Friday, 5 March 2010

Blue Mars Welcomes Therians

Since the announced imminent demise of there has been a substantial number of Therians who have decided to either make Blue Mars their new home, or at least to check it out, and the Blue Mars staff and volunteers have been on hand to welcome them and arrange special meetings for them. To aid those meetings I have produced this short guide, which is aimed not only for them, but for all others who are thinking of checking out Blue Mars and are wondering where they should start.

First though, a couple of caveats:

Blue Mars is still in beta/development
This is a strategy that is quite different to what many people think of as a beta. In Blue Mars the beta testers were not given a full set of functionalities to test, they were given a small subset, in order to focus the feedback on improvements to the existing functionalities and bug fixing. Once that subset had been fixed, another release of the client software was then issued, with more functionality (and improvements to the functions in the previous release), and so on.

Currently Blue Mars is still under this beta/development, and is likely to remain that way for some months yet, so visitors should not expect that it is currently the full package.

For an idea of what functions are currently being worked on, please see these articles on the current roadmap, in this order:

Hardware Requirements
Blue Mars will be a little tougher on hardware requirements than, and a little more demanding  for folks coming from Second Life. A full list of the hardware requirements for Blue Mars is here. You can see what Frames Per Second (fps) you are getting in Blue Mars without any third-party tools, it is built-in. To get your fps and other info up on the screen read this how-to.

In order to improve your fps there are a couple of things you can try:

  • If you have Skype running at the same time as Blue Mars, shut it down (you will also see some smaller improvements if you close down anything else that uses the Internet, such as browsers.
  • Change your Rendering Quality down from High to Low. To do this, click on the Blue Mars main window title bar (just to move the focus from the chat window to the main window), and then hit the Esc key. Alternatively, you can click the right-hand icon that looks like four points, which expands the toolbar, then click on the options (spanner) icon.

Change Rendering Quality from High to Low

     OK, now that the caveats are out of the way, some good news. The Welcome area in Blue Mars is a place where you can meet up with actual Blue Mars (Avatar Reality) staffers. Look out for Glenn Goodliffe (aka Glenn Sanders, Community Director of Avatar Reality), and Summer Studio (aka Tiffany Nahinu, Community Assistant), and various volunteers, who will help you get your feet wet.

    You can always provide feedback to Glenn and his team, and they are very much in listening mode, so don't be afraid to let them know (politely) what improvements you would like to see (but check the roadmap links above so you do not repeat what they have already got in hand).

    Now the housekeeping is out of the way, I will start a series of articles providing a Tourist's Guide to the various Blue Mars Cities.

    Look out for tomorrow's article: A Tourist's Guide to New Venice