Sim Dance Systems - Review of Henmations Club Control V1 (120818)
Last September I reviewed the two sim Dance Systems: the TIS Hybrid and the INTAN. At that time those were the only two systems that were available for controlling couples dancing on a parcel or sim. Recently, Henmations has offered a third sim Dance System option called the Henmations Club Control V1.
I purchased one of the systems, set it up and compared it to the TIS Hybrid and INTAN using the same criteria I had used previously for comparing the systems.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CLUB CONTROL V1
The initial set up is quite simple and loading dances from the available packs is really simple. Rezz the dance pack and touch it and it automatically transfers the purchased dances to the dance controller. Next register the system and you are ready to dance. Set up took about three minutes.
For basic dancing this is all you need to do. When a couple wants to dance, they click the dance ball, hop on the rezzed pose balls, accept the dance invitation and choose the desired dance from the dance menu.
There are advanced features.
First, you can set up menus for your dances. For example, I had Rumba, Bachata and Jive dances that I wanted to set up in separate menus. This is fairly straightforward using the web interface, and it took about five minutes to set up the three special menus and re-register the system.
Once the menus were set up on the web interface, the in-world menu gave access to the specialized menus or all of the dances.
If you look at the picture just above, you see there is an option to get a HUD. Clicking the 'Get HUD' gives you a wearable HUD. Strangely, the HUD default position is the 'Center' of your screen then offset to the left.
So, I centered the HUD on my screen, removed it and reattached it to the 'Top' position. which for me is much better use of screen real estate.
The HUD gives you access to the blue menu for selecting dance menus or specific dances. It also has a SYNC button, which makes syncing you and your partner easy. There is a HELP button which takes you to the online help information where there is more detailed explanations of how to use the features plus videos showing you how to use the system.
MOVEMENT OF DANCERS
The HUD also contains something new called the DRIVE THRU DANCE FLOOR. There are arrows that allow you to move both dancers around the dance floor. There is a device called the Move Us Around that is an add on to the INTAN that does essentially the same thing, but this is the first time I have seen this feature built into a Dance System.
Another new feature of the Club Control system is making couples dance sequences. Again it is pretty easy to do, especially if you know the loop time of the couples dances. The web interface is used.
Once you reset the device, dancers then have access to the dance sequences you created.
The sequence capability allows the owner of the Club Control to create sequences with couples dances. This is akin to the sequences that are made from individual dances with the Category 4 Dance HUDs. No other sim Dance System allows this sequencing. You have to use something like the MLDU5 or the DanceMaster to do this and these systems are not really designed as sim Dance Systems. This is an exciting new capability in a sim Dance system. I can imagine creating couples dance sequences for clubs. Of course, a major improvement in couples dances is still needed. There is no uniformity in the orientation of the male and female dancers with couples dances, and there is no uniformity in position. What this means is that when you change from one couples dance to another the couple is likely to jump position. This jump could be averted if there were a uniform orientation and centering of couples dances by couples dance makers.
The Club Control system like the INTAN and the TIS Hybrid allows creation of customized dances. Included in this is the ability to change the dancers' orientation. This allows creation of something like two avatars dancing side by side using the same dance.
FEATURES NOT INCLUDED
There is no group capability with the Club Control. This is a feature I rarely use but those who do will not have it available. Also, there is not an option to cycle through the dances in a random fashion. Finally, this is a couples dance system only, no individual dance capability is included.
A FEW THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE
There is a Stop button, but I never could figure out what it did. I would like to stop the dances, but the Stop button didn't seem to do anything. Also, the HUD uses the blue menu system. I really don't like this since it defaults to the upper right position and can cover important information displayed there. I would prefer something built into the HUD for accessing the dances. There doesn't seem to be any Dance Anywhere type of devices that you can place on your parcel or sim. With only the one device for accessing dances, this is a major drawback if you have a large property.
COMPARING DANCE SYSTEMS
Using the criteria here is what I found:
All three Dance Systems have sufficient capacity for both dances and number of dancers for almost all clubs and home users. There are add on scripts for the Club Control which allows expansion of both number of dancers and number of dances that I think will accommodate any need in SL. The club Control offers more advanced capability to manage capacity than the TIS Hybrid or INTAN.
II. SYSTEM SET-UP
The TIS Hybrid and the Club Control are both easy to set up and both are considerably easier to set up than the INTAN system. There are people who will set up the INTAN system for you, but this adds to the cost. The TIS and Club Control System also make listing your dances simple so you can easily avoid buying the same dances twice.
III. USE OF SYSTEM
Once set up all three systems are relatively easy to use. The interface for the TIS Hybrid and the Club Control is easlier to use than he INTAN for accessing advanced features such as selecting menus. The lack of a Dance Anywhere feature for the Club Control is a major deficiency if you have a large parcel and want dancing available in many locations.
Although the Club Control is for couples dancing only, it offers two features that are significant. One is the movement (also possible with the add-on for the INTAN) around the floor and the second and most important is the sequencing capability. Although the Club Control lacks the group and random features,the sequencing opens up significant opportunities for making couples dancing a lot more fun.
V. PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
All three systems are priced about the same. The System price is modest compared to the price of the dances that the owner will need to add to the system.
The TIS Hybrid and Club Control offer somewhat better help than the INTAN.
One consideration with the TIS Hybrid and the Club Control is that both systems depend on external websites. If the TIS or Henmations websites are not available their dance systems will not work. Also, you are passing information to their websites about the dances that you have and perhaps the frequency that the dances are used. The INTAN is completely self contained in SL. No external websites are required to run the INTAN and no information is sent to the INTAN maker.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
I believe that the sequencing capability of the Club Control will lead to a lot of innovation in couples dancing in clubs. This will take some time for club owners to figure out and may offer an opportunity for enterprising DANCE QUEENS members or others to offer a set up service. However, when the general SL population begins to experience better couples dancing with sequences, I think this will lead to a conversion of clubs to the Club Control System. I plan to convert to this system in my sim once a Dance Anywhere feature is included (perhaps in Club Control V2).
My recommendation for occasional users of sim dance systems: keep your current system. If you own a club or want to experiment with sequencing couples dances, get the Club Control system.