Hugsies Blog!

November 20, 2011

November 8, 2011

What There.com needs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Hugsie @ 6:37 pm

With the impending opening of There.com, there are some things I just want to address:

Get rid of the zone chat in Phoenix Park (aka CosmoGirl, aka Tiki Cove park for you OGs). This place isn’t a funzone, ppl use it to spam voice, no one chats in it, and I really don’t give a shit when ppl come and go from Phoenix Park. It keeps making my there-icon blink in my task bar and it’s just FUCKING IRRITATING. Please REMOVE IT.

Deleted quest kits are still present in my inventroy, but are hidden. This was an issue from about 4-5 years ago. These were skill items that I never wanted. I couldn’t delete them so I had to request them t be deleted, and all they managed to do is just “hide” them. But I can still see them load up during login (espcially if it’s a bit lagged).

Drop reliance of Internet Explorer. It’s common sense to NOT use internet exploder.

Use re-sizeable screens!  I really don’t like how I’m forced to use fixed-resolutions while in windowed mode.  Almost all games (including second life) let you re-size the screen to anything you like.

Drop fixed camrea posistions.  I want to be able look around.. not be forced to what there.com thinks i should be looking at.

Use passive IMs. Instead of having to “call/page” someone to answer an instant message, the message is just sent. In There.com you have stop what you’re doing and answer the IM. Plus you’re limited to about 4 IMs. Where as in SL, IMs can be freely sent, even to offline users who will see them when they login (usually).

Consolidate the inventory. My BIGGEST gripe of all is how much the inventory, and the UI in general is one big clusterfuck. There are like 2-3 diffrent ways to deal with friends lists, inventory, and decorations. Oh and if you want to organize them you have use yet a DIFFERENT applet to do so.  Why not have it all in once place, and not have to fuck with a half dozen menu popups.  I suggest deleting everything and expanding on Organizer to deal with all your invntroy. buddy’s list, droppables, clothes, etc.  Yes even getting rid of changeme and it should only appear at the spa.

Speaking of spas.. why not just get rid of them anyway and be able to edit our bodies with out having to goto a spa?

August 16, 2011

There.com histaria

Filed under: Gaming! — Tags: , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 5:40 pm

I’m getting really fed up with the rumors, and fear mongering, about what Micheal Wilson will do, and not do when the service will go back up online.  So much BULLSHIT flying around about MW not honoring the lifetime memberships beta users paid for 8 years ago. If all our developer stuff will be available again so we can start selling our stuff, or not because everyone believes MW is an asshole. I’m sick of it.

I think ppl just start this bullshit just so they can talk shit about there.com and Micheal Wilson, and just bitch and moan about things that aren’t even based in reality. MW, and the guys helping him bring the service back online are taking things a step at a time. Everyone wants to draw towards ridiculous conclusions about things so they have an excuse to bitch and moan, and act like assholes themselves about things that haven’t even happened yet. It’s all just rumor and fear mongering.  This is basically the same shit MW was putting up with during the last week there.com was going down.

I’m also tired of the anti-Second Life sentiment I’m seeing with Thereians.  You don’t like it, fine then. Don’t bitch to me about how gross and crappy it is when you probably only played it for 20 mins.  Second Life is STILL way more advanced than there.com will ever be.  The only exception is vehicle physics which is a LOT more fun in there.com than what i’ve seen in SL.

April 21, 2011

3rd Party Currency Resellers took %25 of there.com revenue

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Hugsie @ 6:27 pm

I was reading up on Michael Wilsons’ blog and was reading though a list of There Myths as to why the service closed.

Myth #15: 3rd Party Currency Resellers had no impact on the There economy

Truth Rating: False

In an analysis we did in 2009, we found that 25% of the currency purchases in world came from Third Party Resellers. That means the revenue didn’t go into There’s pockets, it went into someone else’s.

I find this hard to believe.  This is the same logic that the MPAA, RIAA and video game developers claim they lose billions of dollars due to piracy. But pirares do so since they don’t want to pay high prices for something they will probably enjoy temporarily. The Box Office is always breaking new earnings records every year when a new blockbuster movie comes out. but that’s due to increased cost of tickets, NOT because more people are attending movie theaters.  Who wants to spend over $100 for a 120 minute movie, with over priced drinks popcorn and candy?  What happend to the days when I could spend $5 on a movie and enjoy it?  But i digress….

Reselling Therebucks is different than content piracy. The T$s that were resold were once previously paid for which the money went strait to there.com.  With piracy you get a copy of the materal, the original person who posesses it dosen’t lose thier copy of the materal once you downloaded it.  With therebucks, or any virtial monitary unit, you can’t make copies.  Only THERE.COM could make copies out of thin air.

