Even since the mid-80's, I have had a big interest in ongoing developments in 3D graphics and their potential applications! Here are developments that currently interest me the most:

- Active Worlds Multi-User 3D Browser
- 3D Graphics Phenomenon (Archived)

Active Worlds Multi-User 3D Browser

Another recent interesting developent with 3D graphics is Active Worlds. It is one the Internet's biggest 3D virtual environments. If you can imagine a cross between Internet Relay Chat and a networked 3D videogame, you're close. It's not just a chat system or videogame though -- Active Worlds has been used by at least one university as a 3D showcase for graphics art.

All the graphics are downloaded from the Net as you explore in Active Worlds. It's one huge co-operative 3D environment with over 14 millon objects built by thousands of separate people over the last two years! You can claim land and build your own structures. Even nearby people can watch you build your own structures, or build a neighbouring structure while you build!

[Picture of ActiveWorlds Home]
Click for a full-screen view!

Back in October 1995, I was one of the early beta-testers for this software program (Version 0.32). You can say I'm one of the original 7,000 'citizens' in Active Worlds. At the time of writing, there were 200,000 citizens.

For fun, I built a virtual home in AlphaWorld in January 1996. It is located at 10S 15W on the world named AlphaWorld in Active Worlds. You can see more pictures of my virtual home!

Unfortunately at the time of writing, Active Worlds does not yet support 3Dfx graphics, so I have been visiting it less often since I purchased 3Dfx hardware for my PC. Active Worlds is a true 3D graphics environment, so it has hefty system requirements. The framerate in Active Worlds is still much lower than in videogames like Quake. It barely runs on a 486-100Mhz with 16 megabytes RAM and a 9600bps modem, and you pratically need at least a Pentium 166Mhz with 32 megabytes RAM and a 56Kbps modem. But it's still worth a try!


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