UWA’s third machinima contest

Make machinima? Want to win half a million Lindens? Then read on:

MachinUWA III: Journeys (3rd UWA Machinima Challenge – 2011)

We are happy to announce the 3rd Machinima Challenge put forth by the University of Western Australia (UWA). The theme is simply ‘Journeys’. We hope you are inspired by this to create many wondrous works as you have been through the years!

PRIZE POOL: $L500,000 (at least)
1st Prize $L100,000
2nd Prize $L70,000
3rd Prize $L50,000
+ L$280,000 in other prizes

WHAT: MachinimUWA III : Journeys

WHEN: Submissions are open between NOW (Feb 2011) till 1st May 2011

THEME : The theme is ‘Journeys’. What the journey is, will be left to the Machinimatographer. A journey through Second Life. A journey of self discovery. A journey within. A journey from SL too RL, or vice-versa. A journey through space, through time, a journey of hope, a journey of despair. Your own journey, or a journey by someone else seen through your eyes… or… through Second Life in 80 Days, whatever you can imagine.

MAJOR RULE: The most important rule is that the journey must either start or end at this location. Winthrop Clocktower at the UWA Main SIM. Winthrop Clocktower is the heart of UWA both in RL & SL. Apart from this, feel free to film anything, anywhere. You may use props at the location, or maybe want to change the footage later during the post process, this is up to you, as long as the clocktower is still recognized. http://slurl.com/secondlife/University%20of%20WA/109/213/25

LENGTH: 4 – 6 minutes is recommended, but this is not a hard rule. The joint winners of MachinimUWA II were under 2 minutes and over 15 minutes respectively.

All prize winners will receive an exclusive MachinimUWA Trophy. All machinimatographers in the challenge will receive a specially designed medal of honour. Both designed by Laurina Hawks.

Shortlisted entries will be displayed on the University of Western Australia (UWA) Second Life Blog. http://uwainsl.blogspot.com

Winner will be announced by the 30th of May 2011 at a special gala function.

Method of Entry & Other Info:
* Load the Machinima anywhere, preferablly youtube or vimeo, and provide the link to Jayjay Zifanwe, White lebed and Laurina Hawks
* The length of machinima referred to above is only a suggested maximum, and will not be enforced nor cause entries to be disqualified
* Please acknowledge the lands or significant artworks and individuals you feature
* If you need to rezz (blue screen etc) on the UWA SIMS, contact Jayjay Zifanwe, White Lebed, FreeWee Ling or Laurina Hawks

Closing Date:
* Midnight 1st May 2011. Allowances on the closing date will only be provided IF the machinimatographer has contacted and explained the reason for the need for additional time prior to the closing date.

1. Professor Ted Snell (RL) – Director, Cultural Precinct, The University of Western Australia
2. White Lebed (SL) – Former Lead of Burning Life Art Department, Director of Special Projects @ UWA
3. Jayjay Zifanwe (SL) – Owner of The University of Western Australia (SL), Creator & co-host of the UWA 3D Art& Design Challenge
4. Yesikita Coppola (SL) – Official Machinimatographer for UWA 2011
5. Laurina Hawks (SL) – Reigning UWA MachinimUWA Champion
6. Raphaella Nightfire (SL) – Snr Writer Best of SL Magazine, Owner Sanctorum Gallery (SL)
7. FreeWee Ling (SL) – Curator, UWA 3D Open Art Challenge
8. LaPiscean Liberty (SL) – CEO AviewTV and UWA Media Advisor
9. Nazz Lane (SL) – Journalist and Author
10. TBA

Some Interesting Locations Across the UWA SIMS
(you’re welcome to use any part of UWA in the Machinima – this is IF you would like. No advantage will be given for having a lot of content featuring UWA locations)

The UWA Sunken Gardens (replica of RL)

The UWA 3D Open Art Challenge Galler

Area displaying the works that were shortlisted for the Grand Finale of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challeng

The Square Kilometer Array
(Biggest land based science project in the history of mankind)

UWA Visualisation Research Area

* Special thanks to Eliza Wierwight for creating the wonderful poster for this challenge

Disclosure: I have been asked, and accepted the invitation, to be a judge of this competition.

Queensland Flood Relief in Second Life

Two years ago, a number of Second Life vendors got together to raise funds for the Victorian Bushfire victims. Thanks to another bunch of dedicated people, coordinated by Brisbane-based Kat Johnston, there are a range of things you can do to raise money for the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal.

It’s all under the banner of Extend A Helping Hand (EAHH), and there’s two large ways to make a difference:

1. Attend some of the great events planned, including a 24-hour concert featuring Australian artists on Australia Day (26th Jan)

2. Go shopping at the EAHH Market, which has an enormous range of items you can buy, with most contributing 100% to the appeal – the lowest ratio was 75% on a handful of items. There’s some top notch fashion, house items and body shapes for starters – you can view a list of vendors here.

At time of writing nearly 1.2 million Linden Dollars had been raised – around US$4,500, with the bulk of events still to come. So if you can, jump in and check it out for yourself in-world.

If you’ve got your own fundraising activities organised, post a note about it in comments!

Virtual worlds predictions for 2011

It’s time to get out the crystal ball again. I thought I’d take a slightly different approach this year by tackling ten fairly broad themes and identifying appropriate specifics under each. I tried to cover all of the main issues though the field is so large now as to ensure any roundup like this won’t be complete.

Hopefully there’ll be a better success rate than last year. As always, would love to hear your thoughts on what you see occurring during 2011. If you’ve got your own set of predictions, either post them in the comments or provide a URL and I’ll link it at the bottom of the post.

The predictions:

1. Second Life

It’s fair to say that Linden Lab had a mixed year during 2010 with Second Life. 2011 is likely to be even more turbulent. I’m not going to fence sit on this one too much: the next 12 months will see Linden Lab finally sold to a big tech player based in the US. Whether it’s bought out or not, expect some more significant user-interface improvements but an overall decline in number of hours in-world per user. That decline will be driven primarily by diffusion as dedicated content creators, educators and long-term residents increasingly spread out to OpenSim grids, Blue Mars etc . Second Life might see an increase in concurrency, coming from the more casual / social users attracted by an easier to use interface. That seems to be Linden Lab’s strategy anyway. Oh – and legally compliant gambling will be provided in-world by Linden Lab.

2. OpenSim

The safe prediction here is ongoing growth, but beyond that it’s a pretty murky picture. Consolidation is one of the clearer trends: a handful of grid providers will probably hold some dominance, with a skew of smaller / solo grids running. Hypergrid protocols are ever-improving, but for wider-adoption the larger providers will play a key role assuming they can keep delivering good service with a growing userbase. So overall: continued growth and emergence / consolidation of larger grid provders.

3. Blue Mars

Over the past year Blue Mars has been continuing to evolve and has picked up a cohort of Second Life content creators. Assuming the funding keeps coming in, that growth is likely to continue although it’s doubtful that 2011 will see Blue Mars reach full launch and if it does, expect a slow but promising level of uptake by new users. Unless Second Life has a major stumble, Blue Mars won’t be in its league as far as content or user numbers during 2011 – 2012 may be a different story though depending on how things pan out with both camps.

4. The casual phenomenon

The casual worlds like on platforms like Facebook will continue to fragment. Numbers will continue to grow but at a much slower rate. Fatigue with the limitations will also grow as people debate the merit of these worlds versus more traditional casual games (think Bejeweled etc). Not surprisingly there will also be a lot of underperforming worlds that close – exacerbating the fatigue with the genre from more experienced users.

5. Media and societal acceptance

The coming year will see increasing focus on how we interact in virtual environments. The Microsoft Kinect is already receiving a lot of attention, and the media are likely to latch onto the theme of improving physical activity whilst highlighting the odd case of severe addiction/injury. Nothing new there really – the difference over time however is the growing acceptance that these developments need to be incorporated into society’s thinking on a range of issues. Key educators and policy-makers have known this for years but that widespread acceptance (if not understanding) is certainly taking a big step during 2011.

6. Government

The momentum with virtual worlds at the US Government level is significant, driven primarily by intertwined military and health-care needs. Beyong that 2011 seems a pretty arid zone on the government side. Although there are potential cost-savings in the longer-term, most European governments aren’t in a financial state to invest heavily in ‘cutting edge’ work. In the Asia-Pacific I’m always surprised at the lack of overt work in the area and don’t expect 2011 to be any different. On the home front, the national political scene is favourable only from the viewpoint of the National Broadband Network rolling out. Government 2.0 initiatives are at a fairly early stage and virtual environments aren’t playing any active role in that anyway at this stage.

