Friday, December 02, 2016
Here Be Dragons: New Exhibit by SL Art Pioneer Alpha Auer
Split Screen owner and curator, Dividni Shostakovich, writes about this exhibit: "In a faintly futuristic building, golden dragons roam. Some are Chinese, others are European. Their reflections shimmer beneath them. And on the floor these imaginary beasts walk upon are images from an old map. Come see "from here on there be dragons" by Alpha Auer, one of the most distinctive artists in Second Life. At Split Screen Installation Space until 31 January 2017."
Friday Open Forum: Say Anything As Long As It's Virtual
Long night checking out VR apps with Philip Rosedale and friends last night; still recovering. Start without me!
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Creator of Lost Gardens of Apollo Surprised to Learn His Once-Defunct Sim Now Back in Second Life
Update, 5:35pm: Dane posted further thoughts and thanks to this news in Comments.
So everyone's talking about the reappearance of the Lost Gardens of Apollo, but someone significant didn't know about it until very recently: Dane Zander, the former creator and owner of the Lost Gardens of Apollo, which he reluctantly pulled from Second Life in 2011 for financial reasons.
"I did not sell to Linden Lab," Dane e-mailed me yesterday. "I had no clue they were putting it online again until this morning. I did, however, make inquiries quite some time ago as to whether it still existed (just in case), and it apparently did. But the prices are forbiddingly high for reopening and running a full estate these days so I was not in a position to do so after all. That hasn't changed, unfortunately."
But years after it disappeared from the grid, Linden Lab managed to restore it from a back-up. And so Dane, who hasn't been in Second Life very much (feeling "homeless", as he puts it), returned for quite a surprise:
Flickr of the Day: Avatar Poses as Abstract Art
Another mini-masterpiece from Amona Savira, who modestly describes this as "Two posestands and random poses, weird result". At first glance I actually thought the woman was an abstract 3D sculpture, so perfectly (and weirdly) posed was she, and so lined by shadows that way.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Lost Gardens of Apollo, Classic Virtual Destination, Returns to Second Life Under Linden Lab Ownership
Following a tip from from SL Newser, I'm now flying in a restored version of the soaring Lost Gardens of Apollo, a classic Second Life sim which went defunct around 2011, due in part to the real world housing crisis. It's now back under a new owner with a Linden Lab avatar name, and is listed as "The Lost Gardens of Apollo Historic Build". So if you haven't visited it before, or you have, and missed its absence, click here to see it in its new incarnation.
I've contacted Linden Lab and Apollo's original creator, Dane Zander, for details of this apparent acquisition. Dane did offer to sell it to the company five years ago, but reportedly got no offer then. (Linden Lab does occasionally buy great but defunct or soon-to-be-defunct sims, such as Svarga, the island ecosystem, so they can remain in-world.) And Apollo is definitely historic, created a full decade ago, years before mesh or fancy prims, its high towers and swooping lines showcasing Dane's great artistry building with basic primitives. (Below the break, what it looked like in 2006.)
Back in 2011, Dane described the labor (or maybe torture) of love he went through to keep it open as long as he did, without compromising its appearance -- a painful case study on the challenges of succeeding in a virtual economy driven by profit and consumerism:
Say Hello to Skye, a Brand New Gift Shape from Ample Avi for Second Life Avatars (NWN Partner News)
The Peace on Earth Hunt is an institution in Second Life—not only because it's precariously close to having run for a decade, but also because it has many contributors who have been with it for just as long. NWN sponsoring partner Ample Avi is one such longstanding participant, and this year those who drop by their mainstore location in Pryeri [teleport link] during the month of December will be able to pick up a brand new POE shape for free.
Named Skye, this shape for vanilla SL avatars has a sweet face that pairs well with just about every skin I tested on her. While Ample Avi specializes in full-figured avatar shapes for the most part, designer Xme Xue says that she designed Skye to be a little more "middle-of-the-road". Not to tall and not too short, not too big and not to small, Skye has just enough curve to her to give gift-hunters a good idea of what Ample Avi's all about without being too dramatic in any one direction. Skye also comes mod-copy enabled like Ample Avi's full price shapes, meaning that she can be tweaked and adjusted as much as you like without overwriting the original shape in your inventory.
