Authors Posts by Lukemary Slade

Lukemary Slade

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Lukemary Slade is the Second Life avatar (created since March 8, 2007) of the editor in chief of Mondivirtuali.it, in RL a financial analyst and VR mentor always ready to talk about virtual and augmented reality, geek technologies and startups.

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    September full of news for Sansar, the new virtual reality platform by Linden Lab (the developer o Second Life). First of all a new release introduced some interestin possibilities, like sculpt your own terrain making mountains and craters (shortly you should be also able to add your own terrain textures and height maps), trigger objects volumes interacting with scripts, stream live radio stations, upload keyframe animated and multi-part objects and .obj file.

    Some news for terreins and avatars

    Furthermore you can now personalize your avatar with accessories, a crucial innovation if Linden Lab want to develop a “virtual fashion” market as already happened with Second Life. Please note also that on Sansar’s marketplace (Sansar Store) debuted a new categories system which should facilitate the integration and classification of user created contents, another fundamental building block to develop the new virtual world “internal” economy. Sansar Halloween Asylum

    Two more contests for Halloween

    To promote the participation of new creatives, Linden Lab launched also two more contests: one for the best avatar’s props, the other for the “scariest” experience (i.e. location Halloween-themed) in virtual reality. The first covers four categories: Most Innovative, Best Halloween Costume, Funniest and Most Fashionable.

    Prizes for the most creatives

    Winners will each receive an Oculus Rift + Touch bundle, plus a one year Sansar “Super Creator” subscription. Honorable mentions will each receive a one year Sansar “Super Creator” subscription. Avatar props have to be listed on Sansar Store by October 1, 2017, items have to cost no more than S$500 (i.e. US $5, you can update your pricing after the contest).

    Grand prize winner will receive $10,000 (USD)

    To enter the second contest you’ll have to list your “eperience” in the Atlas by October 15, 2017, creating a brand new experience or update a prior project to create a version in the “spirit” of Halloween (Asylum (Darkness Edition) and The Abandoned Morgue are two exemples of the kind of experience to create for the contest).

    In this case there is only a grand prize of $10,000 (USD), an Oculus Rift + Touch bundle, plus a one year Sansar “Super Creator” subscription, while three honorable mentions  will receive the one year Sansar “Super Creator” subscription. Sansar Halloween Abandoned Morgue

    Halloween is coming also in Sansar

    Linden Lab is planning lots of community fun around Halloween and the whole month of October, so to give good visibility to the best themed experiences, so if you already know how to create avatar props or virtal themed experiences maybe it’s time that you try to show you off.

    If you wanna know how this will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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      Webvr cover

      While virtual reality and augmented reality hype seems to proceed in a swinging way, with a debate regarding times and content needed to let VR become “mainstreamthat has been going on for months, the most carefull commentators (like VRScout) have noticed how actually to earn more and more space is WebVR.

      WebVR will make VR accessible to all

      WebVR is an open standard based on a Javascript Api that makes it possible to experience VR in your browser, so to make it easier for everyone to get into VR experiences, no matter what device you have. Of course in order to enjoy the content ofdel WebVR you need two elements: a headset (you can choose among Google Cardboard or Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Htc Vive, but even Playstation VR or Windows Mixed Reality) and a compatible browser.

      Standard born from an idea of 23 years ago

      On some sites you don’t even have to use a VR headset to be able to see 360 degree videos, thus experiencing an even partial form ofvirtual reality“. WebVR was born 23 years ago with the development of the Virtual Markup Reality Language (VRML), which ultimately didn’t take off, but paved the way for the VR web as we know today.

      By greatly lowering the barriers for the development of VR content also available to the mass of web users, WebVR could be the Trojan horse which will lead gradually to the mass adoption of VR technology, which at the end (point out VRScout) not always need to function as a “high-end” experience like the one offered by VR headsets and immersive platforms like Sansar.

      No media stress

      Non avendo sperimentato alcun tipo di hype mediatico, WebVR developers were able to focuse on their business without excessive stress from the outside taking advantage of a very cost-effective tool to build quick VR or AR prototypes.

      More, WebVR is a “technology agnostic” system, i.e. an open system able to work with different industry standard formats, so that if some startups disappear in the middle of the development of a project, its employees and customers would not be empty-handed. Webvr bis

      High-tech giants watch over

      Big names of the high-tech industry as Mozilla, Google, Samsung, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft and, recently, Apple are part of the WebVR Community Group which decides the standards adopted by the WebVR. Mozilla, with A-Frame, has begun since 2015 to insert a VR content development tool, along with a series of resources posted on the site MozVR, other like React VR, Argon.js, PlayCanvas, JanusVR and Primrose created additional tools to ease the development of VR content.

      A tool to experiment

      Furthermore Google, Oculus and Samsung publilshed their own WebVR content and made available open source resources for developers, while on the browser front are already WebVR friendly Chrome for Android, Firefox Nightly, Samsung Internet, Microsoft Edge, Chromium, Servo and Oculus Carmel.

