SL11B Community Celebrations: patience, young applicant!

Applications for the SL11B Community Celebration closed on Tuesday 20th May 2014 – and it seems that many of you are eager to hear back on you applications – which is great!

However, please, please bear in mind that in all, the organising team have received over 1,000 applications, including:

  • 426 exhibitor applications
  • 440 performer applications
  • Over 300 volunteer applications.

Obviously, the volume of applications means that it is going to take time to sort through everything and, in particular, figure out how to get 426 exhibitors and 440 performers into 243 plots and 3 stages.

A few peeks at the DJ Stages, still in development (by Vivena Resident)

While priority is being given to exhibitor applications, do keep in mind that exhibition parcels don’t actually open for building until noon SLT on Friday May 30th, so please give the organising team a little more time to work through the applications, assess them, and get acceptances out. Someone will get back to you as soon as they are in a position to do so, and ahead of the start of the building window.

Once you do hear back on your application, again, please be patient! Read and follow the procedure in your acceptance email and please don’t IM the group before May 30 asking to be let in to the SL11B community Celebration regions; it won’t happen.

Also, the team would like to point out that water plots are extremely limited this year and so will be going to exhibitors that really need them. If all you need is shallow water or part water, then your needs may well be met through the use of a land plot. The team ask for your understanding with this, and offer their apologies in advance to anyone requesting a water plot but who does not get one.

If you’ve applied to be a volunteer or performer – don’t worry, you’ll not be forgotten, either. Replies just might take a little longer to organise, and the team will be posting dates on which  performers can expect to hear from them in a while.

In the mean time, here’s the updated timeline for the celebration:

  • Friday, May 30th, noon: Sims open for builders
  • Wednesday, June 15th, noon: Sims close to builders
  • Saturday, June 21st, noon: Press day
  • Sunday, June 22nd, noon SLT: SL11BCC opens!
  • Monday, June 23rd: Second Life’s Official 11th Birthday!
  • Sunday, June 29th: final day of celebrations
  • Monday, June 30th to Saturday, July 5th: Sims will remain open for viewing. No performances.
  • Sunday, July 6th to Tuesday, July 8th: Breakdown
  • Wednesday, July 9th: Sims go offline

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Oculus VR sued over alleged “misappropriated trade secrets”

On the day Linden Lab announced the arrival of the Oculus Rift capable project viewer, news also came that ZeniMax Media has pulled the trigger on a lawsuit against Oculus VR and company founder Palmer Luckey alleging, among other things, the misappropriation of trade secrets by Oculus VR.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas has been widely reported in the on-line tech media, makes some heavy reading. As well as the claim of misappropriation of trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, the Maryland-based company also alleges infringement of ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks and asserts claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition against the defendants.

The move is the latest in a war of words which initially erupted in the form of public correspondence between ZeniMax and  Oculus VR – who obviously strenuously deny all claims made by ZeniMax. The latter first informed Engadget of their intentions at the start of May, 2014, and in which they specifically pointed at John Carmack’s involvement in the development of Oculus Rift at a time when he was working for ZeniMax subsidiary id Software, as well as pointing to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) signed by Palmer Luckey in 2012, relating to the use of ZeniMax technology.

Oculus Rift: ZeniMax lawsuit specifically related to the early development of the headset, alleged use of their technology, possible IP infringements and breach of contract (image courtesy of BGR.com)

Cormack himself took to Twitter in an immediate rebuttal of the ZeniMax allegations, noting that while he recognises that any code he wrote while under ZeniMax’s employment is clearly theirs, at the same time the company never once patented any ideas arising from his work – placing the burden of proof on ZeniMax to demonstrate trade secrets / IP has been misappropriated where no patents exist.

John Carmack, Oculus VR’s CTO used Twitter in an immediate rebuttal of ZeniMax’s claims at the start of the month.

With the claims following on the heel of Facebook acquiring Oculus VR, the latter also commented on the ZeniMax allegations, framing them in terms of the Faceback acquisition, stating:

It’s unfortunate, but when there’s this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims. We intend to vigorously defend Oculus and its investors to the fullest extent.

Daniel Nye Griffiths, writing for Forbes Online provides a solid examination of the initial claims made by ZeniMax and the response by Oculus VR,  which although somewhat superseded by the lawsuit’s filing, help frame the two companies respective positions. In their response to the claims by ZeniMax, and without using the actual words, Oculus VR pretty much demanded ZeniMax to put up or shut up.

