Virtual worlds have been described in the news as the next big thing; it seems that you cannot search anything without being linked to a virtual world. For those of you that do not know a virtual world is it is exactly what it says, an online society where you can meet other people, and do things that you do from day to day in the real world.
In virtual worlds there are no goals or levels, in fact, they are not really games, they are simulations. It is just do what you want, when you want, if that is to make some virtual friends then go for it, or if it is to create a business then this can all be a reality, all the choices are all down to you.
So let’s take a look at three of the most popular online free virtual worlds and find out why they are so popular.
Second life is self described as the internet’s largest user created, 3D virtual world community. Users start by choosing a look and customising their avatar. Some people decide to base their avatar on themselves; others adopt an entirely different and usually wacky persona. Second life allows you to chat to all members online, via an integrated instant messenger service or alternatively voice chat.
As Second Life is so detailed and three dimensional, I would recommend a minimum of a broadband connection, anything below and game play will be to slow.
To help others understand your interests, before they decide to talk to you, you can join up to 15 interest groups, and this will help others get to know you a bit. Here you can also find things you may have in common with one another.
With your free account you can do just about anything, apart from own land, to do that you need to have a premium account.
When you sign up for second life you are taken to Prelude Island. Prelude Island is a tutorial which all new users should complete. Controls are not as straightforward as just point and click and neither is the game play, so it is imperative that you learn as much as you can from the tutorial. Just to help you on your way [W] [A] [S] and [D] are your directional keys, and you use the mouse to look around, however, those controls are just the basics, so to get to grips with the game you must do the tutorial.
The possibilities for your character in second life are seemingly endless; you can do almost anything you can think of, here are just a few examples of what you and your character can do:
Shop: You can almost buy anything in second life’s shops, new clothes, surfboards; you name then there is probably a shop that sells it.
Settle down: Buy virtual land and build a house, rent property or even buy a previously built mansion. When you get a place why not invite your virtual friends over to just chill.
Until you view the second life world, it is hard to explain just how developed this game is, and the name sums it all up. It is as close as you can get to have a second life without cloning yourself.
Even though Moove is also a virtual online world, the developer’s original aims were much different to those of second life. Moove is designed for romance and love.
In the land of Moove your character does not have to be human, you can choose to be a robot or even an animal. Even though the initial selection of avatars is not exactly breaking records, the amount of clothes you can dress your character with make up for it in abundance.
New Moovers are given a collection of rooms and can decorate them as they wish. You can do what you want to your rooms, and in fact, Moove encourages expression, the more the better.
To interact with characters, just find the person you want to interact with and click on their name, if they accept then in you can start chatting. Moove even allows you to get married virtually, with your own virtual ceremony.
With a virtual world surrounding love and marriage, I recommend you only play this game if you are single. I would imagine if your partner found out you were virtually married, then they may get pretty peeved!
Meez is another popular virtual online world, unlike the first two; the developers of Meez have gone with a slightly more arcade approach to their virtual world. Meez is a virtual online community where you not only socialise but play games as well.
First of all create your Meez character, as the central premise does not evolve around new life’s or love, your Meez avatar is basic but in keeping with the game. Much like Moove you can then create a room and mix and match all aspects of your new room. So now you can either chill out in your room or invite players, to your room to play games. If you want to meet people, then it is best to go to the social rooms to play along. Your personal room can hold up to 11 people at a time and public rooms can hold up to 20.
When you create your room you are automatically entered into Burbia which is a ‘hood’ within Meez, Meez has six hoods in total but to move you have to pay a fee, Meez boasts that each community has different types of people.
As mentioned before Meez is not only a virtual community it is also a place to hang out and play games, Meez currently boasts 117 games to play.
Meez is an ever growing online community with a difference, play games while you socialise, and try to beat your friend’s top scores.
The pick of the virtual worlds for girls, with the three prior featuring more realistic environments and perhaps more diversity than just fashion and hanging out it has to be said that ourWorld is targetted more towards girls than women.
For example ourWorld has a very much doll game like feel. The characters are very cute and teen looking and so is the mood of the world. With that being said it still has a lot to offer teenage girls and the range of dress up on offer is very good.
We’d like to see more girls join ourWorld and let us know what they think about the world. If however you are more grown up for a teen and fancy a bit of a more realistic environment we would recommend IMVU for free chat, games and more still above the three covered above – its certainly a place to find love as well but we would advise you be careful who you talk to and don’t just share your details with any one, it isn’t as a teen friendly as ourWorld. We will be reviewing IMVU and giving you the low down shortly.
Video for ourWorld
Video for IMVU
Virtual worlds are so popular because you are able to adopt a persona. They allow your imagination to be the only barrier in your way, and because of this the possibilities are pretty much endless. If you want to relax and play games then look to Meez, find love at Moove, or develop a second life. In the online virtual worlds almost anything is possible.
There are a considerable number of games in massively multiplayer online genre, ranging from historically-accurate epic of resource management and war-waging that is Forge of Empires to the more sociable and light-hearted game of trendiness that is called Second Life, but the newest game of increasing popularity to hit the internet is IMVU.
MMO games usually have one thing in common, and that is customisation, but IMVU is a game that allows customisation to an impressive degree, allowing for the creation of your very own character with an appearance that suits you. You can dress and accessorise your avatar to show him or her off to other players, create your own designs to sell for real money, and the game also places emphasis on an aspect that is often overlooked by MMO games: social interaction. IMVU is heavy on socialising potential as it is on the customisation, so players can expect a diverse and unique experience and also be able to tell your fellow internet friends about it.
First and foremost, IMVU is all about giving the player as much customisation potential as is possible. Pretty much every aspect of the gameplay is geared towards customisation in one form or another. You must first create your very own avatar to your very own specifications, editing many aspects of his or her appearance in order to create something that looks just like you, or maybe a character through whom you would like to live vicariously; that’s the beauty of the game, since it gives you the opportunity to control almost all of the aesthetic aspects. There are hundreds of preset styles and designs for your character, clothes, room fittings, and general surroundings, and there are even designs made by other players that you can use for yourself.
The game doesn’t really have a progression as some MMO titles tend to have, with IMVU’s structure effectively consisting of a variety of chat rooms that have the appearance of various rooms designed by players. Each room has a limit on the number of people that are allowed to enter it, with users in the room being able to chat to each other and view the designs of everything/everyone within it.
The emphasis on the social side of things does mean that the game isn’t a free-to-explore adventure where you can roam around and explore your surroundings freely and you are restricted to pointing and clicking on the areas you wish to visit, but unfettered exploration isn’t quite what IMVU is going for anyhow. The level of customisation for each ‘room’ is quite staggering, partially making up for the lack of free-reign exploration by letting you create absurd and wondrous surroundings like jungles and other fantastical environs.
IMVU is essentially a social-centric experience with elaborately customisable visual representations of the various chat rooms within it, but what this game does, it does so extremely well. The graphics aren’t all that impressive, but the customisation is varied and allows you to be very creative with your avatar and surroundings. You do have to pay to remove your ‘guest’ status and to be able to create rooms, but the prices are small and the rewards are huge if you are into this kind of thing.