      The most interesting areas for developing WebVR content seem to be at the moment the educational and touristic ones, but areas of experimentation are much more and is not excluded that we will soon hear about new buzzs.

      If you want to know how it will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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        Linden Lab invests on Second Life cover

        Linden Lab won’t abandon Second Life, on the contrary, after celebrating SL 14th anniversary and after officially open the new immersive virtual reality platform, Sansar, a message from the Ceo Ebbe Altberg (aka Ebbe Linden) to the “residents” of the metaverse promised further investments for “many millions (USD, not L$…)“.

        Upgrading infrastructure, moving to the cloud

        First of all, Linden Lab is already “at work upgrading all of the Second Life infrastructure and moving it to the cloud“, so to make the platform more performant for users across the world and to “introduce new products with more flexible pricing“. Particularly, Linden Lab is at work to give Premium members a series of advantages, as already did gaving priority access to near-full events “in world“.

        Second Life airport 2017

        News coming in for Windlight

        Further, “a series of great extensions to Windlight (code name: EEP!)” are under development, which will give “value, flexibility, and new marketability to land” in Second Life, making Windlight settings tradeable assets. We will see what does it really means, and if this will offer advantages for creatives (for instance for digital photographers who, with their images taken in Second Life, drive many social network communities like our group on Flickr).

        Linden Lab focus on gaming

        Linden Lab seems increasingly focusing on the “gaming” side, heralding “an exciting new grid-wide gaming experience“. Details will be known in a few days and will precede the launch of this year’s Halloween Haunted Tour (Halloween seems to be one of the biggest celebrations in Second Life). We could note that if for over 14 years Second Life has never had too much success as a gaming platform, must be a reason (we talked about many times), but let’s see what happens.

        Second Life ghost train

        Linden Lab already looks at SL15B

        The whole thing, remembers Ebbe, waiting to celebrate SL15B, i.e. the 15th birthday of the platform, which still keeps to draw thousand users from all over the world, 24/7, despite the most reckless disregard of mainstream world press, the same which in 2006-2007 seemed “go mad” for the possibility, never materialised, that the whole web chould change in a giant Second Life.

        Long life to Second Life, then, and if you wanna know how it will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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        VR cult events club cover

        Second Life literally pile on top each other, argues New World Notes, to login and visit the first locations available on Sansar, the free virtual reality platform accessible from the site www.sansar.com which Linden Lab officially opened in late July. VR cult events hub 01

        Still small numbers for the VR

        But active users who use VR mode in the main virtual worlds accessible through Steam (after the closing of Altspace VR) do not want to know to increase and remain a few hundred / thousands a day all over the world at best, writes the same Wagner James’s (aka Hamlet Au in Second Life) site. VR cult events hub 02

        Linden Lab drives content sharing

        So there would be nothing strange if Linden Lab, which, after opening, dropped the not disclosure agreemant clause and now explicitly invites its users to share their shots, videos and content in general referred to Sansar, “pushed” more for PC access than using VR viewers and controllers, even at the cost of giving up fighting for platform leadership for VR and, maybe, with the risk of partially knocking the Second Life user base, that after 14 years and despite endless grievances remains the most used virtual world in the world with concurrency around 30-40 thousand users daily. VR cult events hub 03

        There will be time for the boom

        Our forecast that despite the strong interest that virtual reality in general and Sansar in particular would continue to generate there would not be a boom shortly even remotely comparable to that of Second Life 2007 it was so easily verified. For the future we will see, even on the basis of the release of the most powerful and lower price devices on the market today (and more captivating content, starting from gaming but also business related). VR cult events hub 04

        First exhibition for VR Cult Events Hub

        In the meantime we are happy to report that VR Cult, by Colpo Wrexler (aka Dario Buratti), published already an “experience” (i.e. a sim), The Events Hub (you can find here), an experimental space totally dedicated to virtual events of art, design, music and fashion, where visitors can already appreciate the exposure of two Italian artists, the photograph Matteo Guariso and the painter and illustrator Francesco Musante, exposure to which he also contributed as a curator Marina Bellini, aka Mexi Lane. The images in this article refer to this exhibition. VR cult events hub 05 If you wanna know how this will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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          Vive Standalone cover

          After many rumors, Htc officially announced at ChinaJoy 2017 its first VR viewer designed for the Chinese market, Vive Standalone, which unlike Htc Vive VR that we are accustomed to knowing is not connected by cables to a computer and that will use Viveport as the official content platform. VivePort

          A VR viewer for the Chinese market

          The new visor doesn’t need a pc nor a smartphone to work ad will use Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 cpu for mobile virtual reality platforms already announced at the beginning of the year at Ces 2017 specifically developed to support VR/AR viewers as well as IP cameras, tablets, smartphones, portable Pcs and other mobile devices based on different operating systems like Android or Windows 10.

