Monday, February 14, 2011

Pandorabot vs Actorbot vs METAbolt - Which Bot to Buy ?

People seem to often be confused about which of the Restless Studio Pandorabots to purchase. I am frequently asked which one best suits their needs and what is the difference between them. I'll try to provide a brief overview of the differences between the various models and a capsule feature review.

All of the Pandorabot models provide an artificial intelligent chat, Wikipedia query, greeter, notecard/landmark dispenser, spell check, email, group invites, speech synthesis, and dialog menu interface.

The simplest Pandorabot is the Pandorabot V5 which comes in a variety of appearances. In addition to the male, female, and Steven Colbert / Bob Dobbs two dimensional textured cutouts there is also a 3D sculpted parrot either perching on a stand or worn on the owner's shoulder. The 2D cutout Pandorabots are really all the same and each can be configured to appear as male, female, rotating Bob/Steven head, parrot, or any texture you add to the contents. The 3D sculpted parrot can only be configured to appear as the sculpted object either perched or worn.

The Inner Spheres Pandorabot includes the same scripts and functionality as the Pandorabot V5 but appears as rotating changing textured geometric shapes that emit a variety of particle displays. This is intended to serve as an art display or club entertainment as well as provide the standard AI chat and Wikipedia query features of the Pandorabot V5. The Inner Spheres Pandorabot can also be worn and you can configure it to appear as your avatar.

The Pandorabot Actorbot Add-On and Pandorabot METAbolt Add-On are 3D animated Pandorabots that appear as an avatar and provide all of the Pandorabot features as well as the ability to cycle through dances and stand animations. Whereas the Pandorabot V5 and Inner Spheres Pandorabot are prims that you rez, the Actorbot and METAbolt Pandorabots are actual Second Life avatars that are automatically logged into Second Life via a free desktop client that you run or (in the case of the Actorbot) via a server that you pay for by the hour (5L per hour per Actorbot).

It can be difficult to choose between the Actorbot and METAbolt Pandorabots. The differences and features of each make them well suited for a variety of deployments. I'll try to review each briefly to give you an idea of which might be better suited for your needs.

Actorbots can be programmed to perform specific actions when a given trigger condition is met. For instance, if an Actorbot is paid 250L that could trigger an action. Actions can be any one of instant message, chat, send group invitation, give object, wear outfit, play animation, stop animation, or sit on prim. The Actorbot Pandorabot is more programmable and scriptable than the METAbolt Pandorabot. On the other hand, the METAbolt Pandorabot utilizes an extremely lightweight desktop client that can run as many bots as you like. The Actorbot desktop client is limited to three free Actorbots, does not have near the features of the METAbolt client, and is somewhat more resource intensive. If you want to "drive" your bot via your desktop then the METAbolt Pandorabot is better equipped and really quite feature full.

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