Illiastra Ascendent (nvzn Resident) (aka James Reichert) who has been experimenting with 360 degrees videos and photography within virtual reality and specifically Second Life, has now developed a system that allows you to make interactive panoramic pictures yourself.
The Illiastra Panoramic Camera System (click) will allow you to record and then edit screenshots you take in Second Life into one large panoramic picture that allows you to interactively look around with your mouse.
A wonderful way to give people an impression of what your sim in SL looks like without them having to download the software, setup an account, create an avatar, find your sim, etc.
And not only will people be able to see your sim without downloading Second Life, they can also see it with the graphics and windlight setting you had in mind when you recorded the picture and no lag.
You can upload these panoramas to Facebook or even look around with your VR headset or Hololens, as demonstrated here;
I think this would look really nice as part of the destination guide or just as general promotion.
I’ve shared a few of these on the 1920s Berlin page.
Illiastra has now put all this information together into one kit that you can buy on marketplace (click).
I look forward t seeing lots of these panoramas popping up online soon.
For more information, check out Illiastra’s Facebook page here (click).
Linden Lab just announced (click) a new set of starter avatars with themes such as “steampunk, vampires, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic… and beyond!”
Not a theme I have much affinity with, perhaps next time we can have Time Travellers as a theme for starter avatars?
Victorian, Medieval, Roman… and oh I don’t know… 1920s! 😉
They have the normal good old fashioned system bodies, which is a good decision as mesh avatars are something for more experienced users.
If only we could now also find an easier way to deal with alpha layers, can’t we connect them to the clothes so you wear them automatically?
Anyway, more choice of new avatars is a good thing although I still think it would be even better to have some sort of avatar creation tool on the SL website as part of the signup process.
Let new users play with how they want their avatar to look before they even start Second Life.
This is what the 10 new avatars look like;
Linden Lab made an internal video to introduce these new avatars, you can see it here;
Linden Lab today announced that they are going to start sending out invites to people who have applied to be part of the Creator Preview this week.
So if you’re one of the people who have filled in the application form on the Sansar website, keep an eye on your mailbox!
I don’t know about you but my bags are packed.
Regardless of how enthusiastic you may or may not be about Project Sansar, I doubt there isn’t anyone in SL today who isn’t at least a little curious to what the lindens have been creating in their laboratory.
Over 6500 people have applied for the Creator Preview and a select group of creators who’s skills best fit the current capabilities of Sansar but who, I guess, are also the kind of people who will be able to build a few impressive experiences.
After all, Project Sansar will be mostly empty or filled with Linden created objects and it would be nice to have some user created experiences ready to show when this new virtual world goes public next January.
Inara Pey discovered that Linden Lab has decided to stick with the original name of Sansar, which for a while was just the working title as Project Sansar.
I assumed LL would think of a new name and only picked Project Sansar as a placeholder but started to think they might stick with Sansar last April as I mentioned in this blog (click).
Because I felt Peter’s answer to Inara’s question was a bit too vague (and because I’m just stubborn), I decided to ask as well, just to be sure;
Well that is pretty clear.
I am not sure I like the name, it is short, easy to remember and on google generally helps you find this new virtual world, it is not very descriptive, unlike Second Life you don’t immediately get an idea of what Sansar is.
Of course if you google the meaning you will find that it fits rather well.
The full press release;
SAN FRANCISCO – August 31, 2016 – Linden Lab® today announced that the first invitations to the Sansar™ Creator Preview are being sent this week. Select applicants will be invited to create their own social VR experiences with the new platform, slated for public release in early 2017.
Sansar will democratize VR as a creative medium. It will empower people to easily create, share, and ultimately monetize their own interactive social experiences that can be enjoyed in VR with head-mounted displays like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, as well as via PCs and, later, other platforms. Sansar enables professional-level quality and performance, while also solving the complex engineering challenges that have previously made creating and publishing social VR experiences an extremely complex and costly endeavor.
“Since opening applications for our Creator Preview, more than 6,500 people have applied to use Sansar to create their own social VR experiences,” said Bjorn Laurin, VP of Product at Linden Lab. “To start, we’re inviting a select group of creators whose skills and projects are the best fit for Sansar’s capabilities today. As the platform matures, we’ll continue inviting more and more creators up until public release early next year. Feedback from this early community will help us improve the platform, and they’ll create a range of incredible social VR experiences that everyone can enjoy at Sansar’s public release.”
To apply to the Sansar Creator Preview program, visit www.Sansar.com.
I myself hope to be invited and get started on a little idea I’ve had for a while; an embassy for Virtual Time Travellers, in short a place for people who use VR to enjoy the past.
