Interview: Flagg of Activeworlds, Inc (pt1)
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Part 1 of a 3 part interview with Tom 'Flagg' from Activeworlds Incorporated.

Tom, known as Flagg in the Activeworlds Universe has kindly offered to answer several questions regarding the state of the universe. How does it feel to be working for Activeworlds, Inc again?

Great! It’s wonderful to be working with my old friends again. Obviously I have very unique responsibilities and commitments here and with that comes challenges, obligations and stress not associated with your average job. However, there is also a great sense of reward and accomplishment that can be difficult to find in day to day work. In your opinion what has changed the most since your prior departure?

[rimg][/rimg]Actually not to much had changed. Upon my return I found the Universe almost exactly the way I had left it. Some worlds were now gone or defunct and some activities were no longer operating, but besides a new gate, some private world changes and the inclusion of movers and particles, not much was different.

This actually made it very easy for me to sit down at my old desk and get right back into the Activeworlds community as I didn’t need to be trained or reminded of policy, structure or overall function. Activeworlds, Inc seems to be focusing on a substantial number of graphics and feature based upgrades at the moment that would not typically be expected for business users. Is this part of refocusing efforts on the main community universe?

I wouldn’t say it’s a refocusing of efforts. We work based on priorities. The nature, intent and environment of the Activeworlds software requires constant maintenance, tweaking and upgrading. Almost every upgrade or modification is based on a need by either AWI, our Citizens or our corporate customers. As the person responsible for AWVote, has it helped you gauge public opinion in a more controlled way? Users famously voted for improvements to Alphaworld Ground Zero – What, if anything, can you say regarding the ground zero’s future?

I’m very pleased with the initial success of AWVote and hope to expand upon its success and mission in the year to come. I hope any caring Citizen of AW will encourage their friends to use this world as the results of each vote do assist in steering certain priorities and opinions.

Alpha Worlds Ground Zero has been a touchy subject for as long as I can remember. There are significant numbers on both sides of the update argument, both in the community and AWI’s staff. The vote showed a large number of users who want either an updated or new GZ for AW. I think the compromise will be keeping the current GZ, but moving the starting location to new and different GZ variations from time to time. This will allow us to keep and respect the history, while not limiting the potential progress of the world. This of course is still in the idea and concept stage so no guarantees can be made at this time. You are also the manager of the new set of competition worlds including the rides building contests. What are your views on the level of participation and what are you hoping to get out of these events beyond basic participation?

[limg][/limg]The participation so far has been ok. I expected more of our talented users to get involved and have been surprised by the lack of interest in certain parts of the community. I think we are giving excellent, varied and rewarding prizes while also providing fun activities for our users.

There really is four main goals I hope to achieve with each event. Provide fun and challenging activities and resources for our community. Encourage learning and participation in relation to our newer features and options. Provide a showcase for users and potential customers wanting to know and understand the features and options of Activeworlds. Identify our most advanced users in the different skill set areas of the Activeworlds Universe. On the same point, you have recently been awarding “AW Credit” as prizes for competitions. This seems to have been well received - is this something that you intend to continue doing?

Yes definitely. Obviously anything we do that receives positive feedback is something we want to continue. As time goes on we will look at possibly expanding this to incorporate more aspects of the Activeworlds Universe.

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