Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Veeco - Nanotech in SL

Here's another new island for me to keep an eye on. I mentioned spotting Veeco in a blog entry about a month ago, when their island was still closed. However, I got wind of a change to its status earlier this week, so I thought I'd better abandon my own scripting and building efforts, and pop along for a quick butcher's.

The build has been carried out by Centric, who brought us the SecondTalk Skype system. They describe the Veeco aims thus: "Here's how a $500M technology company can use virtual worlds: Create virtual fab lines for sales tools, host nanotechnology conferences, and use interactive demos to show prospects how the technology works." I was therefore interested to see whether they had brought any 3D models and demos into SL.

The island comprises 3 main areas: an orientation zone; a set of office blocks and a construction building.

In fairness, it looks to me that the build has been opened up at the earliest opportunity, rather than when it was good and ready. Much of the detailing is well rendered, as you would expect from a professional build - furniture and fittings being particularly well done. However,I believe that there is still a fair amount of work to do. The offices are only part funrinshed, and at the moment I cannot see any sign of 3D models and demos. The theatre, too, is still waiting for some content - unless the plan is for you to sit in the dark and contemplate your navel.

There is a bicycle stand near the offices, and I'd hoped that it would be possible to select and ride one of these. But no... they are just there to be looked at. A shame, as the various components of the island are linked by roadways, one of which terminates abruptly at the edge of the sim. This, in turn, leads me to wonder whether Veeco are planning a second island, with the road leading to new facilities, presumably still under consideration.

"But what about freebies?" I hear you moan. In my short sojourn on the island I cannot claim to have spotted anything for the ultra-frugal to grab. However, as I said above, it is apparent that the island is still under construction - and I would therefore expect the various shortcomings to be addressed in good time. That said, I haven't seen any mechanism that would allow Veeco and Centric to take feedback inworld.

And in other news..

  • This week we saw the 5 millionth resident account. Forecasts of around 6 million residents by mid-year look like they might need to be revised.
  • Linden yesterday released a new set of statistics for Sl usage until the end of February. I don't intend to cover these here as I have yet to mull them over, but the spreadsheet is available for download via the Linden blog here.
  • Windows Vista users with ATI graphics cards can now breathe more easily, as Linden claim these are now supported in the latest client build.
  • The Voice Beta has now been opened to all users registered before 19th Feb, 2007. You will need a new client, downloadable here.

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