Friday, 26 October 2007

Al Turns Orange

Telecommunications companies have been drifting into Second Life for some time now - and yesterday I got to visit the latest of these: Orange. The company history is somewhat convoluted, but it was acquired as the mobile phone (cellphone) arm of French communications giant, France Telecom, in 2001. Since 2006 it has taken a broader role, as the global brand in front of many of the parent company's services - in particular, internet.

The Second Life build has been carried out by the talented bunch at Metaversatility - a company who's name I always have difficulty typing. It spans 2 sims, but only one of these, Orange 1, is currently fully developed. There are zones for music and photography, with chillout'n'chat areas for each - and from the start Orange intend to engage with and build their customers here. A schedule of events is already being finalised, presumably using the large stage area (shown below). There are more zones than this, but in my haste (and tiredness) I did not record them all. In fact, it is impressive how much has been squeezed in to the sim.

As you walk around the island you will find a rather fine sound sculpture. It's hard to miss as it blocks your path - though it is "phantom", allowing you to walk right into it. Now this, in fact, is my only quibble with the build. The sculpture is dramatic and effective, but seems out of place and in the way. I'm sure a lot of thought went into its location, but for me at least, it seems wrong.

The overall build quality is, as I would have expected, very good, with subtle use of scripts to control textures. Orange's branding must have posed some interesting challenges, since it is basically black and orange - not necessarily the easiest colour combination on the eye. Metaversatility have done a great job, even down to the careful selection of the (fixed) time of day to squeeze out the maximum amount of orange from the available sky settings. Anyway, enough of such ramblings - here's the pictures:

The sound sculpture and chill areas:

The stage and meeting areas:

Random images:

I had intended to write more, but frankly it very late when I toured the island and I did not take in much of the detail. One thing I do remember, though, is you can opt to tootle around the island by hang glider. As with most vehicles in Second Life my prowess with the glider is best overlooked - but you might enjoy it.

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