May 282015
 

Linden Lab have blogged about a new perk for Premium Members : Premium Membership in Second Life Just Got Better! The perk? Premium Members will be able to join 60 groups, instead of the meaning of life 42.

There’s an interesting part of the blog too, which shows that Linden Lab have thought the consequences of people downgrading through :

Premium members can immediately take advantage of the new limit. Downgrading from Premium membership will not remove you from any of your groups, but it will mean that you cannot join any new groups until you remove yourself from enough groups to get below the Basic account limit, which remains at 42.

Therefore if you’re a premium member today and you join more groups, if at some point in the future you downgrade, you won’t be forced to leave any of your groups. However it will mean that you can’t join any new groups unless you shuffle the group pack until you are below 42 groups again, which may involve some advanced and painful juggling. I also assume that this means if you’re a member of say, 53 groups, and then you downgrade, you won’t be able to join more groups, you’ll have to shuffle the pack until you are below 42 again.

When it comes to groups, there will never be enough. This is one of the reasons why I’ve been a fan in the past of web based groups, whereby you would read the information on a group page, rather than the current system where all the messages, notecards, landmarks and messages are sent to you. Another idea I’ve been a fan of in the past is the idea of different types of groups. Social groups don’t always need land, so why include them in the land system which creates overheads when checking things such as group access.

However both of my proposals would require a major overhaul of how things currently work, so I can understand why Linden Lab aren’t keen to tinker too much with the current system. Whereas the system has flaws, it does to a large degree work as intended. However concerns will remains regarding group chat.

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May 282015
 

Over at The Guardian, Charles Arthur has posted a very interesting article reagarding Virtual Reality : The return of virtual reality: ‘this is as big an opportunity as the internet’. What I find very interesting about this article is that it highlights hope, hype, caution and excitement. There’s also a really cool video from 1994 during an earlier round of Virtual Reality hype which I’ll embed later in this post.

Many of us know about the hype, we’ve seen it with virtual worlds and whereas virtual worlds have delivered in many ways, they haven’t delivered in that massive way that many were predicting they would a decade or so ago.

Predictions about the boom in Virtual Reality go back a lot further and the article points this out. Charles talks to Dr Jonathan Waldern, who has seen the hype and hope before but is absolutely revelling in the new found VR hope wave and is quoted as saying :

There will be people crying in this, people falling in love, people falling over. For all sorts of reasons, this strikes at the core of being a human being. It’s so compelling … this is as big an opportunity as the internet.

I think we’ve heard claims such as that before too. However Dr Jonathan Waldern isn’t new to the VR scene, he was involved with a company called Virtuality in the 1990’s who had been bringing VR to arcades. The company had been in talks with Atari about bringing their VR Headset, Jaguar, to the consumer market, and then, with very little warning, the hype and hope for VR died.

However one of the hurdles in the last wave of VR hype was cost. Dr Waldern’s company were using top of the range Silicon Graphics systems, which were not in the consumer end of the market at all, they cost six figure sums for a start. These days people have more power and better graphics at far lower costs. Dr Waldern points out some of the differences this time around :

“Our system used some of the very first Sony LCDs, with 300 by 200 pixels,” Waldern recalls. “Today you get 1,080p [1,080 horizontal lines] minimum, and by the launch next year you’ll probably have 4K by 4K. And the computational power is transformational – we were working on about a megaflop, and each machine cost about $70,000, which is a massive barrier to adoption. Now with an Nvidia GPU you’re talking about a teraflop.”

However even today, there are those who are enthusiastic but don’t feel we’re quite there yet.

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May 282015
 

Back in February and March there was a bit of a hoo-ha over streaming service Twitch apparently prohibiting the streaming of Second Life. A Second Life user who had not been streaming anything remotely adult via Twitch had received a suspension. The user had actually been streaming script creation in Second Life.

This caused a bit of confusion as nothing on the Twitch site seemed to suggest Second Life was not allowed. However adult content was forbidden. Eventually, Iris Ophelia over at New World Notes received a reply from Twitch :

Second Life is not permitted for streaming and those accounts reported for doing so will be suspended. Content in this game is unrated and often sexually explicity, which is content we do not allow on our services. We also do not permit Adults-Only rated games and games where nudity is the core focus, feature, or goal.

Discussion then ensued as to whether nudity was a core feature or goal of Second Life. I still maintain it isn’t! The ambiguity from Twitch was also a frustration but their rules of conduct have recently became far less ambiguous. In a blog post entitled Rules of Conduct Update: Adult Oriented Games, Twitch explain :

Previously, we made game-specific decisions about which games would and would not be available for broadcast – sometimes due to overtly sexual content, sometimes due to gratuitous violence. This is unsustainable and unclear, generating only further confusion among Twitch broadcasters. We would like to make this policy as transparent as possible.

Today, we’re updating the RoC with regard to Adult Only (AO) games. Simply put, AO games are not welcome on Twitch.

Furthermore, there’s a list of titles that are explicitly listed as prohibited by Twitch and Second Life is amongst those titles.

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May 272015
 

SL Goth Headstone

Sometimes, when in Second Life, you may well be looking for all the fun of the fair but with a darker theme and that’s exactly what you’ll find if you visit The World Goth Fair, which opened on May 15th and runs until June 1st.

There are a few things to note about World Goth Fair in Second Life, one of them is that this is not a charity event and the organisers point this out clearly :

World Goth Fair is an annual Second Life event, officially sanctioned by the folks at World Goth Day. Although it used to be a charity event, it isn’t anymore. If you want to know why that change was made, please read this post.

The linked post isn’t by me, but it explains why this event is not a charity event. I should also point out that World Goth Day was on Friday 22nd May 2015, but as I was on holiday at the time, I didn’t blog about it.

