Sunday, February 6, 2011

First Take on Blue Mars Mobile Including Over-Hyped Video Trailer

Blue Mars developer Avatar Reality announced a restructuring last month that is shifting focus to a mobile version of their platform. They released an initial free version for the iPhone and iPad last week, which:
. . . allows users to view and rate avatars and fashions from Blue Mars, which populates the results on the "Top-Rated". They can also use the "Recents" option to track avatar updates and see the latest fashions. From Blue Mars blog
I decided to give it a try. The initial version is very limited, but feels really responsive. Downloading an avatar takes only about ten seconds. Once it's there you can pan, rotate and zoom with standard iOS gestures. You can view a list of avatars by either popularity or recency, and also search for them by name. Unfortunately, at this time you can only create or modify an avatar using their PC client. Which is a big problem.

One issue is that it only runs on a Windows. Although the client supposedly can run under Parallels or Boot Camp on a Mac, I couldn't get it running despite three hours of trying. Didn't find any useful help in their forums. So I dug up a mid-level Windows notebook and finally got it working after downloading a huge file and installing the most recent version.

Even after logging on successfully, it was way more frustrating than fun. The response was very sluggish and it took over an hour to find a shop with decent clothing for sale. Along the way I downloaded three additional 300+ megabyte locations. Nope. Not fun at all.

Needless to say, few iPhone or iPad users are going to be willing to go through hours of downloads and searching just to create a marginally customized avatar just for viewing. But despite the initial kludginess, I'm still optimistic that when they bring avatar customization into the mobile app, the experience will be much better and it will eventually evolve into a fun 3D avatar chat application:
Future updates will include such enhancements as avatar customization, interaction with other social networking platforms, the ability to chat with other Blue Mars users, and integrated shopping of clothing and other items via Apple's in-App purchase feature. From Blue Mars blog
For now, here's a totally over-hyped trailer I put together showing both the iPad and iPhone versions.

6 comments:

Lalo Telling said...

As I have neither iThing, nor any desire to add Blue Mars to my Transworld itinerary, I won't comment on either the app or the VW...

...but, you obviously had a lot of fun making that video :)

Botgirl Questi said...

Thanks for noticing! This one was all about the fun. Needed to reward myself for the hours of frustration with the PC client.

sororNishi said...

Yes, interesting, but I am a Mac user, so once again I'll be left out. Not that that worries me.

I'm still unsure how much this is gonna get used, but then I have lived with real avatars for so long...:))

It leaves me thinking "what on earth is the point?"...

michelehyacinth said...

Laughing, I love the video! Great fun! With that soundtrack, it has a very "Questi...Botgirl Questi" quality to it.

Estelle Parnall said...

Love the video!

Botgirl Questi said...

soror: I'm guessing one of the next things they'll add is a way to register and modify their avatars right from the app. Shopping via the app is likely the initial revenue model.

michele: shaken, not stirred!

estelle: thanks! I think I was wearing your top and skirt. :)