As per their promise at the start of the beta, Cloud Party have started offering island for rent.
Two island types have been initially offered, the wording of the FAQ suggesting more may be in the pipeline. These are termed “Private” and “Deluxe” and have the following specs:
Each island comes with its own URL – allowing you to access it directly from any web-browser (logging-in to CP in the process). Currently, there is no access control for islands – they are open to anyone using the navigation option or who “bubble hops”, although access controls are a promised future feature. This point aside, island rental does give you:
- “Full” control within the bubble surrounding the island, so you can alter the colour / direction of the light, change the time of day and the look of the sky in general
- The ability to remove the default island itself and replace it with something you’ve uploaded, such as a space station or “underwater base” or whatever captures your imagination.
- Build rights, and the ability (as of July 4th) to define who else has build rights on your island (see below for further details).
Additionally, deluxe islands have the option to rework the external mesh of the bubble itself from the default transparent sphere.
Give the volumes quoted for the islands would appear to refer to the bubbles surrounding them rather than the actual sizes of the islands themselves, it’s hard to get a grip on the physical surface area available with each type of island. However, I’d estimate a private island has a surface area of around 6,000 sq metres and a deluxe at around 190,000 sq metres.
I base both calculations on the maximum circular area available within each sphere (again, taking the quoted sizes of 100 and 500 metres as diameters, rather than radii) and then allowing for a small “gap” between the islands and the sphere boundary and making an allowance for the irregular shape of both islands. The “gap” allowance seems reasonable given it is possible to “fall off” the edge of an island rather than hitting the sphere boundary (you get returned to the middle of the sphere if you do, presumably after “hitting” the boundary of the sphere).
Even at 6,000 sq metres, the private island would seem to provide enough room to establish a comfortable home and should suit most personal requirements. The deluxe island appears to be around the same size as the residential islands that were rolled out at the start of the beta, and which offer individual homes available to those with Facebook accounts. As such, they do provide an appreciable amount of space that could be put to a wide variety of uses.
Each island type includes a set of quota for building. This is defined in three ways: objects, dynamic objects and triangles. Mesh elements can comprise up to four material faces, each of which itself actually counts as a single “object”. So while it may appear to be a single object, it comprises a material face count (just like an SL linkset comprises prims and sculpts), and it is the material face count that impacts an island’s object quota, not the mesh object itself (just like the objects in a linkset count towards land impact in SL, not the linkset per se).
Displaying information on objects is potentially confusing at present. Right-clicking on an in-world object and displaying an information pop-up for it, for example, only reveals the triangle count. Going to the Build mode, however, does provide counts for triangles, objects and dynamic objects – but also introduces a further category, that of “large objects”. Quite how this relates to the primary object count is unclear, and as I don’t have build rights myself in CP, it is not something I’ve been able to investigate in any real detail.
It’ll be interesting to see how objects and goods are defined when the Cloud Party marketplace is rolled out. From a purely lay perspective, one would suggest that the baseline measure should be “material faces”, as this seems to be the most accurate means of comparing actual content with the object allowances of each island type. However, it is probably fair to say that triangle counts may also be a contender from a technical perspective.
Search and Build Permissions Updates
In introducing the rental islands, CP have also updated the Navigation option of the Cellphone to include a basic search option, allowing you to search for locations either by name or user name.
On July 4th, Cloud Party added the capability for those renting islands to let friends build on their island. This can be enabled via the island information page (Cellphone->Navigation-> Personal Tab->Current Island->Edit Info button). This now includes a Build Permissions: Edit button. Clicking this displays a list of Facebook friends with Cloud Party accounts, and names can be dragged to the FULL ACCESS box. This allows them to build on your island, and they can move / delete anything you have placed on your island. They cannot, however, edit or duplicate objects. Further information on CP’s permissioning system will apparently be announced “Once the marketplace is closer”.
Command Line Options
Something that hasn’t appeared to have been widely covered in blogging about Cloud Party is the availability of command line options. Whether this is because they are a new feature or not, I’ve no idea, but they provide a range of interesting options. Commands can be entered in chat and are preceded by “/”. Entering a single letter after the slash (e.g. “/a”) displays a list of commands starting with that letter. While visiting Claudia222 Jewell I had a play with a few of the commands, including the avatar rescaling, which allows you to instantly alter your avatar’s size (between 1.5 times and 0.5 time the default size).
So rentals are now available within Cloud Party. How popular they prove to be after the initial “curiosity rush” has passed remains to be seen. As others have stated, the platform has a good way to go before it can be considered a serious contender in the VW ring – and I still remain unconvinced on building a platform purely around a land revenue model. I’ll be continuing to watch developments as best I can as they are announced / rolled-out and allowing for the fact there is still – as yet – nothing within Cloud party sufficient enough for me to sign-up with Facebook in any capacity whatsoever.
With thanks to Botgirl Questi.