Cloud Party has been around for some time already and I decided to have a second look on it. Nowadays it’s possible to access it without a Facebook account, that makes it more desirable for many. Because I like virtual sailing, I was curious to see, if that would be possible in Cloud Party too.
So, I opened Cloud Party with a guest account and then tried to create a new account with my email address, but something got wrong. I was told, my email address is already registered. But what’s the password? Since I couldn’t find any “Forgot Password” link, I sent their support an email. The support responded next day and reseted my password. They also told, that Forgot Password link will be added soon.I had a look around as a noob. There weren’t many people around. I met three Russians, but we didn’t have a common language. Bit later I met a newbie Latvian girl, who wanted to start a relationship with me and get married! Oh well, I thought, I was having a break from SL…
My first impression was, that the world is so clean and organized. In Cloud Party there is no such thing as mainland, that probably affects to that. All the “islands” float in a space. You can teleport between them using the navigation tools or just by clicking one of them floating in the sky in front of you.All the controls are represented as mobile phone apps, that can be accessed by clicking on mobile phone symbol in the top right corner of the screen. That must be very intuitive for our current smart phone generation… :)
Soon I started to look for water. How can it be found in a world, which consists of huge rocks floating in the air only? In Second Life every sim is surrounded by ocean, which connects all the islands together. But how are things arranged in Cloud Party, where universe is structured differently? I managed to find a club, which is surrounded by sea. There must be an option, which allows the islands to have water around them. Still, I would say, that Cloud Party water needs to improve, to meet the quality, people have got used in Second Life.
My next attempt was to find a driveable vehicle, even a sailboat, but couldn’t find any. Will Cloud Party offer an ocean for sailors in the future? Having a big rock with a tiny pond in center of it wouldn’t make many happy. The surrounding sea around the club island was probably more like a decoration. There is a planned feature called Meta-World Map coming. It promises to allow island owners to relocate their islands in the grid. You can imagine, that by placing several islands at some altitude and surrounding them with water, your might be able to offer a sailing experience. Let’s see, if the new feature will bring any solution to the problem.
Content creation is possible, but it’s all about mesh imports. This allows building high-quality items, but turns away many beginner content creators. Learning creating good-looking meshes on tools like Blender, is a long and tedious job. Cloud Party has its own marketplace already, but has only few items. I believe, that the situation will improve.An interesting innovation in Cloud Party economy are Royalties. If you sell an asset (mesh, texture, etc.) with Resell permissions, you can set a royalty, which is paid to you on each resells. I consider this much better than the Full perm practice in Second Life.
There are many features, which are planned to be added to Cloud Party martketplace, such as ratings and reviews, gift purchaces, limited run sales, direct transfers (user to user), customizable store pages for brands, asset upgrades, etc. Many of them are can be found in Second Life marketplace already.
Here are some of my feelings about Cloud Party in nutshell:
- The concept of universe consisting of floating islands is fascinating
- The royalty system
- Limited camera controls improve privacy
- Mobile phone like controls are a great idea
- Browser-based client
- Small floating islands don’t look like an ideal environment for vehicles, especially sailboats….
- It’s not easy to meet people and there is no list of events
- Photography tools are limited, especially because your avatar is in the center of screen all the time
- Avatar movement is quite inaccurate, because he moves and turns so fast. This adds a toy-like feel, that is not so good.
- Graphics quality is quite basic compared to Second Life
It should be remembered, that Cloud Party is a young place still and under constant development. It will take time, before it can reach the level of Second Life, but at least the beginning looks promising. Even if Cloud Party was a disappointment from sailor’s view point, the visit there was eye-opening and worth it.