Monday, August 29, 2016
Does IDC Really Think We'll Buy 225 Million+ AR/VR Devices By 2020? That's Faster Adoption Than the iPhone!
It sure seems so, based on the venerable analyst firm's most recent report:
[W]orldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020... Sales of AR/VR hardware will generate more than 50% of worldwide revenues throughout the forecast period.
This $162 billion figure has been widely reported everywhere, but as with the Bloomberg/Business Intelligence forecast on premium VR devices, no one I know has run the back-of-envelope calculations on this figure. But since IDC's report says over half this $162B revenue is from VR/AR hardware devices, that's $81 billion. And if we divide that by $350 per individual device sale at retail -- averaging the price of premium devices like Vive and low-end smartphone add-ons -- we get well over 225 million devices. (And that's estimating downward.)
I've asked the report's lead author, Christopher Chute, if my assumption is correct, because 225 million devices sold in such a short time is a massive market:
One-Click Viewer for OpenSim Goes Open Source
OpenSim is an appealing open source virtual world platform for hardcore coders and such, but user friendly it is not. Veteran SL/OpenSim developer Fred Beckhusen has a solution for that, and he just made it open source: "It copies the necessary files to disk, sets up Firestorm all ready to log in, and has pre-configured avatars that can log in to a Western town all ready to explore on a horse." Get it here on Github.
Can We Solve Second Life's Full-Perm Scams With Simple "No Resell/No Rebox" Addition?
Lots of interesting comments in last week's post about full-perm scams in the SL Marketplace (i.e., unauthorized resell of avatar enhancements). I closed by hinting at a solution I would describe in another post, but longtime SLer/NWN reader Shockwave Yareach may have an even more elegant proposal:
Of course there is a solution. It is a small change to the permissions system. Simply add the checkbox "no resell" to permissions, signaling that full perm stuff may not be sold. And add another checkbox called "no rebox" as well. Buy a box of textures to make your own products? That'll work. But try to sell the same box of textures and make your money back? That won't work. Sure you can take the time to put all the textures in your own box and sell that - if the textures are set "no rebox" they cannot be stuck in another box, just used to texture it.
That strikes me as a good idea, at least to keep scams down to a manageable, dull roar. I'm not sure if it's technically feasible without a lot of front back-end jiggering for Linden Lab, but at least it's worth thinking about. Until then, however, maybe SL content creators should follow Vanni's advice:
Top Five New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- Ever, Jane MMO from Linden Alum Inspired by Austen Novels Goes Open Beta With Special Offer for NWN Readers!
- Longtime Second Life Musicians' Debut Album Hits Bandcamp's Top 10 Alternative List
- How Many Premium VR Devices Will Sell by 2020? Bloomberg/Gartner's Forecast Suggests 42 Million
- Will Pokémon GO's Sharp Usage Decline Hurt the Augmented Reality Game Market? (Spoiler: Yes)
- Second Life Marketplace Swamped by Full-Perm Scams
Friday, August 26, 2016
Ever, Jane MMO from Linden Alum Inspired by Austen Novels Goes Open Beta With Special Offer for NWN Readers!
Ever, Jane, an MMO inspired by the works of Jane Austen, is now in open Beta. Lead created by Judy Tyrer, who was a senior engineering manager at Linden Lab back in the day, Ever, Jane development started after a successful Kickstarter in 2013, a labor of love to innovate the genre with a game far from the dungeon crawling and leveling up that MMOs have retreaded for literally decades. "Instead of raids," as Ever, Jane's homepage proclaims, "we will have grand balls. Instead of dungeons, we will have dinner parties."
And thanks to fellow Linden alum Judy, there's a special offer for NWN readers to go with this open beta: Create an Ever, Jane account, post your account name in Comments here, and get 100 Pounds Sterling Regency extra to spend in the game.
