Dec 092014
 

Linden Lab have announced that they are now offering A New Way To Share Your Suggestions For Second Life. “The Tier Is Too Damn High!” will probably not receive much of a response. The blog post opens with :

What’s the one thing Linden Lab could do that would have the biggest impact on further improving your Second Life experience?

Whether your suggestion is small or large, Linden Lab will welcome the feedback. I’m pretty sure we used to do this with a new feature suggestion on the Jira and in a galaxy far far away, on the Second Life forums. However attempts by Linden Lab to receive feedback from their community are most definitely welcome.

The new way of submitting feedback is to go to the feedback and suggestions section of the Second Life website. There, after logging in, you will be presented with a fairly simple form that informs you not to use this form for support requests.

Please note: this form is intended for suggestions, not support requests, bug reports, and other inquiries.

If you are trying to get in touch for a different purpose, below are links to the most appropriate resources.

Support and Downloads: Second Life Support Portal Bug Reports: JIRA

There’s a helpful dropdown on the form to help you categorise your suggestions and feedback. “The Tier Is Too Damn High!” isn’t there, but land is. In all seriousness, unless you’ve got a bloody good plan on how Linden Lab can lower tier and keep revenue stable, “The Tier is Too Damn High!” isn’t going to get very far. The Maths simply doesn’t add up for the idea that a reduction in tier cost would see an equivalent increase in demand and I say that as someone who very much believes that “The Tier Is Too Damn High!“. There’s no easy answer to that one, it involves Linden Lab being able to create more revenue streams.

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Dec 082014
 


Noel

Immerse yourself in the beauty, warmth and spirit of the holidays at Calas Galadhon Park’s Noel. Take a sleigh tour though this magical winter wonderland, all the way to the the beautiful Christmas Pavilion. Relax with a cup of hot chocolate or brandy, chat with friends by the fire or listen to one of the scheduled live music events. Don’t forget the flying reindeer ride!

Visit in Second Life

Calas Galadhon Park in Second Life has long been a place of beauty and wonder. The park itself isn’t just a single sim, there are eleven sims and one of the beauties of the park is that it changes with the season. December is no exception with the appearance of the winter wonderland of “Noel”.

Calas Galadhon Park's Noel

The sim itself is best viewed with the region windlight, I mess around with that to try and bring more light into my pictures but the darker skies of the default region windlight help to highlight the falling snow and give the sim a nice winter feeling.

There are activities you can engage in whilst exploring the sim, such as sleigh rides, ice skating and even hopping on a flying reindeer.

Daytime At Noel

There are also a series of events at the park, including live music with Antonio Galloway, Voodoo Shilton and Duncan Bagley all pencilled in for live performances.

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Dec 062014
 


2014 Christmas Expo & Winter Breedables Fair

The 2014 Second Life Christmas Expo & Winter Breedables Fair offers 12 days of shopping, hunts, live performances, and winter fun! This returning eight-sim event is in support of Relay For Life of Second Life. For more information, be sure to visit https://slchristmasexpo.wordpress.com/.

Visit in Second Life

On a lighter note, the Christmas Expo & Winter Breedables Fair for Relay for Life of Second Life has now been open for a couple of days and includes some fantastic builds and Christmas themes.

Expo

The regions contain Christmas Trees! They also contain a radio stream to make you want to let it snow, actually it has snowed there, a lot!

SL Xmas Expo

The expo is part of the Relay For Life fundraising effort and Linden Lab have happily joined in the spirit of good will to all men (and women) with a blog post in which they point out :

Returning for a 4th year – the expo kicks off today – December 4th- and runs through December 15th, 2014. Coordinated and sponsored by residents who wish to help fund a charitable organization with a festive event, this event intends to make the gift of giving memorable and fun.

This joyful happening helps raise funds for Relay for Life of Second Life – with 100% of registration fees, sponsorship feeds, kiosk donations, hunt, raffle, auction, and vendor donation items going to Relay for Life of Second Life – part of the American Cancer Society.