7. Browser-based evolution

Like it or not, people want the ease of a browser-based virtual world without losing too much of the complexity. This year will see that trend continue with some good new options emerging. Using Second Life as an example, development is well underway both at Linden Lab and externally. What you definitely won’t see this year however is a browser-based experience as good as the standalone offering. That’s well over 12 months away but it is coming.

8. Gaming Worlds

2011 is actually a huge year for MMOs. The key event will be the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). We’ve been following it pretty closely and so far it’s looking like it’ll be successful. There’ll be a lot of talk about SWTOR being a World of Warcraft killer. That’s a lot of hyperbole (for 2011 at least) but expect it to pick up a very significant user base in a short time. To be more specific, by end of 2011 I’d expect subscriber numbers to be sitting between two and three million minimum.

World of Warcraft itself will see fairly steady or slightly declining numbers maintained by the recent Cataclysm expansion, with continued dominance of the market for the coming year.

9. Business

Absolute status quo: there will be no increased level of traction with business beyond some further acceptance of virtual meeting solutions. The ROI equation for business till isn’t clear enough, making adoption of virtual worlds technologies an exception to the rule. Good research (see Point 10 below) will be crucial for this to change.

10. Research and Development

The number of virtual worlds research projects will continue to increase, with a particular focus on areas such as simulation and the neuropsychological aspects of virtual reality. The simulation research will be pivotal in building solid cases for business, non-government and government adoption of the technology. In an environment where more and more human services professionals are needed in an ageing population, simulation makes huge sense and will be a key driver in the medium term.


So what say you? Let the debate begin.

Interview – Treet TV’s Wiz Nordberg and Texas Timtam

Treet TV are ground-breakers and Australia-based ones at that. I’ve been following them since mid-2007 (original profile here) when they were the Second Life Cable Network (SLCN), and they’ve been plugging away ever since, growing to arguably the world’s most credible and prolific virtual world TV production outfit. I say plugging away because even though they have a pretty solid track record now as innovators and quality content producers, establishing a wider profile within the Australian business sector has been a challenge.

Treet’s Mt Eliza-based founders, Gary Wisniewski (SL: Wiz Nordberg) and Grace Roberts (SL: Texas Timtam), caught up with me for a chat last weekend on everything Treet plus some broader themes. If you’ve thought about getting a team together to make your own show, read on as Treet are interested in new pitches.

Lowell: We last caught up in June 2007 when you were still SLCN TV – what are your strongest memories of those early times for you?

Wiz: Strongest memories?  Confusion. 🙂 No, really, I suppose the strongest memory is how “new” the idea was, of using a virtual worlds platform to create true television-like content, and the reaction of people to what we were doing. It was very fresh and very new and it seemed like there were limitless possibilities.

Texas: It was very exciting then. We were learning new things everyday and it was still in the glory days of Second Life hype so everyone around us was filled with optimisim about the opportunities.

Lowell: So has that confusion abated or just changed in dynamic?

Wiz: Well the dynamic has changed a lot. It is no longer new, and a lot has been learned – I was only joking when I said confusion actually.

Lowell: On learning: if you had to list a few key learnings over the past three years, what would they be?

Wiz: It seemed obvious to us that doing virtual worlds television was the right thing to try.   I have to say it was almost the opposite of confusion, but total confidence back then. Well, one thing we learned is that people in Second Life have almost boundless energy to create, and to us it is the reason to remain committed to Second Life despite many people’s negative feelings about it right now. We also learned to divide machinima into two broad categories: documentary and story telling. Documentary is easy. Storytelling is hard. I suppose the list could go on for pages.  After three years, you learn a lot of things!

Lowell: So for those who don’t know Treet TV, can you give an executive summary of what it offers today?

Wiz: Treet TV offers the largest collection of live television broadcasts and archives made almost exclusively in Second Life, documenting the activities, sports, lives, and stories of Second Life residents and creators.

Lowell: Your work is most recognised in Second Life but do you use other platforms / grids?

Wiz: We are starting to use OpenSim and you will see a lot more OpenSim based shows in the coming year. But almost everything is still done in Second Life.

Lowell: What are the limitations of OpenSim so far when compared to what you do in Second Life?

Wiz: The limitations don’t apply to us at Treet so much as they apply to those creating and participating in the shows.   Filming in OpenSim can be done as perfectly as we do it in Second Life. The main limitations show producers face are – there are fewer people and thus less diversity to pool upon for guests, interviews, lifestyle and sports content; there are fewer vendors of products, thus less available if you want to devise your own original show content; and stability is, incredible to say, not as good as Second Life, so the production reliability is lessened. But those things are changing fast, I should add.

Texas: OpenSim-based grids are just now gaining enough momentum to have enough users that will make for interesting viewing and stories to tell.

Lowell: Second Life has copped a lot of negative press: what do you see as its strong points and do you remain confident in its longer-term viability?

Wiz: The strong point of Second Life is that it is a new kind of virtual world, based upon an empty slate, where people can do and create what they wish without any limit to their imagination.  Arguably Linden Lab invented this type of world.   I am not sure they will end up playing a major role over time, but I am certain that this kind of world will survive, grow, and probably displace many many other types of virtual spaces. I am confident in the long term viability of such worlds. Not so much of Second Life itself. But today, Second Life is the best.

Lowell: Without going too negative ourselves, what is it about Linden Lab and Second Life that makes it likely to be overtaken?

Wiz: The need for Linden Lab’s product has grown beyond their ability to service it and respond to the market. This has to do with very early decisions they made before they realised what they really had. Some of those decisions will be hard to recover from, and I’m not sure they can.

Lowell: What in your opinion were those key decisions – architecture related, community related or others?

Wiz: Most are architecture related. Essentially, they locked themselves into an architecture where it takes approximately 25% of the resources of a fairly high-end server to support a gathering place with 100 people. Imagine for example, that you required  a full Xeon server to accommodate a website which would accommodate 400 people.   You would have a huge liability. This is the reason for most of their problems, including the inability to scale, and inability to create cheap land available to more people who perceive it as having much better ROI. I am not sure any amount of “thinking outside the box” in terms of their customer service and company structure can make up for that problem.

Lowell: The thing is, as OpenSIm evolves they may avoid some of those issues but not all – are the architecture issues really that solvable in the short-term?

Wiz: OpenSim has the same liability in terms of architecture, but it has the advantage of greater ROI with reduced cost. This will cause more people to engage with it, and more people can be involved in trying to rejig the architecture to solve some of these major problems. Open source groups have proven time and time again that “if there is a will, there is a way”, and I have a lot of hope for OpenSim because I think it will soon reach a tipping point where the necessary technology people will be able to truly hunker down and start making dramatic steps forward. In the short term?  No. 🙂 That means that those of us who are already at the limits of our patience need to be more patient still!!

Lowell: Let’s talk business for a while – I can imagine you still struggle with the credibility issue i.e. that a lot of the business / funding sector see virtual worlds work as R&D rather than ROI. Are you seeing that shift at all?

Wiz: Well, we don’t struggle with it so much at Treet. We are very committed to having a broad range of content creators producing shows. While there are surely revenue issues we now struggle with because corporate money is not flowing like it once did, this is a shared problem we all deal with. I also believe virtual worlds have been R&D all along. I think that any assumption that there was ROI was predicated by assuming a great deal of PR leverage for having “engaged in something new”. Once you remove the PR leverage, much of the ROI for many corporations didn’t hold up under scrutiny.

Lowell: So obviously without expecting explicit detail, what is Treet’s business model and strategy?

Wiz: Treet is like any other start-up gambling on the increasing trend to do something online which has never been done before. So, our business model evolves and changes over time and mostly is a model of “sustainability” at this point, mainly because there is so much R&D going on in the area we’ve chosen. I think the biggest limitation of any business model for a virtual worlds content company is the small size of the market.

Lowell: Which is a good lead-in to your shows – how many shows do you now produce?

Wiz: 12 shows are currently in production, 10 of them with weekly episodes that are aired live every Sunday and Monday. We have over 3000 archived episodes, not only of those shows, but of many shows no longer in production, or special events and features.

