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ExitReality (2)
- 19th May 2012 -

 7: Acropolis Palace from the outside, 8: The Chateau as seen from above, 9: One of the Knot Tunnels, 10: On the map in Piratez9, 11: Making Maxfield Parish into 3D in Daybreak, 12: A 1/2 sized model of "Dundee Scotland City of Discovery", and 13: a 1/3 scale model of the Discovery from2001.

If ExitReality is outdated, buggy, and in some ways a "failure", the worlds it gives access to are not. Or not quite. The worlds and places created specifically for ExitReality's social network (that never was) seem consistent but dull.  A good example of this is Reality Plaza (which was shown in part 9 of Seconds):

<span class="cbcolr"><i>http://Seconds.thecomicseries.com/files/tourist/er_reality_plaza.jpg</i></span>

It has several buildings arranged around a raised sculpture of the earth (which shows a popup of "Maps" when pressed). One of these is a subway building that only leads to one destination - Bongo's Party Place (also featured in part 9 of Seconds). Another building leads to the Carls Jnr showcase place, and others lead to a "Bebo Apartment", a "MySpace Apartment, and a Blinx theatre. A building marked Facebook doesn't go to an apartment or theatre, rather it links to Danny Stefanic's facebook page! A last building has a few display screens linked to videos. It's a reasonable demo of what can be done in ExitReality, but hardly a place you'd linger.

Among all the dead or broken links there are still some places of note and/or interest. Don't expect complete virtual worlds. Rather what you get in general is a a 3D model of varying size, surrounded by gigantic translights to give an impression of death (see the aerial views above). That said, some of these worlds have an atmosphere that seems unique - I doubt that the same effect would be achieved in Second Life where the locales are built from prims. It's the nature of the VRML models that makes the difference (most look like advanced paper cut-out projects). At the moment ExitReality is still the best viewer that works with these. Other plug-ins like Cosmos and FreeWRL work less well. Below are some of the ones I liked.

Fire's Snakehouse is a broken attempt at a fun-house. Walk through the front door and you'll end up somewhere else. It's broken in a couple of places as your avatar can "fall out" of some of the tunnels which ruins the effect. Escher Art Display  is fairly small but it is the best use of changing viewpoints I know (you change those by pressing PageUp and PageDown). Untitled is actually a gallery of avatars. The Gallery of 3D Creationhttp://www.3dtrue.com/gallery/ (also see the webpage) is more like a static view of snapshots of those creations, so while the place itself is in 3D the works are rather disappointing. I did however like the Catacomb art gallery which has a maze like structure to show Celtic designs.

Human is a rather trippy look at the human body, likewise the Knot Tunnel will spin you out. Dana's World has a castle separated from a circus by a river and bridge, with a couple of animations. Dundee Scotland City of Discovery has the most overblown name for what is essentially a 1/2 scale model of a port. The Streets of London however has atmosphere to spare. Somewhere in a a ripper awaits you, and while you walk around in the fog you can hear the sounds of night activity (including the odd scream). Piratez9 appears to be a building game. The island and town are quite detailed and even have night and day. The most impressive feature of it however is a map of the Caribbean which you can look at from a distance, but if you look too closely you shrink down to the size of a pen and appear on the map itself!

The Acropolis Palace is a model of a real building in Prague.  The most obvious part of it are the several bars, but there is also an art gallery upstairs and more. Be sure to thoroughly explore it. Find the Temple of Death is a sort of puzzle and has the prettiest backdrops of any place. Urban Street Scene is just that. What is it with people huddled around oil drums with fires in them? You see that a bit in Second Life in certain quarters as well. Cave Island has the sound of the surf in the background, a real cave somewhere there, and links to ENRY's, where you'll find forest, star and water generators. The author has created other VRML worlds, but not all are viewable in ExitReality. The Library seems twice size and leads up to an observatory.

Warwick Castle is one of the guided tours set up by TimeRef in VRML (most of the others can be found by searching for "castle") and is a good model. The Noir Office is full of detail and background noise that'll have you go for the gin baottle in the 2nd draw. Helsinki University’s Viikki campus seems to be one of the few surviving models of a university (the others are mostly dead links). Daybreak makes a painting made on glass into a 3D experience (see above). Marbella Andalusia is a coastal resort, and Grand Prix Online is a racing game, though it's best to make your avatar invisible on this one (otherwise it'll be the one going at top speed).

The Forest was used in part 9 of Return to Second Life and seems to reflect ideas from the European Enlightenment. Interestingly the parent site, Le Miroir d'Alice is a jAlbum photo gallery. Merlin seems to be someone's idea of what a medieval castle was all about (once again French) and likewise The Chateau attempts to show the divisions in French society before the revolution. The Rundown empty house has a sign that proclaims an "all new" build - dated 2005! And finally you access Cybetown as well (also see the website). This was one of the pioneering virtual worlds but seems like Exit Reality itself, a ghost town.

As time goes on most and more of these links will fail, and that's a pity. You will probably not see their like again.

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