So, Twinity

A Second Life resident I follow posted about this virtual world named Twinity a couple of days ago, so being the unemployed online-game / bandwagon / occasional virtual-world junkie I am, I jumped right on it.

Note: Quite a few resized or cropped screenshots after the cut. And as Second Life is the other virtual world I’ve actually spent enough time in, I’ll be making many comparisons throughout.

Right, so, signup. Twinity is meant to be a true-to-scale virtual replica of the real world, so not surprisingly, you can link your Facebook account to it. I initially signed up with my usual online name, but once I discovered that we can change our name any time by editing our profile on the website, I switched back to my common virtual world name (Naomi Skosh). So far, so good.

Twinity login screen showing a spacious living room, with the words "A Free Starter Apartment is awaiting you" on it.
Twinity login screen showing a spacious living room, with the words 'A Free Starter Apartment is awaiting you' on it. There *is* a starter apartment waiting for you once you complete enough steps in the welcome tutorial, but it looks nothing like the image. Nothing.

Character customisation is as expected with sliders, and there is a tool for you to try to create your real-life face from photos. I tried it with one of my Second Life avatar’s snapshots… let’s just say I decided to use the default slider tools in the end. You’ll probably have better luck with a real photo.

Create Face from Photo Tool
Create Face from Photo Tool

But, additional character problem: Other than that sex is binary in this world as with most virtual and game worlds, I noticed that there’s no way to change your sex once you’ve chosen one when you sign up. I guess I’m spoilt by Second Life.

By the way, if you created a female character and her head-tilt and creepy smile keep getting in the way of face customisation, it’s her animation. Changing it from “confident” to anything else will stop it.

Animations
Animations panel showing available dance moves, emotions, flirt & tease and so on

Speaking of animations, you are only allowed to choose from one mood at a time. So like, you can’t stand happy, walk confident and afk flirty. I find the confident stand annoying (head tilt, creepy smile), the happy walk cheesy (skipping, seriously?), the flirty walk too unnatural, and I’d rather not be blue or drunken.

Outfit options are also limited: jackets and tops share the same layer, dresses take up both the top and bottom layers, and so on; meaning that you can’t, for example, wear a jacket over a dress.

I also can’t touch any of the clothes marked for male. This is even so for supposedly unisex items in the real world, such as vehicles. Fucking vehicles. I hope I’m not the only person who thinks this is annoying and highly problematic.

Inventory
Inventory showing items marked with a 'not for female' symbol on it.

Self-expressions, why you no give me more?

On to a more positive note, I do like the Achievements system of Twinity. The Twinity currency is the Global, and you can earn a few by completing the tutorial and other available achievements, such as by exploring the world on foot, attending events, making friends and so on. This is a great idea — if you’ve been on Second Life, you’ll notice that the number one question from newbies is “How do I make money in this game[sic]?”. But this is also not a good idea — Globals will be worth very little real-life money; it’ll never be like the Linden currency in Second Life.

Achievements
Achievements

And they hand out a small Berlin starter apartment clone to you after you complete the welcome tutorial regardless of your account status! Speaking of which, premium and merchant accounts are still free at the moment.

But, well, the world is still in public beta. Things will change.

Oh wow, how did I completely forget to write about the controls and camera even though that’s probably one of the first things you come across? Well, the Twinity camera? One word: terrible. You can do the normal pan around, zoom-in zoom-out thing with your mouse, and you can hold the alt key and click on a person and certain items to focus on them. But that’s pretty much all there is (that I’ve discovered).

Moving the character is done by using the arrow keys by default, but you can change that to my much more preferred WASD in the settings.

Placing objects in-world is similar to what you do in Second Life, except because the camera is so limited, it’s not as easy and fun.

Placing Objects in Twinity
Placing Objects in Twinity

Despite not being overly impressed at this stage, I dragged my Second Life meal ticket SL-equivalent It’s Complicated friend with benefits significant other on to Twinity when he came online. And once he’s relatively happy with his look (there weren’t many choices for men, according to him), we went out to explore.

London in Twinity
London in Twinity

London, more specifically, since I might recognise some of the places. Other current cities available include: Berlin, Miami, Singapore, New York.

Picnic in London, Twinity
Picnic in London, Twinity

What I found interesting is that real estate in Twinity is based on real-life streets. If you click on a building you see on the street, you can check whether they’re renting apartments out (for real-life money).

All apartments and shops I’ve come across so far are in instances. It’s super for privacy, but not so super for shops, at least in my opinion.

But yes, unlike Second Life, mirrors in this world actually reflect! As they should!

An Actual Working Mirror!
An Actual Working Mirror!

Miscellaneous bits and pieces: I found the Event system slightly confusing at first because I thought it’s based on Twinity time, but turns out there may not be a global time, only your local time. I think. I’m still not completely sure.

“Twings”, I believe, are like Facebook’s poking and MSN/Windows Live’s nudge. I twinged my friend. He twinged me back. And I twinged him again. Yeah.

This sounds totally dirty.