Peace on Earth Hunt runs from December 1st to December 31st, so even with all the seasonal commitments that often come with the month there should be plenty of time to snap Skye up from the Ample Avi mainstore [teleport link]. But if you do happen to miss the window Ample Avi's storefront on the Second Life Marketplace still has a few evergreen freebies that are absolutely worth picking up.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
In San Francisco This Thursday? Attend Samsung Gear VR's Killer App Contest With Philip Rosedale & Other VR Experts
RSVP here, details below. If you're coming, let me know in Comments, and I'll try to say Hi during the event!
Join us at 7pm on December 1st at The Upload Collective in San Francisco for a night of cool demos and refreshments, where our panel of expert judges will select the grand prize winner of Samsung’s Gear VR Killer App contest. High Fidelity’s Philip Rosedale, Samsung’s Paul T. Kim, XEODesign’s Nicole Lazzaro, and Upload’s own Taylor Freeman will be on hand to judge and select the winner. Attendance is limited -- RSVP soon!
Flickr of the Day: Pics from New "space" Virtual World
You've read about "space", the new cross-platform virtual world from Second Life alum, now here's the official Flickr pool where you'll find pics like this, a new area that lead developer Adam Zaius/Frisby built, he tells me, last Sunday afternoon. "I didn't make all the parts though," he allows, "it was more of a assembly job than 100% original work."
NWN Alum Rikomatic Remembers the Late Great Sharon Jones, His Friend & Occasional Dance Partner
Rik "Rikomatic" Panganiban wrote a moving tribute to beloved soul singer Sharon Jones, who left us after a long war with cancer earlier this month. That might not seem like something you'd usually read in a blog about virtual worlds, but the thing is, Rik used to write for New World Notes. And when he wasn't writing about events in Second Life, he'd often be breakdancing or lindy hopping or some combination of the two, which is how he wound up dancing onstage with Ms. Sharon Jones on a regular basis -- even at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem. Rik is someone I often mentioned as defying the stereotype of what a virtual world geek was supposed to be, so it's fitting that his experiences at Sharon Jones shows remind us what virtual worlds can be at their best:
Monday, November 28, 2016
$50,000 Startup Challenge for Women in VR & AR
The Challenge, in partnership with Craig Newmark of craigslist, the Craig Newmark Foundation, and sponsored in part by Fred and Joanne Wilson, will award $50,000 in cash and other startup friendly services at Google in NYC on February 15, 2017. (Prizes subject to change.) Startups in the AI, AR, and VR field with at least one woman Cofounder can apply to this challenge. The 10 best applicants will be selected to pitch their startup on stage in front of our distinguished judging panel of investors and hundreds of attendees at Google in New York City on February 15, 2017.
The only hitch: Submission deadline is December 12, so if you're interested in applying, better start soon.
Top Four New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- Can High Fidelity & Sansar Win the Social VR War?
- VR Therapy for Dementia - Hope It Gets a Social Add-On
- What Philip Rosedale & Other Experts Look for in a "Killer App" for Virtual Reality
- Why Do Virtual World Companies Rarely Build Virtual Worlds?
Friday, November 25, 2016
New World Notes' Thanksgiving Weekend Open Forum
Still going through leftovers - the floor is yours!
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Can High Fidelity & Sansar Win the Social VR War?
Upload VR's Alice Bonasio has a good write-up of the increasingly crowded market for new or upcoming social spaces optimized/solely intended for virtual reality devices that local favorites High Fidelity (from SL co-founder Philip Rosedale) and Sansar (from Linden Lab) are competing against. They include:
- "Altspace VR is betting that the future of VR experiences will center around communications, and its CEO and Founder Eric Romo believes that Google’s Daydream will be the catalyst for that to happen on a large scale.
- VR Chat "already has hundreds of fully fleshed user-created worlds. The next step is to make that creation process much more social and accessible, giving users clear and easy ways to share that content."
