June 2022 will see Second Life celebrate it’s 19th anniversary of opening to public access, and this year’s Second Life Birthday will run from Thursday, June 16th, with the Birthday regions open through until Tuesday, July 5th, and the main celebration events taking place from June 16th through to Sunday, June 26th, 2022. The theme this year is Steampunk.
On Thursday, March 31st, 2022, the Lab opened applications for exhibitor and volunteers. In calling for exhibitors the Lab notes:
Your exhibit does not need to stay in theme. If you are inspired by the thought of the hidden worlds around you, show us! Or, share your Second Life passions with us. Your interests. Your communities. Your worlds! Every year we celebrate because of you, the amazing and creative Residents, who have chosen to call Second Life home. What has drawn you into this world and what keeps you here? This year at the nineteenth annual Second Life Birthday, show us what fuels your Second Life and inspires you. Let’s go exploring!
Those who are interested in exhibiting at SL19B are asked to read, complete and submit the official exhibitor application form, which includes this year’s Exhibitor Rules. Note that the closing date for applications is Sunday, May 8th.
At the same time, the Lab is seeking volunteers to assist during the celebrations, again noting:
We are looking for Residents with great people skills and a love and excitement for Second Life to help us make SL19B a huge success! That starts by making a great experience for visitors. If you like the idea of promoting Second Life in a positive way to thousands of people in a celebratory atmosphere, we welcome you to apply today!
Those who fancy volunteer are asked to complete and submit the volunteer application. Again, note the closing date is Sunday, May 8th.
This brings the total list of application form to:
Recently I was asked by a friend in Second Life if I knew of any good holiday resorts in-world, a question that had me thinking; while over the last few years there seems of have been a upsurge of vacation-style destination venues in SL, I’ve rarely covered them in this blog (partly, I’ll admit, because of unfortunate experiences in a couple) However, the question came on top of me also learning about a relatively new such destination in world, and it prompted me to hop over and take a look.
The destination in question is Badu- Egypt – Aswan City, a place which offers a mix of public spaces and more private opportunities for vacationing and touring, with a mix of activities that can be enjoyed by visitors as well as by guests availing themselves of the vacation opportunity.
Operated as (at the time of writing) the latest destination presented by AshaRhia Resident as a part of her Asha Destinations SL Travel Agency, Badu – Egypt is currently set to be open for at least 2 weeks (starting on March 25th), with a potential for this to be extended to up to four weeks, depending upon its popularity. Like Aswan, it mixes two faces of Egypt, ancient and modern, into a single location, offering visitors the chance to learn about some of the history of Ancient Egypt whilst also being pampered.
The two halves of the region are divided by height., with the ancient Egyptian elements occupying the land just above sea level, and the luxury amenities of the hotel sitting on a plateau above them, a layout that keeps them nicely separated while maintaining their relationship via the interconnecting steps leading from one to the other.
The ancient Egyptian elements of the region are located on its east side, and laid out in a north-south orientation. To reach them from the landing point follow the path around the base of the cliffs and pass the steps rising to the hotel area. They are dominated by the bulk of a vast temple, that sits with a chariot racing arena as a buffer between it and the rest of the setting, whilst containing what is very much a modern museum. Here, visitors can find images and information cards on multiple aspects of life and society in ancient Egypt, encompassing the lives of Pharaohs down to those of humble farmers, and incorporating elements such as clothing, jewellery, wigs, etc., with the temple itself offering a huge sense of space, wall frescoes, and a nod to the importance of water to the Egyptian civilisation.
South of this and the chariot arena, is a more desert-like landscape that offers a feel of the great pyramids of Giza coupled with the ancient ruins of somewhere like Thebe. Together with the more pristine building to the north, these serve to give visitors a good sense of Egypt’s long history through the ages without being tied to a singular period.
The upper area of the region presents a luxury resort complex, split between public and private areas, with the former taking up the central part of the resort and comprising with a front desk, swimming pools, the treatment spa, etc., all of which can be enjoyed by the casual visitor. The seven private suites border this to either side, all clearly delineated from the public areas by their frontage while offering a luxury stay for guests.
The larger of the suite designs present lower floor lounge areas with adjoining kitchen and dining areas, an upper TV lounge area, private terraces (one with a hot tub), and a separate sleeping wing with lower floor grand bedroom with dressing room and bathroom, and an upper level with two further bedrooms and shared bathroom. The smaller units, located around the front desk and the hotel’s bar, offer single-floor accommodation with a more open plan approach to living, dining and kitchen, with a separate bedroom and bathroom, and each has a single terrace with hot tub, they also share a communal poolside lounge.
