Not So Lively: Chronicles of Day One on Google’s Virtual World

Then it was time to pick a room to visit (unlike Meez, there is no way you can obviously create your own room, although it’s clear it should be possible somehow). There is a list to pick from. Surprise, surprise: on the top five “Most visited” rooms, a club (what else?) was at the top, with Pathfinder Linden’s own “Linden Lab” room a close second. Figuring out that here I would already find a few familiar faces from Second Life®, I went for that one.

The choice was certainly correct — Dusan Writer, Grace McDunnough, Jurin Juran, and likely a few others (sometimes it’s not easy to figure out who’s who!) were around in the room, testing the cumbersome interface. And cumbersome it is! Or perhaps it was just me, fighting to get a few frame rates per second (and not a frame every two or three seconds!) out of Lively. The room was, of course, crowded… with about a dozen avatars (20 is the hard-coded limit). I’m sure, however, that someone with a good PC (and not using Parallels) might have had a much better experience than me. Then again, it looked like most of the crowd was complaining about the excruciatingly painful lag.

Is it fun?

Combine that with a confusing little interface and it was clearly anything but a “fun” experience. And remember that we were all cheating. Everybody on the “Linden Lab” room at that time was a veteran Second Life resident; we’re not exactly newbies with virtual worlds. We have tried several, and in some cases, use different VWs regularly and every day. We’re used to lag, to semi-functional software, to application crashes (several people crashed during the few hours I was online), to things not loading, to silly mistakes that everybody does. We’re also used to the insanely complex (but virtually rich) interface of Second Life, and use computers and their complex applications to accomplish tasks every day. And, of course, we all are very open minded and eager to try new things out.

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