Saturday, November 1, 2008

Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Players

I asked the intrepid Kathy Jameson to try out OpenLife and report back on her experiences. Here is a real-time set of notes she took in what must have been a horribly frustrating half-hour.

(Note: using client R15.1)

10:51 am - Logged in. Noobie look, noobie outfit. No shoes. Standing with arms spread wide, for no apparent reason.

10:53 am - Try to change appearance. Can't edit shape or skin. Given option to create new hair. Click it. Nothing happens. Try it a few times, with same result. Same with eyes. Can't modify clothing. Check inventory - "New hair" has been created three times, and "New eyes." Still, can't seem to edit them.

10:55 am - Give up trying to modify appearance, and look around. Someone has created a poseball. I sit on it. Now I look like a relaxed Noob. I stand up and am shot five or six feet into the air.

10:57 am - In my Noob walk, I waddle around the area in which I find myself. Palm trees - check. Boulders - check. Mountains in the distance - check. Little sign of life, except a message board that I try out. I doesn't work - script error. I waddle toward a Spanish-style structure. It
turns out to be someone's house. Simple textures and construction, but it gets the job done.

11:01 am - At least the user interface is familiar.

11:02 am - Try to use the search features to find free stuff. Look like the search all box returns hits from...Second Life. Well, that doesn't help much, does it? Let's try the map. I'll try Openlife Island 2. It looks big, and introductory. Maybe life will improve there. Request TP.

11:05 am - Find myself looking at my doppelganger, and an av named Hotlips Hoolihan. Waddle away from Hotlips as quickly as possible - I can't face a conversation in this state.

11:08 am - Look at clothing tutorial, but it's nothing more than how to use the familiar SL menus. Try to open folders in the inventory Library, but don't get anywhere with that. Now I can't move. Library says it's loading items. I suspect it has no items.

11:09 am - Uh-oh. My region is now red on the mini-map. Have I just been logged out? I exit the program.

11:10 am - Logged in again. Mustn't touch inventory Library.

11:13 am - Stuck again. I didn't do anything, I swear! I can turn, I can use the camera controls, but no walking or flying. Will try one more time before I find a stick and beat this program to death.

11:15 am - Logged in again. Oddly, whereas I had L$1,000 listed as my assets, I now have L$10,000 listed. Okay, we're in business again.

11:19 am - Attempt to cross a sim boundary. Get stuck. Can't move forward or backward. Request TP home.

11:21 am - Still waiting to TP. Check Caledon Forums instead.

11:22 am - Now I'm at Openlife Island4 (128, 128, 70). Sadly, still can't move, and the sim NEXT to mine is redded out. Try to TP again. I must be a masochist.

11:24 am - Still waiting for the TP. Was there a dance at the Bashful Peacock? Can't recall. I think I'm starting to crack.

11:26 am - Region must be down. Same outcome as before. I'll try to TP to Openlife Island prime, and see what happens. Read Miss Laval's latest Journal entry while waiting.

11:28 am - Log off again.

11:32 am - Back on. Back to L$1,000 of money I don't have. Can't move. Request TP back to Openlife Island2. Make it this time. Nearly fall on a lady with purple hair. Why can't I find anything to change into?

11:34 am - Logged out with a message that the simulator is going down.

And there you have it: my OpenLife experience!

[Addendum, 11/3/08: I'm told that there are areas that have free hair and clothing, and I think I understand what I did wrong while trying to edit my appearance. Others had a less-frustrating time at it. But the servers clearly could not handle the load - possibly because of all the Second Life residents trying out OpenLife the same way I was - and, more problematic, the intial user experience was significantly worse than that in SL. When I first rezzed in SL, I inadvertently found my way off Orientation Island before completing any of the tutorials, yet found the user interface to be sufficiently intuitive that I managed to de-Noob myself fairly quickly. For those who needed a little more help, the tutorials were no doubt helpful. And plenty of people were there to answer questions if needed. Don't let anger cloud judgment; give The Lab That Dare Not Speak Its Name credit where credit is due. One day OpenLife might be a viable platform, but that day has not yet arrived. - KJ]

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