Sunday, February 7, 2010
Reaction Grid Update: Growing Pains?
Location: Out (usually) and About (sometimes) on Reaction Grid
Where I've recently found improvements in Rezzable's Heritage Key experience, I am still withholding judgment on Reaction Grid (henceforth RG). Using both Hippo Technologies' as well as Imprudence's Mac clients for virtual worlds, I've spent a few hours struggling with tasks that I mastered three years ago in Second Life. Despite clearing my two RG avatars' caches, getting on the fastest connection available to me, and proceeding carefully, the situation has not been promising.
Perhaps the grid is growing faster than patches and support. I am not technical enough to know.
I'd high hopes for this Second Life competitor, based upon my first visits last year, especially to the 1939 World's Fair simulation. Prices are far lower than in SL to own land, and jokay Wollengong maintains a sizable operation in RG. Many educators went to RG to purchase land following her move, in part a way to express anger at Linden Lab's treatment of jokay and her work, in part to avoid having all eggs in one virtual basket. Some talented builders like Ener Hax have moved out of SL completely. Like Rezzable, Hax finds costs lower outside SL. Unlike Rezzable, however, other immigrants do not own our own servers or have a team of coders to tackle a problem.
Perhaps my subpar experiences come from being a Mac user on a grid now run on Microsoft servers--though I'm sure that was the case last year. But that's "how I roll": no Mac client, no visits by me to the grid or attention in my academic work. To its designers' credit, RG does offer a Linux client as well as, of course, one for Windows.
My problems could have come from the number of items and scripts running in the Sandbox region, but the simulator crashed repeatedly with only me present. Other regions worked somewhat better, but tasks were still painful. Setting up a free animation override to have a better walking animation took over an hour with a few relogs--I'd accomplish that in 2 minutes in Second Life.
A simple teleport to the Houston region left Iggy Strangeland--my primary avatar--wearing only a scalp-lock for hair. Then he folded up like an accordion and crashed. Both he and my secondary avatar--Zome Orlan--tried making top hats. Just about the time the hats fit, they made the avatars skin and clothing layers disappear.
I was the invisible man with hair and shoes. When the hat came off the avatar reappeared, though attaching or detaching prim items in RG frequently made me crash.
I eventually gave up on the hat and tried some hair from the inventory. Teleports resulted in random changes of hair to styles I'd worn earlier, or baldness. These glitches point to the world's database not keeping up with my choices. At least my pair of sunglasses worked out. I left a free pair on the nose of a sculpted goat at Sandbox Island. Good luck, builders, I thought. Here are some shades to hide your tears of frustration.
At least uploads are still free, because I'd have been really angry paying for my experiences in RG thus far. I thought of buying some land in RG near my friends Olivia an Viv and setting up a version of Richmond's House of Usher simulation. Now I'm going to explore more before putting down a credit card. If stability does not improve, I'm going to pass on investing.
And this week, the Virtual Worlds Roundtable makes a grid-visit to RG. That should prove interesting. I'll post a report here. (Update for Feb. 8: the VWER visit has been postponed for at least a week).
Now for a slideshow of my misadventures in RG. Let me know if you have better luck over there.