Thursday, 10 May 2007

Microsoft? Whatever....

I made a pre-launch visit to Microsoft island tonight - along with its sibling, Microsoft Winners. Why pre-launch? Well, for one thing, I tend to find launch events a bit too busy and laggy - but also, because Microsoft have cunningly contrived to hold their launch at 6:00PM SLT - which in English money is 2:00 AM GMT on Friday morning, or for my more Continental chums, 3:00AM CET. Some of us have got work in the morning!

So what am I to infer from this? Microsoft are pitching at the Far East market perhaps? Or trying to appeal to American developers who don't have daytime access to Second Life? One thing seems certain - we poor Europeans (the ones who are currently flooding into Second Life, by the way) can wait until we get home on Friday evening to see what all the fuss has been about. Thanks MOU and Microsoft - cute strategy.

So enough with the complaining, and the yabbering. What's the build like? It is, after all, from those Masters of the Metaverse at Millions of Us. Well, you may already have seen the "blimp" video on YouTube, which I personally found unhelpful. The blimp looks like it is about to feature in some kind of launch event game - but there is scant information about this at the moment. I have captured an island map for your delectation, but I was somewhat underwhelmed. Aside from an interminable series of stairs to reach something that has something to do with the blimp, the island seems to have 2 main features - a sandbox and a huge pavillion. Inside the pavillion is a blimp-like object (I shall call it a 'BLO') that serves as a theatre or auditorium. Dotted around the edges of the pavillion, at various heights, are smaller chat areas (quite nicely branded with the Microsoft 4-square logo). Outside, you will find a dancing area - though it looks oddly placed if it is intended as a permanent fixture. It looks more like something that will be taken down in a week or 2 (or maybe less). There is a clone of the dance are on the "winners" island - which I assume will be the preserve of the winners of whatever competition has been dreamt up.

Ther island is aimed at Visual Studio developers - and in my view, they would be far better served going to the Defy All Challenges website. This has some great videos, mixing RL and SL. Maybe this island will rock once it has opened officially - but for me, despite some nice build features, it feels a bit flat. What is more, it has sat there, seemingly twiddling its virtual thumbs for months. I understand that no real changes have been made to it in 4 or 5 months - and that is certainly my perception. I have checked this island on the Satellite Map, off and on, since late last year - and have noticed no real changes for some time.

So anyway - there you have it. Pop along and make your own mind up - but I had high expectations, that this site has not lived up to...


Reuben said...

Thanks for the comments. The build here is (hopefully) only a small piece of the overall experience. We've started to find that SL users chomp up builds really fast, especially when they're not very interactive. The bulk of the work here involves the gameplay and the creation of a community. Hunt down some eggs -- it's not easy but certainly different and with a nice payoff. (Here's a clue to the location of the first egg in this brainy land hunt "A LOBE PLOT")

Aleister Kronos said...

That'll be POOLTABLE then