Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back to Chat: Twinity

You know exactly how it is. Loads to do, deadlines looming, and that little demon inside you says 'nah... let's go play'. So for absolutely no reason, a trip back to Twinity.
It's been a year, and what has changed. First of all, all the cities have disappeared. Apparently it's due to copyright issues with the Maps that formed the basis for those fabulous builds for which Twinity was rightly famous. *visualizing Googlemaps using a large stick". Well, hold on a minute, looking back, it seems that even a year ago, it wasn't possible to visit Tower Bridge, despite the pics of it plastered all over their site back then.
There was a free apartment waiting for Thirza, on arrival. It's supposed to be in Berlin, but there's no berliner ambiance; could be in a sealed container, since you can't really cam out of the window far enough to see, and you certainly don't seem to be able to go walkabout at all. There is no air here. But hey, real estate. Woot, right?
But hanging around in an empty apartment gets old surprisingly quickly. Logical step - go look for people. The main hangout is called The Pyramid, or somesuch name. Invitations to 'parties' and 'events' pop up pretty often on your screen. 
Unrezzed Twinity people are transparent, but anatomically correct - much nicer than SL's lil cloud, and lag seems to be non existent. The conversation was a pretty highbrow. It was really hard to resist the invite to Whitney's party.  It was going to be Awesome.
But no! resist! There's so much more to do, than plumb the awesomeness of Whitney's party. This crappy hair has to go. But what alternatives are there?
Shopping! And what says shopping better than Mush, right? 
You can 'Like' Mush on Facebook, but I kinda didn't like it in any shape or form. 
Going to a store to buy stuff in Twinity is a bit of a chore; there's not much choice at all, and none of the bells and whistles you get in a SL shop; no groups, no subscriber's gifts, lots of paper-thin statuary. I have no idea how one becomes a store owner; there's no chance that a 'Guest' can set up an ad hoc shop, and establish themselves here, as has been the case in the Land of Lindens. Also depressing, appalling radio suddenly cuts in, extremely loud and incredibly close, every now and then. Even the Twinitarians are embarassed about that.
Geez seriously that hair- gotta go. Urk.
So here are the hair options, in the online shop. This is 'feathered' blonde hair. Um...I'm going to go with No.
Pigtails! Price, 15 Globals. Default hair won't change color, it's just black, but the bought stuff can be exactly color matched. Not washed though; looks like I spent all day working in a chip shop. 
Oh well, it'll do. Stuff in the shops runs into the 100's of Globals pretty quick here, and there's only two ways to make money. Well three, but the third was off limits, as we'll see later. Gosh, do you remember that 'fill out a survey' crap from the Old Days on Money island? Alive and well in Twinity, it seems.
Ironic Twinity Thirza: see her go. The London Mall (actually a small barn)  had some passable stuffs... turns out, I bought all this last time I was here.
Now where?
C'mon, nothing says futuristic Virtual World like East Germany! Oh, the cars! The quality lighting! The ... English number plate! Huh?
Obviously nothing gets a girl going like a Trabant, so next stop, the smexy anims, right? And such a classy, intriguing name, too. 
But wait! (Sidenote - seriously, the person who made this teleport-screen texture couldn't be arsed to modify the faces of the women, not even a little bit?) Access pass Alert.
And how much would that cost?  And why are those women wearing my shoes?
I see. That would explain the poses.
It's not just sex you can't get without making a monthly payment in Twinity. You can't buy a gun, either.
Shucks, as they say in Little Italy. Nice place; lovely textures, but it's weird, Twinity, after SL. Mesh is different to prims. You can't cam through walls to look up and down the street, or open doors, so it's impossible to leave the ristorante through the entrance - you have to go back the way you came. 
Via the bins. That's mesh for you. I decided not to try the hiking boots for religious reasons.
Ooh just discovered gestures and nearly poked my eyes out.
So, is anywhere in Twinity worth seeing? Yes. 
They may have lost some of the Whole Downtowns, but fragments of great cities remain, like this model of the Pergamon Museum.
Whoops, got a tiny bit distracted. That 'Shop' button is a bit hard to resist.
You can try stuff on in Twinity, before handing over the dosh.
So for once, you can avoid those bad buys that looked so much better on the poster. 
Not all mesh is equal, the red dress looks like a lampshade, the blue one's nice but not 50 Globals nice, and the wedding dress, at 200, looks like a sheet.
I'm pretty sure that thing with the glasses is not supposed to happen.
Then Liza showed up. As luck would happen, I'd just discovered the 'Drunk' animations. Turns out, Liza was Hungarian, so no harm done.
Things to see in Twinity. Right. I'm not distracted, honest. 
Well, One of the most touted destinations is Twinicars. Which turned out to be exquisite. The sparkling mirror floor alone is breathtaking. It's the kind of algorithm to drool over. Plus the Cinquecento fakeplicas are kinda cute. 
Another great place is The Dark Forest, which has some very nice animated mesh. this monster face turns slowly from side to side, and probably makes a noise, only I was too afraid of bad radio to turn up the volume.
Nicely sinister, love the bony chairs.
The figure in the doorway creeps towards you, then falls down dead. And then does it again. It's a familiar looking Mocap, but set into a mesh, pretty nifty. 
 I tried to make him see I came in peace, but it didn't seem to register. You're supposed to write in the Guestbook of places you visit, it's part of the 12 step newbie program. This place deserves a nice comment to two. It's a pity nothing is Inspect-able, so you can't see who made what. Would be nice to get hold of the creator and tell him or her personally.
 OK feeling scared now? Want some company? Hey, a place where Search works!
Twinity is, above all, a world of chat. There are tasks here, like making friends, walking one kilometer, or tp'ing to selected destinations, but apart from that, all that is left is chat. There's something oppressive about Twinity, it's the opposite to the newbie experience in SL, where you're enchanted at once by the possibilities of a great outdoors, indoors. Twinity has outside spaces, but all of it feels like a series of more or less stuffy rooms. There is no map, no possibility of walking or flying between locations - it's all TP all the time. Claustrophobic. The best cure for that is to take your mind off it - what about a quiz, where you can Earn Globals!!
OK - There is no shame in knowing that Dean Cain was Superman, whatever you may think. The people in the quiz room are quietly friendly, funny, and courteous (there's an etiquette about how many questions you should answer bfore easing off and letting someone else win a little).  
Neither the group at the quiz, or at the hangout was big, as you can see, even for a Sunday; Twinity's got a niche audience, and at least in the Public areas (private 'sims' exist too) everyone I ran into was a non-paying Guest. But then, if you're going to pay for Access to Twanking, I don't suppose you waste a lot of time on trivia quizzes or in haunted forests.
 It's not a bad way to while away a little time. Certainly beats what my guy Snow had to put up with, on the computer next to me, trying to work in a sandbox in SL with some moronic Poles letting off hideous gestures every ten seconds. 
After SL or opensim, the sensation of having your hands tied is very strong in Twinity, even a SL floater would feel it; in other VWs you can at least straighten your hair.  The complete lack of a creative outlet for the residents means, too, that everything comes down to mindless, repetitive chatting; in that respect it reminded me of an Avalon vernissage, so really what's the difference.
 Where will Twinity be a year from now? That's a good question, and unlike the one about Captain Cook, neither I or Sir Charles can tell you the answer. It'll be fun to come back and see.

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