Create Your Own World
Are you ready to create your own world? Thanks to online gaming, you have a lot of virtual world choices available. In fact, there are now so many options that it's easy to become overwhelmed. So to avoid feeling overloaded and to prevent yourself from setting up an online headache, here's a list of things to consider up front that will make creating your own world a fun and exciting adventure.
Virtual world: for kids or adults?
The first choice you need to make is whether you will be allowed to participate in a world geared for children or adults. Your choices will be automatically limited based on your age. Read each site's terms of service to see the age range each site allows.
Typically, children under age 18 are not allowed on adult sites without explicit parental permission. And adults are not allowed to maintain avatars on children's sites. There are some sites that cater to teens and also allow parents to participate. For example,
is a 3D virtual reality where tweens, teens and parents can play games, own virtual pets or just chat with friends.
Virtual world: free or paid?
Many virtual worlds, such as
have both free and paid versions. This allows you to spend some time in-world to see how you like it before you have to spend money. On the other hand, it's also a great marketing strategy on the part of the site owners. Once people have set up an avatar, made friends and otherwise established themselves in the virtual world, they are more likely to be willing to pay for expanded services.
So the smart way to approach this is to pay attention from the beginning to which upgrades require the paid version. Think about whether you can really create your own world without spending money for upgrades. For the majority of virtual world sites, you'll need to spend some money to own property, so be prepared.
Virtual world: storyline or user-created?
Many virtual worlds have built-in storylines that users follow. For example, the goal of
is to build a profitable farm. You can buy land, build houses and barns, buy farm equipment and supplies such as tractors and seeds, and sell your products in the marketplace for (hopefully) a profit.
Other sites, like
, allow you to create your own storylines within the virtual world. You can buy cars and build houses, put on rock concerts or open clothing stores if you want to participate in the Second Life economy that's available in the paid version. But if you want to limit your participation to just the free version, you can still have fun just trying out different looks for your avatar and chatting with other players.
Virtual world education
If you want to create your own world as an exercise in learning more about science and the universe rather than just to play online,
allows you to follow the curriculum for a course created by California State University, Los Angeles. The units take you through creating a planet and its atmosphere, its ecology, and creating life on the planet. You'll have to check with the University to see if you can still get college credit for going through the course. But even if you can't, it's still a great site for expanding your imagination.
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