Thursday, January 14, 2016
Playable 3D Recreation of Undertale RPG in Second Life
Click here to locate the Second Life recreation of Undertale, last year's acclaimed indie RPG game. I first noticed it via this brief walkthrough video by RainicK, who's clearly a fan of the original game. It includes puzzles and challenges based on the original game, and has a recreation of Snowdin, a town in Undertale. I haven't gotten around to playing the original game (it's on my list), but I was so intrigued, I went into Second Life last night to give it a quick look:
In Survey of VR Enthusiasts, Most Predict Oculus Rift Will Sell Under 100,000 Unit
With over 100 votes from New World Notes readers, here's how many Oculus Rifts you predict will sell on 2016:
Nearly 60% predict under 100,000, which definitely sounds right, especially with the just-announced price point of $599. This is a seriously bearish estimate, especially coming from virtual reality/virtual world enthusiasts who make up about 95% of the regular reader base. To put those numbers in perspective, consider initial sales of the Playstation 3, another 3D graphics/gaming platform that hit the market at $499-599 in 2006, which provoked a lot of outrage among hardcore gamers:
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Eisenstein In Guanajuato: New Movie by Acclaimed Filmmaker (and Second Life Art Advocate) Peter Greenaway
Set for a US release next month, here's a trailer to Eisenstein In Guanajuato, a new film by Peter Greenaway, the acclaimed filmmaker's depiction of an even more acclaimed filmmaker's journey to Mexico. (High-def Quicktime version here.) Visually, looks quite stunning. I'm posting about it on a blog about virtual worlds and virtual reality because Peter Greenaway is also a longtime advocate of Second Life as an art platform. He's been a judge and patron for numerous SL-based art projects and contests, gave a lecture on film in Second Life, and a few years ago, used SL machinima in a theatrical production he co-created with his wife Saskia Boddeke, who's also active in SL:
Bitcoin Transactions Hardly Grew in 2015 -- Still Used Less Than Linden Dollars
While consistently declining sales of PCs in 2015 strongly suggest virtual reality is over-hyped, let's look at 2015 data for another over-hyped technology, Bitcoin. Drawn directly from the source, here's how many transactions of the virtual currency were made every day last year:
So Bitcoin transactions have been fluctuating mainly between 100K and 200K transactions a day, with very little upgrowth, and definitely no hockey stick growth (the kind of curve beloved by Silicon Valley). To put this in perspective, there's still about 400,000 people who regularly spend Linden Dollars in Second Life, which means the virtual currency of a niche MMO is still more regularly used than what many in tech have predicted to be the future of money. (For like the last five years.) But like noted monetary policy analyst Danny Devito says:
PC Sales Keep Slipping, Confirming a Mobile-Driven Future for Virtual Reality (If It Has a Non-Niche Future at All)
For consumers, the most powerful virtual reality platform requires a PC, but PC sales keep eroding that potential audience beyond the niche of hardcore PC gamers:
As you can see in the chart [above], Gartner said Apple was the only company among the top vendors that experienced an increase in PC shipments. Acer saw particularly poor results with double-digit declines... IDC, meanwhile, estimated worldwide PC shipments dropped 10.6 percent to 71.9 million units in the ourth quarter. The firm noted “the year-on-year decline in 2015 shipments was nevertheless the largest in history, surpassing the decline of -9.8% in 2013.”
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Over 50% New World Notes Readers Predict Second Life Usage Decline in 2016, 20% Predict Growth - Survey
The third wave of virtual reality products are hitting the commercial market this year, but how will Second Life, a product of VR's second wave, fare? With over 240 of New World Notes readers voting in our survey, here's how many Second Life users you expect come the closing of this year:
A plurality of some 1 in 3 respondents expect Second Life's user base to stay about the same (roughly 900,000 monthly users), but just over half of you think we'll see Second Life usage decline -- by a little or a lot. (With almost 1 in 5 predicting a loss of nearly half its current user base.) On the other side of the ledger, 20% are more optimistic, hoping to see some user growth this year.
Who's right? I generally don't resist the wisdom of the crowds, and in this case, I think the majority is roughly right: Given the launch of Oculus Rift and Valve's Vive, not to mention Linden Lab's own Project Sansar, I think it's inevitable we're going to see a pretty sharp drop in Second Life usage.
However, if Linden Lab reacts quickly and spends some money on new SL development and marketing, that's not a foregone conclusion:
Stunning Second Life Avatar Portraits Shot With In-World Projector Lighting
An SLer named Winter Hendes recently posted some Second Life photos to his Facebook feed which made my jaw drop, because look:
The amazing thing is, these are raw shots without post-processing. Instead, he's using a light projector within Second Life, which uses filters he created in Photoshop:
"[T]hink of the projector like you would a Photoshop brush," Winter explains. "So you can make the 'brush' any shape or anything you want (not just a spotlight, but maybe like drawn lines or other marks). It can be tweaked and duplicated to regulate tone/color/intensity etc. So you can almost use the projections in a kind of painterly way."
He got this idea from a tutorial on using projectors in Second Life, which you can watch below:
Monday, January 11, 2016
David Bowie Actually Had a Second Life Before Second Life
At the stroke of midnight on Sept. 1, 1998, BowieNet powered up. The press release, which declared the start of the service as an “all-out cyberspace celebration,” made some unbelievably bold promises for the time, including “webcast performances” by popular artists, live video feeds of David Bowie’s studio, as well as video interviews... Perhaps more intriguing than BowieNet itself is a 3D chat client that was launched alongside it. Called BowieWorld, it launched a solid half decade ahead of Second Life and is built on the “Worlds” virtual community platform. Today, more than a decade and a half later, it remains up and running.
More background on Bowie's work as an Internet pioneer from the BBC here. (Hat tip: Robert Thomas.) Amazingly, BowieWorld still has an active user community even now. And if you're a member, please share your memories of the community in Comments. And around the same time (1999), Bowie contributed design input and songs to the cyberpunk game Omnikron: The Nomad Soul, along with, well, himself: