Wishing everyone all the very best for 2013. Thank you for taking the time to come read this blog, give feedback and comments, and for all your retweets, replurks, loves and support throughout 2012. It’s has been and is, deeply appreciated.
Update, February 19th, 2014: dio and Versu were discontinued by Linden Lab on February 19th, 2014. Links to their websites, etc have therefore been removed from this article.
Update January 1st, 2013: I finally took a proper look through the Versu FAQ and have provided further information in a new report.
Linden Lab have slipped out the initial cuts of the Dio and Versu websites. Currently, there is nothing on the corporate website relating to the latest items in the new product line-up from the Lab, although Dio caused a stir early in 2012 when a nascent website bearing the name was accidentally made public.
Neither of the new websites give much away – Versu in particular is rather bland, but both point to the new products potentially approaching a point where they’ll be launched in the near future.
Versu will be the first product to emerge from the Lab directly as a result of their acquisition of LitleText People, also early in 2012, and has previously been described by Rod Humble in a Techcrunch article as, “Procedural interactive storytelling. Basically you set the motives and the behaviors of the individual characters and the plot gets generated as you go, and each time it’s different.”
Techcrunch themselves interpret this as meaning, “The idea here is to tap into collaborative storytelling, something that’s been gaining in popularity in online spheres, as evidenced by the traction social writing startup Wattpad has seen. But with Versu, Linden Lab adds a gaming element to interactive storytelling that essentially allows players to create their own characters which then write themselves. It seems like a smart way to capitalize on the observer tendency that’s turned Second Life players into story watchers.”
The new website, as shown above, currently gives little away, however, this is liable to change as the release / beta / however LL opt to launch, draws closer.
The new Dio website, by contrast, has more in the way of content. This is unsurprising, as it appears that Dio is actually the next product on the runway to follow-on from the launches of Patterns and Creatorverse. However, whether the content is genuine or simply placeholders for testing purposes is unclear, at least to me, as I’m not a Facebook user – and Facebook is required to log-in to the site (if log-ins are indeed open).
Again, in talking to Techcrunch in November, Humble described Dio as, “A web experience called Dio that’s really hard to explain, which I like. It’s sort of like Second Life without the graphics, or Facebook but trying to be more of a creative space.” He goes on, “So it’s a web experience and you create your space, but within the spaces, everyone has their own avatar and avatars carry inventory. The way you navigate from space to space is via doors, and you can make things like a MUSH [multi-user shared hack] or hobby space very easily.”
As noted above, logging-in to the Dio website requires a Facebook account, and even the “request an invite” button leads to the Facebook log-in page. Whether the latter is intentional or not is currently unclear; however, limiting log-in to Facebook may limit Dio’s appeal to SL users, but would obviously open it out to the entire Facebook community, potentially raising its visibility.
Clicking on any of the options on the home page is possible, but again, little is given away as to what they do, or to provide more insight into the site than Humble’s description to Techcrunch.
Some of these options allow you to drill down further, but overall, it is currently hard to see how things link together and how “avatars” and “carrying inventory” fit within the scheme of things. Options then range from games through what appear to be tour guides, to business portfolios, to collaborative projects, discussion groups and personal photo albums, making Dio something of a melting pot of ideas and potential uses.
For those interested / curious about the directions LL is taking vis-a-vis new products, then these two websites are potentially to the two to watch as 2013 unfolds, even if right now, they raise more questions than they answer.
It’s that time of year again, the closure of 12 months of ups and downs, ins and outs and numerous other goings-on in the so-called metaverse and the galaxy therein with call Second Life. As with previous years, that means it’s time for me to take a look back over the last 12 months as seen through the pages of this blog.
You can read Part 1: January through June, here.
- July kicked-off with initial news on the main Relay for Life SL weekend starting to emerge
- I gave a personal look back on SL9B
- Crap Mariner announced the 100 Word Story Challenge for RFL SL
- Following more silliness on Twitter, I offered-up the lyrics for “One Night in SL” (With apologies to Murray Head!)
