Nov 112016
 

An Image should be here

High Fidelity, the virtual world and virtual reality platform, arrived on Steam early access this week for Windows users. The welcome message states :

We’re incredibly excited to launch High Fidelity on Steam Early Access!

High Fidelity is an open-source virtual reality platform that gives everyone the power to create, explore, and share virtual spaces. It works with both Oculus Rift and Vive, and you can also run it on your PC in desktop mode if you don’t have a headset.

We’re looking forward to your feedback! We expect to learn important lessons about the needs of social VR from the active, engaged, and connected users here on Steam.

There’s a notice that you need a virtual reality headset to use the software, but as the above message informs us, you can run the software without a headset. However the minimum specs should be noted :

MINIMUM:

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit
  • Processor: i7-4700 quad core equivalent or greater
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290
  • Storage: 2 GB available space

Now when you find the software on Steam there’s a good chance you will see this message : “Content in this product may not be appropriate for all ages, or may not be appropriate for viewing at work“.

This isn’t because High Fidelity is a den of iniquity, it’s because user generated content is involved, as the High Fidelity Twitter account explained to me : “The warning is a precautionary measure because it’s an environment with a lot of user generated content“.

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Oct 262016
 

Lurking in The Trees

Whilst most of us are happy to take virtual world snapshots in traditional snapshot form, some people like to get a tad more artistic and some like to embrace new technology features, such as 360 degree photography.

Linden Lab are on the case as they blog about A New Perspective on Second Life :

If pictures are worth a thousand words, 360 degree images must be worth millions. That’s why we decided to develop a feature called 360 Snapshots that will make it easy to capture and share 360º images from Second Life. Check out some of these samples!

The link is most definitely worth following so you can see a sample of the feature via Callum Linden. The feature isn’t ready for prime time just yet, but you do have the opportunity to play around with it by the way of a project viewer. There are details and instructions about this on the wiki.

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Jul 222016
 

Vordun Museum & Gallery

This week’s Highlights from the Second Life Destination Guide has a host of attractive looking destinations, but I had to start somewhere, so I started at The Vordun Museum and Gallery. The blurb tells us :

The Vordun Museum and Gallery is a new art and history experience in Second Life. Featuring the use of experience keys, visitors can get a real life feeling of being at a museum. Three new exhibits will be featured at The Vordun, featuring various art by masters and Second Life residents, and a historic Titanic experience.

Inara Pey has already posted an excellent review : The Vordun: a new art experience in Second Life. I heartily recommend that you read it, but I will say that the experience does largely live up to the hype.

Reception

There are currently three exhibitions on offer; European Masters, 300 Years of Painting, Lip Service, which will run until September 19th and A Night To Remember, a Titanic experience and I mean that as in, it’s about the Titanic ship.

The three exhibitions provide different experiences. The first, European Masters, 300 Years of Painting provides the visitor with a HUD and also makes use of Second Life’s experience keys feature.

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Jul 152016
 

Delacruz Park Landing

Episode 39 of The Drax Files: World Makers introduces us to Sergio Delacruz and Delacruz Park. I’ll embed the video at the end of the post.

Sergio hails from the Italian island of Sicily and is a content creator who creates experiences within Second Life. His latest example being the multiplayer inworld game Susan’s Diary. The blurb for Susan’s Diary informs us :

Susan’s diary is a creepy horror game where you must find the lost pages of an old diary in a haunted house and find what happened to little Susan. Visit rooms, secret passages and solve puzzles to reach the end of this experience.

I am not in a position to comment on the game as I haven’t played it. Games and experiences are an under reported aspect of Second Life, so I did enjoy this episode.
Delacruz Park

Sergio has embraced content creation in Second Life in a very large way, he creates and scripts everything for his projects.

Fair

However this doesn’t mean that Sergio doesn’t appreciate collaboration or shared content. Sergio informs us that he learnt how to build in sandboxes and studied free scripts to help him learn how to script.

Sandboxes are a resource in Second Life that don’t get anywhere near the attention or thanks they really deserve. They allow you to build and learn alone if you want but you’ll often find people happy to share tips with you at Sandboxes too.

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Jul 062016
 

Project Sansar Concept Art

Project Sansar is making the news again and we learn a little bit more each time an article is published. A couple of articles I’ve read today add some more context, it’s not earth shattering news but it adds a little bit more.

The first article is by Edward C. Baig over at USA Today and comes with an accompanying video : Second Life’s creators try for a third — in virtual reality. The part I find interesting in this article is in terms of discovery. That means how people will be able to find Project Sansar experiences and although this has been mentioned before, the way it is described in this article really hits home :

Linden Lab’s design aims to give Sansar creators more power to attract an audience to their experiences than they do in Second Life, where visitors may stumble upon the places by chance. Some people never find such places and don’t stick around.

If you search Google for “I want to learn French” you might find in the search results a virtual reality experience in Sansar where you can actually “go to virtual places in France, meet French people and have French dialogue at the boulangerie,” Altberg says.

The key difference there being that unlike Second Life, you should be able to discover Project Sansar experiences via the web. I know you can search Second Life from the web now, but the Project Sansar approach sounds more organic in terms of discovery.

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Jul 012016
 

Spellbound

Second Life’s 13th birthday celebrations may well have ended in terms of performances and music, but the regions are still open for exploration and as it’s a lot less busy this week, it’s far easier to navigate your way around.

