Virtual worlds are all over the place, nowadays. There are literally hundreds of them now, a couple even here in India as of recent times.
The Metaverse has expanded into the Multiverse…
What all these virtual worlds have in common is the avatar. A virtual representation of your real self (or not, depending on the level of fantasy and roleplay you’re currently into- I prefer a ten-foot cyborg avatar myself)
There’s a new site that takes this concept and knocks it out of the park. Evolver lets you make your own avatar, from a photo if you want him/her/it/cat to look like you, or a builder that lets you play God with your little homunculus. More than that, it allows you to export said miniature to the virtual world of your choice, or as a 3D mesh to play around with as you please (hmm…)
Being a virtual world enthusiast, I can show you my side of the problem. Admittedly, its a bit extreme, since I’ve had to create avatars pretty much from scratch on every virtual world, 3D modeler, multiplayer and console game, web3D spaces and even websites. Even the numerous social networking platforms and member-based sites I’m on have required an avatar of some sort. It does tend to get tedious, whether it’s making a base level avatar or your own super cool stunning flying diamond thing.
So why not stay with the default avatar?
Well, the problem lies in the fact that in pretty much every multiplayer environment, there tend to be a lot of default avatars. There’s something mildly horrifying being in even a virtual space with many clones of yourself walking around. So it’s a natural thing to want to stand out just a little bit from identical others, if even a change of clothing or accessories.
So say you have a favored avatar in Second Life, whose appearance you’ve spent many hours inworld customizing to just that level of sophisticated elegance (or robotic splendor, or furry furrpection- express yourself! lol) you really like, and then you have to do it all over again in OpenSim, 3DXplorer, ExitReality, etc. etc.
Evolver solves these problems very neatly. What I like best is that you can just play around with the interface without registering, and there is a nice balance between what the general public gets (play around), the registered users get (save, multiple avatars etc) and what paying customers get (full export, 3D meshes, the works)
So as a registered user, I can create avatars and clones (avatars from photos), clothing, even basic accessories. And export them to the social network, 3D world, modeling tool (and hopefully, game soon,) of my choice. They have an option called ‘Transport’ that lets you shoot the avatar of your choice to multiple platforms, as an image, animation or mesh.
Speaking of evolutions, look at where the site itself has gone. I’d met Tim Blagden of Evolver, last year in connection with a virtual world project, we had a fascinating conversation via Skype about where this tech could possibly go. And I think it’s gone a light-year since then. The interface is highly visual, even the casual visitor is given every chance to simply play around with the multitude of options. Further, my hatred for constantly having to re-register at every site that has anything of interest is well known by now. So here we have the option of logging in via Facebook, OpenID, Friendster, and others, as well as registering with your email ID if you wish. Very nice.
This team has made an effort to make it super easy for people to just get to where they want. Create an avatar, upload it to platform of your choice, and that’s it. Job done.
Why this rocks…
Well basically, this web application bridges a gap. We are all heading toward a situation where the average web user is aware of and uses 3D virtual worlds and spaces, and the concept of an avatar as a digital extension of one’s self is grasped. Here. you can make a fully realistic, textured representation of yourself with less than an hour of effort and take it with you to the virtual world of your choice. Evolver offers convenience, a space where one can store one’s basic identity and retain it within multiple worlds and even web platforms.
…and they’re right. There’s nothing like this on the web at the moment. This is one of those ideas that is so simple that only a genius could have thought of it. Take a bow, guys