- HelloVR, which is creating a 10,000 square-mile MetaWorld described as the first-ever massive, physics-based virtual social space of its kind. It exists in a shared space, populated by all its members, with each member having their own private “volume” where they can decorate and create whatever and however they want."
Interestingly, none of the competitors are as technically or conceptually ambitious as High Fidelity, or approach High Fidelity's level of avatar realism and expressiveness (see above). And based on previews, that also seems to be true of Sansar, which also seems to have the best overall graphics. None of the competitors (far as I know) have plans to create a virtual currency-to-real currency market like High Fidelity and Sansar.
The real question though, is whether graphics, expressiveness, ambition, and commerce are what will carry the day:
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
VR Therapy for Dementia - Hope It Gets a Social Add-On
Easily among the most powerful use of cases of VR I've seen:
The project began when Tribemix Managing Director, Alex Smale, wanted to help his elderly neighbours to get outside after becoming isolated due to disability, “Our nearby residents, Stan and Dulcie, are 99 and 94 years old respectively. Over the past two years, we watched them go from active people walking into town to do their shopping, to losing their confidence and never leaving the house. When we began developing in VR for our commercial clients early this year, I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could take Stan and Dulcie to the beach?’. So I created a virtual reality experience to do just that. This led to a conversation with a friend at Quantum Care. They were fortunately very forward thinking, and understood what we were trying to do. The results have been amazing and it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been fortunate enough to do.”
Next step, seems to me, is to add a social VR component, ala Second Life/Sansar/High Fidelity/etc. To wit:
Flickr of the Day: Akemi Asukai Shoots Fashion With Teeth
Monday, November 21, 2016
What Philip Rosedale & Other Experts Look for in a "Killer App" for Virtual Reality
One great thing about helping put together the Gear VR Killer App contest is getting to ask Philip Rosedale and other VR veterans their vision of what kind of application would fit that definition, at least for mobile. Here's Philip's criterion:
“What we are looking for is: Gloves! Some kind of mobile way to use your hands would allow real creativity and communication from within the Gear and instantly make mobile VR as compelling as desktop.”
Here's what Taylor Freeman, co-founder and CEO of Upload, Inc., seeks: “I am looking for an app that boosts productivity and enables multiuser collaboration.”
And Paul T. Kim, Director of Content and Services at Samsung: “What I think could be a killer app is something one can use to create or encourage active engagement... Any proof-of-concept app that shows a glimpse of this potential, that focuses on creation, I would rate high.”
Most extensive was this description from Nicole Lazzaro, creator of the great "Follow the White Rabbit" VR experience:
Why Do Virtual World Companies Rarely Build Virtual Worlds? (Comment of the Week)
Good point from JohnC, looking at the latest from virtual world companies:
It always seems strange to me that companies that create virtual world platforms never seem to create actual virtual worlds. To me it is as if in real life you were to go to an estate agent to buy a house and you find just pictures of plots of land with a stack of bricks and some sacks of mortar standing in the middle of them. Even if the whole idea is that this virtual space is to become a place for people to express their own creativity, there must surly be some kind of show homes to demonstrate all the possibilities. And these show homes must be spectacular. Linden Lab never did this with Second Life, so even now people outside the walled garden still think that it is incapable of great looking graphics.
In fairness, Linden Lab has always had starter areas, but to his point, they've never been very extensive. And in recent years, Linden Lab has been expanding on the "world" aspect with full-fledged game experiences. And in the very early days (2003-2005), there was an attempt to make the Second Life mainland seem like a world, with a "Governor's" mansion, an official public auditorium, the free fire Outlands, a prim-spewing oil rig, and so on. But in my view, Linden Lab didn't devote enough consistent efforts to this project, then let go of their world-building duties too soon, leaving new users to wander, confused and frustrated, in a big empty.
