was a freeware 2.5D chat program originally released on the Microsoft Network (MSN) in December 1995 by Microsoft.
The program, not counting the worlds within, was last updated on March 24 1998 and stayed online until being discontinued in March 2001.
rooms were represented in a 3D environment that users were free to explore. The only pre-packaged worlds were a Lobby and a so-called Homespace, leaving the rest to be downloaded as the user went from place to place exploring the interconnected Microsoft-hosted rooms.
Users were represented by flat sprites with a front and back view, reminiscent of cardboard cut-outs, lacking animation outside of a range of gestures users could use to express themselves. These avatars could be edited in any image editing software as simple as mspaint, and could be uploaded to a website so that other users could see them as well.
One of its biggest selling points was the never-before-seen ability to "mingle" with users by actually walking up to them in virtual space.
It was hardly the first-ever "virtual reality" chat program, however: Worlds Inc's Worlds Chat
, now more commonly known as Worlds.com
was introduced in April 1995, and Active Worlds
officially launched on June 28 of the same year.
Though V-Chat 1.1 did not have IRC server support, 2.0 could and can still be used to this day to connect to IRC servers and create V-Chat
compatible rooms, much like Microsoft's other foray into multi-user social chat clients, Microsoft Comic Chat
The problem is that, as stated above, the virtual environments did not come with V-chat
. The servers that hosted them have long since died off, and it is at this point nigh impossible to find backups of these worlds. Even the few archived pages that remain are littered with dead links and incomplete collections.
Some sites like Varian's Dreamfare
are (at the time of writing this) still online and hosting custom content, but the original Microsoft-hosted rooms are long lost.
That is where this page comes in. This place serves as a library of V-Chat worlds and utilities.
It is a resource for archivists and a museum for those that had fond memories of this long-forgotten little program.
Please contact me
if you happen to have any worlds missing from my collection, additional information on who made them, details and sources on the sounds, music and textures used, or corrections to any information listed on these pages.
Click Here to download Microsoft V-Chat 2.0A more recent version of V-Chat exists, known as V-Chat 2L, but the only known download of it potentially contains malware. Until its safety is confirmed, I will refrain from hosting it on this site.
Click Here to see other V-Chat builds & utilities
Click Here for more information about the history of V-Chat
Click Here for a gallery of V-Chat Avatars
Click on the images below to go to the corresponding world's page.
To install V-Chat worlds to your own V-Chat Client, place their folder in the "NEWWORLDS" folder in your V-Chat directory, name them "World#"
(Where the # is whatever number isn't already in use)
then run V-Chat.
You should now be able to select this world from the Artwork menu in the Room Properties list.
It is also possible to download worlds by directly linking to a given world's "world.adf" file, which can be found in any of the room pages below.
Most of these worlds were originally downloaded from mgifos.demon.co.uk on January 25, 2005, meaning the original "last modified" dates of the world files has been overwritten.
This site and the V-Chat worlds hosted there went down somewhere around 2010.
Tons of thanks to Phil of mgifos.demon.co.uk and flatplaces.net for contributing everything I forgot to save. Without you, this archive would not have been possible!
A big thank-you as well to Bread Smacker for helping us find so many things we thought were lost!
And a shout-out to Wirlaburla for copying this archive for extended posterity, among many other focused archival efforts. Keep doing great work!
SOME WORLDS WILL NOT LOAD PROPERLY FROM ROOM PROPERTIES, BUT CAN BE VIEWED BY REPLACING YOUR HOMESPACE WITH THEM
MISSING WORLDS AS LISTED ON THE ORIGINAL V-CHAT WEBSITE, THE BOOK "AVATARS" BY BRUCE DAMER OF DIGITALSPACE.COM & HOTWIRED'S "METAWORLDS" ARTICLE BY ROBERT ROSSNEY:
A world only mentioned in passing in several V-Chat articles, and as an example world in the V-Chat SDK documentation.
This image is from a Microsoft project sheet regarding V-Chat.
It was a place where people could chat about the industry, with clickable movie posters lining the lobby.
Avatar positions in the screenshot make it seem as though it might be a 2D world, though they may have simply lined up to take a picture.
Likely named after Microsoft Cinemania, an Interactive Movie Guide produced by Microsoft and published annually beginning in 1992 through 1997.
Listed in Hotwired's Metaworlds article as a 2D world, Lulu's Club was a "chaotic nightclub scene in which avatars take turns at the mike telling jokes".
Most likely an old version of what would become The Red Den, or perhaps simply the same world with a different name.
The V-Chat Garden
Described as an abstract diversionary space, various animals including butterflies, bugs etc. inhabiting the world. Potentially a part of Hutchspace
, as a portal to The V-Chat Garden can be found there.
A world aimed at the gay and lesbian community that featured (or was to feature) avatars designed by Alison Bechdel (known, among other things, for the Bechdel Test).