Ebbe Altberg Talks to The Irish Times About Second Life and Sansar

Outside Blarney Stone

Marie Boran of The Irish Times has been talking to Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg about Sansar and, inevitably, that also means talking of Second Life too.

The article is entitled Virtual reality is giving Second Life a second lease of life and although it starts off with some negative commentary around Second Life, the article actually goes on to make some positive points about Second Life.

The article also points out that Linden Lab do not consider Sansar to be a replacement for Second Life :

The idea is not to replace Second Life or even phase it out, says Altberg, who describes it as “a very healthy virtual world that will be very healthy for a long time to come”. It is celebrating its 14th birthday this summer and continues to have a dedicated team continually improving content and interaction experiences.

An interesting point is made regarding Second Life in terms of it not being easy to find what to do unless you’re inside Second Life and have familiarised yourself with the platform. Sansar will take a different approach, but let’s not forget that Second Life has also started to take a different approach, when Linden Lab announced that places pages are available to all land owners, the blog post also mentioned :

Many of these pages will also soon be discoverable via popular search engines, such as Google. This means that more people than ever have the potential to learn about your Second Life place!

Sansar sounds as if it will start with the aim of being more easily discoverable for people.

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High Fidelity Partner With Limitless To Bring Interactive NPCs To VR

Draxtor Everywhere

High Fidelity have announced that they have partnered with Limitless to bring Interactive NPCs to the High Fidelity Virtual Reality platform.

First things first, you may be wondering who or what Limitless are. Limitless have been making headlines for being a content creation platform for creating animated characters in VR.

Now they are making headlines for creating a toolset that allows people to create their own interactive VR creators, as Charles Singletary reports over at UploadVR in a chat with Limitless CEO and Founder Tom Sanocki.

I particularly like the view that Tom Sanocki takes regarding putting the perspective of the creator at the heart of creating an interactive experience :

“This means we always have something that is usable, simple, and shippable,” he says.”Our path to improving it always focuses on the needs of the storyteller, not the engineer,” he says.

I’m a huge fan of storytelling and Limitless aim to bring creation of artificial intelligence in VR to storytellers and creators, rather than those storytellers and creators also having to be experts in AI.

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Virtual Worlds Best Practices In Education 2017 Now Open

Ari on piano

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2017 opened today, with Arisia Vita playing the tunes as we awaited the ribbon to be cut to officially open this year’s educational conference.

VWBPE 2017

The conference is a peer reviewed community event, with clearly a focus on education and more to the point, education by use of Virtual Worlds. Education is a life long learning pursuit so conferences such as this one are very much welcome.

Pathfinder Buffy & iSkye

The conference does not just revolve around educators sitting down and talking about education, as important as that is, there’s also fun to be had, here are today’s listed events :

  • VWBPE 2017 Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM SLT
  • Above the Book: Ebbe Altberg: “A Conversation about Education and Second Life” – 01:00 PM – 01:50 PM SLT (This session will be held privately by invitation and streamed to the Main Auditorium.)
  • Quadrivium Networking Topic: VR Technology on the Horizon – 02:00 PM – 02:50 PM SLT
  • Social: The Freewheelin’ Electric Tambourine Man Parade – 03:00 PM – 03:30 PM SLT
  • Social: Lightning Production’s Bob Dylan and The Band Tribute Concert – 03:30 PM – 04:30 PM SLT
  • The Keys to Legacy: A VWBPE Quest – 04:30 PM – 04:50 PM SLT
  • Keynote: Celia Pearce, “The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Twenty Years in Virtual Worlds” – 05:00 PM – 05:50 PM SLT
  • Lizards of “ARS”© Installation Participatory Play – 06:00 PM – 06:50 PM SLT
  • Through the Visual Literacy Lens to Learn Ecosystem – 06:00 PM – 06:50 PM SLT
  • Quadrivium Networking Topic: Teaching in Second Life, Art and Visual Literacy – 06:50 PM – 07:50 PM SLT

Plenty of varied events, full details and SLURLS can be found here : https://vwbpe.org/vwbpe-news/vwbpe-2017-event-schedule-day-1-wednesday-march-29

I would also advise you to keep your eyes on the main event calendar.

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Virtual Worlds Best Practices In Education Conference Gets Ready

Texas A&M University

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference will start on March 29th and run until April 1st. The event, as the name implies, concentrates on educational use of Virtual Worlds and part of the blurb for the conference tells us :

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education is a peer-reviewed community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments. This open conference is organized by educators, for educators, to provide an opportunity to showcase the learning that takes place in this community of practice.

Although the grand opening isn’t until March 29th, there are opportunities to have a peek at some educational usage before that, you just need to keep an eye on the VWBPE calendar to find the details.

The conference will have a large focus on Second Life but will also have representations from educational use in Inworldz , OpenSim and more.

Chemistry World

The theme of this year’s conference is “Legacy” and this title relates to the fact that this is 10th VWBPE, which is a very impressive feat.

Whereas the focus of the conference is quite rightly education, there will be a couple of one on one interviews with people whom you may be more familiar with from elsewhere as part of the Above The Book interviews.

Ebbe Altberg and Bernhard Drax (AKA Draxtor Despres) will be featured. A blog post gives details on this event and how you can attend :

This year, VWBPE introduces a new segment this year called Above the Book, conversational interviews with Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab, on March 29 at 1pm PST and Bernhard Drax, creator of the award-winning mixed-reality documentary series “The Drax Files,” on April 1 at 3pm PST. 

These sessions will be in a private region. To get your invitation to attend you need to submit a question for our guests. Start thinking about what to ask! Questions must be submitted no later than Sunday March 26 at 11:59pm PST (extended from original March 20th deadline).

Still a couple of days left to consider a good question.

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Art, Physics And Cloudy Avatars in Second Life and Beyond

Changing Statue

Art has quite a good following in Second Life, Draxtor Despres covered the work of Rose Borchovski in episode 14 of The Drax Files : World Makers. There’s the Linden Endowment for the Arts. The Second Life destination guide has an arts category and bloggers such as Inara Pey regularly cover the arts, a recent post appeared on Inara’s blog regarding Dathúil: visions of desire in Second Life.

The mixture of arts and technology also sees Second Life turning up in articles about artists who have gone beyond Second Life, or have exhibitions inworld and outside. Second Life of course does not have a monopoly on creativity in virtual spaces and we see this exemplified in an article over at The Huffington Post : What Can Virtual Reality Bring To Art?

The article covers the work of Adham Faramawy and Jessy Jetpacks for an already sold out show by the Royal Academy of the Arts : Virtually Real. The technology being used here includes HTC Vive which might indicate a bright VR future for art, but the Huffington Post article also sees Adham Faramawy mention Second Life and physics :

I was never a gamer but this was always my problem with Second Life. So many people wanted to replicate something that already exists, when actually these technologies can be quite useful speculative tools. Even though the way platforms are designed guides how you use them, they can still be used to visualise a variety of possibilities. And what’s wrong with imagining new ways to be situated in the world?

Indeed, virtual worlds and spaces do not have to be inhibited by the physics that apply to the physical world and we see this sort of issue raised again in an article by Christian Petersen over at Art Slant :Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: Martina Menegon. Martina, it’s fair to say, is a lot more enthusiastic about Second Life, even though she doesn’t login much these days, partially due to a cloudy avatar but I’ll come to that later.

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