Ebbe confirms; SL will get Oculus Rift DK2 support

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Some time ago Oculus Rift released the Developers Kit v2 of their VR headset, better than their DK1 but still not the commercial version.

David Rowe’s CtrlAltStudio released a Preliminary Rift DK2 Support viewer on the 19th but it remained unclear if Linden Lab was going to upgrade their viewer to work with DK2.

The work that had to be done was not trivial and they only got their DK2 headsets roughly two weeks ago and who knows, the public Oculus Viewer release could be around the corner, although insiders seem to think it won’t be till 2015.

But even though we don’t know when the Second Life official DK2 viewer arrives, we do have some confirmation from mr Ebbe Altberg himself via Twitter;

Ebbe talks dk2 viewer

Leap motion announces VR related progress

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Leap motion, the very nifty hand gesture tracker for computers has just announced its future VR plans.

I tried the Leap Motion some time ago and although it is a really great tool, I ended up not using it very often.

I use my laptop in the most unusual places, on the floor, on the daybed, on the balcony, but almost never at a desk and I either spend time typing or in Second Life, so for me it was not something I was going to use a lot.

However I did immediately spot the potential and have always felt that this is where the future for VR is.

Having to wave controllers or other plastic toys around while being attached to a bunch of wires just isn’t the way forward.

I imagined 3D scanning devices that would simply scan your movements, hand, body, everything and translate that into VR.

You can have your hands, all 5 fingers, work inside VR, why would you need anything else?

Today Leap Motion’s co-founder David Holz posted a blog on their website talking about a series of development especially for Virtual Reality.

They brilliantly stuck their sensor to an Oculus Rift and continued working on the options and possibilities this offers.

They are also using infrared images the sensor picks up and combine these with what you see in VR.

I won’t bore you with just copying everything that was written on the blog, I just invite you to read it yourself here.

But a very interesting video accompanied the blog and I couldn’t resist sharing it;

Tracking is moving along rapidly, I think that eventually we will end up with a tiny device such as the Leap Motion that will translate all our hand but also body movements into VR, but will also register the movements of our mouths and even eyes, so it can translate facial expressions.

Something like what what the people at High Fidelity are experimenting with.

We won’t need to carry, hold or wear anything but the headset and a small sensor, no suits, no gloves, no controllers, nothing.

Although perhaps a small omnidirectional treadmill might be desired.

I wonder if perhaps with the new technology, the Leap Motion can eventually also track your leg movements and posture, that would create a lot of new possibilities.
You could pretend to walk and actually walk in VR, regardless of how dangerous this could be if you don’t make sure you don’t bump into stuff, it could make walking in VR a lot easier.

Can you imagine the potential this has in a massive virtual world such as Second Life?

No more having to click to use items, just push that door, turn that handle, flick that switch, slap that rude man in the face!

leap motion

Linden Lab updates PR screenshots

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Linden Lab has uploaded about 30 new Second Life screenshots into their Flickr account that will, I assume, be used for PR purposes.

I’ve written before about how important I think it is for outsiders to actually see how good Second Life can look if your computer is up to scratch.

And it frustrates me that so many journalists use screenshots from 2007 to illustrate their article about our virtual world, regardless if the article is positive or negative.

But journalists today sometimes need a little help, they don’t always have the time to go inworld, figure out ultra graphics settings and look for nice locations or scour the internet for pictures, contact the makers for permission to use them, etc.
Of course in some cases its not the journalist but the editor who decides on which images to use.

So it is Linden Lab’s and our job to make sure our virtual world is represented properly.

When Paste Magazine recently published an article on the 10 Best MMO’s written by Janine Hawkins, with a less than flattering illustration, people on twitter spoke up.
The writer was contacted and the picture replaced.

I’ve started the ‘Second Life is looking good’ flickr group to show outsiders whats possible in SL these days, but these pictures in many cases come with copyright restrictions.
Still, journalists could at least contact thebut I’ve also added a few screenshots to Wikipedia Commons without any use restrictions.

Journalists have already found and used these, with added bonus for me that my 1920s Berlin sim gets some free publicity at the same time.

Linden Lab does send some information and pictures if they are aware an article is being written or when a journalist contacts them, but I don’t know if they always speak up and protest when a journalist uses very old bad screenshots.

