Friday, March 18, 2011

1st Look: The Basic Viewer

The Project Snowstorm Development Viewer (Web) is here with many features, but the two attracting the most attention are the Basic Mode and Drive-by-Mouse (my phrase) navigation.

Some quick observations from my first use in Basic Mode:

  • Golly, but this really reminds me of Project Skylight, the Web-based interface that was recently tested.
  • I heard an incoming IM, but the Basic Mode wouldn't let me see it.
  • No access to Prefernces in Basic Mode. To adjust the UI size, for example, you'd have to adjust it while in Advanced Mode then switch back.
  • The Mini-Map is in a People pop-up, similar to the way it is in the right-side slider in the regular viewer, but it appears over the chat bar.
  • A Destinations button in the bottom bar slides up a picture-laden guide of places to go based on the Destination Guide. It is not a list of your landmarks, but I can see how that might be integrated in future releases.
  • Drive-by-Mouse is rather cool. Simply click where you want your avie to go and it goes. Much like the right-click/Go Here function that we used to have. A blue dot appears and your avie goes there. Very simple.
  • I was on one of those dance floors that doubles as a dance ball, so when I clicked on it I danced, but I didn't move. I had to use my arrow keys for movement.
  • Clicking on something with script to give the contents still works, but you can't see your inventory. You'll have to switch to Advanced Mode later to see what you just got.
  • No, you can't right-click to buy things.
  • Voice is on by default and since Basic Mode won't let you access Preferences, you can't turn it off.
  • The My Avatar button on the bottom bar brings up a tableau of the starter avies that the Lab gives you. It does not show any avies that you have saved to My Outfits, but I can see that being added. Changing to one of these pre-sets is painless. This must be why the default anims have been upgraded because if you use a default avie there is no Animation Override.
  • If you quit while in either Basic Mode or Advanced Mode then restart the viewer to change modes, you must restart the viewer once again for your change to take effect.
  • Drive-by-Mouse let me click my HUD once, but not again, nor could I right-click to detach it.
  • Clicking again and again in Drive-by-Mouse changes your avie's direction. Use the Up Arrow to cancel your automatic movement or the Left/Right Arrow keys to cam while walking.
  • The buttons in the bottom bar cannot be changed.
  • There is no running in Drive-by-Mouse but you can fly with the Home/Pg Up/Pg Dwn keys.
  • The parts of the Interface that look familiar do familiar things.
I can see this being used by new players just looking for conversation and sex. Or just sex. But if someone wants to use more than the supplied avies, to build, or to use things they manage to add to Inventory, then the Advanced Mode is a necessity. And once someone uses that there probably a chance they'll go back. The Basic Mode is a good start for noobs and those who still can't quite manage to work standard computer inputs, but I think it would be better if it was adapted to touch interfaces like on tablet computers or maybe even motion-capture devices like Kinect and the Wii. Then we could have SL-to-Go and take "Our World" with us.


Melissa Yeuxdoux said...

About the Drive-By Mouse feature: is it smart enough to go around obstacles and not take a straight line that makes you fall thousands of meters or into the ocean? If it did that, I might be tempted by it.

Uccello Poultry said...

It may or may not go around an object ... depends on the object, just like walking with the arrow keys. If you click on the air past a cliff edge, it doesn't take you over a cliff, in my experience. It's clearly aimed at noobs, but I can see myself using it to walk and talk at the same time. It is off by default in Advanced mode, but there is a work around to use it (the ol' double-click to navigate).