Lowell: What are your most successful shows, both as far as view statistics but also in regard to audience feedback?

Wiz: The three most successful shows in terms of feedback and numbers are Metanomics, Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe, and Designing Worlds….not necessarily in that order. Some shows actually have much greater consistency than those, with very loyal audiences, but haven’t achieved the high points those have. Two notables are the Best Practices in Education Series and the ISTE Eduverse series, both of which are short term productions and both achieved signifcant viewership and web buzz.

Lowell: Over your time producing such a large amount of content – have you discovered any unique trends on what works in SL as compered to more mainstream TV production? That is, have any of the shows worked really well when you thought they wouldn’t or vice versa?

Wiz: Comparing SL to mainstream TV is an interesting “apples and oranges” exercise.  The viewership of each is fueled by very different things. The “unique trend” is that Internet based TV is more dependent upon having an active community surrounding the content. Mainstream TV is more dependent upon a streamlined and efficient delivery channel. The former requires more social capital.  The latter requires more financial capital.

Lowell: On community: does Treet do active engagement there or is it more up to each show’s team to drive that?

Wiz: It is a combination.  Each of our shows is a partnership.   Treet works actively to build a community of those interested in “virtual television” and many people’s shows are discovered because there is crossover from the Treet community.  On the other hand, each show brings new communities to Treet, and this is probably one of the main ways Treet’s viewership grows, by having each producer’s community join in a larger community which has greater momentum. Three years ago it was the reverse.  Treet had no community and it was show communities which essentially “bootstrapped” Treet into having people who could cross-over into other communities.  Now, such crossover is the norm.

Lowell: On the partnership, how does that work? Where are the boundaries with creative control etc?

Wiz: We try our best to let our producers do what they want.  That’s the honest truth.  We try to let them envision the show, decide on the format, and drive the creative behind the shows with little or no intervention from us. We try to provide feedback about audience size, live viewership, and if we do exert creative control, it has more to do with the mechanics, such as trying to assure that shows are more “watchable” on the web, that intros are the right length, that advertising is used in ways that are most effective.

Texas: The Treet website offers the ability to include a much larger audience than could be achieved with only the Second Life residents. We can live stream to a much larger number of viewers via the web.

Lowell: So let’s say I have a great show concept and I approach Treet and you like it a lot as well. What happens from there?

Wiz: We are very interested in new pitches at the moment. We have a number of broadcast slots open because of the way we have rearranged our schedule. The main thing people with show ideas need to consider is that it is not about the idea or concept. A good concept does not make a show. A good, dedicated team, and a lot of effort in production make a show. A good concept helps because it makes it easier to attract people to the effort, and of course, once the show is produced, it makes it more appealing. But, building a team, and being realistic about the effort required at production are the most important things for people to consider. Two shows, “The Daily PWN” and “The Grid’s Honest Truth” are complete outside machinima productions which air on Treet.   Most people think Treet “wants” to produce everything.  That is not at all true, we are very receptive to people doing complete productions.   But – our requirements are rather stringent.

To be honest, the realities vary from show to show. For sports shows, there is no script, the main thing is being sure that announcers are ready, and that stats are prepared.  Some shows require a script, and there is a completely different team effort.  Some shows require 1 hour per week of pre-production, some shows require 40.

Texas: We are also keen to include serial stories to Treet. Not necessarily produced by us.

Lowell: Texas you mentioned serials and Wiz you mentioned earlier that story-telling is difficult – is that an area you’d like to do lots more in?

Texas: Yes, very much. Moving from a live broadcast model to post-produced drama / comedy is another exercise in “apples & oranges”.  🙂 But we are very interested in headed that way.

Wiz: Yes! We would love to have more people who are willing and interested in working with us on fictional series.

Lowell: Who are the core Treet TV team besides yourselves now?

Wiz: There are four of us that make up the core team right now, Wiz, Texas, August Lusch, and Yxes Delacroix. We have many other people assisting as well.

Lowell: Is Treet now a profit-making entity for you all? If so – what is your primary revenue source?

Wiz: No, Treet still runs in the red. It is funded by Texas and I. We do have a 24/7 studio which is unlike any other in the world, capable of doing these kinds of live broadcasts for anybody, so we are always interested in corporate work and other revenue, but ultimately, we are building a brand and an audience with Treet and revenue will require that it grow several times larger. As it is, however, Treet has over 100,000 monthly viewers across all our shows, but doing what we do is expensive, and even that many viewers doesn’t really generate enough revenue to fund this.

Lowell: Crystal-ball time: what are your ambitions for Treet in the coming 12-24 months?

Wiz: Expansion in two areas. First, to involve more and more independent machinima producers in Treet to take advatnage of our distribution and audience, and to add to the diversity of our content. Second, to move more and more into OpenSim specificaly and any other platforms we see that have “creator leverage” in the way Second Life does. We also have a couple interesting things we are doing that we can’t talk about . We also expect to continue to work more with Linden Lab – we have had many good joint promotions with Linden Lab and they have helped us fuel growth in many ways.


A disclosure: I’ve appeared once on Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe and once on The 1st Question with Pooky Amsterdam.

Departure from Second Life: one story

For the duration of the four-plus years I’ve been involved with Second Life, I’ve known Wolfie Rankin. He’s been one of the driving forces behind the ABC Island community since its launch back in 2007, and has also been outspoken on a range of issues, including his perspective on furries. For me, he’s been an enduring Australian presence in Second Life, so I was more than a little surprised when I discovered this week that he’s decided to cease his involvement. I commissioned Wolfie to write a piece about his decision, which is shown below. Obviously it’s his opinion only and each person’s reasons for departing or entering Second Life are different, but I still thought it was well worth sharing.


For the past five years I’ve used Second Life. Being fairly shy it helped me to come out of my shell, to find new friends, and discover that I could do more than I thought I could.

And during the time that I was recovering from cancer treatments it was a real boon, it lifted my spirits and made me feel wanted and needed.

Others who had a serious illness or were stuck in rural locations found they too could meet like-minded people, and found sanctuary within this virtual world.

Despite all the slagging off about Second Life which came from both the public and the media, those who used Second Life, and made the necessary connections to make it worthwhile, found it to be a wonderful experience.

One of the things worth trying is what they call Machinima. If you have wished that you could be an animator, but had no drawing skills to speak of, then this is brilliant. Just build a set in world, bring in some characters, direct them, film them, then edit the results with something like Sony Vegas, add music and effects, then upload to Youtube. The quality of what you can create here is astounding. and I would highly recommend trying it, even just for a bit of fun.

Five years ago, I was asked by several people to give Second Life a go, which I was reluctant to do as I never considered myself to be a gamer, and from what I knew of Second Life at the time, it was some sort of game -therefore I wasn’t interested.

Then I saw a report on Channel Seven about Second Life and thought that perhaps it had some merit after all, so being the curious type, I logged in.

The first time you log in, it can be a pain. It’s possible to end up lagging away on an island full of grey people, which is incredibly frustrating, and I feel we lost of lot of potential users who got caught in that situation and logged out thinking that was what Second Life was.

I checked into Second Life with a couple of friends who wanted to create an island just for us, this would cost serious money, I tried to stop my friend from going this far, but the next thing we knew, we had an island of our own. It’s a cheap proposal for a corporation, but a bit rich for individuals.

This gave us a private place of our own where we could meet and chat about our day with others. We could log in from anywhere in the world and somehow get the feeling that we weren’t all that far away at all. Those who put down Second Life by saying that we should only meet friends in the real world are so lucky to have their entire ensemble of friends, family and co-workers within walking distance of each other, and yet they still cling solidly to their mobiles. Most people have friends and family who are very far away, and if not for the phone or computer, we’d be back to pens, paper and envelopes. My friends were a mixture of American, English, Canadian and Australian – there was no way that we could meet for coffee at the local café on a daily or weekly basis.

I had a pub in Second Life, which I thought was lovely and airy, something like a Queenslander. I made it as comfy as possible, and we used it for events and get-togethers, but mostly it was just my home. Ahh yes, the disputes. I would log into Second Life and appear at my pub, on this island, to find that objects I had placed, had been moved to odd places, as though a three year old had got into crayons and tossed them everywhere. That, or that an item was returned because it was taking up too many prims (the constant talk of prim usage is annoying). The land itself could be altered too, which led to other irritations such as finding the nice flat land that I once had, was now the slope of a hill, and everything I had placed, including my home, was now buried… or the land was now a sunken valley, and all my trees and flowers were floating in the air.

