Merry Gynoid and I have a standing Wednesday appointment to explore other grids. I am then supposed to blog about our trips. Being terribly busy with procrastination, I never do.
Recently he sent me three separate tweets. “When are you gonna blog about Blue Mars, when are you gonna blog about InWorldz, when are you gonna blog about…” etc. My answer: never! How about never Merry, is that too soon for you? Never works for me.
Ok. Sigh. TWINITY. I have a problem with the name. It sounds not serious, like a cross between Tween and Twinky. And the web site is all colorful and happy. I have a problem with that. And, it only works on Windows. Serious problem, as I only work on a Mac.
But, Merry insisted that I meet him in Twinity. So I went to the downstairs computer, and I downloaded, and I installed and I opened, and I registered and promptly misspelled my user name. The same unpronouncable user name I have been stuck with for two years in Second Life, further borked by the fact that I am driving they keyboard on a Ford instead of my usual Fararri. I looked all around to see how I could correct this, to no avail. Contacting customer support, always a last resort, was inevitable. I sent the e-mail to customer support. Nothing happened. So I went to bed.
The next day… an e-mail from Twinity customer support with friendly, concise instructions on how to access my profile and correct my mistake. Wow!
Everything set up, Merry and I jumped into Twinity.
My avatar is relentlessly cheerful. She smiles all the time.
My avie came with a few complete outfits in inventory. The inventory is accessed easily by right clicking on the avie. Each item in inventory is shown on a large button, similar to those big-button cell phones you buy your grandparents. I could recognize all my inventory items without my bi-focals!
In the welcome area were more clothes you could take. That’s where I got the cute khaki jumpsuit I’m wearing. I’m all ready for my job at the car wash.
The first person I met was Glenn. Glenn was very friendly, but sad because he didn’t have a girlfriend. Awwww. Poor Glenn.
As I walked around, I was sent IM’s from Twinity with tasks for me to practice. Walk forward, walk backward, turn around. Cha-ching! I was rewarded with Globals, the local currency. I have to say, this is one of the most clever orientations I have every experienced. And, as you progress in Twinity, you are given rewards for accomplishing other goals: making 5 friends for example, or walking a kilometer in the Singapore sim. They are kind of like earning Girl Scout Merit Badges. By the time Merry arrived and we left the orientation area, my bank account was heavy with Globals and other loot earned by merely bumbling around and pressing various keys.
One of the rewards I earned was an apartment. Apparently, everyone in Twinity has an apartment. Off to my apartment!
My apartment was in Berlin, and had no furniture. I was delighted to look through my inventory and see all sorts of furniture! But no, the furniture was not really in my inventory, it was in a sort of marketplace adjacent to my inventory, ready for me to buy. This is one way of buying things in Twinity, through the “Store” tab on your inventory. I bought a Chesterfield sofa, and dragged it into the apartment. We sat down. Here we are having fun in my apartment:
Soon we were joined by Monica. Who is Monica, and where did she come from? We don’t know. She just showed up in my apartment and sat down.
Soon we’d had enough fun in the apartment, so it was off to a club.
We had received several messages with invites to a certain club, so we decided to check it out. Here we are sitting in the club, having fun. The most amazing thing about the club? The mirror in the background.
Then, something strange happened. Wandering around the club, we stumbled into a bedroom. There was a bed and I decided to see what would happen if I tried to lay down on it. Then….CENSORED! OMG! And then Merry said “OMG!”And I said “OMG make it stop!” But I couldn’t make the animation stop. Then other people came in and started “participating” in the animation. Frantically stabbing at menu choices and keyboard combinations, I finally got the animation to stop. Merry and I ran out of the bedroom to the outside area of the club, where there was dancing. We had apparently just made quiet a few new friends, because they all followed us. Merry pointed out that the lower age limit for Twinity is 13*. OMG again!
(* EDITED TO ADD – The fine folks at Twinity have clarified that “you have to be of legal age in your country of residence to become a Twinity member.” This is clearly stated in their terms of service. However, I did not have to submit any verification of my legal age to download the client, access any of the locations within Twinity, or participate in any of the activities I participated in. For the record, I am of legal age in the United States. However others may not be and you have no way of knowing this. Be aware.)
