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The Internet: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer

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Virtual Worlds

Online games are great places to meet new people and work toward a shared goal, like defeating enemy troops or saving the universe. But sometimes you may just want to hang out in a highly visual environment and chat with your friends—without having to dodge enemy fire or an alien fleet.

In times like these, a virtual world is the place for you. A virtual world is a graphically rendered, simulated setting that can resemble an island, a city, or other location (Figure 10-4).

Whizzing by the Sphinx on a hoverbike with your in world friends is one of the many ways to relax in There. Adventure quests, paintball games, or just chatting side-by-side with friends (who actually live across the country) are other popular activities.

Figure 10-4. Whizzing by the Sphinx on a hoverbike with your in world friends is one of the many ways to relax in There. Adventure quests, paintball games, or just chatting side-by-side with friends (who actually live across the country) are other popular activities.

Virtual spaces for kids tend to be cartoon-like, two-dimensional places (see the box in Section 10.5). Virtual worlds designed for adults typically resemble the more realistic environments found in 3-D video games, crossed with the sleek styling of The Matrix. Some worlds encourage their players to build structures and manufacture goods within the realm, which can lead to a full-blown society complete with currency and property.

Life in a Virtual World

You travel through this world in the form of an avatar—an onscreen representation of yourself. Dressed as your digital alter ego, you move around and interact with other people's avatars. ...

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