A timeline with contributions by first-hand sources. Posted by the Web History Project (http://nethistory.org/timelines), managed by Bruce Damer and Annie Ok. Initial content developed by Annie Ok.
Created by WebHistoryProject on 14/10/2008
Last updated: 12/03/10 at 03:34
End of world
The Open Grid Public Beta program is a Linden Lab sponsored opportunity for developers to make their virtual worlds interoperate with Second Life. Virtual world interoperability is enabled through the Open Grid Protocol, under development by the Architecture Working Group of Second Life residents.
IBM and Linden Lab announced that research teams from the two companies successfully teleported avatars from the Second Life Preview Grid into a virtual world running on an OpenSim server, marking the first time an avatar has moved from one virtual world to another. It’s an important first step toward enabling avatars to pass freely between virtual worlds, something they’ve been working toward publicly since the formation of the Architecture Working Group in September 2007.
Vivaty brings together your friends, photos, and videos in a personal virtual scene in the browser. Hang out and chat with Facebook friends, or jump from scene to scene to check out your friends’ latest creations.
3DXPlorer is an online platform for designing interactive 3D web pages and virtual worlds including 3D spaces and 3D objects, in which web visitors can walk, visualize objects and interact as easily as they navigate through HTML pages, but in a 3D immersive mode.
Targeted to a wide range of users including creators, web designers, webmasters, application developers and even simple users, 3DXplorer helps creating 3D content that can be either a 3D window embedded inside a traditional website or full screen 3D immersive websites.
Designed for a wide range of applications, it can be used simply as a virtual show room in which visitors can visualize an interior design and feel an atmosphere, or in more sophisticated cases, used as an online interactive e-commerce tool, such as a sales configurator or an online collaborative platform to review product development.
SmallWorlds is a 3D virtual world that runs inside your web browser. It enables you to build your own room, house, or even your own world, and fill it with a wide variety of items and fun activities.
With your online friends and acquaintances, you can share experiences like playing games, watching YouTube videos, listening to your favourite band browsing through photo galleries, and so much more.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Interactive media are highly complex and at high risk for loss as technologies rapidly become obsolete. The Preserving Virtual Worlds project will explore methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction. Major activities will include developing basic standards for metadata and content representation and conducting a series of archiving case studies for early video games, electronic literature and Second Life, an interactive multiplayer game. Second Life content participants include Life to the Second Power, Democracy Island and the International Spaceflight Museum. Partners: University of Maryland, Stanford University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Linden Lab.
Rainbows End is a 2006 science fiction novel by Vernor Vinge. It was awarded the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Novel. The book is set in San Diego in 2025, in a variation of the fictional world Vinge explored in his 2002 Hugo-winning novella "Fast Times at Fairmont High" and 2004's "Synthetic Serendipity". Vinge has tentative plans for a sequel, picking up some of the loose threads left at the end of the novel.
The many technological advances depicted in the novel suggest that the world is undergoing ever-increasing change, perhaps destined for a technological singularity, a recurring subject in Vinge's writing (both fiction and non-fiction).
"Your hack was noticed. Back when I was young, you could have got a patent off it. Nowadays—"
"Nowadays, it should be worth a decent grade in a high-school
Teen Second Life is a version of Second Life reserved for teenagers, running on the so-called "Teen Grid." It was officially opened to the public on February 14th, 2005 for people aged 13-17 to play Second Life, without entering false information to participate in Second Life (reserved for people aged 18 and over). On January 1, 2006, Teen Second Life's operating hours were increased to 24 hours a day, whereas it was previously open only from noon to 10pm Pacific Time.
IMVU is a 3D graphical instant messenger client, but it shares several features with other virtual worlds. IMVU users are represented by an avatar (often abbreviated to avi and avie). The basic avatar is human. Avatars may be of either sex and they may be clothed or otherwise customized to produce a wide variety of humanoid and other forms. Most items created by IMVU users are clothes, hair, eyes and other props that members can buy for their avatar appearance.
IMVU chat sessions occur in scenes, which are virtual environments owned by IMVU users. When users participate in chat sessions, their avatar appears within the scene, and their messages appear in chat bubbles above their avatar. While in rooms, IMVU users can move their avatars around to nodes through the room, often attached to furniture objects. IMVU also has Public Rooms, which are rooms created by users that are publicly available to any other users. Previously all rooms were private and required invitation from the room owner. Recently IMVU has created 'Rooms' which are like scenes, but can be customized by placing and moving around furniture that the owner has bought separately.
Avatars2004: Avamars cyberconference held in multiple virtual worlds platforms with a physical location at the annual CONTACT conference at NASA's Ames Research Center. Theme: virtual worlds, space, science fiction visions.
Adobe Atmosphere is a development platform for Web based virtual worlds. Version 1.0 was released in February 2004 and was discontinued in December 2004 much to the disappointment of its user based and third parties. According to Adobe :“The decision to discontinue Atmosphere 1.0 was based on market conditions, customer feedback and research done by Adobe.”
