The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. The Times Online (UK) – Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games. “Extraordinarily lifelike characters are to begin appearing in films and computer games thanks to a new type of animation technology. Emily – the woman in the above animation – was produced using a new modelling technology that enables the most minute details of a facial expression to be captured and recreated.”

2. Press of Atlantic City (USA) – Virtual Realtor home finds real fans online. “I like stories that have something surprising about them, as I’m sure most readers do. While it’s nice to have what I know or suspect confirmed, it’s more valuable and maybe entertaining to find out something I didn’t imagine. Early last month, the New Jersey Association of Realtors announced it had opened offices in Second Life, a virtual world online. That was surprising enough, since its members’ obsession with real estate in this world leaves little time to worry about one where there’s no commission for property sales.”

3. The Independent (UK) – Stroke sufferers take virtual road to recovery. “It may look like a futuristic video game, but this virtual reality treadmill could hold the key to rebuilding lives for stroke and injury sufferers. A scientist at Portsmouth University has developed technology that can speed up recovery for patients by tricking them into believing they are moving more slowly than they actually are.”

4. Top 40 Charts (USA) – Worlds & Paid, Inc. Partner To Deliver Advanced 3-D Virtual World with e-Commerce For Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels. ” Futuristic 3-D social networking community Worlds.com (OTCBB: WDDD) and PAID, INC. (OTCBB: PAYD) have joined forces to develop a cutting edge, rich immersive 3-D environment for hip-hop legend Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels, who co-founded the pioneering hip hop group Run-DMC. The highly symbiotic relationship is expected to open an ever-evolving series of pathways to increase web site traffic, enhance the experience of WORLDS.COM users and PAID celebrities’ fans and grow the revenue and profits of both companies and their clients.”

5. The Vancouver Sun (Canada) – Break the rules in cyberspace and suffer exile in a virtual cornfield. “Where’s Roy Bean when you need him? The legendary hanging judge claimed he delivered the only law west of the Pecos back in the Wild West days in Texas. The modern-day equivalent of is nowhere to be found in the modern frontier known as the Internet. The Internet remains a dangerous place where real-life hucksters, thieves, sexual predators and fraud artists roam all too freely. But it is also home to imaginary worlds that are not unlike the gated communities of cyberspace.”

6. BBC News (UK) – Poor earning virtual gaming gold. “Nearly 500,000 people in developing nations earn a wage making virtual goods in online games to sell to players, a study has found. Research by Manchester University shows that the practice, known as gold-farming, is growing rapidly.”

7. Information Week (USA) – Google’s Lively Unloved. “So Google (NSDQ: GOOG)’s Lively isn’t so lively. According to The Economist, “Hardly anyone is using Lively.” That’s not exactly a surprise. As I said when Lively was released, “Lively feels more like a Google Talk-powered chat room with 3-D camera controls than an immersive environment like Second Life.” And that’s not to praise Second Life, which I find equally tedious.”

8. Christian Science Monitor (USA) – A second income on Second Life. ““Blaze Columbia” is, by any measure, doing well with his line of designer clothing. He’s on track to generate more than $100,000 in annual profits, barely a year after launching his business. And that’s in addition to a first career as a professional photographer. There’s just one big difference between the clothing that this Missouri resident produces and that of any other top-of-the-line dress or business suit: His don’t exist – at least not in the physical world.”

9. OStatic (USA) – An Introduction To OpenSim: the “Apache of Virtual Worlds”. “You’ve probably read a bit about OpenSim, the BSD-licensed virtual world server, and recent news that IBM and Linden Lab are working to make Second Life and OpenSim interoperable. Besides that project, what’s OpenSim about, who’s working on it, what are they doing with it, and how do you get involved as a developer and participant? Here’s a starter’s guide, created with the help of Tish Shute, whose virtual world blog UgoTrade is an indispensable resource on the latest in OpenSim news.”

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