Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here's What it Takes to Build a 1KB Hard Drive in Minecraft

Cody Littley's 1 KB Minecraft Hard Drive
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Polygon's Charlie Hall recently posted a video tour of one of the most mind-blowing Minecraft builds I've ever seen. As Hall floats through and around an ingeniously made 1 KB hard drive that exists entirely within Minecraft, its creator Cory Littley walks both him and the viewer through its meticulous construction.

Littley's hard drive (like the Minecraft calculators and such that have come before it) relies on redstone, an item in the game that conducts a current used to power various devices. In my experience, redstone's simplest applications are easy enough to wrap your head around. If all you need are a few lamps, powered rail cars, or maybe an automatic door it's not hard to get a handle on how to use it, but things get exponentially more complicated the larger and more intricate your project is. That's what makes Littley's hard drive so incredibly impressive, even if it's barely big enough to hold the text of this post.

Don't just take my word for it: Watch the tour for yourself on Polygon.

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Enjoy All the Charm of a Summer Sunset in This Stunning (and Unedited) Second Life Snapshot

Nivaya Barbosa Persephone Paine
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I'm a sucker for great, unprocessed screenshots, and this happy little accident shared by Nivaya Barbosa on Plurk and Flickr takes the cake. The contrast, the lighting, the depth of field, the lush colors of the environment against the muted tones of the dress -- it all just feels so natural even though typically (as most SL artists and virtual photographers know) that natural feeling is one of the most difficult elements to capture.

I will admit that I find myself wishing that her subject, Persephone Paine, was wearing a mesh head purely because they tend to look a little more realistic under indirect lighting compared to the Second Life avatar's vanilla face (like her hands and dress for example.) Then again, even the imperfections lend themselves to the overall effectiveness of this shot. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn't change a thing.

Check out Nivaya's Flickr stream for more.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Facebook's Acquisition & Launch of Oculus Rift Led by Second Life Co-Founder Cory Ondrejka, The Verge Reports

Cory Ondrejka Facebook

The Verge has a massive feature on the history and rise of virtual reality which includes this interesting interview with Cory Ondrejka, confirming a belief I had earlier this year:

Cory Ondrejka, the creator of Second Life, is now VP of engineering at Facebook. Ondrejka introduced Mark Zuckerberg to Oculus, and spearheaded Facebook’s acquisition of the up-and-coming company. Now, it’s Ondrejka’s job to help Oculus build out its virtual reality vision as quickly as possible, and distribute it to millions upon millions of people. He spent a few minutes telling us about his virtual dreams — and how they’re being turned into reality.

Cory actually co-created Second Life with Philip Rosedale (along with their small team during Linden Lab's early days), so that's somewhat off. (Source: Some book a guy wrote.) That said, we now it is, as I said, this way: The original vision for Second Life conceived nearly 15 years ago is now coming together at the Internet's largest company.

Here's Cory telling The Verge his vision for VR:

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Here's the Inevitable Second Life Version of the Ice Bucket Challenge (Which is Cool But Needs a Better Bucket)

You knew it was coming and now here it is: The Ice Bucket Challenge in Second Life:

Read here about how this campaign is meant to benefit the fight against ALS, i.e. amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, i.e., Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The ice-soaked avatar here is Kara Trapdoor, but Daniel Voyager has a couple more SL-flavored challenges here. I'd love to accept Kara's bucket challenge, but I'm hoping for some clever scripter to first create a more convincingly animated, physics-enabled ice bucket.

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The Newest Episode of Tropes vs Women in Video Games is Hard to Watch, but it's Well Worth Your Time

Tropes vs Women Background Decoration Part 2
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

The latest episode of Feminist Frequency's ongoing Tropes vs Women in Video Games series is out today, presenting part two of the women as background decoration trope. This episode also comes with a pretty strong content warning, as it depicts a lot of very graphic violence against female characters. It's absolutely brutal and some viewers may want to skip this particular episode as a result, but it offers some very important critical commentary on the ways that violence against women is used in games.

Watch the full episode for yourself:

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Check Out This Tutorial for Setting Up Real-Time Second Life Avatar Movement With a Kinect

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

If you happen to have a Kinect, Microsoft's body-tracking camera peripheral for the Xbox, laying around nearby, you might be surprised by what you can do with it in Second Life. Jessica Pixel posted a quick tutorial on her site yesterday for how to connect your Kinect to Second Life and animate your avatar in real time. It all boils down to Rinions and a special SL viewer that allow you to temporarily replace an avatar animation with animation data provided by the Kinect. The end result isn't seamless, but it's still pretty darn cool.

And while you have your Kinect hooked up, here's something else you may want to try...

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Top Six New World Notes Posts from Last Week

Second Life Fitted Mesh Fix SL GO Onlive

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Friday, August 22, 2014

SL Viewer Compatible With Oculus Rift DK2 Available

Oculus Rift Second Life OpenSim

"I know some people are very anxious to try their DK2s in Second Life/OpenSim," says CtrlAltStudio's David Rowe, "so I’ve released this Alpha with some very preliminary DK2 support." No Mac version, alas, but if you have a DK2 and you want to check it out on your Windows machine, click here to start downloading.

Which raises the question -- how many NWN readers have a DK2?

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Coming Soon: You Won't Be Able to Resist the Soft, Sleepy Charms of this Second Life Pup

ISPACHI Arcade Sept Preview
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

No, this adorable gif I've posted is not taken from a viral video and no, it's not from some sort of beautiful HD version of Nintendogs. That precious pup is 100% Second Life mesh, and if you don't believe me all you need to do is wait for the name tag to pop up briefly in the lower lefthand corner.

See?

But where can you get your hands on this warm little bundle of polygons? Well...

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