December 22, 2011

IBMs technology predictions and virtual worlds

Posted in Hypergrid, Metaverse, Second Life, User Experience tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 2:18 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

IBM recently published five technology predictions for the next five years and they do this regularly, so five years ago there have been some, too.

And one of that was the idea, that 3D Internet (with the example of Second Life) becomes as common, as the 2D version. Maybe this was even the start of the mediahype around Second Life.

At an article of MSN News from the time you can read the one point about it:

‘• The 3-D Internet: Pohle said this technology is “about translating the user experience on the Internet from being almost a replication of a piece of paper – a Web ‘page’ – to almost a three-dimensional experience on the Internet.” Basically, a virtual world a la Second Life, with open borders.

IBM has been experimenting with virtual environments for locales ranging from Eternal Egypt and Russia’s Hermitage Museum (open now) to China’s Forbidden City (due in 2008). Just this month, the company announced a deal with Circuit City for an experiment in Second Life retailing.

As the 3-D Internet develops, IBM says it will be aiming for the integration of virtual environments into a seamless whole.

“Instead of separate islands of virtual worlds, where you cannot cross over from one to the other in a consistent way, IBM’s vision is to allow your virtual personal to cross over from one world to another, much in the same way you can go from one page to another on the Internet without losing any consistence, enabling all sorts of new applications of the technology,” the company says in a 3-D Internet fact sheet.

Pohle said “we’re not sure where this is going to lead, but the experience you get going to a 3-D site is a very different experience from what you get using the traditional Internet or a messaging tool.”‘

Other articles often emphasized the idea to experience Real Life products in such a world and then being able to purchase them there, even todays reviews in context of the new predictions.

But how should that work? The key element for the user of 3D worlds to become immersed are mirrorneurons. You see something and it is set in context with previous experiences which then am felt again, as if they were part of the action.

Lets have a look at one project that tried exactly that. The now gone motorcompany Pontiac tried it with their car “Solstice” and the result was this car, which is still wide spread as a freebie:
2006 Pontiac Solstice

Its a very good work for its time, which in Second Life terms is actually from another age completly, and Pontiac spent quite some money in that built, yet its only an oversimplified model of the design. You could not really  judge the looks from it, if you compare it with a good ol`2D photography of the actual product:

2006 Pontiac Solstice

But when you have seen the Solstice, you can see it in the 3D Version. It even gets worse when think of actually touching the car or how it feels sitting in it. Can you judge it by seeing how your Avatar fits in? No, you won’t, with the exception that you once sat in the car and renember that while your minds alligns your experiences with that of your avatar.
And let alone the drive scripts, in Second Life those are far from a realistic driving experiencing let alone one that represents the car. In simulation games like Forza this is actually a feature. Yet even the best simulation can’t simulate the sense that rallydriver Walter Röhrl once called “Popometer” (could be translated to buttsensor), an amalagan of all sensoric impulses. I actually made the experience that good RL drivers often suck in games, because the lack of the “Popometer” leaves them somewhat blind.

So the 3D Pontiac Solstice can’t tell you anything, and somehow you only really can experience it as an Solstice, if you had at least one RL-testdrive with the car, completely turning around the idea of presenting products in a 3D world to test them there.

So if you, as a potential buyer, want to buy a product, your still left with 2D photos and information sheets and a real life experienced testdrive (our testseating on a couch, e.g.) while 3D only has shortcomings, at least as long as there is no metaverse available with the simulationquality of the (movie-)Matrix.

Its quite similar with other tasks. You can write your emails in Second Life or OpenSim, or even do quite some more “work” of that kind in case its available as online application with the option of viewing websites inworld, but why should you, when the very desktop or notebook you use to access the virtual world is by far better suited for the task. Information is often presented in 2D because another dimension adds no value to it.

So what is really missing to make 3D internet is a killer application, something everyone needs to do and that is (almost) only possible in an immersive, shared, 3D envirenment.

