Watching the VR Hype pass me by

A lot of people appear to have followed me on twitter based on my #VR interests which started with oculus and has encompassed anything remotely #VR related. I get messages that such and such has added me to their ‘PEOPLE OF VR’ list or ‘VRgeeks’ list. But what am i in the larger scheme of the new VR Hype?

I keep asking myself ‘am i over rating myself as a VR User?’. Some VR Enthusiasts do not even recognise Second Life as a VR platform. They are of course wrong. The gaming community can not just waltz in with their Immersive presence technology and claim VR to just mean their new sense of presence in a game.

I decided to make a list of the things that support my interest in VR and things that seem to prevent me from being a full VR Hype Geek.

Things that support my VR interest.

• I own the Oculus DK1 & DK2.

• I have backed kickstarters for both ProVR and Sixsense STEM body tracking.

• I have a leap motion VR hand tracker.

• I’m on the Alpha Test for High Fidelity’s VR world platform.

• I’ve been a user of the virtual world platform of Second Life for almost 10 years.

I’ve been part of a VR community since before the Oculus came along and reminded everyone.  I can see how the extra immersion of a head mounted display (HMD) would expand the types of interactions and experiences I’m already sharing with friends around the globe in Second Life. Who wouldn’t want stand in a place they had built themselves and invite their friends to hang out with in the extra sense of presence HMD’s and motion trackers give?

Things that detract from my VR interest.

• Im a mac user.

• I’m an iPhone user

• Im a Second Life User

• i’m not a gamer

• Im not a game developer.

Sadly I’ve found myself with a completely incompatible set up to really be into the new VR Hype. Second Life as pointed out is over 10 years old and struggles to keep up to speed on the Mac platform. But even Oculus seems to be sluggish on Mac as they seem to put more effort into making Oculus mainstream with Samsung Gear VR which i can’t use because i have iPhone. On top of this I’m not really a gamer. The demos are nice little distractions trying to showcase to mainstream how VR can be useful, but there is a million virtual world users out there who already understand the importance of virtual realities and use it every day for a multitude of reasons that benefit them and their friends.

What if all the regular people who would find virtual reality useful are already using virtual reality? great for Linden labs new thing?

Escapades Instants: Instant Fun for SL land owners

As a land owner you want control over what visitors can rez. To often you end up returning lots of trash left behind like the odd condo, but you don’t really want to stop people from rezzing stuff and having fun? Well thats were my Escapades Instants come into play. 

Escapades Instants are a range of rezzers that allow anyone to click and rez a fun temporary vehicle. These are toys i created over the past 4 years for my Island Anniversary parties and are meant to bring instant fun.

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The Mini Tug Boats: These little tug boats are cute and were the first racing vehicles i built for escapades. The Barrel will rez a tug of random colour. Perfect for those little water spaces.

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The Steam Shopping Trollies: Randomly rezzes from three different paint jobs. These trollys actually seat two people for high speed shopping trolly action. Great for urban street fun.

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The Extreme Whales: These big friendly whales love giving new friends rides around the coasts of the the Grid. Perfect for slow moving calm adventures.

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The Dodgem Cars: Classic 80s style speeding dodgem cars that fall apart as you bump into your friends. When together in a gang of friends these dodgems will leave you with tears in your eyes from laughing to hard.

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Surfing Squid: With planks strapped to their backs, these giant squid can be great fun on the virtual waves.

Each Escapades Instants pack also comes with check point banner for those who wish to hold races at events. Great for just placing on your land and adding that extra bit of instant fun for your visitors.

 

Fantasy Faire: The Dark Tears of Poppetsborough.

One of the great things about Fantasy Faire that makes it stand out from many of the other festivals in #SL is the diversity of what you can find there, and I don’t mean products on sale. 

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Someone cleverly dressed up the bright white Relay Vendor is something more suitable to the theme of the paper world

Sure fantasy Faire is full of stuff to buy and this is one of the main fund raising techniques deployed with the full bright white old prim vendors that look out of place in the carefully crafted medieval huts.