Anyway, more on this theme from John, and how it applies to new virtual world platforms Sansar, High Fidelity, and "space":
Top Six New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
Years of abusing its own users by demanding "real names" and now Facebook is cratering itself over fake news. Too perfect.— joanne mcneil (@jomc) November 13, 2016
- Maybe Mixed Reality Parties Are VR's Killer (Mini) App
- Facebook Spent More Time & Effort Blocking Fake Avatar Names Than Fake Real World News
- Second Life Support Group for Hillary Clinton Becomes Support Group for Harassment Victims in Trump-Era
- Trump Appoints Ex-Virtual World Company CEO & Gamergate Advocate as Top Presidential Adviser
- Play SL, Win Real Money: Linden Lab Launches New Games With Linden Dollar Prizes
- Submit New/Recent Unity & Web VR Apps & Demos to the Gear VR Killer App Contest Judged by Philip Rosedale & Other VR Experts!
Friday, November 18, 2016
Submit New/Recent Unity & Web VR Apps & Demos to the Gear VR Killer App Contest Judged by Philip Rosedale & Other VR Experts!
The Gear VR Killer App contest, as the name suggests, is a competition to find an application which is so powerful and awesome, it makes mobile-based VR seem indispensable. I'm honored to help manage the competition, with the grand prize winner being selected by Philip Rosedale, Nicole Lazarro, and other VR experts. If you have a recent/new demo or app made in Unity 3D or Web VR, please consider submitting! The first submission deadline is coming up very soon (11/23), but for that, you just need to send video or pics of your app/demo in action. Apps published since September to other platforms are also eligible.
Whoa-Worthy Demo of Bento-Based Elephant Avatar
We've seen what the new Bento extended skeletons can do to a human avatar head, now witness them in action inside an elephant avatar. Actually two skeletons in this case, since one of them is used to articulate the fricking trunk!
SL Cosplay of the Day: Dr. Strange vs. Kaecilius
There's a Benedict Cumberbatch-as-Sherlock avatar in SL, and there's a Mads Mikkelsen-as-Hannibal avatar in SL too. Which takes us to the next level, presented by Strawberry Singh: Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange versus Mikkelsen as Kaecilius. More mind-bending facepunching from Ms. Singh here.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Maybe Mixed Reality Parties Are VR's Killer (Mini) App
Here's what High Fidelity's Day of the Dead party looked like from both in-world and from the point of view of the live musicians who performed for it. It's easy to imagine this being turned into a full-fledged party in the real world, making it into a mixed reality event. I could even see this becoming a mini-killer app for VR, popular at parties, nightclubs, and so on:
SL Flickr of the Day: Mystique Cosplay from Sugarfairy88
"Mix of old school comic book Mystique and the new one from the movies. Hope you like!" Yes we do, Sugarfairy88, yes we do. In fact, we're pretty amazed by pretty much every single spectacular screenshot in your Flickr.
Facebook Spent More Time & Effort Blocking Fake Avatar Names Than Fake Real World News
Author Joanne McNeil recently pointed out the brutal irony:
Years of abusing its own users by demanding "real names" and now Facebook is cratering itself over fake news. Too perfect.— joanne mcneil (@jomc) November 13, 2016
Facebook's obsession over blocking fake avatar names has been going on for about five years and only partly resolved itself last year after a lot of back and forth negotiations between the company and community leaders like Sister Roma. By contrast, Facebook has been slow to do anything about the promulgation of fake real world news on Facebook, even though it probably influenced the US election:
In the final three months of the US presidential campaign, the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC News, and others, a BuzzFeed News analysis has found. During these critical months of the campaign, 20 top-performing false election stories from hoax sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook. Within the same time period, the 20 best-performing election stories from 19 major news websites generated a total of 7,367,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Play SL, Win Real Money: Linden Lab Launches New Games With Linden Dollar Prizes
Second Life is officially a game, and a skill game at that: Linden Lab's new Horizons Experience on the mainland comes with a residential area, and a series of adventure games:
This 5 quest storyline takes you through various challenges laid out by the evil Dr. Talpa. Everything from vicious splorches, killer robots, laser defense systems, the terrifying pet Fluffy, all the way to hidden traps, mazes, puzzles and more! Residents will have to use the provided weapons to defeat menacing foes, while taking on other elements with their own wit.
