I’ve recently had the opportunity – courtesy of Gentle Heron of Virtual Ability – to get to know Besitaa, a student from Turkey who is currently studying at Çağ University.
Whilst a relative newcomer to SL, Besitaa has become well-known to Virtual Ability and Gentle, having helped with events and activities.
Currently, she is engaged on her Master’s Business Administration and Marketing as she notes herself:
I am a graduate student at Çağ University in Turkey currently majoring in Business Administration and Marketing. I am working on my Master’s Thesis. My goal is to write about other Second Life users besides myself to learn more about the metaverse and our future in it.
As a part of this work, Besitaa is looking at Second Life commerce, and specficially the virtual shopping experience associated with the platform, either via in-world shopping or via the Marketplace. To help with this, she has put together a questionnaire for shoppers to complete.
The form take just a few minutes to complete, and no personal data is recorded as a part of the study – only the responses to the questions. So, if you could spare 4-5 minutes and provide replies, you can fill out the form as embedded below, or follow this link to complete it.
Besitaa sends her thanks in advance to all who complete the form, which will remain open for around the next 10 days.
On Thursday, March 3rd, Linden Lab released the Newbrooke theme of Premium Membership Linden homes.
Our concept of a modern container home community is stylish, warm, and inviting, while being nestled in a contemporary setting of rolling hills peppered with small lakes, ponds, and public pools.
All of the Newbrooke regions are offered in both 1024sqm and 512sqm sized parcels. In total, there are 8 stylish house models to choose from, and the smaller 512sqm parcel homes can also be placed on a 1024sqm parcel, giving you a larger outdoor area.
from the announcement on the release
The Newbrooke was first previewed in December 2021 during the Christmas Expo (see: Previewing the Linden Homes “Newbrooke” theme) only to be somewhat quickly withdrawn for “update” following some unfavourable feedback. I’m not sure what the problem was with the theme – whilst somewhat reminiscent of the Meadowbank theme of the original Linden Homes, I personally felt this theme have a good amount going for it.
I’m not entirely sure what has changed with the theme since its preview; from my wandering around I couldn’t see that much that has changed (keeping in mind the preview was just a single region, so hard to judge the overall environment). Certainly, the houses all appear to be the same models – a total of eight styles, split between four designs requiring 1024 sq m parcels and four that can be used on either 512 sq m parcels or on the 1024 sq m parcels:
Styles available for both 512 sq m and 1024 sq m Parcels
Denver: a single-storey rectangular design with a central front entrance directly accessing a large main room with doors to the side aspect covered terrace, and a front hallway accessing two further rooms.
Ender: a two-storey property featuring a large open-plan ground floor with a single bedroom upstairs, together with a large landing that provides access to a balcony at the front of the house.
Faraday: a single-storey house with central front entrance opening onto the main central room with doors to the rear patio. This main room is flanked by two rooms to one side and an open-plan space to the other, which also provides access to a third room.
Gatewood: a two-storey house with front entrance and vestibule opening onto the main room, with a smaller room opening off of it to one side. A staircase leads up to a single bedroom with doors opening onto a large rooftop balcony with views to three sides.
Styles Requiring 1024 sq m Parcels
Bradbury: a single-storey house with a large central main room with multiple doors to the rear aspect accessing the patio and an open plan extension to one side that could be split into a separate room. Two further rooms open off of the other side of the front door for additional space.
Aldridge: a boxy, two-storey house with a patio running the full length of one side and two-thirds of a second side, each side providing access to the main ground floor room together with the front door. The latter accesses the room via an open-plan vestibule that incorporates the stairs and a door to a single ground-floor side room. The L-shaped landing at the top of the stairs provides access to three further rooms.
Coniston: a single-storey unit with front entrance accessing a large central room with four rooms / spaces opening off of it. There is a small room with a view to the front aspect, two rooms with views to one side, one of which has doors to the rear patio – as does the main room. Facing these two rooms from across the main room is an open-plan extension that could be divided into a separate room, if required.
