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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?

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My last post about Oculus, my first about Sansar

Well it was fun being part of the re-hype of Virtual Reality but being a Mac user i must accept that at least with regards to Oculus it’s not going anywhere for quite some time.

I first grabbed an Oculus back in 2013 with the hope that soon i would be exploring virtual worlds as if i was actually there and the DK1 made it seem all the more possible. 

The first attempts by Linden Lab to connect Oculus to Second Life were poor but showed promise. Kickstarter Demos such as Technolust made me back them and other Oculus projects with excitement. But then the DK2 came out and while many users were expressing how much of an improvement it was, i was not so impressed. Sure the screen resolution was better but it just didn’t work out the box like the DK1 did and hinted at a decrease in support for OS X and Linux which ultimately lead to Oculus finally stating “Our development for OS X and Linux has been paused in order to focus on delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and content on Windows. We want to get back to development for OS X and Linux but we don’t have a timeline.”

What does this mean for projects hoping to create cross platform VR services like High Fidelity and Sansar? They can ether wait three or four years and hope oculus dos well enough consider it financially viable to support multi platforms, or perhaps they can start looking at other HMDs .

While i continue to read fascinating studies about how Oculus was being used for social experiments, research and projects that help people the main focus has turned to gaming and media consumption. While the Oculus Brand of VR initially retreads old consumer ground for an increasingly niche group of well off PC gamers, i find myself no longer interested in it.  Perhaps it’s time to look towards the augmented reality camp for an experience that will push VR beyond playing games and watching movies.

Yeh I’m annoyed that Oculus dropped support for the Mac, so i’ve written a prediction of how it will pan out for Oculus. Yes this is me cursing Oculus.

1. Oculus is delayed past 1st quarter of 2016.

2. Oculus comes out at a higher price than most expected

3. Oculus sells are poor.

4. Oculus decides after all it’s not financially viable to add support for the mac or Linux as it struggles with a niche of high income gamers.

5. Eveyone forgets Oculus.

Meanwhile i’m still fully entrenched in Virtual Worlds and have a lot still to explore and give in that area. Sure there will be no Oculus in my foreseeable future but there is still a lot happening off the back of it’s hype. 

 

My Hope for Sansar.

I’ve still yet to see anything of the new project from Linden Lab. Maybe it will try and add HMD support or maybe it will simply be a platform as such that future technology can much easily be added to rather than badly retrofitted to. There are small companies out there on kickstarter building fascinating amazing technologies that would fit right in on a virtual worlds. I hope Sansar will be the kind of place that will welcome those companies in and flourish. 

As for how current Second Life Users will adjust? Sometimes i feel this could be the end of Second Life, other times i doubt Sansar will grow quickly enough to establish itself Like Second Life did. What will having Sansar alongside Second life be like? Perhaps logging into the Beta Grid will give an idea? 

What if Sansar does not appeal to us old VR peoples? what if Sansar attracts mainly new people? Linden Labs Patterns managed to make a nice community of users who had never heard of Second Life, that was until Linden Lab killed it, so maybe Sansar will attract a new crowd leaving us to continue with Second Life until we all die out. Happy thought.