Virtual Worlds

Textures for Whyst in Cubelands

I decided that it’s time to release some of the textures I use in my Cubelands Whyst server.

So here they are folks, just for you. I hope you use them well. And if you like them enough to tell people I made them, you would stroke my ego nicely lol ūüôā

I hate to say something so negative, but they would have been released sooner if some crazies didn’t try to steal them. Yes, some young Brazillian lads decided it would be ok to take screenshots of my textures and use them in their own server. It totally de-motivated me for a while since i felt they had no respect for the time I put into making them.

But why should you suffer because of some wayward kids? You shouldn’t. We should teach them somehow that they hurt the community by stealing.

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Whyst in Cubelands

Here is another virtual world built on the Unity game platform. This one, a “game” called Cubelands is similar to the popular Minecraft, except it’s focus is building and it’s graphics are beautiful. With the inclusion of fog, “depth of field” (where visibility blurs at a distance), and superb shadows on the highest graphics settings, Cubelands is a visual delight even in its simplicity.

You can play Cubelands for free, or you can buy a premium membership. The basic free membership allows you to create words that are hosted by the Cubelands server. However, if you have the premium membership, you can make your own dedicated server including custom textures, like mine does.

Here is a video of worlds someone could build with a basic free membership. The majority of players have this free membership:

Premium memberships also allow you to customize your cubey avatar by applying a custom skin. Here is a shot of me in-world taken by an avatar called “sexy”.

screenshot of Whystler by Sexy


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Bath of Venus in FriendsHangout

FriendsHangout is a realtively new multiuser virtualworld 3D platform that uses the Unity engine. As a result, the graphics are really quite state of the art with realtime shadows, and exceptional shaders making water reflective and realistic.

I created this world to focus, very simply, on the luxury of water in FriendsHangout. Bath of Venus has been built by me in a number of 3d platforms as part of the Land of Whyst, but it certainly shines here.

You can visit this world in FriendsHangout by clicking this link. If you do not have the Unity3d plugin, you will be prompted for a download. I just love it that Unity runs in a web browser! I also love the fact that FriendsHangout has purchased a membership to ASCAP, which allows users to play a large body of music within their worlds. I was happy to find that some music by Lisa Gerrard was licensed through ASCAP, and this is the sultry piece you hear when your avatar enters Bath of Venus.

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Whyst in IMVU

Oy, I have been lax.¬† As you can see this post comes more than a year later than the last.¬† But¬†at least it’s still here to come back to!

I wanted to share with you some pictures of Whyst in the 3d platform IMVU.  In fact, folks have been able to buy virtual items in IMVU to make their own Whystic worlds since 2006!  Here are a just few of them that are currently for sale in my IMVU catalogue :

(note 2: All of these images are screenshots from within IMVU that have been post processed with words for promotion. They are not rendered in 3d modelling software)

Bath of Venus:

My castle building set – here is a video!

A bubble Machine!

A Whystic Library:

A set of building pieces for a luxurious Whystic water-province called Atlantea:

A sideboard:

Palatial marble Salon w/ various Whystic Furniture:

A memorial to whomever you wish:

Some Whystic clothing for men:

And for women:

Maybe your Whystic Lands in IMVU have temporary visitors?

Or Maybe more permanent residents:

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Whyst in Adobe’s Atmosphere


In 2002 Activeworlds did a major financial overhaul that, among other things,¬†increased the price of fun by 350%.¬† At the time, many of us were survivers of a recent recession and couldn’t justify the price increase without a similar increase in service.¬† So we left.¬† Like a gypsy caravan, we pulled up our roots and scoured the internet for opportunities.¬† And many of us found one in Adobe’s Atmosphere.

Atmosphere was in beta, which meant free!¬† It was the early days of free beta when testers understood things would change frequently and developers of beta respected testers for a lot longer during the process than they do now.¬†¬†¬† We called our Adobe Developers zombies for their tireless work.¬† Deadlines were always “in two weeks”, even if they took months.¬† All in all, it was an easy, fun, meaningful, and sometimes profitable experience until the end, which was difficult.

Courtyard of the Changeling in Atmosphere

Courtyard of the Changeling in Atmosphere

The interface was a somewhat new concept, that later became quite common.  It gave the user a seperate program in which to build.  Using various primitives, which were resized, rotated, added, subtracted, and intersected, worlds and even avatars were built.  This was great for architecture, but often gave organic forms a boxy look, so support for external 3d content formats was later included.  Atmosphere worlds were even programmable with javascript, and had physics using the Havoc engine!

Once the world was published, it was hooked into an Adobe chat server and you would then embed it right into a web page, which at the time was novel and exciting.  All kinds of neat perks were added.  You could share pictures, worlds, avatars and 3d objects, simply by clicking and dragging these things onto your friend avatars.  It sounds like old hat to you now yes?  But then it was new and many of them firsts.

Greenman Inn in Atmosphere

Greenman Inn in Atmosphere

Here, Whyst was reborn and expanded¬†it’s world¬†from italianate gardens, to fantasy hang-outs, and palatial interiors.¬† Old friends were found, such as Lady Bunny and Lightfoot from Activeworlds.¬† New friends, and co-enthusiasts for 3D were found .. Angela, George, Donza, MichaelH, Petra, Apkalus, Lace,¬†Americo and many many others as well as Adobe staff Daniel Presedo and Michael Kaplan.¬†

It was a nice run with exciting possibilities.¬† I even made some money doing contract work for Adobe, creating content and historically based worlds.¬† But in the end, we were quite suddenly informed by Adobe of Atmosphere’s demise.¬† It was hard to take, reminiscent of an unexpected romantic break-up.¬†

One of the greatest things about Atmosphere was it’s in-builder use of light.¬† When you were finished making a world, you would render the lighting, which sometimes took hours … even overnight.¬† But the final outcome that was achieved, gave the program it’s name.¬† Our worlds definately had atmosphere.

The Fairyrinth

The Fairyrinth

You can still visit the Fairyrinth, if your computer can work the plugin, but since it is no longer hooked to a chat server, you will be alone there.  Still, it has a tranquil charm, and you get to be a pixie!
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The first Whyst in Activeworlds

I thought I might start this blog off with a post about beginnings.

Roughly 10 years ago I discovered the world of creating virtual reality through Activeworlds.¬† This¬†discovery started me on many unpaid hours… days… years, of hard, but satisfying work.

I had been working part time in the University of Guelph Library, trying desperately years upon years to go further in life by staying loyal to my position, hoping that my experience would gain me a permanent position.  It never happened.  But Activeworlds did.  It opened up an experience of boundless creativity for me.  After all, what is more creative than building a dream a square kilometer of land!

I met many wonderful people there in the early days.  People like Lady Murasaki, Jardine, Lady Bunny, JohnnyB, SaintWho, and Baro were pals and inspiring comrades.  Their encouragement and energy fueled me to eventually devote my career to creativity.

Activeworlds ,then, was boxy,  primitively lit, flatly textured, but at the time Whyst was a civilized sanctuary, as it always strives to be .  We walked in these gardens, and began to understand what Whyst truly is Рa place where we can be our ideal selves:

Whyst in Activeworlds ca. 2001

Whyst in Activeworlds ca. 2001

Whyst in Activeworlds ca. 2001

Whyst in Activeworlds ca. 2001

Whyst in Activeworlds ca. 2001

Whyst in Activeworlds ca. 2001

Whyst in Activeworlds ca. 2001

Whyst in Activeworlds ca. 2001

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