Category: Columns

7

Zetamex redesign takes a step back

Zetamex, the second highest-rated OpenSim hosting company, has been repeatedly criticized for changing things up too much — price plans, offerings, management panels, even CEOs — all have changed repeatedly in the past few...

15

New grid owners association seeks your input

Over the years, OpenSimulator has grown to be a widely used platform, serving as the virtual world server for many communities ranging in size, specialization and languages. due to the platforms open source nature,...

1

On Ada Lovelace, Microsoft, and women in tech

Piquant. Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, at the epicenter of tech, opined last week about women in tech, suggesting they not ask for raises but instead trust “the system” to recognize performance with pay increases when...

0

Museo del Metaverso is back on Craft

The Museo del Metaverso — Metaverse Museum — is starting back up again on the Craft grid after two years of inactivity. The Museum was originally created in Second Life in 2007 and in 2010 it...

PolyWorld Woodland Toolkit. (Image courtesy Xin Xin.) 1

5 tips for designing for virtual reality

When I demoed my Oculus Rift game, “Black Hat,” recently, one man told me that he felt sick the previous time he tried a Rift. I convinced him to give it another go and he was surprised by...

1

Why Gear VR benefits Oculus more than Samsung

Samsung and Oculus VR are expected to release their collaborative project, the Gear VR, sometime before the end of the year. The headset uses the Galaxy Note 4 to power a completely untethered virtual reality experience and...

0

11 thrilling non-game VR experiences

Until very recently, if you ever found yourself talking about virtual reality, it was probably because you were cornered by a wild-eyed science fiction enthusiast breathlessly describing the holodeck on the USS Enterprise, the...

1

Net neutrality isn’t dead yet

  As we’ve noted previously, the FCC opened a comment period, which ended on July 18, 2014. More than a million comments were received over a five-month period. In fact, comments that were sent by...

2

Vet revisits his ship, virtually

It was quite an honor to witness my uncle, David Brouchoud, exploring a virtual recreation of the USS Helena CA-75, a Navy heavy cruiser he served on more than 60 years ago. Using the...

2

5 tips for mentoring in a virtual world

When face-to-face meetings for mentoring and coaching sessions aren’t an option, most people would turn to telephone calls, Skype, or Google Hangouts. But a mentoring session in a virtual world offers some additional functionality...

5

Entrepreneurs vs. Patent Trolls

As one of five partners in a very small  virtual world software startup, I went in search of patents that may concern my company’s next software product. I had no idea that I would...

2

Speak up now for net neutrality

This is it. This is the kind of moment every democratic citizen argues for: An opportunity to give voice to your demands as a citizen. Don’t waste it. Act now. On May 15, the...

5

When is a Grid, not a Grid?

No this isn’t the start of a bad joke, although as you read on, you may find that it could be, only the joke is on you…or in this case, it was on me....

1

Why You Should Watch WhiteCore-Sim

A couple months ago, the old Aurora-Sim branch of OpenSimulator was forked due to the slow development and a few other small reasons. Then WhiteCore-Sim was born, it has been gaining a bit of...

1

It’s easy to fix your Diva grid’s website

Do you have a grid running on the Diva Distro and using its Wifi Web Application Account Management module? If your grid’s website looks like this, then you do: OpenSim versions that use this web...

3

In-world with the Oculus Rift

When the announcement came out on March 12 that Linden Labs was inviting beta testers for their Oculus Rift based VR viewer, I dusted off my Oculus Rift Developers kit and signed up. About...

16

SLGo puts virtual world in the cloud

Last week Linden Lab and the OnLive cloud gaming service debuted a new service aimed at delivering Second Life to almost any device capable of connecting to the internet. While still in beta and available...

1

Updated Hyperica gate scripts

These scripts are for people who are thinking to themselves — now that Maria is hiring a researcher and putting them to work on updating the Hyperica directory, wouldn’t it be nice if I...

7

Court: terrains can be copyrighted

What happens when a virtual world designer sues for unauthorized use of a virtual island? The case involved the question of whether terraforming is protected by copyright law, and whether a terrain purchased for use in...

46

New comment moderation policy

I began working in virtual worlds in 2009 in Second Life, migrated to OpenSim soon thereafter, and along the way discovered Hypergrid Business. Some of you may know me from my sim, Serenity Island....

1

Virtual reality a draw at conferences

We’re back from Autodesk University in Vegas, where we had the opportunity to show some of our latest Oculus Rift projects to the architecture, engineering and construction crowd there. Wow, was that ever fun!...

