Project Outback’s potential engine

Thanks again to 3pointD, there’s some interesting information on Peer to Peer developments and how they may relate to Aussie-driven SL competitor, Project Outback (formerly known as Outback Online).


We’re currently in process of finalising a Q&A with Yoick CEO Rand Leeb-du Toit to discuss his views on virtual worlds in general and Project Outback’s place within what is a fast-growing user space.

The Music Lounge

The Music Lounge is a small-scale virtual world that exists to promote the artists that perform within it. Music is the name of the game with specific songs playing as you walk into different areas.It’s currently at Beta 11 stage and it’s a slick product.


Logging in took around three times as long as the SL viewer but once logged in the whole experience was a lot more responsive than SL – given the tiny size of the world that’s not a great surprise. Configuring your avatar is simple though the options aren’t huge.



Graphically the whole experience was very appealing (powered by the Torque engine) but the inability to do anything but walk / run and jump is limiting. Activity is also limited to listening to music, watching events, shopping (using ‘creds’) and interacting with other avatars.


If you have someone wary of the whole virtual world thing, this may be a very painless introduction.

The viewer is available for both PC and Mac – the Mac version was an 80MB download.

Yoick to Linden Lab – be excellent or else

Rand Leeb-du Toit. the CEO of Yoick, the company behind potential SL-competitor Outback Online, has put forward three essential rules for a successful virtual world : building correctly from the start, ‘community first’ and integration (with other platforms / technologies). There’s some pointed criticism of the SL server model and emphasis on the importance of community.

Outback Online is an unknown quantity, as is the timeframe for public viewing, but Yoick are certainly not afraid to stake their claim.



VastPark is essentially a 3D-interactive workspace for game developers, business or anyone wanting to create 3D content. It’s a business fronted by Australian, CEO Bruce Joy.

Using the VastPark site builder you drag in a 3D model from your modelling application and go from there. There’s a good overview provided on how VastPark works here, and the first thing that occurred to me after watching it was the ease of the relationship between offline modelling and the actual creation of the 3D experience.

Is VastPark an obvious takeover target for Linden Lab?

Second Life – is the central server model its downfall?

The Easter weekend saw large concurrency on the grid and things held up relatively well, albeit with some glitches. As relative newcomers to daily immersion in Second Life, we’re behind the eight-ball in realising how restrictive the central server model is on community events specifically and end user enjoyment more generally.

An effective 50 to 60 avatar limit on a event is obviously restrictive, both for the people who miss the event and the fifty who may be dealing with significant lag during the event. Islands are now considered a great value proposition because of the likelihood of reduced lag. Our own in-world launch was modest but managed to crash the server once we got above 45 avatars. The ABC Island / Four Corners launch had quite a number of people trying to access the island unsuccessfully due to it being ‘full’.

Critics of Second Life say the issue is the centralised server model and I’m yet to see any significant rebuttal of the claim. Potential competitors like Outback Online are touting the peer-to-peer (P2P) model as being the solution, claiming a 10 000 avatar population at an event as being feasible. If P2P is able to replicate the virtual world experience at the level Second Life has achieved whilst dramatically increasing concurrency of population, then the stampeded is likely to be significant. That said, I wouldn’t be alone in both hoping and assuming that with Linden Labs going the open source route, a P2P model may be in the platform’s future. Or at the very least a significant performance breakthrough that makes more than fifty people in a room a bearable experience.

What are your thoughts on the issue – if a competitor offered better performance would you pull up stumps and go elsewhere?

Lily Allen’s ‘Smile’ used for Sims 2 machinima

This is something amusing machinima-wise from Electronic Arts utilising their Sims 2 platform:

Apple Mac users – SL is the only option

One demographic within the SL user base that hasn’t been discussed in detail is Operating System. For the sake of the discussion I’ll talk about Windows versus Mac OS although most applies to Linux users. Second Life was my first stop for virtual worlds and I hadn’t really investigated others in details, until today. I had decided to register accounts with, Entropia Universe, IMVU. In all three cases, if you run Mac OS, forget about using the client / browser for each service. is not even compliant with browsers outside of Internet Explorer. Australian startup, Outback Online has stated up front there’ll be no Mac support either.

This means that SL probably has an unusually high proportion of Mac users. There’s certainly a Mac users group and the odd Mac devotee area in SL. You can purchase mock-ups of the whole Mac range from one vendor (pictured) and another vendor offers the MPod which looks very similar to a well-known music device. Just don’t look around for a Mac-friendly alternative to Second Life.

An Australian-based SL competitor on the horizon

Outback Online is a new virtual world option in development. At SLOz we’ll hopefully see a demo in the next few weeks but until then, read Robert Scoble’s blog posting on the demo he’s received.

The P2P networking and claims of 10000 concurrency per sim is enough to prick any SL member’s ears up.

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