Sunday, June 27, 2010

Second Life - Never Boring

It has been quite a week, so there is required reading today...

NWN ,  Dusan Writer, Crap, sororNishi or SaveMe Oh

It is a lot of reading, I know… but a lot happened this week.  As for my thoughts... have a look... I tried to be brief.
  • There were the 30% Layoffs at the lab – never a good sign when it comes to feeling confident that this amazing world will still be here when I wake up.
  • Mark Kingdom – was mysteriously absent from controversy marred SL birthday celebration… can’t say I was that interested in his comments anyway.
  • Philip – Filled in for M. Linden with some interesting but vaguely apologetic comments… and the rumors flew.
  • Yes Alice – Some rumors do come true. The dramatic return of Philip Rosedale as interim CEO and the flurry of M. Linden bashing reached its peak. So the guy with the passion and understanding for SL returns, despite the fact he has a reputation for making us cringe on occasion. It will be certainly be interesting.
  • Rumors of Mesh imports… cool, wow, fun, concerned… (anxiously scratches head) … hopefully when and if this rumor proves to be true, Mesh Imports will be introduced into SL with some careful thought, both from a technical point of view regarding how a flood of rich but complex mesh based objects will impact the grid AND how it will impact the economy of sl (if I were a current not so skilled content provider… I would be wondering how many 50 prim houses will sell when a 5 prim mesh import house is put on the market). But over all I am all for mesh imports… I am also working thru a wide variety of Blender tutorials… for those interested here is long list of Blender user and tutorial sites.
  • And then there was the whole art censorship issue… a complex and messy debacle to be sure. True… the Labs owns this virtual world (In the end we are only renters of server space) and they are allowed to control what goes on that server. Of course what they ‘allow’ greatly impacts the socio-economic vitality of SL… which has a direct impact on investor returns. It seems to me that open markets, open source, user created content, be it commodities or art (sold or not), etc would be encouraged. I would think they would want a wide and deep pool of creativity. So why ban stylized nudity from an art submission by Rose Borchovski? Fearful of the old “flying penises” argument? Fear of what, human depravity? Sad this puritanical fear of a lewd public perception stopped the lab from treating the artist in question honestly and fairly.
    Here I will quote Rose Borchovski via SaveMe Oh’s blog:

     I raised my voice because of the way it was handled. When I came online I found my installation in my lost and found folder with a formal message in IM from a Linden. A moderator of the SL7B GROUP saw the installation on my sim before it was put down at SL7B. Several Moderators helped me while I was setting up the installation. I had sent all the information about my Susa Bubble Story by forehand to Linden: video, LM of my sim and notecard with info. I admit, I was absolutely naïf about my Susas being naked, I do not see them as being naked anymore but as vulnerable and lost. I’m not insensitive about other people’s feelings, the SL7B was not opened yet for an audience, they could have asked me to come down and explain the problem before deleting me.
    To me… in the very least the Lab was cowardly and disrespectful in their dealings with Rose.

    PrimPerfect's recent post looks closely at the art work in question... you decide... what were "they" afraid of? 

    I know I've been reminded once again - powerful art such as this impacts individuals differently and our reaction to such art reveals more about who we are as viewers than anything else.

  • And last but not least, soror Nishi – offers a list – Philips List. Topping her list at number 1 in the hearts of all who love sl - Sack the PR Team.  This might seem odd given other critical issues like repairing chat, search, voice, etc.   Yet I agree with soror.  In my opinion even with Philip back , public relations (internally and externally) is a huge weakness of Linden Labs

    (Word to the wise Philip – you can drop the cod piece… funny – yes, ironic – yes, professional – no… imo... I'm just saying...).
Well… as you can see… lots of opinions, lots of heat, smoke and even fire. Not an easy week to summarize… so given my incomplete, partially informed musings… I will stop.

To be sure – Second Life & Linden Labs are filled with passionate opinionated people… not boring in the least.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Great Recent Issue of PrimPerfect...

The June issue of PrimPerfect has extensive reporting on the larger Metaverse (beyond Second Life); with reviews of, Blue Mars, Reaction Grid and Heritage Key. These are three of the more developed virtual worlds, each with their unique properties and issues... all well laid out and discussed in the June issue.  They also have their usual featrues devoted to SL.

I particularly liked the interview with Wizard Gynoid about her work based on sacred E8 geometry.

There is also a nice outline of the basic copyright issues related to inventory transfer to OpenSims.

And as a final recommendation... if you were curious about building in Blue Mars check out Creating In Blue Mars - Advice from a Mentor piece by Maxwell Graf and Qwis Greenwood.

You can link directly to the e-reader version  here or link to the full Prim Perfect site.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Newbie on Mars...

So there has been a bit too much drama over at Linden Labs for comfort. Lay - offs, rumors that profitability isn’t what they claim, fears the viewer will not be supported, talk of a buy out or possibly going public. Once again I am reminded change is one of the only constants. Time will tell… although lately I sort of wish LL was a publicly held company and I were a share holder… and no, it wouldn’t be for the money. However, I would love to vote on a motion to get rid of the CEO. If you were a share holder, how would you feel about the string of failures, Viewer 2.0, Avatel, Voice Morphology, SL Enterprise? ...ouch.