Unlike in Second Life, this dance floor had no dance balls or dance machines. Everyone did their own dance, accessed from their own animation menu. It was easy to find, and easy to use. Merry thrashed around, while I suavely did the dance from Saturday Night Fever.
Soon I realized we had been in-world for at least a half an hour, and I hadn’t done any shopping! We headed off to find something to buy. It proved quite easy to find a store with some very nice women’s clothing. As all the clothing is mesh, and it is rigged to the mesh of the avatar, it all fits perfectly and moves quite nicely with the avie. And, you can demo the clothes, trying them on only in your viewer so that only you can see them. I took off all my old clothes to put on a new shirt, and had a moment of panic realizing that I would be nekkid from the waist down! Twinity took care of the problem, making sure I automatically wore a pair of pants from my inventory. Thanks Twinity!
Merry was disappointed because, as usual, we couldn’t find any clothes for men.
Whatever. I donned my new clothing and off we went to find something that Merry could buy.
Now, all of this sounds like it is happening quite smoothly, but the truth is that I was crashing constantly. Every time we tried to teleport to a new region, I would crash. Consequently, Merry had twice the adventures that I had (really interesting ones, too) and when I came back from my latest crash, Merry had found vehicles.
They were very highly-detailed vehicles, and Merry patiently explained that the blue car was his favorite car in all the world, some sort of German something racing car with a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………
After much thought and debate, he bought a motorcycle. I though it was a Moto Guzzi, but no, he said, it was actually a German thing called a (yawn) German kind of bike zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….
Because I had spent all my Globals on clothes, he bought me a non-Moto Guzzi too. A red one 🙂
Then we went to Miami.
Now in Second Life if you want a friend to join you in your location, you invite them to teleport to where you are. In Twinity, this is reversed. People can search for you and teleport to your location. Uninvited. This can’t be right, but there it is. When we got to Miami, somehow some of the people who had been in our X-rated adventure at the club found us, joined us, and wanted to hang around with us. So we jumped on our Moto Guzzis and raced away.
After a short time spend racing up and down the streets of South Beach, it was time for us to depart from Twinity. In about two hours we had arrived as newbies, furnished an apartment, explored clubs, made friends, had group sex, danced, shopped, and raced finely tuned German machines through Miami. Amazing good fun.
Unlike SecondLife, Twinity seperates interior spaces from exterior. London, Berlin and the other cities are very good copies of thier respective real world counterparts which you can wander around but if you want to enter a building, you will not walk through a door but ‘teleport’ to an interior space.
To a Secondlifer or anyone using OpenSim this is a bit of a jolt, we are so used to wandering in to a club or house, that the sudden ‘building’ bar is a shock. At first I thought this was a shortcoming but now I realise that it keeps thing smoother for the user; let me explain.
A sim – think of it as an island – in secondlife can, in theory, hold one hundred avatars but as we know, more than twenty or thirty and you suffer what is called ‘lag’, a slowing down and time delay which makes the virtual world experience become ‘meh’. So if you have a successful club with thirty avatars using scripts and lots of flexi-hair, the whole sim suffers even for those avatars not dancing.
Not so with Twinity, because the interior spaces are seperate, the exteriors and other interiors are not affected so the user experiences little or no lag. Neat.
The website, http://www.twinity.com, has a very well written set of tutorials which are worth reading, especially the section on content creation – making your own stuff – which is biased towards 3dMax, though other free 3d packages can be used to provide the Collada file that Twinity imports. You can also import textures and set interesting ‘modes’ for objects such as a light source, a radio (internet stream), a chair, a web browser or mirror.
Experts will want to try animations and animated objects and objects that animate the avatar in the same way pose and dancing balls do in SecondLife.
Overall I liked Twinity and enjoyed the more than one evening I have spent in there with a tiny reservation. In SecondLife and OpenSim, you can alter your avatar to look as you want and even buy your look from a store. In Twinity this doesn’t seem to be the case and though you can alter the look, it isn’t by much and everytime I try the avatar comes out more ugly that the default one you start with. Maybe I just need lessons….
One more thing and something that came up in DiJodi’s blog; the Twinity company are great. If there is one thing single thing that should draw you in, it should be the passion the company has for the product and the customer focussed way they run thier business.