Cory Ondrejka’s fabulous slideshow

Cory Ondrejka explains the complexities of Virtual Worlds so wonderfully in this slideshow. It’s selfexplanatory – simple – informative – and extremely tidy.This is the third slideshare I’ve seen today – and they’re all great. I sometimes wonder if I have it in me to focus entirely on someone speaking without a beautiful slideshow. Can I learn without visual stimulation anymore?

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Second Life Coca Cola vending machine

“Not Coca Cola but the essence of Coca Cola” – well that’s branding for you. But it’s really well thought out and has to be one of the best commercial ventures into virtual worlds I’ve seen so far. They’ve really embraced the collaboration era and that has to be admired. Clearly understanding that avatars are “thirsty for experience” – I’m impressed. I’ll be eagerly monitoring their success. Although I was rather hopeful that there would be more “set your brand free to be played with” as discussed in the Building Businesses in Virtual Worlds panel at State of Play V. This seems to be more restricted ehm…gameplay? interaction? from what I can see. But I haven’t taken the time to experiment with them myself yet – so I really shouldn’t be too critical.

State of Play Conference

It was fun!
The conference started off with a bang. We got to see Glenn Thomas’ “Ideal World. A Virtual Life Documentary” – which is brilliant (Glenn’s also a super dooper, charming and smart man, by the way!). He’s really managed to get the full compass of The Second Life story into it and I applaud him for it!
The panels were exciting and from vast disciplines – which I thought was great! Some of the conference delegates (220 attending) had some amazing questions to the panels, which brought some great insight and discussion. I’m not too comfortable writing in detail here, as I’m in the middle of writing other articles for a serious publication. I’m not used to all this journalism thinking and I’m not sure what’s allowed and not in duplication matters on my own personal blog. So let me tread lightly till stuff gets published.
I’ve met some truly amazing people which I hope to keep in touch with. Lots of bright and colorful minds were present and I felt so privileged to meet them. All shall be mentioned when I dwell deeper into stuff here.
I found being a ‘journalist’ quite hard, however. Finding stuff that was news worthy for ‘regular people’ was challenging, which is why we’re holding off publication till it’s all in a lovely understandable package. It’s also quite hard finding the correct Norwegian words for stuff – any Norwegian readers out there willing to have a go at ‘in-world’? It’s such a great way to pinpoint what you’re trying to describe, “they met in-world”, “in-world business transaction”, I just can’t seem to find the right Norwegian wording for it. I have also found a great appreciation for the word ‘business’ in English. I think we have about alternatives in Norwegian and I find none of the satisfactory! Speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

That Was Dennis

This is just absolutely brilliant! An entirely new form of machinima, at least for me. Very narrative, like someone’s watching an old film and remembering odd things while watching. I’m very impressed!

Brought to us by Rusty Whispers and Lit Fuse Films, which I’m definitely checking out as soon as tonight’s work is done (why does writing suddenly become so hard when you HAVE to?). It’s Second Life, right? Or is this complete animation, therefore not machinima at all? Well, Kotaku calls it machinima, so it must be! ;)

Is the Second Life hype brought on by overly eager marketing types, killing Second Life?

Yesterday my feed reader was bombarded with Norwegian articles and blog posts about Second Life. Now, being a ‘job hunter’ who wants to continue working within the virtual world field, I get quite excited about such days! When I hardly have time to read all the Norwegian news about a virtual world – that means my future job prospects are looking up, right? Ssshhhh – don’t answer that – let me continue being deluded, sometimes ignorance is bliss and hopeful! ;)

The attention, it seems, comes from Wired’s “How Madison Avenue Is Wasting Millions on a Deserted Second Life” by Frank Rose about how most places in Second Life are deserted and businesses aren’t finding the consumer wealth they were looking for. I’m not certain what to make of it all. Two thoughts spring to mind: 1) Refreshing to see Second Life getting som critical press coverage from Wired 2) Do I really care enough about Second Life to go defend it on the different critical Norwegian blogs and websites? Not really.

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"The top tier of Second Life is run by the women"

Excellent Metaverse Territories introduced me to a great blogpost about Second Life from Broken Toys called “Utopia Hidden Underground: Another Look at SL“.

