Friday, 17 October 2008

Figment Island

Occasionally I stumble upon sims that have been happily (or quietly) going about their business for ages. I found tonight's sim to be a difficult one to judge. Part of the difficulty is that this is not a European or American sim, and so may not have generated much hoopla in the Western blogs. In fact, a little light Googling reveals that the sim is a good 18 months old! Odd that it has been knocking around for so long, yet I have not stumbled upon any actual reviews of the place. So where am I talking about? I guess the title of this post rather gives the game away: Figment Island.

The island belongs, not unreasonably, to a company called Figment - who are based in Singapore. They describe themselves as"Asia's first full-integrated virtual world marketing communications agency" - and while I get the gist, this still sounds like it was dreamt up during a particularly fruitful workshop on buzzword generation. Just to add another dollop of snottiness, I would also question their effectiveness in virtual world marketing communications if I can find so few mentions of their existence. But that is perhaps below the belt. As we shall see, what they have on their island is actually rather good - at least, I think so.

So what's on the island then? It is easiest viewed as being split into 3 zones - in order of preference: the art gallery; the company area and the other bit.

My favourite - and I daresay it will be yours, too - is GetsmART. This is a virtual world art gallery by Ngee Ann Secondary School. I am not sure about the validity of a Secondary School on the adult grid - maybe that's down to a definition of "Secondary" - but this place is great. The accompanying notecard tells me: "Students and teachers’ art works are featured here.In this gallery, students are taken through 'thinking processes' using thinking routines that are adopted from Artful Thinking - a model developed by Project Zero, Harvard University. Through this, we hope students’ thinking dispositions are developed and deepened." You can pick up a HUD that will help you with your thinking processes - but the gallery, tho' small, was fun to walk through. I particularly enjoyed the... what?... "3D charcoal sketch"(?) at the end. The experience is not really designed with the solo visitor in mind, but rather it should be a small group activity, mentored or mediated (albeit with a light touch). Once through the gallery, you are led to a relaxing seating area, where you can discuss the works (or so I deduced). Most of my pictures are of this GetsmART area.

Floating above the sim is the second of the 3 zones. This is Figment's space, and is best(?) described as a giant snowflake lying on top of an immense floating tree. Well, it is Second Life, after all. The various arms of the snowflake offer different facilities - such as meeting areas, or orientation. The content is crisp, well textured and has a nice, open aspect to it.

The third zone is perhaps the least successful - and may be incomplete. This is leased to Ascendas, a "leading provider of business space solutions", to promote Neuros & Immunos, a biomedical research building. The accompanying notecard explains: "Strategically located within Biopolis at one-north - Asia's home for biomedical sciences, the seven-storey Neuros & Immunos offer fully-infrastructured laboratory space and a conducive research environment that makes it the choice location for a quality biomedical R&D centre." There is a faithful reproduction of the facade of the building, but no actual way in. The point? Ummm... I'm not at all clear on that one. I suppose it does offer potential overseas clients a 3D panoramic view - but is that really enough?

Well that's the sim so far... not a huge amount to show for a company that has been doing virtual worlds stuff for well over a year now, unless there's a slew of successful sims that I know nothing about (quite likely!). If this is the case, don't hide them away! Let's get to see them! In the meantime you can see my pictures:

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