My first time in SL with the Oculus [UPDATED]

So thanks to Cinder Roxley and David Rowe i finally got my first taste of Oculus VR in Second Life on a Mac using the CtrlAltStudio viewer

And what a wonderful experience it is. I say this even though i threw up this morning from using it. CtrlAltStudio gives us the bare bones of Oculus Integration and throws up all the problems and issues i expect Linden Lab is currently working out behind closed doors. I must point out that the CntrlAltStudio Viewer has added it’s own Oculus compatibility and does not represent what Linden Lab may release in future.

Screen-Shot-2013-09-16-at-15.14.23Convincing the brain

Until i got to try this out for myself the main concern had been UI, interacting with SL’s many options , inventory, communication, how do we do all that with Oculus on our heads. Now though i feel movement, our view and keeping the immersion in SL is the more important concern of Oculus.

Lag is still the enemy, even more so with Oculus, Busy environment leads to lag, lag leads to Latency issues, latency issues lead to Brain questioning the validity of the environment it thinks it’s in and Brain questioning the validity of the environment it thinks it’s in leads to puking.

There are other things too that can lead the brain to think WTF and thats uncharacteristic movement or movement the brain was not expecting.

The most popular questions the brain will ask before communicating to stomach to throw up.

• Are we moving?

• Are we not moving?

• I can’t bend that way?

• How did you change the laws of physics?

CtrlAltStudio i think uses controls  already in the SL viewer and as such sometimes your head will suddenly rotate in a way that would represent whiplash or having your head fall off. The combination of moving your head and using the mouse for viewing direction i think causes an issue where when you look down the viewer can’t decide which direction you are facing and spins you out.

Playing around with CtrlAltStudio shows that Linden Lab can’t just simply Add Oculus support, that they would need to create an entirely new viewing experience and not just forcing people into mouse view. I expect Linden Lab to take as long as they need and don’t expect anything out this year.

Thanks again to the CtrlAltStudio team for giving us a taste of Oculus in Second Life with which we can get a sense of what works and does not work.


Ok so i made two videos. The first is of my pride and joy builds in New Babbage. This is also a good test in that New Babbage is notoriously laggy because of the massive builds (especially with my evil sculpt house across the canal). I had advanced lighting on but no shadows, and no materials because TPV’s still don’t have that feature. All in all the experience was good and it was great being able to look around. I felt a bit woozy due to a little latency issues from  slow FPS. The video itself is dark and a bit frazzled from compression so filming Babbage may have been pointless.

The second video is from my sky pirates game where i am the gunner of an airship. Where ever I’m looking is where the cannons fire. This turned out to work really well. The fact you are sitting and not controlling the movement helped a lot. You concentrate on where you are aiming and there was no latency issues due to being so high up with little else around. I did suffer from the looking down spiny issue once or twice which made me feel a bit woozy. Other Oculus explorers can try the game for themselves HERE (just click the barrel to rez a balloon)

So what made me throw up?

It’s my own fault, not the viewer or Oculus. After the sky pirates game i was on the ground and i accidentally clicked a wrong button which detached the camera from my avatar. This lead my view to lean to the left suddenly and my brain just could not handle that and told my stomach to evacuate its contents. It may also have had something to do with the Ginger Beer i drank the night before.

Ive played plenty of Oculus demos, some i can play for over an hour with no sickness issues. I believe It’s all down to the movement of your view something that the CtrlAltStudio viewer delightfully made me aware of 🙂

[UPDATE] One thing i forgot to mention was this thing about standing up and sitting down.For me at least it does seem to make all the difference. A day after my first experience i ventured back into SL with oculus again but this time i stood instead of sat and the whole experience was much better. After chatting on twitter with Rowe i realised i had forgotten to enable ‘view avatar in mouse look’ which allows me to see my feet while in Oculus.

Another first that surprised me was meeting another avatar. So far id walked around New Babbage and hung out in my building studio but not met anyone else, so when in my store suddenly turning to see someone else it was a ‘OH WOW’ moment. This sudden presence of another person stood in front of you. Shame though that i had to take the headset off to chat to them.

Expanding Second Life through the next hardware trend.

Im not really sure what this post is for, it’s probably just one of my rambling outbursts of what i believe Americans call ‘spit balling’ (really have no idea why they call it that).

I like to keep up to date on technology hype just so i feel like i’m in the nerd crowd, which is why i follow Tech Crunch and today i was reading a post by Jon Evans entitled ‘Wait, when did Software become so boring?’. 

At some point Evens says to my mind, the consumer-software gold rush that began five years ago, when Apple unveiled the iPhone 3G and its App Store, hit the point of diminishing returns some time ago. It’s time to look for new forbidding mountains. Which mostly means it’s time to look at hardware.” Being a child of Second Life i instantly looked at this with a viewpoint of SL and got me thinking this is probably true for SL also.

In regards to software SL does almost everything, content creation, collaboration, social networking, Ecommerce, but as another blogger (can’t remember who) once said, Second Life does everything! – but badly. Linden Lab seem to lack a good supply of polish for Second Life’s numerous built in services.

While Second Life structurally is still ahead of the game in consumer virtual worlds it does feel like the past 5 years have been about patching, polishing and fixing the status quo which many SL users are quite happy with. Anything thats added to SL seems not an innovation, but a catch up with whats happening elsewhere in the tech industry.

Second Life missed the hardware boat with Mobile. There was no innovative expansion of Second Life into this area, no daring risks taken to expand usage outside of the Login and into the casual mobile space.

