So in randomly clicking around the Web last night, I found myself on the signup page for Twinity, and I signed up. I was on OS X at the time, so couldn’t actually try it, but this morning on a Windows machine I came across the “you’re signed up, download now!” email, so I did that.
I messed around for just a little while, not nearly enough to make much in the way of fair comments about the world, so I’ll make these unfair comments instead.
First (to get the pain out of the way), here is a screenshot of Dale in the Berlin welcome area on Twinity (wince):
Two things are immediately obvious.
First, my hands are in a weird position. This is because I was playing with gestures / animations, and I bought and tried out the free “Bunny Hop” one, and couldn’t turn it off. Remember being a noob and not being able to stop dancing in SL? This was very similar, except even funnier because I was hopping everywhere, and less embarrassing because there was no one else around to see it. I logged off still hopping, but I hope when I log in again I will have stopped.
Second, I look like a slightly-doofy middle-aged German guy. This is because (a) they make you choose a gender very early in the signup process, and there seems to be no way to change it later (sheesh, what’s up with that?) so I flipped a coin and it came up male, and (b) I messed around for quite awhile with the male appearance dialogs, which let you choose your appearance from a vast array of thousands or millions of possibilities, all of which look like a slightly-doofy middle-aged German guy.
I think this is because the appearance dialogs let you fiddle with shape, but not with what SL calls skin, and the one default male skin is modeled after some middle-aged German guy (Twinity being a Germany-based thing, I think), who while probably fine-looking in real life looks slightly doofy when mapped onto polygons.
There’s a thing you can do to make an appearance based on an uploaded picture, which sounds like one of those things that would be great except they don’t work. The very helpful support person who appeared in the support area about five minutes after I arrived told me about it, and I said it sounded kinda freaky and asked her if she’d done it. She said that she had, but didn’t have it active right now because she needed “a better picture”. Which suggests to me that in fact it doesn’t work. This isn’t really too surprising knowing how much skill it takes to make a decent-looking SL skin; the idea that a program could do it given a random snapshot of a face seems implausible to me.
The obvious thing to do would be to take a good face-shot of Boy Dale from SL, and try uploading that and see what Twinity makes of it. But, it occurs to me, if I take a picture of Dale wearing, say, Naughty Designs’ “Gabriel Early Tan”, and upload that to Twinity to try to automatically make a face-skin from, what are the copyright implications? The mind boggles.
I ventured slightly outside of the Welcome Area, and there was a place with a fountain and some benches and stuff. I was unable to actually sit on the benches; all I could figure out how to do with them was find out that they are called “benches”, and report them for abuse. Fortunately they weren’t abusing me, so I didn’t have to do that. I would have liked to sit down, though.
There was some amazing lag; at one point even with only like four people around (me, two other newbies asking how to change a shirt, and the nice support person), turning around got suddenly very jerky, and interacting with the appearance menus and things got very slow (not that it was ever fast). The support person said “Yes, we’re always working on the lag”. Don’t know what their underlying server sharding model is; ought to find out.
So that’s my unfair and clueless story of Twinity. I ought to go back and try uploading a photo for my face, or explore further outside the weclome center, find a dance club, maybe have my own “apartment”. But at the moment I don’t see it being a high priority; not seeing great advantages over SL here so far…