Another fund raising technique used caters for the Fantasy RPG crowd. This entails a story that encourages visitors to contribute donations to Cancer Research as part of a role-play driven story. A popular version of this is the Jail & Bail where someone has been put in a cage and can not be released until enough funds have been raised to meet bail requirements. In many ways i find this a much more rewarding way to raise funds. To catch up on the events of the day visit the Fantasy Faire Blog recap pages.

 

 

The Dark Tears of Poppetsborough. 

The people of the Poppetsborough region at Fantasy Faire are running a series of role-play fund raising encounters based around the appearance of big black holes that threaten to consume the paper world.  A group of Kids known as the Mouse Guardians are helping the towns people along with visitors of Fantasy faire to find Wells of Knowledge that have run dry. By supporting them visitors can help get the wells flowing again with their donations and hopefully save the paper world from succumbing to darkness.

The first Well has been discovered and is now flowing again. The Mouse Guardians and friends will attempt to get the second well flowing today (Monday 27th April) between 3 – 5pm slt at Poppetborough. If you want some light hearted role-play fun, either joining the crazy banter or just standing to the side listening to the story unfold, everyone is welcome to come enjoy the experience and help the Well to flow once more.

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Tales of the Great Mouse.

Yesterday the Mouse Guardians gathered to tell tall tales from off the tops of their heads about the Great Mouse who became the inspiration for the guardians. Thanks to StrifeClaw i will now post the tales for your enjoyment and if you wish to become a member of the Mouse Guardians perhaps these tales will inspire you 🙂

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The Beginning

“Long ago in an ancient Library that we now sit far above, a tiny mouse climbed atop a mountain of books that were cared for by an old man named Jack Dot’n’Comma.  The mouse sneezed from all the dust. and then fell into Jacks hands safely, where he muttered about the clumsiness of mice.”

“But up above something unexpected and wonderful was happening. A book had opened and a world of paper was being created along with a race of paper beings known as the Poppets.”

“Jack was delighted and surprised by the many magical things he found in this new world, including a small paper train which took passengers between worlds despite traveling only in a circle, people from other stories and lands seemed to visit this strange new world, though some were friendlier than others.”

“The Poppets were kind but frail just like their world, and Jack did his best to assist and preserve it. But it was the Mouse that often stood up to the dangers that came though he was no larger than any other mouse once upon a time.

When the Mouse first entered Poppetsborough even he had no idea how he had come to create a world just by sneezing.  His curiosity and need to know is what drove him to discover the secrets of Poppetsborough.  It was he who greeted the Poppets and befriended them slowly one by one, from the paper cats to the dogs and paper people. It was he who first discovered the Wells of Knowledge that have since been well hidden because the Wells are the source of Poppetsborough’s magic.

And that is what began the Mouse on his first Journey to being a Guardian.  He became the protector of the Well from a force that arrived on the magical paper train.  It was wicked and wanted to steal the magic of the Wells.  It was the mouse that managed to outwit his foe though it was tiny and afraid. What evil he triumphed over is unknown even to the Elemental Guardians for we were not there when the threat made its move.”

“But that is how the Mouse Guardian began, he was not always large nor was he a warrior. The Magic of Poppetsborough allowed that over time as he slowly grew into his role after he outwitted a Giant and made it fall far below where it sank and made a sea as well as many other threats.”

“It was doing this that lead him to be revered by the Mouse Guardians that arrived, for Jack had other unexpected allies. The Elemental Guardians of the Fairelands whom would visit him often soon brought children to defend this world of imagination and wonder. It was these children that took up the cause of protecting Poppetsborough long after The Mouse guardian disappeared.”

“Unfortunately now the world of Poppetsborugh is being torn apart by the holes and tears of nothingness.  So it is the duty of the Guardians of Earth, Air, and Mouse to gather allies to stop this from continuing.”

-Strifeclaw Guardian of the Earth Stone

 

How Tepic met the Great Mouse

“As yer can see.. by my magnificent tail, though course the tails mice have ain’t bad, just not quite so… well… magnificent… I is a fox by nature, not usually best mates with mice…but i was wanderin about an found meself in a place with words all over the walls, the streets an the roofs….