And this was their problem. They had no static pool of T$ that could cirtuclate though the ecnonmy.  When you bought T$ it came from no where. when you paid your rent for your home or funzone, bought time for your PAZ, bought anything in the there-store for there-made items.. all that money just vanishes into nothing.  It’s not collected back into some sort of pool or fund.

If users didn’t sell their extra T$ to other users, only SOME people would have went ahead and bought T$ directly from the service. But if there was no incentive to make your money back with your T$ then people are not going to bother making it in the first place.  this is why the developer program was a joke. Plus there are ways to make T$ with OUT being a developer.

IF there.com repoens it just going to be the same shit all over again.. and probably worse performace.  If anyone is serious about this they really should scrap everything and just start over and LEARN from the mistakes of the past 8 years.  Starting up a service that never made a profit since it started 10 years ago is just going to repeat.

With other online services offer free trials and cheap memberships, i don;t see how anyone would want to bother using there.com if they weren’t already invested into  it.

There.com might be coming back?!

Filed under: Blogroll, Gaming! — Tags: , , — Hugsie @ 12:47 am

Friend of mine told me to check out There’s main home page has a link to a survey that might help Makena determine if there’s enough interest in opening it back up. They will redub it as “There2” which is ironic since they already did a v2.0 release some years ago.

There are some caveats to this. First it will be a subscription based only service. No freebie account, and no trial memberships. Existing members can reclaim their accounts IF they pay for membership first. Fortunately lifetime beta members will STILL be free (phew!!)

Also talked about is how the developer program would be put back into place, but approvals will be MUCH slower, however they talk about a peer based approval system in the future. Also they talked about the service being 18+ only, which is ironic since SL just lowered thier minimum age requirements to 13 since the closing of the Teen Grid due to it sucking too much. This doesn’t mean that There will allow adult content, nudity, etc.  Though it might be possible down the road but not in the short term.

The survery bascially asks what pay level you’d be willing to pay and what type of payment. Monthly,  hourly, or a bundled discount. Considering WoW users pay about $14 a month (or more?) i don’t see why we should pay any more than $10-$15 per month (except they have 10 million users.)  Preferably I’d rather pay about $60 for a whole years membership much like Xbox Live gold membership.

One big problem I see is they aren’t allowing free trial accounts. So how is a new user going to get interested enough to want to pay for it? One thing that Second Life has done is create a web-browser based “guest” login with a dumbed down client that runs very well, but limited functionality.  The avatar is a sort of a disposable account, with a generic user name (234346 guest) that lasts one hour and lets you explore, and chat.

Buying T$ will be avalible but reselling it via users to users will be banned. Which exactly how are they going to track that anyway?  It’s not like Makena can monitor my paypal or bank transactions.  But it does sound like they want to create their own exchange market.  Hopefully something like LindeX where users buy and sell in a market. Unlike how it was originally for there.com where T$ just came from no where, which wasn’t a solid economic system.  Makena even blamed losing a large percentage of profits from 3rd party T$ trading.  Well geez you’d think Baloo would have figured that? It only seems like developers can resell their T$, which is a bad idea since there are other ways to make T$ than just making clothes and buggy paint jobs.

If they make it a TRUE market exchange (like LindeX) and allow all members to use it, and Makena can take a cut in every transaction, with a semi-fixed set pool of T$ to be exchanged, then they might have something they can work with, other than “money from thin air” approach they had used in the past.

At the bottom of the survey says they will make an announcement in 30 days.  30 days from when? I don’t see a date mentioned, and i only heard about it today so… who knows.  You’d think they would have mass-emailed their users about this.  But i guess they are relying on word of mouth.  There.com has been closed for a little over a year, no one will visit the old there.com main page unless they already knew something is going on.

So lets help spread the word people!

Micheal Wilson has been blogging about this survey. With results of over 2000 users responding.

http://theremichaelwilson.wordpress.com/

Friend of mine pointed this out to me though. With little to no customer support, and no updates to the software other than something major (security wise) and very slow developer submission turnover, why would anyone wanna pay for something that will be more half-assed than it already was?

March 2, 2010

Goodbye There.com

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Hugsie @ 12:47 pm

One of the first GOOD MMOs I ever played was there.com.  I got into the beta in early 2003, then less than year later went public (and we all knew it still needed more time in beta). Over the next six+ years it changed names (company), ownerships, executive officers came and went, and all kinds of investment capitol poured into the service. So now seven years+ since the public beta began, they are going bye bye.