Also, here's a special message Judy sent along, with a welcome and request for new players:
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Longtime Second Life Musicians' Debut Album Hits Bandcamp's Top 10 Alternative List
Last week the bestseller charts of Bandcamp, the top Internet site for rising indie musicians, included a major metaverse milestone: They Stole My Crayon, a trio of LA musicians with a long history in Second Life, hit the top ten in the Alternative category. Crayon includes Zak Claxton, who's been performing live in Second Life for the last ten years:
"Anywhere between 3-5 times a month on average," he tells me. "I've been doing songs from the album for several years." (The other band members are Bunny Racecourse and Kat Claxton in SL, Bunny Knutson and Christina Lee IRL, but Zak mostly performs solo in-world.) Their music, which you can give me a listen to above, is moody and hypnotic and to me, sort of evokes some early Arcade Fire. ("Adjectives like ethereal, dissonant, and atmospheric also apply," Zak suggests.)
What's striking is how supportive his Second Life-based fan community has been for them Bandcamp, enough to make them an overall top group there:
SL Flickr of the Day: Amona Savira's "Going Home"
From the Flickr stream of NWN favorite Amona Savira, a dreamy journey on oceans uncharted which somehow take her home. And if you're wondering if the wake in her wake is SL made, not quite:
"[S]adly no ripples like this in SL," she tells me. "It is from a stock photo and added on in Photoshop. Rest is all from SL."
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
How Many Premium VR Devices Will Sell by 2020? Bloomberg/Gartner's Forecast Suggests 42 Million
I was just reading this Bloomberg story on Google's investments in the VR space, which included this intriguing "Virtual Insanity" chart:
So Bloomberg Intelligence and Gartner forecast VR equipment sales (not counting smartphone-based VR equipment*) to hit $21 billion by 2020. I really wish analysts would break down estimates like this more clearly, because the average reader just goes "Whoa, that's a lot of money", without really knowing what it means. So let me try and clarify:
According to this Bloomberg Intelligence/Gartner forecast, by 2020, people will buy less than 42 million units of Vive, Oculus, Playstation VR, and other high-end VR devices.
Divide $21 billion by an average device price of $500 (Oculus and Vive are currently more, but assume their prices go down every year), and 42 million is what you get. That might seem like a lot, but really, that just makes premium VR devices a subset of the overall videogame console/PC gamer market:
Watch: HAL vs. Her In Male/Female Argument Between AIs
Watch this, it's pretty damn brilliant:
Composed of original lines from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Her (2013), the mashup creates a new context to the words of the electronic protagonists. The two operating systems are in conflict; while Samantha is convinced that the overwhelming and sometimes hurtful process of her learning algorithm improves the complexity of her emotions, HAL is consequentially interpreting them as errors in human programming and analyses the estimated malfunction.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
"Serendipity": Social Story Told With SL Images on Flickr
"Serendipity" is a fun and clever use of Flickr, inviting SL photographers to contribute to a series of images which tell an evolving story. Brainchild of Goodie McCross, it already has a dozen roughly-connected scenes, which you can see here. (None of them are NSFW, but due to Flickr's unreliable moderation system, some are not viewable unless you're logged in.) So far, the story is taking a decided neo-noir tone -- for instance, this personal favorite above, by Kimmy Littleboots -- but it's still unfolding.
Binary VR: Mouth-Tracking for Oculus & Vive, Compatible With High Fidelity
"BinaryVR develops facial expression tracking technology for virtual reality, enabling users to track and retarget their facial animations in real-time in any transformed CG character or avatar mode." Notwithstanding the company's description, I'm saying "mouth-tracking" in the title because in the demo above, I'm not seeing any significant tracking on other parts of the face. But maybe updates will update more full facial expressions.
Via Philip Rosedale, who says this works for both Oculus and Vive, and more relevant to him, his new virtual world High Fidelity:
Will Pokémon GO's Sharp Usage Decline Hurt the Augmented Reality Game Market? (Spoiler: Yes)
It was an awesome two month run, Pokémon GO, but as people go back to school and work or just get tired of walking around for the sake of a game, usage is steeply declining:
It had almost 45 million daily users in July, but this figure appears to have sunk by more than 12 million since the start of August, to just over 30 million said to be playing Pokémon Go. Further decline is expected, as downloads, engagement, and the time users spend on the app have all also visibly flopped, according to data provided by Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia.
