Mauz's Activeworlds Pages: Activeworlds Glossary

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Some terms, words and phrases commonly used in Activeworlds.

A

Account
Citizenship
Action
Field in object's property box for building commands
Activate
Building command that triggers a command with a mouse-click
Activeworlds
The first universe, owned by AWI
Activeworlds Corp.
The company that owned AW until July 2002
Activeworlds, Inc.
Subsidiary of Activeworlds Corp. until July 2002
Activeworlds.com
Former name of Activeworlds company years 1999 - 2001
Administration Tool
Program to run and maintain world server
AFK mode
Away From Keyboard mode, activated from AFK button, that puts letters AFK next to your name on contact list
AlphaWorld
The main world in Activeworlds universe, oldest and biggest
Ambient light
General, absolute light of the environment that has no direction but shines equally on all polygons; natural illumination outside the model
Animate
Building command to make animations
Animation
Moving or changing objects or applying sequences of bitmaps to them frame by frame with animate command
Area is full
See Cell data limit
Astart
Building command to start a stopped animation
Astop
Building command to stop a running animation
Atdump
ASCII representation of the world attribute database, accessible from World Features window: title, backdrop, ground object, refresh rate, caretakers, world rights, home page, object password, welcome message, etc
Attribute database
World attributes accessible from World Features window: title, backdrop, ground object, refresh rate, caretakers, world rights, home page, object password, welcome message, etc
Avatar
1. Person's or bot's graphical representation, "looks" inside AW, human or non-human
2. Certain user
Avatar collision
World option that lets avatars bump into each other, instead of going through
Avatar list
List of avatar forms available to wear in the current world
Avatar menu
1. The menu in the top of the AW window that contains the avatar list
2. List of commands to perform to a specific user, like Mute, Add To Contacts, Eject, or Whisper, accessible by right-clicking the avatar or their chat line
AW
1. Activeworlds universe
2. AlphaWorld
3. See AWB
AWB
Activeworlds browser, program to use AW
AWC
See Activeworlds Corp.
AWCI
See Activeworlds Corp.
AWCOM
See Activeworlds Corp.
AWEC
Active Worlds Events Committee
AWGate
The default landing spot in AW universe; starting world if no other home coordinates are set
AWHS
The AlphaWorld Historical Society
AWI
See Activeworlds, Inc
AWLD
1. See Activeworlds Corp.
2. Stock quote symbol of Activeworlds Corp. in NASDAQ
AWSchool
World for Building School
AWTA
Active Worlds Travel Agency
AWUniv
World for Active Worlds University

B

Backdrop
Stationary background picture, defined in world settings
Backdrop color
Background color surrounding the world, behind backdrop picture
Background music
MIDI files
Bandwidth
Speed of net connection, the amount of data that can be transmitted, in kilobytes per second
Beta
New version of AW that is still under development, tested by citizens accepted in the beta test program
BI
See Building Inspector
Bilinear filtering
RenderWare3 uses 3D card's bilinear texture filtering ability to determine pixel colors by calculating interpolated or average values for them. It makes texture look more blurry but also smooth and realistic instead of blocky
Bot
Automated avatar or utility, usually programmed with AW SDK
Bounding box
Yellow wireframe box that shows up when selecting object, used for collision detection
Building
Adding and changing objects from Object Properties window or with a bot
Building Inspector
Comments made by AW program when building, about not being allowed to encroach, reach cell data limit, use objects that are not in registry, build inside restricted radius, etc

C

CA
Captain America, greeter in America world
Camera
Viewer's view into the scene
Caretaker
World caretakers can change the world rights and other attributes, build within Restricted Radius, change object's owner, edit the ejection list etc
Cell data limit
Capacity of world database cells: 1500 (setting: normal), 2500 (large), or 4000 (huge) bytes of data, consisting of object names, action and description fields
Chat log
Text file where chat is saved. Automatic logging set in Options saves chat window content except telegrams as ASCII text file
Citizen
User with a registered citizenship
Citizen attributes
Window accessible for citizens from Options menu to set citizen name, password, email address for official contacts, privilege password, home page etc
Citizen number
Citizen's registration number
Clamp
RWX textureaddressmode command mode to hold the texture down to the edge color when UV coordinates fall outside the range 0 to 1. Other modes are wrap for tiled textures (default) and mirror for tiled but alternately flipped textures
Clipping plane
A distance beyond which objects are not shown. Restricted by RenderWare3 to 400 meters
Clump
RWX file section
COF
Circe of Fire, changed name to Activeworlds.com in 1999 when bought by Vanguard Enterprises
Collision detection
Algorithm that checks if objects are intersecting
ComReg
Active Worlds Community Register
Contacts
Personal list of max 100 citizens for seeing if they are online, sending telegrams, joining them, getting their home page etc
Coordinate
North/south, west/east and altitude values that determine the location in a world. 1 AW coordinate = 10 meters
Corona
Corona building command for creating halo effects with a transparent image, a bit like sprite
Ctrl
Avatars can move at a faster pace by pressing Ctrl key while moving
Customs Aide
Bot used in Activeworlds company owned worlds to greet, instruct and perform language control
Cy
First avatar in AW
Cy Awards
See The Cy Awards

