Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Virtual social cues, or who are all those green dots on the Inworldz map?

I like maps, and virtual world maps especially...because if you see somewhere interesting, you can just click and go.

Green Dots Near Inworldz Desert Island

  Generally I try to avoid the possibility of landing on another avatar's head,. When I'm not sure of the nature of a sim, and it shows as occupied, I  teleport in cautiously and survey the outskirts first.  If the sim is a shopping mall, or other public place, then I'll carry on exploring. If the build looks like someone's private space, then I can back off without disturbing anyone.

  It has taken me a while to work out that not all the green dots shown on the map are what they seem...ie a live avatar connected to a logged in user, but can be bots. I'm starting to recognise the signs though. Four stationary dots in a large building, probably fashion model bots in a mall. One stationary dot in the only small building, that could be the sim owner relaxing at home.

  There's a complication in that moving, or zooming the map causes the dots to glide from one position to another, so a group of bots seem to walk from one spot to another (on the map). I have now realised though, that the chances of a group of live avatars walking together in unison is quite small, and if the movement stops if the map is left stationary, that's the big clue. However, if a single dot, or group of dots are stopping and starting, or moving slightly randomly, those are likely to be live users.

  Having more information means I can be chatty when I want to, or spend time on my own if I'm in the mood, and interacting with someone in a public space is very different prospect to the danger of teleporting into their house when they are struggling to get their hair on. Landing a little distance away, even in public spaces gives others the choice about interacting as well.

  I am glad to say I haven't yet needed to find the mute button to deter the kind of pests which sometimes showed up in other grids, asking for directions to the german foot fetishists conference for instance. Well I assume that is what he wanted, sometimes language is such a barrier :D