So how many people have noticed the virtual world stuff that’s been popping up around the fashion industry lately? A couple of months ago there was model Naomi Campbell getting her body digitally scanned for the world to see. Then in January the project website posted 3D renders of the scan data along with some Cult3D online models (I didn’t bother, but you can get the plug-in and take a look at Ms. Campbell for yourself if you want – Link). Meanwhile Tyra Banks is saving(?) marriages from World of Warcraft addiction (Link)… while most everyone else in the game community probably wonders to what reality her audience has escaped. And now we know: they’ve obviously been sucked into Tyra’s Virtual Studio (Link) lounge world.
I initially caught wind of this over on 3pointD (Link), but that entry wasn’t nearly as fun as this one from the fabsugar blog (Link):
Last week, Tyra sent out an e-mail saying she’d been keeping a secret for months – she and some hot designers have created Tyra Banks’ Virtual Studio on the internet. She explains “We all IM and chat online with our friends, so I decided to TYRASIZE (kind of like “Super Size”) online chatting – so I’ve had the talk show set and myself turned into 3D animation!”
Something tells me Tyra Inc. will be plenty happy to do a show on “TYRASIZE addiction” of young women to her new “not real” endeavor.
So much for the surface, now here’s the meat: upon seeing the graphic for this latest addition to cyberspace, I immediately figured this was the work of Doppelganger, the company behind the PCD Lounge effort which you might remember from last year (reLink). Mark Wallace’s blog comments just confirmed those suspicians. When I went to download the client I next noticed the name: “TheLounge-TSetup.exe”. Not only the same developer, but obviously Doppelganger was using the same client code they were using for the PCD Lounge. No surprise; it’s more efficient. Besides, this is what I expected based on some early thoughts about how they might use their platform to create outpost “sims”; kind of like islands in Second Life. While I don’t expect the Doppelganger projects to allow teleporting from one to another at this point, that’s what I’ve assumed they might do… and I still expect that’s on their “To Do” list.
Anyway, the likelihood of that assumption – that these stand alone sims might be connected – increased when I tried to create a new account. Turns out that Tyra’s Virtual Studio uses my PCD Lounge account login. That will certainly make connecting outposts easier to do down the road. There’s only one thing: the PCD Lounge and Tyra’s Lounge look the same so why bother? I don’t even need to go and load the PCD Lounge to confirm that; I’m certain Doppelganger is using the same world geometry. The textures are kinda different I think, but from what I saw it appears that all they’re doing is putting new make-up on an old frame. That’s surprising because on the Tyra homepage it specifically says we “can hang out on the set of the TYRA Show”, but I couldn’t find the set. All I found were the same dance floors, music listening stations, jacuzzi’s, and secluded meeting spots that I recall from the PCD Lounge. So from what I can tell, the two projects are virtual doppelgangers. That’s a shame.
One thing of note though, I did catch that there’s some non-music brand action going on: Rocawear. It’s not much, but I anticipate that this is where they sense an opportunity considering Tyra’s association with the fashion industry. And FWIW, I did try outfitting my avatar in some of the Rocawear options, but wound up selecting something from the generic options instead. Don’t tell Jay-Z.