Virtual Worlds

Physical Virtuality – The Machinima.

by on Nov.10, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

Chantal Harvey produced a short machinima: Physical Virtuality ‘What’s the weight of an avatar?”. It gives a impression of the inworld experience of the mixed reality event of the same name that happened past Nov 1st.

I volunteered on the RL side an commented the following earlier on hamlet’s blogs about it:

“A lot of the public was still uncomfortable with virtual worlds and where surprised that people from around the globe would login and stand on a virtual see-saw with them. We had a lot if fun explaining, playing with them and in and introducing people to SL in this manner.

We have talked about how things could be improved, I think more modes of interactivity/communication would improve the experience. The 20 second video delay makes it disjointed experience.”

The whole experience has me thinking about fun SL<->RL interfaces, you could do things with lights, wind, sounds, etc. But what I’m more curious about is what kind of mixed reality contraptions would you like to play with? Share your serious or wacky ideas, and it might end up being developed.
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Reopening American Cancer Society Island- November 2nd

by on Nov.02, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

Picture of a mosiac of the American Cancer Society Logo

The American Cancer Society announces the grand re-opening of the newly re-designed island in the virtual world, on Sunday November 2, 2008.
For several years, the American Cancer Society has existed in Second Life through its volunteers, Relay For Life event, and an island that served as a central meeting place for volunteers and avatars, of those who are affected by cancer.
Over the last several months, the island has been completely redesigned to meet the growing needs of cancer patients and American Cancer Society volunteers in Second Life. In 2008, the Relay For Life of Second Life volunteers raised over $200,000 USD which  cumulated with an event that was attended by more than 2,000 avatars on 35 sims.
The new American Cancer Society Island in Second Life will feature a “Hope Haven,” a place where the cancer survivor support group can meet regularly and in private so they can share intimate information with each other to help cope with diagnoses and treatment, as well as provide comfort and support for one another.
The new Island will also feature a 4-story, two-tiered office building that will be dedicated to Relay For Life volunteers.  Making Strides Against Breast Cancer volunteers, Island Greeter volunteers, and an Information Library. American Cancer Society pamphlets and brochures will provide information related to cancer prevention, treatment options, support and information will be available in the Information Library, as well as informative videos about the history of the American Cancer Society, cancer information, patient support programs, and Relay For Life information.
Visitors will arrive at the island at the Welcome Center, where a volunteer will be available at all times to greet and provide direction and/or information. The island will also feature a Memorial Garden to remember loved ones lost, 2 amphitheaters for large meetings, several smaller outdoor meeting areas, and a medium sized office space in a separate building.
Events will begin at 9.30am SLT with an opening ceremony scheduled to begin at 10am SLT, from 9.30 on visitors will be entertained by the lively DJs at T1 Radio while wandering tours take place. There will be greeters stationed around the island to direct and answer any questions and explain the area visitors find themselves in.
At 10.00am SLT opening comments and thank yous will take place hosted by Stingray9798 Raymaker in the Southeast Amphitheatre.
11am  will see the Survivors’ Makeover/Fashion Show sponsored and supported by FACES with Cinders Vale, Poppy Zabelin and Serendipity Nerd followed by a closing speech from Stingray9798 Raymaker.
The objective of the new design has been to provide visitors with a breathtaking view, peaceful atmosphere, and a comfortable place for volunteers and those seeking information to return as often as they like. “The American Cancer Society plans to utilize the virtual office no differently (in concept) than any other office in any other city,” says Jeffrey Montegut, the American Cancer Society’s Second Life Manager.  ”The same services that are offered in a real life office should be available to the Second Life community, because there are real people facing real issues behind each and every avatar. The American Cancer Society recognizes that, and fully supports our volunteers in Second Life.”
Schedule of events: (times maybe subject to change)
Sunday 10/5/08
Open @ 9:30 AM SLT  
Ceremony @ 10:00 AM SLT
9:30 AM SLT  Wandering Tour (30 minutes) – T1 Radio Streams Music
10:00 AM SLT Southeast Amphitheater – Stingray9798 Raymaker
10:15 AM SLT  - Video stream of American Cancer Society-funded researcher
10:30 AM SLT  Wandering Tour Break (30 minutes)  - – T1 Radio Streams Music
11:00 AM SLT Survivors’ Makeover/Fashion Show 
11:30 AM SLT Future Plans/Closing – - Stingray9798 Raymaker
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1 nov: physical virtuality: “what’s the weight of an avatar?”

by on Oct.31, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

FEEL the presence of virtual world avatars in a cross-world interactive installation, connecting virtual life to our physical world.