I was suggested to me that learning and meetings / presentations could be that, but in my opinion it fails on the fact that you have to be already immersed into a virtual world, before it becomes beneficial, lacking the easy access that is needed to make it into a killer application. Another area, where 3D Internet can be very beneficial is the health sector, yet it is to hope that we are never in a situation where nearly everyone needs this.

I really don’t see how 3D Internet would ever be as common as the 2D Internet, and I don’t think it will ever reach a high penetration, while often those who found their use of it, like me, hold it very dearly.

Yet one prediction of IBM came true, that there will be a more indipendent approach and that virtual worlds would be not really seperated anymore. This technology is here with Open Simulator and the Hypergrid.

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December 16, 2011

Now with shadow, there is chrome, too.

Posted in Second Life at 1:21 am by SarahAndrea Royce

It was a long while that shine effects where handled quite different with shadows activated and lightsources spread their light through all walls. You had one “layer” of shadow and if you were inside a building, you usually had just the usual ambient light left.

As Inara Pey pointed out, with the last Betaviewer, there was a change to this: Lighting projectors: Adding depth to SL

Now with the newest Beta Viewer, they fixed the problem with the shine too. So finally you can have chrome, gold or other metalleffects like you had them without shadow and it stays the same way with shadows too.

Quite a while ago, I made a photo that demonstrates the effect quite well on my own work:

Shadow looks good, o well, o no, what is this????
(Its not the nices angle for the car 😉 )

This photo I made today:

Now with Shadow, there is chrome

They work more and more on the details, speeding up with use of a modernized OpenGL for the FPS, lighting and now shine, they definatly are way ahead now from all other viewers in terms of looks.

December 14, 2011

I did it.

Posted in Second Life at 6:02 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

When I wrote about my experiences travelling the Route2 on Heterocera, I wrote
I even found a very nice free spot with access to the road and to the sea, which for the first time ever made me think if owning land in Second Life may be an option
About a month long I again and again visited said spot, and than there was that Linden Lab special with a quarter of a year premium for half price, and I thought, OK, now or never and first I upgraded my subscription and then made the biggest purchase ever in SL, investing about the same amount of money for it as I have paid for my entire SL-Experience before.
I bought the red spot on the Region Algira:
The red spot on Algira is mine
It has access to the Route 2 on one side and (protected) access to the water on the other.

So the first thing I built was a parking deck where I can keep my favourite cars rezzed and directly start tours from my home.
Parkdeck
As I wanted to use the space as ergonomicly as possible I mad a rotating ramp which I tested in a sandbox over and over again to find the right size and hight an added the parkdeck afterwards. So this set the basic outline for my builing, which I wanted to do as much with that flair of the french reviera as possible. This is a view from the street side.
I was very active
The building left enaugh space for banks and flowers and, a plan I have, some waterplays, maybe a bit inspired by the Bellagio in Las Vegas. But I’m still active with the basic outlining and I have to watch prims here (for which there is no need on my OpenSim).

On the water side I opened the house into some balconies:
Today I closed the last gap on the balconie-side
and a peer:
Parts of my home and my peer
At first only with a freebie Sailboat, which is in fact a pretty nice one. I actually thought this would be more of a piece of eye candy since there are no additional water regions on the western side of Heterocera, only what is “leftover” on each sim, but when my new neighbour and I discussed the “December Premiumgift” and I rezzed it to have a closer look, we sponanously made a tour, and I found out, that I can sail about 10 Sims down south and back if I like, before there are borders, where no space is left for a passing boat.
The next day my neighbour came over with some pretty nice photos from the event:
My neighbour showed me his photos
And I really had the urge to get a motorboat. A small one, no yacht, and one with a classic look please. So I ended up with the fine Capri:
Exploring the neighbourhood
Under the main building there is still some room, which I will prepare for a shop, but want to stay true to the french riviera idea and make typical small storefronts. Under the ramp I made a dance floor and an attached stage, both overgrown with wineyards. And, feeling happy to have such a friendly neighbour I build a pathway between his and my land, which even doubles as virtually growing his small 512m2 spot a bit.

