Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cloud Party

Someone, whether it be Google or Facebook or Google and Facebook has started a 3D interactive world called Cloud Party (Web). I don't know the details but I'm sure you can find them at various places around the Interwebs. What I do know is that if you want to do more than poke around, get bored, and leave, you need a Facebook account. That explains my disinterest.

But my brother, CC Columbo in Second Life, does have a Facebook account, so I sat next to him today while he mucked about in the new world. The most exciting part of the visit for me is that my SL friend Claudia222 Jewel has an island in Cloud Party (Web). Here are some pix I made CC take:

Claudia222's island is one of many but the most and best developed of all that we saw today.

And here is why. She brought her art into Cloud Party. I don't know how, really. CC is looking into it. He thinks that mesh is importable, like things made in Google Sketch Up.
Aside from finding Claudia, the experience for me – at least from sitting beside CC while he explored – was dull, but I did note a few things:

  • Building - The process is too complicated and the tools are horrible. Even placing pre-fabs is a chore.
  • Everything in the Library looks very, very generic and little of it is scripted for use. The TV can't be watched but the cannon can be fired. There is no way to sit on the furniture.
  • The camera is horrible. There is no way to include yourself in a picture unless you do a screen cap. Every pic in this post was snapped with Skitch.
  • Avatars are always running. Movement with a Apple computer is difficult at best.
  • You get a free home and free furniture, plus you can build things, but there is no indication as to what limits you have (like SLers have prim limits on land).
  • Your user name is whatever name you use on Facebook, but  you can change your Display Name once.
  • Every region is the same size and is a floating island. If you can see an island in the sky above you, you can visit it. Otherwise there is a directory inside your "phone."
  • That "phone" is basically just a folder with things in it for navigation, taking pictures, looking at your pictures, building, settings, and more. It's isn't really a phone.
  • Outfits and avatar customization is very limited, but Hey! It's beta.
  • Web browser URLs can be bookmarked/saved in your browser to visit locations at a later time.
  • CC had a conversation with a visitor to his house who was familiar with SL and the upshot was "SL is winning because of quality and ease of use" but I suspect that will change rapidly. It took SL 9+ years to get where it is now. Cloud Party is like a 2nd year SL right now.
  • You can't use an iPad or Apple Safari. The Google Chrome browser is probably the best thing to use.

Don't let Claudia's world fool you. Inside CC's home is more typical  of what you find in Cloud Party. The TV behind him is not functional. It took 10-15 minutes just to place this furniture. Chat is nearly illegible in that little window with OCR fonts and pale bubbles that appear over everyone's heads. There is a currency and CC has one unit of it. Eighty more Cloud Coins  cost $4USD, though what the money is used for, I have no idea.

Everyone's free house is identical and share mostly identical islands. CC has a nice corner lot and there is an empty commons mid-island. We didn't find a way to lock the home, close the drapes, or make the dedicated teleport point a private listing. Since the avatars always run, navigating the stair case is rather tricky. No idea why the building is raised as there is no basement under the main floor. A deck out back is oddly-shaped and small. Based on looking at everyone else's houses, the big window right above the stairs is commonly used as a bedroom. This is very 2003 Second Life-ish in most respects.
What does this mean for Second Life? Probably not much. There has been competition for some time. The hard core SL residents won't likely abandon Our World for this new world. But I hope it encourages The Lab to push harder on that Web-based user interface that was tested a little while ago. Remember a couple years ago when I suggested that Google needs to buy Linden Lab (Web)? Now they don't have to that. But maybe this alternative will spur changes.

1 comment:

Dante Mikado said...

"you need a Facebook account."
Yep, count me out, too. I have an account, but I'm sick and tired of every little penny-ante site and their momma wanting me to get their grubby hands on it.
Thank you for an interesting and informative look at Cloud Party.
One day, it may turn out to be something really good.
Too bad Linden Labs isn't on the ball with something like this.