Sunday, June 8, 2008

Simple Review of Smallworlds - New Virtual World

With all the rage about interactive social virtual worlds, there are a number of such developments around the (actual) world. One relatively recent development is the SmallWorlds by Outsmart based in New Zealand.

Small Worlds is flash based and that is a big advantage for players since it eliminates the need to download a few hundred megabytes of client files. Moreover, with a flash based platform, a player can enter the world using any other computer and not be restricted to the computer with the client software.

So yes I joined Small Worlds (currently still in beta stage) and it is fun! Firstly, the tutorial or beginning 'missions' are relatively easy, and that smooth out the learning curve drastically compared to say, 2nd Life. A player can have his own pets, and house right from the start with options to re-decor the wall and floor tiles. Game mechanics is easy, including the basic navigation and inventory management. One could also customise the avatar features and dressing with multiple options.

The interesting part of the Small Worlds is that it allows for interaction with other Web 2.0 applications, e.g. a player could get a 'photoframe' to hang on his wall that displays his 'flickr' photos. Players could also link to music applications in the Small Worlds that allow for playing of their song tracks in common area like the Small World Cue Room. I understand that there is also the TV gadget that could be used to link to Youtube, which allows for multiple people to watch 'TV' Youtube together, as well as message board linked to Twitter. So I went in, and played some pool games with a UK player. The games applications like Pool, Checkers, Chess...etc are already available in the common rooms.

The game makes it easy to learn how to interact with these applications by creating quest 'missions that requires players to interact with each other via the games. After playing the pool game with another another player, I 'completed' the mission, which grants tokens that I can use, for example to buy furniture. Other than tokens there are 'gold coins' options which I guess will be bought using real life currency.

There are a number of other 'missions' available, including 'shopping' quests that introduce the basic concepts of items purchase and manipulation.

Below is a pic of the Mary's Antique shop where a player could do some shopping. I bought some chairs, table, candles and a vase of flowers. Guess my house still looks quite empty for now. I want the TV and message board, so ok it's time to complete more quests / missions in Small Worlds.

Related post
- Smallworlds application in Facebook
- Update about Smallworlds

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