Since I am but a lowly consumer of the Labs product… I thought I would check in again with Blue Mars. I was a beta tester of MetaPlace (another fail that I have a bit more sympathy for) and Blue Mars. So after downloading the latest viewer for BM, I downloaded additional locations. With BM you can’t think like SL. There are not sims or regions, but there are cities (which may really be golf courses, island, etc). Each is separately downloaded (all accessible from a dashboard like front end available after logging in) and quite large. Clearly BM values graphic quality the most to the disadvantage of slower less powerful machines. They allow some user content. To build for them you need to sign up as a developer and be able to work with their tools and or 3rd party tools such as Maya, 3D Max and Blender. As far as I can tell when entering on a standard account (vs a developer) there is not in world creation. If you ask me – this will be it’s biggest weakness… well that and apparently no Flying!

Clearly they have a long way to catch up with the depth and richness of SL. I fear the folks at Avatar Reality (makers of Blue Mars) underestimate how important in world user created content is. However, give them time, they recently implemented an economy and there is at least one notable crossover with an SL community (Caledonia). There is also a developing social world as well… regular events, movie and bowling nights, hunts, etc.

Below is a brief 1 minute machinima to give you a sense of what it looks like and how you move, also below is a shot of the log in screen with list of current events, etc.

While I am not ready to bail on SL (have faith) I do believe the multiverse has plenty of room for both SL and BM.

Blue Mars Newbie from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

So feel free to comment... do you explore other virtual worlds?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dusan Writer’s Metaverse » The Why of Virtual Worlds, and Selling Second Life

Dusan Writer’s Metaverse » The Why of Virtual Worlds, and Selling Second Life

Are you up to the challenge? Are you open to the change?

Read it and weep if not... read it and live it if so.

I cannot say it better.. Dusan Writer on the "Why" of Second Life...
You see, you don’t come to Second Life to play a game, or watch a movie, or attend a concert, or even, really, to hang out with friends. You come to Second Life because you’re ready to have your worldview challenged.

Forget about a movie where you relate to and are moved by the characters and story. Now, there is no plot line, you ARE the character, and you’re about to be more engaged than you believed possible.

You might run a business, fall in love, hang out with friends, explore, be shaken, enriched, scared, or enlightened. But you’ll be hard-pressed to emerge unchanged.

You probably don’t set out to do much more than waste some time, have a look around, try to figure out the rules, find someone to hang out with, or attempt to crack the puzzle of why you keep ending up with a box on your head. And if you’re not open to change, to shifts in perception, then Second Life probably isn’t for you.
And finally... as Dusan puts it:
Is It Hard? Hell, Yes

The future is difficult.
Second Life is difficult.
Get over it.

Spread The Word

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chaos, Entropy, Order & Decay...

More digital doodling.  This time using the tool called Chaoscope.  I have been taken with this shinny new tool for a few days now. You see the animated images first... then some rendered images. The rendered images are often stunningly beautiful. For the mathematically inclined  I am sure it is a very rich tool.  However, be not afraid.... to just move the sliders... and play with the different drop down choices. 
The music I sampled for this one was found again at by Airtone.


Chaso, Entropy, Order & Decay from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.
This was made using a tool called Chaoscope found at I used FRAPPS to capture and Sony to edit.

Music by - Airtone... sampled from their song called Cricket soup.

airtone / CC BY-NC 3.0

Monday, June 7, 2010

How to build community in SL

Recently New World Notes pointed us to a blog post by Carrie Lexington, in which she discussed some simple things that will help promote a sense of community in SL.  I know sometimes days will go by with me in my little insular world (true also of rl).  While no one would ever try to do everything on the list... it does serve as a reminder to be more open and to engage with people we see in second life. As Carrie put it... step out of our comfort zone... and engage in this remarkable creation of community.  Grab a copy if you like... I messed around in Inkscape and melded the rl office poster Carrie mentioned with her list of SL community reminders.  My apologies for the slight blur.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Interesting research related to sense of self and virtual identities...

In the last few months there has been an ongoing intelligent discussion about virtual identity over on Botgirl's blog.  I was reminded of this discussion today while reading at the NewScientist website about their upcoming cover article titled: The Real Avatar which lead off with this video.

Follow this link to the  New Scientist web write up:


The article is interesting... they were able to show... that men's (apparently only men were used in the study)... heart rates (after a short time as a 10 yr old virtual 'girl' in a controlled virtual environment) increased with a threat response when  the virtual 'mother' in the scene slapped the virtual girl... even if though viewed the scene from an over head 3rd person perspective...

There was also an interesting side comment made about sl
The findings might be applied to entertainment – to make video games more immersive, for example – but also to psychology. People considering a sex change have used the virtual world of Second Life to test what it is like to have a different gender.
In the end they conclude that our sense of self is likely more malleable than commonly thought.  I know for me, one of the more interesting aspects of being in a virtual setting is that we all have the ability to become much more intentional (and experimental) about our malleable selves.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Funky issue with latest viewer

I am using KirstenLee's latest viewer S20(22).... and seem to have LOD issues similar (or same?) as sometimes seen in sculpties. I posted this image here to be able to link to it for a forum post at