Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Second Visit to Twinity

In the frequently asked questions section of the Twinity website it says that

"You can explore different locations, meet new people, pimp your avatar and apartment, and generally have fun!"

It seems that you cannot build or script.  I can buy stuff and set up an apartment if I want to but I don't so apart from wandering around there does not seem to be a lot for me to do. That maybe because I don't know anyone here, though I seem to have one friend and that is clever, I had no idea...

It would seem that there is a plan for people to be able to upload artefacts that they have made into Twinity, "we are working on that" but I guess scale etc. could be an issue here and it does not look as if they are working to enable building and scripting.

I walked around virtual Berlin - the advert says to "take a walking tour and see the sights," yes they are pretty and I guess I could learn my way around if I wanted to. I started to investigate several buildings that seemed to have doors, but really they don't. They are external images only, unlike SL, where someone would design and build the whole building down to the tiniest details, all that is missing from the buildings in Twinity - mostly because avatars cannot build I guess!

So doors are not for walking though, bicycles are not for riding, daytime (CET) is daylight and night-time is dark. Avatars are, or can be, fairly realistic.

It is easy to chat to people and listen to the background music that is already set up.

I guess all that is left for me to do is make my apartment :-(

In Twinity at the moment there is not much to capture my attention. In Second Life - where I am happy to spend hours, I have a group of friends, places that I like to spend time and places to investigate. I am delighted to meet up with friends and chat, about life, the world, education etc., but if I am alone, as I frequently am, I can build and pretend to script and still really enjoy myself. I am not too bothered by being there alone as I am occupied. Sometimes, between projects I am looking for inspiration, the next project, then I may get fed up, but as soon as I am hooked on a project idea I enjoy it again. The big difference between the two is the ability to create.

I can't go back in and make an apartment or house or flat, I have a real life one to look after and clean etc., that project just holds no fascination at all, I would put my avatar in it and she would probably never come out. I can't cope with that :-) I will leave her outside and free, then if I visit again I will join her in looking around any new builds.


Nergiz said...

Hi Carol

Thanks for this review of Twinity!
I wanted to check it out myself but they don't have a Mac viewer, yet.

So, it seems system requirements are even higher than for SL and it is not so much a collaborative or constructive place but more a meeting place. It seems also, from what you say (dark, can't switch to like) that users have less control of the environment.

I assume flying is not possible to make it feel more realistic like they often do on role-play sims in SL.

Nice pictures though :-)

Do you know if there are groups to find like-minded people or announce one's events? Do you know whether there are any educational projects there?

jere said...

hi carol, thanks for the review. in the next few months, we'll be adding tools for building.

@nergiz, yes, twinity has groups.

best, jeremy from twinity

Avatar Languages said...

Hi Carol

This is a pretty detailed description of Twinity and I think you have highlighted some of the main problems with it.

SL dominates the virtual world scene and so inevitably comparisons are made to it - especially from first time visitors. I think the Twinity team is to be commended for taking a different approach to 3D virtual worlds. However, we have yet to see if their model will take off.

Twinity has, in effect, a very top-down approach to virtual worlds (the concept has little scope for building by residents) and I think it fails to capture the sense of creativity that the SL concept has so brilliantly tapped into. That said, I read about a year ago that the SL replicas of RL (eg Berlin, Barcelona, London to name a few) was appealing more to the new entrants - so perhaps there is a significant market for pre-made environments. And it is about "market"!

This is essentially the second problem with Twinity - virtual worlds need big numbers of visitors to be marketable. Twinity has launched at a time when SL growth has been leveling off.

I think the attraction for Twinity for language educators is that it is a safe environment for some immersive learning and for social interaction. As Twinity grows in popularity over the next year, it will make an interesting change to SL as a venue for language practice and as a place for 3D experiential learning.

Where SL is favorite is for building as a part of learning. Interestingly this is probably the least developed area of language education in SL.

I suspect that SL-based projects will still dominate SLanguages (online conference for language education in virtual worlds / But I think we will also see more discussion about other worlds such as Twinity.

Hope to see you there.