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.
I made another video… and omgz this one was a real pain in the arse to make. O.o
I really need to splurge on a pooter that can *handle* the abuse I want to put it through. While working on this vid, SL must have crashed at least a gajillion times; my fps plummeted to ZERO; memory issues were resulting in these odd blue, grey, and black marks on my avi; the location I filmed in was griefed several times; Windows MovieMaker went apeshit and froze on me at least five times while I was editing… aaarrgghhh!!
The song is Leave Out All The Rest, by Linkin Park.
Update: I removed the video from youtube because I kind of hated it, lol.
All right, I have been quite remiss in keeping this blog updated. There’ve been a couple of significant developments/events in my SL experience that I’ve not even mentioned! 😮 So, let’s get cracking:
Several weeks ago, I read an entry at ASpiRE! magazine’s fashion blog announcing a call for entries to a Miss SL Tropics 2007 competition. I have to admit, the whole “tropical” angle of it is what really caught my attention, being that I’m from Hawaii and all. :p
After debating with myself over whether I should submit an entry, I finally decided, hey, why not? It can’t hurt to try, right? So I did my three photos and my notecard:
A few days later, Isabella Sampaio sent me a notice saying I was one of twenty women out of eighty-eight who’d been selected to compete in the pageant! Needless to say, I was pretty stoked, hehe.
So much work goes into these types of events! I mean, I realize I am stating the obvious, but still… the people who are responsible for planning these things are taking on a lot. There are training schedules to juggle, various notecards for twenty-three women to keep track of (the twenty entrants plus the three alternatives selected in case an original contestant must depart for whatever reason), stages/props to be constructed, extras to be hired, etc etc etc.
As for my part, I did some power shopping for my outfits for the contest. There are going to be three portions: Swimwear, Classy Casual, and Formal. Doing this kind of serious, I’m-on-a-mission type of shopping really opened my eyes to a few things that are unique to Second Life, which I’ll discuss in a future posting (since I don’t want to go off on a tangent as I am sometimes wont to do ^_^). There truly are a lot of talented designers out there! With so many beautiful items out there to choose from, it was sometimes difficult deciding.
I also participated in a training session at the contest site, and oh man… I must say, the thing I am most nervous about is LAG. Argh, lag! Laggity lag lag lag, lol. I have had some pretty interesting experiences in SL due to lag — I have seen my avi spontaneously go into Edit Appearance even though I do not have the Appearance dialogue box open; my avi has taken underground walks, seemingly moving of her own volition; she’s wandered around for several minutes at a time while stuck in the “landing” position; the list goes on and on and on as any SL citizen can attest. Anyways, I’m worried about lag causing me to walk off the stage, which is set over the ocean. Hrmm, oh well! What can you do, huh? It is what it is, just need to cope :p
The best part of this whole experience so far has been meeting the other people involved in Miss SL Tropics. The ladies who are competing are more than just pretty avatars; they are a friendly, funny crowd of strong women with all sorts of fascinating backgrounds, interests, and stories. That, to me, is one of the biggest draws of SL: meeting people I would’ve otherwise never intercepted in my lifetime and attaining new friends. 🙂
The competition is going to be held in just a few hours from now. I am excited and yet also a bit nervous 😀 Okay, time for me to log in and get myself ready. This is going to be fun!
My Miss SL Tropics photoset on flickr: click here
Hair Fair 2007 has arrived! I went with Alan the other day, who warned me that “This is going to be crazy”.
Oh my god, he meant the lag. It was incredible; I saw countless grey bald people moonwalking about and booth images took a really long time to rez, with some of them never rezzing the entire time I was there. And I can’t even recall how many times I crashed!
I was IMing with Alan pretty much the whole time. Hair Fair is actually duplicated into two sites so that more people may be accommodated, so I went to one site and Alan had gone to another. He suggested removing attachments so as to lighten the load on the sim, so I took off my hair, jewelry, and AO. I drew the line at going completely naked, though. 😮
After multiple crashes and not even being able to buy a demo, I left with the determination that I would return when there were less people logged into SL.
I returned several hours later and although things were still laggy, it was nowhere near as bad as before. Several people were shouting out advice to people to take off their hair, AO’s, and other high prim-count attachments, such as shoes. “Disable your AO, embrace the newbie waddle!” one woman shouted, hehe.
I was able to do much more during my second visit, and let me tell you, the hair at Hair Fest ’07 was worth every damn crash I’d had to endure to get there. Some of the booths were just downright gorgeous:
I also saw several vendors there that I’d never heard of before. Curl Up & Dye was one of them. Isn’t that a fantastic name for a salon? I chuckled when I saw the booth.
I picked up a bunch of demos, and now I must admit I find myself in a bit of a quandary. They are all fab! How on earth am I going to choose just one or two?! (The following images are thumbnails with links leading to their respective flickr pages.)
Such tough decisions ahead of me!