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General Timeline
1995 is part of a series.

1995 is the year Active Worlds came into existence (at first AlphaWorld prior to 1996). May also be known in some cases as year 0 in Active Worlds.

On June 28th, 1995, AlphaWorld (later Active Worlds) had its first "official" release to the general public.

Review Beta 52

These notes were shipped with build 52 to build 68.

			Alpha World Version Beta 52
			       Dec 28th 1995
			      From Worlds Inc.

 Worlds, Inc. seems to know exactly what the VRML language should evolve into. I
wasn't prepared for anything new from this amazing company until later this fall
when the greatly anticipated Worlds Fair is expected to be released. I couldn't have
been more surprised to learn of the release of a new, 'super' version of Worlds Chat
called AlphaWorld. While still in beta, this program shows promise of being
extremely interesting and entertaining to individual users as well as being
profitable at the corporate level . Like Worlds Chat, AlphaWorld is a 3-dimensional
landscape complete with scenery, realistic objects, and generic avatars. Once you
naturalize yourself with the AlphaWorld immigration patrol, youll be able to control
your own avatar and converse with others as you venture out into the world. While
the extremely useful and time-saving hot-spots feature (similar to bookmarks but on
a 3D level -- think of them as teleportation devices) of VRML isnt included in the
beta release, you can navigate in many new ways including a flying mode and a 3rd
person point of view, as well as the more common walking mode. 

So what gives AlphaWorld even more potential than Worlds Chat? In addition to its
ability to portray realistic landscapes and objects (including trees, houses, and
even fire hydrants), every object in Alpha World has the potential for acting as a
link to a web site, gopher site, mail address, newsgroup, and more. Combine this
with a forum for conversing with hundreds of others and you have the beginning of an
extremely new and fascinating technology that corporations will be able to use in
augmenting typical activities like training sessions, presentations, conferences,
and perhaps most importantly, marketing and advertising promotions. Worlds Chat also
has many of these features but is limited in the types of objects that can be
represented. This is perhaps best evidenced by AlphaWorlds potential for virtual

Entire communities can be created with AlphaWorld -- communities that we may well
learn to call our second home someday in the future. Inns, houses, malls, and stores
are just a few examples of the virtual real estate that can be found in AlphaWorld.
With the aid of any common web browser, you can also create links to any site on the
Internet from your virtual home. While AlphaWorld does have potential, users should
be aware that this technology is still in beta and presents several areas that could
be improved. First, the multitude of avatar types found in Worlds Chat are forsaken
for just one generic avatar in this version of AlphaWorld -- perhaps there will be
more in the future. Also, AlphaWorld tends to be quite slow relative to Worlds Chat
due to its rendering technology (this technology is expected to be upgraded and
improved in the near future). Finally, some Windows 95 and 3.1 users are currently
limited to watching others communicate, due to a problem with certain video drivers.
Not discounting these current limitations, this is amazing technology that is almost
too good to be true. If youre getting impatient for Worlds Fair to arrive, take a
look at AlphaWorld -- you wont be disappointed. 

Pros: Super Worlds Chat -- a new 3-Dimensional world to explore with near limitless 
Cons: Slow, limited to one generic avatar, communications problem with some video 
New: Improved performance; automatic updates; new building objects; including an 
animated TV 

Version Reviewed: Beta 52 
Date of Review: 12/28/95 

This review used with permission from The CWSApps List --
Copyright 1995 - Forrest H. Stroud



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