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Testing begins for VR chat rooms

As VRML approaches reality on the Web, OnLive Technologies has started testing software that allows groups of people to chat with one another in 3D chat rooms using their own voices.

As VRML approaches reality on the Web, OnLive Technologies has started testing software that allows groups of people to chat with one another in 3D chat rooms using their own voices.

The software includes OnLive's Traveler VRML browser that lets users interact over the Net by using speech instead of text, according to officials. The company says its real-time voice communication can be used by up to 20 users in a 3D virtual environment that OnLive is creating to host its upcoming technology.

Users can create an identity in a chat room by representing themselves with a 3D model called an avatar. Avatar models could be animals, people, or fantasy creatures and can move around in the 3D chat rooms to let the users mimic real live interaction with other users. Before entering, the user can disguise his or her voice.

To use the client software, you'll need a Pentium-based multimedia PC running Windows 95 with 16MB of RAM, a standard modem, Sound Blaster 16 or compatible sound card, and a microphone.

OnLive is also developing the OnLive Server for Windows NT and Solaris to add the company's voice technology to standard VRML-based 3D environments.

The company expects to continue the trials through June.