On saturday the 1st of november, visitors of the NEMO Science Center in Amsterdam will be physically connected to inhabitants of the virtual world Second Life through an intervirtual balancing plateau.

The total weight of avatars standing on the virtual side of the plateau will be calculated and processed along with the weight of all people standing on the physical side of the plateau. This outcome will trigger the synchronised real-time movement of both the hydraulic powered and script controlled side of the plateau, resulting in an experience of indirect physical contact between real and virtual beings.

A two way videoprojection will visually connect the virtual and real-life participants standing on the installation.

physical location: Science Center NEMO, Oosterdok 2, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
virtual location: Brooklyn is Watching project space in Second Life.

Date/time: saturday 1st of november 2008

18:00 – 1:00 GMT
19:00 – 2:00 CET
10:00 – 17:00 PST

I will be there in real life helping out, come by and say hi.
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Dutch court convicts teens for stealing virtual property.

by on Oct.26, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

In the Leeuwarden district court two boys, aged 14 and 15 where sentenced to community service for forcing a other boy to transfer Runescape items to the attackers accounts. The 2 boys punched, kicked and threatened the victim with a knife.

The most interesting part of this case was that the issue isn’t the assault but if virtual items should be considered goods that can be stolen. The lawyer defending the 2 boys argued that legally the items don’t exist and can’t be stolen.

The court doesn’t agree with that defence and cited a earlier ruling that electricity can be considered a a material object in criminal law and stealing electricity is theft. The same principle applies in this case and stealing virtual items is theft, the court rules.

source: RNW

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The Imprudence Project

by on Sep.02, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

ImprudenceJacek Antonelli announced today the Imprudence Project. Being disappointed with current slow pace of development of the SL viewer, Jacek and McCabe Maxsted have started a organised effort to create a user maintained viewer with a pro change attitude. From my own experience with watching the Jira it can often take weeks or months for user created patches to end up in a Release Candidate viewer let alone the Released client.

“This is probably the first you’ve heard about Imprudence, so I’ll take a moment to explain it. Imprudence is (or rather, will be) a major fork of the open source Second Life Viewer. Our aim is to greatly improve the usability of the Viewer through community involvement, thoughtful design, modern development methods, and a pro-change atmosphere.

Why are we doing this? Because we, the Second Life Residents, need a better Viewer, and Linden Lab isn’t getting it done — not fast enough, anyway. “

To give their ideas shape and direction they created a manifesto. It explains more precise why they are doing this and what the goals and methods will be for this project.

“The primary goal of Imprudence is simple: to greatly improve the usability of the Viewer. In particular, there are 3 aspects of usability that we intend to address:

  • Approachability. Improving comfort and ease of use, especially for new or non-technical users.
  • Efficiency. Improving speed and ease of common tasks and workflows.
  • Satisfaction. Improving the emotional effect of the software on the user. “

In many ways this is very exciting, reminding me of my early days in SL, when the scent of change was in the air. They are inviting everyone to help whatever your skill level or expertise. Non programmers are specifically invited, tell them what you think is important, or comeup with a new UI design, etc.

Though a project like this stands or falls by the community involvement and the original creators capability and desire to let it grow beyond themselves. But it seems like they are aware of that and have set it up in a way that it is very easy to continue or split off if so needed.

Let’s welcome their intentions, energy, hard work and help out where needed, and who knows what wonders will await us.