They do have a Press section on the Linden Lab website, but for some reason there are reporters out there who overlook the pictures they can find there or don’t even bother checking if the subject of their article has a press page.

To be honest though, there are only 12 not that impressive pictures to be found in Linden Lab’s Flickr album that the press page links to.

But now it seems that Linden Lab has decided to update the images they offer by adding about 30 new pretty good pictures.
Not only are they of good quality, they are diverse and not too tacky.

They haven’t been added to the press folder yet and unfortunately they have not added a small description of the location or slurls so people can check them out inworld.

And to my shock and horror they’ve forgotten to include pictures of 1920s Berlin!
However, they do offer journalists much better illustrations than before.

Because they are not yet moved to the right folder, you’ll have to go to the main page of the Linden Lab flickr account to see them.

It remains our job to be vigilant and keep an eye out for articles that misrepresent Second Life, it is also in our best interest to let everyone know our world is not ugly, well not everywhere anyway.
If you see a bad SL image being used, leave a comment, tweet the author, let Linden Lab know.

linden lab flickr

SLGO fitted mesh bug fixed

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For a while fitted mesh in SLGo didn’t quite work the way it should, it glitched and looked odd.

But Dennis Harper, senior product manager at Onlive.com, announced in the comment section of my blog that this problem has now been solved;

From Dennis @ OnLive;

I’d like to announce that SL Go has just released an update that solves the fitted mesh bug! Yay! You are the very first to hear of this. I’m using Jo’s blog because all of you have been so helping us focus on what is important.

It’s was a more extensive project than originally thought, taking longer than I hoped. But the entire code based was merged to the most recent versions, so all of the latest features are available.

Again, thanks for your feedback and support. We have more exciting things planned for SL Go in the near future. Stay tuned!

I tried to get Dennis to spill the beans on these exciting things, but alas, he wouldn’t tell me anything more than that i was going to be very surprised by what they are!

Either way, great news that this really awesome service that lets you use Second Life at ultra settings on mobile devices but also on those ancient computers.

Yes, SLGo allowed me to explore SL at ultra settings on my 5 year old macbook!

Yes, SLGo allowed me to explore SL at ultra settings on my 5 year old macbook!

High Fidelity sings Queen

The High Fidelity team just uploaded this interesting video showing an avatar singing along to Queen.

Just in case the video is blocked in your country or doesn’t work on my blog, try this direct link;
High Fidelity sings Queen
A VPN service may also help you bypass the block.

It is a huge step forward from the previous avatars we’ve seen so far and the technology is really impressive.

This is something that will appeal to a lot of people, not just performers and artists who sing live in virtual worlds, but of course it is also hugely important to translate your RL expression into VR.

When looking at HiFy, we have to remember that it is still in very early Alpha stages but it appears to be moving along pretty well and if this footage is a good indication of what will be possible in Philip Rosedale’s new virtual world, we’re in for a treat.

Let’s hope that Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab can borrow some of this cool stuff for the next Second Life as well, because personally, I can’t wait to use something like this in my virtual time travel adventures.

This screenshot, uploaded to Twitter a few hours ago is also a huge step forward from what has been shown to the public before.

Screen shot 2014-08-02 at 12.49.18 AM

CGtextures responds to new Second Life Terms of Service

Recently Linden Lab changed the Terms of Service (ToS), this was long overdue.

About a year ago they changed them as well and this caused quite a storm, the legal language made it seem like LL would own everything we made in Second Life and everything we uploaded to SL, even if we didn’t own that texture or item to begin with.

I am the first to admit that I really don’t understand all that legal talk and perhaps I am naive, but I think that Linden Lab does not intent to go and steal our stuff and I do think that many people responded in a way that was a bit over the top.

Nevertheless, the previous ToS was worrying and eventually also affected me because one of my favourite texture sites where I found many images I used to make things with in Second Life, now would no longer allow us to do so in Second Life.

I know that there are countless other texture sources on the internet but, without wanting to advertise them too much, CGtextures is just one of the best and biggest, in my humble opinion.
When I was working on something, I could easily find the texture I wanted on their site and now I have to spend a lot longer searching all over the internet before I find something I like and can use.

So although I am a creator who should probably be worried about my stuff beloning to LL I am more worried about how my creativity is stifled by all the extra work I have to do.

