Image Number 6 for United States Patent #8018455.
A multi-user animation process receives input from multiple remote clients to manipulate avatars through a modeled 3-D environment. Each user is represented by an avatar. The 3-D environment and avatar position/location data is provided to client workstations, which display a simulated environment visible to all participants. A text or speech-based bulletin board application is coupled to the animation process. The bulletin board application receives text or speech input from the multiple remote users and publishes the input in a public forum. The bulletin board application maintains multiple forums organized by topic. Access or participation to particular forums is coordinated with the animation process, such that each user may be permitted access to a forum only when the user's avatar is located within a designated room or region of the modeled 3-D environment.