30 million daily users is still a very impressive figure, but based on current downward momentum, we should probably expect that to decline and settle to around 5-15 million. Even that range would be a massive figure, enough to make GO a regular reference point of contemporary pop culture, but it's doubtful the game will be further touted as the next central social/marketing platform. As Raph Koster has suggested, it will simply maintain its user base of dedicated Pokémon-ers: "Pokémon fans are hardcore, memorize giant piles of data, optimize collections, gather rates, hack and cheat, and so on. That's the core audience here and who will monetize over time."
And with such a sharp decline happening so quickly, it's difficult to imagine Pokémon GO growing the market for augmented reality apps in general:
Monday, August 22, 2016
Second Life Marketplace Swamped by Full-Perm Scams
Linden Lab was just touting improvements to its web-based Second Life Marketplace last week, but veteran SL blogger Strawberry Singh has an irksome report of Markeplace problems that mere technical issues won't solve -- namely, unauthorized resell of avatar enhancements:
Apparently there are many accounts on the marketplace reselling full perm creations that they do not have permission to resell. They purchase full perm items from valid full perm creators such as: Underground, Creative Studio, Deadpool,Meli Imako, CBB and many more, then they illegally resell those items, with full perms, at a lower price than the creators themselves... The valid full perm creators have contacted Linden Lab by chat, phone calls and emails but unfortunately nothing has been done about this issue. All they are being told to do is file DMCA’s. A DMCA take down usually takes a week to be taken down, but the next day, that account puts it right back on that same Marketplace as a new listing.
Strawberry has some suggestions for avoiding these scams, which ironically enough, include not using the online Markeplace at all: "Purchase the items from the in-world store of the full perm creator instead of the Marketplace, to ensure that you are not purchasing from an illegal seller." Ironic, because a key point of the Marketplace existing at all is it makes online shopping for virtual content much more convenient than having to go rooting around for items in the full 3D client.
What's worse, Strawberry thinks there's no easy way for Linden Lab to lock down these kinds of scams:
Relax, Elon Musk, We're Not in a Virtual Simulation -- Watch This Video to Understand Why
Elon Musk raised eyebrows last June when he suggested reality itself is almost certainly a virtual simulation created by a powerful alien species and that "the odds that we're in base reality is one in billions". This video above, from Elliotte Lee's Click Philosophy channel, provides a helpful and reassuring argument for why this notion doesn't make much sense. Based on the writings of the great, recently deceased Hillary Putnam, who had the advantage of being both a philosopher and a computer scientist -- so he'd probably be less impressed by Elon's "we can already simulate a World of Warcraft in computers, so super-smart aliens could simulate an entire universe" argument -- Putnam's argument boils down to something like this:
VR for WebGL Now Supports Room-Scale Interaction
Cool update for A-Frame, the open source, cross-platform for experiencing VR through WebGL-powered web pages (last blogged last December): "With room-scale tracking, we can walk in a web page, and with tracked controller support, we can reach out into the world." Also, notably high frame rate: "Hitting 90 frames per second due to being able to push content directly to the headset display rather than mirroring a desktop display." I.E., maybe this is the best way to deliver VR, versus depending on a PC with heavy client installs?
Top Four New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- Microsoft Exec Streams Second Life Into HoloLens AR Glasses in Cool if Confusing Demo
- Veterans of VR's 2006 Boom Predict VR's Future in 2026
- New Interactive Dynamic Video Turns Real Objects Into Virtually Manipulable Ones
- SL Firestorm Users Still Discovering Avatar Complexity "Jelly Doll" Feature
Friday, August 19, 2016
Avatar Social Network for MMOers Gets Major Update
Avatar Social Network is a service connecting users of SL, OpenSim, and other MMOs, and while it's been around since at least 2013 (pretty sure I even have an account buried in my email somewhere), Strawberry Singh points out that it's been given a substantial update and tuning recently, so it might be worth checking out again. The biggest update (as the screencap above suggests) seems to be a focus less on avatar profiles per se, and more on the images they create. (Reminds me a bit of the late, lamented Koinup social network.) Flickr already has a large community of SL photographers, so that's a competitive challenge there, but then again Flickr (or for that matter, Plurk, another popular hangout for SLers) have limitations of their own.
