Google Lively-RIP

You may have heard that google recently shut down it's Google Lively service, google's own virtual world. I was ambivelant about the news, having not heard about it until it was shut down. But then, dear reader I saw this screenie in one of the articles.

Alas poor lively

Yep! Dinosaurs. Upon this discovery I became sad. It's always sad when a dinosaurs in games brother passes on to the other side, let us take a minute to think in silence before the inevitable analysis.

Dinosauriness: Well from this single screenshot it looks like we have (had) yet another Tyrannosaurus rex. Still, even a Hollywood lost brother is a lost brother.

Scientific Accuracy: What accuracy Lively gained from not having to bother with feathers it lost from having an animated skeleton. You would be hard pressed to move that hulk around without any connective tissue or muscle. Still it looked cool so 8.5/10.

Buzz bonus: Google lively, others may not mourn your loss but here we salute your dedication to make games and virtual worlds 1000000% better through the inclusion of dinosaurs. May nobody say a bad word about you without the caveat "but they did include some KICK ASS dinosaurs". RIP.


Way back when Walking with Dinosaurs came out, the beeb put up a neat little "game" downloadable here. Although basic and very dated now it still offers some surprising enjoyment, some mission based play and even the chance to create your own herd of dinosaurs!
The game/edutainment software starts out with our protagonist mysteriously transported back to the Jurassic. There's very little exposition (you are sometimes treated as a human, sometimes as a disembodied camera) but it's best kept ambiguous in my opinion. You can then explore a number of environments (salt lake, forest, desert) and discover some facts about dinosaurs and other animals as well as observing them milling around and doing their thang.
Surprisingly there is a little bit of progression through the 'game' and you have see and discover certain things (an Allosaurus eating a meal or large dragonflies) in order to unlock the next event culminating in you hitching a ride on a pterosaur to a secret area. In this new secret area you can use a couple of simple keystrokes to spawn your own herd of Diplodocus or Allosaurus or both!
The program is entirely free and runs quite smoothly and definitely worth a try, you could even set it up to be some kind of persistant screensaver when you are away from your desk as all the animals continue to potter around even if you aren't there to see them do so.
Takin good screenshots proved very hard Dinosauriness: A smattering of prehistoric critters are here. Allosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus and a pterosaur (the ID escapes me know) all populate the environs.

Scientific Accuracy: Nothing obviously wrong the environments don't exactly blend together realistically but whatcha gonna do about it. Of course no feathers but this was made almost 6 years ago now.

Yeah this is my herd. As you can see, one of them is resting, wink wink, nudge nudge Buzz Bonus: Climb to a high ledge and hitch a ride on a pterosaur to the secret salt plain where you can spawn as many dinosaurs as you want until your computer crashes. CONFESSION TIME! I spent hours spawning sauropods and theropods trying to arrange two armies to fight against each other. Unfortunately, the AI isn't up to enacting my grand plans so half the dinos would potter around oblvious to the threat whilst the Allosaurus queued up to get beaten to death by a single Diplodocus. Oh well, you win some, you lose some...