Looks like fun (video below). The most interesting hook (which you can see in the wiki) is it appears like prizes include Linden Dollars (see screengrab above), which can then be sold and converted into real money. So play Second Life, win real money. This is an expansion of the skill games area Linden Lab launched last Summer. Assuming they can market it to the outside world well, this may actually bring in some new players. Though according to Blogging SL, new players can't just automatically grab themselves L$:
Second Life Support Group for Hillary Clinton Becomes Support Group for Harassment Victims in Trump-Era
Earlier this week I got this interesting notice from Evangeline Ling (above), a leader of the Hillary Clinton 2016 group in Second Life:
We are launching our post-election support group appropriately named SAFETY PIN. The purpose of this group will be to provide a safe space for people negatively impacted by the election to process it and to support each other. Please join our new group and grab a LM . Please stay tuned for meeting dates, we will likely have one or two a month. Still under construction but please stop by for a visit.
Safety pins have become a symbol of support for the many victims of harassment and violence, mainly minorities, women, and other vulnerable people who've been targeted by Trump supporters after (and before) the election. (Strawberry Singh, a Muslim-American virtual world blogger, explains more here.) "Our goal is to provide a place for occasional support group meetings as well as to help people network together to find good activist/advocacy groups," Evangeline tells me.
In real life, Evangeline adds, an 80 year old friend of hers was one such victim:
Flickr PSA: Consider Making Your Images Embeddable!
What an embeddable Flickr pic looks like
As regular readers know, I love posting great and gorgeous virtual photographs from Flickr here -- they're an excellent visual palette cleanser and interlude, for one thing, but even better, I love giving talented artists publicity. Many folks on Flickr, however, forget (or don't think to) give their images an embeddable option (as above). It's a lot easier to embed an image here than do a screengrab (which gets us into ambivalent permission territory), and for readers, a lot easier for them to see the image and share it themselves. So if you want more eyes on your Flickr, consider the embed option!
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
What a Second Life Sim Looks Like as a Little Planet
I told you about the The IOL Camera Panoramic which can turn 360 degree panoramic photos of Second Life sims into little planets, now via Lalwende Leakey and Erythro Asimov, here's that same tech turning a sim into a little planet machinima. (In this case, MetaLES by Igor Ballyhoo.)
Trump Appoints Ex-Virtual World Company CEO & Gamergate Advocate as Top Presidential Adviser
Just last night I was telling a game industry journalist that she's probably more qualified to cover President-Elect Trump's transition team better than any D.C. journalist, because that team is lead by this individual:
A fierce chorus of critics denounced President-elect Donald J. Trump on Monday for appointing Stephen K. Bannon, a nationalist media mogul, to a top White House position, even as President Obama described Mr. Trump as “pragmatic,” not ideological, and held out hope that he would rise to the challenge of the presidency... Civil rights groups, senior Democrats and some Republican strategists have assailed Mr. Trump, saying that Mr. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, will bring anti-Semitic, nationalist and racist views to the West Wing.
Bannon also transformed Breitbart "into the preeminent destination for the internet-savvy, meme-centric alt-right—in part by stoking the anger behind Gamergate, which saw harassment of female gamers by their male peers."
And before that, Bannon tried to transform Chinese labor in virtual gold mines into real world profit:
Monday, November 14, 2016
Leonard Cohen Cosplay: Awesome SL Tribute to Late Artist
The great and timeless musician Leonard Cohen died late last week, and so I found this beautiful Second Life tribute to him from Tutsy Navarantha pretty moving. Tutsy customized his avatar to look like Cohen in his later years, posed and shot the image in Second Life, then gave it some after-image magic through Pixlr and Photoshop.
The place by the sea he sat for this pose has an appropriate name: The Gates of Melancholy. (Go here to visit.)
