Thursday, 15 October 2009

Blue Mars - first impressions

It took a few adjustments and some upgrades to firmware and software, but last night I managed to spend an hour 'in world' chatting at the 'meet and greet' event. There were several familiar names and friends from Second Life and it was really good to meet Glenn and some of the other staff. At peak time, there were around 40 people present and absolutely no sign of lag from anyone. The fps was pretty good - most people reported around 15 whilst in the crowd and around 35 when looking at the sky (that will mean something to some people!). My main frustration is suddenly having to use Windows on my Mac and all the software that I am used to, not being available. I particularly missed the video capture programme I use to do movies 'in world' and will have to find a Windows compatible alternative.
See some images of last night's event here

So, the next task is to plan out the Blue Mars stage of the Spacexcape Project. First, there is the new building software to conquer though with experience in Second Life and Hexagon, I don't anticipate this being too bad. When the ideas for the project were first thrown into the arena, most of us were keen on the idea of a participatory 'game' that engaged elements of art, science and philosophy and this has been the focal point of the planning for the work in Blue Mars. I am going to expand the website to discuss some of the ideas and to look for new people to join the project or at least to help with it.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Blue Mars for Mac users

The long journey towards Mars ... Blue Mars that is .... is finally glimpsing it on the vast horizon of virtual reality. Estimated time of arrival - two hours. Ok, so Blue Mars is not designed for Mac users even though the majority of designers use Macs and this is a design platform! Fortunately, Apple Mac designed their new OS (Snow Leopard) to help people like me - but you do need an Intel based Apple Mac. So after weeks of upgrades and new software installations, Windows has now been installed on its very own hard drive within my MacPro. Some tips for anyone starting the same journey - read the PDF file on Bootcamp from the Apple support page and follow it line by line!
1. Blue Mars needs far more space than the Bootcamp assistant allocates to the partition, so make it much bigger! Mine is on a 500g hard drive. If you need to make the partition larger then use Wincon - free software that will make an image of the disc that you will need to restore in Bootcamp assistant and then copy it back into the new larger partition.
2. Do not attempt to install Windows before inserting disc but if you do then reboot holding down the left mouse button to open the CD drive (this will be very clear to anyone trying to work out how to open their drive with only a blue screen and no Mac options available!)
3. Try to imagine it is not Windows that you are being forced to use!
Good luck - my next post will be aimed at my first experiences in Blue Mars.