I have Strawberry Singh to blame for this one! She wrote up a blogpost and posted a YouTube video about an avatar-based mobile social networking app called Zepeto:
Now, Zepeto reminds me a lot of another mobile app I had covered before on this blog, called Avakin Life, only it doesn’t seem to have as many features (for example, you can’t move your avatar around inside an environment). It takes a real-life self-portrait using your cellphone’s camera to create your default avatar, which you can then modify as you wish. Here’s what I came up with after only a few minutes of fiddling:
And here’s a couple of selfie poses:
Work that camera, gurl!!! Cute, but overall I found there’s not really a lot to do in Zepeto. Basically, you pose for photos alone or with your friends, and you chat… and that’s about it! If you find this sort of thing interesting, then you might want to check out Avakin Life first, since it lets you do a bit more.
Virtual worlds like IMVU and Avakin Life, which are highly popular with tweens and teens, have one strong advantage over Second Life; they can be played on mobile devices (tablets and smartphones), which are now ubiquitous technology in modern-day society. Although Linden Lab has made a few half-hearted forays into mobile clients for SL in the past, these projects never went very far before they were shut down. Second Life is still, after all these years, primarily a virtual world played on a computer desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux), which limits its potential audience somewhat.
Linden Lab is looking for an innovative mobile app engineer to deliver a compelling, responsive mobile interface into Second Life. If you’re passionate about the latest cross platform mobile technologies and would be psyched to wake up every morning knowing that your efforts will enhance the largest, most successful virtual world on the Internet then we want to hear from you!
Expand and enhance access to Second Life – the most successful user-created Virtual World ever with tens of thousands of concurrent users.
Collaborate with other engineers in an iterative, agile development environment with a passionate commitment to improving the Second Life experience.
Participate in design and code reviews and discussions both within the web team and with other parts of Second Life development.
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Results-oriented attitude and dedication to the user experience.
Demonstrated proficiency working in a geographically distributed team.
Experience developing consumer-oriented mobile applications for Android and IOS.
Experience with distributed version control (git or mercurial).
Experience with automated testing.
Experience with AWS or other cloud-based deployment models, especially streaming cloud-based rendering.
Demonstrated ability to accurately scope projects and negotiate deadlines within a flexible team structure.
Deep familiarity with and enthusiasm for Second Life is a HUGE plus.
It would appear that they are interested in building Second Life mobile apps for both Apple (iOS) and Android devices, which is good news!
[The] job is remote and “deep familiarity with and enthusiasm for Second Life is a HUGE plus”, so this could be a dream gig for SL’s many talented community developers. My recommendation, of course, is to hire Alina Lyvette, whose Lumiya viewer for Android has already sold well over 100,000 copies.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve launched the alpha version of High Fidelity’s Android mobile app (called High Fidelity – Live VR Experiences 32) today! Now, you have the ability to join domains like TheSpot, Mexico, SVVR from your Daydream-ready phone to attend face-to-face events and interact with real people in the virtual world. Please note that this alpha version is not designed for Daydream View.
It’s important to us that testers are able to have an open conversation about feedback and improvements we can make so you can join real, live experiences with other people in virtual spaces right from your phone.
Are you an Android user eager to try out our new app and interested in testing it out?
If so, please fill out this form to add yourself to the list, and we will reach out to you within the next week to start gathering feedback.
Avakin Life is a different kind of virtual world. It’s a mobile app for iOS (Apple) and Android phones and tablets, although you can also play it on a desktop PC using Facebook Gameroom. I had never heard of it before today, so I downloaded the Avakin Life app to my iPad and iPhone to try it out.
You get all the basic avatar customization options, and a basic wardrobe of items to choose from. There’s a healthy fashion market where you can buy items, of course, including real-life brands such as Nike. Textures on clothing took forever to load in preview mode, though.
You also get a pet (a German shepherd) and a starter apartment. There are various places in-world to meet and socialize with other avatars, like this café (this a screenshot from my iPad):
Here is a screenshot from my iPhone, showing me standing on a dock in a tropical beach scene, chatting with another avatar, who is obviously looking for romance!
All in all, Avakin Life is just a slimmed-down Second Life for mobile devices. Interesting, but there’s not enough of a draw to keep me coming back regularly. I’m probably not in their target market to begin with! At age 54, I found I really had to squint at the screen on my iPhone to make out all the menu options and figure out what was going on!
But if you’re looking for a virtual world experience that travels with you, give Avakin Life a try. It’s free to join (you have the option of buying in-game currency), so you can kick the tires on it without making any investment other than your time. And I must admit it was fun exploring a virtual world on my iPhone over a coffee at the local Starbucks, or on my iPad from the comfort of my sofa!