Is "space" the Place? Readers Weigh Pros & Cons of New Virtual World from SL/OpenSim Veterans
Last week's post on "space", the new Unity 3D-based virtual world lead developed by Adam Frisby/Zauis, a pioneer of Second Life/OpenSim development, generated a lot of interest and visits to its homepage, not to mention a lot of conversation -- much more, surprisingly, than the new demo video of Sansar. Readers are mixed on how important it is. Weighing in skeptically (as he often does), JohnC says:
I think this demonstrates the huge problem that exists. This is a perfectly good attempt to create something to rival SL. But why on earth would any SL user transfer there in order to start all over again in a project that may or may not succeed; you just get the Blue Mars label thrown at you. Besides, you need to be able to use Unity to really make the best of this, and if you are that good with Unity, you could most likely have a go at the whole project yourself, or at least make a decent game without the unnecessary front end viewer.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, except it is competing in a market that already has perfectly good functioning tried and tested Virtual world, SL, plus a totally free version which uses exactly the same tools and viewer, Open Sim. SL users are the virtual world equivalent of hard core gamers in the outside world. You kind of need a few of them to get your world on it's feet.
And this also illustrates why Sansar and Hi fidelity are pushing their products as VR headset platforms, because they know they cannot compete with SL on a none headset level. This is not a criticism, just a comment on the huge mountain anyone wishing to compete in the non-headset world, has to climb.
Mentioning Blue Mars makes me wince because, well you know, but it's a fair point. On the other side, Cindy Bolero, longtime SLer, makes a strong case for space:
Top Five New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- "space" is the Place: Second Life & OpenSim Pioneer Launches New Virtual World With Special NWN Discount!
- Watch: New Demo of Linden Lab's VR World Sansar Depicting New Avatars, Experiences, Building Editor
- "Trump Won Because He Understood the Digital is Real" - Top Anthropologist on How to Study the President-Elect's Online Following
- Trump Election Pretty Much Insures Mass Adoption of VR -- And Much More Racist Misogyny for Its Users
- Comment of the Week: Grandmother of Six Contrasts & Compares Second Life and OpenSim
Friday, November 11, 2016
"space" is the Place: Second Life & OpenSim Pioneer Launches New Virtual World With Special NWN Discount!
space, as the name suggests, is a new virtual world created in Unity 3D just launching today for the web, PC/Mac, iOS/Android and beyond. New World Notes readers may very well want to check it out this weekend. For one thing, it's created by a longtime Second Life/OpenSim developer and entrepreneur named Adam Zaius/Frisby (you likely know him, you likely love him), who gave us a glimpse last year. For another thing, he's giving NWN readers a special discount (below). And for perhaps yet another thing, he tells me it's markedly different from Second Life successors Sansar and High Fidelity in ways that may appeal:
"I'd say the basic difference between us is we're focused on being a virtual world first," says Adam. "We're not chasing VR until it's consumer ready - we've got some experimental support, but it's not our priority. Our priority is making tools which let creators make stuff that just looks amazing. also expanding the boundaries of what you can do in a virtual world too -- we've just added recently our quest system (so creators can make MMO-style quests - something we think Roleplaying groups will like), before that we added our new 'Costume' system allowing completely replaced avatars."
So for instance, here's an avatar spider in space:
Watch: New Demo of Linden Lab's VR World Sansar Depicting New Avatars, Experiences, Building Editor
Via Miguel Mimoso Correia comes this new demo video of Linden Lab's Sansar -- the most extensive public glimpse into Sansar we've seen thus far, with new scenes, extended looks at (highly generic) avatars, and a glimpse of the world editor. Miguel, who shot the footage in person at WebSummit in Portugal, tells me he was not seriously impressed:
How to Optimize Your SL Prims (To Do More With More)
Penny Patton wrote this super-useful blog post on optimizing Second Lfie prims for builds before Linden Lab dropped its prim increase news, but all the more reason to highlight it now. The better optimized the prims you work with, the more you can do with even more prims. Penny is a longtime master builder in SL (here's another great post), so you should probably heed advice like this:
NWN Open Forum: Post Virtual News, Opinion, Links Here
OK, enough US election talk for this week - here's an open forum. Post anything... as long as it's virtual somehow and it's not about the RL election.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
"Trump Won Because He Understood the Digital is Real" - Top Anthropologist on How to Study the President-Elect's Online Following
"Trump won because he understood the digital is real," writes Tom Boellstorff in a provocative post on Culture Digitally, an NSF-funded blog. A Professor of Anthropology at UC Irvine and a pioneer in the study of virtual communities (the author of Coming of Age in Second Life, and full disclosure, a friend), Boellstorff argues it this way:
That’s not the only reason he succeeded, but it’s a pivotal factor and one with pivotal lessons for all of us whose scholarship, advocacy, and activism involves digital culture. I remain shocked by how many scholars counterpose the “digital” to “real life” or the “real world.” ... Opposing the digital to the real might seem useful as a way to claim relevance or tangible impact. But Trump saw that it is precisely in its reality that the digital is useful, relevant, impactful. Trump was “real” to voters when he was digital, and knew it.