Some Strawberry blog readers are complaining that ASN's Terms of Service makes some pretty broad claims on the content users upload to it, which is ironic, since Second Life's own ToS also makes some fairly draconian claims to user content as well. The social network's owner, Arkad Baxton, makes a case for his ToS in that thread:
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Microsoft Exec Streams Second Life Into HoloLens AR Glasses in Cool if Confusing Demo
Upload VR has the scoop on a pretty impressive* demo from Jim Reichert, a Senior Creative Technologist at Microsoft, streaming a 360 view of Second Life into his company's upcoming augmented reality HoloLens glasses:
Jim Reichert, a Senior Creative Technologist at Microsoft, flagged this up to me as he’s a huge fan of Second Life, an online, multiplayer social virtual world, and was excited when last week the first 360 video footage was recorded in the SL Metaverse, featuring Jo Yardley’s authentic rebuild of 1920s Berlin... The result you see in the test at the top of this article is therefore 360-degree footage, which had been recorded live in a virtual environment (Second Life) and then projected back onto the augmented reality (AR) gear, superimposing it, in real time, with the real-world background of Jim’s office. And if that doesn’t make your head hurt just a little bit, you’re not doing it right.
This is accomplished by a very clever hack which uses six video feeds pointed in six opposite directions from the same spot in SL, which are then stitched together and subsequently squirted into the HoloLens display. As a tech demo, this is exceedingly cool -- however, as a demo of HoloLens or Second Life, it's somewhat confusing. (Hence the "head hurt" part.) As an UpLoad VR reader points out:
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Veterans of VR's 2006 Boom Predict VR's Future in 2026
Pal and fellow Linden Lab alum Reuben Steiger has a fun, publicly-accessible Facebook update asking fellow virtual reality industry vets to weigh in on the state of things ten years from now. Reuben and the rest of the people he's tagged in the thread worked on the cutting edge of VR ten years ago, when the tech industry was excited about Second Life as a virtual reality content platform and Reuben had just left Linden Lab to found Millions of Us, one of the first metaverse development studios. Weighing in within the thread are founders of the other two first metaverse studios, Sibley Verbeck (Electric Sheep Company) and Justin Bovington (Rivers Run Red), not to mention renowned technology evangelist Robert Scoble, who was instrumental in promoting Second Life back in 2006 and now, is the new generation of VR. (Scoble's prediction? "Sex robots.") With bonus appearances by IBM's VR evangelist Ian Hughes and Cisco's former virtual world advocate Christian Renaud, it's an epic blast from the virtual past.
Of course, some of us are using the thread to discuss the future of VR ten years hence:
New Interactive Dynamic Video Turns Real Objects Into Virtually Manipulable Ones
Interactive Dynamic Video, as the name of this in-development tech from an MIT PhD student suggests, analyzes the vibrations of a real world object recorded on video and then converts it into a digitally manipulable 3D object:
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
New World Notes' Reality Recovery Open Forum
New World Notes is currently recovering from two weeks of the reality above, so taking a brief hiatus today from blogging about all things virtual. Meantime, the mic is open to NWN readers -- what about VR and related topics should NWN feature once we're back in business?