3

Top 5 Features 2013 Gave Us

So it has been long 2013, and a lot of stuff has come into opensim with 0.7.6, the latest release of OpenSimulator we got tons of new features.

5

Kitely is now known for its community

Hypergrid Business has posted its Fourth Annual OpenSim Grid Survey. 654 people responded to questions about their primary grid and about the other grids they have visited. The big winner this year was Kitely....

28

Beware the vanity metric

As the hypergrid grows, we should be wary of vanity metrics. I’m a pretty big fan of the Lean Business model pioneered by Eric Reis of IMVU fame.  The main concept behind Lean is...

42

Should you host on the Amazon cloud?

A lot of people lately have been telling me to move into the cloud and I have been talking about this with many developers — both OpenSimulator and web server development as well. Most...

2

The tech behind OSCC13

As many of you know, early last September we held the first OpenSimulator Community Conference, a purely online event hosted in OpenSimulator itself. It was produced collaboratively by the Overte Foundation and Avacon, with...

1

10 ‘Star Trek’ Technologies That Actually Exist

10 ‘Star Trek’ Technologies That Actually Exist Out There (via AnyStatements) Whether it’s deep space or the deepest depths of the ocean, truly brilliant machines can operate in all sorts of extreme conditions. While...

20

New database option for OpenSim

For those of you who haven’t been watching the latest Google+ feeds, Fernando Francisco de Oliveira, a long and involved OpenSim enthusiast and programmer and founder of OpenSim hosting company Oliveira Virtual Lands, has...

0

One cancer survivor’s virtual journey

[Editor: Virtual therapy has been in the news lately for everything from schizophrenia to addiction recovery to pain management for burn victims to weight loss. Studies and research reports are accumulating, showing that virtual therapy and...

1

Education conference spans three platforms

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference began today, and will continue for the next three days. The conference will take place across three different virtual worlds and will host presentations in...

1

5 Ways Virtual Worlds Can Help Therapy

Virtual reality therapies are increasingly proving successful in a number of settings. As the virtual reality platforms and interfaces improve, we will start to see more of the following: 1. Reducing pain Pain is...

0

5 Ways to Gamify Your Virtual Class

Virtual worlds are a great way to run classes. In fact, according to the latest Hypergrid Business survey, educators are the second largest professional user segment for OpenSim, and about a third of users...

3

Architecture’s virtual reality

Revit and Oculus Rift via Unity3D: Experiencing BIM in Virtual Reality While the vast majority of my work is designing virtual world environments, our studio Crescendo Design, still takes on a new architectural project...

0

5 lean business tips for OpenSim startups

Starting a new company doesn’t have to take a lot of money, and you don’t have to make the big splash on your first day of operations. Instead, you can apply these tips from...

6

The Sweet Smell of Desperation

As Linden Lab gradually loses landmass in its virtual world, as shown so graphically in Tyche Shepherd’s Grid Survey data, the Lab turns again to a dog it kicked repeatedly in 2010: educators. Hamlet...

0

Understanding the oxymoron of serious games

Because we’re so passionate and committed to the arena of E-Learning in its many forms – virtual worlds development, 3D training scenarios, serious games, learning management systems and more – we wanted to revisit...

4

5 reasons to accept Bitcoin on your grid

There has been some discussion about the practicality of accepting Bitcoin, but many fewer voices have been explaining the reasons Bitcoin may be a useful tool for your grid. There are at least five...

3

Educators need to take care when choosing licenses

On-line education is using a flawed Creative Commons license Prominent universities are using a nonfree license for their digital educational works. That is bad already, but even worse, the license they are using has...

1

What Makes a Great Virtual Event Manager?

Event manager = 1/3 mad scientist, 1/3 psychologist, 1/3 logistics expert Since virtual events share many of the attributes of physical events, it makes sense to start by discussing some of the attributes of...

4

How to advertise in virtual worlds

OpenSim is still in the early stages of development, so it’s rare to see advertising billboards cluttering up the virtual landscape – or ads for OpenSim hosting providers during the Super Bowl broadcast. Maybe...

2

5 ways to use achievements for viral marketing

Achievements, like badges and leaderboards, are one of the cornerstones of gamification, ways to increase user engagement and loyalty. The are also known as goals or quests. The achievement can be a reward in...

38

3D content creators form union

A few friends, colleagues, and fellow creators have a need to band together. Our intention is to gather creators and artists from all “virtual reality” platforms in order to collect, and organize factual information about rights...

5

How to upgrade your grid

A new version of OpenSim was recently released, OpenSim 0.7.4. There’s an upgrade function built into the Diva Distro version of OpenSim and its derivatives, including Sim-on-a-Stick and New World Studio. The updated version...

