There is a scripting language for CP. You can find the currently available information here: Cloud Party Scripting Manual and Tutorial. There is just one web page and it doesn’t format, but all the information is there. I haven’t tried to do a comparison. I think everything is basically there. We can do more in SL and way more in OpenSim, but again this is a beta.
CP limits areas to 25 avatars. When one has an event, like a roller coaster ride’s opening (from the interview), the max number of people is 25. BUT… different from SL, CP fires up a new ‘instance’ of the area. In Second Life it would be like starting a copy of a region. Now 25 more people can be in that region.
Since the ‘islands’ we have in SL often have adjacent islands having a single copy would look a bit funny. All the area around the island would be empty. In CP they have islands in the sky. There is nothing adjacent. One cannot see into the adjacent ‘region’ or island.
One of the disadvantages of CP is that those in the first instance of the roller coaster region cannot interact with the people in the 2nd, 3rd, and other copies. In some games these are called ‘shards’. If you are in the same shard with someone you can interact.
Currently the 25 person limit is set so they can support older hardware. I suspect that as they get more data about their users they will change the limit to deal with the users they actually have.
They are talking about providing rentable islands, which is like having your own region in SL. I’m curious about the cost. If things go as they intend the rentable islands will be out within a week. This could have an effect on prices in SL, but don’t hold your breath on that one. SL still has the customers and land in SL has a value because of that.
They will be building… well are building a Market Place for user made goods. It will be interesting to see how the CP handles the Market Place. I think SL is very vulnerable to competition in the Market Place arena. Can you imagine what would happen if: they interface to Second Life so one could sell in SL and CP?
All the clothes in CP are what we would call mesh clothes. So, the simple decals we use in SL for shirts and pants are out.
Cloud Party could definitely be competition for Second Life. I have always felt that the competitive threat that Blues Mars was expected to be pushed the Lab to get mesh out the door. Rod and his crew set new priorities for development in Second Life after the Blue Mars threat was past. Cloud Party may force a re-evaluation of directions and priorities.
Now Cloud Party is targeting the mobile market and making the world available in a browser and eventually mobile devices. I can simply send a link to someone, think Skype, and they can join me in Cloud Party as easily as they can look at a web page.
My understanding is Cloud Party is mostly beyond the capabilities of most mobile phones. How quickly mobile phones will add full HTML5 support remains to be seen. I recently went through a 16 hour fire drill to resolve a myriad of HTML5 video presentation problems for a client (web developer). Finding something to allow the presentation of a video on ALL devices was an insanely ridiculous task. But, it is a high priority for mobile developers. 3D presentation fails some distance being in the priority queue.
Still Cloud Party could become a competitive threat to Second Life. I can’t see it as a replacement. There is a problem. Second Life has a way better looking avatar. That, I think, will be a significant factor.
While SL has a better looking avatar it requires lots of data be transferred to display it. So, that restricts whether one can display SL in a mobile device. One’s data transfer limits will become restrictive. People will have to consider whether SL is worth the bandwidth cost.
With CP everything is mesh. The meshes I’ve seen are simple, meaning minimal data. They will be easier on one’s data plan. But, if you looked through the tutorials, you notices Lilli’s island was getting complex. That is going to take up some data space. I’m sure the data plans for mobile devices are not up to that. So, I think both SL and CP have big changes there and it is not a major deciding criterion for now. But CP is a head on achieving this coveted goal of mobile support.
How much of a competitive threat the Lab will see in CP is unknowable. But, I do expect CP to provide some motivation.