SL IBM islands hosting some major gatherings

Friday saw one of the large theatres on the IBM island complex play host to the award ceremony for the GreaterIBM Connection’s Machinimania challenge. For the past few months, several teams have been honing their virtual filming skills to capture some cool in-world videos.

(click through the thumbnails for larger images)



The invitation suggested a dress code of black tie, and as a result hundreds of well-dressed avatars packed in to the Kearney Theatre for the glittering event. The videos were shown on large screens at the centre of the theatre. At the peak of the event, we had over 160 avatars across four sims (the theatres are built at the corners of four sims to maximise our ability to host large events). We did lose the host a couple of times (!), but he was able to get back online pretty quickly.



After keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, eventually Boris Frampton announced the winners, producing the results from his Oscars-style golden envelope!


Congratulations to all of the winners, and to the GreaterIBM Connection for staging and hosting such a cool event.

Update 22 Mar: you can now visit the GreaterIBM blog for the results and links to the videos.

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Timeless Prototypes London Eye is back

Whilst doing a long 2 hour customer demo I happened to be flying around the IBM islands. You may think that I must know everything that is going on but the joy of discovery still pervades the metaverse with so much happening.

I noticed Timeless “multigadget” Prototype’s excellent London Eye build on IBM 3. Its well worth a look. I had hooked Timeless up with Boris Frampton and the greater IBM guys, but had not yet seen the eye arrive anywhere.

I saw it originally as a part of the Walk for Life charity event last year.

Take a look when you get a chance its very good secondlife://IBM+3/132/193/139/

Picture from Snapzilla
Whilst on Timeless have a look at Adam’s article over at Reuters about the real life multigadget that someone has created.

Red Nose Day, Second Life, Just Give

I should have blogged about this earlier the official red nose day site has a link to some real red nose places for comic relief in Second Life
We should have all done this as a UK based charity with a world impact.
So its not too late come get a tshirt
red nose day

* Oli Itoku’s House (
* Corro Moseley @ Daden Limited(
* Valentino’s Design Studios (

Mashing up Kaneva

One way and another epredator in Kaneva managed to get on the early beta so I have been wandering around the new virtual environment. Or as has been pointed out myspace with 3d.
I am sure that this will get a lot of press and be very popular, but as 3pointd points out, it is another place you have to upload content to and seems less geared to the mashup culture that we have all become used to.
However, that did not stop me. Last night I adorned my mini apartment with a picture of me in Second Life.
I also managed to set up eightbar as a private group and get us a conference room.
What it really lacks for me personally though is the creative freedom that we have in Second Life. The ability to change anything, build anything, express anything is lost at the moment in something like Kaneva. or
I am sure that will change as more worlds emerge, but it really is a key part. Its the difference between a website and wiki. It would appear to also be like PS3 Home in that regard.
This is not wrong, companies want to own the brand experience, and provide support and control. However in this self organizing wave we have now I am not sure it is enough? Just my virtual tuppeny.

Second Life temporarily closed to new members [Update: not so much]

Second Life recently closed the new registration signup process.

Sorry, we’re currently jam-packed

To ensure the best possible experience for all of our Residents, we are temporarily limiting new account registrations. There’s been a huge influx of new Residents into Second Life and we are working hard to keep up with the demand.

Please check back soon to create your new account. Be sure to use special offer code WAIT76 for a free Linden Lab gift pack. Look for it in your inventory after you log in. Thanks again for your patience.

I don’t see it mentioned on the official Second Life blog yet.

I keep telling people about virtual worlds and they keep signing up for everything from EVE to Second Life.. so inevitably I got a couple of complaints people saying that they want to try SL but can’t. This is a shame, but hopefully won’t last long.

Update:Yoz Linden clarifies the situation in a comment below. Grid back up and registration is open again

Does it matter where something is?

I have had lots of conversations recently about where things are, where they are hosted what platform they are on. This applies not just to metaverse conversations but photos, films and mobile devices.
Whilst there is clearly a current technical need for things to exist somewhere, either as part of a service or just personal storage the concepts of grid computing and peer to peer networks are likely to start to help us not consider where and what version, but just what do we have. This applies in a business and creative context.
Take this image for instance from snapzilla (which I read is about to have a major upgrade too) cars
Now, does it matter the path we took to get this photo? It happens to be a real life photo of Stae Youngs car on a texture in Second Life with epredator potato standing in front of it and the snapshot mailed through to snapzilla.
The services are all there to choose the way to make this composite image, and it also represents a point in time event in a metaverse.
However, I could have used photoshop to composite up the photo. I could have used green screen and a video to matte the two together the list goes on.
The point is the image is there, has some provenance and story behind it as part of a conversation Stae Young and I were having on a private Second Life island. Its now part of this blog entry so is being built upon.
If we can move data and creations around like this, in an easy way then we are able to combine things, as with mashups, to create things we need wherever or whenever we need them.
Does it matter is this is Second Life with a picture in it?, or some metaverse as a plugin in a browser? No not really. It matters that it was quick, simple and the “place” we both happened to be at the same time to allow us to have and document this conversation and collaboratively produce this picture.

SXSW eightbar nearly there for business models in virtual worlds

Epredator Potato nearly managed to get (virtually) to a fellow Eightbar affiliate members sessions at the sxsw conference. The electric sheep were screen burning it into Second Life but a slight time calculation problem meant I missed the session.
I wanted to be there as my ex Wimbledon Collegue John Ascent Stage Tolva was chairing a session on Business Models for Virtual Worlds. Also on the panel was Eric Rice so it all seemed very relevant, socially linked and very interesting. I had been following it all on twitter during the lead up. Luckily 3pointd covered it properly, and I managed to get along to sheep island albeit to chat to the assembled crowd including Sir Babbage of Linden.
Lets hope I dont mess up the same way at Virtual Worlds 2007 as I should be there in molecular form.

