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Tech Talk 13 - Topic Roundup
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A round up of the topics discussed at Tech Talk #13 hosted by Chrispeg and moderated by Karten and DMC2U.

Thanks go to Talisan for the MP3 recording which is available at

Feature Request: Path Protectio

It was requested that the object path would receive an additional level of protection by encrypting the names of the object paths in the cache folder, which at present allow a user to view the base URL of the object path - even though it is masked in the world attributes for non-CT users.

Chrispeg replied that there were many ways in which a person could still easily discover the URL to a path through either the browser or through common monitoring tools to see which connections your computer was making. He also noted that with greater effort it would be possible for a skilled user to directly extract the model data from the local cache database.

Chrispeg went on to propose that the only proper solution would be a custom written object path server that used a proprietary encrypted format that other applications were unable to use. It was suggested by the questioner that SSL could be used however it was pointed out that SSL would not be suitable for this protection as it is still readable in a valid format.

How do you set up VoIP so it only covers one world and not the whole univers

Chrispeg answered that to set up VoIP you would need to go to world features and VoIP. There you would find two fields, the voipcast host and the voipcast port - and that only if these two features were entered would the world server attempt to share VoIP between multiple worlds.

5.0 Stability Perio

Chrispeg announced that 5.0 had now entered into a stable release period where the focus would be on small fixes and bugs rather than major additional features, possibly for a period of up to half a year while the beta team proceeds to test new items.

MipMap Improvement

Chrispeg talked a little about the improvements made with Mip Mapping in the latest set of upgrades and that the task involved was to find a way of extracting the mip maps directly out of DirectX in a way which they could be reloaded directly without the need for the engine to re-create them each time - hence giving a performance boost when moving through densely populated areas.

Feature Request: Scripting in LU

It was noted by a participant that there was a distinct lack of bot programmers in the Activeworlds universe, and suggested that if the browser itself supported some kind of scripting interface it would be more likely that more users would develop more advanced functionality without having to reply upon the SDK to do so.

Chrispeg responded that he has been considering adding the popular LUA scripting engine to the program for some time and by exposing certain bot-only functions to the browser you would in effect be able to turn your browser into a form of bot.

Browser Re-Writ

It was commented on that Chrispeg would be interested in re-writing the entirety of the main Activeworlds browser to take advantage of new technology but also to clean up the code.

Despite the browser having been under development for around 15 years it has yet to have the opportunity to be fully re-written. While it performs its function it is known that many internal parts are an unpleasant and messy mix of unsafe C programming language and C++ - the result being that while things work at present adding new features becomes progressively more difficult task due to having to carry out the constant work-arounds on a system that was originally made without the next 10 years of development in mind.

A re-write would take a significant amount of time to produce however once completed using modern modular coding techniques the rate at which it could be improved and extended would accelerate greatly compared to the current development cycles.

Feature Request: Avatar Movement Extrapolatio

Strike Rapier asked if it would be possible on a current or future system to track avatar velocities in a way similar to online multiplayer games where other player avatars appear in the location the browser expects them to be based on their last position and speed - then adjusts as necessary if it finds their location is not entirely where expected.

At present the Activeworlds system is based on a catch-up routine where if updates are received once a second an avatar would track behind by one second. For example if an avatar moved forward by 10 meters within 1 sec it would take 1 second to render that avatar moving from its previous location to the new one, by which point it may already have moved another 10 meters forward.

Chrispeg replied that the current system was made at a time where the huge majority of persons were running over dial-up modems with terrible bandwidth and that it was possible that you would be seeing an avatar in a location where it had long since left but now the majority were running on significantly higher speed connections (up to 200x that of dial up) this was no longer needed.

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