Jun 222012

Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to restrict people who buy the digital version of Diablo III from unlocking full game content for up to seventy two hours. Let’s just look at this again, someone buys the game and then can’t play the game properly. This is a shocking and appalling way of going about business.

Players are unable to get past Act 1 or level 13 until the account restrictions are lifted, these are unintended consequences of the account restrictions according to Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The intended consequences are:

  • No public game access for unverified digital purchasers.
  • No auction house access (real-money or gold) for unverified digital purchasers.
  • Unverified digital purchasers cannot trade items or drop items for other players to receive.
  • Unverified digital purchasers are not able to chat in any public or game channels.
  • Unverified digital purchasers cannot attach a custom message to friend requests, but they can  send/accept friend requests, and play with their friends.
  • Global Play is not available for unverified digital purchasers.

Again let’s consider that this is for people who have purchased the game via digital download, not for people playing a demo of the game.

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Jun 192012

Hamlet Au has been breaking the news about Cloud Party, the virtual world in a browser, you can read about it over at New World Notes with articles here and here. Investors in Cloud Party include former Linden, Cory Ondrejka and Cryptic Studio’s ex-CTO Bruce Rogers, so people who know a thing or two.

The first thing I groaned about was that Cloud Party requires a Facebook login. Indeed I didn’t just groan, I sighed, heavily, I may have swore too. However you can sample Cloud Party without a Facebook login, by going here and choosing anonymous login. This will mean you have restricted access, you can’t build for example, but you can at least have a look around. This is a better option than a Facebook only login and I do understand why companies use Facebook logins, it’s easier than developing your own login system but any company worth its salt should develop their own login too, which is why I still find Spotify’s Facebook requirement absurd and I’ll never use their service, or recommend it. The worst part of the Spotify issue is that they did have their own login system, why on earth they went Facebook only for new users will forever remain a mystery, but it’s an idiotic decision.

However back to Cloud Party, it’s an interesting development.

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Jun 182012

I think it’s fair to say that Kitely’s pricing model rubs some people up the wrong way. People look at the pricing plans and feel that a metered based world is not a good place to socialise, and perhaps they’re right. Kitely’s pricing plans look like this:

Monthly Plan   Cost    Minutes    KC    Free Worlds

Free Plan              Free       120              0            1

Bronze Plan          $5          1200           300        2

Silver Plan            $20         5000          1000      10

Gold Plan              $50        12000         3000      30

Platinum Plan      $100     Unlimited   5000     100

Now compared to Second Life, this looks both great and bad, depending upon which end of the spectrum you’re coming from. Social users on a premium plan of just USD$72 a year can use Second Life unlimited, have a small plot of land, for free you can use Second Life unlimited anyway. However people who like to build, well the Kitely Silver Plan gives you 10 sims, 100,000 prims each sim, costs less a year than sim in Second Life does for a month and there’s no upfront purchase cost. Ok you haven’t got unlimited access on that plan, but it’s still over eighty hours a month.

Ideally, I can see the Kitely model complimenting Second Life, rather than competing with it.

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Jun 182012

Second Life’s ninth birthday celebrations have kicked off, and I know nothing about them! I’ve not seen any previews or been to visit any of the sims. Work, WoW and Euro 2012 are eating my spare time, although I have time off work so I may get to see some of it!

However, I know a man and woman who do know about SL9B, so if you want to get the skinny on the lowdown, go read:

Inara Pey’s in depth guides to what’s going on.

Crap Mariner’s Performance Schedule, complete with Google Calendar awesomeness so it should update nicely.

Visit the SL9B blog.

I’ve also figured out how to add the events calendar! See below the cut for that.

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Jun 172012

I’m seeing Second Life adverts in my Google Adsense stream again, I haven’t noticed these for a while but it looks as if Linden Lab are utilising adsense again in another marketing campaign, which is good to see. However this post is about the forthcoming release of Blender 2.64 and new features that have Second Life in mind.

Gaia Clary, who has been working hard with others to ensure Collada support in Blender is improved and maintained, brings us news on the official forum of new features in Blender 2.64. Collada is the format we use to import Mesh objects to Second Life, Blender were talking of dropping support for Collada as it was a buggy format, but Gaia and others have risen to the challenge of helping to improve it.

