ages of avatar
Inhabited TV experiment - an online community with narrative for a TV channel (2000)
BT, Illuminations, BSkyB, Microsoft
Ages of Avatar took a TV channel, Sky's [.tv], and gave its audience an online home: four virtual worlds filled with activities, events, and an unfolding narrative which could then provide content for interstitials (branded tv segments) on the TV channel. The community was live from December 1999 until March 2000.
The production was an experiment in 'Inhabited TV', which extended traditional broadcast TV with new forms of participation by audiences from within internet-based virtual worlds.
Ages of Avatar was a collection of four distinct worlds, each of which represented a symbolic avatar 'age'- childhood, youth, maturity and wisdom. The worlds were regularly updated with new features and themed content for special events. Some were populated with virtual characters driven by simple artificial intelligence programs.
inhabitants actively contributed
to events in the virtual worlds and established
a strong community. Broadcast material was created by involving the inhabitants in a number of
evolving stories and events. The narrative structure and flow drew the inhabitants into focussed behaviour at
appropriate times and places.
Ages of Avatar was created and deployed in Microsoft Virtual Worlds browser. The browser supported online social interaction via text chat in a 3D graphical environment and could be accessed using a standard PC and modem.