This is a sad story but I’m also rather relieved that they are shutting down.  Feels like apart of me is on it’s death bed about to pass away.  It’s like waiting for a sick loved one to finally pass on, because they had been suffering for years with a quality of life that had been complete shit (and yes I have been though that in RL).

Yet I don’t feel bad for them.  While the employees were doing their best with in the limitations they had; the simple fact is that the service it self was half-assed. So many bugs and legacy issues from PRE-BETA still exited in the service.

So that said, I still resent There because of their short comings, short sightedness, stubborness, and ignorance. Mostly for the sipmle fact they NEVER seemed to have learned anything from those SEVEN years that we, as beta testers and other users, warning them about what was wrong with the service.  Forums were a complete joke.  It’s horrible cumbersome clusterfuck of an inventory system. UI so heavily reliant on Flash because of how things were “tacked on” using the Flash API the UI was beyond cumbersome.  It was only compatible with Internet Explorer that it inherently didn’t allow other platforms to use it (mac, linux).  It only recently in the last couple years they made the website, and forums “compatible” with FireFox, but you still needed IE to get into world.

User created content was way too restrictive, and EXPENSIVE.  With no in-world tools to create anything, you had to spend literally 4-10 USD to submit something to be put into game; using you own software that ranged a few hundred dollars (photoshop, etc).  It then had follow strict guidelines that a team of employees would pass judgment on if it was a proper thing to have in There (smells like socialism).  For which they had an obvious double,  triple, if not quadruple standards for what was accepted and what was rejected.  Plus you wouldn’t get a full refund if they chose to reject it.  Even then down the road after it was approved they could yank it from the service at ANY time if someone complained on some superficial thing.

It’s been declining ever since “Black Friday” (May 21st 2004) when they announced they were going to downsize, and reevaluate the service in a few months.  Remote in-game employees got laid off as quickly as they were hired on.  Everyone went into a panic. I even sold away my home thinking they were going to close down in a few months.

They were also really slow at adopting anything new.  It took over FIVE fucking years for them to put in a hugging animation into the game, long after I had already quit being a regular.  It also too them FOREVER to support simple Alpha channels so you could create clothing with out having to pre-render a skin tone on it. For which they would just end up changing the RGB values with out warning when a new client was updated.

Now here we are in the dawn of a new decade (or the end of one, depends on your math), and after seeing so many other virtual worlds (MMOs) close down due to the crappy economy, There.com just can’t make the money anymore.  Users aren’t buying ThereBucks anymore. I don’t think they really ever DID make a profit, since so many investors pulled out (Nike, Levi’s, Cosmopolitan, iVillage, MTV (Virtual Laguna Beach), Coca-cola, even the US Army!) and cut their losses as a tax write off.

But it is survival of the fittest here.  There.com has so many technical flaws and POOR coding and bugs that plagued the service though it’s entire lifetime; not to say no other online service don’t have flaws like this, but for FUCKS SAKE they stuck out like a sore thumb, and they kept ignoring and bury them under more sloppy programming, as if it would just go away.

When the original creators of There.com left (and formed IMVU.com), the people who were left benind had no choice but to keep running the service in patch-work like fashion, since they probably didn’t know, or understand the nuances to the service to keep lean and mean. So we ended up with a clusterfuck; literally!

Year after year playing on There was becoming too restrictive, since too many bratty kids kept pouring into the service that made the adults uncomfortable (well thanks to Virtual  Laguna Beach closing down, letting the tweens loose). So any remotely “mature” material was being rejected.  Granted the service was intended to be PG-13, something that Linden Labs wishes they were from the start, but Second Life wouldn’t have lasted as long as it had if it had (Both SL and There are about the same age, with SL exiting beta 6 months earlier)

I also don’t see a future for Makena’s OLIVE engine that There was running on. At least not in it’s current form that’s really hardly much different from what it was 7 years ago.  They would have to re-write it from scratch, and fix the database issues with user inventory, the cumbersome UI, drop Flash and Internet Exploder, and have in world tools to create content.  Oh wait, someone else did that already LINDEN LABS!

But even Second Life isn’t perfect and they are suffering from too much growth. but it was BY FAR a better product that There.com EVER was.  Better content, better inventory system that isn’t a complete clusterfuck, no restrictions on CREATING content (you can make more than just texture a Tshirt), the virtual money is worth more.  The only good thing there.com had was the physics and vehicles.

