Hillary Clinton Has a Hyperrealistic Head in Second Life

Hillary Clinton avatar Second Life

And just in time for the third Presidential debate which is likely to be more surreal than anything Second Life could conjure up, you can be Hillary with this mesh head. Perfect companion piece to the equally hyperrealistic Trump avatar. Not that I'm suggesting SLers should use these to create, I don't know, hilarious Hillary vs. Trump cage match wrestling machinimas, except that I totally am.

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Avatar-Based DJ Becomes Mixcloud Chart Topper

If you're one of the many users of MixCloud, a hugely popular music streaming site for DJs, you might have noticed that this particular DJ was recently listed as #1 in the ElectroHouse category:

Mixcloud Electrohouse SL DJ London Callin

... which is somewhat surreal, because London Callin only exists as an avatar in Second Life, and her mix was recorded in an SL club:

"SMASH is a club on the Whiskey sim, full standalone sim, split between residentials and the club venues. I DJ a twice-monthly residency there as well as other irregular themed sets, etc," as London tells me. (Click here to visit the sim.)

Among thousands of DJs on the site with millions of listeners, how did London Callin hit the top of the charts?

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Top SL Creator Releases Bento-Powered Wing Template

Bento Wing Template Damien Fate

Veteran SL content creator Damien Fate recently released a Bento-powered wing template in the run-up to Bento becoming part of the official viewer. By "template", he means just that:

These wings are customizable, so you can replace the texture with your own. Included in this package is a full permissions copy of the default wing texture as a guide. As well as being modifiable you can also use the included texture applier to sell your own custom wing textures. 

So expect to soon see a flock of Bento/Fate-powered wings flying through the SL skies quite soon.

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Bento Be Release Candidate for Official SL Viewer

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 10.43.53 AM

Hungry for bento? It's about to be served straight from Linden Lab's kitchen:

The Bento Viewer is now a Release Candidate Viewer! This is the last stage before becoming the official release Viewer. If you are interested in avatar content creation, please give the new Viewer a try, and if you encounter problems, please let us know right away by filing a JIRA bug report. We believe the skeleton and sliders are in their final state, but the Release Candidate Viewer is intended to give us the opportunity to test with a much larger number of users to be sure we're ready to deploy throughout Second Life. It’s very important to hear about any remaining problems as soon as possible.

More here. So if you're interested, now would be a good time to start playing with the bento avatars already available, as here, and here.

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How Microsoft System for Recording 3D Holographic Video for HoloLens is Jaw-Dropping

Well this is whoa-worthy:

As you can see in the video, Microsoft creates the high-quality videos for the HoloLens that can be compressed to bandwidth which is suitable for consumer applications. It’s pretty amazing to see how the company creates these videos which can be viewed as holograms. Their technology figures out how to present virtual objects so they fit in with the real world. Imagine a person’s hologram is projected in front of you, you could walk around the imaginary people just as if they were real, your viewpoint changing seamlessly as if they were actually there.

For that matter, imagine reality and the virtual blending so seamlessly we start to confuse the two, too!

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First Bento Mesh Heads Available to Demo in Second Life

After a long wait, we're starting to see avatars featuring Project Bento, Linden Lab's new skeleton extensions which greatly expand the expressive range of avatars. Above is what appears to be the first Bento-enabled mesh head, complete with a crazy degree of customization options.

The main advantage to a Bento-based versus standard mesh head, SL fashionista Strawberry Singh tells me, is "Basically just being able to adjust/modify it." She allows that there are still some issues to be worked out with this trial head. "Hopefully all that will be sorted before they release to main viewer."

Speaking of which, this mesh head from Akeruka isn't available on the main grid yet, but you can demo it now. Strawberry has instructions on how to do that, plus a video of her own walk-through (head-through?):

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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.

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Academics Study Child & Family Roleplay in Second Life

Virtual Family Alicia Second Life

Interesting that I had just blogged Alicia Chenaux's thoughts on roleplaying as the virtual mother of virtual children (who are adults themselves), when up pops this fascinating Inverse story about two academics studying that very phenomena:

The exact why people are looking to live as children, and tangentially why other users what to act as their parents, is what more analysis will reveal to Loveland and Gilbert before they can make any definitive claims. But they do have a research-supported hypothesis, which was recently presented to the Western Psychological Association. “The hypothesis is that both the child and the parental avatars are motivated to explore these roles as a kind of corrective emotional experience,” Gilbert tells Inverse. “This may be because of traumatic or difficult experiences in childhood, so that in effect both child and parental avatars are trying to recreate a family that would be a more positive, and hopefully healing, experience.”

That description fits the experiences of Alicia, who is physically unable to have children in real life, or this profile of someone who roleplays as a child and reports being a child abuse survivor.

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Do You Want to Prisma Your Avatar? Of Course You Do

Download the iOS app here, add an image of your avatar to your iOS device's photo roll, select a filter, and watch your avatar transform into something like this:

Prisma avatar Second Life app

Originally designed to convert photos into images inspired by the paintings of Lichtenstein, Munch, Picasso, Hokusai, and so on, Prisma seems to work just as well with photos from the virtual world. Here's the original screenshot:

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Why Would a Woman Want to Roleplay as a Virtual Mom?

Virtual Family Alicia Second Life

Longtime SL blogger Alicia Chenaux has a fascinating post which helps illuminate a remarkable phenomenon in Second Life: The existence of virtual families, in which groups of SLers roleplay as traditional nuclear families with a mother, father, and two-three kids. (With the children being roleplayed by adults who've shrunk down their avatars to a kids' size.) For Alicia, becoming a virtual mother was inspired by a painful limitation in her real, offline existence:

It has always been a big deal to me that I haven’t been able to have children. In fact, it sent me into a depression for a long time after I found out that it just wasn’t going to happen for me. And adoption, unfortunately, is not in the cards for me in RL for various reasons. Also, my immediate family is very small. I have never had a sibling close to my age because my sisters were quite a bit older than me when I was born, so I was basically raised as an only child. It’s just my parents and me now, and the rest of our extended family all live very far away.

So when Alicia partnered with someone in Second Life, they "adopted" a couple of children -- all of whom know each other (to some extent) in real life, all with the knowledge and support of Alicia's real life boyfriend:

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