Heaton: a large two-storey house with the front door opening onto the main room with two sets of doors to the rear patio. Dogleg stairs provide access to an upper hall with two rooms opening off of it with views to the rear. A ground floor hall with windows to the front aspect provides access to an open-plan space with a further room opening off of it to the front.
As I noted in my preview piece, whether or not these “container” style homes are somewhat inspired by Meadowbrook or not doesn’t really matter; I personally rate them as light and airy builds in terms of their interiors, with plenty of windows. The floor plans tend to lean towards a more open-plan design with several of the styles, which might a reflection on the popularity of the open-plan variants of some of the previous Linden Home themes that have been released.
One thing I have changed my mind on is that while seeing the houses on the preview region left me feeling as though they would not appeal to me personally, having seen them in situ, I’m very tempted by the idea of grabbing one and having a play with the various styles.
The new theme is located on its own “island” group of regions, located of the west side of the Chalet regions as they have off the southern tip of Satori. This gives the estate room to grow west and north (with some relocating of private regions), leaving the Chalet estate free to progress to the east, should either / both require expansion.
Unlike the Fantasy theme – which marked the theme released prior to Newbrooke, this theme comes complete with its own community centre, rather than having to wait for one to be built. At the time of writing, this sits at the northern end of the new estate, occupying a large island linked to the rest of the estate by a trio of bridges. And, at the risk of giving Patch a reason to growl, the first thing that structure me about this latest community centre is that it appears to be heavily modelled upon (if not outright lifting elements of) the Welcome Islands variant unveiled in 2021.
There is nothing inherently “wrong” in doing this – but I admit that in lading in the community centre, and having visited the Welcome Islands design, I was momentarily spooked by a strange feeling of déjà vu, and half expected Gaius Baltar and Six stroll by discussing the idea that “all this has happened before, all this will happen again” (yes, an obscure sci-fi reference, just to see if you made it this far!) – which, given the faint Meadowbrook vibes to the houses, actually all isn’t that out of place for Newbrooke (and I really do not mean that negatively!).
In fact, if I can grab a Newbrooke 1024 in a location I like, then I likely will make the hop!
The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference will be taking place between March 31st and April 2nd inclusive, and both a call for proposals and a call for volunteers to help run things has been issued.
The core schedule of events for the conference has been officially announced, and highlights include (all at the main auditorium and times SLT, unless otherwise stated):
08:00-08:50: Kick-off event at the VWBPE Gateway.
11:00-11:50 SLT: What’s up at the Lab? with Patch Linden and hosted by Kevin Feenan (Phelan Corrimal), VWBPE Director; Rockcliffe University Consortium.
08:30-08:50 SLT: Keynote address – Randall Sadler, Professor of Computer-Assisted Language Learning Telecollaboration (incl. Virtual Worlds and Virtual Reality
18:00-19050 SLT: Closing ceremony.
This might sound like a brief set of highlights, and direct keynote events are limited this year, but the conference more than makes up for this in the range of presentations, workshops and education-focused Above the Book sessions that are to be held – so be sure to check out the schedule in full.
Call For Volunteers
Volunteers are still being sought to help with the conference. The organisers are looking for people willing to get involved in the following areas:
Those wishing to give of their time should visit the volunteer page and look at the tabs and then click on the volunteer button.
VWBPE is a global grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments which attracts over 2,000 educational professionals from around the world each year, who participate in 150-200 online presentations including theoretical research, application of best practices, virtual world tours, hands-on workshops, discussion panels, machinima presentations, and poster exhibits.
In the context of the conference, a “virtual world” is an on-line community through which users can interact with one another and use and create ideas irrespective of time and space. As such, typical examples include Second Life, OpenSimulator, Unity, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, and so on, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or any virtual environments characterised by an open social presence and in which the direction of the platform’s evolution is manifest in the community.