D

Description
Field in object's property box for object description text; content shows in a yellow tooltip box when mouse hovers over the object
Diffuse
Diffuse component of the surface lighting properties in a model specifies shading or how much light source shines on polygons: more brightly on polygons facing the light source, but not at all on polygons that face away
Directional light
Light source that shines in a particular direction, such as world's main light source
DirectSound
Audio subsystem, part of DirectX
DirectX
A set of API program libraries developed by Microsoft for high-performance applications like games. AW 3.x needs DirectX 7.0 or later
Download window
Shows progress of copying world objects from object server, three at a time. Accessible with F3 key or Show - Downloads

E

ED
See Eminent Domain
Ejecting
Removing avatar from world, blocking them from coming in from a certain IP address for a certain period of time
Eminent Domain
World right to delete properties of other citizens and in non-registry worlds also change an object's owner
Encroachment
Building over somebody else's property. Object registry prevents encroaching
Examine
Building command to allow viewer to rotate the object with the mouse
Expiring
Citizenship or world license running out after a year

F

Facing
After the coordinates in the location information at AW window's title bar, showing the point of compass where one's avatar is looking at
File transfer
Sending a picture, text or other file to some citizen in Contacts list
Filmstrip
JPEG texture which has bigger height than width so that it shows one frame at a time in an animated sequence when displayed in AW
Firewall
Program or equipment to filter or prevent net traffic from accessing the computer freely
First person mode
Viewpoint into AW is like looking with own eyes
Flying
Changing avatar's altitude with numberpad +/- keys
Fog
World property that makes objects' color become more and more the same as the world's backdrop color as they recede into the distance, creating fog-like effect
Frame
1. Image seen in AW graphics window
2. One step in animate command animation
Frame rate
Number of animation frames displayed per second; frequency with which image is regenerated
Freelook mode
Viewpoint can be changed with mouse

G

Galaxy
Universe with only one world
Gatekeeper
Volunteer citizen greeting and helping in AWGate and JunoDome
Gesture
Avatar's gesture-like movement or action, automatically or with gesture button
GET
Garbage Elimination Team
GK
See Gatekeeper
Gravity
Property of a world with a ground object that lets avatar fall and climb along obstacles
Grayscale mask
Multibit BMP file instead of monochrome one to let pixels in a texture be just partly transparent
Green world
Open world, world where everybody can enter
Ground Zero
The center point of a world, coordinates 0N 0W (0 North, 0 West), default landing point
GZ
See Ground Zero

H

Home
1. Landing point when entering AW. Universe or browser specific default world unless set with Teleport - Remember
2. Keyboard shortcut for first-person mode
Home page
1. The web page that people see in internal web window when entering world
2. Citizen's own web page, set in citizen attributes and accessible to others from Contacts list

I

Immigrating
Registering citizenship
Immigration Officer
Program's announcements like universe and world welcome messages
IO
See Immigration Officer
Internal web browser
Integrated custom Internet Explorer control window to the right side of the AW window
IP address
Computer's network address, consisting of four 1 - 3 digit numbers. Either permanent (static) or changing with every connection (dynamic), esp. with modems

J

Joining
Teleporting to the same location as somebody chosen from Contacts list
JunoDome
The default landing spot for Juno users who have downloaded their browser from Juno website

K

Keyboard mode
Moving one's avatar with the keyboard arrow keys

L

Light
Building command to make the object emit light into the surrounding scene
Lightsampling
RWX light sampling type, either facet (flat) or vertex (smooth, gradual)
Local path
Option for AW to check for objects and textures first from a directory on local hard disk before downloading them from the object server
Local teleport
Teleporting to a location in the same world
Login
Entering AW, using citizen name and password,/dd>

