Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Google "Lively" reviewed by a Second Lifer

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.


steven edward streight said...

You just saved me a buttload of time and aggravation, by posting your review.

I'm not into VW, but felt I should check out Lively in case there might be some applications for my clients.

You are so good to let us know how slooooow it is! That's a huge turnoff for me, cuz I go faaaaast all the time. It's either lightning, or I move on to better velocities.


Neal Alan Spurlock said...

Good post and honest review. I took one look at it and knew this was not one of Google's winning ideas. Second Life has come too far and developed the standard for virtual worlds that the Google offering doesn't even attempt to approach. It pretends like Second Life is simply not there.

Lively is to Second Life what Gaia Online is to WoW.

Evian Argus said...

Excellent review of Lively. It sure is taking a long time for someone to challenge Second Life, although Second Life is not being adopted by corporate enterprises (many have failed to realize a true ROI) it does not seem anyone else can develop a 3D application that can out do them. We all wait for the 3D killer application.