You may have heard of Surre.al, it’s kickstarter got a bit of attention lately but it seems to have died before it even got started.
I quote from the kickstarter page;
Guys — an important update:
Given that we didn’t get the early traction so critical to Kickstarter projects, we are canceling the project and retooling it and perhaps coming back to Kickstarter at a later point.
As we’ve said in the project description, Surre.al is a dream job for us, so we are fully committed to it, and do expect to launch by the end of 2013 — please keep an eye on us in the news.
As you know, this will automatically make sure that your pledges are not charged — thank you SO MUCH for all of your support.
Most interesting to me was that in many ways this virtual ‘world’ would become very similar to Second Life but somehow nobody seemed to notice that.
Lets get back to the beginning.
The idea was to build this massive virtual world all around this huge cruise ship.
People would create avatars, rent a cabin at the ship and the ship would sail the virtual seas, giving people the chance to travel to strange and unusual islands.
To anyone who knows ‘Second Life’ and who realises this huge virtual world is still around and pretty active, this sounds like a bad idea.
It is just like Second Life…. except with less options, less freedom and as it seems, no way for its users to be truly creative.
In a way it was just a 3d world where you could chat, do the virtual hanky panky (yes they mentioned that in the kickstarter and no it didn’t give it the bad PR it gave SL), and now and then play a game.
Surre.al did offer some very interesting bits that Second Life could/should also employ, it offered its users full Oculus Rift support (something SL is working on) and it would be useable on lots of portable devices.
Personally I don’t care for portable technology, I don’t even have a mobile phone, but I know that most people today do.
At this moment in time, to me being mobile, seems to suggest that the graphics will not be of an extremely high level.
That is the reason why most computer games are not (yet) available on your Ipad.
Either way, this is what Surre.al was promising, not something they already had ready.
From their Kickstarter page I quote;
“I am excited about Surreal. This is exactly how I envision virtual reality.”
Has mr Goetgeluk not tried Second Life?
Or can he imagine nothing more then people stuck on a ship as virtual reality?
Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of sticking people on a virtual cruise ship, might be fun for a few days, maybe even weeks.
And it is a nice idea to let people then get off at islands that they like.
Maybe a good idea to start Second Life that way, let new avatars experience Virtual Reality from the safety of a ship before getting off and trying some actual sims.
I like normal boring avatars that look like people do in RL, but as far as I can see, the cruise ship experience does not offer that much freedom when it comes to changing your avatar.
I didn’t see any old people or children, no furries, animals, dragons, etc.
So again, an experience with less freedom then Second Life.
Most importantly, there was no building.
I love building, it is perhaps the biggest reason I am using Second Life.
I would have gotten bored of Surre.al within days, if not hours and would probably not be interested in 90% of all the worlds they would create for us users to explore for a bit before coming back to the ship.
As I said, I like cruise ships, I want to build one in Second Life one day, but not a boring modern one where people run about in their bathing suits by day and dance in the disco by night.
No, I’d build The S.S. Normandie, a proper Ocean Liner!
I can’t imagine myself on a modern cruise ship in RL, let alone a virtual world.
But it is interesting that this project has failed to gather enough funding and enthusiasm.
The kickstarter started on June 25th and was cancelled half an hour ago.
They were looking for $100,000 in funding and managed to get only $6,802.
Why is this even interesting?
Because it got any funding at all and generally some positive feedback and interest from the tech community.
And it shows that now the Oculus Rift is about to start the Virtual Reality Rennaisance, new ideas for virtual worlds are popping up.
People are getting excited and motivated about its possibilities… but may have forgotten some of it could already be achieved trough Second Life, even though SL will of course need an update and keep up with the technology.
Let me for instance also mention this doomed indiegogo;
‘World of diving‘.
Yes, learn to dive with the Oculus Rift… great idea, but that too is already possible in Second Life and once SL gets the Rift to work properly, many of these ideas for games will simply be bypassed.
And looking at the funding this game is getting, either people are realising this or it is just too early to invest in such projects.
Personally I think it is a combination of both.
I do believe the Virtual Reality renaissance is coming but with only devkits available at the moment, it has not started yet.
When the first commercial VR headsets come out, things will start to go faster and faster.
Everyone who has tried the Rift (myself included) knows how big it can become.
If Second Life plays its cards right, it will be right there, ready and waiting, offering that cruise ship experience, that virtual diving and so, so much more.