“They were fierce lookin, an closed in, as if they thought I were gonna bust up the place….. it looked bad fer me, after all, the odds were bout twenty ter one, an i were sure ter get pasted….i took me stand, back to the spine of a book of heroic tales…..an prepared to sell me life dearly.

“Then the folk in front of me parted, to leave space for the biggest mouse I had ever seen to come forward…..well, it looked grimmer still, the furry fiend in front of me, an i can tell yer now, though i tried ter keep me teeth from chatterin, me legs were turnin ter jelly!”

“But then, when I thought me last minute had come, the mouse smiles at me an says “Welcome to Poppetsborough, brave cub, will you join the Guardians of this world?”

“Now it was cus I stood up an were ready ter go down fightin that the mouse saw me worth, an invited me ter join the Guardians, bringin with me the cunning of the fox ter the bravery of the other Guardians!

“So yep, I agreed, an the lesson of me story is, stand up fer yerself, an things will work out……. though it’s usually best ter have a big gang of friends ter back yer up!”

-Tepic Harlequin  Fox boy/Mouse Guardian 

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Bubble warmth of Poppetsborough

“Not long after Poppetsborough was sneezed out of the book the people noticed that the weather was changing.  In between the book covers they were nice and snug but out here, breezes began to blow.

“For the first time in their lives, they felt cold.  They wanted to be warm, but a fire would be a disaster they tried making a stove using dust for smoke so it would look warm but it made everyone sneeze.

“One of the smaller Poppets was playing with a bubble pipe and they got an idea that since the wind blew so much, they put up a pinwheel and it turned round and round. and they put lots of bubble makers on it.  Now when the wind turns, bubble-smoke rises up the chimney it looks like a nice warm fire and keeps the Poppets warm.”

-Taylor Muggins Mouse Guardian

 

The tale of the Great Mouse tails tale.

“Once upon a time the great mouse was on a quest to find the great cheese cave of keith, but as he walked through the forest of delightful springs, suddenly a he was tangled up in a ball of string.  And as he dangled there up walked a ragged man with a pointy hat.

“Who has dared to tangle me?” asked the mouse.

“I am the Bard of Bards,” said the Bard, “And I have captured you for you are the great mouse.”

“But what does a bard need of a mouse?” asked the great mouse.  “I have nothing of worth to a Bard.”

“Oh but you do,” said the Bard of Bards for a bard is a man who strolls the lands collecting tales to tell and sometimes they play music to help liven their stories.  “I know of you, oh great mouse, I have heard many a tale of your adventures and I have come to collect all of them and seal them within my WORD HORDE.

“Why is that so important to you?” asked the mouse, “For they are simply tales?”

“My dear mouse,” replied the Bard of Bards with a wicked patronizing grin.  “Do you know nothing of bards and the power we have?”

“No,” said the mouse

“Everyone goes through their lives  leaving behind stories,” said the Bard.  “But only those collected by us bards are remembered and told over and over again. Without the word hordes, nothing is remembered, and those who have the bigger horde has the most power.”

The Bard of Bards continued, “I have taken many other bards word hordes and gathered them together in my own, and now I will add your tales to mine to be the biggest of all word hordes.”

“I see,” replied the great mouse, “but you cant just take my word horde.”

“Why not?” asked the Bard of Bards.

“Because the tale of the Great Mouse who contested with the Bard of Bards would not be a good story if there was no contest.”

“You are indeed a wise mouse,” laughed the bard of bards.  “For it is true, I can not take your word horde from you until I have defeated you in a bardic duel.”

“Alright,” says the mouse, “how does one win in a bardic duel?”

The Bard moved to untangle the great mouse from the ball of string before he removed his hat which had small holes in it and explained to the mouse.  “In my hat are some objects, we must each pull from it and what ever comes out you must tell a tale.  The words will know who has won.”

The mouse agreed with an innocent twitch of the nose.

“You may go first” says the Bard of Bards holding the hat down for the mouse to reach into it.

“So the mouse reached into the hat and rummages about then finally withdraws his little mouse paw to reveal…a leaf.

“There you go,” says the Bard, “Now tell a story.”

