The Virtual etymologically, as the sociologist Bruno Latour refers to, is what was many properties and characteristics and waits to take shape. The Virtual does not only depict reality, but it uses it as raw material. The concept of virtual was always existed in the boundaries of reality.
Alpha World – Active worlds
Until 1998 the avatar field had known a great scale development. The exact user number until September 7 2005 was 357.578. The launch of Alpha world , that became Active Worlds today marked a phenomenal development in virtual architecture.
The Active Worlds browser is a software that allows users to visit the Active Worlds virtual environments. The interface is divided in to basic parts. The first part shows the virtual environment and the other part shows the website of the specific virtual world.
At the lower part of the left side one can see the chat space.At the upper part there are the toolbars and navigation bars, for the avatar movement and the cameras that the users sees. The right part functions exactly like a conventional browser, with the default navigation bar above the website space. The users are divided in two categories, the tourists and the citizens.
The tourist avatars are different from world to world, but all tourists share the same avatar that can only have a different gender. The avatar shape usually has to do with the theme of the virtual world that is visited at the time. Active World citizens can choose from a list of avatars that are provided by the program. In the Active Worlds that building is permitted, users can create their own constructions. Because of the form of these worlds, one can customize internally and externally his spaces. All these constructions are created from scratch without limitations. The various buildings and constructions are in relative between them distances, like in the real world. The total result of those constructions creates the image of a city. This city began its development in the shape of a star. This happened because it was easier for users to remember where they started building their houses by having to remember less numbers for the coordinates. So they started building on the 4 axes and on the bisections that have the same coordinate numbers ( ex. 42,42 , 135,135 )
Users can move their avatars by using the arrows or their mouse. To double the avatar’s speedone can press Control (Ctrl). Every Active World has its own movement repertoire that helps to move and communicate taking into account the needs of the specific world. Movement vary from dancing to swimming.
Beside that can of movement there is also Teleport.
Moove on line is an online community that allows users to interact in a virtual three dimentional space. The common starting point for all users is the application homepage that loads automatically once the user has downloaded the software, that is required for moove, to his computer and the basic house rooms that are included in the software to provide a start for each user. The interface functions as a browser adapted to the virtual world needs : Back, Community, Room, Actor, Help.
The basic menu that can be seen on the top has to do with some technical details about the application, with the options: File, Edit, View, Go, Help
In moove connection between the different rooms of a house is achieved with “doors”, which can be placed on room walls. These doors create a false sense of relative space. Doors form room to room can be moved, added or removed at will. They may have the shape of a regular door, but they function more like hyperlinks than spatial doors.
When there are more than one users in the same house they can communicate without having to be in the same room. In the chat space everything said by the users is displayed, unless the house owner turns of the intercom function. File can be dragged in the 3d space and are displayed as small cubes. The receiver of these files can download them by clicking on them and confirming that he wants to download the file. Every user can create his own avatar in the application’s Actor Studio.
After the body and gender choices are made, one can choose from a variety of characteristics through many categories.
Users can also create a range of avatars to suit their needs of every occasion and environment. There is not the possibility of an external view of the house, except when using the zoom out tool and the camera exits the room’s space. Then one can see a dark shape, because this applications has not been designed for external views
Active Worlds – Moove on line
Those two cases of virtual communities share a great deal, but also have many different aspects, that give each one of them a different character. In the Active World case avatars have specific forms and don’t allow users to customize and achieve a better expression of the users identity and representation through their avatar. In moove the possibilities that are provided to the users for the customization of their avatars are much greater. Unlike Active worlds, here one can shape his avatar by choosing many different details of its appearance, instead of being forced to choose from a short list of ready made avatars, that may not express him at all.
The attention given to space is also different. Moove gives priority to internal spaces, disregarding relative positions even between the rooms of the same house. Eventually the final image resembles the internet structure, with many different web pages – rooms, that are interconnected with hyperlinks – doors. On the contrary, in Active Worlds attention is being paid to the creation of wholes, comprised of various user constructions, that as a result create a greater whole – universe of worlds – planets.
These two applications despite the functional and design differences have something very important in common, that puts them in the same category, user interaction and their virtual presence in the same space. This presence gives an impression that resembles more to a real coexistence in the same space from the moment that spatiality is inserted as a notion.