Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Entry Areas

Written 2 April, 2010

New Entry Areas

The Lindens have just announced the creation of a new entry experience for first-time avatars.

This isn't the first time the entry areas have been revamped. Does anyone remember the cityscape with the ubiquitous Segway? I don't think that lasted long.

The most recent iteration of the entry process was to shunt newcomers to various corporate-sponsored infohubs. I don't think that one ever got off the ground.

A few months ago the Lindens suddenly and without warning disbanded the long-established mentor program.

Hmmm... What IS M. Linden up to?

Last night (Thursday night), Sweetie and I took a trip to the publicly-accessible entry areas to check them out.

I have to say, the Lindens might have gotten it right this time.

Someone-- I disremember where I read it-- said the new Help Island looks like an Apple Store, and he or she was right. The new site is all white, and, surprisingly, well laid out.

There are a half-dozen rooms, each posting one simple challenge for the avatar. Room 1, for example (where the new avatar enters Second Life), features a simple diagram telling the newcomer how to move about with the arrow keys. Other rooms teach flying, sitting, and rudimentary camera control. You might remember the parrot from your own entry experience.

The graphics are well done. Whichever way avatars turn, the task at hand will be in front of them.

Note the instructions in the learn-how-to-fly room, above; they direct avatars back to the ground.

The last room directs avatars to Discovery Island, where there are additional things to learn. A world map stretching along the wall gives newcomers an idea just how big Second Life is.

Discover island is less structured; you can wander about, riding floating platforms and talking to other people. Check this postcard; the camera swivels when you sit on a poseball and sets up the shot.

A building on the far end of the pavilion offers a few freebies...

... and displays furniture for the various Linden houses.

All nice and well, right?

But guess what? Nowhere is there ANY mention of building. I didn't realize it until I came across Marianne McCann's comment on the Linden blogs.

More on this in the next post.

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