4

Ten ways to gamify your grid

“Gamification” is the process of adding game-like elements to something without actually turning the whole thing into a game. Social grids can be gamified, for example, but even grids dedicated to education, non-profits, or...

0

Open Wonderland showcased in Boston

At thr Immersive Education conference in Boston last month, eight Open Wonderland community members from six different countries joined me remotely to show off their work. Here’s a brief summary of the worlds and...

0

OpenSim and Xbox Kinect sensor integration

I had fun recently playing with using the Xbox Kinect sensor paired with OpenSim. The project I work on is called PLANE, Pathways for Learning Anywhere, anytime — a Network for Educators. One of...

3

9 ways virtual learning is better

Experiential learning — learning by doing — is a hot topic these days and getting hotter. I’ve been evangelizing the benefits of experiential learning for over a decade. But, as much as I believe...

2

An educator looks at Cloud Party

A great number of pixels have been used to praise or critique Cloud Party over at Hamlet Au’s New World Notes. True, one needs a Facebook account, and sacrifices anonymity, to use the service fully. Anonymous logins...

2

Students use virtual world to learn math

As Forsyth County Schools’ NOBLE Virtual World begins to generate more teacher interest, one question that repeatedly comes up is “How can math best be taught in a virtual world?” One suggestion is to...

0

FCVW: Keeping up with the future

Last week, I attended the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds annual conference. I realize the theme for the conference was “Inspire the Future,” but an underlying theme I sensed was “Keeping up with the...

2

Virtual worlds conference looks to the future

“Inspire the Future” was the 2012 theme of The Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds conference that convened this past week in Washington, D.C. at the National Defense University’s iCollege, and it drew about about 300 physical...

11

Should virtual environments be realistic?

I have been involved with education in virtual worlds for several years now, and at discussions and conferences I often hear the question asked, “Why recreate a classroom with desks and PPT presentations in...

3

Six myths about the hypergrid

Some newcomers to OpenSim have major concerns with hypergrid technology and these concerns should not be taken lightly. Many of these risks, however, are exaggerated, while others are present in all virtual worlds. These concerns...

1

Marketers pick Sim-on-a-Stick for easy machinima

In 2008 and 2009 I spoke at conferences and webinars about the use of Second Life for corporate eLearning as an easy-to-use 3D animation application. “Easy” is a relative term to true 3D animation applications such...

4

Virtual campus tours: 4 wrong turns

At Designing Digitally, Inc., we’ve seen every type of virtual campus tour imaginable and have identified some common problems that can hinder their success. Here are the top four problems we see and how you can...

22

Response: InWorldz at three

We recently celebrated our third birthday in InWorldz at a user conference in Las Vegas. The conference was fantastic, and was very well received. It also sparked an article “InWorldz at 3: Turning point...

0

Students test virtual debating environment

A couple of years ago, I described how we were using the Open Wonderland virtual environment platform to host polls for users to express their opinions about proposed governmental policies, as part of  the +Spaces project. In the next stage...

3

Making OpenSim safe for students

OpenSim is making headway as a viable alternative to Second Life. About 98 percent of the functionality of Second Life is present in OpenSim. The remaining 2 percent primarily deals with vehicle physics. Although it is...

3

New life for enterprise virtual worlds

There are many reasons why I believe that virtual worlds are not dead, dying or disappearing. In fact, I believe that they are gaining momentum and are becoming more and more impactful as the...

4

6 cheap ways to market your virtual business

Launching, maintaining, and expanding a virtual business — a new grid, design firm, hosting company or consultancy — can be an overwhelming task. While start-up costs are often not too high, it is difficult...

57

DaseinGrid fails to launch with SimHost

[Note from Editor: SimHost‘s James Stalling responded to this review with the following: “He was a difficult customer who did not give OpenSim a good evaluation before he got involved, and didn’t give it...

Zoe, a prototype AI bot, lives in her own house on OpenSim. (Image courtesy David Burden.) 2

Bots get new life in OpenSim

[Editor: Recent OpenSim upgrades have substantially expanded support for NPCs — non-player characters — also known as bots or AIs. NPCs are typically used in games, as enemies for players to defeat, or characters...

15

Moving from Second Life to OpenSim and back again

Over the course of two years, we designed and ran a simulation for the University of Richmond based upon Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” in the virtual world of...

7

Where to build in OpenSim

If you like building — or need to build for your work or school — and you find Second Life cramped and expensive, OpenSim is a great option. But where do you start? There...