When LL announced that they had changed the ToS, I was at first excited.
The new CEO Ebbe Altberg has shown to care about what we users think, he is  atypically communicative and willing to listen to and answer questions.
And I think that he learned about the ToS issues and told the Legal department to look into it.

Unfortunately it seems that the actual issues have not been solved, there still is a lot of unclarity and debates are going on all over the forums.
And to be honest, I don’t understand legal language well enough to say anything useful on the matter.

Nevertheless I decided to write an email to the folks at CGtextures and ask their opinion on the recent ToS change.

With their permission, I share their response here and I hope that Ebbe Altberg and the other Lindens at Linden Lab read it and respond, here on the blog or directly to CGtextures.
Because I fear that the ToS could still use some improvements and I think that CGtextures may have a few good suggestions.

CGtextures response;

Hi Jo,

I’m afraid this does not change the situation for us. The new ToS still contains the words:
 

.. and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content (and derivative works thereof), for any purpose whatsoever in all formats, on or through any media, software, formula, or medium now known or hereafter developed, and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same. ..

 
Which permits Linden Lab to use the uploaded Content for anything they like (“exploit in any matter… for any purpose whatsoever”).
 
Also, we feel that what Linden Lab is saying in their press release contradicts with how their their Terms of Service is worded. For example:
 

 “The revision to this section was worded in such a way that these creators expressed concern that we intended to appropriate their original creations and sell or license such creations without their permission. As our historical practice demonstrates and as we have since tried to clarify, this was absolutely not our intent.” 

 
If it is not their intent to claim unlimited and irrevocable resale rights on uploaded Content, then they simply should not claim these rights in their Terms of Service. Historical practice or intent is meaningless if this would ever come to a lawsuit. They are basically saying “we know our contract sounds exploitative, but you trust us right?”.
 
If there is one thing that the Linden Lab ToS update in august 2013 showed, it’s that this revision was done with absolutely no consideration for their users. They updated their ToS so it had maximum benefits for the company, without giving any thought about the content creators. Whether this was because the revision was done by a lawyer who is completely out of touch with the users, bad intentions or plain laziness doesn’t matter. It made clear that Linden doesn’t care about it’s content creators. For us, this small update to the Terms of Service is not enough to regain the trust which was lost.
 
So we will not allow the use of our images in Second Life, but we’ll keep an eye on things to see how it develops.
 
If you find it relevant feel free to post our response on your blog. If you have any questions please let me know.
Kind regards,

cgtextures

Seraph City is no more

Seraph city was a lovely sim, one of the few I visited regularly outside of 1920s Berlin.

The theme was Dieselpunk, a 1930s-1940s interpretation of the future.

The sim looked fantastic and was a lot of fun to explore.

I first learned the sim was in trouble last February, when it was announced that the sim would close.

However the passionate people involved with this sim didn’t want to give up and several times they tried to restart the city, turn it around, keep it going.

It is sad that these plans now officially seem to have failed, the land has been sold, all prims returned and a new owner appears to have completely different plans.

It is a shame to see such an original sim go but I am sure that all the talented and nice people who made it what it was will find other projects to work on and will find new ways to share their creativity with the rest of us.
Good luck chaps.

Goodbye Seraph City, visiting yesterday’s future was fun.

seraph2 manip SeraphCityPoster square

The Cornfield returns!

You probably remember ‘The Cornfield’, or at least have heard rumours about it.

It was a place where you could be banished to if you had been a bit too naughty.

Now it is back, but as a playground for us to try out the new ‘Experience Keys’ options.

This will allow visitors to a sim to agree to certain permissions once and then never have to agree to them again.

No more giving a dance system or chair permission to animate your avatar for the 54353245th time.

These and other tools will also give those who want to add a gaming element to SL some extra options.

So go on, test out the new experience keys in the cornfield and enjoy killing some grievers!

You can read the official announcement here.

 

Second Life Oculus Rift experience

Reddit can be an intimidating place, especially if you love Second Life and dare to get involved in discussions about games, Virtual Reality and the Oculus Rift.
Because, let’s face it, Second Life is generally not very appreciated.

So when I found a story on the Oculus Rift Reddit page about someone’s experience in Second Life with the Rift, I was a little worried.

But Reddit user digi1ife wrote a wonderful, honest, critical yet enthusiastic and positive story.

