Jun 242015
 

The Meet The Lindens interview with Oz Linden is now available and can be found here : https://youtu.be/lPmpchJ6yfM. I often embed YouTube videos but this one is an hour long and you’re better off viewing it on YouTube at that running time.

Now in my blog post about Oz’s interview I suggested that Oz had teased us with a big hint about future developments for Second Life :

What about the future you may be wondering? Well one thing is for sure, Linden Lab do not sound like they are treading water when it comes to Second Life and Oz teased the audience by suggesting that they have some new features in the pipeline for Second Life that we would genuinely not believe they would ever do.

Now if you want to get to that part, it’s just after the thirty minute mark. I would hope that a lot of you would like to listen to the full interview, I found it very interesting, others are reporting they didn’t, your mileage may vary.

Xiola Linden

Today’s meet the Lindens is once again a buy one, get one free affair. Xiola Linden, community manager extraordinaire will be there.

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Jun 232015
 

Elves Bearing Gifts

SL12B, like previous Second Life birthday celebrations, is in many ways an odd event. Odd, because unlike many events, the main focus at SL12B is on entertainment and discussion, that’s what most blog posts will be covering and that’s understandable because there’s a hell of a lot of entertainment and discussion.

However one should not forget about The Exhibitors. That link takes you to a list of exhibitors, there are a lot of them. The exhibitors are worth visiting because they demonstrate beautifully the wide array of creativity and interests that make up Second Life.

Whereas my exhibitor visits may seem a little narrow, and largely fantasy based, I am looking at other exhibits, honest! I mean I could not spend all day on Serina Juran’s Elven circle wondering if the gifts are a trap!

Medieval Fantasy Grid Crier

No, I moved on to my chief Elf’s exhibit for The Medieval Grid Crier, where you will find lots of information about medieval fantasy roleplay in Second Life.

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Jun 222015
 

Oz Linden Talks To Saffia

Oz Linden talked to Jessica Lyon of Firestorm Viewer fame and Saffia Widdershins, of Prim Perfect fame at SL12B this evening. Now if you want the full skinny on the lowdown, you’ll have to wait for Prim Perfect to upload the video, which should not be too far in the future. However, if you want to read some frantically scribbled notes, that may contain inaccuracies, carry on reading here.

Oz discussed current issues, past issues and future issues in what was an extremely engaging interview.

I crashed a few times whilst taking my notes, but I’ll try not to start any blasphemous rumours. However crashing is a good place to start as that was part of the discussion. Oz explained how in the past he had worked for products where a 1% crash rate was considered pretty bad, however the crash rate for Second Life is higher than that and the panel agreed that Second Life users seem to accept these crash rates.

However Oz went to great lengths to point out that Linden Lab do not accept that crash rates should be as high as they are and they have been working on improvements and continue to work on improvements.

One point that Second Life users should bear in mind is that some viewer side crashes are out of the control of Linden Lab, for example, when someone has a graphics card that suffers from a memory leak. This is an issue that the people who create the drivers need to fix, and that’s not within Linden Lab’s remit.

The wide range of hardware that Second Life residents use is of course problematic when it comes to bug fixing, but Oz gave a tip on how to improve one’s Second Life experience, it’s a tip that I heard many many moons ago in relation to Microsoft Windows. Whereas a funky new graphics card can improve your experience in Second Life, a cheaper option may well be to increase your RAM.

Oz also discussed how new features in Second Life are received by the community, some people love them, some people hate them, some people are indifferent. However, Oz pointed out that whether people are criticising or praising a new feature, the level of intensity shows that people really care about Second Life. There was also a discussion of how some features introduced by Linden Lab won’t be appreciated by everyone because they simply don’t have the hardware to take advantage of them. A glaring example here is of course materials, whereby if you can’t see the new texture types, then you won’t see the enhanced texture on your screen. The beauty of this though is that people will still see textures as they’ve always seen them.

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Jun 222015
 

Welcome Area SL12B

Second Life’s Twelfth Birthday celebrations kicked off with a bang yesterday and it’s going to continue with bangs and booms for the rest of this week. Today’s Highlights include a live interview with Oz Linden, Linden Lab’s director of Open Development and generally considered to be the main man when it comes to Second Life these days.

