from the Passing mention dept.
Twinity.com, a German company that has already built a virtual Berlin, is building London from Soho towards Westminster and hopes “definitely” to go live this year. Its avatars, which will look realistic as you can transplant your own photo on to your face, will help it build up a strong Facebook-style community in 3D. This distinguishes it from the fourth virtual capital, Near London (NL), run by the media entrepreneur Alex Wrottesley, which doesn’t have avatars on the interesting grounds that they are not “you”, as you view them from a distance. In NL you navigate from eye level, as you do in life. Rivals say an avatar-less city won’t make a community – though NL will be linked to social networks such as Facebook. NL has easily the best rendition of buildings I have savoured, though I was only seeing a closed version. Which is not surprising because, unlike Twinity, which builds from existing databases, NL sends vehicles out into the streets using laser techniques to map buildings in very fine detail. And it can make them even finer if real-life owners request it. So that is four out of the five. Who is left?