Archive for June, 2012

SL SF


So how cool is this: the fifth annual Second Life Science Fiction convention. I had no idea there was such a thing, but now I do, thanks to Inara Pey, who posted about it today. There are real-life TV and film actors attending and speaking. It’s highly unlikely I will get there myself, but I hope I can. (I have much less time to be in SL now that I started a new job. OTOH, I’m having a lot of fun learning about/doing SocBiz. 🙂 Always a tradeoff.)

Anyway, Inara has all the details, and slurls and advice. I suggest you check out her post. Beam me up!

AH4B

I’m four.

Sometimes that’s hard for me to believe. Four years and I’m still here. So much has changed, yet so much is the same. I have nothing pithy to say, nothing interesting. Dale assures me that the tradition for a rez day is to jump naked. Dale offered to assist me in this (I suspect in the naked part, not so much in the jumping part). *grin* Unlike Chestnut, who is reveling in a new, super-duper computer which is rezzing SL on ultra, I am on the road, with only my work laptop, not my gaming computer. This machine is laggy to the nth degree in SL. Getting naked with lag? Could be a bad idea. But I figured why not? So I got up early, rezzed in, undressed, and jumped. Alone. 🙂 Here you have it – Ahuva’s naked rez day leap. The photo titles speak for themselves. Well, maybe not completely. No question but the ducks were a bit taken aback. *grin*

Crystal Ball Musings

I’m not very good at predicting ‘THE FUTURE’. You know – what will be a hit, what life will be like in 3 years, much less 10 years. I have a mom’s sense of the future: if you try to carry all those things at once you’re going to drop something. My vision tends to be personal and short-term. I really thought virtual worlds were about to burst into the big time. I was lining up my career to be a part of it. I guess I was blinded by the light of my love. Not only didn’t it happen, but it seems to have receded nearly out of sight (for me). I think about this chain of events and wonder, as so many others do, why it hasn’t happened. I still believe that one of the major issues is that there are no tools (or almost no tools) available for the business or corporate user to access in SecondLife or OpenSim. Things may have changed, since I am out of touch, but if the applications were present, I think I’d know from (1) blogs/Twitter/chat and (2) Virtual Worlds would be gaining positive publicity and hype. Obviously, other people have other ideas as to what is and isn’t happening and why.

A little while ago, many in the SecondLife Premium User community were introduced to a new SL offering called Premium Wilderness. I was involved in my own personal issues at the time and didn’t head over there but I read several of the posts and tweets about it. As you would expect, easily 50% of the comments hated it and 48% of the comments were neutral and I will guess that 2% dared to like it. But one of my favorite things to do in SL is go to sims where someone has taken the time and effort to make rides and interactive environments – like going to an amusement park. Or – perhaps more similar – like the interactive computer books and games my son played when he was a wee little thing. So I took a quick trip there. It has possibilities. Having been in SL now for almost 4 years, I have to say that I think some of the effects were very nice. Others – not so much. It could have been me, but not one of the objects on which I tried to sit had a pose that fit. That was disappointing. I did really like the sound effects. 🙂

I understand the frustration of folks who think all of LL’s efforts should be on improving their existing product. I have to tell you – software development doesn’t really work like that. My group – oops, my former group – has been successful through 3 major take-overs because we were NEVER just working on what we had – we were ALWAYS developing the NEXT thing. We (they) are here and many many others who started with us are not here. Yes, it’s very, very hard to fix bugs, add enhancements and design new applications. But that’s what the good software developers do. I was liaison with support and with the clients – I DO understand the client experience and emotions.

Quite soon after the furor over Wilderness Experience was quieting down, Arianne Barnes (who I consider to be one of the most insightful virtual world bloggers around) posted on 3D Virtual Worlds vs MMORPGs. Arianne hit on one of the factors that SL devotees believe is KEY: User created content: “Basically, everything that makes 3D Virtual Worlds popular, can now be found in MMORPGs too, except user created content.” She goes on to say: “The MMOs are incorporating the stuff that makes 3DVWs popular. If they are to survive, the 3DVWs need to start incorporating what makes MMOs popular.” This makes a great deal of sense to me. I DO recommend you read the entire post, not just my excerpts here. Arianne is pro-3DVWs. She is not one of the many crying “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”. As a matter of fact, she points to LL Realms as a way Linden Lab is incorporating the popular MMO features. Virtual worlds are big enough for all of us – content designers, socializers and gamers.

