Jun 132016
 

Casper Warden

Linden Lab have blogged;  Casper Warden of CasperVend Collecting Donations to Support Victims of Orlando Shooting :

In light of the tradegy that struck Orlando nighclub, Pulse this past weekend, Casper Warden of CasperVend has set up a kiosk in his mainstore to collect donations for the GoFundMe set up by Equality Florida to benefit and support the victims of this horrific event.

When I visited, Casper was actually there, but I didn’t want to bother him, he was doing something with the sign in the picture, which also acts as a collection kiosk.

Pulse Nightclub Fundraiser

Casper plans to donate the funds raised to the Equality Florida GoFundMe page. which has been created by Ida Vishkaee Eskamani, a Development Officer with Equality Florida, she resides in Orlando, Florida.  People can of course donate directly on that page if they prefer, rather than inworld but you want be able to donate Linden Dollars on the GoFundMe page of course.

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Jun 112016
 

Kevin With Guitar

Last night I visited High Fidelity to watch Kevin M Thomas perform live. Kevin is not new to performing live music in virtual worlds, he has been performing in Second Life since 2007, see my previous blog post for more details.

Arriving at the location I was informed by way of a pop up that my LOD settings had been reduced due to the complexity of the scene, which is a nice touch. LOD means Level Of Detail, which will dictate what I can see and from how far away I can see objects.

Live Music In High Fidelity

I had not had to mess with my LOD settings for a while in High Fidelity so it took me a while to find them and this is exemplified in the image above, Kevin’s Guitar does not appear in this shot. I would advise people to stick with the reduced LOD settings in general in a situation like this, but I wanted to take some snapshots so I wanted to tweak those settings.

What we can see in the above picture is Kevin’s avatar and on the screen, the actual band, who were all in a room together to perform. This provided an excellent perspective to what exactly was going on here and highlighted the fact that real people were very much involved in the performance.

The Real band

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Jun 102016
 

Kevin M Thomas is a name that should be familiar to fans of live music in Second Life. Kevin has been performing in Second Life since 2007 and has an inworld group with over 7,000 fans.

Being a musician of course is a portable skill and Kevin is taking advantage of that portable skill by taking his performances to other platforms. Today Kevin will be performing at a music jam event at 15:30 PDT in High Fidelity at hifi://open. That’s 23:30 British Summer Time … I think!

Kevin recently spoke to Caitlyn Meeks, Director of Content for High Fidelity and Caitlyn has posted some of that conversation in a blog post : Live Performance in High Fidelity.

There are some great points in this blog post and one of them is an issue I’ve raised before, the potential for Worldwide reach in virtual worlds, Kevin says :

Performing in VR requires incredible energy as a performer as you do not normally get the fan feedback as you would in real life, however the payoff is greater as you can build a much larger fan base in VR as no one is limited by where they live to attend a show.

Worldwide reach doesn’t just cover musicians, back in March I blogged : Comedian Sami Shah Exemplifies The Advantages Of Virtual World Reach. Storytellers, artists and film makers can all build reach via Virtual Worlds and as we move forward, more immersive Virtual Reality environments.

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Jun 092016
 

Spoonful of Sugar

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, as well all know. A Spoonful of Sugar Festival 2016 also has links to medicine, it’s a Second Life based event to benefit Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders.

The event will run from September 9th – 25th and the festival organisers are now accepting applications for participation :

Due to the overwhelming positive response to this event we expect the spaces to go quickly and many have already been filled. Spaces are filled on a first come first serve basis.

To learn more about the event, you may go to the home page and watch the video so you can get a feel of what you are getting involved in.

MSF/Doctors Without Borders is thrilled we are doing this and very excited and impressed by our ‘community without borders’ here in SL and how we seek to use our time to the benefit of so many worthy causes.

