Released in April 1995, Worlds Chat (also known as Worlds.com) is an online chatroom game developed and published by Worlds Inc. Intended to showcase technology that Worlds Inc. was working on, as well as provide an alternative to IRC clients of the time, Worlds Chat features a three-dimensional view of the game environment paired with a HUD for chatting with other players and fast-traveling to different locations, or "worlds".
While initial versions of Worlds Chat featured only two in-game areas (Avatar Gallery and Worlds Center), later versions would introduce more areas, as well as new features such as customizable polygonal avatars and the ability for users to create their own in-game areas. Over time, a number of companies signed deals with Worlds Inc. to bring branded worlds to Worlds Chat, including Aerosmith, Blair Witch, and WWE (then called WWF).
Currently, approximately 15 official worlds exist in Worlds Chat. A number of these worlds have smaller sub-areas which are listed upon clicking a world via the universe map. As well, some worlds occasionally become inaccessible due to server errors and other issues.
- Ground Zero: The current starting location for new users, Ground Zero is the main hub for activity in Worlds.com. This is also helped by the fact that Ground Zero is used for any official in-game events, such as poetry readings and trivia night. As well, Ground Zero is popular among community mappers, and many user-made maps are reskins of Ground Zero featuring custom visuals and geometry, but still showing other users who are in other versions of Ground Zero.
- Avatar Gallery: A world built for users to find new avatars, Avatar Gallery is connected to a number of different worlds and features different visuals depending on which world it is connected to. Avatars are viewed in sub-rooms split up by theme, with some rooms (those featuring polygonal avatars) only being available to VIP members.
- Worlds Center: The original user hub, Worlds Center is themed as a large spaceship with several pods branching off of it. Originally these pods were themed after emotions and natural ecosystems, but now include pods for specific topics, such as television, sports, and music.
- Aerosmith: A world themed after the band Aerosmith, including recording studios, the homes of two Aerosmith band members, and an F1 racetrack.
- Animal House: A fraternity house-themed world.
- The Blair Witch World: Themed after the "Blair Witch" series of movies, this world features a diner with a number of Blair Witch-related website advertisements, as well as a forest-themed area featuring a scavenger hunt with promotional material as rewards.
- BowieWorld II: Developed in conjunction with David Bowie, BowieWorld II features an art gallery, a church, and a garden of hands.
- B.T. Openworld: A world featuring heavy cyberspace theming, intended for discussing and hearing daily news.
- Centis: A small garden-themed world.
- Dcn: A club-themed world, sponsored by the now defunct "Digital Club Network".
- Hang: A music-themed world designed around hearing and discussing different genres of music.
- Hanson World II: A world themed after the band Hanson, featuring a stage, school, desert, and space platform.
- Meteor: A small world set atop a meteor.
- N.Y. Yankees World: A recreation of the Yankees stadium.
- WWF New York: A world themed around the WWF, featuring advertisements for various wrestling promotions, clips from past events, and a virtual merchandise store.
Released alongside the WorldsPlayer version of Worlds Chat, WorldsShaper is a companion program allowing users to create their own environments for use with Worlds Chat. Players must host their worlds themselves, and accessing a world requires a URL link to the server hosting said world. This restriction has led to the practice of "hub worlds", user-made worlds featuring signs that can be clicked to quickly go to other worlds, circumventing the need for players to find world URLs themselves.
Worlds Chat Beta
Launched as a freeware program in April 1995, the Worlds Chat Beta client was the first version of Worlds Chat to be released. Only two areas were present in the game's files, being the Avatar Gallery and the Worlds Center (then known as Space Station). The beta period ended on September 13th, 1996, signaled by a special event taking place in-game, wherein meteors crashed into Space Station, destroying it.
Worlds Chat Gold
Soon after Worlds Chat Beta was shut down, Worlds Chat Gold was officially released. While a feature-limited demo client was put out alongside Gold, users had to pay to access the Gold Client. Gold users were able to import images for use as custom avatars, however this functionality was removed in the WorldsPlayer release.
Worlds Chat Japan
Released some time in 1996, Worlds Chat Japan was a Japanese localization of Worlds Chat Gold, produced in partnership with Nissho Iwai and Toppan Printing. Beyond translating the client to Japanese, Worlds Chat Japan also featured a completely new soundtrack, a number of avatars exclusive to the Japanese client, and a new area called Meet at Plaza. As well, a number of posters in Space Station were modified to reference Toppan and Nissho Iwai.
Referred to internally as Worlds Chat Platinum, WorldsPlayer launched in 1998 and remains the current iteration of the Worlds Chat client. Rather than being a one-time purchase as with the Gold client, WorldsPlayer is free-to-play, with a paid subscription granting users additional benefits. This version of Worlds Chat introduced a number of new worlds, such as GroundZero, the game's new starting hub, as well as WorldsShaper, with the ability for more complex 3D level geometry, and customizable polygonal avatars for subscribing members.