On October 14, 2009, 9:30 Hawaii Standard Time, Blue Mars Staff and Beta testers had a little get together at Beach City.
I’m pretty sure that most SL residents have heard what Blue Mars is by now, but for the benefit of those who haven’t who might be looking at this post, I’ll just swipe a sentence from the website:
Blue Mars is a free to play massively multiplayer virtual world made of an expanding set of independently operated cities featuring a wide range of entertainment, education, and business opportunities. Register today to get an early look at our open beta and the future of virtual worlds.
In some ways BM is like SL, and in a LOT of other ways, it’s not like SL. It’s also very much in Beta, so a lot of the client’s features are still being refined. Beta testers are encouraged to participate in the BM forums to offer feedback, suggestions, and of course report bugs.
But anyway, back to the meet and greet! Here’s a short video I took; I took it right when everyone was busy making their avs walk or run in circles as a little experiment suggested by Glenn.
There were a lot of avs present, as you can see from the screenshots and video. But you know what wasn’t present? Lag! I’m intimately acquainted with SL lag, and I know that when you’ve got a sim with 35 or more avatars on it, lag is pretty much unavoidable. It seems BM can really handle a crowd; it was mentioned during the conversation at the get-together that they’ve successfully tested 1,000 avatar concurrency on a sim.
Lots of people were saying they want to see the chat bubbles go the way of the dodo bird, or at least be given the ability to toggle them off. I personally have mixed feelings on this. I agree that the chat bubbles are annoying, but the chat history is in need of some improvement in the usability department so until they get that straightened out, I actually find the chat bubbles helpful, albeit annoying to look at.
It was also pretty much unanimously agreed (has been for some time on the forums, actually) that we need names to appear in association with avatars. You basically don’t know what av is standing in front of you until they actually say something in chat.
Some other tidbits that came up during the meet & greet’s discussion: we found out that a lot of the users present at our little assembly have 64 bit systems, the BM staff have been testing streaming media, BM is updated with patches and they’re looking at doing these patches in increments so as to make it painless for users, and there was talk of testing solutions for slower PCs.
I’m glad I was able to make this meet and greet, and hopefully I’ll be able to participate in future ones, too. My guess is that they’re going to try and stagger the times to accommodate people from all over the world, though, so we’ll see!
And since we’re on the subject of Blue Mars, here’s a couple more vids and screenshots. I love the look of the ocean in BM (These are raw screenshots straight out of BM.)
You can see more of my Blue Mars shots by checking out my Blue Mars collection on flickr.