- LL got cheeky and asked for feedback on SL9B
- Lumiya added OpenSim support
- my.secondlife.com went borky
- AvaCon announced they would not be organising SLCC 2012 after agreement could not be reached with LL
- Rocky Constantine caught sight of another Lab-related faux-pas when the name of another new product popped up unexpectedly
- The Lab moved to further simplify age verification for SL
- With two possible mesh clothing deformation systems out there, I looked at the options
- Mid-month, RFL-SL kicked off the main weekend
- Pathfinding roll-out on the Magnum RC channel, and the advanced creation tools were redeployed to an RC channel after the June issues
- I looked in more detail at the Shining Project, the HTTP library project viewer for which arrived at the end of the month
- It looked like a fix for the snapshot tiling issue was on the way
- Away from SL, I popped back into Cloud Party as land rentals started; Kitely restructured their
- payment system; Sally Ride passed away
- LL confirmed the arrival of the “first set” of advanced creation tools grid-wide
- Former CFO and interim CEO Bob Komin departed LL after speculation about his future, when Tateru Nino confirmed he had left the hallowed halls of Battery Street
- I caught up with the state of the Marketplace and the fact that Direct Delivery migration had been pushed back from August to October
- Birdland, the premier nightclub / lounge in SL made a triumphant return
- I previewed the forthcoming arrival of the Mars Science Laboratory on Mars, and the actual EDL phase of the mission at the start of a new ongoing series of reports
- Toysoldier Thor proposed a radical and innovative solution to the age-old headaches of state / outdated Landmarks with his Virtual Landmarks idea
- In lieu of (then) cohesive documentation from LL, I provided a detailed look at pathfinding, including available resources and a little later in the month, had a little play with pathfinding inside buildings
- After much confusion concerning the impact of pathfinding on region performance, Lorca Linden spoke up on the matter
- After a long wait, Exodus updated; and a little later in the month, Lumiya got a facelift
- The first major details of Burn2 appeared
- After efforts elsewhere, I contemplated the idea of a better build floater
- It was confirmed that, following a proposal by members of the Exodus viewer team, normal and specular maps would be coming to SL, and would work with mesh, sculpts and prims – but not with the avatar mesh or system layer clothing, as I explained in an in-depth look later in the month
- After some TPV developers poked into the viewer code, Linden Lab confirmed that the viewer will be made available via the Steam service for games; shortly after this, some of the changes necessary for the Steam link-up appeared in the SL development viewer; later in the month I speculated on the Steam link-up, which was getting some negative responses from the SL community
- Dolphin viewer became the first TPV to announce it would be ceasing OpenSim support once a sub-licence arrangement has been reached with LL for accessing the Havok libraries; Firestorm had already confirmed OpenSim support will continue in a fork of the viewer
- I hit 1,000 posts with WordPress …
- The Phoenix / Firestorm team launched their own Support / SL orientation island
- I offered some thoughts on Premium membership of SL for those considering the jump
- LL sought to improve support for users on TPVs
- I closed the month with a look at two of the HTTP library projects: texture fetch and Group Services
- Away from SL: Kitely announced support for “big worlds”; and Neil Armstrong passed away.
This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:
- It is based on my Viewer Round-up Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware) and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy
- By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
- The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information as the week progresses
- The Viewer Round-up Page also includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
Updates for the week ending: 30 December, 2012
- SL Viewer updates:
- Dolphin rolled to 184.108.40.206933 on December 27 – core updates: code base updated to match latest from LL; new right-click avatar context menu option to take a calling card from an avatar near (adopted from the Starlight skin by Hitomi Tiponi); RLV updated to 2.8.4; bug fix to correctly blurred textures – release notes
- Niran’s Viewer released version 2.0.6 on December 27 – core updates: revisions to the login screen; ability to disable Fullbright in your world view; motion blurring; updated Space Reflections vode from Tofu Buzzard – release notes
- Cool VL updates – three versions for the time being, all updated on December 29:
- Stable version rolled to 220.127.116.11
- Legacy version Legacy (v2.6 renderer) rolled to 18.104.22.168
- Experimental version rolled to 22.214.171.124
- Release notes
- Phoenix officially reaches end-of-line on December 31st – read more here
- Libretto – removed from round-up page due to website being unavailable and client removed from the SL Third-party Viewer Directory.