Pelican Crossing's Blink 3D is in some respects was the successor to Atmosphere, with a larger number of Blink 3D's initial user base being refugees from Atmosphere.
Croquet is a powerful open source software development environment for creating and deploying deeply collaborative multi-user online applications on multiple operating systems and devices. Derived from Squeak, it features a peer-based network architecture that supports communication, collaboration, resource sharing, and synchronous computation between multiple users on multiple devices. Using Croquet, software developers can create and link powerful and highly collaborative cross-platform multi-user 2D and 3D applications and simulations - making possible the distributed deployment of very large scale, richly featured and interlinked virtual environments.
There is a venue for socializing with less role-playing than is typically found in MMORPGs. Billed on its homepage as "...an online getaway where you can hang out with your friends and meet new ones...", There defines itself as a service providing a shared experience that allows people to interact in an online society.
Each new member enters the community by choosing a unique name and a male or female avatar. The avatar's name and gender are permanently set, but various attributes such as hair color and head and body shapes, skin and eye color, clothing, etc. can be changed as desired.
Most items such as furniture are designed to be used within houses or zones, although some items such as vehicles and dogs are not due to their mobile nature. Monetary transactions in There's economy are done using Therebucks, virtual currency with real world value. Therebucks can be purchased directly from There, from other members, or from any of the third party online "banks" which usually offer competitive exchange rates. Members can also sell their Therebucks to banks in exchange for real world currency, usually USD.
Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is an Internet-based virtual world launched on June 23, 2003, developed by Linden Research, Inc (commonly referred to as Linden Lab), which came to international attention via mainstream news media in late 2006 and early 2007. A free downloadable client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items (virtual property) and services with one another.
Second Life® is a 3-D virtual world created by its Residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of Residents from around the globe.
* From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.
* You'll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow Residents. Because Residents retain intellectual property rights in their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other Residents.
* The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the inworld unit of trade, the Linden™ dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online Linden dollar exchanges.
Please also see the Second Life timeline: http://www.dipity.com/user/rhiannonsl/timeline/Second_Life
Entropia Universe is a massively multiplayer online virtual universe designed by Swedish software company MindArk, based in Gothenburg. In contrast to other similar MMORPGs, MindArk's software is distributed free of charge with no subscription fees. The developers instead have decided to use a variant of the micropayment economic model, which consists of buying in-game currency (PED - Project Entropia Dollars) with real money that can be redeemed back into real world funds at a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar, where 10 PED = $1 USD. This means that virtual items acquired within Entropia Universe have a real cash value, and a participant may, at any time, initiate a withdrawal of their accumulated PEDs back into real world currencies according to the fixed exchange rate, minus transaction fees. As a result, revenue of the business is largely generated from activities within the virtual universe. The revenue model has historically proven to be sustainable and is currently profitable.
Avatars2002: A Marry Cyber Party cyberconference is held in avatar cyberspace and at several IRL locations across the planet.
AVATARA, documentary about Traveler and its inahbitants (2003) by 536 Productions of Vancouver, BC, Canada. Note that in the introductory audio dialogue, the speaker mentions the date of 1993, more likely this was 1996, the year Onlive Traveler was released to the public.
The brainchild of Will Wright of Maxis, which was bought by Electronic Arts.
Vlearn3D 2002: Building Blocks for Virtual Worlds, 5th annual conference on virtual worlds and learning.
Video of Bruce Damer presenting avatars at Pop!Tech Conference, Sept 2002.
Pelican Crossing is leading provider of technology for creating and viewing Web based virtual worlds and was founded in Jan 2002. The companies products include:
Blink 3D, a virtual worlds development platform. Blink 3D went into open Beta in March 2005 and was launched in December 2006.
inDuality, a universal client for viewing virtual worlds in a Web browser. An alpha version of inDuality was first publicly demonstrated in October 2007 at the Virtual Worlds Conference in San Jose. The demo showed teleporting between different virtual worlds that were running in a Web browser including: Blink 3D, Second Life, Flash and X3D. This was the first demonstration of Second Life running in a Web browser.
Pelican Crossing originally started developing a chat server for Adobe Atmosphere and later developed 3D BuildAmation for Atmosphere, a product that allowed users to add animation and interactivity to Atmosphere worlds without the need to write code. Both products were discontinued when Adobe discontinued Atmosphere in December 2004.
Vlearn3D 2001: Knowledge Space & Information Landscapes, the 4th Annual Conference on virtual worlds and learning.
Avatars2001: A Cyber Space Odyssey cyberconference is held in multiple virtual worlds across Cyberspace and at several physical locations globally.
Bonnie deVarco: Virtual Vincent - Nicholas deVarco in Van Gough World - Active Worlds (2001)
Andrew Linden and James Linden managed to get a build running of Second Life circa August 2001. They called it “LindenWorld”.
Their first human-like avatar was called “primitar”. Previous versions had used spaceships and flaming eyeballs as avatars. This was one of the first builds that allowed user-created objects. Of course, there was no inventory to put them in, and any other user could modify them. Remnants of the previous ecosystem are here, including rocks, birds, “ators” (snake-like creatures), rain and deformable water.
