Feb 272015
 
An Image Should Be Here

Spock On The Map

I can remember being in Second Life one evening when there was a lot of kerfuffle going on in group chat urging people to look at Sandbox Cordova on the map. These things happen, I wasn’t taking much notice and then I decided to take a look. The above image was a genuine view of the Second Life map at that time.

The above golden moment was captured by Imnotgoing Sideways. There’s another example over at SLUniverse complete with a little bit of commentary from the moment. The Lindens may not have found it quite as funny as we did.

The Second Life Science Fiction Convention, which runs until March 1st have started to pay their respects to Leonard Nimoy, forever known as Mr Spock.

Farewell Mr Spock

The United Federation Of Planets are putting up signs to mark the memory of Spock.

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Feb 272015
 

Nylon Outfitters

Episode 27 of the excellent Drax Files : World Makers features Nylon Pinkney, a wedding photographer. However a small twist in the introduction informs us that Nylon is a wedding photographer outside of Second Life but not inside it. There’s a clue on why Nylon made that choice later in the video.

Nylon informs us that she makes clothing, accessories and skins, Nylon even informs us that she once made some of the Second Life starter avatars.

Again we see the Second Life avatar and the real person behind that avatar, which is a technique Draxtor Despres uses regularly and to good effect. Seeing and hearing the real person brings an element of realism to the Second Life experience.

We see Nylon at work, hand drawing textures, which Nylon admits aren’t perfect but Nylon also admits that she isn’t looking for perfect and that’s a good point, imperfections often bring something extra to a creation.

Paper Couture

Nylon’s mainstore is Nylon outfitters  and is based on her sim, Tableau. Nylon also has a more upmarket stores known as Paper Couture. There’s also another brand mentioned in this video, the Wrigglesworth residents which is a line for people who, look a tad older than the traditional Second Life avatar.

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Feb 262015
 

Colin Marchon, who currently attends Tisch School of the Arts at New York University for Film and Television Production, has produced an excellent documentary series : Our Technological Identity Crises. The series consists of three short, but very powerful videos :

The videos are short, each one coming in at around five minutes and they are all absolutely fascinating to me. As this blog is largely about virtual worlds I’m going to concentrate on Part 2, but all three are relevant. Part 2 is a good pick though because it has a brief discussion about Second Life as well as aspects that are dear to Second Life users and beyond, terms of service and identity.

The video opens with Federico Pistono, author of Robots Will Steal Your Job But That’s Ok. Federico has a view on life that some will feel is a bit too extreme, he sees his time away from the keyboard not as being in real life, but as being AFK. This is an interesting thought but I find it a tad too technologically based to embrace it myself.

Then the video moves on to augmented reality and an important question arises, if digital representations are going to surround us in the future, what makes the world inside our computers and phones any less real than the physical world? The point here being, I think, that augmented reality will contain digital representations that will be considered more real than the worlds inside computers.

Francesca Ferrando, philosopher of the posthuman, adjunct at faculty at NYU then adds her thoughts. Francesca talks of how we can connect with millions of other people with a body of your own imagination. The body of your own imagination that Francesca is talking about is your avatar. There have been many discussions about how avatars are in many cases an extension of ourselves. Francesca then makes an interesting comment about Second Life :

I’m telling you the truth, the first time my avatar flew in Second Life, I had chills in my physical body.

An interesting perspective. The flight thing is interesting, I was never bowled over by flight in Second Life, but then again I had played games like City Of Heroes before I arrived. On the other hand, when Gene Roddenberry Junior visited Second Life, he was very impressed by the fact that his avatar could fly.

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Feb 252015
 

VortexStrut2

There seems to be an impression that Dwarfins only spend time inside Second Life at taverns of a certain build, taverns that serve mead, taverns that welcome bar brawls or taverns that are frequented by female Dwarfins who will drink you under the table. This is a myth, sometimes Dwarfins step outside of their comfort zone and to exemplify this and tie in with Science Fiction being a theme in the Second Life news this week, I decided to head on down to The Vortex Club in Second Life to strut my funky stuff.

Vortex Club

The Vortex Club is one of Second Life’s oldest clubs and was opened on the 3rd March 2006 by Kris Spade and Gemini Enfield. The current build has a distinct Loki Eliot theme to it. There’s also a distinct Science Fiction theme to the build too, with colourful displays and video screens prominent.

The front of The Vortex?

Moving towards the entrance you can see the lights coming from inside, but your first step through the entrance is a bit of a false dawn.

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Feb 242015
 

UWE Education In Virtual Worlds MA

Linden Lab have issued a blog post in which they ask for Second Life based educators to Share Your Educational Success Stories. The post states :

Are you an educator seeing positive results from using Second Life? We’d love to hear from you! Please join us in this Education Forum thread to share your answers to the following questions:

  1. What educational organization do you represent?
  2. How do you use SL in your educational endeavors?
  3. Most importantly, what positive results have you seen from using SL?

From direct conversations, press coverage, and the like, we’ve heard of a number of organizations seeing positive results using Second Life for education, but we’re always eager to hear more and we hope you’ll add your voice to the thread.

Thanks!

There are many educational organisations using Second Life, I’ve covered a few here myself.

Inside the building

Education should be important by everyone, even if you don’t consider yourself to be a student at this moment in time. The use of virtual worlds in terms of encouraging lifelong learning, helping those who find traditional educational surroundings difficult, encouraging those who find gamification appealing, reaching out to people all over the world and educating educators to utilise virtual world spaces are a small example of some of the concepts that make virtual world learning appealing.