This tended to be the result of selfish actions on the part of another island manager.

If I write a blog post, it remains there, it’s fixed, I own it and nobody can move it or alter the wording, I prefer things this way.

I left the private island and spent most of my time on ABC Island, Abi and the island staff were very reasonable, and there were few arguments, and certainly most of them were easy enough to resolve. ABC felt like a better home for me than Eragon. The problem here was that I really tried to get things going, but it was always difficult.

I would spend a week writing Rockit, my virtual quiz show, only to get about eight people showing up. We tried getting Pool into ABC Island… Lilli did an awesome job with the architecture, Abi gave us a hand, and we were all set to go. but when the ball was out of our court – as in Pool doing their bit, or the ABC doing theirs, everything stalled, whether it was legal issues or disinterest, I have no idea. This was fairly standard.

The idea for ABC to get into Second Life was a bold one, and one that we supported as a group, but the problem often seemed that ABC had forgotten us, there was a lot that we could have done with that island, but the volunteers could only do so much.

ABC has TV and Radio and web-based material. Having Second Life is a logical step if you’re going to experiment with as much of the digital world as possible, but I don’t think that it was handled as it should have been.

ABC had CSIRO people coming in for a few weeks, when ABC Island was new, to talk about science, something that went down exceedingly well. I was asked many times by a lot of people, if we’d ever have the science discussions again, it seemed to have been most peoples favourite ABC Island event – it was mine too. I tried to lure various science people into Second Life to do this, but none were interested.

There were things that we would have liked to have done, but we were blocked because we were not ABC staff – I suppose that’s understandable. The volunteers all felt like there needed to be someone from ABC who was there a fair bit, someone who not only worked with ABC but also someone who really enjoyed and understood Second Life, that would have helped so much.

If ABC is serious about getting experts from segments of New Media, they should send talent scouts into places like Second Life and say “You look like you know what you’re doing, would you like to work for us?”

Second Life has a vast potential, but often sadly that’s all it has. Perhaps it’s too new, perhaps something like this should have turned up twenty years into the future, when most people would look at you like a moron if you thought the internet was full of axe murderers.

I tried very hard getting people to come into Second Life. I mentioned it on mailing lists, forums and Twitter but nobody cared. “That sounds like crap”, they’d say, “Why would we want to do that, when we can just email each other?”. “I use Skype to talk to my friends”, “I use Facebook” and the oh so original, “Get a real life” which I’d heard nearly a million times. Sure there were technical reasons too – some had old machines that couldn’t handle Second Life, others had poor internet access. Fair enough.

Second Life has great potential, but people will never see that potential if they don’t at least try it. Green Eggs and Ham, anyone?

It’s funny how users of one social media will happily use one or two things and mock another. People don’t bother to research the software themselves, just rely on sketchy rumours, and if those rumours are bad, well tough.

I signed up and researched them myself to see how viable they were, and to be honest, there’s only a few that seemed not up to scratch, as far as I’m concerned, Myspace being a great example, Here’s something which is trendy to mock, but to put it bluntly, it’s a cow of a thing to use.

I loved Second Life, I really did, but not enough of you dared to try it yourself. I was there, I would have been delighted to have helped, and did help people on numerous occasions. I wanted others to see a potential and see how far they could take it… some did very well indeed…

Anyway, after five years of trying to bring people in for a look and waiting in vain, of dealing with arguments about prims and lag, of being whined at, and banging my head against a brick wall as projects simply stall because nobody seems to care – I know there are those who continue use Second Life and love it, and to be honest, I’ve had a lot of good times in there myself – but it just got to a point where I didn’t feel like I was happy there anymore, so I just walked away.

Wolfie Rankin.

(Mini) Review: Virtual Worlds – Learning in a changing world

Australian educators Judy O’Connell and Dean Groom have collaborated on a tidy tome called Virtual Worlds – Learning in a Changing World. Aimed squarely at educators who haven’t had any extensive experience with virtual worlds, it provides a concise overview of the current state of play, its implications for educators, and a comprehensive set of links for people that want to explore further. It’s a virtual worlds primer for a cohort of professionals who dually need the most insight into the area and who are likely to drive the substantive momentum in the field in coming years. In that aim, this book achieves what it needs to in a way that a lot of other publications in the field could do well to emulate.

You can purchase the book for AU$19.95 from the ACER website. Or – fill in our reader survey and if your name is drawn we’ll send you a copy as your prize – just specify that’s the prize you want in the appropriate section of the survey.

Second Life / OpenSim developers sought

I had the pleasure of meeting Dale Linegar last year – he’s one of many innovative Australian educators working in virtual worlds. He’s after some developers as detailed below, preferably Melbourne-based. If you’re interested, drop him an email.

We are a small, dedicated team of educators, developers and programmers who are working on a range of virtual world, AI and mobile related products for several Australian Universities.

We are based in Melbourne and would prefer to work with locals if possible due to the complex nature of many of our projects, however we do have some remote staff and are always open to change.

We require people with one or more of the following skills;
– Lsl scripting
– Experience with XML PRC and REST
– Experience with Cakephp
– Experience running Opensim servers
– Experience with AIML, perhaps also radegast or program-o

Most of all, you should love what you do.

Pay and hours will depend on your skills and experience.

If you fit one or more of the roles above, please get in contact with dale@oztron.com.

Disclosure: Dale kindly paid a fee for this post, which has been donated in full to Metaverse Aid.

Have a job you’d like to advertise? Contact us to discuss. Rates start at a $25 Metaverse Aid donation for a two-month text link.

UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge Grand Final: a triumph

Over the past year, one of the most extensive and impressive virtual world art projects has been undertaken. I’ve written about it repeatedly here, for three reasons. First, it’s an Australian initiative driven by the University of Western Australia. Second, the scope of the project was enormous, encouraging submissions across a range of mediums. Third, the passion of the organisers was very hard to resist – each and every person was driven by their passion for art and progressing virtual worlds art.

On all three counts, it’s hard to argue anything but outstanding success. As an Australian initiative it’s rightly been lauded. As a showcase for the ways in which mediums such as sculpture, art, music and film can be mixed and enhanced, the exhibits speak for themselves. Finally, the organisation of the monthly heats and the grand final has been superb, let alone the day-to-day enthusiasm for the project by all involved.

My point? That virtual worlds art, as evidenced by the UWA competition, is in for a bright future. Nish Mip’s winning entry is stupendous, as is the majority of the works submitted. I was thrilled to be one of the large panel of judges, and it’ll be fascinating to see the ripples that radiate from such an intensive project.

The inexhaustible Jayjay Zifanwe has the full wrap, including lots of pictures, on the UWA in SL blog. Otherwise, read on for the full results, the winning machinimas and Jayjay’s grand final speech.

The full winner’s list:



2nd Prize IMAGINE Grand Finale, 54 points (L$16,000)

3rd Prize IMAGINE Grand Finale, 44 points (L$15,000)
CHAOS IN ORDER by Igor Ballyhoo

4th Prize, IMAGINE Grand Finale, 38 points (L$12,000)
WILLOW by Bryn Oh

5th Prize, IMAGINE Grand Finale, 27 points (L$10,000):
TENDRILS by Glyph Graves

1st Prize, FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, 63 points (L$75,000):
PATCH THIBAUD: UWA Cultural Precinct Nexus 

2nd Prize, FLAGSHIP Grand Finale,57 points (L$16,000):
DB BAILEY & PATCH THIBAUD: UWA Cultural Precinct Gallery & Labs

Joint 3rd Prize, FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, 46 points (L$13,500):
DIJODI DUBRATT: UWA Bridge to the Future

5th Prize, FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, 40 points (L$10,000):
HERICK STRAAF: Concept Building for AXS Lab (August 2010)

1st Prize, Overall IMAGINE ART – NON SCRIPTED, 95 points (L$14,000):
THE ABYSS by Sharni Azalee

2nd Prize, Overall IMAGINE ART – NON SCRIPTED, 73 points (L$10,000):
MEDUSA’S GAZE by pravda Core

3rd Prize, Overall IMAGINE ART- NON SCRIPTED, 37 points (L$5,000):





DIJODI DUBRATT: UWA Bridge to the Future

NYX BREEN: UWA AXS LAB (July 2010), replaced the destroyed Dec build!

