in making people's real faces into avatars.
- Mark Rudolph of Silicon Graphics for his Cosmo worlds shots and Biota/Metaforms and Dave Story also of SGI for introducing me to Cosmo Worlds. Rob Meyers, Susan Lynn Kropf, Kevin Hartz and Dave Frerichs of SGI for working so hard to make VRML a viable language for the new Cyberspace.
- Tarik Thami, Michael Powers and Celia Pierce for championing the avatar cause in their courses at San Francisco State.
- Charanjit Sidhu of British Telecom Research Laboratories for introducing me to the Mirror BBC virtual world project
- Sandy Stone of U.T. Austin and Sherry Turkle of Harvard for encouraging me to write this book to suit classroom use.
- Nicole Kidd who used her wide network to help me get avatars in front of really great people.
- Keith Wescourt and Barbara Hayes-Roth of Extempo for preparing for the future of avatar character behavior.
- Axel Roselius, Kevin Rattai, and Brian Williams for building their own worlds and the communities around them.
- David Traub for being a connective agent and warrior for education through virtual worlds.
- Michael Gosney, Bob Gelman, Julia Gilden and Nancy Levidow for hosting the Avatar Teleport at the 9th Annual Digital Be-In.
- Karen Marcelo and Tony Parisi of Intervista for believing in VRML and believing in Biota.
- Charles Ostman for helping inspire the Biota movement and chapter in this book
- Timothy Childs, Linda Jacobson, and Peter Rothman of VeRGe for getting the community together and bridging virtual reality and virtual worlds.
- Mitra, Abbott Brush, Bernie Roehl, Kirk Parsons, Moses Ma, Ioannis Paniaras, and Sang Mah for working to build a better avatar
- Frank Schwatz and Kitty Wells for introducing me to the community that can be created with webcasting.
- Bonnie Nardi of Apple Computer for asking the key question: "why are we doing this?"
- Gail Williams of the WELL for giving a cyber-newbie like me an education in real virtual community.
- Steve Poltrock and Rick Wojcik of Boeing, Rick Hopkins of Nortel, Lisa Neal of EDS, Tom Kouloupolous of the Delphi Consulting Group, and Lewis Henderson of William Morris Agency for all coming up with innovative applications of virtual worlds in business and entertainment.
- Avram Miller of Intel for generously supporting so many of the virtual worlds start-up companies.
- Doug Engelbart for showing me just how thoroughly a deep conviction and vision can be realized in one man's lifetime.
Thank you fellow writers
I would like to thank print journalists John Moran writing for the Hartford Courant, Natasha Wancek writing for the San Jose Mercury News, Leslie Miller writing for USA Today, David Bank writing for the Wall Street Journal, Alex Lash writing for 24 Hours in Cyberspace and C|Net, and David Pescovitz writing for the L.A. Times. Special journalistic thanks goes to Sue Wilcox for nonstop encouragement and for promoting both me and the book, whether I deserved it or not! See Sue's upcoming book (some time in 1998) on the subject of avatars. I would also like to thank Adrian Scott and John Gluck of VRMLSite for giving avatars a webzine presence.
Thanks to you citizens of Avatar Cyberspace
I could not have written a line of this book without the hundreds of users who helped me in-world and told their own stories which I have tried to faithfully reproduce. This is just a very short list of people whose avatars I would like to thank:
- Citizen guides who helped me, ever the green newbie, to discover what goes in the huge Active Worlds and AlphaWorld universe, including: Protagonist, Da8id, Dataman, NetGuy, North, Black Thorne, DrumGod, UserX, Laurel, Spark4Love, Stephen Lankton, ToonSmith, the bride and groom Janka and Tomasi, Moria, Paul Klee, the DigiGardener Multivar, luna (Susan Mackey), and that Finnish student (Rauno Eskelinen) who taught me how to build in AlphaWorld! Special thanks to Johanna Silverthorne for her help as lady of the lands in Sherwood Forest Towne.
- CyberHouse1 and Katt in Worlds Chat Gold and numerous Blue Bears including Guest 420 in Worlds Chat
- Stayce Jaye and her sweetheart Duckolyte Jim, and Daira, Cinnamon Cupc@ke, all the Duckolytes, and so many more people who helped me in WorldsAway
- In The Palace: TurboDog (Mark Herman II) for putting on a great avatar fashion show and giving me the snowball throwing script; Nathan Wagoner for showing me the Palace's hot spots; Psychologist John Suler for providing me with great links and insights into the psychology of Palace living; and Mr. Rotten for giving us all an insight into why some people use virtual worlds.
- Bill_Gates and Superman in Microsoft Comic Chat
- Wonderful Joanne Ascunsion for making her beautiful VP web sites
And the many, many other people who have helped in immeasurable ways on this book project and last but certainly not least to Alex the big black cat, who slept through the writing of this book!
Many of the people mentioned here presented at the 1996 Earth to Avatars conference. The conference is described on the Web at: http://www.ccon.org/events/conf96.html and their individual biographies and vision are at: http://www.ccon.org/events/bios.html. You can also find more contact information about the companies mentioned here on the Contact Consortium homepage at http://www.ccon.org.