Cloud Party is giving virtual world fans some really great holiday gifts this weekend -- starting today, avatars in the world backed by Second Life co-founder Cory Ondrejka and Cryptic Studios vet Bruce Rogers will be able to fly. And not fly like they do in Second Life, but with animations and particle trails (see screencap above). Perhaps even more important, Facebook is no longer required for account creation. "You can also create account with just an email address and password," Cloud Party CEO Sam Thompson tells me by e-mail. To build and use some other Cloud Party features, you will still need to verify your account, which you can do through Facebook, or with a valid credit card ("which we don't charge").
Up until now, Facebook Connect has been required for Cloud Party log-in, which many virtual world fans, particularly Second Life users, have complained quite vociferously about. But according to Thompson, the company never intended to make Facebook the only access method: "[I]t just saved us a lot of work on the login side and was pretty effective at reducing griefing. Now that we have finished many of our other major features (such as the new Marketplace and Cash Out), it became a priority issue for us." He adds that they're planning to add other log-in and validation methods, such as Google+, in the next few weeks, and probably Twitter OAuth eventually.
There's some other features getting rolled out today -- read on, read on:
"As something of an early Christmas present, we're launching many of our most requested features all today:
- New Built-in flight with animations and particle trails
- New Beginner Island
- Full Access (including house deletion) over the free house plot we give out
- Anonymous users can pick a display name
- Users can upload their own profile pic (instead of using Facebook's)
- Logins without Facebook!
"In terms of the new logins," expands Sam, "you can now set your username without creating an account at all. You can also create account with just an email address and password." I'm interested to see how removing Facebook will help Cloud Party's growth. With so many other excellent features in place, this could be the thing that finally gets growth going strong.Tweet