World Review: Beez Hive
Compatible with Operating Systems:
World Status: Operational
Beez Hive is the fourth virtual environment created by Switch In software. It is very clearly meant to copy Bee Movie, using the same character and world design as that film. Right from first glance, it is obvious they took the codebase used in their other worlds, and put this together in less than one day.
The world?s purpose is a bit of a mystery really, as, just like Birdz World, it doesn?t seem too sure what it is. There are gaming elements present, but no objectives. A social system is present as well, and seems to have been lifted wholesale from Switch In.
Graphically, it is on a par with the late 80s, so all in all, it appears to be a chatroom type environment, with interesting add-ons. To enter the world, simply provide a name, and click ?ok?. It asks for no personally identifiable information, and so is immune to the US coppa legislation that mandates asking for an age of 13 or over. This doesn?t stop Beez Hive from asking for this anyway. As is standard with this company?s worlds, admitting to be younger than 13 will grant you admittance anyway, just without the ability to type.
After the age screen, you are asked to choose a local server from a range of countries. Once this is done, we leap straight into avatar creation.
The avatar creation system is the worst seen to date for this firm?s creations, with a plethora of bad choices.
It starts off with the same avatar selection screen we usually see for this company: An avatar made of so few polygons, it resembles pre 1995 era technology. This time, it?s a bee. First thing to notice is the gender choice ? there isn?t one. What you can do is choose the size of your bee. Not as a sliding scale, but as a series of five separate models, each slightly smaller than the last.
There is an option for antennae, offering you the choice of both pointing forwards, or one pointing forwards, and the other back. There is also an option for different kinds of wings, but there is only one set in the database, so this option is redundant. There are three ?glasses? to choose from ? none at all, a pair of sunglasses, or a motorcycle helmet. Three eyes too, including one with long lashes. Likewise with mouth ? one appears to be wearing lipstick, the others are not. Options for body, legs and gloves are also present, but have no options when you actually click, so can be ignored. That?s it, you?re ready to enter the world.
The world, which expands dynamically to whatever size your browser window is, running happily in Internet Explorer or Firefox, spreads out before you in great simplicity. You have a small field with gently rolling, tiny hills of turf. There is a tree in the middle of the world, consisting of a trunk, three branches, each ending in a green sphere of one size or another. Identical trees are spaced out around the edge of the world. Upon the central tree, sits a beehive.
Four toadstools and a collection of open flowers are also present in the world? and, that?s it. The model quality greatly suggests this was put together in under a day. So, not much to see out here, let?s go into the beehive. This world feels and looks as if it was lifted wholesale from the film ?Bee Movie?, and in that film, that was where much of the action took place.
The control system is just a touch fiddly, and if you are using a wireless mouse, you would be forgiven for thinking that your batteries were dying ? it overrides normal mouse input with a custom driver, coded entirely in flash, so can be somewhat unresponsive. After about a minute, we have moved from the image above, to this one.
The hive is not enterable; it?s just a 3D polygonal model, to look pretty. The entrance is a black-painted face, and its not bump mapped or clickable. This really is it. There?s a yellow glowy thing on the lip of the hive. Wonder what that might be?
Fly over to it, after much more faffing with unresponsive controls ? unresponsive on a high end machine with nothing else running, and a chime sounds. Stars flash on the screen. You have collected some nectar. Congratulations, here are 200 points. If you stay where you are for a couple of seconds, more nectar will spawn for another 200 points. Rinse and repeat. Enjoy it, because the score data is not sent anywhere, is not synced with anyone else in the world, and will be erased when you log out.
There is an improvement here over Birdz World, in that it uses the same control interface, but, rather than getting stuck on the ground, as you have to walk into thin air to fly again, Beez offers the option of pressing Ctrl to fly up vertically to start you off. Sadly, this is very, very slow, and for some reason, sometimes when you press ctrl, you go up. Sometimes, you go down. Use it only if you are truly stuck.
Chat is relegated to text chat only, thou a decent allotment of characters ? some 100 ? is put aside for each line. There is no log, but the chat will support 12 lines on screen at once. Two separate swear filters are in place, oddly. The first, filters any series of letters that might be bad. For example, ?assassin? becomes ?****in?. In addition, if you actually use a swear word, the line will not display at all, instead you will be warned for swearing.
The world interface is buggy, and the mouse based navigation jerky, even when it does work. However, a supplementary interface exists at the bottom of the screen. It has nothing to do with movement, but does have some functions. Moving from the left, first up is a text box. All letters typed automatically collect here. Next to it, the mute menu. Open it and type in the names of those you would rather not see.
At first glance the next two seemed to be duplicates. The first, when moused over, said ?animations?, the second ?emotions?. A quick trial revealed that they are not duplicates: Animations offers a list of sequence files for your avatar to perform. This was completely empty. The option copied verbatim from another world, obviously. Emotions placed a big yellow smiley floating over the top of your head, to indicate your mood.
Client OS:Win 2K, Win 98, Win 2K, Win 2K
Client OS:Win 2K, Win 98, Win 2K, Win 2K