NYX BREEN: UWA AXS LAB (August 2010)

MEDUSA’S GAZE by pravda Core

THE ABYSS by Sharni Azalee



Joint 1st Prize (L$55,000 each):
BRADLEY DORCHESTER – Art of the Artists

LAURINA HAWKS – No Tomb for the Arts

3rd Prize (L$30,000):
TUTSY NAVARATHNA – An Art Form is Born

The Aview TV Award (L$10,000):
FAKE JEWELL, Song of Medusa

Best Art Visualisation (L$10,000):
RYSAN FALL – MachinimUWA, Art of the Artist

Best Art Visualization, Single Artwork (L$10,000):
ED VESPUCCIANO – Lessons in Democracy

Best Crossover Impact (L$10,000) :
L1AURA LOIRE – CLICK, Immersive & Interactive Virtual Art

Best Story (L$10,000):

Best Editing & Message (L$10,000):
PIA KLAAR – Art of the Artists, A Closer Look

SUZY YUE, Across A Crowded Room

For the dedicated – the full speech:

Greetings everyone, and welcome to the University of Western Australia, or UWA as she is known and also welcome to the Grand Finale of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge & MachinimUWA II. As is tradition at UWA, I would like to acknowledge that the University is situated on Nyoongar land and that the Nyoongar people remain the spiritual and cultural custodians of their land and continue to uphold their values, languages, beliefs and knowledge.

Today brings to an end the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge which was launched on the 15th of August 2009, with 841 entries received across the IMAGINE Art Challenge and the FLAGSHIP Building Design Challenge. Today also sees the conclusion of MachinimUWA II: Art of the Artists and with this, we had 45 machinima submissions where the theme was to film the artworks submitted to the UWA Challenge.

Its been an absolute pleasure for me to work with all of you over the year, and especially to those who went above an beyond the call of duty to make all of this a success. Thank you quadrapop lane, curator of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge, thank you Taralyn Gravois, thank you LaPiscean Liberty, thank you Raphaella Nightfire. Also much thanks to those who have provided support and sponsorship which raised the overall prize pool from L$100,000 to more than L$1,000,000 now across Art, Architecture and Machinima. So I would like to also thank the Cultural Precinct at the University of Western Australia, ShedworX.com, the Casey Family of Western Australia, the Residents of Artemesia, MidnightRain Glas, Phillip Vought, Bohemian Ghost, Gumby Roffo, Sasun Steinbeck, Galea Yates, Kip Yellowjacket and a host of others.

Before any further announcements, first on the agenda today is our Special Guest Speaker whom I would like to sincerely thank for agreeing to attend and address everyone at this event. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce the creator of the legendary Ivory Tower Library of Primitives, and Grand Finale judge for the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge, Lumiere Noir.

(Lumi Speaks)

Thank you Lumiere, it was truly a privilege to have you here! At the end of all the announcements, we will have the privilege of hearing Mommaluv Skytower singing live, and this will be followed by super Art DJ, Eifachfilm Varcirca, who is the definition of a multi-talented artiste having also been part of the UWA 3D Art Challenge across the year as well as machinimUWA II !

First… will be the announcements for MachinimUWA II: Art of the Artists. MachinimUWA II grew almost by accident, out of a desire to honour the wonderful work that the artists of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge had created, and so the theme was, ‘create something that will take our breath away’. And the subject matter was the artwork of the Grand Finale of any of the works featuring in the July and August rounds of the 3D Art Challenge.

When the winners, it will be done in 1 minute intervals. We do invite everyone to comment and congratulate the winners and for the winners to respond before the next announcement (and if they could please use the SHOUT function :). Hopefully we can get pictures of you attending the event. If you do take them yourself, please email them to me at jayjayaustralia@hotmail.com. These will go into the UWA in Second Life Blog (www.uwainsl.blogspot.com), the Metaverse Journal, Prim Perfect Publications, the SL Enquirer, The Australian Trader and a number of other journals and blogs.

I want to thank our judging panel for their sterling work in looking through the incredible array of 45 entries. It was unbelievably hard to seperate things, and the panel was put to a great deal of work!

1. Professor Ted Snell (RL) – Director, Cultural Precinct, The University of Western Australia
2. Dr Carmen Fies (RL) – Second Life Lead: University of Texas San Antonio
3. quadrapop Lane (SL) – Curator of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge
4. White Lebed (SL) – the founder of AppliedGameology.com
5. Jayjay Zifanwe (SL) – Owner of The University of Western Australia (SL), Creator & co-host of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge
6. Iono Allen (SL) – Official Machinimatographer of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge
7. Cisko Vandeverre (SL) – Reigning UWA MachinimUWA Champion
8. Dr Kim Flintoff (RL) – Lecturer, Instructional Design, Centre for eLearning, Curtin University of Technology, Australia
9. LividEye Yoshikawa (SL) / John Yap (RL) – Senior Media Producer, National University of Singapore
10. Michelle Glaser (RL) – Senior Project Officer, Department of Culture and Arts, Government of Western Australia
11. Ian Booth (RL) – Chief Executive Officer, Screen West, Western Australia
12. Raphaella Nightfire (SL) – Snr Writer Best of SL Magazine, Owner Sanctorum Gallery (SL)
13. Laetitia Wilson (RL) – Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts, UWA
14. Aaron Kennedy (RL) – Chairman, WAnimate, Raging Pixel Productions

Now to explain how the judging was done. Each judge listed their top 8 in order of preference. 8 points was allocated for a 1st place vote, 7 points for a 2nd place vote, and so on, with 1 points being allocated for an 8th place vote. The top 3 were taken as a straight aggregate compiling the individual rankings of the 14 judges. The special awards were then selected by discussion among the judges taking into consideration the overall rankings. There was also a special award provided by Aview TV & LaPiscean Liberty.

First of all, and you can see the trouble started here, we have the Honourable Mention Prize. This is a single prize of L$10,000. However, the judges were hopelessly deadlocked. And so it was, that we had a 3-way tie for the Honourable Mention Prize, which becomes L$3,333 each! And so the Honourable Mention Prize for MachinimUWA II, goes to:

and The Honourable Mention Prize for MachinimUWA II, also goes to:
SUZY YUE, Across A Crowded Room

AND FURTHER, The Honourable Mention Prize for MachinimUWA II, also goes to:

Next, we have the special awards, and we start off with The Aview TV Award, with L$10,000 provided by Aview TV & LaPiscean Liberty. The Aview TV Award, goes to:
FAKE JEWELL, Song of Medusa

Commenting on this, LaPiscean said, “When identity and prose meet one another, the content is heartfelt. I know, because i was a Medusa in my time. At least thats why I so like the Song of Medusa, as if to say this Machinima was about myself. While a Medusa among Medusas, I shone and now that I’m not among Medusas, remaining one at heart, I still shine!”

Next, the Award for Best Art Visualisation (L$10,000), goes to:
RYSAN FALL – MachinimUWA, Art of the Artist

The Award for Best Art Visualization, Single Artwork (L$10,000), goes to:
ED VESPUCCIANO – Lessons in Democracy

The Award for Best Crossover Impact (L$10,000) goes to:
L1AURA LOIRE – CLICK, Immersive & Interactive Virtual Art

The Award for Best Story (L$10,000) goes to:

And, the Award for Best Editing & Message (L$10,000) goes to:
PIA KLAAR – Art of the Artists, A Closer Look

Now we come to the top 3 prizes, and we start with 3rd Prize. When all the statistics were done taking into account the judges rankings, this piece finished with 42 points, and 12 of the 14 judges listed this piece in their top 8. A wonderful whimsical story with a sublime message. The L$30,000 3rd Prize, goes to:
TUTSY NAVARATHNA – An Art Form is Born

Next we come to 2nd Prize. Now truly, for 2nd Prize, when I did all the calculations following the judges submissions, I got the shock of my life! I apologize to this person, but I just had to shake my head, I can’t believe this was selected for 2nd and so, the 2nd Prize of L$50,000, goes to:

Yes ladies and gentlemen…. nobody, because incredibly, we have a TIE for FIRST PLACE, on 60 points each. One of the 2 winners appeared on 13 of the 14 judges lists of top 8, while the other had 3 first place votes and 3 second place votes. No other piece had more than TWO 1st place votes and TWO 2nd place votes. So we had to recalibrate the prize, and put the 1st & 2nd Prize together and divide by 2, making that L$55,000 for each of the two 1st Prizes!

