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Saturday, February 05, 2011


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Tinsel Silvera

(I'm still stuck with a hoary old iPhone 3G.)

Glad to see I am not the only one. I was very disappointed that Blue Mars did not include the 3G users. I will check it out when I upgrade to the iPhone 5 later this year.

Hamlet Au

Yeah, I'm debating whether to upgrade to a 3Gs (which is now damn cheap), or wait for the 4G to be inevitably discounted when the iPhone 5 comes out, or just do the big jump and get an iP5. But at the price it'll surely be, it better shoot frickin' laser.


I was dumb enough to download this (I have a Blue Mars account too). This is quite possibly the most useless software on the planet. After waiting about a minute for each avatar you pick to load, they will stand there and go through a few stand poses. If you really want to go crazy, there's a wireframe button that, surprise, shows them in wireframe. Then you vote on whether you like them or not.

So what are the in app purchases going to be, just clothes where you can play dress-up? Yes folks, for all the hype about Blue Mars when it started, this is what it comes down to - facebook compatible pablum. If this is what the future holds for virtual worlds, hot-or-not pictures like some pre-teen magazine, I'll go back to gardening. It definitely seems facebookish, so it should be real popular with social gamers. I was really surprised it doesn't include a facebook like button for each avatar.

Don't waste your time folks, not worth the time it takes to download and sync.

Eddi Haskell

I announced the death of Blue Mars as a virtual world in my blog two weeks ago. I now think I might have been premature in doing so, or even wrong. I can actually see this thing working.

The demographics of heavy Second Life users were remarkably mature the last time I was able to view closely held Linden data three years ago. The average age of heavy users, as I remember, was in the late 30's, and business owners were in their mid 40's. I am sure the Blue Mars numbers were similarly mature -- even for the limited number of heavy users that they were able to attract. My guess is fewer than 1000 people were consistent users.

One thing Second Life has shown is that some users are more than willing to pay good sums to have their avatars look "hot". My own avatar in Blue Mars much more realistic looking than my Second Life avatar - take a look at this video that I made. I can see a younger demographic getting into this -- and even using this as a Facebook extension.


I have been impressed over the past two weeks by the commitment that the Blue Mars development community has shown in keeping this platform going. I am not willing to eat crow yet, but I may be.

What I can't figure out is why they let the January 14 announcement sound like an obituary being read at a wake. Blue Mars management needs to pay more attention to how they handle announcements in the future.

Rin Tae

I have been disapointed when Blue Mars went the way it did. And this does not make it any better and I hope that they do want to expand their service to something more then dress-up games. Now of course I just love to get new outfits, botos and anything else and usually create new looks in SL on a daily basis so such a service might be of use for content creators that shows of their work. But then this would only work with lots of links and add ons that would point people to the virtual world where those outfits can be bought. And of course the possibility to sell the same outfit in many worlds what than might be a good point to push for more interoperability.


If is is a test to see how the iDevice platform can handle blue mars mobile graphics system, fine. As an app itself it's dull and rather dumb. It does wonderfully promote the dull simplistic samey avatars of blue mars. I'm left wondering how much more fun it would be with the awesome range of Second Life avatars... Shame linden lab don't think of these things.


@ Loki - yes, this first release is just to get the avatar to display on iOS, which is no mean feat given how high end the CryEngine graphics is. If you read their blog post, they do plan to add more features, including chat link to the PC version, online clothes shopping, etc.

When the next generation of tablets come out, with better graphics they should be able to run multiple avatars at once.

Adeon Writer

I may or may not admit to buying an iPhone purely because of this blog.


I had a dermatologist in Boca show me 3dvia.com and user gen. content on the ios 3 weeks ago.

im not sure that what blue mars has done would be considered a virtual world...

mainly 3d animations, that you like or not.:)

beaten to meta by a dermatologist in boca... too funny/

Dizzy Banjo

I think its great that someone is trying to make 3d virtual goods and content on iOS.

I sort of agree with cube that its virtual, but not really a world. I think its fine if it isn't. Perhaps it shouldn't be.

Its interesting that the starting point in the avatar. One of the central things I think iPhones in particular have done, is made the user become the avatar themselves somehow.

I'm intrigued to watch this space and see how Blue Mars and other platforms shift and adjust to the very different set of possibilities for user experience which iOS and mobile platforms offer.

Hamlet Au

I agree, Dizzy. And yeah, Avatar Reality is definitely pushing this to integrate the iOS app with the larger Blue Mars virtual world experience:

"Future updates will include such enhancements as avatar customization, interaction with other social networking platforms, the ability to chat with other Blue Mars users, and integrated shopping of clothing and other items via Apple's in-App purchase feature."

Arcadia Codesmith

I see a niche. If it becomes a gateway for the full virtual-world experience, rock on.


One thing to note is if they can get a subset of the Blue Mars features to work on a phone, they should also be able to make a lightweight version that can run on PC's with slower graphics. There are a lot of iOS devices out there, but that pales in comparison to how many PC's are out there.

The general strategy of a lightweight version and a full version even works for people with a high end gaming system. It would allow them to check in when away from their PC.

Adeon Writer

I'm already working on my blue mars avatar in blender, it'll be a full custom... But it's undoubtedly going to have an SL-esque taste to it. (Since I don't plan on changing up my look from SL too much.) It'll be interesting to see if it'll also be viewable from the iphone app.

Ann Otoole InSL

"Apple's in-App purchase feature"? Will that apply to all BM content? Apple only?

Adeon Writer

@Ann: Think of it like LL making a marketplace App, to buy content for SL. You'd be using Apple's in-app purchase feature there, too. It's just the term for when an app ask you for permission to take your money. :P

Gwyneth Llewelyn

I'm curious to see now if IMVU will finally launch an iPhone app with 3D avatars too (they just have a text-mode app). Blue Mars on the iPhone is now IMVU's most serious competitor!

Ann Otoole InSL

@Gwyneth - I don't think the rear ends on IMVU will fit in the app store. In addition "sexy" content is not allowed in apple products. (So BM will never have adult/sexy content ever by Steve Job's rules)

Aquarius Paravane

So underwhelmed.

Mac users, previously unable to join BM, still unable to use BM. Joining BM is not necessary to use this app. You can't actually log in with it anyway.

Windows users, presumably interested in keeping up with the BM equivalents of IM and group invites while away from their computers, still can't do so with this app.


I announced the death of Blue Mars as a virtual world in my blog two weeks ago. I now think I might have been premature in doing so, or even wrong.

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