Deep Think Open University

There are of course many other reasons as to why education in a virtual world such as Second Life has advantages and hopefully Linden Lab will be able to solicit good feedback regarding compelling use cases.

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Feb 242015
 

Inside Elinor Caiman Sands Exhibit

Authors outside the virtual world at times pay attention to the virtual world. Terry Pratchett visited once for a talk in a promotion of his book Nation. Science Fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson used to pop into Second Life for a talk or two, dressed as a coyote. I’ve talked, more than once, with Nara Malone who has formed community links with authors in Second Life and beyond into OpenSim, especially with projects such as The HyperGrid Stories Project.

Over the weekend whilst roaming around the Science Fiction Convention 2015 in Second Life I stumbled across the works of another author, UK based SciFi & Fantasy author Elinor Caiman Sands.

Elinor has a small exhibit in the Risa sim at the conference, featuring promotion of her books and some Second Life based artwork. Elinor is a fan of alligators, I’m not sure how many of them really exist in swamps in the UK, although legend has it that the UK was indeed once a very swampy land. However she does have experience of the British Labour party, so she should be used to people showing their teeth and trying to snap.

At the exhibition four of Elinor’s e-books are promoted :

  • Europa Spring
  • Elinor’s Little Book of Funny Critters
  • The Martian Ascent
  • Mouse About the House

These are all short stories and were published as Kindle editions in 2014.

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Feb 212015
 

Opensim Scifi

OpenSim SciFi may seem like an odd fit at the Second Life Science Fiction Convention, indeed your first thought may well be “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.” However you would be wrong because in a similar fashion to storytellers, SciFi spread across OpenSim and Second Life with the communities working together even if the technologies don’t. I caught up with Lani Global to chat about OpenSim SciFi.

First things first, I had to make sure that Lani wasn’t an evil sith Lord or lady, she frowned and then replied :

I doubt that the OpenSim universe has been conquered as an empire yet, but there are many trying!

However more importantly, how popular is SciFi in OpenSim, this was a question that received a warmer reply :

Sci Fi is probably one of the most popular themes in OpenSim.” Lani told me, she also told me that she has her own Hypergrid enabled OpenSim location “My main region called “Lani” has been enabled for HyperGrid since 2010. It gets about 15,000 unique visitors per year, and about 20% of them are via HyperGrid.

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Feb 212015
 

Vintage Village

A post over at New World Notes caught my eye : Visit in Second Life: In The Hall of the Centaurs, a Masterwork by Acclaimed SL Architect Havit Neox. That post itself links to one from Eddi Haskell : Great Second Life Destinations: Haveit Neox’s Gorgeous New Masterwork- In The Hall Of The Centaurs :

Havit Neox, one of Second Life’s most famous architects, builds fanciful structures and entire cities that employ a wide range of architectural effects. His latest creation, In The Hall of the Centaurs at Second Life’s famous Verdigris City, is another jewel in his crown and a must-see destination.

Hmm, I thought, I better go and see what all the fuss is about. So I did, and the fuss is most certainly worth it, not just for the Hall Of Centaurs, but for the whole sim of Verdigris itself.

Centaur Hall

The Centaur Hall lies on one side of a wooden bridge suspended in the sky and it offers some spectacular views. The building itself is stunning but the design and artwork inside is very much a joy to behold.

Entrance To Centaur Hall

There is, as one would expect, a distinct mystical feel to the surroundings, both inside and outside of the Centaur Hall.

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Feb 212015
 

Magralthea

The 2015 Second Life Science Fiction Convention officially launched earlier this evening and there were no glitches. As a Dwarfin this was unchartered territory for me as I boldly went where no Dwarfin has gone before, to experience space, the final frontier.

New Vegas

The convention, which is part of the Second Life Relay For Life fundraising effort for The American Cancer Society spans six intergalactic sims, the links are the SLURL’s :

The event opened with an opening ceremony at Merciless Ming’s, which is based in Fhloston Paradise, but don’t worry if you missed it, there’s more entertainment planned for today.

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Feb 202015
 

Remnants Of Earth Hangar

In my preparation for Sci-Fi Alliance’s Second Life Science Fiction Convention 2015, which is now open, I decided to get in the mood by visiting some Sci-Fi/Cyberpunk locations. I’ve mentioned this before, but there aren’t as many as I’d like to see. The Destination Guide has a couple of categories, Cyber and Sci-Fi under roleplaying. There aren’t a lot of sims and quite a few appear in both categories.

However one thing I have learnt is that Graves appear to be taking over the universe, but more on that later. The first place I visited was Remnants of Earth, which is a roleplaying location. You arrive in a rather impressive space station of sorts. There you can find plenty of information about the storylines, the factions, join the group, buy content etc.

Remnants Of Earth Streets

Outside you find yourself in a pretty damn impressive futuristic world. I really have trouble taking snapshots of locations that are best served dark and as with all three of the locations I visited, you will get a much better impression if you visit yourself.


Remnants of Earth

Remnants of Earth is a cyberpunk-fantasy role playing game, heavily based around classic pen and paper RPGs and with a focus on dice rolling, stats, MMO-like adventuring, and gathering. RoE takes place on Earth in the year 2130, after humanity has started to leave Earth behind to colonize the stars. Earth is now a crime riddled slumworld. This is it’s story of the Remnants of Earth…

Visit in Second Life

SLURL To Remnants Of Earth : http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Tron/129/78/3066/

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