So, one of the JOINT-WINNERS of MACHINIMUWA II: Art of the Artists (L$55,000) is:
BRADLEY DORCHESTER – Art of the Artists

this machinima certainly took many breaths away! lets all enjoy the winning Machinima, so please turn on your media everyone, as we play it:

AND NOW, the JOINT-WINNER of MACHINIMUWA II: Art of the Artists (L$55,000) is:
LAURINA HAWKS – No Tomb for the Arts

a film of epic proportions, let us all enjoy it now!

We also had an viewer participation event, where we asked SL residents to predict who would be in the top 8, and to rank the order, and and we have 3 winners, 3rd (L$1,000) is Pia Klaar, 2nd (L$1,500) is EdwardIV Beaumont and the winner (L$2,500) of the viewer participation event is Beau Aie !

And now, we move to the Grand Finale of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge. Before announcing the winners here, there are a few things I do need said.

First please help me thank the curator of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge once again, who has for an entire year, magnificently marshalled the 841 entries that I allowed to come in at all times of the day and night with not a single day break as to when the works were submitted, and not a single day when the gallery was closed across the year. Ladies & gentlemen, quadrapop Lane.

And sadly, we have to announce that quadrapop will from today be stepping down as the curator of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge, as the Challenge comes to a full stop, and qpop will be able to get the great breat she deserves! Thank you quadrapop Lane!

I would also like to thank Taralyn Gravois for her great work in being the Director of the UWA-BOSL Amphitheatre, and looking after events held at the 4-SIM Theatre. Sadly, she is also stepping down today, as a number of other pressures wont allow her to continue in her role. Thank you Taralyn!

The Torch passes however. FreeWee Ling will take over as curator at UWA & Chantal Harvey will take over at this theatre! 3 Cheers for FreeWee & Chantal!

Now, what is there to take over at UWA? Well, I won’t have a NC to distribute for a few weeks yet, but basically once the curtain comes down today, the UWA 3D Open Art Challenge (L$1,000,000 Prize Pool), which again will run for one year will kick off. This will be a Grand Collaboration among the major art houses of SL, and aside from the top 3 monthly awards, in place of the Honourable Mention Awards, we will have a monthly Pirats Prize (selected by Merlina Rokocoko & Newbab Zsigmond), an Odyssey Prize (selected by Fau Ferdinand & Lizsolo Mathilde), an SL Arts Prize (selected by Gleman Jun & Sunset Quinnell), a Show & Tell Prize (selected by Florenze Kerensky & Barney Boomslang), a CARP Prize (selected by Josina Burgess & Velasquez Bonetto) and a BOSL Prize (selected by Frolic Mills & Giela Delpaso).

The rules for this will be simple. The theme is ‘Create something that will take our breath away’, and the prim limit is 100! As it always has been. So anyway, the receiver for the works is in the same location as before !

Professor Ted Snell, Director of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge whose 5 minute meeting with me 2 days before the very first mini-Launch we had at UWA in August 2009 sparked off these challenges said, It began with a rush but the entries just kept coming, rising from over thirty in the first month to a final total of over one hundred artworks in the final competition. What was most exciting was the obvious increase in
the standard of entries, the increasing sophistication of the conceptual basis of the works and the extraordinary skill in rendering them within the
virtual world. ”

As with the Machinima, I want to thank and acknowledge the judging panel. There were 23 judges in all, however 22 for either the Flagship or Imagine side as one of the judges, only looked at the Flagships, while another only looked at the Art.

1. Lumiere Noir (SL) – Creator of the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives
2. Sasun Steinbeck (SL) – Founder of the Art Galleries of SL list
3. Lowell Cremorne (SL), Owner of The Metaverse Journal
4. White Lebed (SL) – Founder of AppliedGameology.com
5. Phillip Vought(SL) – Art Philanthropist & Founding Patron of UWA-BOSL Amphitheatre
6. Lanai Jarrico (SL) – CEO SL Enquirer
7. Reslez Steeplechase (SL) – Founder First Call Musicians Co-op (FCMC), CEO Matters of Music Media Group (M3)
8. Mal Burns (SL) – Metaverse News Aggregator and Broadcaster
9. Apollo Manga (SL) – examiner.com Writer & Novelist
10. Raphaella Nightfire (SL) – Snr Writer Best of SL Magazine, Owner Sanctorum Gallery
11. Dr Gary Zabel (RL) / Georg Janick (SL) – University of Masachusetts
12. Saffia Widdershins (SL) – Owner and Editor of Prim Perfect Publications
13. Jordan Whitt (SL) – Editor in Chief, ICON Lifestyle Magazine
14. Rowan Derryth (SL) – Art & Design Historian; Writer for Prim Perfect Publications
15. Courtney Linden (SL) – Linden Lab
16. Paisley Beebe (SL) – CEO of Perfect World Productions TV
17. Bohemian Ghost (SL) – Owner of Summerland Estates
18. Jopsy Pendragon (SL) – Founder of the Particle Laboratory Learning Center
19. Professor Ted Snell (RL) – Director, Cultural Precinct, The University of Western Australia
20. Frank Roberts (RL) – The University Architect, The University of Western Australia
21. Jayjay Zifanwe (SL) – Owner of The University of Western Australia (SL), Creator & co-host of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge
22. Dr Chris Thorne (RL) – Co-Founder of the UWA (SL) & UWA Honourary Research Associate (RL) (judged Flagship only)
23. Frolic Mills (SL) – BOSL & CO CEO (judged the IMAGINE sections only)

First though, the results for the People’s Choice Awards. For the people’s choice, all of SL could vote for their favourite pieces across the month of September, and had to use a HUD (created by quadrapop) to visit all the builds rezzed across the grid, as it needed more than 30,000 prims to have everything up. And I need to thanks Caren McCaw & Nyx Breen (Annapurna), Dijodi Dubratt (Toor), quadrapop Lane (Poorlatrice), Kip Yellowjacket (Virtlantis), Lilli Field (Mysten), Phillip Vought (Acquitaine), Cuwynne Deerhunter & Eliza Wierwight (Patron) and the LEA for valuable space to rezz the works.

And so for the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, IMAGINE ART- NON SCRIPTED 3rd prize goes to (L$3,000):

For the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, IMAGINE ART – NON SCRIPTED 2nd prize goes to (L$5,000):
THE ABYSS by Sharni Azalee

MEDUSA’S GAZE by pravda Core

Now we move to the People’s Choice Awards for the FLAGSHIPS

For the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, FLAGSHIP 3rd prize goes to (L$5,000):
NYX BREEN: UWA AXS LAB (August 2010)

For the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, FLAGSHIP 2nd prize goes to (L$7,000):
NYX BREEN: UWA AXS LAB (July 2010), replaced the destroyed Dec build!

And the WINNER for the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, FLAGSHIP (L$15,000) is:
DIJODI DUBRATT: UWA Bridge to the Future


For the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, IMAGINE 3rd prize goes to (L$5,000):

For the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, IMAGINE 2nd prize goes to (L$7,000):

And the WINNER for the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, IMAGINE (L$15,000) is:

And now we come to the crunch. The overall juried Grand Prizes for the UWA 3D Art & Design competition. The results are extremely interesting, and I do need to explain how the Judging was done. Each judge listed their top 10 in order for IMAGINE & FLAGSHIP & top 5 for the non-scripted. Works receiving a 1st place vote were allocated 6 points, 2nd place 5 points, 3rd 4 points, 4th 3points, 5th 2 points, and 6th – 10th place votes received 1 point each. The winners are taken as a straight aggregate compiling the individual rankings of each member of the judging panel. No one individual had any greater influence than any other. Every single piece featured in the top 10 of at least 2 judges. Every single piece was also NOT in the top 10 of at least 2 judges. So there was great individual variability, however, when put together, I am staggered by how clearly the results come across.