There was a short pause before the mouse began, “Once upon a time there was a warrior who served a great king, and the king had a beautiful queen.  But the queen loved the young warrior and they got caught and taken to the king.

“The king was angry.  He felt betrayed and he was about to kill them both when a magical fae  took pity on the warrior and queens love.  She appeared and said “By the spirits of the tree give these two a chance, give them a choice.”

The king bade the fae to continue, “Choose to let them die at your hands or offer them to only spend time together when the leaves are green.”

The King laughed and agreed because he lived in the North and it always snowed.  The King turned to his captives, “I will let the warrior choose, death or only to be with my queen when the leaves are green.”

As the warrior was about to decide death for he could not ever consider sharing his love, he looked down to see a holly leaf.

“I choose to be with her when the leaves are green.”

“GRANTED,” said the woodland spirit.

“Ha, come with me, said the king to the queen, but she refused.

“For you said I can be with him all year since there are always green leaves somewhere in this world.”

And so the warrior got to be with the Queen forever after and the king felt his foolishness till the end of his days.

“Sorry about my pauses,” said the great mouse, for he had made up most of the story as he went and had paused many times.

“That was quite some tale, said the Bard King, “But now it is my turn and I know hundreds of better tales for everything in my hat.”

“But as the Bard reached into the hat, unknown to him the mouse stuck his tail through one of the small holes in the bottom of the hat.

The Bard grabbed and pulled out out the tip of the Great Mouse’s tail.

“Oh wow,” said the great mouse, “are you going to tell a tale about my tail?”

The Bard King was speechless.  The Bard had heard tales of the great mouse, but none so far had he learned that were about the Mouse’s tail.

“Whats the matter?” asked the Mouse, “Dont you know any tales about my tail?”

“If I did I would not be trying to obtain your word horde now would I!?” barked the Bard of Bards in frustration.

“Ok, I am waiting as you did for me,” said the mouse.

“But I don’t know anything about your tail.”

“Make it up,” giggles the mouse.

The Bard of Bards tried but all he could do was describe the tail in front of him, that it was thin and pink and a Mouse’s tail.

“Is that it?” asked the mouse in surprise.

The Bard king cursed at the Mouse, but it was clear he had lost the contest and his words had no power over the Mouse now.

“I guess I win the duel, now begone you mean old Bard and never come back.  It’s one thing to know and memorize every story, but if you cant use your imagination to make your own then you can never beat a mouse with a tail.”

The Bard King retreated before the Great Mouse, who then continued his journey.

– Loki Eliot  Mouse Guardian

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The Tears of Poppetsborough

I think it is time for one last tale.  It is a very important tale.  Once upon a time there was a gathering of Mouse Guardians and their allies.And terrible holes began to form in their own home while they tried to celebrate the anniversary of their Hero.

It was then that they followed the clues to the riddle and Found the Well of Knowledge they sought, and called on their friends to join them the next day to fill it.  Because they knew that it was only with the help of strangers that Poppetsborough could be saved.

The story was us and the time is now.  Let us go search near the statue of Jack Dot’n’Comma.

“Loki followed Jimmy,” said Loki as he became a part of his own story.  Soon all the children gathered and started writing their own story as they went.

“Here he is, said Myrtil,” Myrtil proclaimed.

“Yes,” said the Guardian of the Earth. “And here is the statue of Jack. The riddle said to search the sands near Jack”

So the children searched and the Well of Inspiration was found and raised out of the sand once again.  Though more holes appeared there was now hope, but the Elemental Gaurdian warned that they would need everyone gathered again tomorrow to fill the Well once again.

The Gaurdians dispersed to spread the story and let everyone know that they were welcome to come be part of that story, the story to save Poppetsborough from destruction.

– Strifeclaw Guardian of the Earth Stone

Fantasy Faire: Have you got what it takes to be a Mouse Guardian?

Once long ago in an ancient library a small mouse did sneeze and from the tumbling books the town of Poppetsborough did appeared. From there the mouse had many adventures in this new world and soon became a hero to the people.

