Columns

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

‘We messed up’ says New Voice founder

The Nova grid and New Voice OpenSim hosting company went out of business in early 2012. This is the story of what went wrong, from the founder himself, Enrico Ranucci. When New Voice was...

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!...

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.

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....

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...

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...

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...

OSCC13 rekindles interest in hypergrid travels

I went, and I had a great time. I was completely blown away by the excellent presentations and level of professionalism at OSCC13. Everything worked like clockwork, and I saw many friends from Second...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Could Linden Dollars become real money?

Linden Dollar: Another Virtual Currency Affected by FinCEN. Bitcoin has been in the news recently. But bitcoin is not the only virtual currency. Virtual currencies, in one form or another are here to stay....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Second Life Enterprise was a costly mistake

[Editor: A couple of years ago, Chris Ravensoft was an actual paying customer for Second Life Enteprise, a behind-the-firewall version of Second Life, designed for companies who needed a secure, private space for internal...

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...

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...

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...

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.)

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...

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...

How educators can benefit from Kitely

Kitely — an OpenSim-based grid that runs its regions in the Amazon cloud — has a unique system that gives educators some interesting capabilities and advantages. To appreciate those features that are most beneficial requires...

International collaboration — in 3D

Here is a little vignette describing how 3D collaborative environments can impact large organizations. Just as technology has advanced in almost every field, so has the technology surrounding learning and collaboration. Three-dimensional virtual immersive...

Second Life is Not a Game

One of my teeny tiny pet peeves is when people harp about Second Life being a game. This is often followed by declarations that games should not be taken seriously. Therefore, Second Life should...

OpenSim needs a viewer of its own

Even as OpenSim implementation continues to grow, a constant remains: there is no viewer tailored specifically for OpenSim as it comes direct from OpenSimulator.org. It’s discouraging, and it’s easy to cite the nearly million...

How real is real enough?

How real does a virtual environment need to be for users to feel presence? This is a question educators have been researching in the attempt to implement virtual spaces to expand the classroom. For...

Virtual Events: The New Marketing Frontier

The economic downturn has put a damper on tradeshow activities worldwide. Travel budgets have been tightened across the board. Attendees are less willing to hop on a plane halfway around the globe for a...

It’s time to move all grids south

Hypergrid is probably one of the greatest and unifying features for OpenSim, and virtual worlds in general. Basically, virtual worlds cannot be what they should be without the hypergrid. It is the same unifying...