Will the Future of VR Be Less Virtual, More Augmented?

Virtual REality Magic leap

Commenting in this fascinating thread on virtual reality hype, reader "Rin" makes some smart points:

I have to say that I think that everything that uses a big headset like the Oculus Rift is a dead end and will never achieve any big success. It might have some specific uses .. training simulations come to mind, but I just can't see it finding it's way into the big consumer market. It is just too big of a hindrance to daily life to block everything out like this and sit on the couch with this headset on. Microsoft has the much better approach there [with the HoloLens] and even when I am uncertain of how it might turn out (or if it actually be usable at all), I think it is still the more usable idea then something like the Oculus headset. To be honest, I have not yet heard even one idea about what the one big application would be that brings VR "into our lap". Even most games would not fit well with it and not everyone who plays games would like to do it this way. So the market is even smaller ... but what is there beside it that would bring it out of specific work situations and into the homes of everyone? It actually also might be going against the current trend of everything being more and more mobile. And being in VR while walking down a street might not be the most healthy thing to do ... so instead of VR I think it should be more AR - Augmented Reality. That is where I would put my money into.

So presumably, Rin would want to put her money in a company like Magic Leap, just like Google recently did, to the tune of half a billion damn dollars. I share all of Rin's concerns around VR, though I'm very skeptical augmented reality will be a better alternative:

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Back It This Weekend: Sunless Sea, A Steampunk Naval Roguelike Inspired By FTL

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Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There are practically hundreds Indie game Kickstarters making the rounds at any given time, but this month something truly special surfaced. Failbetter Games' Sunless Sea might seem like little more than an offbeat and borderline-Lovecraftian roguelike, until you realize that this is the same team that developed Fallen London. Fallen London is easily the most unique and intriguing browser-based game I've ever experienced, and it's a must-play for anyone with an interest in twisted and tangled Victorian settings.

Better yet, Sunless Sea and Fallen London will go hand in hand, with Failbetter's newest game taking place in (and expanding upon) the strange world of its predecessor.

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Cancer-Stricken Designer Passes Away One Month After SL's Fashion Community Raises Over $12K For Her Care

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Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Last July, friends of popular Second Life designer Squinternet Larnia started a fundraiser to help support her cost of living with terminal bone cancer. She was no longer able to work, and her dwindling finances meant that she couldn't afford the care she needed just to spend her remaining time in comfort. Even as event organization got under way things looked very bleak, and plans were made for the proceeds of the event in case Squinternet herself didn't live to see it through. But she did. The fundraiser ended after raising $12,619.45 for her care and comfort in the final days of her life. Just as importantly, she saw a phenomenal and inspiring turnout of generous friends and strangers who came out and offered their support.

Sadly, in spite of strides she was making in treatment, the designer who moved so many of us passed on September 4th. But like so many before her, the story of the second life of Squinternet Larnia doesn't end there.

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Second Life Fashionistas Start Fundraiser to Benefit Beloved Designer Squinternet Larnia's Fight Against Cancer

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Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Virtual world designers come and go all the time, but the disappearance of Italian designer Squinternet Larnia of Donna Flora fame was one that many fashionistas (including myself) lamented regularly, particularly as many of us knew of her experiences with cancer.

Notable fashion blogger Cajsa Lilliehook took the time recently to track Squinternet down, and the news is not good... But there may yet be some good news on the horizon. The fashion community is already mobilizing with a fundraiser to help support Squinternet. Keep reading for all the details on Squinternet's situation, and what you can do to help.

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SL-Based Interactive Sci-Fi Webcomic Splintered Rock Needs Your Support

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Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

A couple months ago I wrote about Splintered Rock, an interactive webcomic influenced by Dune and shot in Second Life using a cluster of truly magnificent and gritty sci-fi sims. What makes it so innovative is that the story develops based on several different kinds of interaction that readers can have with creator Darren Green, including polls and the use of tokens to bolster the stats (and therefore survival chances) of their favorite characters.

It's a neat concept and it's pretty well executed, but it's not all smooth sailing either. Projects like this don't create themselves, and Chapter 1 proved to be a pretty time-consuming endeavour. That's why Splintered Rock needs your help...

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Forget Printing in 3D, Why Not Write in 3D?

While I'm not sure how huge 3D printing is going to be, I'm somewhat more sure writing in 3D will be pretty huge. Watch this jaw-dropping video:

It's a Kickstarter project, and when I first saw it last night, it had raised about $10,000. Less than 12 hours later, nearly $200,000 had been pledged. So guess I'm not the only one jazzed about the idea of writing 3D into reality.

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Watch the First Animated Short Featuring SL's Raglan Shire Tinies Made from Last Spring's Successful Kickstarter

I wrote about the Raglan Shire Kickstarter last March, which raised funds to bring Second Life's beloved tiny avatars to a real life mass audience, and now via project lead Zayn Till, here's some fruits to that crowdfunder -- presenting "Wootberry Joos!", which is, as Mr. Till explains, "our first complete animated short", specifically, "a mock commercial for a mock product to show that these characters ARE entertaining no matter what situation you throw them in". The results are highly-polished and face-punchingly cute:

Follow the project's Facebook page for updates. As you may have noticed, while these Tiny avatars were first created in Second Life, this short was not shot in SL machinima. Instead, Till tells me, they recreated the Tinies on other platforms to make them more commercial:

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Cool Kickstarter: Word Realms MMO from Kingdom of Loathing Team -- Think WoW Meets Words With Friends

World Realms is a very new cool Kickstarter game project with a great premise: MMO questing combined with word games matched to the uniquely wacky humor that made Kingdom of Loathing such a successful indie MMO. Think WoW meets Words with Friends, and watch the hilarity-spiked pitch:

World Realms Kickstarter

As I suggested above, it's from Asymmetric Productions, the guys who made Kingdom of Loathing, so even the Kickstarter write-up is pretty funny. Don't take my word for it, read the FAQ... I mean, the NUTSAQ:

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Five SL-Based Crowdfunders I'd Love to See and Help Promote -- And Two I Probably Won't

Kickstarter Indiegogo crowdfunder projects

I love blogging about crowdfunders of cool game/interactive projects, as you may have noticed, and I'd love even more to blog about those which began in SL, like the successful Raglan Shire crowdfunder. If you know of such projects (or are thinking of launching one yourself), here's several I'm particularly interested in:

  • An SL-based musician who wants to crowdfund a full-length album aimed at a mass market audience.
  • Developers who want to convert their popular SL-based game to a game for iOS, Android, the web, or Facebook.
  • SL fashion/jewelry designers who wants to fund production and sales of real world versions of their styles.
  • SL machinima developers who want to create a high-end franchise meant to reach an audience beyond SLers.
  • Content creators who want to convert their sim or build into a 3D interactive experience for the web, iOS tablets, or Steam.

Those are just the first five off the top of my head, and I'm sure there are many more that would excite me just as much. You'll notice a pattern in all of them: SL projects aimed at reaching a wider audience. While it's still unclear if SL can grow its userbase any more than it has already, there's many cases of SL projects which went on to find a larger market beyond it. Think Kermitt Quirk's Tringo game, which became a web and Nintendo Gameboy title. Think machinima like Douglas Gayeton's Molotov Alva, which ended up on HBO/Cinemax.

Those in mind, here's a couple crowdfunders I probably can't get behind (or if I do, very reluctantly):

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