Inhabited TV experiment - participation in a TV series via 3D virtual worlds (1997)
BT, Illuminations, BBC, Sony
The Mirror took the BBC2 series 'The Net' and combined it with six virtual worlds, each adopting the theme of one programme in the series. Viewers of the series had the opportunity to become inhabitants of the virtual worlds, and their activities were reflected back as news items in the TV shows. The experience ran over seven weeks in the first quarter of 1997.
The Mirror was BT's first experiment in 'Inhabited TV', which extended traditional broadcast TV with new forms of participation by audiences from within internet-based virtual worlds.
After each programme in the television series 'The Net' was broadcast, it's viewers were invited to become inhabitants in a virtual world whose design mirrored its theme. The themed worlds were play, creation, power, memory, space and identity. In the virtual world the inhabitants could take part in scheduled events, activities and play interactive games. Events included a public debate between Peter Cochrane and Douglas Adams, an art show and a virtual wedding.
The Mirror was built in VRML and Java, and deployed in Sony's Community Place 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.
Winner: Royal Television Society Educational Television Awards, Multimedia, 1997