Steam and Spitfire in the MellaniuM Dome

Arriving at a Web alive site
When you are first preparing to enter any Web.Alive site (following the necessary download) it seems you are always greeted with a view of your avatar and welcome screen.

I wrote about my first visit to web.alive the other day and was delighted to receive some useful information in my comments section from Joe Rigby, author of MellaniuM – Virtual Quantum Entanglement. As comments can get a little buried out of sight; I have dug them up and transplanted them over to this post, now more folks can see them and be encouraged to go and dabble with web.Alive for themselves.

Steam engine in MellaniuM Dome
Steam engine in MellaniuM Dome

Joe’s first message:

Please try out the other MellaniuM web.alive environment at or if you would like a balloon ride go the the Tipontia site (sponsored by Ronald Mcdonald House) at

The images in this post are all from the Mellanium Dome, I have not tried out the balloon ride yet. The Dome was pretty amazing considering it all takes place in the browser. I did find myself wishing I could pan around with a camera as I do in Second Life. I also missed being able to fly. Still, it felt like a little adventure to wander around a new virtual world location, like many  virtual world travelers I have a thirst for new sights (and sites). The MilleniuM Dome had a distinctly British flavor to it as it showed off models of a steam engine, the Titanic and a spitfire. Each area of the exhibition space is divided into sections by decorative glass wall partitions.

Ocean liner
The Titanic!
Another view of the ocean liner
Another view of the Titanic model

And now for another word from Joe:

Sorry I should have mentioned that NORTEL’s WEB.ALIVE 3D virtual client offers the capability to have over 500 concurrent avatars not only interacting and chatting in an office complex environment but delivering presentations and filesharing among each other at

500 concurrent avatars? Gosh! That impressed me. I have seen two locations in Second Life that could hold 200 avatars. One is the conferencing arena run by IBM and the other location was managed by elves (but of course!) I also heard that there are ways to have even greater numbers of people meeting virtually using special Second Life areas running on a private grid of some sort?


More from my friend Joe:

I hope you had the anti-aliasing feature and full screen employed makes a HUGE difference to the experience and the quality of the screenshot. Cheers, Joe

I did have a go with this feature and I was really surprised when the screen image popped out full screen. It looked very good but my screen capture would not work with the full screen option which is a shame. Not sure if that was my computer having issues (it is 4 years old and getting a bit dodgy) or perhaps having selected the full screen option the browser extras were knocked out? A thought would be to make sure there are always easy camera recording options available in virtual worlds. Some of us like to take photos of the places that we visit and the avatars we see there. The pictures get themselves into blogs and before you know it – free advertising!

And a quick glimpse of my Web Alive avatar
And a quick glimpse of my Web Alive avatar

Most of the time in web.alive you cannot see your avatar-self but you can catch a quick glimpse of your avi in location after you first login. The camera initially swings into the virtual scene by rotating around the avatar before giving you an avi-eye view of the area. Clearly the objective with web.alive is to streamline the technical requirements so that your experience is both stable and of good quality. By simplifying web.alive viewing options you can still have a surprisingly detailed virtual environment managed within the browser.

Second Life on the other hand provides a view with your avatar visible all the time (unless using mouselook). It gives a three quarter perspective (similar to the vantage point in a Hokusai painting) but one where you look at the world by peering over the your avatar’s head. web.alive’s view is more akin to mouselook without the usual sensation of mouselook-motion-sickness!

This absence of self is intriguing as it pinpoints another element of presence that helps us to achieve our total immersive experience. Social presence comprises several elements; one involves creating a  believable sense of others (vital for communication); the next is the ambient presence of a virtual environment and its ability to make us feel as though we are present in both the space and its projected mood; and the third element is our sense of self-presence. Much has been written about the phenomenon of identifying with our avatars when traveling in virtual worlds (not least the debate Augmentalists vs Immersionalists. Which are You?) web.alive gives a hint or two of our self-presence but it limits this particular aspect and I wonder how important this might be?

MellaniuM Dome sky
I love the Mellanium Dome's skies!

And the last word goes to Joe Rigby:

Blogged about the NORTEL web.alive/MellaniuM environments

Take a look at Joe’s article at Also visit web.alive and download it for yourself  – see what you think!

5 thoughts on “Steam and Spitfire in the MellaniuM Dome

  1. Thanks Cyberloom, Nice blogpost indeed. Just a word about the avatar view. You can use the mouse wheel to zoom backout to have a third person camera view and zoom in to see detail in the models. If you zoom out to see the back of your avatar you can then hold down F key and then spin around with your mouse to see the front of your avatar and frame it for neat screenshots. I use FRAPS for screenshots and have never had any issue using if with fullscreen.
    Cheerio, ta-ta for now, oops yes some UK influence involved in MellaniuM

    1. HI Joe, Many thanks for the link. I have switched to an Apple computer and could not get in! I will visit from a Windows PC as soon as I can!

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