Zindra unveiled

Kama’s Civic Centre, probably inspired by a ferry terminus

June 15th marked the arrival of two new features in SL: the 1.23 “Adult enabled” Viewer and the new “Adult” continent, Zindra.

Both were announced within an hour of one another, the first by Dessie Linden and the second by Jack Linden.

Despite the trumpeting, both left people decidedly underwhelmed. The viewer in particular is stunningly unusable & inherently unstable. If you’ve not swapped to it yet – DON’T. Even bugs Dessie lists as “fixed” turned up for many of those who downloaded and installed the Viewer. Equally as bad are the pointless changes to frequently-used pie menu options and the arbitrary removal of camera functions used by the likes of Machinema creators.

Prim glow, prim glow, everywhere prim glow

As to Zindra…well, while it may not (yet) be a ghetto environment, it is hardly something to leap for joy over. Here, in summary are my reactions:

  • Buildings in Kama City are so-so in terms of build quality and are blandly unimaginative in form. Many appear derivative of builds found on private islands; and why offices in what is supposedly a retail environment?
  • Prim glow in the city is totally over-the-top and completely lag-inducing
  • Roads (particularly in the city areas) straddle the sim boundaries around the city rendering them almost completely unusable when there is more than a dozen avatars on-sim
  • The countryside is boring and shows little imagination terraforming-wise. It is all largely uniform an uninspiring
  • Despite statements from LL that the continent covers some 256 regions, the number is actually 154, of which 45 are protected waterfront, and numerous others are 50% protected land – things could get very cramped, very quickly…
  • As the waterfront land is under Linden maintenance and unavailable for public rent, it’s going to be impossible for those with waterfront land on the old Mainland to get “like-for-like” exchanges.

The biggest issue I had with the new environment, however, was lag. It was noticeable when I arrived in Mosh (at the heart of Kama City), when there were around 18 residents there. By the time the sim was full with 41 avatars, the lag was intolerable – not just in Mosh itself, but in most of the surrounding sims.

Not a wise move

Another cause for concern (for others as well) is why child avatars are allowed in Zindra?

Zindra is a continent promoted for “extreme adult” content. By allowing child avatars access to the continent ([2009/06/15 20:05]  Blondin Linden: No WOrries Chand. CHild avs are allowed on Zndra [sic]) Linden Lab are opening themselves to the accusation by others that they tacitly condone ageplay, regardless of whether said child avatars engage in it or not.

But to return to the land issue. For those who have to move to Zindra and were hoping this “preview” would help them select land options, I can only offer my sympathy. Information on the move is still grossly lacking, and there is absolutely nothing in Zindra itself to either identify available parcels or which informs people as to where to go and what to do in order to identify parcels they’d like, other than for people to random fly around, prod at the ground for About Land and note lot numbers.

So much for the promise that Linden Lab would make the transition “painless”.