Fantasy Faire 2017 LitFest – Tolkien Day, Seanan McGuire & More

Caldeonia Skytower Reads

One of my favourite recent additions to Fantasy Faire has been the literary festival; LitFest and this will be held again this year with a very packed schedule over the 10 days of Fantasy Faire.

LitFest involves talks by authors, creative writing sessions, discussions, performances, open mic sessions, storytelling, poetry, tours, writing challenges and much more.

Saffia Widdershins Listens

Author Seanan McGuire will be a featured guest. Seanan is the author of the October Daye and Incryptid urban fantasies.

April 25th will be Tolkien Day, with the work of J.R.R. Tolkien being celebrated. Previous Fantasy Faires have featured Pratchett day, celebrating the work of Terry Pratchett and Shakesepeare day, celebrating the work of Shakespeare, no great mystery there.

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Fantasy Faire 2017 Quest – Farion The Pixie Needs Your Help!

Gwarda And The King

Many would say that the whole of Fantasy Faire 2017 is a quest, indeed I’ve had many a quest at past Fantasay Faire locations without actually being in the official quest area.

However there will be an official quest this year, and this one is The Bard Queen’s Song, which involves Farion The Pixie realising that his boss, The Bard Queen, has been missing for a bit longer than usual and this makes Farion realise something may very well be amiss.

FARION SUNBREEZE IS A PIXIE WITH A PROBLEM.

His boss has gone missing and he (and The Lads) have come to the conclusion that, while she’s been known to do this sort of thing before, something’s not right about this one. Were Farion a noodle seller from Kakushi Pasu this wouldn’t be a problem, but Farion (and The Lads) work for the Bard Queen – and an absent Bard Queen is bad news for the Fairelands.

Farion (and the lads, although they are not quite as keen as Farion) would like a bit of help finding out what has happened to The Bard Queen.

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Fantasy Faire 2017 Takes A Look At The Sponsors

An Image Should Be Here

Fantasy Faire 2017 is just two days away and Sonya Marmurek has been busily publishing a number of posts in which she speaks to sponsors of the event.

Unicorns

These posts are very interesting because they give you an idea of the wide and varied designs and use cases of Second Life in terms of Fantasy, the obvious ones such as roleplaying, skins and building and then use cases you may not initially associate because they go beyond Fantasy, such as animations and dances.

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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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Jem Alexander Brings Some Reality To Virtual Reality Discussion

Jem Alexander over at Develop has published a two part look at Virtual Reality, where we are now and where we go next. These posts are excellent in terms of the reality they bring to the discussion of virtual reality. Part 2 also features a few quotes from Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg, I’ll come to that later.

Part 1 : VR Check-In Where are we now focuses on developers. The article starts by pointing out that the hype cycle has cooled somewhat, although developers are still very excited, we’re not there yet and it’s a slow ride.

Part of the issue is that there are different headsets and hardware requirements, this is a challenge, but not a showstopper for developers. An arguably larger issue is that hardware remains expensive and then there’s the issue of room space.

Lukas Roper, a freelance games developer seems to think the choice of hardware is good as it will improve the quality of VR experiences, but he is also quoted as saying :

“However, as much as engine developers and headset manufacturers present supporting a headset as a simple task, it isn’t, and for each platform you support, you have separate issues to consider.”

Eventually we will need standards regarding hardware so that developers and users can get similar experiences, but early competition to set those standards can definitely be good.

In terms of room space, developers seem to be keen on the idea of seated and room scale experiences, they will of course be different experiences and this is summed up well by Owen O’Brien, CCP Newcastle’s Executive Producer on EVE: Valkyrie when he says :

“I don’t think large audience size and bespoke VR experience have to be mutually exclusive. Not everyone has enough space for room scale of course, but equally you can create a bespoke VR experience that is seated. It totally depends on the market you are going after. At CCP we are pushing forward on both fronts, with EVE: Valkyrie being the seated experience and Sparc our standing experience.“

I agree and a one size fits all solution would be limiting for VR.

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