Oz is based in Linden Lab’s Boston office and will be at the Auditorium at the Astound Sim at 1pm SLT.

Landing Area SL12B

Other highlights include live music, DJ’s, opportunities to meet designers, artists and much more. The agenda is packed, you can find out more by going to the main website : http://www.slcommunitycelebration.info/

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Jun 192015
 

Tickets

Second Life can at times be a very welcome distraction from Real Life. I’ve spent the last few days scratching my head regarding the audacity of Camelot, the operator of The National Lottery in the UK. In 2013 they raised the price of a ticket from a quid to two quid. Now they’ve told us that from this October we’ll have less chance of winning any of the cash prizes and in the most bizarre twist, they keep telling us that these changes are exciting!

Meanwhile the lottery regulator, explain why they approved the latest changes :

The Commission also considered the impact of the proposed changes on the odds of winning, and how this may be perceived as a negative change by players. Camelot’s research indicated that the majority of players are more interested in prizes than the odds of the game. The Commission noted the balance between odds rising on individual prize tiers with the increased overall chance of winning a prize and the improvement of the odds of becoming a millionaire, as well as the fact the same percentage of sales as before will go to the prize fund.

Having considered all of these points we were satisfied that permitting the changes to Lotto would be consistent with our statutory duty to protect players.

The regulator were convinced that people would not care about having less chance of winning a cash prize? The new prize is a free go! Seriously, you could not make this up.

Anyway, to save my blood from boiling, I welcomed Linden Lab’s blog post : Free Special-Edition Second Life 12th Birthday Avatar & Snapshot Contest. I then promptly went to Hairy Hippo Fun Land, because it’s a great location, with or without birthday avatars.

Sausages

Now once you’ve got your avatar, it’s time to explore. Hairy Hippo Fun Land is in the Bay City vicinity and whereas it’s a lot of fun to roam the streets of Bay City and terrify residents, it’s nice to actually explore Hairy Hippo Fun Land.

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Jun 182015
 

In The Shadows With Nara Malone

I’m catching up with Nara Malone in OpenSim. Nara had told me that there have been some good developments with Non Player Characters (NPC’s) in OpenSim and had asked me if I’d like to take a look. I had agreed, a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn’t managed to login to OpenSim until today. Fortunately Nara was willing to forgive me for being late.

I did try and go off on my own to look at NPC’s but I ran into a few errors, which were more down to me not understanding how OpenSim works than problems with OpenSim. In order to create and use NPC’s in OpenSim the land needs certain permissions and so does the user. However Nara quickly came to my rescue and took me to a suitable location, where I was introduced to Neo Cortex.

Neo knows his stuff and rezzes a camera, which he asks me to touch, I do so and receive a notecard with some settings, this is somewhat important. Then I am asked to touch the camera again, at which point a double of my Avatar appears in NPC form. This is quite impressive, but it’s static and not doing much. However this was a very quick process, less than a minute for me to be able to rez a NPC version of me.

Double Trouble

However the new me isn’t doing a fat lot, it doesn’t move, it looks like a mannequin. However Neo and Nara want to shoe me more and they both suggest that I should engage in dancing with NPC’s.

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Jun 172015
 

First United Church Of Christ

I’ve blogged about places of worship in virtual worlds before, for example looking at the challenges of virtual worship for places such as The Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life and looking at Giulio Prisco’s more unconventional views on types of religion in virtual worlds. The latter also looked briefly at the tongue in cheek First Church Of Rosedale.

One observation on worship in a virtual world such as Second Life is that for a place that is considered in many quarters a den of iniquity, it does quite well when it comes to a religious presence. This is exemplified well by The First United Church of Christ And Conference Centre.

However more to the point, what struck me recently was the news that First UCC SL will be at Booth 834 at the General Synod in Cleveland Ohio. The General Synod runs from June 26th-30th.

First UCC Notices

The mission of First UCC SL is :

First United Church of Christ and Conference Center is founded and exists to be the voice of Progressive Christianity in virtual universes. We live out the United Church of Christ notion of extravagant welcome by providing for all who desire a place to worship and who seek a community of love and acceptance.

We are proud to be a part of the world’s fastest growing LGBT-welcoming church movement, the Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ.

