background image
items and so on) has a unique ID number and belongs to a class which has attached
properties and features.The objects are controlled by an object-oriented programming
language executed by the MOO server (in VRoma's case, LambdaMOO)
298
which defines
the ways in which the objects interact. For example, a `room' object can contain `user'
objects that can interact both with each other and with any `item' objects in that room.
Some of the objects in the BioGate MOO core had to be adapted to better suit
VRoma's needs. After several years, the creators of the BioGate MOO database stopped
developing it, and connectivity problems with newer browsers began to develop.The
VRoma project team responded by moving their work to the enCore MOO database
(which was specifically developed for use in colleges and universities) with the XPress
Web client
299
and the MOOca java
interface.
300
Most of the VRoma
rooms had to be reformatted to work
with XPress.While this work was
done the original MOO was kept
open and functioning.VRoma's
MOO/Web
301
interface combines two
different technologies to create the
virtual world. A pure MOO is com-
pletely text based, however VRoma
includes a Web window that is inter-
locked with the Telnet connection in order to display images, multimedia objects, and
support other Web functions.This integrated Web-based MOO client, enCore XPress, uses
Web standards and technologies such as HTML, Java, and JavaScript. Users type what
they want to say or do in the Input Window; when they press the Enter key, their dia-
logue or actions appear in the Output Window, where anyone else who is currently con-
nected and located in the same `room' can see what has been said or done and respond
(if they wish).This interface fits well with VRoma's initial goal of making the technology
as transparent and user friendly as possible. It enables visitors to access VRoma and enjoy
its resources without requiring access to specialised hardware.
In order to build the virtual city, it was decided that two distinct sections were
required: the historically accurate reconstruction of Rome, and a non-historical section
which would contain virtual offices of VRoma core
staff and student projects.To virtually recreate the
vast and complicated city of ancient Rome and to
provide user-friendly navigation, the VRoma team
used divisions created by the emperor Augustus.
These split the city into fourteen regions.The first
historic room is simply called `Rome' and has a
clickable map of the fourteen regions as well as an
entrance to each of the regions. Some of the
regions have clickable maps which take the user
directly to major monuments in that region.With
Collaborative Mechanisms
and Technologies
162
VRoma
The Colosseum - line drawing
VRoma
The Colosseum - photograph
298 http://www.lambdamoo.info
299 http://lingua.utdallas.edu/encore/
300 http://www.zanid.com/mooca/
301 Webbed MOOs are sometimes called WOO's.
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