While I have been pondering on how I wanted to approach this subject, Tateru Nino (another of my favorite bloggers and sources of information) posted about two MMOGs that ALLOW for user created content. It’s not quite the same as how it is done in SL, of course, but it’s happening. Maybe this is the mirror-image for Wilderness Experience? Of course, it may be late for both MMORPGs and 3DVWs – Facebook is neither of those and yet somehow the same (for some people. NOT me. DO NOT shoot me, folks). Facebook is pulling more people into their phones and off their powerful computer graphics cards. Prokofy Neva posted recently that Facebook is not only harming television, but that “The mobile phone is the new virtual world.” Prokofy mentions that Facebook pulls in those people who do NOT like being an avatar (my manager was among those) and people who do not like being anonymous and faceless (many of my engineering/scientist coworkers were among that demographic).

So where are we going? I don’t know. I still think that virtual worlds are going to become more mainstream, that corporations will utilize them more than is done in the present. I think that what we have now, however, is not going to be what becomes mainstream. I think we are evolving. I don’t think that “The Future” will be a hybrid of Facebook/3DVW/MMORPGs replacing all 3 of those constructs. I think there will be some other sort of synthesis – 3DVWs and MMORPGs. But of course, as I’ve already said – my crystal ball is usually opaque. *grin*

Checkers

I have stated many times that I don’t play games. That’s not completely accurate of course – there are SOME games I enjoy. Spider Solitaire, for instance. 🙂 But mostly I mean competitive games, or role-playing games, or even card games. I’ve never learned to play chess or checkers. I did learn to play Bridge and Go!, but not to any degree of proficiency. So imagine my surprise last night when I found myself playing checkers.

Lalo wanted to investigate Wild West Town. I think he plans to post about that. It was a historical treasure. *smile* I offered to keep him company while he explored and took pictures. As usual my attention wandered. A friend I’d not seen in months (maybe years) logged in and I tp’d her over to chat. I rode my horse up and down the street. Finally I wandered into the general store, hoping for a nosh. There wasn’t much in the way of food but there was a gleaming checkers board. Now while I don’t PLAY checkers, I did indeed create my own checker board and pieces. I never scripted it to control movement or to account for kings. I was relying on the players to edit the pieces.

This board was scripted. It prompted each player in turn. When you selected the piece to move, it showed you the possible moves. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t all that swift at figuring out what “forward right”, “backward left”, etc. meant. I think I only messed up twice. Anyway, I sat myself down at the board and Lalo joined me. I did warn him that not only had I never played checkers, but that I wasn’t really a very good sport (illustration: right hand).

I had beginner’s luck and took the first piece, but Lalo quickly retaliated. Even when I seemed to be ahead at one moment, it was becoming clear that only one of us really had an idea of how to play and that one wasn’t me. *grin* I thought that perhaps Lalo needed a more visible reminder of how I’m really not a good sport (illustration: left arm).

I did try unfair tactics, trying different levels of distraction and pressure (illustration: c’mon, no one could miss this one). Good thing I still had my armament from my foray into Insilico. But to his credit, Lalo was unfazed. We did finally reach a point where we both had kings. We discussed the potential future moves and mostly it looked like chasing about the board.

Lalo proposed a deal. I offered a counter-proposal, which was accepted.

Lalo Telling: I say we call this a stalemate and be done :-\
Ahuva Heliosense: *grin*
Ahuva Heliosense: how about if we say i won and be done? *grin*
Lalo Telling: OK, I’ll accept that
Ahuva Heliosense laughs and kicks over the checkerboard

*grin* Lalo is a very wise man. I crowned myself Queen of the Checker Board and Lalo headed back out to take more pictures. We did try to catch a show at the theater, but apparently it was an off night.

Not my usual musical Friday night, but a lot of fun! Check out the Wild West. It has some very neat builds and humor. Especially in the school room. And vandals have not yet broken the lovely stained glass windows in the General Store.


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