On top of the news, LL also uploaded 4 brand new Sansar Screenshots to Flickr;
A few weeks ago Ebbe Altberg, (aka Ebbe Linden) CEO of Linden Lab, spoke at the Augmented World Expo.
Ebbe talks about what Second Life is all about, mentions Sansar and shows screenshots and video from this new virtual wthat will be open to the public in January.
Emphasis was on creating experiences by assembling objects you buy or build with 3D software.
Ebbe repeats that those who have signed up for Sansar would be let in around ‘early August’.
Clearly that date has been moved or they have been letting people in but they made them sign a non disclosure agreement.
There isn’t much news or anything revealed that we didn’t know yet.
But just in case you want to see it anyway, you can see a video of his talk here;
When Linden Lab released a new Oculus ready viewer, one that worked with DK2 and CV1, the reactions were, to put it mildly, not enthusiastic.
I wrote about it in my previous blog post that you can read by clicking here.
Today Linden Lab announced they have removed the Oculus Rift viewer from its alternate viewers page.
The Oculus headset picture and link to more information about using it in SL seems to have also been removed from the main page on the official SL website, at least I no longer see it.
In this discussion on one of the official blogs the following comment was posted by Linden Lab;
Thank you for experimenting with our Oculus Rift Project Viewer and offering your feedback. Unfortunately, the Project Viewer that we recently made available didn’t meet our standards for quality, and so we’ve now removed it from the Alternate Viewers page.
By definition, Project Viewers aren’t ready for primetime. The purpose of these experimental Viewers is to share with you the earliest possible version of what we’re working on, so that you can see what we’re up to, help discover problems, and provide feedback. In this case, though, we’re not ready for that, as those of you who tried it have seen.
We can’t say at this point when or even if we may release another Project Viewer for experimenting with the Oculus Rift in SL.
We want to prioritize our development efforts around initiatives that we know will improve the virtual world and bring more value to SL Residents, and due to some inherent limitations with SL, it may well not be possible to achieve the performance needed for a good VR experience. (In fact, this is one reason why we’re creating Project Sansar a new, separate platform optimized for VR).
We greatly appreciate the interest in trying SL with the Oculus Rift and are grateful that several of you took the time to try the Project Viewer. We regret that the quality was not up to our standards, and we will of course keep the community posted if we release a new Project Viewer for VR in the future.
Of course people were very unhappy with the new viewer and yes, it was not good enough for people to actually enjoy Second Life with.
But hearing that they may not release another one is very disappointing.
As imperfect as Second Life is for Head Mounted devices at the moment, I still was extremely impressed with my visit to 1920s Berlin wearing the DK1.
Regardless of lag and if the frame-rate was fast enough or not, I was exploring MY world, the place I build and loved.
I didn’t care about the imperfections, I was inside my Second Life.
Of course, if you can’t make it work, releasing (another) viewer is probably a good idea.
But it is going to be months, perhaps even years before most of us can start enjoying Sansar as a virtual world that is as interesting and has as much to offer as Second Life and it really would be nice if we could at least have some fun with the HMD’s in Second Life.
Even with the old Oculus Viewer and head set, I loved every minute I spend in SL with it.
So I hope that that we will see another HMD viewer for SL, regardless.
Today ZDNet (a business technology news website published by CBS Interactive) published an interview with Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab.
You can read the full article by clicking here, I quote a few bits I found extra interesting below;
“We’re very fortunate to have over a decade of experience regarding what people want to do when they immerse themselves in a digital world,” Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg said.
It is really good that Ebbe keeps telling people this, because that is without doubt the most valuable thing about our Virtual World; we have tons of people with years of experience spending time in VR and creating VR experiences while it seems that so many other people are just getting started… and are reinventing the wheel again and again but that is a story for another time.
With its new VR platform, Linden Lab is aiming to solve that. Called Project Sansar, the platform that will allow just about any user — regardless of technical skill — to build their own VR content at a very low cost. The platform is being billed as “the WordPress or the YouTube of VR.”
Although I’m not so sure yet if we won’t need much technical skill to build (in stead of create with stuff others build) their own VR experience, at least not for a while, I am glad to see it being promoted as the WordPress or Youtube of VR, I think that is a very good way to sell it and maybe the new name of the world should represent this.
The platform is not open source, but it will be compatible with industry standard tools. For example, creators will be able to upload a variety of common 3D file formats (such as .fbx and .obj), and scripting will be done with C#, rather than a language unique to the platform.
No Collada (DAE)?
In Second Life, a person or business can spend nearly $300 a month to host a space (it’s half price for educators and nonprofits, but that’s still a hefty sum). Altberg promised that hosting a Sansar experience will cost in the “tens of dollars” per month.
Now that is good news.
We’ve already been told that “tier” will be a lot lower in Sansar but I think this is the first time we’ve been given a sort of number.
