Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Second Life Successor Intended to Be Multi-Platform & Attract "Hundreds of Millions" -- I.E. Very Different from Second Life

Ebbe Altberg Linden Lab

Two of the most interesting things said by Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg about Second Life 2 in his Engadget interview? First of all, it's going to be "Multi-device from day one" (including phones, he mentions). Second of all, this:

"We're building the next-generation platform for hundreds of millions of people; not for millions of people."

In other words, very different from Second Life in some fundamental ways. Also, these stated intentions should lead us to this conclusion:

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When it Comes to Fashion Photography in SL, Don't Be Afraid to Flaunt the Details

Brandi 62214
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

We're well into summer now (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) and even in the virtual world minds are drifting to sunny beaches, strappy sandals, and flattering swimwear. There's a great deal of summer-inspired blogging going on too, and of all the beach-based snaps I've been seeing lately this one by Brandi Monroe might be my favorite.

Obviously the focus of most fashion photography, virtual or otherwise, is going to be on the clothes, but that just makes me appreciate pictures like this one even more. Offering a little flavour to a set is important, as is focussing in on the details that might be all to easy to lose in the background of a larger shot.

Be sure to visit Brandi's blog to view the rest of this Summerfest-inspired set and see her complete styling notes.

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The MMO is Dead; Long Live the MMO

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

Paste Magazine's Games section is home to some of the absolute best gaming-related content and criticism on the internet, making it one of the go-to sources for the gamer who doesn't mind turning the gears in their head for more than just a particularly tricky Picross level. This week, Ian Williams posted a piece there about the current state of the MMO. While many think that MMOs are a thriving genre just being held back by their pursuit of World of Warcraft's holy grail, Williams posits that the genre as it stands is a relic of a time and a set of needs we've moved past. As Williams himself says, "It wasn’t the game, it was the moment; not what MMOs were but when. "

World of Warcraft introduced me to a level of internet socialization I hadn’t experienced before. Moreover, I couldn’t get it anywhere else in 2004. There was no Twitter or Facebook, and certainly no hordes of people using that social media which was available. Free video chat with any sort of efficiency wasn’t feasible. It was, in terms of social interactions, a completely different world. [...] We’re older now. We have kids and mortgages and serious jobs. In the time it takes to log in and get something set up with MMO friends, you can swipe your fingers a few times and be both engaging thousands on Twitter while videochatting with your friends at the same time. And if you really got into MMOs for the “ding, grats” style gameplay, it’s worked its way into games of every style and genre, with hundreds of mobile games offering a distilled version of it directly to your cerebral cortex.

Be sure to read the full article on Paste, which explains how some more recent MMOs and notable exceptions fit in to the picture.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

In Survey of SL Users, Plurality Believe Linden's New World Won't Change Their Second Life Usage

Will Linden Lab's new virtual world in development (let's call it Second Life 2 for short) change how you use Second Life? I asked that question in a survey last week, and with about 400 responses from SL users, the results are decidedly mixed:

SL versus SL 2 survey

A strong plurality of 40% believe SL 2 won't change their current usage of SL one way or the other, with 9% saying it will lead to them using SL more -- so if you put a positive spin on that and scale it, half the SL userbase won't lessen their usage because of SL 2.

Then again, there's a negative spin to these results:

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Don't Miss These Gorgeous Free Posters Featuring Second Life Designers, Out Now at Rhapsody

14533590765_194e1afc78_zJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you fell in love with any of Strawberry Singh and Anya Ohmai's promotional posters for music-inspired event Rhapsody (which I blogged about on NWN a couple weeks ago) there's some very good news. The posters, which feature designers participating in the event styled to represent an array of music tastes, are now available framed and ready to be hung in-world. Some are dark and moody, others are bright and bubbly -- even if you don't know all the designers showcased, there's a poster to suit just about everyone's virtual home.

Drop by Rhapsody [SLURL] before it closes on July 12th to shop, listen to performers, and pick up posters and other freebies. You can also find the complete list of participating designers here, and a shopping guide for what's available here.

 

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It's All in the HUD: SLink's New Second Life Mesh Body Could Be a Game Changer

Juicybomb SLink Physique HUD
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

One of the core problems that's plagued mesh bodies in Second Life has been compatibility. Worn over the outdated and widely disliked Second Life avatar body implemented over a decade ago (remember what other games looked like back then?) the earliest mesh bodies limited how the wearer could dress, usually to clothes designed specifically to fit the body or clothes that could be applied on a transparent layer overtop of it. Since then, mesh body designers have started offering bodies with a little more flexibility, allowing their wearers to mask certain areas to avoid clipping with their own mesh clothes (as Second Life's official mesh avatars do.) But none of those masking systems have been as highly controllable as what Siddean Munro unveiled with her new SLink Physique mesh bodies last week.

SLink Physique (which is fitted mesh made to conform to your avatar's shape) comes with a HUD offering control over a dozen different areas of the body; you can alpha out large chunks or just a few small sections to suit what you're wearing.  If you want to see SLink's system in action, check out this (mildly NSFW) video posted by Gogo over on Juicybomb, which I've screencapped above. 

While this probably won't allow as much compatibility as custom-made alpha layers give vanilla avatars, SLink Physique's user-friendly masking system seems like the innovation mesh bodies have been waiting for.

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Top Six New World Notes Posts from Last Week

Ready Player One Chat Room in SL

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Two Days Left to Get SL Go's Special 75% SL11B Discount

Update, 7/30: This offer is no longer valid.

Go here to redeem a special one month 75% discount= =for SL Go, the Second Life streaming service from OnLive (for which I occasionally consult), and enter the following redemption codes: For US users, SL11US.; for users in the UK, the code is SL11UK. If you've been interested in trying SL Go on your Android tablet or low-end laptop, this is a great chance to give it a go -- especially to visit the lag-heavy SL11B sites. The discount ends on June 29.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

One Reason Among Many Migration of Second Life Inventory to Linden Lab's New World Won't Happen: Licensing

SL inventory

Since news broke that Linden Lab is developing a new virtual world, many SLers have clamored for the company to enable migration of their Second Life content to it. This will almost certainly not happen in any substantial way, because it's simply not feasible, cost effective, or even ultimately desirable. Ciaran Laval points out of one of many reasons why this is so -- licensing problems:

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