Tuesday, 2 October 2007

NBC and General Electric

Those of you who have been in or around Second Life for some time may remember that in November, 2006 NBC hosted a joint Real World-Virtual World event: switching on the Christmas tree lights at the Rockefeller Center. To accommodate the numbers, NBC used something like 17 sims, each capable of holding around 50 people. This large estate hung around for a short while before being drastically cut back. One copy of the original site remains at NBC1, now bedecked in its Summer/Fall[?] finery. However, there are a several Virtual NBC sims surrounding it - and it is 2 of these I want to talk about: Virtual NBC 5 and 6.

I'm not sure why I decided to check out NBC. Perhaps it is simply that it is a long time since I last visited. When I checked on the map the familiar view of NBC1 was apparent, but the 2 sims to the South looked quite different, with a number of odd-looking, unfamiliar buildings - worthy of further investigation! And to cap it all, the sims were open - so that rather made my mind up.

The sims, despite their name, play host to General Electric. The scale of the place is truly impressive - too much for me to squeeze in to this one visit. There are buildings for some, perhaps all, of GE's principal divisions. I wandered around the GE Healthcare Experienced Commercial Leadership Program(ECLP) building, which contains meeting areas, a lengthy presentation and something I've not seen in SL before - real virtual people. "What?" Let me explain with a few pictures:

Basically, there is a set of rooms, and in each you will find (a picture of) a person. As you approach, you trigger a movie - and these people start talking to you about who they are, what they do... yada yada. There is a spooky effect when each first starts since their outline goes black and fuzzy (as the media loads) - giving a strange ghostly appearance. The idea is pretty cool - even if, like me, you are not even remotely interested in what they have to say! The impact is heightened by the use of some fine textures. In fact, the textures used throughout the 2 islands are extremely rich and convincing.

Here are some more snaps:

As you can see from the first of these, the list of buildings is quite comprehensive. In the second picture you can see the Recruitment Centre, which also contains a small 6-station orientation zone. Outside is a banner welcoming ECLP candidates. Above the sims, at around 500 metres, is a floating platform, accessible by a lift, that contains a boardroom - replete with fish tank - and a waiting room.

This is only skimming the site however. There is much, much more. Broadly though, the objectives of the buildappear to include: recruitment; company information; formal and informal meetings. It does not look quite finished yet - there are some presentation areas still awaiting content. But it is almost there. It's not really to my taste - being very corporate in nature - but nevertheless I am impressed by the care and attention, and sheer build quality of the place.

The construction look quite "Aimee Weber", but was actually done by Fatal Raine under the aegis of NBC Digital Innovation. For the record, I understand that NBC is owned by... umm... General Electric.


junie said...

FYI -- Fatal Raine is lead builder for Involve, Inc., formerly Infinite Vision Media.

Aleister Kronos said...

Thanks for that clarification, Junie.