In a galaxy far away…

Avatar Reality published their Blue Mars pricing plans yesterday afternoon. As a promotion, they’re offering a 30-day free trial, and their plans are based upon user seats as opposed to land mass and prim limits, and break out as follows:

  Outpost Village City Metropolis

Concurrent users 5 50 250 1,500
Land area Any Any Any Any
Setup fee US$100 US$750 US$2,000 US$7,500
Monthly fee US$30 US$275 US$1,000 US$5,000
Support Forums Forums/Email Forums/Email Forums/Email

All things considered, the pricing seems reasonable, though, I think it "would be nice" to have a farm, in between their outpost and village. Or maybe even a town. Then again, I suspect people would become confused with the term town, since, to some, village is synonymous with town. Either way, I am going the outpost route for now, and my place won’t be up for, well, quite awhile. Simply because I already have way too many irons in the fire. The least of which involves consulting on a real life serial killer case and finishing up the Anthony build. The latter, which has been briefly back burnered.

But, back to Blue Mars!

I signed up for and was accepted into the developers program last spring. I signed their NDA, downloaded the software, etcetera. Unfortunately, real life got in the way, so I did not really have time to play with it, and by the time they launched their beta last summer, my client was forever stuck in the "loading" mode. So, I pretty much shelved that particular project.

When Dusan Writer recently mentioned that they’re now supporting flash, I thought, I really should revisit that bit. So I launched the client once more, and was again stuck in "loading." Although their user forums are still pretty light, their users have provided some decent nuggets of information. So, after a bit of searching, I found a comment that you need to completely uninstall the old client using the Windows uninstaller (as opposed to their uninstaller), delete the Blue Mars directory, and install the updated client. Which I did, and voila! I was in!

While I still need to better acquaint myself with the interfaces overall, I find their setup to be quite interesting. The challenge for new users will be entry and is primarily due to system requirements. If you can over come that however, Blue Mars has a lot of promise. Then again, I am definitely biased. I have been following the development of virtual worlds for years, so I am sorta like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to "shiny new worlds."

In other words, it goes without saying, I love it! I love that I can locally sandbox my build and that I can use tools that I have already been using to sandbox. I still suck on CAD though. Shoot, even when I was doing the Engineering thing, I sucked at CAD. Which is why I got to be known as "Ms Automation." I wrote proggies to automate CAD processes because, well. I’m sorta lazy that way. Well, that, and the fact that I love those sorts of challenges. As for manually drawing stuff? Not so much. Though, I do have sketchup pro and have finally begun perusing their tutorials.

Hey, maybe a couple of years from now, I’ll be where Desmond Shang is today! Speaking of, I visited Desmond’s Caledonia, and had the opportunity to briefly chat with him, as he was in-world during one of my visits. What he has accomplished is quite amazing. I think he will be quite successful once things get rolling. If you have the equipment, do pay his places (yes, he has two) a visit.

As for comparing Second Life and Blue Mars? In a sense, apples and oranges. Why? Because the overall setup is very different. For example, unlike second life, where builds are mapped onto one huge grid, Blue Mars builds are separate entities which are not spatially related. In other words, this platform provides a means to develop compelling landscapes and builds that are not hindered by limited land mass and primage, and since the result is not spatially related to other builds, you essentially have "different and unique worlds.

Either way, at this point, I do not see Blue Mars as necessarily being a competitor to Second Life. Simply because they are very different models. In fact, all the way down to their ToS. In a sense, Blue Mars is a virtual world service provider who provides tools for uploading and serving the world that you’ve created. Whereas SL is a content service provider who provides tools for creating content in their world.

That being said, it’s back to the drawing board, so I can bring you an outpost in a galaxy far away….

2 Comments

  1. CommentsAngela Talamasca   |  Sunday, 20 December 2009 at 01:41

    New blog post: In a galaxy far away… http://bit.ly/4RLA6D aka Digital DNA outpost (eventually) coming to Blue Mars

  2. CommentsVirtuality Hacks   |  Monday, 04 January 2010 at 23:04

    […] of Blue Mars. As I stated earlier. Blue Mars is not now, nor ever will be, second life. Again, its a completely different animal […]

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