Monday, August 15, 2016
SL Firestorm Users Still Discovering Avatar Complexity "Jelly Doll" Feature
Here's a fun SL tutorial from Alicia Chenaux, explaining what "jelly dolls" are, why they're useful, and how to use them to decrease avatar rendering lag. The funny thing is, Linden Lab introduced this feature last May, but because most SLers don't use the company's official SL viewer, instead preferring a third party viewer like Firestorm, most users aren't even aware this feature exists:
Top Three New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- Actual Man Actually Convicted by Actual Court for Virtual Land Scam
- What Virtual Worlds Should Learn from Twitter's Failed Free Speech-for-Anonymous A-Holes Policy
- Peter Vos Museum Moves to New Location in Second Life
Friday, August 12, 2016
Actual Man Actually Convicted by Actual Court for Virtual Land Scam
After pleading guilty to theft as a class D felony in a Marion County court, Joshua Bills was sentenced late last month to three years of probation after paying full restitution of $53,500 to the victim. “This was certainly a unique case in that it dealt with online, virtual real estate,” Indiana Securities Commissioner Alex Glass said in a statement. “However, upon examination of the facts, this case is very similar to a conventional real estate investment scheme. Con artists are always finding new and unique ways to scam trusting individuals out of their hard earned money.
I'm not a lawyer (but I play one in an off-off-Broadway production of Inherit the Wind), but seems like this conviction helps establish a legal precedent for future prosecution of other virtual scams. It's interesting that Commissioner Glass is citing real estate regulation in a situation which actually, only involves licensed, designated access to a server network actually owned by Linden Lab.
Great Virtual Cosplay: Harley & Joker Suicide Squad
Hardly anyone seems to like Suicide Squad (except the actual audience) but at least it inspired this great Second Life cosplay of The Joker and Harley Quinn by Roman Godde -- click to embiggenate.
Slim Chance, a Brand New Curvaceous Shape for Second Life Avatars (NWN Partner News)
New World Notes sponsoring partner Ample Avi is wrapping up the summer season with a brand new shape for Second Life avatars. As ever, Ample Avi is a brand specializing in curvy, plus-sized and realistic shapes for vanilla/base avatars in SL -- and stereotypical Glamazon-style shapes are the exception more than the rule in their lineup.
The newest member of that lineup, Slim Chance, is what designer Xme Xue classifies as "Curvy Slim", a category that brings the likes of bombshells like Marilyn Monroe to mind. Ample Avi's Curvy Slim shapes typically have hourglass silhouettes while still fitting comfortably within the normal range of SL body types. In my experience this makes Curvy Slim shapes like Slim Chance pretty versatile and easiest to wear with most mesh fashions without requiring too much slider fiddling to get the best look. Of course even if you do want to play with your sliders a bit, Ample Avi shapes come mod/copy enabled, so you can tweak and experiment without sacrificing the original.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
What Virtual Worlds Should Learn from Twitter's Failed Free Speech-for-Anonymous A-Holes Policy
Buzzfeed has a really great feature story aptly titled "'A Honeypot For Assholes': Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment", which inadvertently illustrates Raph Koster's adage that all new Internet platforms replicate problems managers of MUDs and MMOs have dealt with for some three decades -- namely trolls and other bad actors:
If you want to fully understand Twitter’s abuse problem, a good place to start is at Google, years before the first tweet was ever sent. While working at Blogger, the wildly popular Google-owned publishing tool, Twitter founders Ev Williams, Biz Stone, and Jason Goldman — all of whom went on to found or work at Twitter — were faced with what now feels like a familiar predicament. [I.E. harassment and abusive speech] Working with Alexander Macgillivray, a die-hard free speech advocate who was then a Google attorney, Blogger made a core principle of the universal right to publish, despite outside criticism. “We don’t get involved in adjudicating whether something is libel or slander,” Goldman told Forbes in 2005. The passage that followed reads like it could be written about Twitter today: “In squabbles between anonymous bloggers and victims Google sides with the attackers, refusing to turn over any information unless a judge orders it to open up. ‘We’ll do it if we believe we are required to by law,’ [Goldman] says.”
Emphasis mine, because WTF. Notably, this policy was resisted vociferously by Sheryl Sandberg, who went on to become COO of the real name-based Facebook.