First the Non-Scripted. I will reveal the aggregate points received by the winning pieces, and also of the ones which just missed out. The Prize winners will receive special trophies created by Miso Susanowa who won the Trophy Challenge some months back run by FreeWee Ling and the Residents of Artemesia. There are 3 prizes for the non-scripted. It was very close, between 3rd prize and the works in 4th – 6th. There was in fact a 3-way tie for 4th place in the non-scripted, these being:

4th (non-scripted) BLACK PEARL by Solkide Auer – 30 points
4th (non-scripted) THE NIGHT ORCHID by soror Nishi – 30 points
4th (non-scripted) BLOOM GLOW by Sledge Roffo – 30 points

All said and done, the overall IMAGINE ART- NON SCRIPTED 3rd prize, on 37 points goes to (L$5,000):

For overall IMAGINE ART – NON SCRIPTED 2nd prize, on 73 points goes to (L$10,000):
MEDUSA’S GAZE by pravda Core – 73 points

And the runaway WINNER for the overall IMAGINE ART – NON SCRIPTED, on an incredible 95 points (L$14,000) is:
THE ABYSS by Sharni Azalee

Now for the Flagship. There are 5 prizes, but I will reveal the relative positions and point allocations for the top 10 so everyone can get a sense of how things shaped up. Again remember, these are not ratings of artworks… these are more similar to how things work when selecting the MVP for a football game or the world footballer of the year. 6th through 10th place from the 23 builds overall fell as follows:

6th FLAGSHIP : HERICK STRAAF: Concept Building for AXS Lab (July 2010) – 30 points
7th FLAGSHIP : ELIZA WIERWIGHT: The Patron Gallery Build – 23 points
7th FLAGSHIP: OWL RAE (MOTH REXEN): Arcapelus Sanctuary – 23 points
9th FLAGSHIP: NYX BREEN: UWA AxS LAB (Feb 2010) – 20 points
10th FLAGSHIP: NYX BREEN: UWA AXS LAB  (June 2010) – 18 points

OK, so for the FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, 5th prize, on 40 points goes to (L$10,000):
HERICK STRAAF: Concept Building for AXS Lab (August 2010)

For the FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, 4th prize, goes to (L$12,000) :
NOBODY – as we have a tie for 3rd place on 46 points apiece

For the FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, we have a JOINT 3rd Prize, and this goes to (L$13,500):
DIJODI DUBRATT: UWA Bridge to the Future

3rd Prize for the FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, also goes to (L$13,500):

I had told Nyx a couple of times that this was my personal favourite of his many amazing builds!

Next the FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, 2nd prize on 57 points goes to (L$16,000):
DB BAILEY & PATCH THIBAUD: UWA Cultural Precinct Gallery & Labs

And now for the winner. This build will remain on UWA grounds as long a UWA in Second Life stands, and will be looked as as a foundation for the design of the real Cultural Precinct Flagship build at UWA in a few years time.

The WINNER of the FLAGSHIP Grand Finale, on 63 points goes to (L$75,000):
PATCH THIBAUD: UWA Cultural Precinct Nexus 

Finally, to the IMAGINE Grand Finale. Again, there are 5 prizes, and I will reveal the top 10. Things were very close just outside of the prizes, and the gap between 5th place and the 3 way tie for 9th is only 6 points, and here they are:

6th IMAGINE: THE SATIRICAL POLEMICIST by Eliza Wierwight – 23 points
7th IMAGINE: CYBERSHARK by Igor Ballyhoo – 22 points
7th IMAGINE: ATOMIC-GO-ROUND by Atomic Gaffer – 22 points
9th IMAGINE: IMMERSIVE ART: THE MAZE by Alizarin Goldflake – 21 points
9th IMAGINE: 26 TINES by Bryn Oh – 21 points
9th IMAGINE: WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD by Lea Supermarine – 21 points

OK, so for the IMAGINE Grand Finale, 5th prize, on 27 points goes to (L$10,000):
TENDRILS by Glyph Graves

4th Prize for the IMAGINE Grand Finale, on 38 points, goes to (L$12,000)
WILLOW by Bryn Oh

3rd Prize for the IMAGINE Grand Finale, on 44 points, goes to (L$15,000)
CHAOS IN ORDER by Igor Ballyhoo

a real favourite especially among the machinimatographers, as it is the most filmed artwork

2nd Prize for the IMAGINE Grand Finale, on 54 points, goes to (L$16,000)

Now its a stunning result for 1st place, and in fact what happened with this was the reason why I decided to release the point totals of the cumulative judges rankings, and ensure that the prizes extended to the top 5, instead of what is was going to be initially, which was a top 2.

And so, the GRAND CHAMPION of the IMAGINE ART CHALLENGE, on 61 points (L$75,000) is:

Its almost unfathomable. To achieve what Nish has, in taking the Top 2 spots from amongst 772 artworks across the year. I cannot begin to calculate the odds against that happening. UMBRELLAS received SIX 1st place votes and only 2 other works received more than ONE 1st place vote being WILLOW & THE LAST OCEAN which each received THREE.

Congratulations Nish! Anyone wanting the full results, please send me an IM. Do check and link to the blog as well, as everything will be there in 24 hours http://uwainsl.blogspot.com/

The UWA 3D Open Art Challenge is now officially open! And with that ends the formal part of today.

Thank you so much Eifachfilm Vacirca for helping stream voice to all the 4 sims during the announcements!

I now hand the floor over to the incredible Mommaluv Skytower who has wowed many an audience with her incredible performances! Please give her a warm welcome all!

UWA’s art challenge completes final heat: final on the way

The University of Western Australia have just wrapped up the last heat of their 3D Art & Design Challenge (full info below), and once again the depth and breadth of the work being displayed is impressive.

I feel very privileged and anxious at the same time, to be one of the panel of judges for the Grand Final, which is coming up fairly soon. I’ve said it a few times now, but I’ll repeat it now: UWA are arguably the preeminent virtual worlds art supporter worldwide, and it’s a claim they deserve in the most emphatic way.

We’ll be bringing you a wrap of the final judging when it’s completed.

The full announcement from UWA:


103 entries of the highest quality to the final August round of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge, and what happens? Nish Mip’s powerful and enveloping piece, THE LAST OCEAN takes the top prize (L$5,000) making it an unprecedented 3rd time she has won First Prize for the IMAGINE Challenge breaking a tie with Bryn Oh & Igor Ballyhoo, both of whom won the Challenge twice. Lee Supermarine and Eliza Wierwight shared honours in taking 2nd Prize. In the FLAGSHIP Challenge, Herick Straaf narrowly beat 5 time champion Nyx Breen to take the top prize for a 2nd time. Jesse Keyes, Alizarin Goldflake & soror Nishi picked up L$6,000 each in winning Legacy Awards for their work across the year for the IMAGINE Challenge, while Nyx Breen took home the Legacy Award for the FLAGSHIP Challenge.

The final month of this year long L$600,000 challenge, August saw a record shattering 103 submissions to the IMAGINE challenge with 6 Flagship Builds pushing the total across the year to 841 entries from more than 300 artists and builders. 6 of the 7 continents of the world are represented as entrants hailed from Venezuela, Belgium, Mexico, Wales, Canada, the USA, the UK, Uruguay, Scotland,England, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, France, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Cuba, Serbia, Tunisia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Commenting on the win, Nish said, “My thanks go to Jayjay and quad for putting so much work in to organising these competitions. They deserve the biggest round of applause for their efforts and to everyone else involved through support and sponsorship in whatever way and that includes the artists, judges, and the people who come along to look and appreciate this great boost for second life art. I really feel proud to have taken part in these competitions. I only came looking for a sandbox to finish my Butterfly house off, but I think everyone in whatever life they have wants to feel that they have a purpose and I’d like to make a special thank you to JJ for spotting something that I hadn’t realised I had and am still even now finding hard to believe. I can only put my success down to being a bit of a perfectionist and never being satisfied with what I’ve done. Perhaps that helps, I don’t know, but these competitions have definitely paved a way forward for me that I really appreciate. Thank you everyone who’s made that possible. I know with the dedication that the UWA in SL has put in to the virtual art world they will go from strength to strength and I very much look forward to the coming years and to hopefully participating with UWA in making our second lives so much richer. I love you all. ”

In acceptance, Legacy Award winner Jesse Keyes said, “I am honored that i managed to hang on long enough to receive the UWA Legacy prize.
Its been a long year and I look forward to making and entering more contest builds in the up and coming year. I would like to thank all the people that have worked on setting up the contest and to Jay Jay Zifanwe for puting bugs in my ears on when the build is due (they were real bugs). Thanks again UWA for hosting such a geat event”. She emoted, “gets drunk and falls off the podium, waves to every one, uses trophy to crack walnuts.”

soror Nishi, fellow Legacy Award winner, and winner of the Honourable Mention Prize for JOY for August, with ‘Dotty the Dragon’ chimed in, “It’s a great thing to feel that what you try to do as an artist, that what you try to ‘say’ has been understood. An award is like someone saying ‘yes, soror, I agree’..and it makes it possible to go on creating, trying to express difficult ‘stuff’.”