Its really a whole new experience, having a building in such an area with cars and boats readily parked for a nice tour
I let my neighbour sail the boat
Only sad thing is the neighbour to my right who uses his spot for a rudimentary built shop, only wrapped in some alpha-forrest-textures, and the landlord who sells some of the land around mine, blocking the waterways somewhat with ugly plates and even more annoying bright lightpoles. I do not really belief it helps him with land sales, because who wants a spot of land in the mids of this?
Landlords that destroy the second life experience

Meanwhile I’m quite happy to show my friends around
With Kim
Having Friends over

By the way. I have an “open policy” no banlines or such crap, and autoreturn is set to 5 minutes if you want to rez something. So, eg. you can come by on one the road 2, park your car on the parkdeck, go to the waterfront and rez your boat to start sailing, later can come back and rerezz the car to continue your tour on the road.

November 9, 2011

Snowland is No(go)land

Posted in Second Life tagged , , , , , at 4:18 am by SarahAndrea Royce

Triggered by the recent fun on the Route 2 in the north of the continent Heterocera Atoll. As beautiful as this road and many of its other roads was, as disappoiting was the continent Sansara, as far as I read the first one ever to appear in the virutal world of Second Life.

I was inspired to visit it by an article in the virtual magazine (how maching ;- ) “The Second Life Builder” which pointet to an old treet.tv article about a snail rally that was held there.

The first hard thing was to find a rezzone. I tried to made my start where the road of that certain rally began and I flew over many seems without spotting a single one. Finally I used the search and came out a a rezzone in the middle of the continent. At least I could start than. And not only where the roads sterile in texture and “flow” (all straight ahead or with sharp angles). Along the way were all kind off buildings and shops and very very big advertisement signs. Actually I was more than a little renembered of the uglier roads in the USA, where I made to great roadtrips together with my mother. Avoid staying in Flaggstaff, by the way. As romantic as the Santa Fee Express, the Route 66 and Flaggstaffs mentioning in Stephen King novels may paint it.

When I entered the Snowlans, the new Hardtop of the 1957 came in Handy, and I found even three places that where nice enaugh to take a photo. Yet the only positiv thing I can say, is that the textures of the roads where somewhat nice 😉

one of the view nice spots

Frozen roads

The best photo I could take on a bridge, I really love the way the shadows work out:

Great Shadows

Its a shame that a themed roadnetwork like that what was not built with the same feeling as it was the coastal Route 2.

I searched a random youtoube video as a message to the Lindens. This is how a mountain road in winter would look like:

November 8, 2011

MachinimaMonday

Posted in Second Life tagged , , , at 8:33 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

There is a group in Second Life for Machinimatographers which has weekly meetings. The MachinimaMonday Group.

Earlier this day, yesterday for americans, I attended the Machinima Monday meeting. A very good opportunity to learn more about machinima making and see a lot of good ones:

Virtual Marathon

Ambrosia’s trialer

Burn2 – Artists in the Desert by Scissores

Funny thing is, with attending such meetings at ungodly hours (4-5am in the morning, you can see my dire need for coffee in the photo) I bump into more and more second life celebrities. After meeting Draxtor at the Month of Machinima Kick off event for November, dressed as a character of his latest machinima.
"Mesh gut, Ja, Jawoll!"
This time, two seets to my right (actually, from my point of view to the left), sat Evie Fairchield, one of the oldes Second Life Citizens and the first one to have a private owned sim ever.
Machinima Monday
And she entered a video for discussion, too:

Evie Fairchild – Through the Looking Glass, Avatar Repertory Theater

JJCCC Coronet – JJ La Roux

SarahAndrea Royce – Interlude

Actually it was well received, which made me quite happy 🙂

There were three more machinimas discussed but of different reasons I will not post them. One is not public, one was not from Second Life and one was my Trailer for Second gear. The idea of having a regular machinima show resonated quite well with the people who then were still there.

