Kinda non-blueprint news but I’m in that mood today. has applied and been awarded a patent on “..a highly scalable architecture for a three-dimensional graphical, multi-user, interactive virtual world system…”. It goes on to describe the concept as “…A plurality of users can interact in the three-dimensional, computer-generated graphical space where each user executes a client process to view a virtual world from the perspective of that user. The virtual world shows avatars representing the other users who are neighbors of the user viewing the virtual world…”

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds a lot like the Sims chat program that Maxis was planning to release. A vitual chat world with Sims (avatars) representing users. Of course with patents, there’s issues of which came first so I think The Sims chat would have fallen under the prior art issue, but who knows.

You can read about the details of the patent here.