Dark Landing Point

World Goth Fair is held on The Cursed Sim and it’s adult rated. The usual caveats that I often apply to adult sims apply here. I have visited the region and I’ve also visited other events that the people behind World Goth Fair organised in their lands. I have never, ever witnessed anything remotely adult on any of my visits. This isn’t to say that you won’t bump into something adult, but the adult rating here does not reflect that this is a sim that encourages overly adult activities.

The organisers of World Goth Fair are Axi Kurmin, Lokii Violet, Sonya Marmurek, Nephilaine Protaganist, Synjari Myriam, Sohma Dix and CruelBritannia, collectively they are The Cursed Events Team and they organise quite a lot of events during the year. There’s a lot more about the event on the about page of the World Goth Fair blog.

World Goth Fair

As with a lot of events in Second Life there is a large contingent of merchants and sponsors, whom you can read about here. There are some names that are familiar to me in that list, such as Gothika, Fallen Gods Inc., House Of Rain and many more of whom I’m not so familiar. This is largely because I don’t encounter as many merchants in Second Life these days as I once did.

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May 262015
 

Obedience and TV

Inara Pey has already made a superb blog post about Obedience in Second Life, so I will try and refrain from covering all of the same ground, but it’s inevitable that there will be some crossover.

Obedience is An Installation in 15 Rooms by Saskia Boddeke & Peter Greenaway at the Jewish Museum in Berlin. The exhibit started on May 22nd and will be running until September 13th.

Saskia Boddeke is also known as Rose Borchovski in Second Life, whereas Peter Greenaway is a British Film director of films such as The Belly of an Architect and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover amongst many others. Peter Greenaway has also been known to use Second Life.

Now if you’re wondering what an exhibit at the Jewish Museum in Berlin has to do with Second Life, it’s because there’s also a Second Life version of the exhibit running at LEA1 in Second Life which has been brought to life thanks to the fine work of Bryn Oh and Jo Ellsmere.

Obedience Exhibit

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May 262015
 

Between June 8th – 10th the 6th Augmented World Expo will take place. The event will feature exhibits, networking, classes and more and is described as :

AWE 2015 features over 200 companies leading the charge in augmented and virtual reality, wearable tech and the internet of things. Join over 3,000 tech professionals to engage in over 20+ workshops, 200+ interactive demos, a VR experience powered by UploadVR and 100+ AWE-inspiring talks from industry leaders and pioneers. AWE is focused on turning ordinary experiences into the extraordinary and empowering people to be better at anything they do in work and life.

Whereas many of the names are familiar, two names probably stand out more for those of us with experience in a virtual world background. Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg and High Fidelity CEO Philip Rosedale will both be speaking during the course of the expo.

Both are due to speak on June 10th. Ebbe will be speaking in a session entitled The Social and Philosophical Impact of Immersive Technology, which is described as :

How is virtual reality going to impact our social and cultural world? How will this technology affect human interaction, social dynamics, relationships, and life in general.

Ebbe will be joined by Altspace VR CEO Eric Romo. Philip Rosedale’s session is a little more vague.

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May 252015
 

The Kingdoms of Giliath

I’m back from the Med and a fortnight seems an awfully long time to be away when you try and catch up with news and developments in the virtual world and beyond. A fortnight also provides insight into one of the reasons why Second Life can be an annoying name, there are tons of news stories about Second Life, but they are largely about the Second Life of a product or a show, such as The Mindy Project.

However, fortunately for me, Xiola Linden and the Linden Lab community team do a good job of updating the Second Life Blog with Destination Guide information, hence why I will at some point in the near future be heading on out to visit The Kingdoms of Giliath, an ambitious looking immersive roleplay kingdom in Second Life.

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May 092015
 

Sea Front

Basilique in Second Life is a quite stunning town, boasting bars, shops, a theatre and much more. This is also the home of Paradise Lost in Second Life.

The region has been brought to life by Harvey Crabsticks and Canary Beck.

Clock

One of the things I liked about my visit was the notecard, because that largely writes my blog post for me, for example, we are informed :

Named after the Basilica that dominates the region, Basilique is a small village on a lake nestled between the mountains of Northern Italy. Our most current information can be found at the website: http://thebasilique.wordpress.com

Event information can be found here:
https://thebasilique.wordpress.com/events/

History and Geography can be found here: https://thebasilique.wordpress.com/geography-history/

There are a number of places to visit here. However, first of all you may just want to take a stroll around.

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May 082015
 

Xiola Linden

Xiola Linden, Superstar, has posted on the official Second Life blog : Help Decide the Next Inworld Meetup Destination. These are meetups between The Lindens and residents and they are a lot of fun. Xiola states in the post :

It’s just about inworld meetup time, and since we’re in the habit of sharing some of our favorite spots from the Destination Guide, this weekend, we wanted to flip the script and find out from you what spot you think is one of the best to visit for our next inworld meetup.

I’ve been to a couple of meetups with The Lindens and they have both been at Meauxle Bureaux, home of the Second Life Moles.

Michael Linden Is Here!

However it seems as if The Lindens want to set sail to some new destinations, as Xiola explains in the blog post :

Share your recommendations in this forum thread – links to Destination Guide entry or SLURLS are best – and we’ll pick one to have our next inworld meetup.

The next meetup is planned for Thursday, May 14th at 1 PM SLT, so get your recommendations in soon!

As always, if you have a region or location that you would like to show off – be sure to share it, and we always love to see pics of your adventures on the Official Second Life Flickr page.

Whereas Xiola does not mention it in her post, I would imagine they are looking for a general rated location in order to be all inclusive. Although that’s just my thoughts, I could be wrong, it has happened before, April 12th 1984 to be precise.

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