The Blue Mars virtual world is made up of independently run Cities that have their own themes and activities. Cities are made up of Blocks, Shops, and Residences.
A City is a distinct area inside of Blue Mars. Cities can have their own custom terrain, interface, rules, controls, items, themes, dominant language, and activities. Cities are hosted by Avatar Reality on Blue Mars and are managed by independent developers. City developers can subdivide their City into Blocks, Shops, and Residences for purchase by other developers. Users can download new Cities to explore using the Places Browser built into the Blue Mars client software.
The maximum terrain size for a City is 8 km by 8 km. For best performance, we recommend that City developers choose a 2 square km terrain size (for example 2 km x 2 km). The apparent size of a City is virtually unlimited. Although Avatars cannot venture beyond the boundaries of the terrain, landscape features like water, mountains, and sky can be placed past the terrain out to the horizon.
Terrain defines the boundaries of the City and natural features like the elevation of the ground. Using the Blue Mars City Editor, developers can shape the terrain of their City and include natural features like vegetation, paths, and water.
A Block is an area inside a City that can be developed with things like buildings and activities. City developers define the number, size, location of Blocks in their City. City Developers can set prices for Blocks and rent them out to other developers.
A Shop is an area inside a Block where developers can sell virtual items. Shops can be purchased from Blue Mars Block and City Developers.
Active Area is the area inside a Block where buildings and objects can be placed.
A residence is a private location controlled by a user. Only users who have been given permission by the controller through their MyPage can enter a residence. Users can invite friends to their residence and decorate it using arrangement tools built into the client. Residences can be created and leased out to users by City and Block Developers. Residences exist in Blue Mars as an Instanced Space outside of the Public Space.
Public Spaces are persistent areas within the City where communication and location data are shared between users. For example, a street where Avatars can explore and see one another would be considered a Public Space. Instanced Spaces are private locations that only exist when an Avatar is present. There is a distinct transition between Public and Instanced Spaces. For example, when you play a round of golf in Beach City, the course is loaded for just you and your friends. You are “transported” from Beach City to your own private golf course. While you are on the instanced course, Blue Mars will only track your location in relation to the other players with you on that course. There’s no need to wait to play on that course because Blue Mars can instance as many golf courses as the concurrent user limit of the city will accommodate. Developers can create games in the public space as well; our Bowling game is an example of how to create a public game. Residences are another example of an Instanced Space.
Instanced Spaces can be challenging to understand since there isn’t a clear real world parallel. To better understand how Instanced Spaces work, imagine a large residential condo tower that is built on a busy street. The busy street is a Public Space and Blue Mars will tell everyone on the street near you what you are saying and where you are moving. However, the system doesn’t need to communicate the location and activities of all of the people inside all of the private units inside the building (Instanced Spaces.) The shell of the building and the lobby are part of the Public Space but the condos inside are not. If you are renting a Residence in that condo tower, clicking on the elevator will “transport” your Avatar from the Public Space to your instanced Residence. Once you are in your residence, you can see what’s going on inside your residence and the environment outside of it. For example, if you look out the window, you will see the City but you wouldn’t necessarily see exactly what’s going on outside since Blue Mars is no longer coordinating the location and communication information between the instanced space and the public space. In other words, you would see your friends playing pool in your living room and the balls on the table but you wouldn’t see what everyone is saying on the street below your building. This division of information between Public and Instanced spaces has some distinct advantages.
Because developers can physically dislocate Instanced Spaces from the Public Space, a myriad of creative options open up when it comes to real estate and managing location. Imagine the condo tower from the previous paragraph is 80 stories tall. If it were a real building, you could only have one top floor. In Blue Mars, every floor can have a top floor view. Because each residence exists in its own communication and coordination space, they can “overlap.”
When a City Developer purchases hosting service from Avatar Reality, they choose the number of users they want their City to be able to accommodate at once. We have tested our servers to many times that amount and plan to roll out higher capacity plans over the course of this year. See our Pricing page for more info.
The number of Avatars you can see on screen at once and the distance at which you can see them depends on a number of variables like the speed of the computer and the speed of the Internet connection. On average, you can see approximately the 50 avatars closest to you.
We are developing the ability to choose visibility priority and extended levels of detail for crowds. A City Developer will be able to define an area as having visibility priority, a stage at a concert for example, where all Avatars in that location will be visible to the crowd beyond the typical draw distance. Furthermore, once Avatars in the crowd move past the distance where they need to be drawn at full detail, we will create low detail proxies to provide the illusion of extended crowds.
A concurrent user. If you are logged into a City, your character counts as a concurrent user.
We plan to offer three options for City Developers who have reached their capacity limit. The simplest option which is available today is a hard cap. If someone attempts to log into a city that has reached its concurrent user capacity limit, they will be informed that the city is full and to try back later. The second option is burst pricing. Up to a limit set by the City Developer, users will be allowed into a city beyond the standard limit. City Developers will only be charged burst rates for usage beyond their standard tier. The third option is admission pricing. If a user wishes to login to a city that is at capacity, they can pay a fee to gain access.
Yes, you can upgrade from one plan to another. For now, we handle upgrade requests through email. You can contact us to upgrade at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are adding new plans and options that bridge the gap between the plans we have available today. Our goal is to completely automate the upgrade process so developers can quickly choose the capacity that meets their changing needs.
If you want to play games, chat with friends, customize your character, or go to shows, all you need is the free Blue Mars Client. If you want to upload items, buildings, games, and activities into Blue Mars, you will need to rent a City, Block, or Shop.
Please check our pricing page for details on City pricing. Prices for blocks, shops, and residences are set by City Developers.
Every purchase of a City comes with a free 30-day trial period. Your 30-day trial begins at the moment you purchase a City from Blue Mars. There is no obligation to purchase any further service.
After 30 days, we will automatically charge your credit card for the setup fee and the first 30-day hosting fee, whether or not you have uploaded your City.
Hosting service is not required to begin development. Our City Editor tools are free to use even if you don’t have service. Once you’re ready to upload, you can pick the hosting plan that’s right for you.
There are no set limits for data transfer. The limit on data size refers to the overall file size of a city, not the amount of data transferred.