I celebrated six years of continuous presence in Second Life in November 2012. To mark the event, I started to put together a little video – but have only just got round to finishing it this last week. It’s probably best viewed within this page, as my limited image resolution (1440×900) doesn’t scale very well after being processed by the video editing software, and not all the places I wanted to remember in the video are still available / open for me to go back to and image at a much higher resolution.
Anyway, it’s a small celebration and I hope you like it.
Update: Following advice from a friend on YouTube, I’ve tweaked things slightly, and uploaded a video based on adjusted rendering settings. Hopefully, it should be a little better, quality-wise.
Dark Moon, a Homestead region owned by Nepherses Amat, is both enchanting and something of a mystery – and well deserving of your time to explore.
The theme of the region is prone to change over time – Nepherses has no fewer than nine images of the region in its various forms, covering her time of occupancy from 2009 through to today – and each iteration brings something new and unusual to see and share.
You’ll need to set aside time when visiting, as there is much to see here, both above and below ground. The region is a fabulous mix of caves, tunnels and hidden comforts as well as a rich garden of flowers and trees and the home of a carnival and circus.
Your journey through and around the region starts at the main teleport point, and the entrance to the caves. You may want to dress appropriately, as it is a little wet ;-). While you can opt to skip the caves entirely and hop up above to the gardens (if you cheat and use fly override, that is), doing so would be a mistake, as the caves themselves are an adventure of discovery – and invite the imagination to make up adventures as you investigate them.
Wandering through the tunnels, it’s hard not to picture yourself in an Indiana Jones-esque adventure, seeking a lost treasure; or perhaps you’re involved in some great spy mystery, exploring the hidden lair of your arch-nemesis. Whatever your mood of adventure, you’ll come across many strange delights as you explore – places to dance with a loved one or sit and chat with a companion, an unlikely study complete with bookcases and deep, comfortable armchairs, works of art and more, all carefully placed to guide you along your way.
Some routes will lead you out of the caves at ground level (or near to it), offering you the chance to explore the waterfront, crossing over bridges and perhaps taking a rest amidst a small ruin. But (at least so far as I can tell), only one route will lead you up to the gardens topside, and that you’ll have to seek out for yourself, no clues here! Just be prepared for a bit of a physical climb…!
Colour is used to great effect throughout Dark Moon, and you’ll need to be running in deferred mode in order to fully appreciate it, especially when underground. Even up in the garden, once you reach it, things are best seen with lighting and shadows active to really see the care with which the region has been developed.
If the caves are a blend of adventure and discovery, then the garden above them is a mix of fantasy, colour and mystery with a splash of surrealism. Under a lowering sky – perfect for the region, so make sure you accept the windlight settings if prompted – sits a rich sea of colourful flowers and blossom-filled trees admidst which sits a carnival / circus, complete with big top and posing elephants. To reach them, you walk under carved arches around which thick vines curl, both the arches and vines creating an almost elven feel to the path beneath them.
Here sits a Ferris wheel, reached by climbing stone stairs and available to ride, standing like some kind of sentinel above the surrounding garden and the sea beyond. From it you can see the carousel, also waiting to be ridden, while between the two sits the tall form of the big top. Here, in the dimness of the tent you can dance amidst Meeroos and watched over by elephants, or make yourself a part of the Greatest Show on Earth.
It is around the big top and carousel that new stories suggest themselves and add to the mystery of the place. The ticket master as the carousel may well where clown’s paint, but not all clowns are funny, while inside the big top things seem a little run-down, as if better days have come and gone. Or perhaps it is just the artistry of the selected windlight and the overly bright eyes of the Meeroos giving wing to my imagination.
But that is what makes Dark Moon so appealing; the very fact that it does stir the imagination so and prompt one to create stories as one explores. And for those who choose to visit the region with a close friend or lover, Dark Moon is equally appealing, with the aforementioned places to dance, rides to share and nooks and places to while away the hours.
If you love exploring Second Life and/or enjoy SL photography, or simply like to find new places where you can sit for a time on your own or with a friend, then I cannot recommend Dark Moon highly enough. It is a magical garden of delight atop meandering caves of wonder. Altogether a superb visit – just please do respect the privacy of the house up in the gardens, and don’t forget the donations sign down at the main teleport point!