All in all it sums up nicely with:

“That core of the singularity is what is actually Second Life’s core
strength, and what keeps its users struggling through the level grind and the
broken client and the lack of governmental, er, Linden oversight. Because as a
social MMO, once you get past all the clutter and dross, SL actually works. I
can honestly say that nowhere else online have I argued about Islamic
fundamentalism at one in the morning while lounging in a pool with a half-naked
demon-thing. Much like how people played Ultima Online despite its rampant
peekay and endless bugs simply because it was the promise of something new,
people find the core of SL is actually the other players. That’s something
that’s difficult to break.”

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William Gibson coming to Second Life!

Wow! It’s a whole event, not just a lecture!

“Over the next few weeks – to celebrate and, yes, promote his new novel
Spook Country – we’re planning a range of William Gibson activities in Second
Life; we’re screening his fine and strange movie No Maps for These Territories;
there’s a competition to design an avatar for the man himself; we’re giving away
shipping containers packe with Gibson goodies and at the beginning of August,
William Gibson himself will be coming into Second Life to read from Spook
Country and answer questions.'”

Sounds like a kids tv show only for grown-up nerds. I’ll be signing on – I have no intention of trying to design his avatar (what a daunting task) but I wouldn’t mind watching No Maps for These Territories in Second Life.

You know what I’d pay to see? A debate between William Gibson’s Cyberspace vs. Neal Stephenson’s Metaverse – with visuals! Gorr! That’d actually be a great movie, if done wisely and creatively! ‘

Seems like we need to sign on to get the schedule.

Virtual World Politics News

Where to start?
How about the “u gotta be kidding me!” news:
The US Congress has announced that it will be issuing a potential taxation of virtual goods report in August. I’m a bit perplexed about this. Firstly – how are they going to define what is virtual? And second of all, I don’t think we’re anywhere near ready to discuss this issue ‘officially’. I’m a bit worried that they’re going to ruin the creative gaming freedom that these virtual worlds offer by bringing up such invasive things as taxes. And when there’s just a handful of gamers this could apply to – is it really worth it? I’m all for that academics, gamers and designers discuss it, because it is important that we think about these things and have ready proposals and not in the least definitions before such matters do become official – but not the US Congress! Maybe I’m just skeptical because I’m European. I’m just not as thrilled as everyone else seems to be. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the ‘real’ value of virtual goods – I really do! And I abhore all the journalists writing headlines about virtual goods being fake – yet worth real money. I just think that the ‘realness’ of such things has to come about another way than through a governmental force like the US Congress. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, they do say ‘potential’.

Second Life

So I’ve been cruising through Second Life this evening – starting to get my grips – but my lag is just awful! I still haven’t actually invested in any Linden dollars, but I suppose it’s just around the corner.

I’ve just stopped by the Social Simulation Research Lab and found bunches of interesting reads! I’ll have to print out some stuff so I can enjoy the summer as well – I want a sun friendly laptop sooo bad! Life would just be near perfect then!

But for now I’m happy to have found SLED Picayune that has taken the trouble to gather several tutorial videos. Time for me to stop being a tourist and really start getting involved with this world that I have such high hopes for – so tutorials are a blessing!

I was really impressed with DnB Nor’s island (Slurl). A few weird things – but that’s half the fun! The Second Life Newspaper – Finance, has a good description of their tour.

This whole copyright licensing of media thing


Like the rest of the world, I became enchanted by ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent when I saw Paul Potts‘ remarkable performance on YouTube – oh the tears! This of course led to hunger for more and I randomly went through some of the related YouTube videos. At one point I thought ‘hang on – I’m sure they’ve got a website with better quality clips and a much better organisational overview’. And they do -yay! But no – I get this picture up. “This content is not for viewing outside of the UK due to rights reasons”. Urgh! My thoughts go to the delightful Ben Hammersley‘s words:

The audience is actually quite happy to pay for these things. Witness the sales of DVD box-sets, or the success of the downloadable episodes of hit shows in the iTunes Music Store. Again, though, the television industry shoots itself in the foot. Would I pay for downloadable episodes of the Daily Show? Yes. Will anyone take my money from me? No. Why? Because I’m in the wrong country. Well, I tried. I’ll be thinking about how little their broken business model is my problem as I boot up my torrent software, download the show, and watch the whole thing, including the adverts and any in-show sponsorship.It’s a curious business indeed that turns away customers. It’s exceptionally puzzling when an industry ignores offers of cash. The reason for this seemingly counter-intuitive approach to business – where those with the supply actively avoid those with the demand – is that selling programming is not the business channels are in.

The Guardian, March 20, 2006

“Get with the programme”

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