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Reader Comments (18)

Posted: Dec 18th 2009 7:44PM (Unverified) said

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"Developers get 75% of transactions using Blue Mars Dollars." - http://www.bluemars.com/hosting/service.html

Kinda puts the 5% + L$10/month listing fee for XStreetSL in a different light, doesn't it...

Posted: Dec 18th 2009 11:18PM (Unverified) said

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what makes SL great is the player content. I really can't see how Blue Mars is going to be successful.

Posted: Dec 18th 2009 11:26PM (Unverified) said

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Please explain to me why people are paying money to own virtual property? I get the whole virtual environment, collaboration, and online marketing ideas, but I fail to see the purpose of buying virtual property for development when it's all virtual and more can be made avail whenever they want. Or is this monopoly for the geek generation?

Posted: Dec 19th 2009 1:04AM (Unverified) said

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"Property" in this case amounts to a metaphor for servers. Somebody needs to pay for 'em...
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Posted: Dec 19th 2009 2:42AM (Unverified) said

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I get asked why people buy/rent/lease virtual land a lot. It’s both a tough question to answer and an easy one at the same time.

Having virtual land is like most people having a front yard.

The common-case front yard is costly to maintain over time. There are expenses involved, both monetary and in upkeep time. And then what? It doesn’t actually do anything except sit there. You can stand on it. Sit in it. The neighbors can appreciate the work (or lack of work) that you put in it.

And that’s about it. Maybe, with a local council permit you can put a lemonade stand or microscopic business venture on it.

Why have a front yard at all? In most cases, it’s either just extra space, or raw self-expression. Or both. The parallels between that sort of use and virtual land are very strong, though.
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Posted: Dec 19th 2009 2:01AM (Unverified) said

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The first virtual world that allows direct and reliable importation of .dwg, .dxf (AutoCAD) files, .blend (Blender), and Google Sketchup files for player content will win in my opinion and I have yet to see that happen. Also a standalone editor is needed, I can't afford to be logged into the world and therefore lagged all the time in order to do work.

I'm not asking even for a straight importation, make a standalone converter that uses .igs or something. Just let me use industry standard CAD tools to make items and structures.

Posted: Dec 19th 2009 5:32AM (Unverified) said

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I recall looking at a preview of this "virtual world" and the thing that stood out most in my mind was the Ads.
EVERYWHERE, there was product placement overflow with logos slapped on everything. Bleh.
I felt bombarded and repulsed. DO. NOT. WANT.

Posted: Dec 19th 2009 5:37AM (Unverified) said

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Really? I haven't seen any. Must have been looking in the wrong places.
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Posted: Dec 19th 2009 10:18AM (Unverified) said

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SL is boatloads cheaper for educators, when compared to the 50 concurrent users BM pricing. The discount price for an island is twice as much, but:

--Monthly fee is half
--We can make content in-world w/o high-end developer tools
--SL is platform agnostic and, warts and all, will run on most student laptops (poorly but it will run).

So, Blue Mars in education? Pass on that.

Posted: Dec 19th 2009 1:06PM (Unverified) said

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Hardware & software requirements are the serious issue for us. I'm fairly certain there aren't any PCs in the entire institution that would run Blue Mars; CS have some systems with decent graphics cards, but nothing running Vista. The standard lab system is Windows XP with barely enough graphics power to get SL going.

The cost wouldn't be such a major issue, but I'm mostly left with a feeling of "Okay, we've dumped a bunch of students into this virtual world, now what?". The most successful projects we've done, by far, have involved letting the students loose with editing tools.
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Posted: Dec 19th 2009 10:36AM (Unverified) said

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@Tateru, "delivering high-quality content from comparatively easy-to-use tools"

Could you unpack that statement? Easy for whom?

The types of 3D development tools I've heard mentioned about BM are beyond the reach of anyone except perhaps 20 people on my campus, and beyond the reach of any but a few faculty members.

Maybe at e-schools and architecture programs....but this does not look promising for the sorts of regular educators with technical skills who have been the pioneers in Second Life and Open Sim worlds.

That said, the lowest-end pricing would be very appealing for experimental projects, to see if one wanted to "ramp up" to a larger city.

But I'll find a Windows box (yuck) that will run this thing and give it a whirl, if only a play a few games and see how the graphics look on an appropriate system.

Posted: Dec 19th 2009 11:22AM (Unverified) said

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Granted the "easy" part came from talking to a few people who told me "You know, learning to creating content was easier than I thought it would be."

That said, it's probably outside my current skillset as well.
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Posted: Dec 19th 2009 1:08PM (Unverified) said

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I think the difficulty to pick up the tools (and I presume Blender can be used for this, so there's at least a free option) is overestimated. On the other hand, I don't think we've ever sat down and gone "Y'know what, we'd love to do this project in a virtual world, but we just can't make it pretty enough..."
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Posted: Dec 20th 2009 3:03AM (Unverified) said

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Any 3D software that can output the COLLADA format can be used for Blue Mars creation, that includes 3dsMax, Maya, Blender, and Google Sketchup. The latter two are free. I have been using the city editor tool they give developers (also free) and it is no harder to use than building in Second Life, once you know what buttons to use.

Also note that all content creation and city setup are done offline, and that is free until you go live on their servers. It's even possible to log in in "Developer Mode" with other people, you just have to distribute your content manually rather than through their servers. That's how our "Sandbox City" project will work until we go live:

http://sandboxcitymars.blogspot.com/
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Posted: Dec 19th 2009 11:37AM (Unverified) said

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I'm looking forward to visiting but, as Iggy says, it won't be pulling many "early adopter" generic edu accounts unless the people concerned have a lot of support centrally.

Posted: Dec 20th 2009 12:51PM (Unverified) said

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Daniel, this is great news, re: the in-world tools. I'll add a caveat to my latest blog post on what I've heard about BM.

Posted: Dec 20th 2009 4:00PM (Unverified) said

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Alright so I finally got to download it. Besides the 300MB initial download and the fact that you need to download each city individually (another 300MB/city), it was virtually unusable on my computer. LOL - this is actually the first "game" I haven't been able to play on my computer so I'm a bit shocked with the specs. After trying to walk for 2 minutes I basically had to give up since my computer simply couldn't handle it. The high hopes I had for this platform have been crushed completely. I assume within 3 years this platform might become usable but right now the requirements are way to steep.

Posted: Jan 7th 2010 8:47AM (Unverified) said

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Hmm :) If there's something I've learned about people getting soooo eager about "standard" formats to upload content (be it .OBJ, COLLADA, or any other) is because they just want to grab it from the Google Warehouse or similar "3D content archives" and upload everything for free...

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