After my recent post about the name of this new virtual world, I thought I should go for a longer ramble in ExitReality to check it out. It is currently inviting people to join its beta test programme, and so I signed up last week. However, after some initial frustrations I did not return to it until today.
My initial frustrations have been around getting the software to work reliably. I found that on IE7 it was not well behaved. The display was incomplete, performance seemed poor, the HUD ceased to function after I opened a website and I never got a sight of my avatar. On the other hand, the software was much better on Firefox 2: everything displayed (as far as I know), performance seemed OK, the HUD worked and I could toggle my avatar on or off. Nevertheless, the software was flakier than I had expected, and it crashed FF2 on several occasions.
Having had limited success, I went back to it again today, to have another go. This time I went to... well... this blog, Slambling, to see what I would get, since we are encouraged to travel freely on the internet using the virtual world interface. This was very slow, but eventually it presented me with a large hall, containing images and links gleaned from the website. Here's a couple of snaps...
While it was novel seeing Slambling set out like this, I am not sure it really helped much. Apart from the images and links I found it hard to make much sense of what I was seeing, or the layout I was seeing it in --- which seemed to be a mirror-image of the actual site.
I then checked out some of the pre-built places in ExitReality. These look like tests to illustrate what can be built - and quite good fun they are too:
I was unable to access the Online Help - though I don't know if that's because I cocked up my password, or because (as I suspect) I don't actually have access rights to the help server. Therefore, there's a lot I don't understand about the environment. Such as:
- What are these things I can pick up?
- What is a skybox? (I'm assuming it's like a private sandbox - is that right??)
- How do I add places to my favourites?
- How do I find friends inworld?
I like the idea of ExitReality (thought not the name) and I think it is full of ideas - though I have no idea what many of these might be since I cannot access the User Guide in Online Help! However, it strikes me that it is too flakey to be out for beta testing. It really needs a good spell of alpha testing behind closed doors. Still... we are where we are, and it is open for public beta. Their blog makes for a reasonable read - though I am struggling to square my own experience with that described.
Anyhow, don't take my word... if you're intrigued, give it a go and let me know what you think.