TL; DR Twinity itself:

  • The Achievements system makes this virtual world feel like a game, which is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. (In fact, the message says “connecting to game server” when you connect to Twinity.)
  • Twinity is a true-to-scale replica (or so they claimed) of the real world, so there are real-life streets and buildings, day/night cycle is 24 hours and avatars are human (adult).
  • You get a small starter apartment after you complete the welcome tutorial.
  • You can easily change your name by editing your profile.
  • Sex is binary. Male or female. No switching.
  • Non-unisex items, including some vehicles and animations, can only be used by one sex and that one sex only. No exceptions.
  • Camera needs improvement.
  • Avatars in semi-populated places take forever to load for me, and I’m on a decent connection and gaming computer. But yeah, I’m connecting all the way from Australia.
  • I found at least one official casino. Gambling is apparently allowed here.
Official Casino
Visiting the/an official casino in my latest look

TL; DR Twinity vs Second Life:

  • Twinity is not Second Life.
  • Twinity will not replace Second Life.
  • I don’t think Twinity is trying to replace Second Life, but what do I know?

I won’t be logging in to this world a lot, but when I do, I will most likely be playing the official Quiz Game (English) and earning Globals.

Quiz Game (English)
Quiz Game (English)

Well, I have to show off somewhere.

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14 Comments

  1. Gender. Restricted. Vehicles.

    Oh. My. Gods. D:

    Seriously, though. I thought the whole point of online worlds was to be, like, not the real world. I mean, if I wanted to be restricted as per my IRL constraints I’d just, like, go outside. 6O_o

    1. Hmm, upon closer inspection, most vehicles do offer both male and female versions in all colours. I still don’t get it, though. Why the distinction? Is it the animation? Is it the presumed height difference? Just why?

      Twinity is kinda based on real life (or “powered by real life” as in their tagline), but there isn’t even really anything restricting me from doing the musician animations or having a mohawk in real life!

    1. I suppose the screenshots do look a little like The Sims 3’s. I didn’t make the connection then because the controls are very different.

  2. yeah it does sound more like the sims, though I’ve always been skeptical about real worlds and diaspora lol.

    Interesting how it actually takes real world locals

  3. I’ve never played an MMO (I had that trial on WoW though I wouldn’t exactly call that playing), but Twinity seems to mimic real life so well. To a point where it’s almost creepy. :x

  4. Couple of things… Twinity in my opinion is way better than SL.

    Granted I only played SL when it first came out and was in beta, but I had many gripes with it.

    I was used to playing There though, which to me felt much easier to control. SL felt slow and dull. Who knows maybe they improved it.

    “Dee

    26 Jan 2011
    12:36 am

    Reply

    Gender. Restricted. Vehicles.

    Oh. My. Gods. D:

    Seriously, though. I thought the whole point of online worlds was to be, like, not the real world. I mean, if I wanted to be restricted as per my IRL constraints I’d just, like, go outside. 6O_o”

    As for this comment. It is completely inaccurate. Twinity is nothing like real life. You can create very

    1. Hi Matt, I’m not sure if you’ll even come back, but I had to rescue your comment from my spam queue, which I almost emptied without checking. For future reference, it’s probably best not to use “asjkdhashj.com” and “na@na.com” as your info as that’s typical spam behaviour. Leave them blank (they’re actually optional on my site), or if you visit sites that require an email, you could create an email you don’t check. Or, you know, just use your own email as spam filters are pretty good nowadays.

      Quoting people can also be done by putting quotes between the <blockquote> and </blockquote> tags for blogs that allow HTML (mine allows these). Or you could hit the reply button on that comment and reply to that person directly. Copy and pasting someone else’s comment is another typical spam behaviour.

      Now that we got that out of the way, I would love to hear your full comment! I hope you check back (and please leave the email and URL fields blank this time :) )!

  5. Sorry Vickie,but it looks like if u staid only 15 minutes in Twinity.U spoke bout a small starter,if u stay longer there u knows that u can create from ur small starter u got the big one in the Welcome screen.Also u talk bout furnish settings which is not fun.I attend SL like u Twinity and I have to say something bout that too.I stay in Sl and noone there,the Avi is hard to move (wow…I turned around the whole time) and after 15 minutes I meet the first guy who ask me for XXX (OMG,Iam a man too).U know what I mean?If u attend a world give here a chance and try to play/live it.U cant go in and say…all is nothing here, before u dont tried all u can do there.Ahhhh….the free starter…I got a apart in SL too,but it was gone after relog and than I have to buy one with real money!HUH?SL takes real money for propertys and accounts too like Twinity?Hey guys,dont forget,Virtual worlds are not funparks…someone will earn money with them.Greetings Swen

    1. Actually, I stayed in Twinity for about 3-4 days, at least 24 hours in total real time; but I had no idea you can turn your small starter into that gorgeous one in the welcome screen! I’m willing to get back on Twinity just to do that! Now I’ll need to google…

      As for the controls and camera, I’ve been a gamer of many games for many years now and rarely complained about them. Twinity really needs to at least fix how the camera works when you turn left and right. We shouldn’t have to use a mouse and a keyboard at the same time all the time just to move around.

      But I agree with how you feel about Second Life; Twinity certainly takes care of their newbies significantly better than SL. SL is also a hypersexualised world, which you’ve apparently experienced only after 15 minutes of it; which, of course, also makes the decision of Linden Lab to merge the teen grid with the main grid a very dangerous idea… Too late.

      SL doesn’t offer any free starter apartments, though? Everything other than the library or freebie clothes and items other generous residents offer cost real-life money. And that’s okay with me (I didn’t complain in the post); I have a meal ticket I don’t expect entertainment to come to me for free.

  6. this game is horrible for beta youd think after 4 years theyd at least upgrade to alpha the twinity crew is nothing but a joke and they are garbage at what they do they honestly dont deserve any form of money and its sad that they are making money from this game and not doin a damn thing to improve it

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