Friday, 10 August 2007

Al Needs Avatar Assistance

I know I've been rather slow on picking this one up... but better late than never, as they say at the undertakers. Europ Assistance, headquartered in Paris, is one of the world's leading assistance providers - in effect, insurance. Their website seems to suggest that their services are perhaps more comprehensive than those offered by most insurance companies - though that could be just my interpretation. Whatever the truth of it, I am writing this post about their new(ish) site in Second Life. Nic at Kzero has already done a piece on this - but I am not sure that I agree with his assessment.

The island is rather basic in content, and in objective. In effect, it is an orientation island. That is, it sets out to provide newcomers to Second Life with an easy introduction to the basics of the environment. In fact, so easy, it misses out one or two quite handy things - like how to fly. As with any other orientation area, it is divided into a series of "orientation stations", and somehow thinks to cram all the essentials of SL into just 5 of these. This leave 2 further stations - one providing you with a "virtual protection sash" (whatever use that may have) and one providing a link to the website. Other than that there is some tropical scenery and a few beach loungers. The latter don't really work properly as they do not allow you to actually lounge - they need pose-balls. Here's a few piccies for you:

For information, the orientation stations come in both English and French.

I would commend you to the Avatar Assistance website, where you will find an amusing and well-made machinima movie. Alternatively, you can click on the shepherd on the Europ Assistance website.

I understand the underlying "assistance" motif however, overall, I think the sim falls flat. I don't feel it adequately services a need, since the level of orientation it provides falls well below that which I think is needed. Further, I am not clear how a n00bie will find their way here in the first place. In terms of features, aside from a weblink it has little going for it - at least, at present. The beach area is small, and lacks facilities and functionality. There is no evidence of events or other activities that might encourage people to return. On the plus side, it does not look like the sim itself should have cost much to assemble, though the supporting website and movie must have cost a shilling or two... so perhaps there is more to come. Let's hope so.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Your honesty is always welcome, Aleister. Thanks.