A virtual world is the perfect place to have some online fun. An online world let’s you interact with others right from your desktop. In an online world you can be as crazy as you want to be – no one knows who you really are!
An online world is a three dimensional computer generated online environment. Within an online world users can interact and communicate with each other in real time. The ability to interact in real time is what sets online worlds apart from other types of message systems on the ‘net.
Before the advent of online worlds the only way to communicate online was to post a message and wait for a reply. Social networking sites, chat rooms, and message boards or forums all used, and still successfully use, this type of communication methods. For example, on MySpace you can “instant message” a friend but you must wait for that friend to reply via message before you have a response.
Communication in an online world is immediate. Two or more users can instantly communicate with each other in real time. One user can type in a piece of text which immediately shows up on the screen as a text bubble, chat window/bar or plain text. If using speech the user just talks into a microphone as if he is talking to a person in real life.
Communication and interaction in an online world is accomplished using avatars. An avatar is your representative in the virtual environment. When you join an online world you will be asked to create an avatar. You avatar can be realistic or be a complete fantasy figure. If you always wanted to be tall with dark brown hair and blue eyes now is your chance. Avatars do not have to be human. Some of the most popular avatars are mythological and strange creatures.
Another unique aspect of virtual worlds is that users can interact and manipulate the virtual environment. Using your keyboard or your mouse you can move your avatar around the world as it interacts with other avatars. You can also change specific areas. You can build buildings, decorate your home, and much more in an online world.
Technological advances are making online worlds even more realistic using more sophisticated Virtual reality devices. Currently a user can experience an online world using sight and sound. These aspects have been perfected to the degree that there is virtually no lag time between what you do or say and what happens in the virtual world. Also, sound is directionally oriented. If your avatar is walking away from a sound it will automatically sound like it would if you were walking away from the object or sound in real life.
Taste and smell technology is currently being tested for online worlds. The ability for users to utilize all their senses in a virtual environment will only make virtual experiences more realistic. As technology for the virtual world advances we will see many more people enter these worlds.
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