Thursday, 17 January 2008

Microsoft Japan

It seems like ages since I posted an entry about a Japanese commercial sim in Second Life, so this seems a good point to address that. Last night was something of a mixed bag, rambling-wise. Most places were shut, and those that were open were not much to get excited about - for example: Daz, the 3D software company, has a gaggle of sims, but nothing I felt enthused enough to write about. I was about to give up when my eye spotted the unmistakable Windows logo plastered across a sim, and thought I'd give it a go.

The sim turned out to belong to Microsoft Japan. It is still under construction, though probably not a long way from completion. I am not all that clear what their aim is for the sim. It is all very straightforward - or appears to be. There's an auditorium, a partners area and a woodland calling itself the Communication Area. Windows Vista - its name, its logo and its UI - seems to be everywhere. Indeed, I helped myself to a free cappuccino that has the logo embossed in the froth! There are a few buildings still being constructed - and a large palace thing, replete with red carpets and chandeliers, whose purpose can only be guessed at. For travel around the sim you can opt for monorail or small boat. Given a few bugs with the former, I would suggest you stick with the latter. Here's some snaps:

I said I wasn't clear about the aim of the sim - perhaps an odd statement. In part I am used to high tech companies in SL having a quite sophisticated grasp on the use of virtual worlds. This sim feels much more basic - and slightly bereft of ideas. The big palace for example - why? and why so big? Just to fill a corner of the sim? A lot of the textures - particularly the use of the logo - are well executed, if a little repetitive. Perhaps this is just the company trying out different looks to see what they like best. In other parts of the sim, however, there has been some careless overlaying of prims, which leads to jiggly texturing as 2 set of textures battle it out for the same few pixels!

Even so.., despite all this... I found it more interesting than Daz, though.

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