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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, more specifically, since I might recognise some of the places. Other current cities available include: Berlin, Miami, Singapore, New York.
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!
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.
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.
Well, I have to show off somewhere.