After seeing the news of the beta release hit the net this morning, I just had to check out the new Lively service.
Installation consist of downloading an "Installer" program that downloads another installer, which then open a web page, which references an iframe which references an ActiveX-like object which actually launches the application.
Here's an example of what you get:
I'm the redneck pig.
Out of the dozen available avatars, that one was the least creepy.
The chat bar says: "Go ahead, say something!", so that's what I will do. Here are my impressions so far.
- It's slow. Slow, slow, slooooooooooow. Really. After 15 minutes of waiting, the "Room Materializing" meter was at about 60%
- Movement controls work backwards. Left, right, forward and backward are inverted. Or do random stuff
- Camera controls are so bizarre that you need a degree in advanced mathematics (and perfect motor control) to even look at something.
- There is no "building" areas. You can select from a couple dozens of pre-baked "rooms" and .. that's it.
- The general feel is overly "cartoonish".
- Head-to-body proportions range from "dangerously unhealthy looking" to "absurd". Would it be sexist of me to say that I'm freaked out by girls who's eyeballs are bigger than their boobs?
- You can "buy" stuff in the "catalog". Seems like the "e-commerce" part of the system got the most attention.
- For the life of me, I could not figure out how to get to my "inventory" of items that I bought.
- No user-generated content. Nada. Move along.
- The messed-up-skeleton-look of the the figure on the left is not a fashion statement. It's a "ruthed" avatar.
- The "animation" part works only in "couples". You click on a person to harass, then choose anything from "kiss", "propose" to "kick" or "bodyslam".
- No "teleporting". You log out one room and log in to another. No communication between rooms exist (that I could find)
- Did I mention it was slow? Even in an area with only a dozen of avatars and a handfull of "objects", the load times are nerve-wrecking! Yes, I understand that there is a traffic spike because of the launch. But I expected the Googleplex to be able to withstand way more that a few thousand teenagers trying to chat.
In short: For the time being, it seems like Linden Labs has little to fear from Lively.