Thursday, November 03, 2016
High Fidelity Adds "Ready Room" for Customizable Avatars
You can use this Ready Room to create an infinite number of custom persistent avatars that can be used across applications and VR platforms. The first customer to use the Ready Room — an avatar engine and character management system — is VR playspace maker High Fidelity, which founded by Second Life creator Philip Rosedale. High Fidelity is the first of many virtual world companies that could use the Ready Room to morph avatars and “ready” them for different shared virtual spaces.
It's created by Morph3D, which has a pretty impressive avatar customization system:
Revealed: Second Life Mainland Prim Increase Part of Linden Lab Push to Boost Premium Subscriptions
New Perk! Prim Limit Increase: Premium members are entitled to a Linden Home and can own parcels on the Mainland. Now, we're raising the limit on the number of prims you can use in those spaces. This means you will have more prims and creative flexibility to decorate and customize your own space. Land impact (object) capacity on Mainland Regions will go from 15,000 to 22,500 - that’s a lot more building capacity! In addition to this, we will further carry the prim limit increases to the private estate regions shortly. Keep your eye on our blogs for more information!
Emphasis mine, because it looks like they're also pushing to make private estate ownership sweeter. Also, Premium users get a free robot avatar (as pictured) -- full list of bennies here. Taken together, I can kind of see the future of Second Life from a revenue standpoint:
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Yes, SL Mainlanders Getting Big Boost in Prims to Play With
The rumors are true: If you're living on land on the Linden-owned continents, you have many more prim building blocks to play with:
"I have a 1024m double prim lot," Pussycat Catnap tells me, helpfully passing along that pic above. "It got a 50% boost to that too. So it now allows 703. I think it used to allow close to 450 or 460 or so..." (468 to be exact.) This is even true of Linden Homes:
High Fidelity Demo: Multi-Player, Physics-Enabled, Realtime Building With Spacialized Sound
Put on your headphones and then compare and contrast with Ebbe Alteberg's one-man building demo in Sansar.
Play this and listen to how clear and well 3D spatialized our individual voices sound. It's really good. Come and try it yourself. https://t.co/xdQ7xjfesp— Philip Rosedale (@philiprosedale) October 27, 2016
Per Philip's Tweet, it's pretty cool to build while distinctly hearing the voices of the users around you. And so friendly! Of course, part of me feels melancholic because we know in a few years if High Fidelity starts growing and gaining users from everywhere, the voices will likely sound more like this:
London-Based SLers: Want to Be in a Radio Segment?
Tom Gerald Roseingrave ("swimmingwitheels" in SL -- that's his avatar at right) is a grad student at London's prestigious Goldsmith's school, and he's interested in interviewing London-based SLers in-person for an ambitious radio project he's producing. He's also promised to let me broadcast some of it on NWN!
"I'm hoping it will be quite a personal portrait of the SL player," Tom tells me, "and I'll do some sound design-y things to make it sound good." Sounds good to me. If you're interested and fit that bill and want to talk to Tom, e-mail me, post a comment below, or send an IM directly to Tom.
More on his project:
Virtual Reality Still in CD-ROM Stage of Development?
Thought of the day via Wired UK's Rowan Manthorpe, Philip Rosedale, and his VC backer:
So this is the theory: right now, virtual reality is at the CD-ROM stage of evolution. It’s only when it becomes networked and open that it will be as impactful as tech enthusiasts expect... “Fundamentally VR will be transformative to society only and until it allows us to communicate and create,” Rosedale told me, when I spent a week with him earlier this year... “Looking at VR today, it feels very akin to the early nineties and the emergence of CD-ROMs,” says Stephen Hall of Vulcan Capital, the lead investor in High Fidelity’s $11 million Series A round. “When we think about the capability of VR, it’s really going to be the web but for social experiential activity.”
That's an interesting analogy as far as it goes, though on the other hand, far more people bought and played Myst, CD-ROM's killer app, than have bought a VR headset. And gamers today are less enthused about VR. And, of course, you never had to strap a CD-ROM to your face.
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
What Dealing With Second Life Griefing Can Teach Developers of New VR Social Worlds
Facebook VR engineer Jim Purbrick hosted this recent conversation on making virtual reality social spaces safer for everyone, especially women and minorities who tend to be targeted for harassment most. Jim (he of the epic beard) is working on Facebook's avatars and VR rooms, and as I've mentioned before, much of his wisdom comes from being an engineer during Second Life's early growth phase. Joined by developers of new VR platforms Bigscreen and Altspace VR, who share their own experiences dealing with griefers and trolls, it's striking how we keep repeating a three decade-plus history of virtual world harassment. For Jim's part, there's still a lot that Second Life can teach developers of new VR-based social worlds:
"You need to consider how everything can be used to harass people (from grey goo to orbiters -- SL scripting automated a lot of harassment)," he tells me. "Just providing the functionality isn't enough: the machinery to lock down the land used for the Anshe Chung interview existed, but it wasn't easy enough to use when the flying penises arrived." (Yes, flying penii -- see NSFW video below.)
Call for an MMO-Based Art Movement Called "Gridism"
Interesting post by artist Kelly Guillory, who creates drawings and paintings inspired by her experiences in Second Life, calling for a new art movement she's dubbed "Gridism":
Many games — Second Life, Eve Online, DayZ, and other, older massive multiplayer games — enable users to give enough input to carve out who they are and what is important to them. So much of this expression is present in these worlds, a culture unto itself begins to form. Gridism takes these cultures and studies them. The Gridist is not only interested in summarizing who the user is online, but how it might affect their offline world as well. They implement symbolism and key images into their paintings to give the viewer a full story. They not only show why games and virtual worlds can be important to pay attention to, but they show the other side of humanity within them.
Read it all here. As I told Kelly when she sent me an earlier draft of this essay, I'd love to see some more concrete examples which fit in this movement as she's defining it, to better explain what qualifies as "Gridism", and to inspire a community of creators around it. For instance, how about this virtual war photography from Day Z?
Maybe time for someone to start a new Flickr feed?
SL Cosplay: Mads' Hannibal in Benedict Sherlock's Home
Some belated and eerily on-point Halloween-in-Second Life cosplay to start Tuesday, brought to you by Strawberry Singh: Hannibal Lecter (the Mads Mikkelsen version) stalking Sherlock Holmes (the Benedict Cumberbatch edition). And yes, there's a Cumberbatch/Holmes avatar in Second Life to go with the recreation of Holmes' home, owned by Darius Godric -- look: