Charting the growth of Second Life

With over 20,000 regions currently active on the grid, it is sometimes hard to picture just how big Second Life is, much less under how all the various component parts – continents, famous regional groups, places like the Blake Sea and Bay City – look and fit together. Harder still is to picture exactly how SL grew over the years.

So, if you do have an interest in the physical growth and development of Second Life, or are curious about SL cartography, Maps of Second Life is well worth a visit.

Brought together and curated by Juliana Lethdetter, the exhibition features maps charting the history of Second Life from 2002 onwards, and features maps supplied by groups such as the Historical Society of Second Life, the SL Coast Guard, and individuals such as Carl Metropolitan and Marianne McCann.

See on

Philip Rosedale: The Media Is Wrong, SecondLife Didn’t Fail

A nice piece from Sarah Lacy:

As anyone who has ever been near a startup knows, none of it is ever that simple, whether the startup succeeds or fails. And it certainly wasn’t for SecondLife — a company that seemed crazy initially, lauded as the next best thing a few years later, and was then dismissed as overhyped and mostly forgotten as the Web 2.0 wave gained steam.

SecondLife never went public or sold. There were chaotic transitions in management and pretty sizable layoffs. But far worse in the eyes of many, its audience just failed to grow. And in the Valley, many consider anything that’s not growth or an exit as a death. The hype cycle moved on, and even people in the back of the room were asking whatever happened to SecondLife, as Rosedale spoke.


“Did it ever sell?”


“I don’t know… Hey, did SecondLife ever sell?”


“I can’t remember…”


But Rosedale argued hard — and pretty convincingly — that SecondLife was a success. SecondLife has 1 million active users. That’s almost the exact same number it had at the peak when everyone was going ape-shit about it — when it was on the cover of BusinessWeek as the next big thing, when staid companies like IBM were building out SecondLife presences, when politicians were holding press releases inside of SecondLife, when Duran Duran and Depeche Mode were holding concerts there.


That number never fell, Rosedale says. If that was an amazing accomplishment then, it should still be an amazing accomplishment now that they’ve sustained it in a world where websites are fads that quickly come and go. More impressive, there are $700 million a year in virtual goods transacted inside of SecondLife every year. That’s more than enough to make the company very profitable.

See on

Kids in Church

3-year-old Reese :
‘Our Father, Who does art in heaven,
Harold is His name.

A little boy was overheard praying:
‘Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it.
I’m having a real good time like I am.’


After the christening of his baby brother in church,
Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car.
His father asked him three times what was wrong.
Finally, the boy replied,
‘That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home,
and I wanted to stay with you guys.’


One particular four-year-old prayed,
‘And forgive us our trash baskets
as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.’


A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they
were on the way to church service,
‘And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?’
One bright little girl replied,
‘Because people are sleeping.’


A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3.
The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.
Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson..
‘If Jesus were sitting here, He would say,
‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’
Kevin turned to his younger brother and said,
‘ Ryan , you be Jesus !’


A father was at the beach with his children
when the four-year-old son ran up to him,
grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore
where a seagull lay dead in the sand.
‘Daddy, what happened to him?’ the son asked.
‘He died and went to Heaven,’ the Dad replied.
The boy thought a moment and then said,
‘Did God throw him back down?’

A wife invited some people to dinner.
At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said,
‘Would you like to say the blessing?’
‘I wouldn’t know what to say,’ the girl replied.
‘Just say what you hear Mommy say,’ the wife answered.
The daughter bowed her head and said,
‘Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?’

Daden Unveil Oopal

Oopal (pronounced oo-pull) is Daden’s latest offering: a web-based editor allowing you to place and edit objects in a 2D environment, which will then roll out to the 3D environment (currently OpenSim and Second Life with Unity3D support coming in the next 6 months). Watch this brief walkthrough video to check it out for yourself:

OOPAL Quick Introduction from DadenMedia on Vimeo.

The full press release from Daden:

Birmingham UK, 27th June 2012: Educators and trainers can now create engaging immersive learning exercises more easily and rapidly using an innovative web-based application called OOPAL, developed by learning and visualisation specialists Daden Limited.

OOPAL (Object Orientated Practice and Learning) lets educators and trainers with little technical knowledge use the web to build 3D sets from an existing library of objects, and create, edit and manage the scenarios and simulations entirely from the web. Only when they’re ready to deploy do they need to enter the 3D virtual world and “push the button” to materialise the sets and exercises ready for students to use. With OOPAL, educators – and even students – can create and maintain worth-while learning experiences without needing to be virtual world experts.

Daden have been creating immersive learning experiences since 2008. Built on the success of their award winning virtual learning authoring software PIVOTE, Daden’s second generation system, OOPAL, makes exercise creation and maintenance significantly simpler – making it easier to involve tutors and even students in the design and build process.

David Burden, Daden’s Managing Director says “We found that the easiest way to describe immersive learning experiences was in terms of a drama – thinking about actors and props, the script and their behaviours rather than abstract concepts like nodes and links – and we’ve designed OOPAL to reflect that – considerably easing the process from exercise design to implementation.”

A key feature of OOPAL is that it allows educators to lay out the 3D environment using a simple 2D “kitchen designer” type layout tool. Drawing from a library of props and virtual actors, educators can assign behaviours to each object – how they will react when touched, pushed, spoken to or approached. Dialogues can even be assigned to the virtual actors for use within the simulation. Users can build just a single room or even a whole environment. What’s more – once they have built their set and simulation they can create multiple copies in their virtual world – again at the touch of a button.

Fundamental to the use of OOPAL, within a professional learning environment, is its ability to log and time-stamp every student interaction within the exercise. This can be reviewed within OOPAL, or exported in whole or part to a VLE or LMS. OOPAL also supports scoring mechanisms for in-exercise feedback.

David says “One of the obstacles in the adoption of immersive environments for learning has been the need for educators to be experts – not in their field of study but in building within virtual worlds. OOPAL dramatically reduces that barrier and gives educators and trainers the tools to create real-world learning experiences for their learners in a 3D environment”.

OOPAL can be accessed as a cloud-hosted service from Daden, or installed on an organisations’ own servers. OOPAL currently enables exercises to be developed in both OpenSim and Second Life. Daden plan to release a version for the Unity3D, and a web/iPad player in the next six months.

So what do you think? My initial impression from watching the video is that it would simplify things to some extent though the technical knowledge required is perhaps still a little high for some people. Personally I’ll be really keen to see the Unity version to see what it brings to the fray.

OpenSim NPCs simulate disasters

For most people, NPCs — non-player characters — are the princesses you need to save in video games, dragons you need to defeat, and shopkeepers who give advice about how to proceed in your quests.

But for David Prior, CTO at Simudyne , NPCs are a way to model emergency evacuation plans for amusement parks, hotels, banks and other large venues — even entire cities.

One customer using the technology is the European Union’s SAVE ME project, the goal of which is to develop a system that detects disasters and offers mass evacuation guidance in order to save public lives and the lives of the rescuers. The first two pilot sites will be Italy’s Colle Capretto tunnel and England’s Monument Metro station.

See on

Linden Lab registers new trademark

has a great piece on a new trademark registered by Linden Lab. Sounds like the casual gaming approach is about to come to the fore at Linden Lab.

Whether this translates into anything groundbreaking or not, at least it’s a sign of life from Linden Lab, who’ve been a little quiet lately. Do you agree?

Euclideon pops its head above the parapet

</aIn August last year I posted the last of a few articles on promising new graphics technology called Unlimited Detail. As I posted there, the team were going to ground to work on getting the technology to a stage where they have something even more substantive to show off.

That may be a little while off yet, but has an interesting piece on how Euclideon are doing. A snippet:

As mentioned when Euclideon was first revealed, this technology is something they plan to utilise not only for video games but also scientific research. Supposedly there will be “some Euclideon products released in non-games related industries over the next few months”. “There turned out to be a lot of demand for our capabilities across quite a few industries, so we have tried to put that demand in order and address each area one at a time. As soon as we have revenue coming in, we can expand our team into different departments to deal with each industry,” Dell tells us.

“I think it’s fair to say that people are starting to accept that the future of 3D graphics is atomic,” he finally points out. “Polygons will still be around a bit longer as an editing tool, but I don’t know how much longer they will remain for visualisation. So many games today have polygons that are so small that they are only a few pixels in size. When polygons become smaller than the 3 corner points that make them, there is no point in treating them like triangles anymore and it makes sense to use atoms instead.”

On the question, when we will get our next look at Euclideon powered gaming, all Dell responds is, “Well there is soooooo much I’d love to say about that, but I’m afraid that I’m sworn to silence at this point in time. My apologies, but I think you’ll find it worth the wait.”

So things are still progressing and we should start to see some implementations of the tech before the end of the year by the sound of it.

Thanks to Phillip Street for the heads-up!

Roundup from FCVW 2012

The Federal Consortium of Virtual Worlds’ 2012 shindig wrapped up on the 18th May, and (via Hypergrid Business) I came across a great roundup from an attendee.

Here’s a taste:


One of the other two workshops I attended focused on developing online training using learning concepts of Robert M. Gagne. And the other was a three-hour introduction into the use of Unity3D. Unity3D was a hot topic throughout the conference so I expect to see even more learning environments developed with that platform in the future. And it seems there is some promise in the future of development tools being created for Unity3D that will make it even easier to build and link to existing data. As for the workshop, it was well attended, and the presenters – Eric Hackathorn and Julien Lynge – did such a great job the time flew by so fast. Eric and Julien, along with Eric’s father, Richard, are all awesome innovators who you definitely want to keep an eye on if you are looking for inspiration. You can check out their work through Fragile Earth Studios, a project of NOAA.

Go read the lot for yourself

SLACTIONS 2012: Call for Papers


The metaverse is emerging, through the increasing use of virtual world
technologies that act as platforms for end-users to create, develop, and
interact, expanding the realm of human cooperation, interaction, and
creativity. The conference focus is scientific research on applications and
developments of these metaverse platforms: Habbo Hotel, IMVU, Second Life,
OpenSimulator, Open Croquet, Activeworlds, Open Wonderland, Minecraft, and
others, including MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, and virtual worlds
based on social networks, such as *-ville and others, providing a forum for
the research community to present and discuss innovative approaches,
techniques, processes, and research results.

SLACTIONS 2012 is the fourth edition of SLACTIONS, which was the first
international conference held simultaneously in several countries on the
topic of metaverse platforms. SLACTIONS aims at covering most areas
currently enabled by metaverse platforms, from educational research to
content production, from gender studies to media distribution, and from
metaverse-based branding, advertising, and fundraising to emerging mash-ups
and technology applications.
SLACTIONS is unique in its format too, as a one-of-a kind event conducted
both in a metaverse platform (Second Life) and on-site in multiple countries
throughout the world. SLACTIONS will thus contribute to the current
redefinition of the way we think about hybrid online and on-site scholarly

Whereas metaverse platforms are no longer a novel topic, they still pose
challenges for the adaption of conventional instructional and business
practices, research methodologies, and communication practices. We are
looking forward to presenting a program of research results, case studies,
panel discussions, and demonstrations that scholars, educators, and
businesses can port to their own environments and apply in their research,
teaching, and business strategy. We will accept papers from the full
spectrum of intellectual disciplines and technological endeavors in which
metaverse platforms are currently being used: from Education to Business,
Sociology to Social Sciences, Media Production to Technology Development,
Architecture and Urban Planning to the Arts.

Topics covered may include but are not limited to:

– Accessibility in metaverse platforms
– Advanced scientific visualization in metaverse platforms
– Automatic content generation
– Behavioral studies in the metaverse
– Combination of metaverse platforms with external systems (e-
learning, e-business, etc.)
– Communicational paradigms in the metaverse
– Content management and production
– Creativity, design, and arts on the metaverse
– E-business and e-commerce applications
– Educational research, applications, and case studies
– Embodiment in metaverses and Gender Studies
– GIS/metaverse mash-ups
– Integration between metaverse platforms
– Nonprofit activities and fundraising
– Adapting and developing research methodologies for metaverses
– Social Sciences studies in or through metaverse platforms
– Space representation, use, and management in metaverses
– Using metaverse platforms for cooperation


SLACTIONS has the format of a hybrid online and physical conference.
All paper presentations and plenary sessions by guest speakers will be held
on-line in the Second Life virtual world, and projected locally at local
chapters, for participants attending physically. Physical participants can
interact with the online participants via a “physical chapter avatar” and
Participants will also be able to follow the proceedings broadcast on the
Web and interact via a text chat applet.
Workshops and other events are conducted locally – or in mixed format across
several participating chapters – and local chapters may held local topical
round tables.


Authors are invited to submit:
– A full paper of eight to ten pages for oral presentation
– A “work in progress” paper of 4 pages for oral presentation
– A Flickr image or YouTube video, indexed with the tag
“slactions2012” for poster presentations ‘in-world’
– A live presentation in Second Life.

All submissions are subject to a double blind review process and should be
professionally proofread before submission. All manuscripts should be
formatted according to the ASIS&T proceedings template, available at
(Disclaimer: SLACTIONS is not associated with ASIS&T.)


All accepted papers and posters will be published on-line and in ISBN-
registered digital proceedings. Video posters and live presentations can
submit an abstract for inclusion in the digital proceedings.

The authors of the best papers will be invited to provide revised and
expanded versions for publications in special editions of journals or as
single contributions to theme-specific journals.

– Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
(ISSN 1941-8477)
Selected papers will be fast-tracked for publication in early 2013
issues of JVWR.

– Computer & Graphics – International Journal of Systems &
Applications in Computer Graphics
(ISSN: 0097-8493 / Imprint: ELSEVIER / impact factor 2010:0.720)
Authors of the Best Paper in computer graphics themes will be
invited to submit an extended version to be considered for journal

– VIRtual – Electronic Journal of Visualization, Interactive Systems
and Pattern Recognition
(ISSN 0873-1837)
Authors of selected papers on visualization and graphics will be
invited to submit extended versions to a special Issue of the journal.

– Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research
(ISSN 0718-1876)
Authors of selected papers on
e-business/e-commerce/m-commerce/e-learning/e-government will be invited to
submit extended versions the journal.

– International Journal of Web Portals
(ISSN 1938-0194, SCOPUS index)
Authors of the Best Paper in Web portals themes will be invited to
submit an extended version to be considered for journal publication.

Check out regularly for more information and developments
on the proceedings publisher and journal venues for best papers.

Official language of the conference:
The official language for the on-line space and all submissions is English
only. However, at the physical site of local chapters you can also use the
native language of that location.


Submissions deadline: June 30th, 2012
July 15th, 2012 – Submission results provided to authors
September 15th, 2012 – Deadline for early registration
October 15th, 2012 – Deadline for print-ready versions of accepted papers
November 15-17th, 2012 – Conference



Tagus Park, Oeiras, Portugal

About the Tagus Park:

António Quintas-Mendes []
Lina Morgado []
Isabel Valverde []

New Zealand

Wellington Institute of Technology, New Zealand

About the Wellington Institute of Technology:

Todd Cochrane []


Central Florida – Orlando/Space Coast area

About the 1 Virtual World Development:

Gwenette Sinclair []


Rome – in preparation, more data soon



In preparation, more data soon


In preparation, more data soon


In preparation, more data soon


In preparation, more data soon

Check out for updated lists and contacts.

Note: If you believe your institution can hold a physical chapter in an
as-yet unsupported region, please contact the organization at

Steering Committee
Leonel Morgado – University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
Nelson Zagalo – University of Minho, Portugal
Ana Boa-Ventura, University of Texas-Austin, USA

Programme Committee

Ahmer Iqbal – University of Jyvaskyla, Finland Ana Amélia Carvalho –
University of Coimbra, Portugal Ana Boa-Ventura – University of Texas,
Austin, USA Ângela Pereira – Leiria Polytechnic Institute, Portugal António
Fernando Coelho – University of Porto, Portugal António Lopes – Lusófona
University, Portugal António Quintas Mendes – Open University, Portugal
Benjamim Fonseca – University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Clare
Atkins – Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, New Zealand Daiana
Trein – University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Brazil Daniel Gonçalves –
Higher Technical Institute, Portugal David Deeds – Changchun American
International School, China David Herold – Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
Hong Kong Donizetti Louro – Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil Emanuel
Peres – University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Filipe Santos –
Leiria Polytechnic Institute, Portugal Greg Lastowka – Rutgers School of Law
/ Camden, USA Helen Farley – University of Southern Queensland, Australia
Hugo Paredes – University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Isabel
Valverde – Lisbon Technical University, Portugal James Corbett – CEO at
MissionV Education/ Business Development Manager at Daynuv Owner at
GlobalGreyhounds Ltd., Ireland João Varajão – University of Trás-os-Montes e
Alto Douro, Portugal José Luís Ramos – Évora University, Portugal Leonel
Morgado – University of Trás-os- Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Lina Morgado
– Open University, Portugal Luís Magalhães – University of Trás-os-Montes e
Alto Douro, Portugal Luís Pedro – University of Aveiro, Portugal Marco
António Chávez- Aguayo – University of Barcelona, Spain Margarita
Pérez-García – Catholic University College Limburg & Provincial University
College Limburg, Belgium Marja Kankaanranta – University of Jyvaskyla,
Finland Micaela Esteves – Leiria Polytechnic Institute, Portugal Narciso
Cerpa – University of Talca, Chile Nelson Zagalo – University of Minho,
Portugal Nuno Silva – Higher Institute of Engineering of Porto, Portugal
Paulo Frias – University of Porto, Portugal Paulo Martins – University of
Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Pedro Sequeira – Higher School of
Sport of Rio Maior, Portugal Pilar Lacasa – University of Alcalá, Spain
Ramiro Gonçalves – University of Trás-os- Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Sara
de Freitas – Serious Games Institute, UK Steven Warburton – King’s College
London, United Kingdom Teresa Bettencourt – University of Aveiro, Portugal
Theng Yin Leng – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Vincent Ng –
Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Yesha Sivan – The Academic
College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, Israel, and Metaverse Labs Ltd., Israel/Managing
Editor of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

Global Organization

Ana Margarida Maia – University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
Daniela Pedrosa – University of Coimbra / University of Trás-
os- Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Fernando José Cassola Marques – University
of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Gonçalo Cruz Matos – University of
Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Maria da Glória Fraga – University of
Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Leonel Morgado – University of
Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Ricardo Rodrigues Nunes – University
of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Vinicius Loureiro – University of
Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal Yesha Sivan – The Academic College of
Tel Aviv-Yaffo, Israel, and Metaverse Labs Ltd., Israel/Managing Editor of
the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research



Mini Diablo 3 Help Guide

Like the odd few hundred thousand others, I jumped into Diablo 3 at launch. It’s quite a bit of fun, but it’s also very challenging in parts. I thought as I went through I document some key strategies / tips to get you past particular hurdles.

So read on below if you’re stuck! This post will grow as I progress through: apologies to non-players for this short interruption to normal programming.

The Weeping Hollow: how do I defeat the group of Grotesque?

This took a couple of goes but basically you just need to down one of them and when it explodes into corpse worms, the others die as well. So just target one and you should be fine.

The Weeping Hollow: where is the Cemetery of the Forsaken?

Head north-east of the initial checkpoint – there is a path, follow that for quite a while and you’ll eventually hit the entrance.

Defiled Crypt: how do I defeat the monsters that appear out of the funerary urn?

It depends on your class but any AoE option you have might work. I had to change my Wizard’s primary mouse skill over to an AoE one to win out.

Cathedral: how do I defeat the Skeleton King??

This is the not surprisingly the most challenging fight of Act I. As a Wizard I died a good 15 times before I got the winning strategy, which was: constantly spamming Diamond Skin as soon it was off cool down. In between I used Magic Missile on the Skeleton King until the extra skeleton mobs spawn, then I used Arcane Orb to kill them all as quickly as possible as they drop healing orbs that you’ll need to keep going. Once you get that routine down, it’s just rinse and repeat. For all classes, just ensure you kill the extra mobs asap, and of course have your Templar with you.

 Alcarnus: how do I defeat Maghda? 

Ok there’s a few things you need to do to keep yourself alive. First, avoid the swarms of insects she sends out by running away / dodging them. Second, when she summons the Thralls, concentrate on them as they drop health globes. Then it’s pretty much rinse and repeat.

The Vestibule of Light: how do I defeat Iskatu?

Thanks to a hint from this video, I worked out that changing my skills over to Archon form as a Wizard allowed me to easily defeat him but focusing my Disintegration Wave on him. For other classes you basically need to find the best skill combo you have that minimises damage while you pound away.

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