So this is quite a progressive outlook in many ways.

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Jun 162015
 

Linden Lab have launched an interesting project : The “What Second Life Means to Me” Video Share Project. The blog post announcing the project states :

We’ve been having a lot of fun with no end in sight to the good times – but you can’t turn 12 without a little pride and reflection. Second Life has been going strong for a dozen wonderful years and there’s a ton of things happening to celebrate. You’ll see more to come here in the Featured News Blog – but we wanted to stop and ask – “What is the meaning of Second Life?” To you – that is! This question may sound daunting – but the truth is, tapping into what makes “SL” so special to us as individuals and communities is a really amazing exercise in retrospection and self-discovery. This is your world – so what does it mean to you?

Whether you just got started, have been onboard for the full dozen years, or fall somewhere in between – we’d love to see a glimpse of your story in the “What Second Life Means to Me” video project. You don’t have to be a master of machinima to participate.

Linden Lab have a couple of suggestions as to what sort of software can be used for the project :

You can use something like Camtasia or Fraps to make some great stuff relatively quickly, and both have free or trial versions. Or, you can film yourself talking directly to your web or digital camera and telling your story. This doesn’t have to be a strictly inworld project – because we understand that Second Life impacts our offline lives as well.

I’ll add to that list and suggest people might want to give Open Broadcaster Software a whirl, which is free and open source. I’ve used this software myself for trying the art of recording virtual world videos.

As for how to share your videos, that’s explained in the blog post :

From a few seconds to a few minutes – just kick it off with this – “In Second Life, my name is …” and share your story from there! Once you have something set – share it! Upload it to YouTube and embed it on this forum thread. Together, we’ll watch the thread for new stories over the coming weeks – it should be awesome. If you prefer to express yourself in writing – share what Second Life means to you with a reply to the thread.

Now to give you a flavour of what you may want to submit, the blog post includes six videos, however they are all short, at around 90 seconds each, but they do manage to pack quite a punch.

Standing On A Fence With Xiola Linden

Xiola Linden is first up, explaining how she came to Second Life from a popular journalling site. I used to blog on a popular journalling site in the early 2000’s, indeed I still have an account or two on one.

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Jun 152015
 

Linden Lab have announced that they are Concluding the Authorized L$ Reseller Pilot Program :

In 2013, we introduced a pilot program for Authorized Linden Dollar (L$) Resellers. This pilot program was designed to give Second Life Residents additional options for purchasing Linden Dollars, particularly for those based outside the US.

Since then, we have expanded the payment options for Second Life users, and today, you can easily purchase L$ in more countries than ever before, using a credit card, PayPal, or Skrill, which supports a wide range of payment methods. We’ve found that these options support the vast majority of Second Life users, and we have therefore made the business decision to close the Authorized Linden Dollar Reseller pilot program.

We are contacting program participants directly to detail the next steps for them, and they will have approximately six weeks to sell off their L$ inventory.

As of August 1, 2015, the Authorized L$ Reseller pilot program will be closed, and the LindeX will be the only authorized place to purchase L$.

What this means is, if you have been purchasing Linden Dollars from companies other than Linden Lab, you will not be allowed to do so from August 1st 2015.

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Jun 132015
 

YouTube have announced that they will enter the live streaming arena this summer with YouTube Gaming. The announcement states :

YouTube Gaming is built to be all about your favorite games and gamers, with more videos than anywhere else. From “Asteroids” to “Zelda,” more than 25,000 games will each have their own page, a single place for all the best videos and live streams about that title. You’ll also find channels from a wide array of game publishers and YouTube creators.

The blog post also states :

Live streams bring the gaming community closer together, so we’ve put them front-and-center on the YouTube Gaming homepage. And in the coming weeks, we’ll launch an improved live experience that makes it simpler to broadcast your gameplay to YouTube. On top of existing features like high frame rate streaming at 60fps, DVR, and automatically converting your stream into a YouTube video, we’re redesigning our system so that you no longer need to schedule a live event ahead of time. We’re also creating single link you can share for all your streams.

So this site will have over 25,000 titles, will allow live streaming, but will it allow Second Life? Before people say “Second Life is not a game“, pause to see how Second Life content is currently categorised on YouTube.

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