If you ever visited the VZConnections world back in the middle of the year 2000, you would've stumbled across a strange portal just to the west of the Detroit entrance which took you to another place.
Only it wasn't just another place, it was an entirely different star system, with many planets linked together by tubes left by an ancient space faring civilisation who disappeared at the apex of their empire.
This place was a separate section of VZConnections called VZSciFi.
Originally, when Avaterra had made plans for VZones, they wanted to partner up with other companies in order to advertise and bring people in, as well as earn revenue. They also decided they would create different zones based on different areas of interest, such as VZSoccer, VZEntertainment and so on. This plan never really panned out for Avaterra, but VZSciFi did.
Avaterra took over an existing company in the UK and renamed them as Avaterra Europe, tasking them with creating this unique area for VZConnections and giving them the remit of growing this place beyond just an area, but bringing more paying users in, making licensing deals with people, and turning it into something special.
Between 2013 and 2023, I had the pleasure of chatting with John Freeman, former Project Manager at Avaterra Europe for the VZSciFi project. I've spent the past couple of months compiling all of the archival material he sent me and his answers to my questions into an interview for you all to check out.
For the first time ever, I have a lot of companion material to go with this interview which includes:
- The original VZSciFi internal development site with info on world building, unused and unfinished areas and comments left as the area was being developed
- Transcripts of tours around the zone using several different avatars that John Freeman roleplayed on (Archivist Shiren of the T'Chell, Stig Redfin of the Ukrann and Mr. Templeton)
- Transcripts of the community chats held with comic book writers, book authors and SciFi TV show editors are here, some presented for the first time in unedited form
You can check out our talk and all of this stuff in the Interviews section.
As a thank you to the people who have graciously supported this site as I transitioned it over to a new system, only paid members have early access to this interview for the first two weeks, after which point it'll then switch to being free for everyone to read.