PlayStation Home and LittleBigPlanet – Sony keynote at GDC introduces ‘Game 3.0’

I know I’m not the first blogger to mention this (even on Eightbar I’ve been beaten. Twice. ) but… Sony’s keynote at the Games Developer Conference was pretty fascinating.

Opening by putting the future of the games industry in the context of Web 2.0,  Sony introduced us to a new Noun X.0, ‘Game 3.0’. Apparently, it’s…

all about the connected device … empowered by audiences and powered by dynamic content, powered by active communities built on open standards”.

Yes. Of course. Sony gets it. I especially the tip of the hat to open standards.

Later summarised as being a “new era of creativity, collaboration, communication and commerce” (4 Cs; I’m a sucker for a memorable soundbite), the biggest and best example given of ‘Game 3.0’ in action was Playstation Home. It’s an avatar-based 3D virtual world. Home is not a product, it’s a free service. In fact, it’s a “3D social networking service”. Home provides the user with a customisable avatar, and a user interface which includes a virtual PSP as part of the controller metaphor.

Each user will have access to both private and public spaces, as well as a personal hall of fame with 3D trophies (optionally involving video).  Communication options include:

  • quick chat (phrase choices)
  • virtual keyboard (on screen keyboard.. “ho”)
  • USB keyboard
  • voice chat
  • animations

All very nice. But where does the content come from then? Well, it’s a combination of premium content, which users will pay for, and free items that will be delivered by game developers, game publishers, and Sony themselves; the personalisation is delivered not through custom, or user generated content, but by provided content which is either purchased or unlocked by buying games.

Despite the heavy Sony influence in the 3D content used in the demonstration (which included dropping a Sony Bravia television down the stairs)…

“Home is not just about Sony brands and Sony games, it is a much wider network of connected spaces. … Individual spaces dedicated to either games publishers or to game developers or to individual titles.”

Just game content then?

Over time this will extend beyond the game arena to include non-game brands as well. So you can imagine a location built around a famous coffee company or a famous drinks company, clothing company, record company, retailer, magazine, you can get the idea as this will build out.”

Right. But how is the content created?

“This is very very simple to build. As game developers, as content creators you can reuse content that you’re designing for your own games. It’s all using Maya. It’s really simple to build the 3D spaces and we will be providing you with the tools and the SDKs to unlock this and to maximise this. Any surface can be tagged as video. Any surface can be powered by HTML pushed from websites, and you can have individual areas dedicated to games. The way you want to design it as developers is entirely up to you.” … “All of these things are really simple really easy really powerful ways to build community and socialisation around your game brands”

I still have this nagging question. What about user generated content? Am I wrong in thinking that part of what makes something like Second Life so popular is the freedom for every user to create anything they want? Sure, they might not all be builders, but Sony: why are you limiting the building to your partners? What about the creativity of the end users?

In the second half of the keynote we are introduced to LittleBigPlanet from Media Molecule (the makers of Rag Doll Kung Fu). I really like this. Seriously fun-looking play, with user content in spades. More words than I can write at videogamesblogger, joystiq, kotaku and more.

Now this is more like it. I’m sure the palette will still be a bit limited, but the community which will no doubt build up around this with users creating cool levels to out-do each other is going to be fun to watch.

PS3 Virtual world unveiled and Lego too

This is being reported all over the place and may be quite a coup for Sony and the PS3. They have unveiled the first shots and stories around a ‘free’ virtual world that PS3 owners will be able to use and interact with via the Cell powered game console.
Some of the finer details will come out in time, it would appear that it certainly tries to trump the Xbox 360 Live service and achievements by placing game awards and bragging rights in your digital world aparment for your friends to come on by and see with you.
3Pointd has some footage, also Eric Rice has some links other coverage such as this MTV article hint and even more of the depth and attempt to contrast with what we have in Second Life.
We have had a bit of a buzz on twitter about it tonight too, and an important point Aidy rasied around how closed the platform is likely to be from content creation and external data feeds. After all if it gets too easy to build things then that would challenge the games content?
If it does have mashup power too though, this could become a very interesting angle on virtual worlds and enhance its acceptance even more.
I usually pitch about the Playstation generation entering the workforce, knowing how to move and kill in 3d so easily accepting business applications in the metaverse. Well now the PS3 generation will know how to move and socialize and work in 3d metaverses too.
All that and Lego are planning a virtual world too, which is linked in terms of generational acceptance and expectancy of the presence of virtual worlds. Construction fits into the Lego concept, and fuels the the post PS3 generation. Also lets face it we all still love Lego. Though Roo used to trade rare Lego on ebay so he wins on the Lego front.
Having a generational migration path through the various platforms, some for play some for work, raises all the questions about how we represent ourselves in each and how we are able to move between them. Is the answer meta conversations like twitter or a morphing portal between worlds that prepares you like the apparent ritual of leaving the Second Life teen grid when you come of age?
Its going to be interesting finding all this out.

Sony PS3 Virtual World

OK I’m pulling this straight from 3pointD, but this could be a biggee. Sony showed this video at the Game Developers Conference, a PS3 based virtual world using the latest physics and graphics engines.

“Home” looks stunning and technology rich with VOIP, photo, music and video sharing, the user created content aspects may not be there but the social aspects certainly seem to be. The stated ability to meet friends and head off into multiplayer games is a powerful one indeed, as a result the environment will no doubt gain traction and may become a strong differentiating factor for the PS3.

Anyway take a look at the video on 3pointD and form your own opinion.