Friday, September 20, 2013

Learning Island

While looking at the new Social Islands on the map (SLurl) I saw new set of Learning Islands, too, so I quickly whipped up a test account and logged in hoping to find one. I certainly did and here's an annotated photo essay about my experience.

When you first arrive, you are on a beach.
By looking in the address bar, you'll know you are on a learning path.
There is no tutorial about camming around, but if one did know how to do this they'd see that the region is beautiful. Later they'll see that it greatly resembles the new Social Island, too, in form and style. More about Social Island in a subsequent post, but the rocky terrain, the beach, and the coliseum structure are the primary similarities.
If you take the time to look around, you'll see rocky (mesh) Islands, and a recently stranded Linden Premium Boat. Yes, it is supposed to be there. Very scenic but perhaps not a good portent of success.
If you wander off the beach, there are plenty of multi-lingual clues pointing you where to go. To be serious, though, I saw absolutely no signs of any nature – instructional, directional, informational, non-sensical – save for some arrows.
Follow the numerous arrows and the rather obvious path and you'll find more arrows. Experienced users might get a sense of Déjà Vu – look at the steps and arch.
The path continues. If you fall off the bridge or simply jump off the cliff edge, you can climb out over a series of stepped rocks on the far side but you'd have to fly to get out on the initial side. By this point, you might have expected some instruction on how to talk or move or ... well.
Déjà Vu again. Like the aforementioned arch and steps, these "ruins" are not custom-created items for this build, but are pre-fabs anyone can buy in-world or on the Marketplace. Some might say that's cheating, but it is nice to see The Lab supporting in-world creators.
Past those ruins is another cliff one can fall off or a bridge that serves the same function. Yes, you can climb out, but if there had been any sort of How-to-Fly or How-to-Jump tutorial beforehand, then one would not need to climb. Generally speaking,  I got the distinct impression that Learning Island is a work in progress. With any luck, some sort of signage will show up soon.

Round the corner after your death defying escape from a fall that should have broken one or more of your bones and there's a lovely waterfall to cross under. Again, if one had been taught how to cam out, then they'd see a view like this.

Some residents and readers of this blog might recognize the coliseum here from an earlier New Resident Experience (as detailed in a post here). The structure is another non-Linden piece, this time by creator Damien Fate with the arched portal beyond the robot (another new resident) created by someone whose name I totally lost. Again, no instructions here, but it's reasonably clear that if you walk into the vortex, something will happen. In this instance, you are transported to Social Island.
Big kudos to The Lab and all the creators involved. This is much, much nicer than my last New Resident experience (blogged about here) and possibly even the one before that. All-in-all my best experiences were when my new characters went through privately run introductions like the excellent one in Caledon's Oxbridge University (SLurl). If the very simple official experience could be blended with the sometimes-too-detailed Caledon experience, I think that a wonderful introduction to Second Life could be had by new residents.

After a hard 45 minutes of combing Learning Island, my new character (with a really cool name so she might stick around) enjoys a G-rated beverage at the Tiki Beach on Social Island (SLurl).


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. I don't feel the need to go experience it for myself as I have in the past. Thanks so much for a much needed reminder of what newcomers face.

Uccello Poultry said...

Thanks, Rose! And thanks to everyone for the IMd comments :D

Uccello Poultry said...

I tried this again very recently and some hard to read HUDs lagged their way to my screen for things like "double tap to run" and "press Home to fly" at various points. A Linden I spoke with told me this should happen, but I still believe that the "How To ..." panel should be on the screen at all times for at least until a new resident is off Learning Island.

Justin Esparza said...

I like the flag rewards in Guild Wars 2 that zoom the camera out for a scenic view of your surroundings when you reach them. Maybe they could do something similar with the camera when you reach a certain point in the new orientation experience. The camera zooms out to show you your surroundings and then zooms in to show you your next destination before returning to your position. A visual navigational cue.

Uccello Poultry said...

Good idea, Justin. The experience permissions would need to be functional, though, for the viewer to take over the camera and thus far that feature is still broken.