A visit to Stepford

Posted in Second Life at 1:11 am by SarahAndrea Royce

After reading Marryan Daines travelling review I paid a visit to Stepford (SURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Stepford/205/148/24) today.

With that name I instantly had “Stepford Wifes” in my mind, a novel that not only was the basic for two films and a some comedic interpretations, but made it even into common language. And the description didn’t make it better:

“Stepford, the Second Life family paradise, a place that has no crime, no poverty, and no pushing.
The Town of Stepford is a modern-day expression of a gated community.
… ”

Take Second Life out of it and it could be an advertisement of the community described in the book.

Yet the roads where nice. Lots of dead ends, often leading to some better homes but really nice over hills, with corners, nice views and everything. Yet noone was there and erverything looked a bit too clean. I felt quite uncanny.

Stepford, my oh my...

So I actually did not order a coffee… who knows what they mix in it over there…

November 6, 2011

En route

Posted in Second Life at 10:51 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

Now that I have my dreamcar (the 1957) I was in great need of a nice road other than the racetracks.

The community pointed me to the Route 2, a protected route on the mainland, reminding of great RL roads I’ve driven on the French Reviera. Winding its way on the coastline its quite a scenic road

A first stop to take a photo
Mainland Route 2

This was in fact a bridge for pedestrians
Route 2 with the 1957

Nice views all over
Route 2 with the 1957

Later I made a break for an icecream
Route 2 with the 1957

Mainland Route 2

Many lighthouse, too.
This was the actual southeastern end of Route 2

Route 2 with the 1957

I even found a very nice free spot with access to the road and to the sea, which for the first time ever made me think if owning land in Second Life may be an option.

November 4, 2011

Remember, remember, the fifth of November

Posted in Second Life at 10:10 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

Tomorrow is Guy Fawkes Day, the guy who inspired the mask of V (V for Vendetta) which in turn inspired the Anonymous group to use said anonymity of the Guy Fawkes mask – and is the base for the “Occupy” movement.

So just in time I occupied the oval office:
Remember, remember, the fifth of november

I’m part of the 99%. What defines the 99%? We pay more interest then we receive thus almost invisbly loosing it all to the 1%, and it gets faster and faster. The masters of the money, who can create it out of nowhere in the form of giving credits (without a need to have the lent money in the first place) show their power very open since 2007.

I’m part of the 99% even though I was able to own a Ferrari and a Porsche at the same time – not in SL in “RL”.

Theres currently a Guy Fawks exhibition in Second life, if you want to learn more of the roots. Yet Fawks fight had another background.

November 1, 2011

Car crazy

Posted in Second Life at 4:32 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

Since Pro Street Cars had that Halloween Special, where you can buy a car and gift a car the same prize of lower to anyone (including yourself) I made a purchase that I wanted to do for a longtime anyway. Actually I wanted to buy it as a rezzday present for myself, but than I got a bit distracted by my OpenSim.

So see her beauty:
'Vette

And with it I giftet myself a car that otherwise I would never have bought because it is not my style, but it succeded the 1957 as technically best car of Second Life in all meens. Its Pro Street Cars first mesh-car, the TyFoon:

The TyFoon has arrived, too

Actually I used the event to buy a / two cars more. The 2300, a classic roadster I really liked and the Adventure Widebody, that I selected with machinimas in mind (in matte black its an ideal bad guys car 😉 )

So I got from admirer to collector in a pretty quick fashion, leaving my inworld wallet with a deep impact 😉 I think depending on the normal prices, vairiing with the exchange rate, would add up to about 100 Swiss Franks.

My Collection
From the left to the right:
2300
TyFoon
Eleanor
1957
Adventure Wide Body

October 29, 2011

Interlude

Posted in Metaverse, Second Life at 6:00 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

After the presentation of MetaLes current installation by Maddy Gynoid, I visited the sim, and I like to share that moment of joy and beauty

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