Sunday, 9 September 2007

Tuning in to TV Station

My last post, about the WTC Memorial, I hope shows that Second Life can be a place for serious contemplation, and not just a playground or a giant advertising hoarding. But now I want to get back to my more usual themes, and look at another company build in Second Life. I have mentioned this sim - TVStation - in an earlier post, when it was still inaccessible. However, although still incomplete, it is now open to the ramblers of Second Life, so I thought I should have a look around.

TVStation is another Japanese site, built by the team from Webstar. And a curate's egg of a place it is too. You arrive in front of a nicely constructed model of the island, with embedded teleports to take you to the main locations, which include:

  • A cafe where you can watch the multi-channel
  • The main office and studio block
  • A walk-thru machinima course (in English and Japanese)
  • The TV broadcasting tower
Of these, the dominant feature is the TV tower. This rises to a staggering 2000 metres above sea level. No mean achievement, given the difficulties of construction above 760metres or so. Fortunately there are teleports to get you up and down the tower - otherwise it takes simply ages! The other main feature is the office and studio block. This looks to be still under construction, but you are able to visit several studios - ranging from kids' tv to newsrooms. I didn't have time to try out the machinima course, so cannot comment on its virtues (or otherwise).

The map:

The office and tower:

The studios:

So what's so curate's egg-ish about it? On the plus side, there is a lot of content here, and the build is competent and professional. However, as with its sister webstar sim, the actual construction seems flat, dull and lifeless. The rendering of the studios, for example, seems crude and "blocky" when compared to, say, Sky News. It feels very much like a construction by a company still trying to find its way in Second Life. It is missing many of the tricks of the trade (sophisticated textures, and lighting effects) that make a place interesting. Perhaps this is a reflection of the incompleteness of the build, but given that the webstar sim has the same issues, I am thinking this is more a matter of creative judgement. Each to their own, I suppose.

I will update this post with a SLURL for the sim later. But in the meantime - use the search facility offered by the Second Life "map".
UPDATE: Here's the SLURL I promised.

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