Patterns moves to Steam’s Early Access platform

LL logoUpdate, October 9th, 2014: Linden Lab announced that development work on Patterns has been discontinued.

Patterns, Linden Lab’s sandbox building game available for Windows and the Mac, which launched on October 2012 utilising Steam as the initial download mechanism before becoming directly available via the Lab’s own Patterns website, has now moved to the Steam Early Access platform.

Launched on March 21st, Early Access allows users to play games that are currently in development. It initially kicked-off with a total of twelve titles in various stages of development, and which users can purchase and play. In return, developers gain access to community feedback, players can play games in alpha or beta stages, and Steam gets to remain the one-stop shop for digital downloads.

As such, Patterns – which remains in its Genesis Release phase and at the Genesis price of £6.99 ($9.99) – is an ideal candidate for the new Steam service, as it brings the game to the attention of a much wider audience than has perhaps been available to it until now.

Patterns now available as a part of Steam's Early Access platform
Patterns now available as a part of Steam’s Early Access platform

Coming alongside the move, the Patterns Community page on Steam has also been updated with news on the move, commenting in part:

We first launched Patterns as a ‘genesis release’ in October 2012, and we are now happy to make it available to everyone on Steam as part of the Early Access program. We are still very early in the game’s development, but have already made many updates. If you’re interested in seeing how Patterns has grown and improved so far, check out our update history in the News section.

As genesis release users, your feedback will help shape Pattern’s evolution. Please keep the comments, screenshots, videos and your thoughts coming! Know that we are reading and paying attention to your feedback, even if we are not able to respond to every post with a comment.

Since its initial launch, Patterns have continued to be enhanced, with both bug fixes and new features being regularly added to the game – many of the latter in direct response to ideas and input from Genesis users. These new features include additional worlds, more substances for building, more formations, some with new – such a slide, bounce and fly.

More enhancements and capabilities – again, some of which have been user-requested – are due in the future, including a multi-player mode, the ability to build personalised worlds and shared them with other users,

The caption says it all (courtesy Linden Lab)
The caption says it all (courtesy Linden Lab)

Of all the new products launched to date by Linden Lab, Patterns is the one which potentially has the most visible traction  – the Steam / Genesis user community is active, the community pages contain a good mix of discussion, ideas and Q&A, and the game appears to have picked-up a good level of support and enthusiasm from non-SL users – something which could bode well now it is effectively available on a more widespread basis within the Steam community.

Related Links

With thanks to Daniel Voyager

SL10BCC: The last and next ten: celebrating a decade of Second Life


While it may seem hard to believe, 2013 marks ten years since Second Life first opened its doors fully to the public. While SL has been around a little longer than a decade when you take into account the closed beta programme of 2002/03 and, even before that, Linden World, 2013 is nevertheless an important milestone in the platform’s history.

That’s why the organisers of this year’s Community Celebration have chosen to celebration SL’s “tenth birthday” with the theme Looking forward, looking back.

But what does that mean? Well, as mentioned above, SL has been around a long time. Some of those who were there right back at the start – as long ago as 2002 – are still here. People like Dr. Fran Babcock, who is already recalling those very early days, when Second Life was just 16 regions, and taking a look at them as they appear today. Many more of us will no doubt recall 2003 or the magical boom period of 2006 / 07, when Second Life was the media darling of the world.

Looking back: the birth of Second Life – Linden World – with video footage by Andrew Linden, who is still with the Lab today

And that’s what Looking back is all about: looking back over our involvement in Second Life and celebrating what it was that drew us here and what has, over the months and years, kept us engaged in-world since taking those first few hesitant avatar steps. Whether we’ve been involved with the platform for six months or six years, it is an opportunity to celebrate our time with Second Life: what we enjoy in-world, the communities and clubs we’re a part of, the things we love to do in-world and how Second Life has been a part of our lives as it has grown from a mrer 50-or-so regions in June 2003 to the digital world it has become today. Ten years is also a long time for

Second Life as it appeared on opening the doors to the public in June 2003
Second Life as it appeared on opening the doors to the public in June 2003

The Community Celebration theme is designed to be a launchpad for ideas and opportunities in which we can all express how we personally regard Second Life and what it means to us, and the hope it that it will lead to many fascinating builds and displays which reflect our memories of times past and our enjoyment with, and enthusiasm for, the platform.

At the same time, the looking forward part of the theme give all of us, no matter how long we’ve been involved in the platform the chance to consider what Second Life might grow into or give rise to in the course of the next ten years. Right now, we’ve only scratched the surface of what immersive 2D worlds might bring by way of entertainment and practical use.

Just what will Second Life look like in 2023? What might it have given rise to a decade from now? Will it be purely immersive, or will it be augmentive – or a mix of the two? How might immersive 3D works better entertain us and how will 3D environments augment our everyday lives at home and  / or at work? Let your imagination run free and bring your vision of the future of SL and virtual worlds to SL10B, and let us see where you think we’re headed in the years to come.

Bruce Branit’s moving glimpse of a possible immersive 3D world of the future (2009).

Applications for Exhibitor space on the Community Celebration regions will open on April 15th. So why not use the time between now and then to mull over ideas and seek inspiration – perhaps by visiting some of the earliest locations and builds in-world or for peeking into the future of Second Life and virtual worlds – and then apply to be a part of SL’s tenth anniversary?

Related Links

Dipping back into dio

dio-logoUpdate, February 19th, 2014: dio was discontinued by Linden Lab on February 19th, 2014. Links to the dio website, etc, have therefore been removed from this article.

dio, Linden Lab’s browser-based “social experience” reaches two months of age this week. Whether this will be accompanied by any updates remains to be seen. So far, there appears to have been only one significant update to the application, which appeared at the end of February, a month after the original launch. As I’ve not really commented on dio for a while, I thought I’d take time out and have a poke at some of the updated features.

The Updates

“Live Chat” / Comments

When browsing dio Places, perhaps the most obvious update is that Comments have now been expanded to include Places as well a rooms. I’ve previously been critical of the idea that dio presents “persistent live chat” when in fact the “chat” element is more of a basic message board service, limited by the fact it only applies to rooms – so any conversations which might occur in real-time can ge abruptly interrupted as one person shifts to another room without warning.

The dio product team have addressed this by adding a new tab to the Comments panel. Entitled “Place”, it does exactly what it says on the label – allows comments to be made about a Place, rather than a room, and to be accessible from any room visited within the Place.

The old dio Comments panel (main picture) and the new, tabbed approach for commenting on rooms and Places (inset)
The old dio Comments panel (main picture) and the new, tabbed approach for commenting on rooms and Places (inset)

New Editing Buttons

The updates also bring a set of new on-screen editing buttons what are immediately available at the top of a page on creating a room. These provide easy insertion / creation of:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Inventory objects
  • Exits to other rooms

All of these work on the same principles as the initial release of dio, although the editing screens for the options have been revised somewhat (see below).

The new buttons options displayed at the top of each room when in edit mode, allowing object, etc., to be added directly to the room.
The new buttons options displayed at the top of each room when in edit mode, allowing object, etc., to be added directly to the room.

Additionally, a new option is provided – that of Text, which opens a simple text editor which can be used to generate simple blog-style entries for a room. Currently, there is no means of formatting text, so how useful this option might be remains to be seen. Once created, text objects appear in the In This Room panel along with all other types of object. Text objects can also been assigned Actions as well, which offers interesting options with their use; for example, in an adventure game Place, a text object could be set as a map with both explanatory text (or perhaps a riddle as to what it means), which can be taken by others. They then have the choice of both looking at the map and reading the associated explanation / riddle.

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