There.com made their announcement a week from their close date.  That’s a really short time span.  Yet before this, no one had the sense that things were really going bad for them.  Most business don’t talk about how bad business is, though they do tend to talk about how great things are.  It’s probably good not to let this drag on longer than it needs to be since every day they keep this service online is more bills to pay.  I’m glad I left There.com about four years ago and I don’t regret it.  The friends I made I still keep in contact with either on SL, email, or other forms of chat.  That lifetime membership I paid $40 for after the Beta ended sure didn’t live up to it’s name, unless I die before next Tuesday. In the end, Second Life was just a better system. Not perfect, not by a long shot, but there.com was a mess of a game, even from just a UI standpoint.

So I’m happy to see it go, and clear up bandwidth for something else.

Update: Holey crap, Micheal Wilson (CEO) said in-game he read this blog. :O

May 3, 2009

Runes of Magic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 7:55 am

Do you like games like World of Warcraft, but don’t want to pay a monthly fee? Want to be able to ride your own mount, with out having to play for months mindlessly grinding to level 50 to get one that rides slow anyway? Want to get your own home to keep your stash and decorate too?  So if you want a WoW type experience on the cheap, try Runes of Magic! I’m already addicted to this game, and I never thought I’d get back into a fantasy style RPG ever again. I still feel that fantasy games are over played and unoriginal, but it has about a half-dozen classes you can try out, as well as being able to play dual classes (once you’re at level 10) so there is a lot of replay value. RoM has only been open to the public since last March, and I don’t know how long it was in beta.  The download for the client is 3.4GB, so start your DLs now and go to bed for the night.

I also found this website that lists out more free MMOs everyone can play. It’s a rather long list but they list Second Life with a ranking of 9, which seems to be thier highest ranking, since there isn’t anything listed with a rank of 10.  There.com wasn’t listed at all, I guess it’s not considered a free MMO, yet it’s about as free as Second Life is.

August 5, 2008

Lively by Google sucks!

Filed under: Gaming! — Tags: , , , , , — Hugsie @ 9:59 am

My gawd this is the most confusing environment I’ve ever had the misfortune to use. You’d think coming from the likes a Google that user friendliness would be paramount, and that it would have an intuitive user interface; nuh-uh, nope.

The window you get is EXTREMELY tiny and is NOT resizeable.  You can detach it into a small movable window that’s slightly smaller but it feels very cramped especially when you’re using the interface to edit your avatar’s apperance. The camera is hard to control and thats the biggest issue I have with this.  Sure SL’s camrea controls are hard to learn but once you DO learn it’s amazing and becomes second nature to use, like riding a bike.  This is so counter-intuitive it goes beyond frustrating.

When you first start your instinct is to press your arrow keys around and walk around, and you’ll soon lose your own avatar (assuming you’ve ever seen it in the first place) and gawd knows what the hell you’ll be looking at. But really all you want to do is move your avatar around and explore!  The arrow keys don’t control your avatar, it controls your camera view in a BACKWARDS manor. If you want to look up, you press down, if you want to look at things at your left, you have to press right. It’s designed by a bunch of dyslexics!  Plus you have to press a combination of CTRL, Alt, or SHIFT with the arrow keys to get different camera movements. What were these guys smoking when they developed these retarded controls?

To move your avatar you have to click and drag your avatar as if it was an icon on your desktop.  This is incredibly stupid since once you finally get the camera positioned just as you want it, click and dragging your avatar snaps the camera view back and away into a view that reminds me of playing really bad console games with static camera angles you have no control, like those annoying J-RPGs.  You have zero control of the camera, so when you move your avi far away it reposition it in a predetermined position.  And with the screen so small, and the bad angle you have no fucking idea what direction you’re going. But even when you get the hang of this, you realize there’s very little to explore.

Fortunately the environments you find your self in are extremely small. It’s not like other MMOs where it’s one big world you can (theoretically) walk from one end to the other. On Lively, you have separated themed chartrooms. You’d think Google would be more innovative with this, since this nothing newer than IRC channels, and AOL chartrooms that we have already had for nearly 20 years now.  Common areas like a singles area and high school for kids, an adult dance club that looks like a strip bar but there’s no nudity as far as I can see… as well as TV show themed places like Lost.  There are a LOT of foreign places, mostly Brazil has a big pretense here. You can also create your own room, when I tried to make mine, it crashed firefox.  Though that might be more of a issue with firefox since I’ve noticed it’s been very flaky with me lately.

To further show how bass-ackards this game is, avatar nametags are under avatar’s FEET on the FLOOR. And if you can barely control your camera angles you won’t see anyones names.  Chat text appears in bubbles, akin to there.com but on this they are all over the place with long rubber banding lines pointing to the avatar (usually off screen) who just said that.  At least There.com don’t have cross-crossing chaotic chat bubbles that looks like a bizarre flowchart from MAD magazine.

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