Ways to improve ActiveWorlds
Okay, since I've been asked repeatedly on ways that ActiveWorlds can be improved, I've decided to stick in a few thoughts.
Important note: The last I checked, AW has decided that tourists should be restricted to only a few worlds, so many things on this page and others may not apply to them. I'm not going to change the wording because I'm not sure if ActiveWorlds is going to keep restricting the tourists to only a few worlds or will eventually change their minds and allow tourists to roam freely again.
#1: Get rid of the gor worlds! A lot of people leave ActiveWorlds as soon as they find out about the gor worlds, or they get tired of putting up with the people from them. If you want to make money, and stop losing customers (and potential customers), get rid of the gor worlds. Duh! Besides, isn't slavery illegal in the United States, where ActiveWorlds has their servers? Or, has the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America been revoked, and it just wasn't reported?
#2: Change fonts from Arial to something like Veranda so that a capital i doesn't look like a lower case L. This'll make it harder for people to impersonate others, and if you use Veranda, it may also be easier to read even at low font sizes.
#3: Don't allow periods to be used in people's names. Okay, this kind of goes along with the second one, because it also makes it harder to impersonate other people.
#4: Give the tourists a break! At least let them use all the avatars, even though they still won't be able to have a contact list or send telegrams. Besides, they still have to worry about people deleting their builds, and they can't use the contacts list or send and receive telegrams. Another thing; it's bad enough that they're forced to use only two avatars in each world, but making them dress up in those gray ones in worlds like AlphaWorld is, IMHO (in my humble opinion), unnecessarily cruel. :-(
#5: Some new games that everyone can play, and not just citizens! Perhaps create something totally new, instead of trying to find a way to make it possible to play the older games in AW. Nothing personal, but checkers just isn't that exciting to me, and I grew bored with chess shortly after learning to play it when I was four.
#6: Increase the bot limit. If AW is worried about being over-run by bots in worlds like AlphaWorld, or the strain on their servers, then maybe the bot limit can be increased by two every six months a citizen stays in AW. This would definitely help out the world owners, and it may encourage people to stay in ActiveWorlds longer.
#7: We need a way to record the telegrams that we've sent out, and not just the telegrams that we've received. This'll eliminate the problem certain people have of sending out a telegram six days ago, then getting one back from the person they sent it to with the reply of "yes", and not knowing what the heck they're replying to.
#8: Make it possible to turn an object from the horizontal to the vertical and vice versa, using something like the page up and page down keys to do it a little at a time, and maybe in smaller steps like we can do when we build using the shift key.
Update: This has already been taken care of with the "Tilt X axis" and "Roll Z axis".
#9: Voice chat! Maybe there's a way to rig it like you'd experience in a room in the real world. You would hear those standing near you louder than those a little further away from you, and so on, until those around 20 or so co-ords away would be like someone whispering across the room. If you wanted to only speak to them so others couldn't hear, maybe have it do a 'whisper' but not be limited by range. And yes, I realize that if this is ever made possible, we're going to have a lot more people muted. LOL Along with this, it'd also be nice to set preferences for citizens that you've come across before. Like having a sexy voice for your 'significant other' in AW, and a helium breathing mouse for your least favorite PK. Squeak, squeak! ;-) The reverse would also be nice. Being able to set your voice yourself, to allow others to hear what you sound like or you want them to think you sound like in the real world. If it's abused, you can rig it so a user can manually switch it to a boring sounding voice that speaks in a monotone (Ben Stein, maybe?).
#10: Independent control of the arms, legs, and fingers. Facial expressions, too, if possible. Maybe there's a way to control them with simple movement sensors on the legs, and gloves on the hands. For the facial expressions, perhaps the facial recognition stuff that's used in biometric security systems can be modified to 'echo' what you yourself are doing with your smile, eyebrows, and where you're looking with your eyes to your avatar. It'd be better than having to wear a mask of sorts with sensors on it. Okay, so individual finger control probably isn't a good idea with some of our users, but maybe we'll get used to it after a while, or find a way to block someone 'giving the bird'.
#11: Instead of using a monitor, being able to use ActiveWorlds with VRD AKA Virtual Retinal Display. The link is from 1998, but the military is using the tech now, and they get a bit... ticked when people give out too much info on their stuff, I've noticed. Hey, I could've given a long list of 'no-go' subjects, but I was nice. Hmm... the last I checked using my Mozilla browser, somebody decided to take all the code out of that page but for the HTML and body tags. Three guesses who pressured them to do that. If you're a newbie, still using Internet Explorer, you'll get a 404 error saying "The page cannot be found".
#12: Being able to use your own avatars in any world you want to, including the main ones like AlphaWorld (AW in the world list). If someone uses a 'naughty' avatar, they can always be ejected. Considering what some of us have heard in places like AlphaWorld's GZ, an anatomically correct avatar wouldn't be that big of a shock. But I just want people to be able to show their talents to others by displaying their creations and sharing them with the rest of the AW community. :-)
#13: A type of force feedback system, and a body suit you can wear to experience things like water flowing around you when you swim in a lake, the air flying by as you soar into the clouds, the warmth of the sun upon your skin as you lay out on a beach, or the brush of a kiss upon your cheek by a kind lady. Perhaps it can be turned off, or set like cookies where you only accept input from certain people or in certain worlds that you trust. The reason I would want a selective off switch is that I see this being mis-used in not only the more obvious ways, but other things, too, the smallest of which would be people doing 'slap attacks' or beating up on people for kicks. Can you imagine the possibilities if someone were able to code a sensory experience that would be like the feeling you'd get of having all your limbs being ground up in a meat grinder at the same time? Yes, I'm certain there's one group of people who would love that... :-(
Okay, I'll stop the list here, not only because some of the other things I can dream up could be mis-used worse than what I've already talked about, but also because it'll probably be at least five years before the above is done, if ever. Considering that it takes something major to get the AW owners' attention, it may be far longer than that. Besides, if the gor worlds aren't removed, a lot of us are going to leave anyway, so why bother trying to improve on ActiveWorlds? We'd be better off giving suggestions to those in our new home, or software developers, like I myself have been doing. :-)
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