OnLive extend SL Go’s free trial period to 7 days

SL go logoImportant note: The SL Go service is to be shut down on April 30th, 2015. For more information, please read this report.

On Tuesday June 3rd, OnLive announced that with immediate effect, the trial period of their SL Go service, which provides a full Second Life viewer experience to both computers and android devices, will be extended from 20 minutes to a full seven days for those who sign-up to the service.

The OnLive announcement came via Dennis Harper, OnLive’s Senior Product Manager for SL Go, and reads in full:

OnLive will now be offering new SL Go users a 7-Day Free Trial with sign up for an ‘unlimited access’ subscription package.  A valuable piece of feedback from the Second Life community has been that the 20 minute free trial is not sufficient to get a true experience of SL Go.  Now new users can try SL Go free for an entire week, experiencing Second Life on their Android tablets or seeing how SL Go can render ultra-high graphics even on a lower powered laptop computer.

Impressions of SL Go from the Second Life community have been brilliant so far, and this new 7-day Free Trial will hopefully encourage even more players to check it out.

Dennis Harper
Sr. Product Manager, OnLive

The SL Go service streams Second Life, including the viewer, directly to the user’s system or device. Because all of the processing occurs within the OnLive SL Go servers, and the fact that there is no viewer to install locally, SL Go is an ideal solution for those needing to access Second Life from low-end computers or who wish to access SL from a suitable android tablet while on the move.

SL Go now features a 7-day free trial period for subscribers
SL Go now features a 7-day free trial period for subscribers

Since its introduction in March 2014, the service has proven popular with users, but has also received some criticism – which has been heard and reacted to by OnLive. In April 2014, for example, and a month after launching the service, the company announced a new pricing structure for the service directly in response to user feedback concerning the original pricing system.

The original 20-minute free trial period offered to new subscribers also came in for criticism – more so after the pricing change -, with users feeling that it wasn’t sufficiently long enough for them to gain familiarity with using the service, particularly from a mobile device when using the on-screen UI overlay. Extending the trial period is a direct response to this criticism and should allow users more than enough time to familiarise themselves with the service.

Second Life user Mondy Bristol has produced a video showing SL Go in use on her Nexus 7 (2012).

 

 

 

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Second Annual OpenSim Community Conference announced

2014 banner

On Saturday May 31st, the Overte Foundation and Avacon have announced the Second Annual OpenSimulator Community Conference, with a press release on the announcement being circulated via e-mail on Tuesday June 3rd.

The conference will take place on the OpenSimulator Conference Centre grid on November 8th and 9th, 2014. It will be a celebration of the platform and the large and varied community using it. As such, it will feature two days of talks and presentations across four tracks, keynote speakers, panels and social events.

Anyone who is interested in the OpenSimulator software and the future of the metaverse is invited to attend, as well as OpenSimulator developers, grid administrators, and members of the community who participate on OpenSimulator grids.

The 2013 conference arena
The 2013 conference arena

The four presentation tracks will comprise:

  • Business & Enterprise: sessions will cover a broad range of topics on doing business in and with OpenSimulator. These include grid hosting, third-party development, private entrepreneurs, in-world and enterprise businesses, and also corporations and organizations using the platform for marketing, fundraising, product research, focus groups, etc
  • Content & Community: this track will examine different aspects of content (e.g. large scale immersive art installations, ballet, theatre, performance art, machinima, literary arts, clothing designs, virtual fashions, architecture, music performances and other cultural expressions) and community (e,g, role-playing groups, science fiction communities, virtual towns and interest groups, historical explorations, religious and spiritual communities, book clubs, etc.), within OpenSimulator
  • Developers & Open Source: will encompassing the technical aspects of OpenSimulator, and seeks presentations related to servers, viewers, external components, grid architecture, development, administration, and anything necessary to the installation, operation and use of an OpenSimulator system
  • Research & Education:  seeks presentations regarding the use of OpenSimulator in research applications in computer science, engineering, data visualization, ethnography, psychology, and economics. It will additionally feature sessions that cover a broad range of uses related to teaching and learning in and with OpenSimulator

In addition, the conference will feature  a new Learning Lab area. which will be available for hackerspaces, speed builds, and workshops for hands-on learning experiences guided by experts in the OpenSimulator community.

The Call for Proposals for all four tracks and the Learning Lab is now open, and all proposals should be submitted by July 1st, 2014.

Commenting on the event in the announcement, conference chair and organiser Chris Collins (Feep Tuque in OpenSim) said:

Last year’s conference was a terrific success with over 350 attendees from 45 unique grids and over 1000+ commits to the core code, which made OpenSimulator a much more stable and scalable platform.

This year we hope to build on that success by offering more opportunities for the community to be involved and doing more outreach to attract new users.  With all the hype surrounding the Oculus Rift and other virtual reality technologies, we think this is the perfect time to let the VR community know that OpenSimulator is a great platform for building the open metaverse.

Further information on the conference will be made available in due course – including details of keynote speakers, volunteer registrations, etc. Registrations will open on September 15th, 2014.

