Monday, 2 July 2007

Can you hear the music?

When you hear the music ringin' in my ear
Can you hear the music? Oh, yeah
Can you hear the drummer? Gets you in the groove
Can you hear the guitar? Make you wanna move? Yeah
a lyric written by the Rolling Stones, circa 1972 - but one that could have been taken pretty much verbatim from the chat logs at this weekend's SecondFest virtual festival in Second Life.

Don't get me wrong... I really enjoyed the time I spent at Secondfest this weekend and I salute the sponsors (the Guardian and Intel), builders and organisers for their achievement in putting together a well constructed, well organised and well attended event. It was fun.

But it pushed the technology to and beyond the limits of what is possible right now. 9 times out of 10 I couldn't see the video or hear the audio track when I went in... and I wasn't alone. "Can anyone hear anything?", "Press play on the video tab", "Tried that, still nothing :-(", "Try unchecking the streaming options, then check them again" was a typical kind of exchange between festival goers - or so it seemed to me.

I'm more used to shouts of "where's Wally"! :-)

Lagginess was also a bit of a problem, particularly late on Sunday night. I spent the start of the Pet Shop Boys headline set (at least I assume that's what it was - I wasn't close enough to hear) crawling at break-nothing speed towards the stage from about 500m out. In the end I gave up - PSB don't exactly do it for me anyway.

But, as I say, it was good fun. Does it matter that there were audio problems? For me, no it doesn't. I attended mainly to see what the experience was like... oh, and to give away virtual welly boots in a vain attempt to promote my failing shoe business! :-)

On the positive side, I thought the event was well organised, I loved the banal banter around the stages and tents, and the build and feel of the site was excellent.

Come back to an equivalent event next year and the year after. Watch how the technology evolves. Yes there were significant problems this year in terms of the streaming and lagginess. But that will undoubtedly get better.

We've seen a new way of doing things... but I don't think that Michael Evis has too much to worry about just yet!

1 comment:

Peter Miller said...

I'd assumed the lagginess was an attempt to simulate either strobe lighting or RL mud ;-) Anyway, it was great fun and kudos to the Guardian for doing it.