Happy 2013 to all!

All the best for 2013!

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.

Linden Lab’s Dio and Versu websites appear

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.
LL logoLinden 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.

The Versu website placeholder from Linden Research, December 2012
The Versu website placeholder from Linden Research, December 2012

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.”

The new Dio website homepage (click to enlarge)
The new Dio website homepage (click to enlarge)

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.

One of the options ("albums"?) within the Dio website
One of the options (“albums”?) within the Dio website

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.

Related Links

2012: a year in review Part 2

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.



Viewer release summary 2012: week 52

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:
      • Release version rolled to on December 18 – release notes
      • Beta version rolled to on December 20 – release notes
      • Development rolled to on December 28
      • Development version of the CHUI project viewer rolled to on December 27
  • Dolphin rolled to 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
    • Legacy version Legacy (v2.6 renderer) rolled to
    • Experimental version rolled to
    • 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.

Related Links