Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Twinity: not yet a world

Yesterday I blogged about my first experiences with Twinity, the 3D virtual world that's currently in limited beta. In the mean time, I have had the opportunity to think things a bit through, so here's another take on Twinity.

First off, yesterday I mentioned that Twinity doesn't know land as it's known in RL and SL. Instead, Twinity offers locations; anyone with a Twinity account can create one. A location is either an apartment, a club, a public place or a shop; for each of these, default layouts (rooms, floors, garden) are available.

A location is tagged with a real world geographical location. You can have a shop in Toronto, or an aparment in New York, for instance. But, as for now, Twinity doesn't seem to do anything with those real world places: a certain type of apartment is identical all over Twinity, wether it's located in Amsterdam or New York; even the view from the windows is identical. It is left to the creativity of the apartments' owner to give the place a personal touch, by redecorating or placing furniture.

Apparently it is possible to build stuff for Twinity yourselves, but as of now you can't do that in world. You will have to do it on your own computer, and upload the results to Twinity. I have not yet found out how that works.

Second Life is, and I know it sounds odd, a real virtual world. It has seas, continents, skies and stars, land you can walk on, with countless different buildings, landscapes and views. Twinity, in it's current incarnation, does not resemble a world to me; it's a list of geographically tagged locations you can redecorate, and to which you can TP to. For me, that's the main difference between SL and Twinity at this stage of Twinity beta.

If this sounds negative, it's not intended to be. If Twinity primarily wants to be a social environment with some limited options for expression and creativity (as I believe they do), they are right on track. And, I think there's probably an audience for such an environment, too! Many of those who tried SL once or twice but never really made it off orientation island, may feel right at home in the more limited, less confusing environment Twinity has to offer. For instance, ease of use and the familiarity of RL elements in locations and names may be beneficial in that regard.

For those who missed it yesterday: I posted some Twinity screenshots at flickr.

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