Blender 2.64 isn’t officially released yet, but the new improvements include:

  • Geometry data is now again named similar to the Object names (Object names are preserved).
  • The order of export for objects can now be sorted (avoid LOD matching problems).
  • Apply modifiers is non destructive. You no longer have to apply the modifiers before exporting. This works also with Mirror Modifiers and Shape keys.
  • You can now export a rig with stripped control bones as long as the deform bones define a complete SL Skeleton.
  • The reimport of exported collada files to Blender is still not fully fixed. But for static meshes it now works reasonable well (not so important for Second Life users though).

Gaia goes into further detail in a blog post on the subject, including a photo of an export option for Second Life, which will load some presets that you’ll generally want when you export your Mesh to Collada for use in Second Life.

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Jun 172012

Linden Lab have recently found themselves in a user permissions pickle over their use of pictures for their pic of the day blog posts. Wizard Gynoid pointed this out to me in a recent comment, whereby Whiskey Monday surprisingly found that her picture had been used.

The main issue is a lack of communication, nobody from Linden Lab told Whiskey that her picture had been selected. Photos submitted to the Second Life group pool on flickr were being used on sites such as Facebook, Tumblr and Google +, no matter which rights had been selected by the author on flickr. There are two problems here, one is ignoring permissions but probably the larger issue is not informing the author. Most people would be happy to allow Linden Lab to use their photos for promotional purposes, as long as there’s attribution and communication.

However in this case, Linden Lab have decided to make some changes, as Whiskey Monday outlines here and create a new Flickr Group, with new terms and conditions.

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Jun 162012

This post may be a bit rambly, is rambly even a word? This post is also likely to be a bit disjointed, but on with the show!

2012 has not been a good year, to be frank, and Frank isn’t my real name, it has been the worst year of my life. The Villa were crap, in a painful way, but that was put into perspective by a bigger personal tragedy for me that I’m struggling with and will continue to struggle with, which is why my blog has been a bit awol for the last couple of months, emotional pain scars and it leaves long lasting marks but that’s life and we all have to deal with things like this, no matter how painful it is, it comes to pretty much all of us.

The weather has been crap too, here in England it has been raining for two months and in a land where rain is not a surprise, this amount of rain is depressing, of course we also have a Tory Government and misery and Tory governments do go hand in hand, so there’s that to consider.

On the virtual world front, I’ve sort of lost my mojo this last year, the excitment has gone, that’s what happens I guess but I’m so out of the loop when it comes to socialising in Second Life. A performer handed me a notecard the other week asking if she could perform at my sim, it actually made me smile that someone made the effort to say they wanted to sing. I’ve always felt that LL have been missing a trick in not promoting Second Life as a live music venue.

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Jun 152012

I’ve been spending way too much time in Blender, building, thinking I can do this better, fretting about the lighting, so then lights go out, walls come tumbling down, yes they do …. anyway! So Linden Lab seem to have gone on a communications strike, the blog isn’t being updated and Rodvik is missing in action! What the bloody hell is going on?

One theory doing the rounds in the forumsphere is that Rodvik got to know the users and then pondered “What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? Is it a Monster?” However that doesn’t explain why the main blog is so bereft of … well blogginess. They already know us!

So what the bloody hell is going on? Your guess is as good as mine, but we can ponder.

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Jun 122012

Podex, a company who have been running Linden Dollar Exchange Services for a while are now offering a VISA Electron Card that can be loaded with Linden Dollars and then used as a normal VISA Electron Card outside of Second Life.

This is a novel move, it’s a prepaid card, you can load it via bank transfer or via an inworld Podex exchange, it’s also as far as I’m aware, unchartered territory, and with no announcement of Linden Lab of the existence of such a card, it’s a move that will raise questions regarding its legitimacy, as exemplified by this thread on the official forums asking if it’s a scam.

The card isn’t free, you pay L$10,000 at a Podex terminal, or you can purchase it via Paypal for 30 Euros, USD$40 or £25. The cost of the card is explained here. However, with Podex being relatively unknown outside of Second Life, and not that well known within it, this is something that will make people nervous.

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Jun 042012

There is a thread over at SLUniverse from Desomond Shang, entitled “Second Life 2015” in which The Caledon Governor ponders what may be happening with Second Life in 2015. The opening post ponders tier, vitality, seismic changes and such like. This isn’t unusual for a post from Desmond.

There is also pondering on The marketplace, which I often ponder on too and I simply can’t understand why in a 3D virtual world, Linden Lab are so obsessed with a 2D Marketplace, to the extent that they have shop links in the viewer to it, undermining the land market as it goes. Tier is way too high for Linden Lab to be playing this tune.

However it’s further into the thread that Desmond Shang reveals that he’s up to something, and then teases people by not saying much about what it is!

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