Tom points in particular to Trump's supporters in the online alt-right subcommunity, from where many pro-Trump, anti-Hillary memes spread throughout social media first emerged. His advice for colleagues who want to study them?
“First, I think it’s very important to explore how what Trump’s followers are doing online is real, or not real, and how they are understanding what counts as 'real' in the first place," Tom tells me. "We see this, for instance, in debates over offensive images and memes and claims it is just a joke. What we want to avoid is assuming that because what someone is doing online means it’s not real (and on the flip side, that because what someone is doing offline means it is real)."
That includes in-person (so to speak) research:
Insilico Remembered: Memorial Videos to the Late-Great Cyberpunk City of Second Life
The great Insilico cyberpunk city sims are going away this month, but before they do, "Veemonthedemonking" shot this in-depth exploration and memorial to what we've lost. Above, he explores the Central & South sims. After the break, he plunges into Insilico's East & Southeast sims:
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Trump Election Pretty Much Insures Mass Adoption of VR -- And Much More Racist Misogyny for Its Users
Because like I wrote in the Wall Street Journal last Spring (which now feels like last decade):
[I]t’s my guess that most human beings still aren’t ready to abandon the real world for a virtual one. Today’s VR evangelists seem to forget why escaping into virtual reality was so popular in the near-future depicted in “Snow Crash”: America had collapsed into anarchy and despair, and much of the world with it. On second thought, who knows? If a Trump presidency becomes reality, VR sales might finally skyrocket.
So here we now are, with roughly half of us in the US now far, far more interested in joining the smog-choked Chinese (not to mention millions of now-terrified Europeans) in a better, virtual reality.
But VR developers shouldn't feel complacent, because Trump's victory only insures worsening of problems they're already facing now:
Clinton Gets Strong Support from VR Blog Readers in Poll
If you're not liking last night's election results, here's a very very very very very very very very tiny consolation: Based on this survey, a strong majority of you reading this virtual world/virtual reality blog strongly supported Clinton over Trump. Which I guess is fitting, because most of us may want to spend as little time in Trump's reality as possible. Guess Palmer Luckey or much of his supporters didn't take this poll?
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
New World Notes' 2016 Election Survey: Who Do You Virtually or Actually Vote for Today?
US citizen or not, registered to vote or not -- everyone reading this survey can cast their virtual/actual vote here today.
US Election Day Open Forum: Post Events & Opinions Here
Anyone know of virtual world election-watching events happening today? Please post details here for highlighting later -- or just post your opinions around this momentous day.
Monday, November 07, 2016
Comment of the Week: Grandmother of Six Contrasts & Compares Second Life and OpenSim
Last week a post on Second Life subscriptions re-ignited a regularly occurring reader argument on the merits of SL versus OpenSimulator, its cheaper, open source spinoff. (Which for my money, seems a bit like still arguing whether Orkut is better than MySpace in 2016, but OK.) Into the breach rides Ms. Dykoda Desmoulins (pictured), who speaks from experience:
I am not going to get into an 'Opensim vs. SL' debate, but there are a few things I would like to address.
I have been in Second Life since October 2005. I've watched it grow from a primitive virtual world into what it is today. I am a fashionista to an extent. I spend a LOT of time shopping. I find a lot of enjoyment, and spend a lot of time decorating my house, however, I tend to shop at various well-known stores, rather than Gachas (though I've been known to do the latter occasionally). I absolutely LOVE Second Life because I can satisfy my desire for all of those things, and much more. SL offers me things that I simply can't get in OpenSim.
