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Sansar VS Second Life.

It’s going to happen, i see it happening already. People will face Second Life off with Sansar and fear the outcome.

I’f I’m honest i am one of them, but it’s hard not to compare and even harder not to worry about loosing everything i’ve grown to love in SL. No matter how much Linden Lab say Second Life will go on and on and continue to have a full team of dedicated developers, i’m still going to worry.

We’ve been through a lot in Second Life, many moments of change that rippled out to effect a lot of users. That time when Homesteads lost value and gained rental hikes that put me in a really horrible position. That time Linden Lab outsourced the SL viewer to create SL viewer 2.0 that was utterly rejected by the user base changing the face of new feature adoption ever since. The time Marketplace made shopping malls less appealing and i ended up seeing long time Malls close down because no one was investing in them. It’s the users that keep SL in play.

I think this is the main fear factor for me when it comes to the prospect of Project Sansar. All of the long time surviving private regions that i know maybe owned by one person, but are supported by the good graces of those who pitch in with the high tier costs. The only way Escapades Island will cease to exist is if people loose interest in the Island, and the threat i see from Sansar is one of comparative costs. Why bother to continue renting land in Second Life when it’s much cheaper or even free in Sansar?

Sansar needs to happen

Im excited about Sansar, it needs to happen. It’s just a shame Second Life could not evolve, but it hit a wall of legacy crap that prevents it taking advantage of the latest Technologies and there for we are having to take this possibly painful VR transplant to a newer Platform. As an artist I’m giddy with the possibilities. Better avatars, better clothing, better landscaping, PROPER CAVES!, a mobile consuming viewer, fantastic rendering, Immersive VR, and Instancing. Oh Joy. I sigh that i might have to re-learn scripting again, and wonder if LL will adopt Apples brand new Metal Api or just run out a degraded port for mac users.

I love that Sansar is happening, i fully support the initiative and am excited about it. But i head to it with trepidation about how it will effect the communities i am part of. So many un answerable questions about how it will effect us.

Could Sansar sit beside SL as a place to go to for adventures, then return to SL for chats and hugz. I know a few people who co-exist in both SL and Opensim so i know its possible to co-exists in two virtual Worlds. But wether one would want to pay nothing in one world and pay a hefty cost in the other is something Escapades Island will have to deal with when it happens.

I must point out that while all this info about Sansar is on the SL forums, Sansar still does not exist so this whole post is speculation and an expression of my current anxieties based on the current vibes of community friends.

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OMG IT’S FINALLY HERE!!!!! XPtools

Four long years since Linden Lab first announced they were working on adding more tools for making fluid gaming experiences. I’ve blogged numerous times about how it could revolutionise Second Life. Linden Lab even asked me to guest blog on the SL forums once to discuss games.

Yesterday Linden Lab finally added XPtools (experience tools) into the main viewer allowing ‘you’ the user access to the experiences window where you can manage which experiences to be part of.

After all this time, is Experience Tools still revolutionary?, especially since Sansar is right around the corner (after just 1 year) which apparently plans from the start to be about experiences. I guess that’ll be down to what users do with XPtools now. I’m fully aware that for someone who has dreamed for years of making interactive immersive stories Sansar could be a better place to invest time and effort, but we’ll cross that problem at another date.

In the meantime i need to start putting into motion very old plans, dust off the old note books from 2010 and see whats now possible. Making experiences that require things to happen to you are a lot more easier now than it was, but it’s still quite hard. There are still a lot of limitations in SL , but XPtools has taken a huge step towards replacing lines and lines of ‘workaround’ scripting.

In truth nobody should get excited about XPtools, except people like me :-p. The best experiences in SL that use the XPtools will be the ones you don’t even realise use them. Creators who have an XPkey will use them for more than one experience and you will go from one to the other without thinking about it. This fact brings up a question about how the experiences are being listed.

Each premium user gets a specific XPkey which is used to get permissions for the experiences. That XPkey gets a profile displayed in the experiences list of which you can only have one. If you make multiple experiences such as i have, you will find you can not make profiles for each of those experiences. So really when you search for ‘experiences’ you are in fact searching ‘XPkeys’. Seems like a minor oversight to me as i have two experiences “Escapades Bashables & SL12B Dreams Dome” with three more experiences planned all using the same XPkey thats profiled as just one. Meh. Maybe ill just rebrand my XPkey profile to LOKI EXPERIENCES’ and have the profile landmark to an experience select room:-P.