The lessons for next generation virtual worlds are clear, but not very reassuring:
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
SL Flickr Stream of the Day: Belinda Pop's Heart-Stopping Fashion Pics
Belinda Pop brings us SL fashion photos with a difference: High-contrast, deeply filtered, full of shadows and mystery and sometimes sudden bursts of color. (Such as the one above -- click here to embiggen.)
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Jack Vettriano's "A Kind of Loving" Recreated in Second Life
You saw the SL recreation of Jack Vettriano's famous painting "The Singing Butler" a couple months ago -- now behold this tribute to Vettriano's "A Kind of Loving". The SL rendition was created by Venus Petrov -- click here to embiggenate. Now compare with the original below (from the artist's official homepage) after the break:
Monday, August 08, 2016
Mindshow: Virtual Reality Machinima-Making Platform
Mindshow is some nifty-looking tech , a platform for creating shareable virtual reality experiences as machinima:
Shows are animated movies that can be anything from a bite-size moment to a more complex narrative. Personalize your show by choosing a world to inhabit and decorating it with props. Bring your characters to life using your body and voice. Everything you do as a character you can record and watch from any angle. Share your show with friends and experience the amazing stories they make too both inside and outside of VR.
Lots of potential here, but I think the best thing would be to incorporate this tech into MMOs and other multiplayer experiences:
Peter Vos Museum Moves to New Location in Second Life
Click here to visit the new location of the Peter Vos museum in Second Life, which I mistakenly reported last week was defunct. Vos' real life son Sanders (the museum's creator and RL Karkassus in SL) just reached out to let me know it'd simply been moved to another location (the one linked above) to continue displaying the life works of the Netherlands' preeminent illustrator:
Top Four New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- 8 Impressive Experiments in New VR Interaction Modes
- Lumiya SL Viewer for Android Gets Major UI Update
- Pokémon Has Been Playable in Second Life for Over 8 Years -- in Full 3D!
- NWN Reader Real World Presidential Survey: Overwhelming Majority Support Clinton; Surprisingly, Stein Support Strong While Trump & Johnson Weak
Friday, August 05, 2016
Linden Lab Promoting Second Life as Platform for "Skill" Games With Real Money Rewards
Linden Lab's latest blog post highlighting recent updates to Second Life includes the addition of Gaming Island, "a new Linden Lab region dedicated to educating Residents about skill games in Second Life." The term refers to any game "whose outcome is determined by skill and is not contingent, in whole or in material part, upon chance; requires or permits the payment of Linden Dollars to play; provides a payout in Linden Dollars; and is legally authorized by applicable United States and international law." That's a narrowly defined category, but a lucrative one. I made a quick visit to Gaming Island (map link and info here), and while the games might not be gambling in the strict legal sense, they do seem pretty casino-like.
8 Impressive Experiments in New VR Interaction Modes
VR is still replicating interaction models from the PC era -- like first-person shooters, only more first-persony! -- but the real trick is to come up with ways of interacting in virtual reality that are quite different from what's come before. From designer and artist Eugene Krivoruchko and Ilja Burzev, here's 8 such only-in-VR type interactions. Delightful and surprising, my personal favorite comes toward the end:
Thursday, August 04, 2016
Lumiya SL Viewer for Android Gets Major UI Update
Lumiya, the SL viewer for Android devices, recently got a whole host of updates that longtime SL artist Douglas Story just e-mailed me excitedly about. (Disclosure: Lumiya and its talented creator, Alina Lyvette, were NWN media partners a few years ago, but I sadly haven't heard from her in awhile.) I don't regularly use an Android device or currently have one on-hand, so let Mr. Story tell you what's in store:
Machinima Tribute to
Now-Defunct SL Museum of Art by Peter Vos, Created by His Son
Update, August 8th: The museum still exists in SL, just moved to another location.
I just stumbled across this lovely machinima from Yesikita Coppola, a tribute to an SL gallery presenting the life work of Peter Vos, a renowned Dutch illustrator who died a few years ago. The art itself is great, as is the space, and it takes me back to this 2011 post I wrote about the museum. Known as RL Karkassus in SL, the gallery was actually created by Sander Vos -- Peter's son. And he built the gallery space in Second Life as his father was dying:
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
Pokémon Has Been Playable in Second Life for Over 8 Years -- in Full 3D!