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Call for Submissions: SLCC machinima festival in Tampa 9/7

by on Aug.31, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

Rhiannon Chatnoir is putting together an impromptu machinima festival/screening at SLCC in Tampa, FL for next Sunday, Sept 7th. If you would like to submit a machinima please send an email by this Wednesday to with either a zipped attached file of it or a web URL where It can be downloaded it from. is a good place to upload a movie if needed.

I’m looking forward to some great submissions and seeing you there.

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Head Tracking in Second Life.

by on Aug.27, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

Our avatars usually are just standing around when we communicate via text or voice in Second Life, not adding any emotion or emphasis to what we say. Sometimes we enhance them with gestures or animations, but it never reaches the deep level of communication you can have with your real life face.

VR-Wear is about to change that, they have been working for several months now to integrate signal processing capabilities in the Second Life Viewer. The VR-Wear team is now able to connect a web cam and analyze your head motions in real-time and have them acted out in Second Life.

VR-Wear has released a short YouTube video showing the tracking of a head gesturing Yes and No. Their software will be released in September with a load of emotions and motions filters that will make your Avatar behave more like you. Maybe even exactly like you, but if really would want that is up for debate.

For the programmers amongst us will be the opportunity to participate and create their own versions. The project will be released under a dual license (GPL-like for non-commercial applications).


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AjaxLife for the iPhone

by on Aug.08, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

If you are unfamiliar with AjaxLife it is described as followed: “AjaxLife is a web app that allows you to log in to the Second Life virtual world from almost anywhere.”
Of course there are some limits to this, most notably that you don’t see the 3D world. Functionally you can do lot, for example chat, teleport, pay and tranfer inventory. This is usefull if you need to login to SL from a computer that doesn’t has or can’t run the Viewer.

To bring this functionality to even more devices and locations a iPhone version has been released. Though this version does not has as much functionality as the web app yet. So far you can Chat, send IMs to your your friends List and recieve IMs. This is a cool and quick way to say hi to a friend or answer a customer while you are on the road, or when you are at a boring movie for example.

To use it you can browse with your iPhone or iPod touch to . Or if you don’t have a iPhone you can use (seems to work best in Safari) and browse to in it.

Pictures of AjaxLife via the iphone tester

There was some trouble with posting this and had to redo it 2 times, my apologies for the repeats in your rss readers.

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How to stop the Tools menu from Hiding

by on Aug.07, 2008, under Virtual Worlds

No Tools Menu

The tools menu gets automatically hiding in the 1.20 release of the Second Life viewer. This was done to reduce the number of menus presented to the (new) users. It only becomes visible when the ‘Build’ window is open.

I like the idea of removing menu items, to make SL looks less daunting for the new User. It seems though that the change is unpopular with and it is going to be changed back in the 1.21 viewer. For the people who can’t wait to have it back, Jacek explained on her blog how to have the Tools menu back permanently with just some simple copy and paste.

This trick is a simple one. Since SL looks for the Tools menu by name to find which menu to hide, all you have to do is change its name, and SL won’t find it, and it’ll stay visible all the time!

The really easy way (download the replacement file):

  1. Download my pre-chewed XML file to “Second Life/skins/default/xui/en-us/”, replacing the existing one. On OS X, go to Applications, ctrl-click on “Second Life”, choose “Show Package Contents”, then put the file in “Contents/Resources/skins/default/xui/en-us/”.
  2. Restart SL, enjoy.

The slightly less easy way (edit the file yourself):

  1. Open up “Second Life/skins/default/xui/en-us/menu_viewer.xml” in your text editor. On OS X, go to Applications, ctrl-click on “Second Life”, choose “Show Package Contents”, then open up “Contents/Resources/skins/default/xui/en-us/viewer-menu.xml” with TextEdit (or your favorite text editor).
  2. Search for: name="Tools" (it’s on line 590)
  3. Change name="Tools" to name="Toolz" or some other non-Tools word.
  4. Save the file, restart SL, enjoy.

Voila, your Tools menu will now be visible all the time. Piece of cake

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