I am a RL grandmother (of 6, actually). I love spending time in a sandbox building. I rent regions on several OpenSim grids. I love to travel the Hypergrid, exploring what others create, what others have built. I love the fact that I'm not limited by various things in OpenSim such as the linkset limits, etc.
More from this metaverse exploring grandma:
Upload VR Reporter Seriously Psyched About Sansar
Many virtual world veterans are skeptical that the new generation of worlds can fulfill the promises the previous generation could not, but Joe Durbin of Upload VR, one of the top media outlets spawned in the new post-Oculus era, is unreservedly psyched about Linden Lab's Sansar:
I have never truly managed to recapture that “this changes everything” sensation from my first ever [VR] demo. This meant that I was as surprised as anyone to feel my jaw hit the floor earlier this week as I stepped inside Linden Lab’s project Sansar and once again saw the future being written before my very eyes... Project Sansar, has been teased in various forms during its three years in development, but now the company is finally ready to show it in action to a few lucky participants. On Tuesday, I was one of those fortunate few.
Joe immediately fills out two squares on his virtual world Bingo card:
Top Six New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- GoofBlocks: New iOS Game from Creators of Second Life's Popular Zooby's Brand
- Second Life to Become Small Town to Sansar's Big City?
- High Fidelity Adds "Ready Room" for Customizable Avatars
- Revealed: Second Life Mainland Prim Increase Part of Linden Lab Push to Boost Premium Subscriptions
- Virtual Reality Still in CD-ROM Stage of Development?
- What Dealing With Second Life Griefing Can Teach Developers of New VR Social Worlds
Friday, November 04, 2016
GoofBlocks: New iOS Game from Creators of Second Life's Popular Zooby's Brand
GoofBlocks is a cute and wacky-looking free new iPhone/iPad game with an interesting backstory for NWN readers: The game is developed by PowerPrim, LLC, and as that name suggests, it has a Second Life background -- they're the same developers behind the very popular Zooby's virtual babies and animals, who invested the money they earned from their Second Life inventions to finance development of mobile games too:
"The games have the same creativity we brought to SL," says Carrie Mandel, co-founder of PowerPrim. "They are from the same focused team that listened to players and provided enjoyable content... GoofBlocks is a puzzle game that is fun, creative and addictive from the same artist that designed all the baby faces [for Zoobys]. We plan to add new levels, features and characters to GoofBlocks and a social feature where players can challenge friends."
Goofblocks gameplay trailer below. Zoobys creatures, Carrie adds, will continue thriving in Second Life:
Second Life to Become Small Town to Sansar's Big City?
Interesting analogy from Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg just published on Vice:
Altberg has no plans to shut down Second Life unless it ceases to be profitable; for now, Sansar remains something else. He acknowledges that some users have been worried about a shutdown for months now, but adds that just as many are "banging on the door" to see the final form of virtual reality Linden's technically been chasing all along. "Some of them may probably stick around in Second Life for a long time because that's their home," he said, "just like not everybody moves from their town to the city, just because a city grows up somewhere else. "
I mean I guess that's possible, but seeing as Sansar seems to be optimized for Oculus Rift and HTC-Vive, and there likely won't even be 800,000 owners of those devices at the end of this year, I'd say it's more plausible Sansar will be the small town for at least the next 2-3 years. Especially compared to Second Life, which with 600,000 or so active users gives it roughly the population of Seattle.
Firestorm Seeking Bug Testers for New Bento-Ready Viewer
Info here via Strawberry Singh, who's having a dandy time playing with SL avatar shapes with the new skeleton system (as above):
How Linden Lab's Prim Boost Will Help Private Estates
Bixyl Shuftan, everyone's favorite roving furry reporter in Second Life, has an update on the prim boost owners of private regions will soon get, as presented by Linden Lab staff with that slide above. Interestingly, there's also an option to get an even greater prim allowance for an extra charge:
For Private Estates however, the change would not come right away but "within a couple months, could be sooner, hopefully not later." Patch [Linden] also mentioned that eventually full Private sims would have the option for even greater capacity, but for a price. They could have their prim allowance boosted to 30,000, but only if a $30 fee was paid up front and a monthly $30 fee charged in addition to the usual monthly tier.