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I'm looking for a strongly visual but still simple alternative to text-based chat. The important feature I'm looking for is a friendly visual representation of user state/emotion (available/away/busy), with a rough analog to actually being a room together. Chat would still be text-based, persistent (doesn't fade away) and mostly public (directed to the whole room). Visually distinguishing directed public chat would be nice. Private chat must also be possible. Being able to move avatars to different areas of the room would be nice.

Simply having large customisable avatars on the side of a chatroom would be a good start. Does anything like this already exist?

Ideally this would be an open standard technology built on existing standards (XMPP?), with no need for a server or a very light server, with an open-source, cross-platform client. And a pony.

For non-web-app answers, see see http://superuser.com/questions/217129/simple-visual-virtual-presence-chat-client

Example of a mythical good answer: A one-screen Metaplace room with persistent chat history. (Pity Metaplace no longer exists and didn't have a persistent log.)

Example of a poor answer: Microsoft Comic Chat: very visual but poor/confusing chatroom history, also no longer supported

Example of a bad answer: Second Life: big download to install, lots of bandwidth to run, complicated virtual environment, complicated user interface

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1 Answer 1

You should take a look at the integrated product set of http://www.123flashchat.com/demo.html and jump to their development documentation.

I had the IM installed on my site and saw other click-in products like various graphical chatrooms, mobile editions etc... all controllable via one admin panel and they are all integrated. The admin side is enterprise ready. All logs are retained. Thousands of settings.

It's prety much the most mature solution I know of.

With the flash chat you do have customizable avatars, multiple rooms, video chat, customizable sounds etc... and ofcourse you have ... the developers api and it runs on your own server.

You can get both the hosted soluton or host it yourself (which is cheaper)

Only your requirement "open source" is not valid for this one, but for "big" webmasters this is probably the only real solution.

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great, searching for terms they use has also brought up The Palace and various mimics, I'll post more when I have some time –  d3vid Dec 3 '10 at 12:41

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