Of course we do not know how much land or “prims” we get for this but I like to think that this means I will be able to host something the size of 1920s Berlin (4 regions) with many more prims for less than $50 a month.
“We’ve never referred to it as Second Life 2.0,“ says Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg of Project Sansar in an interview here. “We think we’re building what will be the easiest ways for users to create virtual reality experiences that are social. And to make it easy for people to create, share and monetize these experiences.”
The writer is also invited to try Project Sansar and describes his experience;
Donning Oculus Rift headgear, my Sansar demo began on a virtual replica of Mars, before I was teleported to an ancient Egyptian tomb, where I could inspect the hieroglyphics on the walls up close. Soon, I found myself “inside” a 360 video and later spent time in a virtual reality toy room where I was encouraged to knock down a bridge and bat other objects around.
As for moving SL users to Sansar;
Altberg hopes to draw users from Second Life to Project Sansar, while acknowledging the likelihood of some cannibalization. “We obviously have the largest ready to roll audience…. But rather me than someone else,” he says.
Ebbe ends with;
“The luxury we have (in developing Sansar) is that we have already seen people successfully do all of the things I mentioned in Second Life. The true strength of VR will be social.”
So, my brain has had a crazy new idea again that might help SL hold on to those new users as retention still seems to be a problem.
Many people join SL but after a short while give up or lose interest and leave again.
The community gateway is a new initiative, a very good one, but here is another sort of idea, that I mentioned before a bit, but I had another think about it;
How about every (yes every) new user to Second Life gets their own little piece of land?
I know sounds expensive and a huge hassle right?
Hear me out
When you join SL you arrive on a bit of land, 512 square meters for instance, could be smaller.
It can be on mainland (plenty of available land) it could even be a skybox.
This is your land, it is just a room, maybe just a field.
On it you find a basic tutorial, a few signs and perhaps videos explain how SL works, a bit like a small version of the community gateways and general starting places.
Besides being smaller, it also is very private.
You get to learn SL on your own, no grievers, no advanced avatars who perhaps intimidate with loud voice chats or rude gestures and also quite important; a lot less lag.
After all, it is just you in your skybox.
At the end of the tutorial you know how to rez and build but also that this plot of land is now yours to with as you please for one month.
You are asked to push a button that will let you claim the land or to discard it.
After all, those of us who aren’t really new to SL but just there as an alt or are about to be teleported by an experienced SL friend to a sim, don’t need the land.
If you discard it or teleport out without claiming it, the land is reset and given to the next new SL resident.
If you claim the land, the tutorial prims will all be removed and the empty land is now yours, for a month.
On your own, in peace, without being bothered or distracted, you can experiment with building something, rez a house you bought, have a nice private place to change your clothes, personalise your avatar or bring your friends to.
Not only will you have a safe, private place to get used to SL, you’ll also avoid those truly horrific encounters many of us had; finding yourself as a noob amongst scary, weird and often loud and rude chaotic crowds of avatars.
After a month or so, you’ll be reminded that your time is up, you’ll have to go out into the world and find a new place to live.
Maybe this is where LL brings up the offer of becoming a premium member, meaning you’ll get a new piece of land or maybe get to stay on the land you’ve been using for free.
Once you leave, the land is reset, the tutorial rezzed and it will be fresh and smelling of daisies for the new user.
This will of course have to be automated, we can’t expect a whole bunch of people to take care of the noob parcels and clean up after them.
There used to be something similar in SL, years ago, called the first land programme.
But that land you had to buy and it was also land you could keep for ever and even sell on, opening the scheme up to abuse.
Just another crazy idea, what do you think?
A software company called Trinus VR has developed a platform that allows you to enjoy pretty much any game with android operated VR headsets, including the very cheap cardboard ones you can make yourself.
And by bringing the costs down dramatically, it could bring VR to a lot more people.
Simply connect a PC with an android device, slide the latter into one of those headsets and you’re ready to go.
The experience will probably not be as good as with the Vive for instance, but for a fraction of the price, you will be at least able to experiment VR from within your games and… virtual worlds!
And this is where it gets interesting for us.
The technology isn’t that new, Trinus VR has been around for about a year, but now someone has tried it with Second Life!
Of course the experience will probably not be as good as with the fancy pansy whoop dee doc headsets but it will allow you to go into Second Life with VR support without having to wait for the next LL viewer or buy an expensive Oculus or Vive or one of the other headsets.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Sadly, I don’t have a mobile phone, so I can’t try it out.
Unfortunately there are no plans (yet) for Mac Support.
our last show before the summer break = we were LIVE celebrating 13 years of our wonderful, gigantic, mad, creative, frustrating, beautiful world… great guests, great exhibits, still up for y…
Source: show #122: sl13b