At the moment, the Hive 7 servers seem to be somewhat stressed. Also, there are quite a number of bugs around – I was starting out with a nickname I didn’t choose (it’s not obvious how to change the screen name), there were items in my bag which I didn’t collect, the chat log icon doesn’t resemble the screen icon, and a “missing plug-in” message appears on every screen in Firefox (even though I can’t install the plug-in), among other things.
However, the site is off to a very interesting start as there are nice features here which give this a real “web” feeling. You can drag and drop stuff on the screen (including your own avatar), you can scroll through the room, every room has its own URL to easily link to and share, and you can also create your own rooms (like this one, another Google Blogoscoped chat bar), there’s a room search feature, you can add friends, and there are Flickr and YouTube items in the bag (and items are taggable). Also, you can right-click an item to edit its script; for example, one item started to play a certain movie on the cinema screen contained in that room.
The graphic design needs some work though – avatars do not seem like they’re out of the same world (different drawing styles), and their faces are much too hard to discern. Then again, you can provide your own character image by simply linking to a URL.
[Thanks Ruben B.]
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