Thursday, December 4, 2008

How Botgirl Cloned Her Second Life Avatar in Twinity

Botgirl Twinity B

I had a lot of fun giving Twinity another try this week so I thought I'd offer a brief introduction. Twinity is a "mirror" virtual world based on physical world geography. Berlin is their first build and will have over 50,000 structures digitized by the end of the year. Although Twinity is still very much a work-in-progress it's worth checking out.

Getting Started: You can download and install the Windows-only client software after registering at When you first log in you'll be teleported to a welcome area. Expect a learning curve, especially if you have ingrained habits from Second Life. Although they've made a clear effort to simplify their interface, I didn't find it especially intuitive. That said, after a few hours of effort, I was able to pay more attention to experiencing the world than figuring out how to operate within it.

Avatar Customization:
Most options such as chat, search and animations are accessed from a small icon-based menu box at the bottom of the screen.

twinity bar

The orange "me" icon launches a window for avatar modification and clothes shopping. Your avatar can be modified by changing settings on a series of sliders.

Body Screen

Now here's the fun part: You can clone your Second Life avatar by importing a few images. You can use just a straight-on view like the one below or optionally add a profile shot for a more exact duplicate. It is very important to use shots with even lighting and pleasing color and contrast, because they provide the texture for your new face.

twinity face

After a little trial and error with different photos and some work with the sliders, I'm pretty happy with the result.

Botgirl Twinity D

I'll cover more on Twinity in a future post. For now, here's a quick video clip to give you the look and feel of moving through the world. The mirror is especially cool.


  1. Ta for the intro, Botgirl! This actually lays out wuite a lot of its features very nicely to get by on. I found myself wishing that the Twinity devs had a much better method than 14 text popups to communicate this by.

    One question popped into my head when reading this through, and I hope you'll forgive the fact it loops back to older topics. You photographed your makeup and skin, overlays onto your Second Life mesh, and applied them to a new world as a new asset. Now, I'm of the opinion that your makeup and skin choice have very much defined who you are. To see you out of that skin is to fail to recognise you, and of course the resemblance of your Twinity avatar now is uncanny - but the makeup's not yours.

    I don't wish to be accusational at all - I just thought I'd put this out there as food for discussion. You've transferred your likeness here, which I commend, but essence of you seems to rely on someone else's work. I wonder where that comes into things, when that skin is boiled down to 'a texture asset' which is being ported. Would that have repercussions if this process were repeated for a number of worlds? Does it also apply to Facebook and other 'classic' 2D avatars?

  2. I've been beta testing Twinity for almost a year now. Okay, I've been a beta tester for almost a year now, but haven't gone in-world in a while.

    Twinity is definatly better than Second Life in many respects - most of it graphical. It's how the in-world economy will work that I'm wondering about.

    I had participated in feedback where several questions were asked about what I would get and for how much Real Life money - including my home. The multiple choice answers to choose from made me cringe a bit and it seemed a bit pricey.

    One thing I do know is that you will be able to make some in-world money because of the very strong hints they gave at becoming a landlord and renting out your home units.

    What was not made clear was whether there will be any kind of exchange of in-world money for real world legal tender the way you can exchange Linden Dollars for legel tender.

    It's a nice system and world. Just not Second Life. The one that will come closer will be Mycosm.

    I've been a beta tester for Mycosm as well (though they haven't opened their grid for testing yet) - it WILL be the big competitor to Second Life:

  3. Sigh... Twinity installs under Wine, but doesn't seem to connect. (Come to think of it, another Windows-only virtual world that I've tried seems to have that problem as well.)

  4. hmmmm... so many new worlds aren't mac friendly, its a shame. Thanks for showing us.



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A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at