A Walking Tour of Adobe Atmosphere produced in July 2001 by DigitalSpace for the SIGGRAPH 2001 conference in August 2001.
Avatars2000: Cyberspace for a New Millennium cyberconference is held in multiple virtual worlds platforms and in various in-person locations worldwide.
Vlearn3D 2000: Live 3D, Learn 3D, the 3rd conference held in-world and at locations at UC Santa Cruz, California and Cornell University, New York State.
Shout Interactive: Demo Reel of Shout3D (2000, exact date unknown).
Avatars99: Colonizing CyberSpace is held in multiple virtual worlds platforms and at physical locations "jacked in" from all over the world.
VLearn: Second Workshop on Virtual Worlds in Formal and Informal Education held in-world and at locations at UC Santa Cruz, California, and Cornell University, New York State.
The film is loosely based on the novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye and the German mini-series Welt am Draht (World on Wires) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The plot parallels with well known existentialist themes as portrayed in The Matrix and eXistenZ all released the same year
Avatars98: Inside Cyberspace, the world's first online, graphical multi-user cyber-conferences is held in multiple virtual worlds platforms and with multiple physical "nodes" on five continents.
Vlearn: Track at Avatars98, inaugural event of the VLearn3D special interest group of the Contact Consortium focused on learning in virtual worlds.
Virtual UC Santa Cruz documentary (Summer 1998)
Bonnie DeVarco Touring Virtual UC Santa Cruz (Summer 1998).
Bruce Damer presenting avatars at UC Santa Cruz, May 7, 1998 (Part 2)
Bruce Damer presenting avatars at UC Santa Cruz, May 7, 1998 (Part 1)
DigitalSpace: Datafusion World featuring Videotars in a Business Meeting Room (April 1998)
Avatars97 Conference is held in San Francisco CA on October 22-24, 1997, at SFSU Multimedia Studies Program.
Active Worlds leaves Beta.
Active Worlds (AW) is a 3D virtual reality platform. The "Active Worlds Browser" runs on Windows and Linux (using Wine). Users assign themselves a unique name, log into the Active Worlds virtual world universe, and explore 3D virtual worlds and environments that other users have built. Users can chat with one another or build structures and areas from a selection of objects. AW allows users to own worlds and universes, and develop 3D content. The browser has web browsing capabilities, voice chat, and basic instant messaging. This integrated software can allow users to connect, explore, and gain a more in depth understanding of 3D. Corporate and educational clients of Active Worlds can make use of the interaction, communication, and media to provide functional environments suited for their objective. On May 30, 2006, version 4.1 was released to the general public.
The program's original goal was to be the 3D-equivalent of a 2D web browser (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox). Instead of creating a website, the user could construct an office, building, or area in which to display products or information.
The necessity for 3D art within Active Worlds to enrich one's world has led to the development of a market place for 3D models, textures, avatars (and associated animation sequences), and more. There is also plenty of free exchange of 3D content. There are also custom design services for 3D art available, especially avatars.
"Otherland - City of Golden Shadow" is the first of a series of four science fiction (cyberpunk) novels written by Tad Williams depicting a future where virtual worlds are not distinguishable from the real world anymore.
Contact Consortium: Communities & Culture panel @ Earth to Avatars Conference (Oct 27, 1996) featuring Linda Stone, Microsoft, Jim Bumgardner, The Palace, Incorporated, Judith Rubin, Fujitsu, and hosted by Wendy Sue Noah and Kitty Wells.
Contact Consortium: Mark Pesce & Tony Parisi Keynotes @ Earth to Avatars Conference (Oct 26, 1996).
The Earth to Avatars conference, the first conference on avatars and virtual worlds, was held by the Contact Consortium in San Francisco on Oct 26th-27th, 1996.
Contact Consortium: Part 1: Applications of Virtual Environments Panel @ Earth to Avatars Conference (Oct 26, 1996). Hosted by Dave Marvit, and featuring speakers Maclen Marvit (Worlds Incorporated), Randy Farmer (Electric Communities), Mark Pesce, Brett Leonard, Director (IS?TV), and Steve DiPaola (Onlive Technologies).
John Sculley & Bruce Damer Keynotes @ Earth to Avatars Conference (Oct 26, 1996).
Microsoft Chat, formerly known as Comic Chat, was initially released on Internet Explorer v3.0 in 1996, and was developed by Microsoft Researcher David Kurlander together with the Virtual Worlds Group.
In Microsoft Chat, your online conversations are the beginning of an interactive comic strip that unfolds in real time. Like other IRC chat clients, you type in the text to communicate. Comic balloons display your conversation, and gestures generated by conversation semantics give your character a variety of emotions and movements. The character you have selected, along with other comic characters, comes alive panel by panel. The Microsoft Chat program interprets key words and symbols to draw your character and integrate it into each panel. Microsoft Chat offers a variety of original comic characters and backgrounds, created by comic artist Jim Woodring.