Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Toca Me, Toca II

I recently blogged about the arrival of Toca Me, a web, print and event design company, based in Munich, in Second Life. In that article I noted that, although they had a chunk of "first land" on the mainland, they were actually developing an island of their own. Well that island is now open to ramblers (thanks to "ron jubilee" at Toca Me for the info), so I dragged myself away from my own little plot of virtland, and toddled over for a look.

I took rather a lot of pictures, so that must tell you something. Here's the first batch:

The island is carved up into several zones, or islands, best described using the content from their notecard:

TOCA ME island is set up as a group of islands - each one dedicated to the overall concept
of TOCA ME design community: feel me, watch me, touch me and the showroom.

FEEL ME: welcome to TOCA ME - the origin of your journey through TOCA ME island. have a look at our portraits, get your free TOCA ME shirt and talk to us via the message board.

WATCH ME: following the concept of the TOCA ME design community, the watch me island features amazing designers from all over the world. video screenings on huge displays and an enormous amphitheatre - platforms for artists and future events. you have something to show? just let us know or join our call for entries!

TOUCH ME: this is your playground or sandbox (spoken in terms of second life). feel free to experiment with prims and objects and show us your building skills.

SHOWROOM: in our spacelab you can browse through our recent projects and talk with us about future projects in our private meeting sphere. coming soon.

Or in less flowery lingo, there's a sandbox, a movie zone (2 actually), and a number of outdoor seating areas. Meanwhile, at some ridiculous altitude (in excess of 400 metres) there's a development "pit", which looks like a sandbox for developing island content. Above this is the Meeting Sphere (piccies below).

A nice touch is the lifebelt/"polo mint" thingy, which you can use to paddle between islands. The art-work is interesting, and a sandbox is always a plus,. From Toca Me's point of view, the sandbox is also a potential recruitment aid, in that budding designers and developers can plonk their stuff here in the hope it will tickle the owner's fancy.

One thing you might have noticed: it is very... well... white. Is this some kind of German design statement? BMW has the same thing... vast acres of eye-numbing whiteness, it's like snow blindness... stumbling around, bumping into white things superimposed on a white background. I understand minimalism, cleanness of line and all that jabber... but if it results in something that has reduced function or usability, then I think it's worth a rethink. At least give the impression of shadow --- something Rivers Run Red have off to a tee, in my view.

That said, I rather like the place. It's austerity is offset by a fairly high degree of cool. For instance, I like the way movies will start when I walk into a "Watch me" area, and stop when I walk out. I like the simple elegance of the seating too, and the "private" meeting sphere is cool too.

In terms of freebies, aside from the usual Tshirt, you can pick up a neat chair. A fairly simple affair, low prim count and a simple script to change it's colour when you sit on it... not flashy, just nicely executed.

Finally, the island reflects the same design aesthetics as used on the Toca Me website, so the branding is consistent. As to purpose? Well, I am guessing it serves 2 main functions: first, it allows the company to showcase its capabilities and aesthetics; second, it provides an opportunity to recruit SL designers.

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