Back to Jon Evans Article and he says We’re heading into a future of drones and sensors.

baseI hope Linden Lab are right up behind all this new hardware development. The Oculus is amazing in the glimpse it gives you for whats going to be possible in a few years time. The STEM system is another innovation in bringing motion sensor equipment to the consumer level, and even Apples latest iPhone 5s has all its motion sensor tech together now in one processing chip.

So far the likes of Oculus and STEM both have software developed for it to show off the hardwares power, and in all case i’m like ‘meh’ been doing that in SL for years, just never been able to see it or interact with it like that.

But while all this great hardware is out there with the possibility to ad great new advancement to experiencing virtual environments, unless Oculus or STEM finds it’s way into mainstream use for some reason it’s likely to remain a geek niche. But if Second Life has already realised it’ll never be a mainstream service in its current form in this time in history, will Linden Lab be willing to keep up, experiment and invest in the new hardware trend? Would LL consider developing their own hardware?

No pressure Linden Lab but i really expect you to be right at the front of this sensor lead 2nd Virtual Crusade!

Airships, Whale riders & Unicorns in space, oh my!

So over the weekend was the 3rd Anniversary of Escapades Island, technically my personal sandbox of adventure.

We followed the same pattern as previous years starting a small adventure to find a missing friend called Tepic. Then it was the Founders Tea party. In the past the tea party them has been mad Hatter and Wizard of Oz, this time i went with 2001: Space Odyssey complete with moon and used the strange black Monolith as the table. We had fun griefing ourselves.

On day 2 the saturday, events kicked off with the Sky Pirates Air Balloon competition. An arial battle between about 6 Air Ships each with a Gunner and Pilot. The winner being the last balloon in the sky and made for excellent viewing entertainment. After the Airships DJ Gemini returned to host the Pirate Tavern Party before the final event of the day where little Goblin Briknal came asking for help. After a brief chat with the Goblin King the Goonies set off to rescue kidnapped Goblin Babies from the Evil Grand Master who lives in his secret base deep under the island. After 5 years of hearing his voice over radio and after fighting their way down into the secret base the Goonies Gang finally met the evil big lizard pirate in person.


The Grand Master reveals himself to the Goonies for the first time!

Unfortunately the Goonies mission to rescue the Goblin Babies hit a snag when the Grand Master blended them all in giant blender and in doing so created a new type of Gelatinous Blue Cube. The Goonies defeated the cubes and the Grand Master and even his servant Glorb before returning to the Goblin King to deliver the bad news. Understandably the Goblin King was not best pleased with the Goonies hack job of a rescue and now see’s them as a menace on the island.

On the final day, Sunday, events started with the Extreme Whale race where Group members got the chance to own and customise an extreme whale. The result was a hilarious and fun race. Soon after the race the tradition Goony Beach party began hosted by ME, DJ Loki but interrupted by a Goony Separatist invasion lead by my own little brother SCUM! Things resembled a griefer attack as Goonies struggled to find effective weapons in their inventories. In the end a truce was agreed, i think, im not quite sure how it ended. It did end just in time for the very final event of the weekend, the Mega Brawl in which i rezzed as many monsters from my inventory as possible. Many Goonies where tired of battling at this point but a handful of visitors managed to hang in there and not crash.


So thats it for another year and on reflection i think perhaps the Goonies are getting tired of random pointless battles and dance parties but races and competitive competitions are still popular. Now I’m going to have a short break before starting work on Babbage and Halloween stuffs.

Oh and here is a video of the highlights of the weekend 🙂


Escapades Island 3rd Anniversary Plans

This weekend marks the 3rd anniversary since Escapades Island was set up on the grid. The story is before Escapades was Goony Island, a homestead with limits and stability issues. Making the choice to upgrade to a full sim opened doors to a barrage of creativity that is still going strong. The old pre-drax files Documentary promised a region full of adventure and stories and while i’m not convinced ive succeeded with the stories part, the adventure is there.


Escapades Residents and Goony Members will find a free V3 Longsleeve shirt in a group notice or outside the club house.

So to celebrate the 3rd year of Escapades island and to say thanks to those who live on the island and by doing so help support its continued existence we have a weekend of events lined up. Its basically the same as the previous two years starting with the founders tea party and ending with the mega brawl between which will be races, competitions small RP stories and parties.

Two parties for people to gather and reminisce the days of old grid are planned. The Pirate Party on Saturday at 1pm slt in the John King Tavern hosted by DJ Gemini is usually a great pirate atmosphere and with the upgraded Tavern Brawl game this year should be ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!! The second party will be on Sunday at 1pm and is a beach party with slide and inflatable monster.

As for competitions, there will first be a large scale Airship Battle on Saturday at 11pm SLT. The Sky Pirates game is a co-op game where a Gunner and Pilot battle against other Airship pairs for dominance of the skies. Who ever is left wins Sky Pirates Battle Cup and an Escapades trophy ( Grab a co-pilot and visit HERE to get some practice in before battle commences. Click the Barrel).

On Sunday at 12pm SLT there will be a great Whale Race in which contestants race each other around the Island. Tropheys will be rewarded to first, second and Third Places. We might even have a Shopping trolly race, thats not yet been confirmed. Everyone is welcome to come take part or just watch the hilarity unfold.

For role players there will be a goony adventure on Friday at 12pm slt as the gang search New babbage for a missing friend called Tepic. On Saturday at 3pm slt a special Escapades event will occur so make sure you are on the island ready to ask questions and uncover a mystery. Also if you visit Nemo beach you may find clues to possible Goony Separatists activity.

All in all this weekend looks set to be the most action packed Anniversary Escapades has seen yet!