Continue reading “Oculus VR sued over alleged “misappropriated trade secrets””

May 22nd Scheduled SL maintenance and log-in freeze postponed

The scheduled maintenance planned for Thursday May 22nd, which would have seen Second life logs-in suspended for about an hour from 07:00 SLT onwards, has been postponed.

The announcement was made as an update to the original Grid Status page maintenance announcement, and reads in full:

[Updated 10:46 AM PDT, 21 May 2014] The maintenance originally scheduled for tomorrow, 22 May at 7am has been postponed.  We’ll post a new scheduled date as soon as possible.

Readers are advised to keep an eye on the Grid Status pages for further updates.

Lab releases Oculus Rift project viewer

secondlifeOn Wednesday May 21st, Linden Lab publicly released the Oculus Rift project viewer. Version 3.7.8.289834 of the viewer offers initial support for Oculus Rift, and is focused on getting started with the Oculus Headset (which has yet to be commercially released, although there are currently some 75,000 SDK 1 models in the world, and shipping will commence soon on the updated SDK 2 version).

For Windows, Oculus Rift requires Windows Vista or later, and with Mac OS X, version 10.7 or later is required.

The blog post announcing the release reads in part:

The early beta testers of our integration have provided some valuable feedback, identifying bugs as well as providing suggestions for additional features and options that would improve the experience of using the Oculus Rift with Second Life. Today we’re pleased to announce that our Oculus Rift integration is now available as a Project Viewer, the first step toward becoming a part of the default Second Life Viewer.

Like our initial beta release, this Project Viewer is more about making it easy to get started using the Oculus Rift to view Second Life than it is about optimizing the UI for headset users. We’ve made some minor adjustments to the regular Second Life UI in order to present it in head-mounted display (HMD) mode, but the UI headset users will experience with this project Viewer is still essentially the same as you’d see without an Oculus Rift.

A new Toolbar button makes toggling the Oculus Rift on / off easy
A new Toolbar button makes toggling the Oculus Rift on / off easy

Features in the viewer include:

  • Full Oculus Rift Hardware Support – includes automatic hardware detection and display calibration for quick and easy setup
  • HMD Mode – activated via Me > Display Select or via CTRL-SHIFT-D / CMD-SHIFT-D or via the HMD Mode toolbar button. This command also allows one to display the stereo rendering output intended for the Oculus Rift on their primary display
  • HMD configuration via Preferences > Move and View > click the HMD calibration button
Display A new Preferences pop-up provides additional display configuration options
Display A new Preferences pop-up provides additional display configuration options
  • Full UI Support – users can access the entire Second Life UI and HUDs while in Oculus Rift mode, so there are no limitations on what a user can do in-world while using the headset
  • Avatar Head Motion – Oculus Rift head-tracking data is mapped to the avatar, so users’ avatars look where they do
  • “Align to Look” [Q]  –  allows users to quickly start moving the direction they are looking
  • New First-Person View – allows users to enjoy the immersion previously available with Mouselook mode, but allows the mouse to be used to control the cursor, allowing for interaction with the UI and objects in-world
  • Action Key – [“X”] It is now possible to activate action items (i.e. Opening Doors) from Mouselook mode. Aim the crosshairs at the item you’d like to activate, and press the “X” key. In First-Person mode, the Action Key [“X”] will have the same functionality as clicking the mouse button in Mouselook mode (i.e. it will “trigger” guns or other held items).

To display the viewer with the best results, Linden Lab recommend that the Oculus Rift is configured as an Extended Desktop in Windows (do not Duplicate Displays), and that Mirroring Mode (Settings > Displays) is enabled on Mac OS X.

There are some known issues with the viewer, as noted in the release notes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Alt+Tabbing out of the viewer confuses the Rift – RIFT-22
  • Build Tool’s Translation plane is opaque – RIFT-4
  • File Browsers cannot function in HMD mode – RIFT-20
  • Snapshots disabled while in HMD mode because:
  • HUD and UI elements always drawn in snapshots –RIFT-30
  • Save to my Computer adds a blank screen between refreshes when trying to take snapshots – RIFT-31
  • Toggling HMD mode sets the focus wrong and you have to click in world before doing anything else, on Macs – RIFT-110

There are also known limitations with the Action Key [“X”] – please refer to the release notes for a list of known issues and to JIRA raised under the RIFT project.

To go with the project viewer launch, the Lab has also created a new Oculus category in the Destination Guide, which is intended to list “places that are particularly compelling with the Oculus Rift.

The blog post includes an introductory video, embedded below. Please note, this video refers to downloading the release version of the SL viewer – this is incorrect. The Oculus Rift capabilities are only available via the Oculus Rift project viewer, which is correctly linked-to in the blog post.

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