Interview: Flagg of Activeworlds, Inc (pt3)
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Part 3 of a 3 part interview with Tom 'Flagg' from Activeworlds Incorporated. Part 3 includes working with JP McCormic, being abused by Stacee, awgate and competition with SL pornography. What’s it like working with Rick Noll and JP McCormick again?

It’s wonderful. Both JP and Rick have unique personalities that compliment each other very well. They don’t mind including their staff in discussions, ideas and concepts and run a very pleasant work environment were everyone’s individual skills are usually respected and utilized. I’ve worked for many people in my lifetime, but have learned the most from JP and Rick and they have earned my respect because of it and the accomplishments they have made. On much the same note, how are you getting along with the other staff members? Have you been in any way violently abused by Stacee yet?

[limg]/assets/misc/toon.jpg[/limg]We all get along great. We are more than co-workers but friends too. We help each other brainstorm through issues, complete different tasks and deal with setbacks and frustrations both at work and in general life. I couldn’t imagine a greater group of people to work with and I am proud of who they are and that they are my friends. Activeworlds previously allowed users to sign up for free trial 3D homepages and citizenships. In light of the dropping user count is this something that you would consider doing again?

We don’t have a dropping user count. It dropped. It’s not currently dropping.

We are actively working on bringing back the 3DHP system and are also discussing a few different options for new users wanting to explore Activeworlds to see what it’s about before making a financial commitment to it’s future. AWGate is rubbish, admit it. Do you have any plans to re-work AWGate into a more tutorial based world?

AWGate is not rubbish. It’s a beautiful world full of resources and examples of Activeworlds features and activities. It does, of course, have room for improvement and we will look at that at some point. Currently our focus is elsewhere, but the Gate is not forgotten. Does Activeworlds, Inc consider Second Life and there Competition? If not could you explain to us why?

There is record of me saying we aren’t competing with SL or other similar platforms, in retrospect, that was pretty silly. We are competing with other 3D environment software on some levels due in part to motivations based on misinformation in regards to capabilities and comparisons of each product.

[rimg]/assets/misc/aw_logo.jpg[/rimg]We both have a large community in an online virtual environment and we both have corporate customers looking for 3D representation. So, again, to say we aren’t competing would be silly. However, the marketing success of SL has helped the entire industry and the significant differences between the products are starting to shine through. Everyone would agree that Activeworlds is getting trounced in the mass market for 3D VR. What do you think it will take to save it?

I think this is a loaded question that requires me to agree with the statement to answer. Instead I will simply say that, personally, I don’t feel Activeworlds needs saving and I don’t know what facts are being used to assume that it does. AWI is a successful company with a happy staff and a viable, quality product. We may not show the member count of SL, in our main Universe, but there are many factors to consider when looking at those numbers.

We have users spread over hundreds of individual Solservers, Galaxervers and Uniservers. We have much stricter controls on adult content and especially pornography which seems to be one of the more popular activities on the net and we in no way attempt to inflate our numbers to appear larger than we actually are.

Many thanks to Activeworlds, Inc and especially Tom for agreeing to this interview.

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