Archives for May 2008

Second Life’s Fifth Anniversary: it’s about culture

Linden Lab have unveiled their theme for Second Life’s fifth anniversary celebrations. “Celebrating the cultural diversity of Second Life” is it and residents are invited to create exhibits – applications close soon.

An Aussie culture exhibit anyone?

All the details here.

Weekend Whimsy

1. Second Life People Are Strange

2. WWII Dogfights on Second Life – Round 2

3. Koinonia Church in Second Life

Australasian Virtual Worlds Workshop: call for participation

After last year’s successful ‘Discover Your Second Life’ session, a number of educators have banded together to organise the first Australian Virtual Worlds Workshop (AVWW).

It’s scheduled for the 28th and 29th November 2008 at Swinburne University in Melbourne. The organising committee are currently calling for participants, so if you’d like to get involved, check the AVWW website.


A year ago on The Metaverse Journal

ABC Island hit a snag, garnering a fair amount of mainstream media attention, claims of griefing attacks and the odd recrimination.

Mixed reality event: Seventeen Unsung Songs

If you’re located in Melbourne you might want to head over to Horse Bazaar, 397 Lonsdale st Melbourne on Wednesday night the 21st May:

Adam Nash (Second Life artist-in-residence) and Greg Wadley (Uni of Melbourne) will perform a thirty-minute music and movement piece in Second Life. They will pilot their avatars around Adam’s “Seventeen Unsung Songs” installation, an island filled with immersive audiovisual sculptures. Sound and vision will be broadcast into the real world via the Horse Bazaar audiovisual system.

Melbourne’s Horse Bazaar features a unique immersive audio-visual environment for presenting art and music. via a sound system and 20 metre video projection surface that wraps around the seating area.

More details here.

OpenSim discussion panel: podcast available

Zatzai Asturius from Second Convention held a discussion panel last week about the future of the Second Life grids (both the Linden Lab and OpenSim grids).

The panel consisted of Australian Adam Zaius and Teravus Ousley from the OpenSim project and it’s now available as a podcast.

Zatzai describes the podcast: “The discussion is about an hour long and it covers why there are problems with the grid today and what can be done, and what is being done to correct it. As well as what OpenSim is doing differently and what it is doing the same for compatibilities sake. The capabilties and mentality of the OpenSim design are also brought up and I think it gives a good glimpse into their development process.”

It’s a fairly technical discussion but if you’re interested in what’s under the grid, it’s an interesting listen.

Listen to the podcast here.

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. International Herald Tribune (France) – Ikea and EA strike real deal in virtual world. “Last week, Electronic Arts, the video game publisher, announced an agreement with Ikea in which its furniture would be featured in “The Sims,” a series of games that allows players to simulate the actions of a fictional family. For around $20, players will be able to buy a “stuff pack” that will let them fill out their Sims abodes with Ikea designs.”

2. ZDNet – Nortel Demos Virtual World Platform. “Nortel demoed a virtual world prototype here in a Ottowa at a day long event. Dubbed Web Alive, the virtual world is the first project to come out of Nortel new research effort that imposes a VC-like model for funding research. Like other virtual worlds, Web Alive allows avatars to interact with one another in a virtual landscape. Web Alive differentiates itself through the use of proximity based voice and a thin client.”

3. Times Online (UK) – The latest trend in medicine – virtual reality. “Imagine the scenario: you’re sitting on a plane, strapped in and ready for take-off. But you’re terrified of flying and are suddenly hit by an uncontrollable urge to spring from your seat and run screaming out of the aircraft.”

4. Information Week – Most Business-Launched Virtual Worlds Fail, Gartner Says. “The vast majority of virtual world projects launched by businesses fail within 18 months, but the impact of the collaborationtechnology on organizations could eventually be as big as the Internet, a market research firm said this week. Fully 90% of business forays into virtual worlds fail because organizations focus on the technology rather than on understanding the needs of the employees using it, Gartner said.”

5. Magical Mountain – Disney Interactive Studios Launch Virtual World For Nintendo DS. “On Thursday, May 15th, 2008, Disney Interactive Studios formally released DGamer, an avatar based community for Nintendo DS owners. It is a free service offered to US residents. “DGamer is our opportunity to work with Disney Interactive to make sure we have this connected environment and to make sure we reach our guests wherever they are, including a player on a Disney Interactive DS title talking to a player in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean Online”, says Paul Yanover, executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online.”

6. – Virtual world disputes landing in real-world courts. “Some very real money was on the line when a Pennsylvania lawyer recently sued a San Francisco-based company over a online property deal that went sour. The real estate at the centre of the dispute was entirely imaginary. The lawyer, Marc Bragg, was seeking thousands in damages for breach of contract and unfair trade practices after he purchased virtual property in Second Life, a 3-D world that exists only online. And when owner Linden Lab terminated his account, he sued. The dispute was eventually settled out of court in a confidential agreement.”

