With a familiar welcome from Torley Linden, the first segment of the eagerly awaited The Drax Files Radio Hour is now available for all to “tune-in” to.
The inaugural “broadcast”, transmitted from “an attic deep within the Berlin 1920s project”, covers a lot of ground: the ToS debate, an Oculus Rift update, Lily Allen’s confusion over L$ and Bitcoins and her regret at not having undertaken a gig in SL, the NSA and virtual worlds / games, fitted mesh – and more.
Hosted by Draxtor Despres and Jo Yardley. The Drax Files is aimed at being a community show, driven by the community, for the community while looking at virtual environments from all sides, and input from SL users has been encouraged right from the start.
Given Jo’s enthusiasm for the Rift, it comes as no surprise that it features large in the broadcast – coupled with the news that the Oculus Team have been working on a new variant with head tracking capabilities and a low latency screen and which was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
I’ve followed the Rift development for SL from a distance, both through what has been revealed by the Lab concerning their work at integrating it, and via Dave Rowe (Strachan Ofarrel in SL), who has been developing a version of his CtrlAltStudio viewer for use with the Rift quite independently of the Lab (Dave will also be a guest on an upcoming segment of TDFRH).
If I’m honest, I’m not altogether convinced that the Rift will be quite the “game changer” within Second Life some have been predicting – which is not to say I don’t think there will be applications in-world where the Rift will be put to very exceptional use. I just don’t quite see Rift-driven experiences becoming “the norm” in terms of how people engage with Second Life on a daily basis. What comes after the Rift, however (and indeed, Second life), may well be an entirely different story.
In this, I also tend to agree with ex Battery Street staffer Babbage Linden, as expressed by Drax during the show: I’m somewhat dubious about the Rift achieving the levels of “everyday” mainstream use some picture for it. This doesn’t – just to be clear – mean I think people won’t find uses for it outside of games and the like; rather, it’s that I think the uses that are found for the Rift will themselves be somewhat niche and not as all-encompassing as is being imagined in some quarters. That said, I’m looking forward to hearing Dave talk some more about his work with the headset, and seeing what does emerge from the Lab even if I don’t have an Oculus Rift myself.
Having been entirely missed by all of us (myself included) when first released in August 2013, the last set of changes to the Lab’s Terms of Service have gone on to cause a considerable amount of upset and controversy – some of which was not helped by people getting hold of the wrong end of the stick.
This latter point perhaps most clearly demonstrated by Jo’s reference in the podcast to her situation with using third-party textures, and her conviction that it is down to the Lab to convince those third-party texture providers that they should allow their textures to be uploaded to SL once more. However, as attorney Agenda Faromet has commented, there is nothing changed in the updated ToS which drastically affects the texture suppliers concerned, or which should have caused them to react as they did – and so that actually isn’t, in fairness, the Lab’s problem to “fix”.