"Electrify,

The regions will be open until Sunday July 3rd and there’s still plenty to do, such as touring on pods, grabbing free gifts, enjoying the exhibits, hitting the Linden prize gives or enjoying the big hunt.

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Jun 242016
 

JuelL Resistance on Guitar

Music Fest in Second Life, a three day live music festival event that is part of Second Life’s 13th birthday celebrations started today at 11:00am SLT with a performance from JuelL Resistance. The full schedule for Friday June 24th is :

  • 11 a.m. – JueL Resistance
  • 11:30 a.m. – Phoenix J
  • Noon – Phoenix J
  • 12: 30 p.m. – Taka Coeur
  • 1 p.m. – Tempio Breil
  • 1:30 p.m. – Engrama
  • 2 p.m. – Engrama
  • 2:30 p.m. – Zoz Quandry

All times are in SLT or PDT if you prefer and all performances for Music Fest take place on Stage Left.

Xiola Leads The Dance

Xiola Linden was at the front of the audience, leading attendees in dance.

Mixed Crowd

The crowds are mixed, there’s no dress code, other than be decent and PG rated as it’s an official event. The music is, as I’ve said, live.

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Jun 232016
 

It’s like buses, you wait ages for one and then a load come at the same time. Recently I blogged about discussion of transhumanism in Second Life and beyond :

The topic has long been considered controversial, but it’s a discussion area that was once very vibrant in Second Life. I am surprised we have not seen more of a resurgence in this area of discussion within the Virtual Reality hype cycle.

Before I go further, with regards to the previous post I linked to, Giulio Prisco has commented on that post to say that people are welcome to go to the meeting mentioned in that post.

Over at Motherboard Vice there’s an article by Zoltan Istvan : Wild Transhumanist Campaign Tech We’ll See in Future Presidential Elections.

There are links between the post at Motherboard and my previous post, the common denominator is Terasem.

Zoltan Istvan is a 2016 USA presidential candidate for the Transhumanist party. In the article he talks about how wearable tech, the rise of VR and changing technology could very well change the way election campaigns are run. Zoltan is no stranger to the tech, indeed he was in Second Life last year and in the article he says :

As a presidential candidate myself, I also recently gave a virtual speech in Second life. At the Terasem Annual Colloquium on the Law of Futurist Persons, I spoke to an audience that consisted of about 50 avatars—some who appeared as creatures, cyborgs, and significantly mutated transhuman beings. My own avatar—kindly created by transhuman spiritual organization Terasem for this event—looked quite like me, and even had the afternoon shadow, which apparently I’m often guilty of having.

I also see from the video that Extropia DaSilva was there. The article talks about augmented reality, suggesting that candidates may want to use AR to demonstrate pie charts, live stream how walls would look and more.

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Jun 232016
 

As part of Second Life’s 13th birthday celebrations an inworld Q&A session called Meet The Lindens takes place. Last night it was the turn of Linden Lab CEO to sit on the couch and answer questions.

SL Newser reporter Bixyl Shuftan reported on the event yesterday and as part of his report he wrote :

Ebbe was then asked if users of Sansar would have the option to chose their own names for their avatars, or would they be having to use real-life identities. Ebbe answered he was leaning to the latter, “I think what’s best for Sansar is real names. … anonymous identities makes things confusing.”

Hamlet Au over at New World Notes picked up on this and blogged : Project Sansar May Require RL Names, Suggests CEO. The comments on Hamlet’s post suggested that many people were not exactly enamoured by this news. Fortunately, Ebbe didn’t say that real names would be required for Project Sansar and this simply seems to have been a matter of crossed wires.

Inara Pey has the posted the full transcript and audio : SL13B: Ebbe on the Lab, Second Life, Sansar and more. Here we can see that Ebbe mentions that Linden Lab have been discussing issues of identity for Project Sansar and that real names are being discussed :

I have a preference, some other team players have slightly different preferences, so we’ll see where it ends up. But I think what would be best for Sansar would be real names, and then the ability to have personas underneath that.

This should not be taken in isolation, reading the full transcript we can see that Ebbe isn’t saying that everyone should have to display real names, but he feels it might be ideal if Linden Lab know your real name and that in certain circumstances you may well be in a setting where real names are a better option :

So I could go into a role-playing, or into an experience as an anonymous user in that context. But to the platform, I am not anonymous. And so, without making that too complicated and confusing, is that the right answer? We’ll see. But I think to, it would certainly help with griefing and other things. And it also supports a lot of interesting use-cases where anonymity is actually just really confusing, and actually gets in the way.

You can think of a lot of professional use-cases where there are teachers and students and professionals having meetings where these anonymous identities makes things really confusing; “I know Bob, I want to talk to Bob. Who the hell is this Jumping Jack guy?”

So we’re still debating this, and I’m pushing in one way, and people are pushing in different ways, and we’ll see where we end up. I mean, unfortunately, to implement real names is also really complicated. Do you hitch a ride with Facebook, or do you have to somehow build your own real name system.

There’s more, a lot more and I urge people to read it in full. If you want to go straight to this part of the transcript go here. The important things to note are that Linden Lab have not yet made a decision but it looks as if they are talking about the possibility of using your real name or a pseudonym depending upon the experience you’re visiting. This is not a new discussion at Linden Lab and has been going on since well before Ebbe Altberg joined the company.

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