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

Lively was anything but Lively — except for the fact that you were in a visually unappealing chatroom with a lot of friends or at least acquaintances from one’s journey across the Metaverse. Like I usually say, most virtual worlds I’ve tried only capture my attention for about 15 minutes, and it’s up to the developers to make sure that I enjoy the first 15 minutes (Meez, for instance, in 15 minutes let me choose an avatar, personalise it quite a lot, create a room, make small changes, log in, take snapshots, make a movie… and well, that was basically it, but at least I had fun in those 15 minutes! With IMVU I had very similar experiences). Lively was only lively because there were people there I know — people whose opinions I respect — and that made me stay about 2 hours in it. The old rule applies: if there is nothing else to do in a virtual world, it’s the people you meet that will make you decide to stay, not the interface.

Unless, of course, that there is a lot to do. My first experience in Second Life was getting the idea that there simply was too much to do, and I’d take hours and hours to learn it all (I since then realised that the most correct time estimate is “several centuries”, but I had no idea of knowing that…). On Lively, the attraction seems to be to figure out how to embed Lively rooms on web pages (easy), how to create new rooms (no clue; I’m looking for pointers and welcome them) or new items (also no clue, but it’s clear that some items have descriptions like “curvy-body-shape-25” done by Google’s developers, so there has to be a way to import the meshes). You can just drag and drop items around the place and add comments to it.

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