Guest / visitor activities take various forms, including Afrobeat dance classes, a quest, chariot racing, pottery classes and basket weaving classes (all role-play) – non-guests can participate in these for a fee of L$500, with details of times, etc., available at the front desk. Spa treatments and fine dining (both again role-play) are also available, with prices available to non-guests at the front desk. In addition, guests and visitor can join a guided tour of the Abu Simbel Temple Museum.
Badu- Egypt – Aswan City is a setting that has been brought together with a great deal of care and thought for visitors within to experience the fullness of travel to a destination within Second Life. The region is well laid-out, clearly signed, and there is a lot on offer. Fees, as noted, can be found at the hotel’s front desk, and vacations can be booked through the associated website, via the bookings page.
Given all this is available within the region, it can take its toll on the viewer; therefore those on low-to-mid-range systems should (as I’m prone to note in these situations) be prepared to make some adjustments to their system if they encounter problems. However, this should not put anyone off taking a trip to the region and seeing it for themselves!
The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference takes place between Thursday, March 31st and Saturday April 2nd, 2022 inclusive. A grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments, VWBPE attracts 2200-3500 educational professionals from around the world each year. It’s primary goals are to foster discussion on, and learning about educational opportunities presented through the use of such virtual spaces, a defining core values and best practices in doing so, including:
Helping to build community through extension of learning best practices to practical application of those ideas and techniques;
Providing networking opportunities for educators and the communities that help support education; and
Offering access to current innovations, trends, ideas, case studies, and other best practices for educators and the communities that help support education.
In the context of the conference, a “virtual environment” 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.
Each year, the event has a central theme, which for 2022 the organisers describe thus:
Our theme for this year is Phoenix Rising and the exploration of areas outside of our expertise that may be potentially opposed to our current outlook or world view. As educators, we are having to adjust to more than just a transition from in-person to online methodologies. We are facing urgent challenges in the areas of remote classroom management, outdated policies or policies not designed to be applied to online environments, child psychology and welfare in online environments, health and safety considerations, and personal privacy, among others. This means embracing the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and innovative technologies to their best effect.
– From the introduction to VWBPE 2022
As with previous VWBPE conferences, this year’s event includes speakers, workshops, presentations, social activities and more.
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.
If you cannot get in-world to attend any of these or the other major talks and presentations at the conference, note that you can watch them via You Tube – check the VWBPE website for the full schedule of live streams (also available on YouTube).
For 2022, the conference uses the same as the past two years, with some additional twists. The following is a quick run-down of some of core facilities.
The VWBPE Gateway: located on the ground level, the Gateway offers a main landing point for in-coming visitors, complete with a swag bag for arrivals available through several givers.
Rocket Ride – fly a rocket through asteroid fields, past the moons of Lyra Prime, through a worm hole, and landing at the docks of the Lyra Prime spaceport.
And more – details in the information packs available at the Gateway!
The conference also includes lecture and workshop spaces and locations for presentations, all of which can be accessed via the teleport HUD and the gateway teleport kiosks.
The Teleport HUD
As noted above, the VWBPE teleport HUD is the best way of getting around the facilities. It can be obtained via the swag bag givers at the VWBPE Gateway and is delivered to inventory in a folder. Open the folder and right-click → ADD the HUD. Note that you will need to grant teleport permissions for it to work.
By default, the teleport HUD attaches to the bottom of the viewer window, with three buttons available (Help and Detach are self-explanatory).
Click the Main button to display the full HUD (which can be minimised again by clicking the Hide button, displayed when the HUD is fully in view). This comprises two sections:
On the left, a display of primary options (shown above). Clicking on any of the buttons in this section will following: display a further list of options (teleport or web page links). Use the Main button to return to the primary set of options again, when required.
One the right, a changing display of event sponsors – clicking on a name displayed in this section will display a link in the viewer’s top right corner to an associated web browser page about the sponsor.
The primary set of options comprise the following (note: at the time of testing, Special and Administration were both blank, and so are ignored below):
Teleport to Gateway: go directly to the VWBPE gateway station, where you can grab freebies (if you’ve not already done so) and use the teleport kiosks inside the main building, meet with friends, etc.
Stations: displays buttons for all of the conference facilities except the main auditorium. Click one of the buttons to be teleported to the named location.
Auditorium: displays the three teleports to the main auditorium.
Social: displays the teleport to the space station and other social elements.
Exhibits: teleports to the conference exhibition spaces.
Sponsors: displays a set of teleports to the exhibition spaces of the conference’s major sponsors.
Post-Conference Survey: offers a link in the viewer’s top right corner to an associated web browser page, where attendees can offer feedback on the conference.