The website has plenty of information about the festival, about the organisers and about MSF, some of the names will be familiar indeed, for example Harper Beresford is involved as blogger manager and I really need to ask Harper how she manages to fit so many hours in a day because she works so hard for so many Second Life events. Continue reading »

Jun 092016
 

Over at Giant Bomb Janine Hawkins has published an excellent post : Guest Column: My Mother’s Games. The byline of the article sums things up very nicely :

Instead of flipping through photo albums to reminisce, guest contributor Janine Hawkins loads up her late mother’s saved games.

The name Janine Hawkins will be familiar to some of you, Janine’s pseudonym, Iris Ophelia, may be more familiar as that’s the name she used when she wrote for New World Notes.

The article itself takes a moving and extremely interesting look at the games Janine’s Mom played and the memories those saved games bring back to Janine.  The games listed include Journey, Dragon Age II, Dragon Age : Inquisition, The Sims and Second Life, which as we all know, isn’t a game but fits nicely into the article.

When it came to Second Life, Janine did not login to her Mother’s account to see where she had last been, she instead took a look at her Mother’s art folder and shares a screenshot from there on the Giant Bomb article. Janine explains :

So I didn’t log in to her account and take a screenshot of her avatar as she left it for this article. Instead went into her art folder, and picked a piece of hers to share. Her experience with Second Life isn’t about her game state or where she left off, it’s about what she made.

Janine’s Mother found Second Life to be an excellent avenue for her artistic expression, an expression that had been stifled somewhat earlier in her life.

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Jun 082016
 

An image should be here

Episode 38 of The Drax Files : World Makers takes us to the world of Second Life fashion in the shape and form of the wonderfully inspiring story of Eboni Khan, owner of The House of Hucci brand.

Eboni simply radiates throughout the episode as she tells us how she overcame a rather large degree of adversity to prosper inside and outside of Second Life.

Outside Hucci

Eboni, a single Mom went to a Management Information School and progressed to a job as an IT Manager. Unfortunately, Eboni was laid off and it was then that Second Life and Eboni’s creative skills came to the fore. Eboni explains :

If it wasn’t for Second Life, I don’t know how I would have made it through the recession.

Eboni points out that Second Life has a low barrier to entry, which is more true today than it was many years ago because with the Second Life Marketplace, you don’t even need to own a plot of land to start selling your wares.

An Image Should Be Here

Eboni also discusses how it’s volume of sales that provides her with an income she can live on. Most items in Eboni’s store cost around a dollar, so you can quickly see that Eboni sells a lot of items and that there’s a market in Second Life that consists of plenty of people who are willing to engage in microtransactions.

Hucci Counter

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Jun 082016
 

Hilary Clinton HQ

When Bixyl Shuftan blogged about The Trump Manor over at SL Newser back in early April I doubt he realised the chain of events he had unleashed. Bixyl’s post came to the attention of publications with a reach far beyond Second Life.

Kotaku picked up the news with Patricia Hernandez writing Donald Trump’s Second Life Mansion Is Owned By An Anime School Girl

Outside Hilary HQ

Second Life is of course a dynamic place, plots change and twist on a regular basis and this has been exemplified beautifully by a post yesterday from Hamlet Au over at New World Notes : Donald Trump’s Second Life Mansion Replaced by Hillary HQ.

Yes that’s right, the plot that once housed Trump Manor now has new owners and it’s out with The Donald and in with Hillary!

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Jun 072016
 

Saint Leo University

Back in February 2010, Jeffrey R. Young published an article on The Chronicle Of Higher Education : After Frustrations in Second Life, Colleges Look to New Virtual Worlds. The article, as the title suggests, delved into areas of frustration for educators such as performance, navigation, ease of use and :

Plus, a lot of decidedly nonacademic activity goes on in Second Life, and it’s difficult to limit access so that only students can enter a classroom there. Online vandalism is so common that there’s a name for it (“griefing”), and it’s easy to stumble into areas designed for virtual sex that is, ahem, graphic.

Jeffrey makes a far point about griefing but I’m sure that part of the reason his article rubbed many Second Life users up the wrong way was due to the complaint about nonacademic activity. Second Life was not created as an education product.

