Two or three years ago I spent a lot of time in Alpha World - a 3D virtual environment, where you could build your own houses and landscapes and chat to other visitors. AW is now out of favour and for the last year or so the focus has been on There.com. This had nice chat bubbles, and gave you the ability to buy clothes and equipment in game, and even drive cars and ride hover boards - but didn't let you build much. There.com's finances have been a bit wobbly of late, and were only saved by a big contract for the US Army (!) - but it looks like the consumer portal may now take a back seat to the corporate users.
Which brings us to the newest virtual world - Second Life. Second Life combines the best of Alpha World and There.com, and then adds a whole lot more. You can chat, build, construct vehicles, write programming scripts to control objects, use XML to get data in and out of the world, customise your avatar, and even wage war.
Unlike on-line role playing games where you have tasks (like waging war) these VR environments are totally open ended. You do what you want to do, chat, play games, tour around, build. Second Life is a very sophisticated application, and Second Lifer's are doing some amazing stuff ( I've so far only built a rocket that won't fly, and a plank of wood that flys like Neville's broomstick from Harry Potter!).
Rather than write reams about these 3 places now, I'm going to pull a white paper together and put it up on the Daden site. I'm also looking at how I can give my Halo chatbot a presence in the world.
So if you want to get hold of me in the evenings, look out for me as Corro Moseley in Second Life - probably on the virtual snow slopes.
***Imported from old blog***