I think he managed very well to explain the excitement of being “inside” Second Life and to share this with other, mostly non-SL users.
A good positive story about Second Life always makes a bigger impact when it comes from a skeptical user in stead of a hardcore fan.

With his permission I share his story here.

But I suggest you also visit the original page HERE so you can read the comments.

And do me a favour, vote up his original post.

My experience in Second Life with the Rift, by digi1ife 

A friend talked me into installing Second Life and trying it with the Rift viewer. Let me tell you. It still has all the same issues as SL. The thing is when seen from inside of the RIFT, your mind starts to explode at the scale and even tho crappy and unfinished things are there. It really does feel like you are in the huge world with so much potential. It’s crappiness actually looks amazing when it’s life size. Some how seeing it from inside the Rift changes your perception. It goes from being a crappy looking location. To some cool eclectic fantasy world. To be honest the experience may have been one of the best RIFT experiences I have had. Minus all technical wonkiness of it being tacked on Rift support (this was almost a year ago).

My friend invited me and another friend to her house she built in SL, Which was super cool being able to actually be inside of this house she built / Decorated. (hard to explain but really cool, We all had Rifts on) The coolest thing was she spawned a Life size car out of no where and me and my friend were able to get in said car and drive it down the road. He was the driver and I was the passenger. ( we left her standing on the side of the road ) It was like BOOM OMG i’m in a car with a friend who live states away. Driving down the road in a city we both never been to. When my friend looked at me I could see his avatar head look at me and vice versa. It was a CRAZY Awesome feeling.

We started to drive off and I looked back out of the back window at my other friend standing on the side walk. ( it was only a 2 seater) I shouted out this is NUTS! I turned and started looking out the passenger window as my friend who was driving started talking to me. (we had mics) He took his eyes off the road because he was so mind blown as well. We drove right off a cliff. I start to reach for the Door handle only to remember i’m in VR with no Hand / arm control. Pure fear seeing the ocean come into view out of the front windshield as we free fall to our would be deaths. I look over at him as we splashdown in the water. Car instantly starts sinking. I felt an uncontrollable urge to hold my breath. Then we teleported out back to safety.

Hands down one the best interactions I have had in VR! This being said it was all in crappy Second life. (I don’t mean to be rude saying that, it’s just too complicated of an interface and graphically dated) With the Rift it was worth it!! It told me what the future of VR is going to be like and I can’t freaking wait. It was the wildest thing ever. I mean COME ON! me and a friend were in the same car, in a world driving around talking to eachother. Then he drives us off a cliff on accident. All the while feeling like you are really sitting next to someone in a life size car. This was seriously Science fiction a year ago! For crying out loud I was inside of Second life. (as far as my brain was concerned)

I’m not saying you should go try the Rift in SL. The set up was a pain. The controls took 3rd part apps ( xpadder ) just to get the xbox controler working with it. We got it working well enough to be playable that way. I know SL made an official view and reworked a small area just for VR. But I have not tried that version. This was about a year ago that we did this. What i’m trying to say is you guys are gonna Fraking love this stuff when it’s made for VR. Be it SL, Hi Fidelity, Facebook World or Metaverse. It’s almost hard to believe it’s happening. Rant over.

reddit oculus

 

What should SL2 be called?

It is way to early for Linden Lab to announce or even start thinking about what SL2, the ‘sequel’ to Second Life shall be called.

Its name will be very important, the name of Second Life has been cause for the funniest and most original commenters of all time to say hysterical things like ‘I don’t need a Second Life, because I have a real life’ or ‘People in Second Life don’t have a first life’.
Quite witty, I’m sure you’ll agree.
And even though I generally say something like ‘One life may be enough for you, I want more’, the name still did not give our world a very exciting and flash reputation.

Full version.

Full version.

Anyway, what should we call this new virtual online world?
Finding the right name that makes people curious, tells the real world that this will be the most interesting and cutting edge virtual online world since the dawn if mankind and is not just a place full of weirdos who only care about shopping and hanky panky, will be very important.

Or should they just call it Third Life?

Or Jo’s private little universe?

Or Pixelworld?

Or ‘That is another fine Mesh you got us into world’?

Let me know what you think it should be called!

Remember, Lindens read this blog so who knows, we may give them the right idea.

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