M

Mask
A bitmap pattern in BMP format applied to a texture, having shades of darkness to determine which parts of the actual texture appear transparent in AW and which opaque
Message set
File to customize AW's menus, dialogs, buttons, program messages etc for instance into another language. Default message set is Default.awm
MIP-mapping
A texture filtering technique used by RenderWare3 to generate scaled down versions of textures beforehand, and then use a more detailed version when object is close, and a less detailed one when it is further away
Miswhisper
Whispering to wrong person
Model
Computer-generated 3D object simulating some real target, in RenderWare or TrueSpace format
Mouse mode
Moving one's avatar with the mouse
Move
Building command for moving object
MP3
Sound file encoded (compressed) in the MPEG-3 format
MPL
Metatropolis Public Liason
Muting
Command to prevent seeing that user's chat text anymore until they re-enter AW

N

Name
Building command to assign a name to an object so that it can be referenced by an action on another object
Newsgroups
Discussion groups using Network News (NNTP) protocol. The official newsgroups for AW citizens are at news://news.activeworlds.com. There are also other AW related newsgroups, run by private citizens
Noise
Building command to play music file on top of other sounds and just once instead looping

O

o
After name: cyber-engaged or cyber-married
Object
1. 3-D shape, model
2. Model used as a building block in AW
Object errors
Object download error notifications printed to the chat window
Object password
Password used for encrypting object zip files
Object Properties window
Shows up when right-clicking an object in a world where object selection is allowed. Editable in building worlds
Object refresh time
Interval how often AW will look for updated versions of the objects
Object path
Web site where objects are downloaded from
Object selection
Getting Object Properties window by right-clicking object
Opacity
Not being see-through, or degree of model's transparency
Operator
Subprogram that announces received telegrams
OpenGL
A 3D graphics program library that may be available as an option in AW 3.2 for Windows NT support

P

Peacekeeper
Volunteer citizen maintaining order and investigating harassment cases
Pitch
Rotation along X axis
Pixel
Picture element with coordinates and color that textures are made of, or rendered onto computer screen by the 3D engine
PK
See Peacekeeper
Polygon
Vertices connected by sides in a model that define a plane in 3D space
Prelight
Pre-light vertex coloring gives values for RenderWare3 to use as starting values when computing the effect of lighting on an object
Private world
World where entering is restricted to certain citizens by Enter rights list
Privilege password
Secret code that a citizen can set for themselves and give others so that when they assume it under Login menu, they get that citizen's public speaking, eject etc rights and can build with their property. Also used for running bots
Propdump
ASCII representation of the world property database
Property
1. The objects citizen has built
2. World database cell data like object's builder, building time, coordinates, orientation, file name, description and action field contents
Proxy
Server used by many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to cache web downloads locally in order to decrease net traffic
PS
See Public speaker
Public speaker
World right that gives bold text when speaking and access to special avatars

Q

Quad
Polygon with 4 vertices or 2 triangles

R

Rating
See World rating
Red world
See Private world
Refresh
See Object refresh time
Registering
Getting citizenship
Registry
List of object names and sizes that prevents builders from building with any other objects or over other people's property (encroaching)
Rendering
Creating a 2D computer image out of 3D data by the graphics engine real-time
RenderWare
3D graphics library and engine by Criterion that AW models mainly use
Restricted Radius
The limited area around Ground Zero where only caretakers and those with Special Objects right can build or run bots
Reunion
Real world users gathering
RGB
Red, green and blue component of color, from 0 (no color) to 1 (full-on color) or 255 in 8-bit scale
Roll
Rotation along Z axis
Rotate
Building command for rotating object around its axis or axes
RW
1. RenderWare, abbr.
2. Real World, abbr.
RWX
Extension for files using RenderWare scripting language

S

Scale
RWX command to change the size of the model
SDK
Software Development Kit, for programming bots and other utilities for AW
Seq
Avatar animation sequence, defined by .seq file
Shift
Avatars can go through objects by pressing Shift key while moving, unless it is disabled in world options
Sound
Building command to attach a background sound to an object
Sound effects
WAV and MP3 files
Special avatars
Five extra avatars that only public speakers can use
Special Commands
World right to restrict who can use move and rotate commands when building
Special Objects
World right to restrict who can build with z objects. People with z object right can also build within the Restricted Radius
Specularity
Glare component of surface properties, making the side directly facing the world light source brighter; similar to diffuse but with a higher threshold. Not supported by RenderWare3 because it would require multi-pass rendering, adding properties in multiple passes
Splash screen
Program's startup picture
Sprite
Facer; axis-aligned model rotated to face the viewer
Standalone mode
Using AW without connection to universe server, so other users can't be seen, telegrams can't be sent, buildings don't stay etc. Entered by clicking Skip button when starting AW
Support
AW's technical help staff at support@activeworlds.com
Surface
RWX command setting surface lighting properties, with ambient, diffuse and specular components