Anyways Thank you Linden Lab for finally releasing the XPtools. Great things will come, just give me some time to make it happen, Escapades is about to get a whole lot more action packed :)

For experience creators here is a Wiki and here is a Forum and Knowledgeable article devoted to Xptools.

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What Second Life means to Loki

Linden Lab invited the users of Second Life to come up with short videos based around the theme ‘What Second Life means to me’

Drax was all like ‘You totally gotta do this’ and i was like ‘ I’m totally to busy making the SL12B exhibit!’. Well now the exhibit is done andSL12B is almost over, i found some time to make a quick video. Created from clips from the past few years and some taken at Sl12B i arranged a little video with a few words on thoughts about why i joined SL and why I’m still there.

Thanks everyone who supports and inspires me and loves all the crazy stuff i do, you are all awesome!

What Second Life means to me – Loki Eliot from Loki Eliot on Vimeo.

Check out other great ‘What Second Life means to me’ videos at the official forum.

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Return to Childhood Dreams at #SL12B

This weekend see’s the opening of the annual community led anniversary of all things Second Life. Each year i try and do better than before in showing whats possible do do in SL and each year there is one or two people who say something like “I remember the Childhood Dreams Dome.”

It all started when….
In 2008 i set about building something new for SL5B. It was a collaboration with friends of the Chid Avatar Community to build a large interactive story book. The hope being that it would enlighten people to what the child avatar community was all about.

But a certain american congressman had scared Linden Lab with threats of shutting Second Life down unless SL had better safeguards for real children. Somehow this caused a bizarre situation where i was told i would not be able to take part at SL5B as a child avatar for the child avatars.

“So… they’ve asked me to break it to you that you kids can’t have an exhibit there. and it’s really kills me cause I think you’re realy cool”

Well it all flaired up into massive drama and lots of people complained and Linden Lab did a U-Turn eventually allowing me to do my exhibit as long as i changed the name from Slumberland to Childhood Dreams. The exhibit was well received and many of my friends today remember the exhibit with great fondness.

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Returning to the Dreams Dome
For SL12B i decided to bring back the Childhood Dreams Dome in part because many new friends never got a chance to see it, and also because i was interested to see how i would tackle the project now that i can use Mesh, better scripting and Experience Tools.

Before you simply read and clicked signs to get the story. This time story pops up as you walk around, so there is no clicking needed.

As for rebuilding all the models in mesh rather than prims, some stuff is more detailed and how i originally envisioned them to be. Other stuff is pretty much the same as it was since i didn’t want it to be to different from the original. While the build does not push the limits of Second Life content creation, the new Experience Tools allows the story to take centre stage.

Anyways i hope everyone who visits has a great time. Happy 12th Anniversary Second Life and i look forward to the coming years as there is still plenty to explore and do there.

Visit the Childhood Dreams Dome HD when SL12B opens on sunday 21st June!

Video also on Daily Motion

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Virtual Patronage

A friend pointed me to a site called Patreon this week. Its like an on-going kickstarter service for artists and as i browsed the service as part of my continuing lookout for new creative paths, i of course started to think how it could be used with Second Life.

The way Patreon works is you choose an artist or project you like and you agree to pay them a certain amount of money each time they come up with goods, you become a patron.

A quick search brought up a surprising amount of Second Life related projects already on Patreon from support for SL Blogs, Scripted HUD, Wrestling Machinema and SL 3D Artists. The diversity of projects tantamount to how Users use the Second Life Platform.

SL already kinda works in a Patronage way. I create for the friends and fans in SL and i think many of the people who rent my cabins and plots on Escapades Island do so in support of my on going mischief.

Wouldn’t it be grand if SL had it’s own built in Patreon style system were you could help fund the doers of SL to create the type of content you want to see…. pfffttt the amount of times i’ve written ‘wouldn’t it be great if Linden Lab did this… or added that!?”.

Perhaps SL and Project Sansar just need a simple way to incorporate outside services such as Sketchfab, Patreon, DeviantArt, Flickr, Twitter, Facebork and maybe even HighFidelity Content. Maybe all thats needed is better web on a prim?

It’s probably more complicated than i make it sound, but the upcoming upgrade of SL to the Chrome Embedded Framework might not just mean users get more robust web on a prim. This could also effect SL’s internal web based pages such as SL feed and Profiles?