Saturday, February 27, 2010

SL Viewer 2.0 review

Hello all…
I admit it... I have to give Viewer 2.0 overall a thumbs up. I too have seen and heard many negatives about the viewer. Things such as it isn’t builder friendly, objections to the ‘blending’ of 1st life info on main profile tab, fairly ugly formatting of user inputted text to the profile, annoying chat changes and of course the side bar pop out. As a land owner, builder and machinima maker I was certainly concerned that I might lose some functionality, but a few days into the beta… so far so good. I’ll tick off the complaints I’ve heard or seen so far.

1. Not builder friendly – For me… I haven’t seen any issues. True the build button has moved to the menu bar above. Functionality seems the same.

2. Blending of 1st life info on main profile tab – This is a concern that may be more related to a lack of trust (sadly often deserved) related to the direction LL is going. At this point, as long as the default requires me to Opt-In to reveal my information then I am fine with it. As long as this remains the case then, it is really just a change of location… folks have always had the option to reveal rl information.

3. Annoying chat changes – For me… it was irritating having to hunt for basic options. My biggest complaint (and this goes for the side bar… to a degree) is that lack of any Alpha slider. I want a measure of transparency to the pop ups. I often have many windows open at a time and it would be easier to navigate if I could tell stuff was buried.

4. As for the sidebar. On the one hand I appreciated that it did not cover a portion of my view, since it forced a change in my aspect ratio. However, on some machines this may cause it to hang, depending on the graphics card and processor on the client side. For me… I would like more control over it’s open size and transparency, perhaps the option for it not to change my aspect ratio.

For me, the most interesting and powerful change is the media integration. Last night I posted my blog on a prim, ran a machinima embedded in the same blog there and edited a typo I found… all in world in real time on that prim. Since I don’t see SL as a game I won’t call this capacity a “Game Changer”… but this is a huge wild card. Testing with friends revealed early, since the viewer changes are client side, only folks running the 2.0 viewer can see or interact with any of it. So folks running 1.23.x will see a blank prim. However, once adoption of 2.0 grows you will see a lot more media running. Flash works on the prim, etc… so I fear whole sims running Facebook pages playing Farmville (and yes I enjoy Farmville but I don’t want to play it in world.. .lol). How all of this will contribute to client side lag is hard to say… perhaps the group chat lag happening last night as we tested was coincidental.

In the end… This is a beta test… so… testers give input. Linden Labs desire to go mass market will in fact be market driven. In the end… they are a corporation and in the business of increasing profit. I do see the creation of the Enterprise side of SL as a good sign. Yet, I still say thank God for Open Sims, Reaction Grid, Blue Mars and other competitors. I will be interested to see how the folks doing 3rd party viewers will respond to the addition of media integration and interactivity.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Conflagration - Cetus

I finally finished the project. It was interesting to make. Once again I’ve done a free form project, similar to a music video. It will be challenging when and if I try to work with a narrative. I especially enjoyed doing the mixing of the music tracks with this. They are from, are all creative commons licensed, and there are many many samples and loops available for mixing and mashing. This was built up from over 130 clips of video and a dozen audio clips. Embedded in the remarkable cathedral is the stunning Grand Odalisque. Truly I only scratch the surface of Conflagration. Other works have been seen at the IBM sims.
For those who saw the draft (now taken down) you will not see much changed. Mostly I just tried to smooth out the somewhat choppy opening sequence of falling into the sim. As you may know, Cetus is a sim devoted the arts.  

Conflagration from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Working on new project...

I am working on a new project... a machinima project based on the amazing build at Cetus SL.  By DB Bailey with other artists works placed within the build.  This tour de force of texturing, while being a bit laggy for the faint of computing heart... it is still worth it.  For those who struggle with lag... try.  The Conflagration by DB Bailey  Drop in... hold still and try to view around... well worth the struggle.  Hopefully I can give you a taste of this ever evolving build soon.  The good news is this time I was able to create my own music track from mixes found at the ccmixter site.  For those that don't know... ccmixter is full of creative commons usable music samples to be mixed, mashed and scrambled into anything you like. Have a listen if you like: it features Michael Masley  (for the Masley link go to page, search his name from drop down list and stream his samples) and Laura Easton.

Find more music like this on Virtual Advisor

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Enjoying Skye High

Tonight I am listening to Skye High in sl... He has quite the voice... young guy.  Avatar only persona as Skye... I heard that when he performs live, you get little or no notice, and only the lucky few get in (he regularly fills a sim to the avatar limit).  But fortunately tonight the group also posted his live stream.  I am amazed at how pure his sound is.  I learned of him first in NWN, but sort of blew it off... so often live music in sl lacks polish to over come the technical limitations of streaming live in sl.  Then I saw a long post about him by ColeMarie... and knew I had to give it another try.  True to form I can not get in to the sim, but the stream is lovely.  I will have to try to get in the next time I see his group post he is playing.

On another creative note... earlier I posted the 9 Chairs machinima showcasing Jo Ellsmere's amazing npril chairs and table. I mentioned a few of her chairs would be featured in a show in sl.  Here is the info:  Her chairs are a pair among many interesting interpretations on the theme of chairs.  The show is hosted in the IMOPCA (Invisible  Museum of Post Contemporary Arts) at Invisible Gardens, Glashtan SL.  Interesting show... definately not your average chairs... Congratulations Jo on your work being in the show.