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OpenSim vs. Unity: A Pros and Cons Dialog With a Co-Founder of OpenSim (Who Now Works in Unity)

ResLive

I recently had a chat with Adam Frisby (Adam Zaius in SL) one of the founders of OpenSim who has since moved on to developing in Unity with projects such as ResLive. Does that mean other OpenSim developers should follow his lead, and give up on the open source version of Second Life? Not necessarily:

"There's room for both," argues Adam. "It depends on the level of interactivity required; but I do think there's more room for mass market growth in Unity." We then discussed the pros and cons of Unity versus OpenSim (somewhat ironically, via Facebook chat):

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Find Ultra Unique Art-Inspired Fashion at SL's EPOCH-Legend Event

Epoch Clowning

Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of virtual world and MMO fashion

Although I cover a lot of fashion and shopping events on this blog, nothing has caught my eye quite as much as EPOCH-Legend in a long time. This event is broken up into three themed areas (Beast, Clowning, and Art of Escher), which all hosted on different standalone sims and connected by a central hub-- a gorgeous mesh cafe-- with thematic portals to each area. 50 designers have leant their names and their styles to these three wildly different themes, and have produced tons of artistically inspired items as playful as they are chic.

So have I caught your fancy yet? Keep reading for my favorite finds from EPOCH!

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Help Me Crowdsource Oz Linden's Explanation of the New Third Party Viewer Policy - What Does It Actually Mean?

Oz Linden Third Party SL Viewer changes

Click here for a long .mp3 audio recording of Oz Linden, Director of Open Development at Linden Lab (Scott Lawrence IRL) explaining the changes to the company's policies around third party viewers, which forbid a viewer which alters SL "in such a way that users on other Viewers don't experience the same virtual reality." The policy change has provoked a lot of controversy, in great part because its vague wording. In Oz's presentation, he tries to assure TPV developers that their contributions are valued and wanted, and that the policy change is meant to prevent abuses. At the same time, the developers he engages with seem resentful and distrustful, at least partly due to Linden Lab failings from years that were prior to Oz joining the company. But as it's a long talk, I've only heard snippets so far.

Give it a listen, and if you're a TPV developer or user, post in Comments the parts which give you most concern -- or the most reassurance. Be sure to include time codes!

Hat tip: Ms. Emilly Orr, who has much analysis and commentary here.

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MakieLab Makes Customizable 3D Printed Avatars

Makie Lab Alice Taylor 3D printed avatars

MakieLab is a new UK-based startup from veterans of virtual worlds and gaming which has a brilliant idea: Let users create customizable avatars online, then send the avatar's unique data to a 3D printer, where it becomes a real doll. Here's a good new article on the company (hat tip: Mal Burns.) The company's led by Alice Taylor, who's developed education-themed games for the UK's Channel 4 and the BBC, among many other places, and it was co-founed by Sulka Haro, formerly the lead designer of the web-based virtual world Habbo Hotel (and by far the largest of its kind.) So when this headline says, "Alice Taylor thinks 3D printed avatars will make her business as big as Lego," it's not puffery, but speaks to the founders' awareness of what kids today want in avatars. Even though, I should say by way of full disclosure, Alice is a dear friend who I think is the awesomesauce. She's a fan of Iris Ophelia's SL fashion blogging, too. All that said, go see what MakieLab is making.

Images from LondonlovesBusiness.com.

Brie Makes Second Life Seem Like Immersive O'Keefe

Brie Wonder SL screenshot

Yes this is a screenshot of Second Life, though it might not seem so; might even seem like, say, someone had walked into a painting by Georgia O'Keefe. But to be precise, it's an SL fashion blog pic by Ms. Brie Wonder, who shoots SL screenshots which seem like such. Click here to embiggenize, and behold in full.

Linden Lab Regulates Third Party SL Viewers to Preserve Objective Virtual Reality -- UPDATE: Provoking Questions About What That Objectively Means

Imprudence

Linden Lab recently announced new Third Party Viewer policy changes, forbidding developers from creating a version of an SL viewer that "changes the way elements of Second Life are defined or how they behave, in such a way that users on other Viewers don't experience the same virtual reality." In other words, these policies are meant to insure that the metaverse maintains the same underlying objective reality that is perceivable by all SL users, no matter what viewer they're using. So for example, the Imprudence/Kokua viewer (which I still use, since it's more reliable for me than the official viewer) maintains much of SL's old school user interface, which is fine by this new new policy. But a viewer which, say, depicted avatars as being nude (which another notorious third party viewer once did), would presumably run afoul. Some TPV developers and fans have speculated that the policy change is directed at particular viewers, but when I asked Linden Lab about that, spokesman Peter Gray said not so:

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Main Street MMO: Virtual World Kickstarter by Jon "Keystone" Brouchoud to Dynamically Simulate Cities in 3D

Main Street MMO is a new Kickstarter project seeking $20,000 from Jon "Keystone" Brouchoud, an architect whose innovations using Second Life and OpenSim as a design and protyotyping tool have won industry recognition and virtual world awards. The main idea with Main Street MMO is to create 3D, annotaed and interactive simulations of real cities that are dynamic and customizable and displayed on the web and tablets in Unity 3D. Watch the pitch:

Read more about it here, and donate if you're so inclined. When Jon told me about this idea a few weeks ago, I wondered if it wasn't too similar to other "3D virtual city" projects that have come and gone. What can the Main Street MMO do that they didn't?

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International Spaceflight Museum Update: SL Sims Get Full Funding by Donor, Volunteers Promise Site Revamp

International Space Museum SL update

More good news for SL's International Spaceflight Museum, which was returned to the grid last meek after unpaid bills, community outcry, Linden intercession, etc. "The ISM has received a pledge of FULL ISLAND FUNDING for both Spaceport Alpha and Spaceport Bravo," longtime museum volunteer Katherine Prawl (Kat Lemieux in SL) tells me. The donor wishes to remain anonymous (for now at least), but "The funding doesn't have a termination date." So for now, it seems, the International Spaceflight Museum will again become a regular part of SL.

However, this doesn't mean the ISM will continue to look as it did in 2006-2007, when it was first created. Many have pointed out that the site, while a historical landmark in SL, is also showing its prim and script-heavy, pre-sculpty, pre-mesh age, But Kat tells me that it's starting to be revamped in the run-up to its official re-opening next month:

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Top Seven New World Notes Posts Last Week You Can't Miss

Real Time Mocap Robot control

General 3D tech and gaming

SL news:

Get Stylish at SL's Festival of Sin, Fashion Inspired by the 7 Deadlies

Festival of Sin 2  

Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of virtual world and MMO fashion

Second Life's first Festival of Sin [Click here to teleport to Festival of Sin in DIABLO], an event built around the seven deadly sins, opened last week, and I have to admit that this full-sim fashion fair took me by surprise. As much as I love themed events, I was a little skeptical of this one, and I'll tell you why:

When you think of lust, envy, and the other deadly sins, you immediately associate very clear images, ideas, and even colors. Those images and ideas will probably be very similar to the ones in my head, or the ones in someone else's. There are a lot of clichés so strongly associated with the seven deadly sins that I was expecting to be disappointed by the sin-inspired festival exclusives. But to my surprise, there are quite a few designers at this event who proved me very wrong...

So naturally I had to share! Keep reading for the details of my sinfully stylish ensemble...

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