A There Venue you never saw

Lots of people commented from time to time that There’s engine was “outdated” and “behind the times”. This happened mainly because we chose to use lower-resolution art to make sure more people could have a good experience, as opposed to using high-resolution art, which would have looked better, but not run as well on older machines. As a matter of fact, with OpenGL, DX8, DX9 (not released when There closed, finished later) and OSX (same) renderers, There actually had more renderers than most other MMOs out there today.

From time to time, we did other projects which eschewed these limits. I found a screenshot from one of them today. That was streaming video you see there (there were actually several streaming video screens), and if you look closely, reflections on the floors.

  1. #1 by Corey_Lee of THERE on 2010.09.26 - 4:42 pm

    Hmm.. Its more reliastic now however i would still prefer old There rather than it , it was so funny πŸ™‚

  2. #2 by Andrew Meyer on 2010.08.20 - 3:47 pm

    Aha! so THAT is what I saw. I thought I’d never get to see what that was going to be. Looks a lot different than the “blinking yellow and black object”. Very impressive.

    I must say…I sure do miss There.com.


  3. #3 by DirectX on 2010.08.18 - 7:02 am

    I loved the tiny graphics budget. I loved working with it and challenging myself to produce bigger and better things within that budget. Needless to say I value gameplay more than graphics, any day.

    In my opinion, the choice to use DX 8.1 for There would still have been a good choice if it were made today in 2010.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Your humble 1-Drop Fun Stop,

    • #4 by Michael Wilson on 2010.08.19 - 6:48 am

      Yes, I agree. We’ve decided to extend the platform by adding more options (DX9), and options which allow the experience to scale gracefully as the platform improves. It doesn’t hurt that we’ve been operating under these limitations for over 10 years (just counting There), and far more (counting our other virtual platform experience). Some of the avatar photos you’ve seen have hinted at some of these new capabilities.

  4. #5 by Explorer_One on 2010.08.09 - 2:53 am

    I’m sure none of us players could afford to run it.

    Now Microsoft and Xbox Live…. πŸ˜‰

  5. #6 by Syntech on 2010.08.06 - 6:02 am

    If I could find someone to buy there.com and they would be able to run how much would you take for someone to buy the game?

  6. #7 by Wolf on 2010.06.27 - 7:14 am

    The bad thing about there was the bad people and the ones that were always taking pictures of you when swearing.
    Other than that, I loved the lower resolution, it gaved there a much more cool ,,spark” like when clicking Sit down, or clicking SIP or puting a paz, when walking and talking to people, it brings memories back when watching screenshots.
    Really,man,it was bad when you closed it.. Like now I would give 200$ just for free to re-open there ( And I am really in a bad moment with money )
    IT made my life better, more fun, summer its just not the same without there.com.
    And btw, who is interesed in politics? while all the policticans steal, lie to us, make our salaries worse ( atleast in Romania ) Anyways, since you wanted to perform this crime and shut-down THERE.COM…it’s your choice
    I just hope someday your gonna open it, I still have hope in my heart.

  7. #8 by Defector on 2010.06.11 - 4:56 am

    I don’t understand why people didn’t like the look of There, I thought it was great. It was a fun look and made the world more fun, unlike SL were it looks so real its kind of creepy.

  8. #9 by reenren on 2010.04.27 - 6:24 pm

    Personally, I abhor the look of the hi-res worlds, and I am not alone. I don’t want life imitated in some sort of oddly detailed and unnatural way. THERE avies were more real in movement and effect than any of these so called ‘improved” avatar worlds. Nuff said. No more gory details. I know i can’t even begin to do this subject justice, but what im trying to say is there’s a reason cartoons are still so popular. Would South Park be better if the characters were more realistic? They actually did an episode based on this very misguided notion to point out the utter absurdity of the knee-jerk urge to upgrade for the tasteless masses who value so called “new” regardless of merit or reason. argh matey, if i can think how to say this better I will return to add to this later, but again i say, (i am not a lone voice in the wilderness) i heard over and over from many others and continue to hear so even more now that peeps have had a chance to check out the competition… We absolutely and positively loved the cartoonyness of our avie selves and we with all due respect want nothing to do with those who can’t understand this (in a vr world, that is..) more emotes, sure, more variety in looks, of course, but more detail? not really needed, last on my list that is for sure. LONG LIVE the LOOK of THERE and GOD SAVE HER AVIES! We loved her (and us) just the way we were, and still are. We are not dead, just on ice – suspended animation – til we reach our destiny in time.

  9. #10 by Taelos Katran on 2010.04.27 - 3:31 pm


    This is not the first time I have heard you say (or write) about the “There.com is outdated” lament. The decision to keep things simple, the technical implementation to make that work on both old and new machines, and the artistic vision to define a low-poly world so engaging were nothing less than brilliant. This was a strength of There.com, not a weakness.

    High power/fidelity graphics can even be a liability. For example Blue Mars is basically a “one trick pony” with their emphasis on intense graphics. Unfortunately this requires a new PC to enjoy. One can only hope companies like that don’t run out of funding runway before the population at large catches up to the processing requirements needed for such platforms.

  10. #11 by Explorer_One on 2010.04.27 - 9:55 am

    Sorry to make another post so quickly.

    But did your team design the EA space in Playstation Home? Your space looks very similar to the Golf and Racing spaces that exist now with a streaming screen surrounded by games as it currently exists in Home.

    • #12 by Michael Wilson on 2010.04.27 - 10:08 am

      No, we didn’t. We always felt they were “inspired” by There, though :-).

  11. #13 by Explorer_One on 2010.04.27 - 9:53 am

    Sorry Michael,

    But I have to say it after reading this.

    Since PS3 already has Home, There really should have been ported to Xbox Live on the original Xbox(now shutdown) or even better now the Xbox 360 with its Avatars that still don’t have the opportunity to do much in their games with all of their clothing/prop options.

    Just saying.’

    • #14 by Michael Wilson on 2010.04.27 - 10:07 am


      There wouldn’t have run on anything but the XBox 360, and would have required we be on at least DX9, which was a pretty significant shift in how DirectX worked at the time. We’d also need significant writable disk space for our dynamic content, which wasn’t guaranteed either. It might be easier now that we have DX9, but the estimated cost for the port was … very significant.

      • #15 by Explorer_One on 2010.04.27 - 9:04 pm

        Wow, I did not expect my post to be approved or better yet replied upon. Thank You.

        Sorry to hear about the cost prohibitions. If someone made a There-like world in the Xbox Live Indie Games space, would you be against them using There as inspiration?

        Thanks again for all that you did for us Therians.

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