There will plenty of activities for you to participate in; from two tree lots filled with beautifully decorated trees from some of the best designers, auctions, live performances and DJs, to pictures with the man himself – Santa!

Exciting times indeed!

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Dec 052014
 

This is your normal every day story about controversial themes in video games, a baying mob placing pressure on a company with claims that are economic with the truth, a baying mob not grasping that there are serious concerns about said content and trolls emerging from beneath the bridge to spread heinous vitriol.

Target Australia have announced : Target Removes Grand Theft Auto 5 From Shelves. The announcement says :

Target General Manager Corporate Affairs Jim Cooper said the decision was made following extensive community and customer concern about the game.

“We’ve been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game’s content,” Mr Cooper said.

“We’ve also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue.

“However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers.”

GTA is of course a controversial game and has extremely adult themes. However it’s rated as an 18 rated game, although parents all too often haven’t grasped that 18 rated games mean it’s only suitable for people 18 and over and in extreme cases like GTA, it’s questionable whether it’s suitable for all people as young as 18. However this isn’t helped when a company such as Target Australia advertise a game like GTA V next to Peppa Pig and Barbie in the toys and games section of an advertising brochure.

However it’s disappointing to see Target Australia bow down to the baying mob, just as it was disappointing when Intel bowed down to the baying mob over advertising on Gamasutra. However both companies have every right to take business decisions they consider to be suitable. Target Australia feel they are a family friendly store but  in the case of the latest hoo-ha, one can’t help but feel Target Australia are missing the target by a country mile. when you look at the next part of the announcement, it all gets a bit baffling :

Mr Cooper said Target would continue to sell other R-rated DVDs and games.

“While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers.

“However, in the case of GTA5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.”

The Warehouse in New Zealand consider themselves to be a family friendly store, in November they took the decision to remove all R18 rated games and DVD’s off the shelves. GTA V was also at the heart of this decision, but The Warehouse took a consistent approach to these issues, as The Warehouse chief executive Mark Powell explained :

The recently released Grand Theft Auto V, which contains graphic sex scenes and violence towards women from a first person perspective, has acted as a catalyst for our decision to totally exit the R18 games and DVD market.

We considered simply ‘de-ranging’ this product, however that would require us to judge the merits of every R18 product on an ongoing basis, which we are not in a position to do, nor do we see as our role.

The arguments that follow over Target Australia’s decision will rage on about The Warehouse’s decision too but at least The Warehouse displayed a fine degree of consistency in their approach, the same cannot be said for Target Australia. I’m not quite sure why they think it’s fine to sell other content that contains sex and graphic violence but have decided to single out GTA V as not being suitable. The cynical side of me suspects a marketing gimmick to get eyes on the prize. They did indeed get a lot of eyes on their Facebook page and are still getting a lot of eyes on the prize, they are also busily deleting thousands of dissenting voices, many of which are polite and to the point rather than vitriolic and rude.

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Dec 032014
 


The Arcade Gacha Events

The Arcade Gacha Events presents the ultimate GACHA experience! Guaranteed to delight shoppers, The Arcade offers unique gacha prizes from 100 of the grid’s top designers!

Visit in Second Life

So you can’t get into The Arcade Gacha Events because the place is always full. Never fear, there’s plenty of other events to attend in Second Life and a great place to start looking is the Second Life Destination Guide where you should most definitely keep an eye on Editor’s Picks, Winter Attractions and Featured Events.

However, something else you should most definitely keep your eye out for is the SL Christmas Expo 2014, which opens its doors to the public tomorrow.

Xmas Expo Tree

This is an event that is dear to my heart because back in 2012, it’s the place where I discovered The Dwarfins!

Dwarfins

The expo also held discussion panels, where creators talked to in front of a live studio audience.

