What I mean is, normally in second life, chat flows up as a linear scroll with the most recent thing said at the bottom, and the oldest at the top. In 1.x viewers this was on the left, in 2.x viewer this is on the right. In both of those, you could alternately view via the chat log, but it gave the same basic view… in order by time.
Bubble chat moves chat messages into bubbles over people’s heads. Often times the last couple of things they’ve said will be there, in the same chronological order. But the difference is that instead of seeing everyone’s chat organized by who said what first, you see it organized by where they said it. In the sense that it floats above them.
Now, I’ve not historically found bubble chat to be that useful. The order of things always seemed more important. And I was used to the chat history type view. I eventually turned it on so I could tell when someone was typing– which yes, the old typing animation was supposed to do, but these days most people disable it. Bubble chat shows it as an animated ellipsis.
That’s nice and all, but I recently discovered it’s true use. When you have a crowd full of people it’s amazingly useful. I was at a concert, and people were playing their “applause” gestures, which just spam the chat log… but in bubble chat it actually acts as a wave of applause across the audience… its really effective for crowd type situations… times when where chat is coming from is often more important then anything.
And indeed, it would allow everyone to talk at once, but you to only pay attention to the folks next to you. A much better simulation of crowd dynamics then a chat log can evoke.