The biggest winner on the night in terms of the number of awards won was Eliza Wierwight, whose cleverly named entry, THE SATIRICAL POLEMICIST won the 2nd overall IMAGINE prize (L$3,000), 2nd Prize in the People’s Choice Award (L$500) as well as the Rain Prize (L$1,000). “What an interesting journey from working in isolation for such a long time, then the genuine feeling that I am a part of the Arts Community family in Second Life as I do now. I’m smitten. While I’ll know I will always seek time to get delightfully lost in the process of creation in seclusion, it’s a reaffirming joy when I head back to shore to find such warm welcome as has been expressed in these awards I’ve been honored with today. If I was to say that a position in the People’s Choice is like an embrace, then the Imagine Challenge Prize and the Rain Prize on top of that had me floored with delight. My huge and genuine thanks to the SL Community , the University of Western Australia, my precious friends, my muse , the delightful Miss Q (quadrapop Lane) and the genuine and astounding Jayjay Zifanwe whom I am still honing an ever developing artistic temperament on just for the sheer amusment of it. Again, for everything , my sincere thanks.”

The Non-Scripted IMAGINE prize was won back to back for the first time every, by prim wizard nessuno Myoo with THE UNICORN WOOD EDITION. “I’m really happy and I want thank all for the great opportunity to show my works alongside all this masterpieces. For me it is a great honor.” Only he and soror Nishi have more than one piece in the reckoning for the Non-Scripted Grand Prize.

Corcosman Voom, who wan an Honourable Mention for the Legacy Award (L$4,500), also took the Bohemian Ghost Prize (L$1,000 + 600 prims on the Summerland SIM). “I was very pleased to have been awarded an Honourable Mention UWA Legacy prize and The Bohemina Ghost prize in this, the final round, of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge. It has been my pleasure to be able to exhibit my art this past year in the company of work by so many talented artists. I am very grateful to UWA and everyone associated with the Challenge for the opportunity it has given to so many people. Most of all, I appreciate the dedication and hard work Jayjay and quadrapop have put into making this project a success. Thank you both for making this a great year.”

A paradigm breaking piece called ‘ANTARCTICA – AN INDIVIDUAL EXISTENCE’ by Glyph Graves won the Honourable Mention Prize for Second Life Wizardry. This must see work, uses real time data from weather stations in Antarctica to create an enchanting symphony of sound and light. The technical expertise required to create such a work is mind-boggling.

Gleman Jun was also a multiple award winner as his ‘STOP FEAR’ won the People’s Choice Award as well as the Honourable Mention (HM) Prize for Emotion. Other award winners included Oberon Onmura (Legacy Award HM), Oldoak Merlin (Casey Prize & FLAGSHIP HM), Blue Tsuki (HM Prize for Immersion), Gingered Alsop (HM Prize for Scripting Magic), Pinkpink Sorbet (Anton Mesmer HM Prize).

Joining the extended judging panel for the Grand Prize are art philanthropist & founding patron of UWA-BOSL Amphitheatre, Phillip Vought, Paisley Beebe, CEO of Perfect World Productions TV and Jopsy Pendragon, creator of the Particle Laboratory Learning Centerhave who have all stepped in to take the place vacated by M Linden. They will have the entire month of September to make their decisions.

UWA is grateful to Bohemian Ghost and the Summerland Estate for raising L$33,000 which was put toward the Legacy Awards. Bohemian Ghost will also be part sponsoring the People’s Choice Award for the Grand Finale, along with the Residents of Artemesia who have been sponsoring the monthly People’s Choice Awards.

The Grand Prize Round is now open, and there is a People’s Choice Vote for this. There has been a beed over the past few weeks to rezz all the past winning flagships across the grid. We would like to acknowledge all those who have given up valuable prims and space to allow UWA to put up these flagships till the end of the voting period which is the 30th of September. They include Caren McCaw & Nyx Breen (of the Annapurna SIM), Dijodi Dubratt (Toor), quadrapop Lane (Poorlatrice), Kip Yellowjacket (Virtlantis), Lilli Field (Mysten), Phillip Vought (Acquitaine), Cuwynne Deerhunter & Eliza Wierwight (Patron) and the Linden Endowment for Arts (LEA).

This is the first time LEA land is being used and opened up to the public. One SIM of the LEA cluster has been opened up for this purpose.

The machinima challenge, MachinimUWA II: Art of the Artists, is ongoing, and closes on the 20th of September. & works have come in thus far from Tutsy Navarathna,spyvspy Aeon, Bryn Oh, Megan Merlin, Missy Restless and Yesikita Coppola. These Machinima feature the works that have been entered across the year to the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge. They are all linked on the blog http://www.uwainsl.blogspot.com/.



Alizarin Goldflake
soror Nishi
Jesse Keyes

Nyx Breen

LEGACY PRIZE (Hon Mention): L$4,500
Oberon Onmura
Corcosman Voom

Imagine Challenge 1st Prize: ($L5,000 + Custom T-Shirt)

Imagine Challenge 2nd Prize: ($L3,000) JOINT


Best Non-Scripted Entry: ($L3,000 + Custom T-Shirt)

Flagship Challenge 1st Prize : ($L5,000)

Flagship Challenge 2nd Prize: ($L3,000)
UWA AXS LAB by Nyx Breen

Flagship Honourable Mention Prize: (L$1,000)
Oldoak Merlin

Honourable Mention Prize for EMOTION (L$1,000)
STOP FEAR by Gleman Jun

Honourable Mention Prize for SECOND LIFE WIZARDRY (L$1,000)

Honourable Mention Prize for JOY (L$1,000)

Honourable Mention Prize for IMMERSION (L$1,000)
THE DEEP by Blue Tsuki

Honourable Mention Prize for SCRIPTING MAGIC (L$1,000)
QUANTUM MATRIX by Gingered Alsop

THE ANTON MESMER Honourable Mention Prize (L$1,000)

The RAIN PRIZE (L$1,000) – Established for one of the Founding Patron of the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge

BLACK SWAN by Oldoak Merlin

THE BOHEMIAN GHOST PRIZE (L$1,000 + 600 Prims on the Summerland SIMM for at least 3 months)
THE AERIALIST by Corcosman Voom

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD – 1st prize (L$1,000):
STOP FEAR by Gleman Jun

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD – 2nd prize (L$500):

Election 2010: virtual worlds make their debut

As Australia draws to the end of its five-week election campaign, I’d pretty much given up on the political parties doing anything beyond the odd YouTube or Facebook campaign strategy. As I wrote in 2007, Australia has lagged some other countries in the use of virtual environments for politics, and this campaign hasn’t changed that, with the debate over competing broadband policies about as substantive as it has gotten.

You know for certain that our politicians are truly lagging in this area when the mainstream media beat them to the punch. Channel 9 have announced that their election coverage on Saturday will be centred on a bunch of ‘virtual sets’. As the video below shows, it’s fairly standard green-screen technology, but its an evolution all the same.

Although the interactivity will be limited to manipulating election data, and the communication will be one-way (presenter to audience), it’s a step forward for a couple of reasons. First, it’s provides an in-your-face example of virtual environments as a collaborative and/or information-sharing tool. Second, its use will be a major eye-opener for the strategists in each of the parties, who still appear to be wedded to 2D technologies for campaigning at the expense of everything else. The reaction of the public to Channel 9’s coverage is likely to be mixed, with some pointed criticism likely at gimmickery over substance. That doesn’t matter to a large extent: the cat is out of the bag over at the Fourth Estate. Two of the other Estates (‘the Church’ and the public) already have a good sense of this technology. There’s only one left looking backwards – the one that should be leading the debate or at least actively contributing to it.

Watch the Channel 9 spiel for yourself:

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