About to catch an Arccanine
The Pokémon franchise has been around in various forms for twenty years, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that a team of Second Life users have created a playable version of the game. What is surprising is how long the game has existed, and how ambitious it is -- and how few players even knew it existed, until the Pokémon Go phenomenon. For the last 8 or years, in fact, the three creators have been building and maintaining a full Pokemon roleplaying experience on the island of Ravenlock. Only recently, thanks to the new augmented reality mobile game hit, foot traffic from random visitors in search of virtual Pokémon has spiked.
“On average,” lead creator Mindy Runo tells me, “we get roughly ten new players a day prior to Go. And now it’s about twenty to thirty [a day].”
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
This is the Nicolas Cage/Tangled/OpenSim Mash-Up You Didn't Know You Wanted But Now You're Glad You Did
Hypnotic, disturbing, glorious:
Avatar Takes the 10 Minute Stripped Down Challenge
On YouTube's massive community of video bloggers, the "Stripped Down Challenge" is a popular video segment where the vlogger extemporizes unedited about what they think and feel for ten straight minutes. So what happens when the vlogger is an avatar? Something like this:
Alicia Chenaux is the challenge taker, of course, talking about her Wordpress blog, her virtual family, and many other random topics. It's casual, it's chatty, it's a fun way of getting insights into virtual world culture.
Monday, August 01, 2016
NWN Reader Real World Presidential Survey: Overwhelming Majority Support Clinton; Surprisingly, Stein Support Strong While Trump & Johnson Weak
Here's the results of last week's survey, asking readers of a virtual world blog who they supported most as real world US President:
Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite with over 61%, while Trump trails with just 21%. (Current polls of general US voters are more on the range of 46% for Clinton, 39% Trump, with the rest undecided or going to a third party candidate.) Notably, almost all readers took this survey before the latest Trump controversy over his criticizing a Gold star family, and shortly after the Democratic convention.
More surprising to me is the preference (or not) for third part candidates:
Oculus vs. Vive: Now Neck & Neck on Google Trends
Important data point to start off the week: After rapidly gaining interest on Google Trends since late 2012, Oculus Rift is now neck and neck with HTC Vive, which only started showing up on the Trends radar around March 2015. Notably, however, interest in both platforms is starting to trend downward.
Top Six New World Notes Posts from Last Week!
- High Fidelity to Protect User-Made Content Through Certificate System, Says Philip Rosedale
- Here's the Inevitable Pokémon Go in Second Life Machinima
- Majority of SL Brand Owners Already Planning to Launch in High Fidelity or Project Sansar - NWN Survey
- Based on What We Know, Magic Leap Making Augmented Reality for Google Glass-Type Hardware - But How Can It Avoid Glass' Fate?
- "I Stand for Peace" - Flickr Pool of Virtual World Images Calling for Real World Peace
- Weekend Viewing: "Singularity of Kumiko", Dream-Like Second Life Machinima Funded by Canadian Government
Friday, July 29, 2016
Weekend Viewing: "Singularity of Kumiko", Dream-Like Second Life Machinima Funded by Canadian Government
Last January I told you that Bryn Oh received a grant from the Canadian government to create a Second Life machinima, so I'm glad to show it to you now. Get comfortable, get popcorn, it's nearly a half hour of beautifully moody, dream-like viewing:
"The Singularity of Kumiko" was funded with a New Media art grant by the Ontario Arts Council, and it's a good thing they helped -- because, Bryn tells me, the most difficult aspect of producing this Second Life machinima wasn't artistic, but financial:
"I think the most difficult practical aspect would have been [SL land] tier," as she puts it. "The story had to be written, then built in the virtual environment, then exhibited for months. I was tempted to say writing the story was hardest, then was thinking of the many months it took in building each model for the story... but really in the end the hardest part is paying for a region for so long as it is being created. I accept that it is a part of working in this medium, but it is still a difficult barrier."