National University of Singapore

A very interesting and very telling point from Jeffrey’s article though was the willingness of educators to look at alternatives, continue with Second Life and persevere with the goal of virtual education :

What surprised me the most was that, despite these challenges, educators appear more interested than ever in the idea of teaching in video-game-like realms. A group of college folks interested in virtual environments organized by Educause, the higher-education-technology organization, has a growing membership. Tellingly, though, it recently changed its name from the Second Life group to the Virtual Worlds group, in part reflecting an eagerness to find alternatives.

I was actually subscribed to the mailing list at the time when the change of name was made from Second Life to Virtual Worlds. This wasn’t solely due to educators wanting to explore other virtual worlds, there was also the issue of Linden Lab’s branding policy regarding the use of the Second Life name at the time, but many welcomed the move to discuss and explore alternative virtual worlds.

Virtual Universtiy of Edinburgh

This week Jeffrey has published another article on The Chronicle of Higher Education regarding Second Life, Virtual Worlds and education : Remember Second Life? Its Fans Hope to Bring VR Back to the Classroom.  The headline and opening text is likely to rub Second Life users up the wrong way. Jeffrey has experience of this as he discussed his 2010 article in the more recent article :

In 2010 I wrote an article for The Chronicle pointing out that some colleges were moving away from Second Life, arguing that the virtual world hadn’t lived up to the hype. I got more hate mail for that article than for anything else I’d ever done. And in one of the strangest moments of my journalism career, I was invited to discuss that article in a forum within Second Life called Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable.

As we can see from the link to the discussion, Jeffrey got a hostile reaction. I will say at this point that disagreeing with Jeffrey is fine, but sending him hate mail is not. Second Life users have hopefully grown thicker skins by now.

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Jun 022016
 

Dwarfins

I remember the day well, I was walking around the Christmas Expo back in December 2012 when I stumbled across a store called Dwarfins. The store was full of, well, Dwarfins and I totally fell head over heels for these little creatures. Breedables were all the rage in Second Life and here was another one, but in such a fantasy form they turned my head.

This week the unfortunate news has been brought to my attention, Dwarfins will be closing this month. Judy Chestnut has announced :

We are sad to announce that Dwarfins is closing their doors.

For the past 3 1/2 years we have loved growing the Dwarfins game with all of you and we will miss you and the Dwarfins tremendously, but have found that we no longer have the time to put into their development that they deserve.

I have had many an adventure as a Dwarfin and will hopefully continue to have many more, despite the closure. I’ve been to bars.

Dwarfins Bar Brawl

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Jun 012016
 

For far too long, Virtual Worlds have been lumped into the gaming category, when they are more than games. There are games within Virtual Worlds, but Virtual Worlds are not just games.

The user generated content aspect and potential of Virtual Worlds has also for far too long, been overlooked or treated with contempt. However as the Virtual Reality hype cycle keeps gaining traction, people are finally starting to talk about more than games.

This brings me on to two articles I’ve been reading today, one about a platform called ROBLOX, which I will confess I’d never heard of before but I’m glad that I now have and the other is about AltspaceVR, which I have heard about before and I’m pleased to see that AltspaceVR is making interesting strides. There are differences with the approaches of these platforms, but they both seem to agree that the future is social.

Before I highlight the article on ROBLOX, it’s probably a good idea to mention what ROBLOX is, so I’ll quote their blurb :

ROBLOX is the best place to Imagine with Friends™. With the largest user-generated online gaming platform, and over 15 million games created by users, ROBLOX is the #1 gaming site for kids and teens (comScore). Every day, virtual explorers come to ROBLOX to create adventures, play games, role play, and learn with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3D environment.

ROBLOX founder, co-created and CEO, David Baszucki, has posted an article on The Huffington Post : Why Co-Experience Is the Ultimate Killer App for Virtual Reality. David is an enthusiast, early on he talks about The Metaverse, Snow Crash and more. David talks about how storytelling has evolved and continues to evolve.

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