Digibarn Notes & Designs:
This box of design notes was given to the Digibarn on our opening day, July 13, 2002 by Ron Britvich, the creator of AlphaWorld. AlphaWorld played a vital role in the history of Cyberspace as it was the first widely used online virtual environment supporting uses represented as "avatars" and permitting the users to easily build their own 3D content (houses, streets, gardens etc) with pre-fabricated objects. AlphaWorld and the platform it evolved into, Active Worlds, continues to inspire the development of multi-user 3D populated cyberspaces for social and creative purposes. These design notes cover Ron's solo design of the original AlphaWorld which he carried out in early 1995 from his house in Carlsbad, California, using a Windows 3.1 PC running on a 14.4Kbs modem. From the beginning AlphaWorld was designed to be easily accessible and allow anyone to interact through avatars and text chat but also to experience building in a 3D cyberspace.
Your curator, Bruce Damer, wrote a book "Avatars! Exploring and Building Virtual Worlds on the Internet" (Peachpit Press, 1997) and AlphaWorld/Active Worlds was a major inspiration for that. You can read my book chapter on AlphaWorld/Active Worlds here. In addition, I co-founded the Contact Consortium which help the annual Avatars conferences in Active Worlds and other platforms from 1998 through 2004. Lastly, you can find an AlphaWorld virtual artifact page right here at the Digibarn, featuring some of the earilest surviving screen shots of this groundbreaking platform.
Small sample of camera shots of Britvich's Box 'o notes on AlphaWorld
Got something to say about AlphaWorld or Active Worlds and their place in history? Get in touch!
The Digibarn's own AlphaWorld virtual artifact page
Digibarn curator Bruce Damer's book chapter on AlphaWorld/Active Worlds
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