So starts this years Fantasy Faire,  the greatest virtual reality fantasy extravaganza running from 23rd of april until the 3rd of may on the Second Life Grid. Explore the many imaginative creations and shop till you drop with proceeds going towards Relay For Life cancer research. But thats not all….

popetborough

No one had the slightest inkling of what was about to happen as the sun rose that day…

 

As with last year there are opportunities to Role-play with stories and encounters to experience in character over the coming week.

“The great brave mouse has long since gone, but his legendary deeds of honour and courage live on in the Mouse Guardians who have sworn to uphold the virtues of the Mouse Guardian Code.”

 The Mouse Guardian Code.

This year the Rickety Weasel kid avatars and friends have gathered in a paper town called Poppetsborough where they are known as the Mouse Guardians who follow and ancient code…

• Protect the weak and defenceless
• Refrain from the wanton giving of offence
• Fight for the welfare of all
• Avoid unfairness, meanness and deceit
• Eat plenty of cheese
• At all times speak the truth
• Never turn your back upon a foe (especially cats)

mouseguadian

‘we need heros’ they cried, ‘we need the legendary Mouse Guardians ‘

 

The Mouse Guardian Dress Code

A Mouse Guardian can be recognized for they wear Mouse ears and or tails in honor of the great mouse guardian. Mouse Guardians also have a secret greeting. When they meet they acknowledge each other by sneezing, a homage to how Poppetsborough was formed.

The Mouse Guardians often gather at the Poppetsborough Train Station where a statue of the great Mouse Guardian can be found.

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FREE STUFFS

There is a FREE Mouse Guardian Pack in a spinning Box at the Poppetsborough Train station. The Pack includes Mouse Ears, a tail and Sneezing Gestures for when greeting others.

Role Play Encounters.

Each day something will happen starting on friday 24th. The Fantasy Faire music stream will have news flashes about what’s been happening and the FF Role-players group will post notices to catch up on whats happened the previous day. (To join the FF Role-players group, please Instant Message Saffia Widdershins.

So come join us over the next few days, become a Mouse Guardian and wonder the lands of Fantasy Faire upholding the Mouse Guardian Code!

High Fidelity: I shouldn’t have signed up :-p #VR #SL

So i’ve been an Alpha for High Fidelity over a year now and really i’m one of the last people they should have accepted.

I’m a content creator in that other virtual world Second Life and I’m able to bring my creativity to life there because of the great tools Second Life has to offer. It’s a little presumptuous to think that those same tools would be copied in other virtual worlds and in the case of High Fidelity it’s as alien as it could be.

Of course HyFy is deep in Alpha development, and while i’ve been unable to create the sorts of things i have in Second Life (almost nothing at all in fact) i’ve kept my mind open for what may lay ahead. In many ways the content is not important to HyFys future, it’s the services that can be built on it and drive content creation. What you can do there now is the bare bones of an experience such as choose an avatar, set up a space and import FBX files. This might seem underwhelming for hardcore Second Life Users but its a coders paradise.

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I have my own HyFy domain called Never Space. Though its hardly ever up and just has an asteroid with a park bench on it. I’ve since tried to upload more stuff but I’m still having trouble with FBX file formats.

 

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Im most interested in making avatars in High Fidelity. Ever since seeing Faceshifts ability to transfer the nuances of your expressions to you avatar i’ve wanted to do that. But making an avatar hasn’t been as simple as i expected what with FBX file format troubles and licensing of software. I did manage to create this Lokibot avatar which floated about in the air. It’s since been deleted from the HyFy inventory :-p

 

How i am seeing it, HyFy is a platform for the next Google to come along and create a service that offers something for VR users.

How the HyFy Alpha looks now i’m confident won’t remain so for long. I feel maybe, especially in my little VR bubble that people expect it to be a virtual world you build from the inside, but I’m starting to think i should come at this alpha from a UNITY/UNREAL developer viewpoint. With HyFy being pretty open with scripting and hosting, it would only take one dexterous developer to create a plugin to import an entire OculusVR demo from Unity3D. Perhaps it is from that dev crowd HyFy should be attracting interest from, rather than me who just uses tools already available to create content.

I’ll keep poking at it because eventually someone will make the tools that will unlock my imagination… or allow me to order pizza :-P.