Dec 302013

The challenge with a review of the year is to try and make it worth reading. There’s a balance between including information and including too much information. This year’s review is largely based on Second Life and my own posts, so there’s plenty of information that I will be missing. For those who want a more in depth review, Inara Pey has been reviewing 2013 too.

For me personally it was a difficult year, Reed, Dee, Izzy and TJ Linden all gave me wonderful support, even when I myself was more than a tad grouchy with them but I do appreciate the efforts they made to accommodate me.

This post is not as long as it looks, if you skip the pictures, links and embedded videos it won’t take as long to read as you may think at first glance. I did consider breaking this down in to different posts, as I did last year. However at the end of the day it is what it is, so it looks like it’s epic in length but it’s really not. However to aid people I’ve decided to go back to HTML school and create a table of contents! Hurrah.


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Oct 292013

Whilst the TOS debate has been raging I’ve been checking out other Linden Lab properties, mostly Versu and Dio. Now one point to note in TOS terms is that Dio is under the same Linden Lab umbrella TOS as Second Life and Desura whilst Versu still currently has its own TOS. I’m not sure what to make of that.

Versu seems to be going well, although there’s still no bloody Android version. Dio on the other hand seems to be struggling for identity.

When Linden Lab launched these products earlier in the year, Versu sounded interesting as an interactive fiction platform with a suggestion that it would be opened up to allow people to create their own stories.

Dio on the other hand didn’t sound too interesting, but when it launched it was surprisingly interesting and had the potential to allow people to create photo albums, interactive stories, text adventure type games, a broad brush but that seems to have changed and it’s now billed as a place to create interactive photo albums. The photo album market is a very competitive area. Dio also isn’t helped by the hard to read text links in the footer, at my age you notice these things!

Of the two Versu currently looks the more vibrant, in August Deidra Kiai announced the release of two new Versu adventures. They were “Office Politics: The Interview” and “Office Politics: The Party“. As opposed to previous Versu titles which were more pride and prejudice era, these adventures are set in the modern day office environment. There’s also a link on Deidra Kiai’s blog to a Dio adventure entitled “Jamey Beanman’s Burrito Quest” which Dio informs me is private or limited access. Maybe you need to be logged in.

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Feb 012013

Ok so I’m enjoying playing around with dio and The Search For Hod Rumble (see previous post for details) is well under way, whether it ever goes from private to public is another matter. My intention with this project is largely to play around with the features and get a good understanding of the platform whilst having fun at the expense of Rod Humble. However, even though I’m only at the start of my project, I have picked up some tips.

Plan your project

There are some really decent and very short tutorials on dio and they are well worth watching, this should help you with get started. However, whatever your project is, it’s worth planning and if you’re plan is interactive fiction, then you definitely need a plan. I advise using tools outside of dio to plan your project, a pen and paper will do along with some good old fashioned flow charts but planning works well, as I’ve discovered when I get into my project and realise I should have done things differently!

You’ll want a plot, then you’ll want a diagram of sorts, really, this is important, although you may have a photographic memory and not need plans and diagrams, for most of us, they are important. After a brief start you will soon realise you are losing track of your characters, rooms and paths if you don’t take notes. Do not be put off by this, taking notes is in the long term a good habit to get into anyway, as I discover the older I get and look back at my VBS and Powershell scripts at work or my LSL scripts in Second Life, where I thought I was too clever to need to comment on what I was doing! Bad move!

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Jan 312013

Laval Industries today announced plans for dio. “We’re only making plans for dio, we only want what’s best for them, we’re only making plans for dio, dio just needs this helping hand” Laval Industires chief development officer told me in a top secret meeting today. Three interactive fiction titles are already in the works.

The Search For Hod Rumble

Hod Rumble, CEO of technology company Lendin Laboratories, has gone missing. Customers of Lendin Laboratories main product, Alternative Existence, haven’t seen hide or hair of Hod Rumble for months. In this compelling story you will get to choose a companion to help you in your search for Hod Rumble and this will determine which storyline you follow.  Companions include:

  • Former CEO and technology pioneer Philip Eladesor.
  • Blogger and author James Amadeus Oh
  • Industry superstar Harper Robins
  • Ace developer and producer Little Bo Bargrass
  • The Lord of Dee … this guy is like Hitchcock, he appears in all his own productions!

As well as different storylines determined by the character, plans are afoot for different storylines within the storylines “This is confusing us too” a developer at Laval Industries confided in me.

