Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Newbie on Mars...

So there has been a bit too much drama over at Linden Labs for comfort. Lay - offs, rumors that profitability isn’t what they claim, fears the viewer will not be supported, talk of a buy out or possibly going public. Once again I am reminded change is one of the only constants. Time will tell… although lately I sort of wish LL was a publicly held company and I were a share holder… and no, it wouldn’t be for the money. However, I would love to vote on a motion to get rid of the CEO. If you were a share holder, how would you feel about the string of failures, Viewer 2.0, Avatel, Voice Morphology, SL Enterprise? ...ouch.

Since I am but a lowly consumer of the Labs product… I thought I would check in again with Blue Mars. I was a beta tester of MetaPlace (another fail that I have a bit more sympathy for) and Blue Mars. So after downloading the latest viewer for BM, I downloaded additional locations. With BM you can’t think like SL. There are not sims or regions, but there are cities (which may really be golf courses, island, etc). Each is separately downloaded (all accessible from a dashboard like front end available after logging in) and quite large. Clearly BM values graphic quality the most to the disadvantage of slower less powerful machines. They allow some user content. To build for them you need to sign up as a developer and be able to work with their tools and or 3rd party tools such as Maya, 3D Max and Blender. As far as I can tell when entering on a standard account (vs a developer) there is not in world creation. If you ask me – this will be it’s biggest weakness… well that and apparently no Flying!

Clearly they have a long way to catch up with the depth and richness of SL. I fear the folks at Avatar Reality (makers of Blue Mars) underestimate how important in world user created content is. However, give them time, they recently implemented an economy and there is at least one notable crossover with an SL community (Caledonia). There is also a developing social world as well… regular events, movie and bowling nights, hunts, etc.

Below is a brief 1 minute machinima to give you a sense of what it looks like and how you move, also below is a shot of the log in screen with list of current events, etc.

While I am not ready to bail on SL (have faith) I do believe the multiverse has plenty of room for both SL and BM.

Blue Mars Newbie from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

So feel free to comment... do you explore other virtual worlds?

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