Cinders Vale Jaimy Hancroft Judy Chestnut

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Dec 022014
 

In a galaxy far far away …. you know the drill! Details are starting to emerge about the 2015 Sci-Fi convention in Second Life, which is an event that is also part of the Relay For Life fundraising efforts in Second Life. The event will take place between February 20th to March 1st. The theme will take the build into Space.. yes the final frontier :

you asked for it .. You’ve got it …. SPACE! The Final Frontier!

From 1000m to 1200m up, build your booth in…. SPACE!

This could be interesting and challenging. The general theme is that of a future Sci-Fi resort but the organisers do explain that the theme is a guideline. Registrations for the event are live and information can be found here. The basics are :

Basic Plot – Free
30 x 30 206 prims, 30 scripts

Slip Me Some Scripts – L$250
One time script bump on any parcel size of 5 extra scripts

Bronze Sponsor – L$4000
35 x 35 280 prims, 50 scripts
Basic Sponsor bonuses including logo on website plus 2 premium perks

Silver Sponsor – L$8000
35 x 35 280 prims, 60 scripts
Basic Sponsor bonuses including logo on website plus 4 premium perks

Gold Sponsor – L$12000
40 x 40 366 prims, 60 scripts
Basic Sponsor bonuses including logo on website plus 6 premium perks

Platinum Sponsor – L$16000
40 x 40 366 prims, 70 scripts
Basic Sponsor bonuses including logo on website plus all premium perks & 1 custom perk (within reason)

Titanium Sponsor – L$20000
40 x 40 366 prims, 80 scripts
All Sponsor bonuses including Convention Gala in your honor, logo on website plus all chosen premium perks & 2 pick your own perks (within reason)

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Nov 292014
 

Leaving The Subway

Today I spent some time wandering around the Geeks n’ Nerds Fair. So the first thing to deal with is, what on earth is Geeks n’ Nerds? Well I’ll let the event organisers explain :

Now, what is the Geeks ‘n’ Nerds Fair? It’s an event that will be hosted by Wimey for amazing stores to showcase all things geeky, nerdy, and over all amazing that in all honesty, even though there’s a high demand for it in Second Life, There’s just not enough to meet this ever growing popular theme.

Each store will create at least one new item to fit the over all theme of the fair. It can be anything from sciences, literature, popular TV shows, fandoms, whatever you think that best represents the spirit of this wonderful theme.

The event for the year of 2014 will take place from Nov. 24th, to Dec. 10th.

As is usual with Second Life events, it’s a busy affair but as we’re a few days into it, it’s not as hectic as it would have been during the first couple of days. This means you can walk around the fair and avoid that feeling of treading in treacle.

Geeks n' Nerds Fair

The roll call of those who are displaying their wares was announced in a blog post on the Geeks n’ Nerds website. That blog post also tells us a bit more about the nature of the event as well as the theme :

Every designer will put forth at least one item that has to do with the theme, something magical and amazing, so there’s no doubt that no matter /how/ you see yourself, there will be something there for you! From the gamers to the scientist, to the literary book worms, we’ve got you covered.

The event itself is set in a rather stunning Sci-Fi location. You arrive in a subway, make you way through the turnstyles and up the stairs, where you find wide streets populated with skyscrapers.

Police Car

However the streets are also adorned with futuristic vehicles and items, such as a Gullwing style police car that appears to have been called to respond to an airborne biohazard.

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Nov 292014
 

Danger In Darkened Second Life

I decided to return to the land of Britannia, after hearing that winter festivities were taking place. I have been to this strange land before. However my previous visit did not prepare me for what I would find on this visit. There I was wandering around the streets of Britannia, looking for ice skating, when I found myself in a darkened alley. However this was no ordinary darkened alley, this was a darkened alley where I discovered a covered body which had clearly been the victim of murder most foul!

Scrooge & Marley Shop

There was no sign of the authorities so I decided that it was my duty as Detective Dwarfin, to investigate what had happened. I found myself outside a debt collection agency of Scrooge & Marley. Peering through the window I could see a respectable looking gentleman busily working away and so I decided to venture inside to see if I could discover any clues regarding the foul deed.