7. – ‘Virtual Law’: It’s Not Your Father’s Law. “”Virtual law,” as specialists call it, is not your father’s law. And according to some aspiring lawyers, it is the next big thing. Of the 50 or so tech-savvy lawyers around the country conversant in the language of orcs, avatars and toons, Brian Pyne, 23, says, “They all know each other. I’m trying to become one of them.”

8. (USA) – Welcome to the World of Warcraft! “It’s one of the hottest video games worldwide. Some might even call it, an addiction. Welcome to the World of Warcraft! It’s not a secret society, but if you enter it, you may not want to leave. Jonathan Weiss said, “It’s like digital crack, pretty much.” Mark Preston: “It really is addicting. If you start playing, you’ll be hooked.”

9. Wall Street Journal – My Virtual Summer Job. “While his friends scramble for jobs flipping burgers or bagging groceries this summer, 18-year-old Mike Everest will be working as a trader in the fantasy Web world of Entropia Universe, buying and selling virtual animal skins and weapons. His goods exist only online, but his earnings are real. In the past four years, he’s made $35,000. Mr. Everest, of Durango, Colo., is among a new breed of young entrepreneurs seeking their fortune online in imaginary worlds.”

10. Foreign Policy – Fake China. “China is about to re-create itself on a massive scale. This July, the Beijing Cyber Recreation District (CRD), a state-owned enterprise, will launch the first of several “virtual Chinas” planned for popular online realms known as massive multiplayer online role-playing games. The first “virtual China,” which they call “Dotman,” will be found inside Entropia Universe, a 700,000-player gaming world run by the Swedish technology firm Mindark. Capable of hosting 150 million avatars, or virtual citizens, it will be the largest virtual nation in the world.”

$100,000 in virtual learning prizes up for grabs

The New Media Consortium (NMC) have announced they have 100 thousand US dollars available to fund up to twenty “innovative open-source learning experiences”.

Read all about it here – I get really inspired by the momentum that’s behind education in virtual worlds now.

SL Combat Expo kicks off

I have to admit, I hadn’t understood the weapons in Second Life thing. For me, there were so many gaming worlds around where you can engage in combat that I just didn’t see the point of Second Life weapons.

I spent some time tonight being guided around the showroom floor for the Second Life Combat Expo by its creator, Australian Apollo Case. It then started to dawn on me why weapons are such a big deal in Second Life. There’s the obvious testosterone-laden image side of it, but it’s also another creative outlet. The level of design and scripting with some of the weapons is as complex as anything you’ll find in Second Life. As Apollo Case said during the guided tour, “weapons are a very competitive business, so the people in it need to be very good at what they do”. From my time browsing I don’t doubt there’s some real talent here.

The Expo has two workshops and five product demonstration sessions with at least three products per demo. I was interested in whether any real life weapons manufacturers had explored opportunities in Second Life. Case’s repsonse: “not directly, but I have suspicions a lot are playing around the edges and need their hand held coming into SL”. Then he couldn’t resist saying “and we can do that”.

The expo kicks off Sunday morning east coast Australian time (5pm SL time May 17th).

Check it out in-world.

(Disclosure: Apollo Case is an intermittent advertiser on The Metaverse Journal)

China earthquake appeal in Second Life

Metaverse developer Simuality is holding a fundraiser for the China earthquake victims.

The full details:


Evanston, IL – 05/15/2008 – Metaverse developer Simuality LLC is seeking to help raise funds for relief of the horrible human tragedy in China’s Sichuan Province following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which devastated the region this week.

Hosting their appeal in the virtual world of Second Life, Simuality will be turning over the very popular Club Mannequin for a 24-hour fundraiser. The club is one of the most popular locations in Second Life, and is a hub for nightlife and designer clothing, as well as being the future cornerstone of a developing virtual fashion and entertainment district. Club Mannequin is one of the highest traffic spots in SL, featuring urban styles and hip-hop music. Special guest DJs will be on hand to keep the party going.

Prominently featured in the middle of the dance floor will be an attention-grabbing donation kiosk, with smaller versions placed around the club and in surrounding areas. The event will take place from midnight to midnight (Pacific time) on Saturday, May 17th at Club Mannequin in Second Life.

Virtual world donations are being collected in the Second Life currency of Linden Dollars. All monies collected will be donated to the International Red Cross to support their efforts to aid the hundreds of thousands of survivors of China’s major earthquake disaster.”

Check it out in-world

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