Sponsorship and Crowdfunding Campaign

While the conference is being held in virtual space, it does incur some expenses (such as the professionally managed set-up and operation of the conference grid and the streaming and other web services). As such, the organisers are seeking sponsorship from businesses, entrepreneurs,  and community members alike to help support the conference through a range of sponsorship opportunities, which have this year been updated and revised to better meet the needs of sponsors.

In addition, the conference is running a Crowdfunder Campaign to allow those wishing to make smaller donations to do so. Some unique rewards are on offer to those participating in the campaign, the full details of which can be found on the Crowdfunder Campaign page.

About the Organisers

The Overte Foundation is a non-profit organization that manages contribution agreements for the OpenSimulator project.  In the future, it will also act to promote and support both OpenSimulator and the wider open-source 3D virtual environment ecosystem.

AvaCon, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces. We hold conventions and meetings to promote educational and scientific inquiry into these spaces, and to support organized fan activities, including performances, lectures, art, music, machinima, and much more. Our primary goal is to connect and support the diverse communities and practitioners involved in co-creating and using virtual worlds, and to educate the public and our constituents about the emerging ecosystem of technologies broadly known as the metaverse.


Gource visualisation posted by nebadon2025 charting the growth of the OpenSimulator project by code commits from core developers up until the time of the 2013 conference

The Drax Files Radio Hour 21: the image of Second Life

radio-hourI missed reviewing The Drax Files Radio Hour #20 as real life has been keeping me rather busy of late. Hopefully, the transcript of the Creating the VR Metaverse panel at SVVR will go some way to making up for things (and even that was late in getting into print, courtesy of RL!).

Episode #21, the last of the “live” podcast for this series, continues in spirit with the last, the two major interviews – with Voidpointer and Catalyst Linden – having been recorded at the SVVR conference. As usual, and as well as being available on the show’s website and on Stitcher, episode #21 is also on YouTube, and it is to that recording (embedded at the end of this article) any timestamps given in the text refer.

The early part of the show re-visits SVVR and Leap Motion, who are in the process of adding on-screen rigged hands which move in accordance to the user’s hand movements / gestures, and have also creating a prototype cradle which allows the Leap unit to be attached to a Rift headset, allowing it to track hand movements, with the rigged hands appearing on the Rift’s screens.

The recent Designing Worlds show on the new user experience and user retention  – on which Jo appeared – is discussed. Time hasn’t allowed me to watch the show as yet, but it is on my “to-do” list. I confess that I’m always leery of suggestions from users on what “needs” to be done or “should” be done with the whole new user experience. Yes, the Lab hasn’t done particularly well over the last 11 years  – to a point – but that doesn’t actually mean that we, as users necessarily have any clearer idea of what needs to be done / should be done, simply because all too often our own views tend to be somewhat biased to some degree, or we simply fail to take into consideration was has actually been tried in the past and trot out ideas which have been shown to make very little difference in the scheme of things.

Which is not to say that ideas shouldn’t be discussed, but rather a broader forum should perhaps be established, where more in the manner of two-way discussions between Lab and users can take place, ideas more fully synthesised and options looked at.

The new mesh avatars also get a mention, and some of the problems of supplying mesh avatars to new users are highlighted. Leaving aside the valid problems mentioned in the show, What surprised me most about these avatars was that they appeared to have been released prematurely or at least without thorough testing. For example, they were promoted as using fitted mesh, yet the base shape was released as No  Modify, thus nullifying the ability to customise them using the sliders without swapping the shape (something new users are hardly likely to know how to do).

To his credit, Ebbe Altberg took it on the chin when I Tweeted him about this, indicating that it and a number of other issues would be fixed. But really, so basic a mistake shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.

ebbe-avatars

This episode features two interviews with Linden staffers. The first is with Voidpointer Linden, who is well-known to attendees of the Server Beta meetings, which he attends from time-to-time. He has worked on a number of SL projects, including pathfinding, and more recently, the Oculus Rift. The interview commences at the 24:10 mark. Catalyst Linden, the senior director of development at the Lab is interviewed at 37:27 into the recording.

Voidpointer Linden in human form (stock)
Voidpointer Linden in human form (stock)

Both Voidpointer and Catalyst point to themselves as being “gamers”, and both indicate that on first encountering Second Life as gamers, they simply didn’t get it – although they do now.

A major part of them getting it is clearly to do with the fact that they have joined the Lab, and so SL has become their paid job. However, there is also the fact that as former gamers, they are perhaps both well-placed to understand why and how SL’s appeal needs to be broadened in order to attract more users to it.

During his chat, Voidpointer’s comments on the Lab needing to appeal to as broad a span of potential users as possible, even going so far as to acknowledge that the company needs to address those who, like Pamela from segment #8 of The Drax Files Radio Hour, simply do not see virtual worlds or VR as something they need to embrace, because it has no relevance to them.

Attracting a broader audience is also a theme in Catalyst Linden’s comments, and he goes some way further towards demonstrating why the perception that Linden staffers “don’t get” Second Life really is in error. Even as someone who has only been at the Lab for around 12-15 months, it’s clearly evident that Catalyst does get Second Life and its potential appeal as well as any user who has given serious thought on this subject.

Continue reading “The Drax Files Radio Hour 21: the image of Second Life”