On Tuesday, March 24th, 2020, Linden Lab announced they would be accepting a new round of applications from those interested in becoming Skill Gaming Operators and / or Skill Gaming Creators.
While gambling and games of chance that provide a Linden Dollar Token payouts are prohibited in Second Life, skill games that offer Linden Dollar Token payouts are allowed in Second Life, providing they are only available within approved Skill Gaming Regions, and both the creator of such games and the operator of any Skill Gaming region (often, but nor always, one in the same) must also be approved by Linden Lab.
Changes were made to the Second Life Gaming Policy in 2014 to reflect the provisioning of skill games in Second Life and the introduction of the Lab’s Skill Gaming regions, and from time-to-time the Lab has opened its doors to applications from those wishing to become skill game creators and / or operators (the last being at the. The last time this was done was in 2017, when applications remained open for a month.
1) whose outcome is determined by skill and is not contingent, in whole or in material part, upon chance; 2) requires or permits the payment of Linden Dollars to play; 3) provides a payout in Linden Dollars; and 4) is legally authorized by applicable United States and international law.
All Skill Games in Second Life must be created and / or operated by Lab approved Skill Gaming Creators (SGCs) and / or Skill Gaming Operators (SGOs), and must be located within Skill Gaming Regions. The latter must be Full regions, which cannot be located on the Mainland, and cannot be located adjacent to non-Skill Gaming Regions. They have an increased maintenance fee (tier) compared to Full regions.
The Skill Gaming Policy sets out all requirements in full, and should be read, along with the FAQ, by anyone wishing to become a Skill Gaming Operator and / or Creator, or who wishes to access Skill Gaming regions and participate in the games on offer.
On March 21st, and following rumours and conversations on the Sansar Discord server, I reported on Linden Lab having sold Sansar to Wookey Projects Inc (now referred to as Wookey Project Corp). At the time, there was no confirmation from either Linden Lab or Wookey Projects on the matter (although I can note that since that post, I’ve had a brief conversational exchange with Wookey’s interim CEO, and hope to have more in the future).
On Tuesday, March 24th, Linden Lab, in response to assorted enquires issued a press release confirming the sale, which reads in part:
Linden Lab has had some inquiries from the public and media about the current happenings of Sansar. We are very excited to witness the unfolding of Sansar getting a fresh opportunity to thrive under the ownership of Wookey Project Corp., a San Francisco-based technology company that has assumed all operations without any interruption to operations or the Sansar community.
We are proud to have given birth to this amazing platform for creativity and live events, and encourage our community to continue the process of supporting Sansar as it shifts to new ownership. We’ve assembled a quick FAQ to address key inquiries about this transition.
Among other things, the release also makes clear that:
Wookey Project Corp. assumes all operations and management of Sansar, and Linden Lab is no longer involved with the platform.
The deal does not include or affect the ownership, management and operation of either Second Life and Tilia Inc., which continue under Linden Lab’s sole ownership.
However, Tilia Inc., has been contracted by Wookey Projects Corp as a third party service provider to perform certain back office functions for Sansar, including the issuance and redemption of Sansar’s in-game virtual tokens.
Wookey’s aim for Sansar is to “continue to evolve [it] as the premier platform for live events and entertainment including (but not limited to) support for VR, while Second Life is positioned as the Internet’s leading user-created virtual world platform.
Further to the announcement, a familiar face at Sansar – Galileo, the community manager there – issued a Sansar blog post that also provided a further official confirmation, reading in part:
Meet the new Sansar. Recently we were presented with an exciting opportunity: strike out on our own as a new entity, under new management with a focus on premier virtual events. We knew we needed to keep together our team and our vision, and the incredible community we’d built over the years.
Lucky for us, there was a company out there just as ambitious and passionate about virtual events as we were – a team that is nurturing and expanding our platform to new heights, deploying capital and expertise in a time full of opportunities for virtual communities around the globe. This week, we’re thrilled to join their family officially. Join us in saying hello to our new owners, Wookey Project Corp.!
Galileo’s post also makes it clear that Wookey intends to continue building Sansar as a platform, stating:
What does this mean for you? More of the amazing events you know and love! More cosplay karaoke, more zero-gravity game nights, more of the massive interstellar shows that Sansar’s known for – thousands joining from anywhere in the world for one-of-a-kind live performances. You can also expect more features for meeting, socializing and hanging out with friends from around the world. Possibly even more ways to experience Sansar across different devices (more on this in weeks to come!). Nothing will change in your day-to-day.
In these challenging times, we know just how important it is to stay connected. That’s why we’ll be working hard these next few weeks to bring people together with new shows and surprises. Meet-and-greets and live performances from some of music’s biggest names. Virtual versions of the festivals you thought were cancelled or postponed. It’ll be the most fun you ever had staying home!
I recommend both the press release and Galileo’s post for further information, and I will likely resume coverage of Sansar in these pages in the near future.
Update: Sheri Bryant (formerly Linden Lab’s General Manager for Sansar) and Julia Munck (formerly VP of Product for Sansar) both appear to have departed Linden Lab in the course of the last week. Whether they have moved across to join Wookey or not has not been confirmed – but such a move would appear to make sense for both Sheri and Julia and for Wookey Project Corp.
I was pleased to learn that The Babel, the “sounds lab” created by the musical partnership of pianist Arabesque Choche and vocalist Juliet Heberle, finally re-opened to the public on March 21st, 2020.
Originally conceived by the duo in 2009, The Babel was a fascinating interactive setting whilst available through until 2013, when it was closed and removed from the grid. More recently, and as I found myself reporting in May 2019, it looked as if all of the couple’s regions looked set for closure, the couple believing the builds had run their course. Fortunately, they were encouraged to reconsider their decision, and in October 2019, it was announced that the Chouchou regions would be remaining in SL under the auspices of the Second Life Region Preservation Society (SLRPS) – with the promise that The Babel would also be returning (see: Chouchou set to remain in Second Life – and there’s more).
Well, it took a while to fully open but The Babel made its official public re-engagement on March 21st, 2020, and I took time out to jump over and visit after a somewhat hectic weekend, and am pleased to say that it remains an engaging visit for the musically minded.
To call The Babel a place would be a mistake; it is an experience, a musical construct comprising boxes, elements and levels, which may at first glance appear completely random – but there is order. Each box is a sound – a note or chord – which is played when touched. Some will play once when touched, others work on a toggle – they will play until touched again. These boxes are in turn grouped into elements, or collections of notes / chords / voices. By touching (and re-touching) the boxes around you, it is possible to create tonal harmonies and even “compose” your own pieces, although it takes a combination of practice and a quick eye / hand. Climb the stairs to play the upper levels, and you’ll find some of the steps also play notes, adding to the complexity.
If all this sounds confusing, Chouchou produced an introductory video to the build back in 2009, which once again has relevance.
Two books on the elements and boxes can be found at the foot of the spiralling stairs, but given the ambient lighting, these can be hard to read.
Climbing to the top of the stairs will take you in a room with piano notes and chords set out in two grids around a series of Julia’s voices, which some may find easier to “play”.
As conceptual now as it was in 2009 (or 2012, when I first visited it!) The Babel makes and interesting return to Second Life and once more rounds-out the trio of Chouchou regions in-world.