T

Tabs
Vertical list windows to the left of AW screen: Worlds, Contacts, Help, Telegrams, Teleports
Tag
1. RWX command that tells the avatar parts for the seq files
2. Animate command argument to apply animation only to certain tagged polygon of the object
Telegram
Max 255-character text message to a citizen, instantly delivered or stored in universe server until the receiver comes online
Teleport
1. Model that a user can pass through or activate to automatically go to a new place
2. To change place via teleport object or Teleport menu, Teleports list or Worlds list
Terrain
Continuos, editable ground, that can have raised or lowered sections by modifying its elevation grid
Texture
A bitmap pattern added to a model; image file made up of pixels. AW uses JPEG format
Texture mapping
1. A bitmap added to a model
2. Adding a graphic pattern to the polygons of a 3D scene
The Cy Awards
Awards for accomplished users and community groups, voted for by users
Third person mode
Viewpoint into AW is from above and behind from own avatar
Titan's Guild
Old group of object makers and builders, owned Winter world
Title
World title text shown in AW browser's title bar or when a location is saved into Teleports list
Toolbar
Icon button bar in top of AW window with buttons for e.g. teleporting into previous or next scene visited, changing view, or keyboard/mouse movement mode
Tourist
User who has not paid for citizenship or is not logging in as a citizen; can only enter worlds that have enabled tourist access
Trial world
Free world for 30 days, hosted by Activeworlds company
Transparency
Being partly see-through or not visible at all
Triangle
Polygon with 3 vertices
Trigger
Building command about how to start an action: when coming in to view (create), when colliding (bump), when clicking (activate), or when animation ends (adone)

U

Universe
Worlds with common universe server, citizenship database and universe attributes like starting world and browser version. Can be bought from Activeworlds company
Universe server
Computer program that runs the universe keeping track of worlds, citizenships, citizens online, telegrams, avatar locations, universe-wide ejections etc
URL
Universal Resource Locator, web address, often preceded by http://
UTN
Universal Town Network
UV coordinates
Horizontal and vertical texture coordinates. Numbers higher than 1.0 will make the texture tile and negative numbers will mirror it

V

Vertex
Point in a model
Video memory
Amount of RAM memory in computer's graphics accelerator hardware
Visibility
How far you see in a world. Can be set by user between 22 to 120 meters. Even if visibility is set below 120 m, it can rise to that if frame rate is good
VRT
Virtual Reality Time invented and used in AW: GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) - 2 hours, without daylight savings

W

Warp
Building command that teleports inside a world by gradually moving the avatar to the new place
Web window
See Internal web browser
Welcome message
The message that the Immigration Officer says to the people who enter the world
WFS
Waiting for Server message in the lower bar of the AW window, telling that the connection to the world or universe server has been lost
Whisper
Private person-to-person chat. Shows up with blue italics in chat window
Wireframe
Mode or model where only outlined edges of polygons are shown without being filled in
WM
See Welcome message
World
A virtual environment inside AW universe, computer-generated model that can be experienced as if it were a place. (Cf. chat room, IRC channel.) Can be bought from Activeworlds company
World rating
Suggestion about world content, based on MPAA movie rating: G = General Audiences, PG = Parental Guidance, R = Restricted, X = X-rated
World rights
Caretaker can give rights for certain citizens in World Rights dialog: Enter, Build, Eminent Domain, Special Objects, Special Commands, Public Speaker, Eject, Bots, Speak
World server
Program that runs the world, maintains the content database and connects it to the universe server
World size
Distance in coordinates from Ground Zero to the end of the buildable area
Worlds.inc
Creator and previous owner of AW

X

X axis
Horizontal axis

Y

Y axis
Vertical axis
Yaw
Rotation along Y axis

Z

Z axis
Depth axis
Z-Buffering
1. Algorithm keeping track of the Z-depth of pixels so that hidden parts can be left out before rendering
2. Intersecting objects or the lag caused by rendering them
Z objects
Objects whose name starts with z, used to restrict certain objects from common builders by a world rights setting

3

3D
Containing Z (depth) axis as well as X (width) and Y (height)
3D Card
3D graphics accelerator/video card. AW 3.x requires a 3D card to make frame rate faster, because a 3D card can do 3D object handling calculations and texturemapping itself, instead of using computer's processor

Links

(I don't guarantee the reliability or completeness of the information on this page.)

mauz@mauz.info 2007-01-23