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Jan 302013


I must confess that the blurb about dio hadn’t gripped me at all, it looked like another social network, with some funky features but we’ve seen it all before. Versu is the forthcoming Linden Lab project I’ve been looking forward to, that’s the interactive fiction, that’s the creative space that appeals most to me.

However, after using dio, I’ve changed my mind. There’s a lot of potential here and it’s a very diverse place. There are also quite a few Second Life and virtual world users setting up home there already, sneaky bunch aren’t we.


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Jan 302013

Linden Lab have unleashed another new product, this time dio, where you may be able to ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he’s clean. dio has been on the horizon for a while, but now it seems to be cooking on gas and you can see some good commentary on Inara Pey’s blog post and Hamlet Au’s blog post, alternatively you can stick with me for cheesy 80’s rock references, look, someone was going to do it, I’m just taking one for the team and sparing other bloggers the pain of the cheesy references!

There’s also a very hand press release from Linden Lab, which can be read here. I’m still awaiting a reply from Peter Gray from an email from years ago now that I think about it, but one day, you never know. Anyway, what is dio I hear you ask, and no don’t go all 80’s rock again, well not just yet! Where was I? Oh yes, what is dio, well from the press reference Rod Humble is quoted as saying:

dio is a new shared creative space on the web, based around the concept of linked spaces, dio makes it easy and fun to create or visit experiences of all kinds. dio is still in development, and we have deliberately kept the tools as broad as possible, but so far our testers have created a vast range of spaces, from wedding keepsakes, to house tours, to games, to rich media-linked chat rooms about sports and ancient history. I’m really looking forward to seeing what people will create now that dio is more widely available.

I think this is something we’re going to need to see in action to really understand what’s going on, but an interesting part of dio is that there’s talk of being able to earn money, initially via ad revenue and further down the line from creations and what makes this press release more positive, from a Second Life perspective, is that Rod Humble even makes a reference to Second Life in the press release! Hurrah!

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Jan 012013

Back in 2009 Argent Stonecutter created a Jira suggestion that I very much agree with. SVC-6212 Create Master Account Name, Linking to Avatar Names. The idea here is that you’d login to Second Life and then select an avatar name to go inworld with, this would mean linking your alts, which could have benefits for issues such as Mesh uploads, which are currently on an avatar basis, so even though the person behind Ciaran Laval meets the requirements to upload Mesh, my alts don’t, this despite the fact that my alts are known by Linden Lab as they linked them for the cases of being adult verified back in the day when the requirements were more stringent.

I shouldn’t need to have payment info on all my avatars, having payment info on my overall account deals with this. However whereas this has merit for Second Life, it has even more merit now that Linden Lab are releasing new products. Patterns, Creatoverse, Dio and Versu are all Linden Lab products. There are different ways these products are delivered with some aimed at the mobile community and some web based but with Linden Lab producing multiple products doesn’t it make some sense for me to have a Linden Lab account, rather than a product specific account?

Blizzard do this, I have one login for World of Warcraft, the same one works for Diablo III and would also work for Starcraft II. This just makes the process of purchasing products easier, it makes billing easier. I’m already a Linden Lab customer, a bird in the hand and all that.

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Jan 012013

I’m about to embark on a series of posts about accounts, Linden Lab and their forthcoming interactive story of Versu. Inara Pey, with her eye firmly on the ball has noticed that websites have appeared for Dio and Versu. I’m not so much interested in Dio, although I might be once it gets going. However Versu is something I like the look of and I’ve been digging around the website for Versu. At first glance it seems bereft of information, but a closer look reveals that Versu has a cut down version of the Second Life terms and conditions, a  DMCA link and a very handy FAQ.

Now unless that FAQ is some sort of boiler plate FAQ, it reveals some clues to the storyline and content. There are plans for three stories at launch, a ghost story, a romance story and a murder mystery story set in Regency England, so that should be the pre Victorian era of the 1800’s. The murder mystery story appears to be leading the way with information more specific to that story in the FAQ, where we’re informed that you will be able to play a female character, Lucy or Miss Bates.

Now Lucy and Miss Bates are detective characters according to the FAQ, so I would imagine the aim is to solve the crime, however maybe it isn’t and the aim is to fling bread rolls at Mr Quinn. The thing to bear in mind is that the story is interactive with several endings and will develop depending upon the actions you set for your characters, so this is something you can play more than once.

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