Scrooge

Unfortunately the gentleman was not quite so respectable in his manner once I entered. “Bah Humbug” he screeched at me, ushering me out of the building and warning me not to meddle in affairs I had no business meddling in.

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Nov 282014
 

Inara Pey has a post up regarding the new DX Exchange marketplace for Second Life : DX Exchange offers SL Marketplace alternative. The post details a lot of the ins and outs of the new Marketplace but it also points out some of the challenges facing DX Exchange.

The DX Marketplace has an aim :

It is our ambition to create a special place for Pro designers, who make good quality goods, of their own creation to display their collection. A place for them to stand out from the crowd of products and designers inSL.

For the customers, it has to be a tidy, well organized place where they can be sure to find only goods of ‘good standing’.

From a merchant point of view Inara states :

all goods can be sold at 0% commission for the time being (commission will eventually be 4%)

I’m not convinced that undercutting the commission from the SL Marketplace by 1% is really a selling point because commission is only due when an item is sold. I’m sure merchants are happy to pay an extra 1% commission, which in reality costs them nothing, for volume of sales. The reason commission doesn’t really cost merchants anything is because they know if they make a sale that commission is due, so therefore they build that into their pricing. Customers pay the commission in all reality, not merchants. Obviously commission will dictate pricing in many ways, but 5% for free listing is pretty low already. There’s not much wiggle room here.

This would be different if listing fees existed, but they don’t.

However Inara does point out something about DX Exchange’s Marketplace that is interesting :

There are some important points to note about this site when compared to something like the SL Marketplace. In particular, the engine used to power DX Exchange is Magento, and the stores within it are pretty much self-contained e-commerce sites contained within the DX Marketplace “wrapper”. This is important on two counts:

  • Merchants have access to virtually the full range of Magento e-commerce tools. These include not just product listing and sales reports, but options such as customer tracking, , creating and generating custom reports, running a store newsletter and / or blog, a range of CMS functions, setting custom search terms for product finding, and so on. In fact, far too much for a review such as this to cover.

  • Each store actually stands as its own e-commerce site, with its own dedicated URL (if people want to use it), its own shopping cart and its own checkout.

I believe that DX Exchange’s advantage may well be in those dedicated URL e-commerce sections rather than as a direct competitor to the SL Markeplace as a marketplace on its own.

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Nov 272014
 

Originally, during the Alpha period, the grid was known as Lindenworld. As we were getting ready to launch the Beta, we decided we needed a name that would convey the expansiveness, involvement and complexity we hoped would characterize this world as it grew. We started by debating the merits of a ‘place’ name versus a ‘descriptive’ name. We believed a place name would give people a sense of destination, and possibly some added layer of meaning. And we thought a descriptive name would help people understand this new concept of a shared, 3D collaborative space.

We had a lot of ideas for place names — one of my favorites was Sansara, which was not only euphonic, but had an interesting meaning in the original Sanskrit, meaning roughly ‘ever changing world’. Ultimately, though, we chose to go with a descriptive name, and looked at many derivatives of Terra, Viva, and life. We kept coming back to Life2, and then landed on Second Life as more interesting, more evocative and more what we hoped the world could become as it evolved and grew to be as big as life.

And that’s how it came about! – Robin Linden, former VP of Marketing and Community Development

Second Life grew out of Linden World and it landed with Da Boom. Da Boom in this case being the first region to be born in Second Life.

Da Boom Linden Playground

This quickly grew to sixteen regions :

Da Boom, Ritch, Zoe, Stanford, Federal, Freelon, Minna, Natoma, Taber, Welsh, Clyde, Hawthorne, Shipley, Clara, Varney and Stillman. Those sims are all still there by the way and you can happily explore them.

The first resident, Steller Sunshine, was a busy bee and there’s a climbable beanstalk in Welsh.

Climable Beanstalk

Taber is the home of Fairchang Park which offers freebies and has a lot of old original character to it.

Fairchang Park

The park is also dedicated to Garth Fairchang and there is a bench there with his name on it.

Garth Fairchang Bench

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