If you've ever experimented with virtual worlds such as Second Life, you may have heard the rumors that the Chinese were working on a souped-up version of Second Life for Chinese-speaking avatars. Jason Stoddard, CEO of new media agency Centric, has done some heavy beta-testing of HiPiHi and put together a list of the Top 10 features of China's Second Life - everything from water effects, in-world weather, swimming capabilities for each avatar; and cool new flight engines that mimic the look and feel of helicopters. Plus, there are neat things that only hard-core tech developers will appreciate, like new distance algorithms and on-the-fly ground retexturing. But here's the #1 reason why HiPiHi rocks:
"The whole surreality of spending time in a Chinese virtual world. It’s a helluva trip. The very fact we’re wandering around in virtual worlds from every corner of the globe and comparing their relative merits is hugely exciting. And then there are the random people who walk up and start speaking Chinese..."