Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last Year's Achievement

Let me highlight a video, which is a trailer for a series of e-learning machinima, Mechatiki Productions provided the SL video filming for. It is all in german and targeted at representatives for the Austrian federation of unions.

In making the video last summer, everything had to be kind of rushed, I wish I would have had time to make even more custom animations and props ... but a lot of that e-learning stuff had to be edited in so we did what was possible within the deadline. 

Thanks and a big shout-out to Allexander Corvale, who has left SL for now sadly, and to LC Hoorenbeek and his friends who made the mass scenes possible. And special thanks to Pinkpink Sorbet, who provided major co-starring skills along with some of her original artwork.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

To Plurk?

Magggnnus Woodget, ringleader of Mechatiki Research haz a Plurk:

Follow this invite to register at this service, where Second Life is a country just like the US of A or Austria.

What is Plurk you ask? Why, a service that enables you to plurk obviously. Now if you have been living under a rock (like me) please go follow the above link and see for yourself!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Second Life on the road

When I found out that volleeSL - the Second Life client for mobile phones - wasn't ready in any touch-screen phone version, I was a tad disappointed, having recently upgraded to a LG Renoir.
My only consolation was that iPhone users were no better off than myself.
But then I decided to give the version for an older LG phone a try ... success! It runs, but it has to be said the navigation is harder than on my old Motorola, as it is designed for a phone with a keypad, and I have to switch the virtual keypad on the touch-screen from numbers to navigation keys every time I want to switch from moving horizontally to vertically and vice versa.

Have I mentioned yet that this is a graphic client?!

And if you know where you are you can actually make out little details on the tiny screen (even sculpties are rendered normally) ... in this video our avatar is inspecting Pinkpink's studio in the air - but fails in landing in the pink ashtray, since there's half-transparent green platforms obstructing the path ...
Visit this SLUrl to compare with "actual" view:

Of course volleeSL comes with it's limitations - you can't touch or right-click any objects, so inworld interactions are limited to communication. But since this is the only way to connect to SL on a mobile at all to send an IM from on the road, the ability to fly around in a graphically rendered scene is a nice add-on!

Monday, January 26, 2009

(Second) Life Like

Among the virtual worlds out there, there's a number of grids that share a lot more than being accessible with the same client softwares (Viewers) - they are based on the server code developed by the Opensim project, which in short reverse-engineered the SL server code after LL open-sourced their viewer code ... so they are basically compatible with each other and Second Life.

With significant limitations though, they all have the feel of what SL must have been like a few years ago, before I joined: sim-crossing is a pain, physics are poor, scripting is limited, no search, most have no currency, and so on ...

But still, thanks to free upload they are a alternative to the beta grid for testing animations before uploading them to SL, or sculpt textures etc. - which is what the standalone version of the Opensim server software is extremely useful for. It installs your personal region on your PC, which makes anything quite fast and lagfree (unless you pack your region with scripts that lead to errors which will make things go bad). It's also possible to host your region(s) on the net for public access, or connect it to existing grids, something I can see great potential in.

Had I written this post a week ago I would have mentioned the Openlife grid as the most important of these alternative public grids out there. Only, Openlife has dropped out of the Opensim project recently to go proprietary, locking out all other viewers than their own, pissing off users of the various existing viewers including Second Inventory, a backup tool that allows creators to transfer their content to other grids. 

Hence they are not on this current list of Opensim grids: (And hence I removed it from my list of grids to visit on a frequent basis.)

Advantages of Opensim over SL : a region in an Opensim region can support 45000 prims - compared to 15000 in SL; prims can have sizes larger than in Second Life; end of list.

At some point interoperability of grids is an aim of the project, but this will need a lot of sorting out of how to handle assets when crossing grids beforehand. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Second Life online shopping revolution

This week's big news around the metaverse will re-shape the online market for Second Life products greatly - Linden Labs have purchased the two largest web-trading platforms XstreetSL and onrez, sparking lively discussions on blogs and forums.

While Xstreet will be continued, onrez is closing it's doors as soon as Feb 11th 2009, without as much as a direct notice to account-holders so far. This leaves little time for those who exclusively used this platform in the past to transfer their items to XstSL. It also un-surprisingly upsets a number of people who used the onrez vendor system for their networked retail inworld. 

"If you are an OnRez shopper with a current balance," and happen to read this in time "please transfer your account balances to a Second Life account before February 11, 2009." LL say ... and I wonder why they don't just transfer any left-over balances, duh. This is only some three weeks, what if somebody happens to be busy in RL and not read any SL related blogs for the next month? (Also as I always found the onrez search more accurate - possibly because XstSL's item-descriptions are missing tags - I am at least a little disgruntled onrez isn't kept running for a longer while, the power bill for those few computers can't be all that much if even the ESC could afford it so long without taking any comissions on the sales at onrez) ... Anyway, instead of withdrawing you can also spend your remaining balance at the Mechakitty onrez-shop, following the Banner in the side-bar before it's going to be gone!

On the bright side Xstreet will get more visibility starting on the SL webpage, probably in the SL viewer soon. And the pain of listing items on both pages is also a thing of the past of course.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

:PinkPinkProductions - :PPP

Pinkpink Sorbet, who was mentioned as artist in residence in my first post here, has moved into her own parcel next to Mechatiki Space, where she is taking her furniture designing to a new level ...
Currently she is working on inhabitable ashtrays and already they look more than comfy.
As a spin-off of the round sculpty one, there are a couple of ashtray-sized ashtrays available in our XStreetSL shop, since :PPP was nice enough to pass me the sculpty texture in exchange for her parcel ;D