Friday, 16 March 2007

Softlab Launches in Second Life

Recently I posted an entry identifying the imminent arrival of Softlab to the ever-growing world of Second Life. While I was away I got a mail saying they have now opened their new island to the public - and that includes itinerant ramblers like me.

Here's their press release:

Free flight: The Softlab Group Island is open

The Munich-based IT consulting company issues an invitation to its island – where an eye-catching and elegant tent-style canopy roof provides Second Life’s unique architectural highlight so far

Effective immediately, all residents of Second Life are welcome to the Softlab Group Island. The prominent and conspicuous landmark on the newly designed island: the elegantly flowing canopy roof offering shade to the company’s guest lounge.

The innovative form is reminiscent of the world-famous roof covering the Olympic Stadium in Munich, where the Softlab Group’s headquarters are located. The roof expresses the notion of networking, which the Softlab Group aims to foster with its visitors to Second Life. Good networking has also made the construction of the bold design possible. After all, the curving roof was a technical challenge because it stands in bold contrast to the angular building principles in Second Life.

On terminals in the guest lounge inquisitive avatars will find diverse information about the Softlab Group in the widest range of formats. Additional elements will be added on an ongoing basis. Visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee whilst digesting all the information. There is a lounge atmosphere in the rear part of the tent where avatars can shake a leg to the sounds of a Wurlitzer and fog machines provide the requisite disco atmosphere. There are also a few surprises in store when touring or flying over the island. The only thing you need to watch out for are the overexcited seagulls.

Before I took a visit I was already encouraged by the tone adopted in the briefing. While risking accusations of political incorrectness, I'm pleased that a serious German company (and I know just how serious German companies can be!) has embraced some of the more frivolous requirements of a SL presence.

Aside from the "front desk" features described above, there are a few meeting areas of various sizes dotted along the beach. The dance and bar area is fine, while noting that it is hard to make these things exciting or incredibly original, let alone both. In any case, what may be more important is how Softlab energise the place, through events both social and business. It is not apparent from the current state of the build what they intend to use the island for. Clearly, a bit of branding and proposition awareness, but beyond that it is not obvious. I'm in a generous mood tonight, and will attribute this to the company wanting to get an early "proof of concept" launched and obtain some feedback, before really getting on with whatever they plan to do.

For the freeloader there are T-shirts, laptops (SL only, I'm afraid) and drinks available. One point of note: for reasons I cannot start to comprehend, there are a couple of missiles standing on their noses in the public area. Aside from mystifying me with the symbology, they make a truly horrible noise... kind of Stockhausen on a bad day. It seems that the missiles were the result of some scallies vandalising the place. They've gone now.

In the first of today's images, you can see the BMW island in the background.

Fortunately, during my brief ramble around the island, I did not have any unpleasant encounters with over-excited seagulls - but I did find where they coming from.

As a final point, the Softlab Group island is just to the North of BMW's second island - currently under construction. It is not open to visitors - but you can fly up to the edge to take a look. Here's what it looks like now - which tells me nothing!

On another tack, I see 3pointD have finally picked up on SLeek, the graphics-free SL client. They should check out my mate Team Mascot's blog on this from a couple of weeks back.

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