Since it was funded by real life arts organization, will "Kumiko" be shown in an IRL museum or gallery?
Friday Open Forum: What Link Should We Look at Today?
Any link, long as it's got a virtual twist. And if it's a particularly lovely link, I likely may link to it in a follow-up post!
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Too Many Pokémon GO Players Ignore the Real World, So Why Not Add Real World Challenges to Pokémon GO?
My girlfriend and I recently attended an art show held next to the Hollyhock House, a designated landmark of Los Angeles because it sits on a hill with a panoramic view of the city, and the house itself was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The place was packed, which seemed great at first. But then we gradually realized most of the people there weren't there to see the art, or look at the view, or take in the Mayan-influenced building by America's greatest architect.
Most people were there only to catch goddamn Pokémon.
Which isn't such a bad thing in itself (I was playing too), but what really bothered me is how little attention or interest the players paid to this great landmark. Eyes stuck on their phones, scarce looking up (and then, only to tell friends which Pokémon they just found). On a cultural and moral level, this example is somewhere in the middle on the annoyance spectrum, with the very, very worst example probably being people going to Auschwitz to catch Pokémon.
Rather than just rant, however, I thought there must be ways to encourage GO players to look up from their phones once in awhile and actually take in their surroundings. And then it hit me:
Based on What We Know, Magic Leap Making Augmented Reality for Google Glass-Type Hardware - But How Can It Avoid Glass' Fate?
Magic Leap is still super secretive about how its augmented reality technology will work, but there's a fair amount that is public via "talks, patents, job applications and the background of people working at the company to try to find out", as Jono MacDougall explains, proceeding to cobble those clues together to explain how Magic Leap will probably work:
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
"I Stand for Peace" - Flickr Pool of Virtual World Images Calling for Real World Peace
The challenge is pretty straight forward; You create an image with the theme of “Peace” in mind and then you share it in the Flickr group. You can also nominate some of your friends to do the challenge too. I nominate anyone that is reading this right now and wants to do it. I figure it is a good way to express ourselves and distract from all of the chaos and destruction going on in the world on a daily basis. I hope you can also participate.
Moderated by "Goodcross" of Second Life's White Canvas gallery, it's already becoming quite a collection of striking imagery, such as the one above, and the one below, an avatar-based riff on a famous Bansky image.
Strawberry, by the way, has special insights on this call for co-existence as a Muslim-American who found herself the victim of bigoted attacks on social media in the wake of terrorist attacks committed by violent, fringe Salafists:
NWN Reader Presidential Survey: Who Do You Most Support?
Now that all party nominees have officially been nominated, here's an updated survey of the US Presidential race. So virtual world fans, who do you want to run the real world? Note the wording: "hope" as opposed to "vote", so non-US readers can take this survey if they like. Also, to prevent ballot stuffing, Google registration is required.
Results posted next week! Will be interesting to see how this compares to our February survey.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
High Fidelity to Protect User-Made Content Through Certificate System, Says Philip Rosedale
High Fidelity founder Philip Rosedale stopped by this blog to comment on the topic of how his upcoming virtual world will protect user-made content, a concern for many SL brands considering or preparing for the leap:
"High Fidelity will protect content by issuing certificates that validate authentic content by providing a proof-of-purchase and link to get your own copy, etc.," Philip writes. "Server operators will have the ability to require all content on their servers to be authentic. As you say, we agree that the most important thing for content creators is to be able to make money selling content if they choose to."
(By "you", he's responding to my point that the ability to reliably earn revenue from what they create is the key requirement for content creators when choosing a platform.) The certificate system he's describing sounds similar to SSL Certificates commonly used on the web today. On the face of it, this is a much stronger form of content protection than the permission system that currently exists in Second Life. In any case, hope to get more details on this from Philip and company soon.
Speaking of which, NWN reader "Leni" recently raised a question about High Fidelity's Terms of Service, which on the surface, seems to make some pretty draconian claims over user-created content (see "License Grant to High Fidelity" section):