          It is not the viewer announced last year

          Please note that this viewer is not the one Htc announced in May 2016 at Google I/O 2016, so we have to wait for more news in the coming months. Htc viewers family seems therefore destined to expand rapidly and this could allow a significant increase in sales volumes, which in turn would make it possible a reduction in the selling price of the device, at the moment the most expensive on the market (around 877 euros/dollars). Vive Standalone

          Prices will drop to boost sales

          Exactly the high prices have so far curbed the diffusion of the VR viewers, even if the interest remains high; in the first quarter of the year, for instance, the best seller was Sony Playstation VR viewer with 375K units sold, followed by Htc Vive (95K) e Oculus Rift (64K). To try to revitalize its sales, Facebook a few months ago announced a discount of selling prices of both the viewer and the controllers (the combo kit now costs 708 euros).
          If you wanna know how this will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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          Sansar cover

          Sansar, the new virtual reality platform developed by Linden Lab actually in “creative beta“, has already over 270 virtual “experiences” loaded into its atlas, from simple “sand boxes (literally made like a sandy desert) to simple work plans, up to good quality installations, some of which created by Italian users like Colpo Wrexler or Christower Dae, known names to the Italian community which used and still use Second Life. egyptian tomb Sansar Studios

          Sansar, first impressions

          The “first 30 seconds impression” (after a couple of minutes of waiting needed to load the scene) is positive: the avatars to chooose to start having your own digital identity in the new Linden Lab‘s virtual world are not very dissimilar to the Second Life basic avatars, but they are already quite customizable enough since you can vary the parameters for yours shape and anatomical details (eyes, hair, mouth, nose etc), as well as your clothing (certainly we are far from Second Life’s fashion virtuale fantasy, but give time to the platform to grow and you will see that we could get to similar or superior levels). Sansar tomba egizia ingresso

          Sansar can also be used without VR devices

          Browsing (we tried the platform in worst-case conditions, ie through a portable PC, a couple of years old, connected through wi-fi, with features barely in line with the minimum recommended requirements) is sufficiently fluid, even if not available at the time of testing a VR viewer and its controllers and having decided to try a minimal configuration, even without a mouse, it was not always easy to move the avatar inside closed environments. Very nice the sounds and the lights (and their shadows).Sansar tomba egizia prima stanza

          The Egyptian tomb is perfect

          For this very first “immersion” in Sansar I choose, through the proposed scenes, an ancient Etyptian tomb, carefully reconstructed thanks to a partnership with the Sorbonne University and with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities (as already revealed by Inara Pey) very pleasant to visit, albeit relatively modest. I can not comment for now about the larger dimensions that will characterize each individual “experience” compared to Second Life’s sims, but if you think about how SL was in its early stages, before 2007 (and how it has basically remained Opensim), the passing of a decade is evident and in favor of Sansar, as obvious as it is. Sansar tomba egizia seconda stanza

          No: Sansar won’t be SL 2

          For those who are asking for it, no: Sansar won’t ever be a “new” Second Life (platform designed to stay online for many years), but it could become a platform robust and flexible enough to be used, along with other programs, for the development of virtual video games or movies, or simulation experiences that might be applied both in the field of education both in the professional field (for instance for staff training). Sansar tomba egizia uscita These first impressions live from Sansar end here, also because the California company is asking not to divulge too much information about it, but if you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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            Sansar cover

            Here we are: sthese day Sansar is sending the confirmation to access requests for its online virtual reality platform to all those who have asked to be able to access through www.sansar.com site. Technically is the awaitedopen creator beta”, in fact it could be a real pre-opening to the public, given the criteria for selection seem to have been much wider compared to last year when a few hundred creatives had been able to access to start testing the system (still in development: at this time, for example, the alpha channel is missing, as well as dynamic textures, Which means in the new Linden Lab‘s virtual world there is no way to recreate water).

            Sansar loginSansar’s system requirements

            Probably the requirements for accessing the new platform will do the selection: a user who connects via a pc“regular” pc desktop needs to have at least a 64 bits operative system (Windows 7 SP1 or newer), DirectX 11, Cpu Intel Core i3-2100 or Amd Phenom II X4 945, at least 4 GB RAM, at least 3G free space on disk, a video card Nvidia GeForce GTX 450, or Amd R9 280, or Intel HD Graphics 5500 with at least 2GB dedicated video memory.

            Recommended bandwith is at least 10 Mbps the minimum 5 Mbps, optional, but recommended a microphone for voice chat and high-quality headphones recommended for an immersive spatial audio experience and Xbox One or Xbox 360 game controllers (but if you don’t have them you can use the mouse to controll your avatar). By the way, if you really want to “live” Sansar in virtual reality mode, the stalk rises and minimum requirements are: Cpu Intel i5-4590 or equivalent, at leat 8 GB RAM, at least Nvidia GTX 970 or equivalent video card, while everything else remains the same.

            Sansar sandboxSansar and Second Life are really different

            The VR option is actually one of the cards on witch Linden Lab focus to make Sansar “the” the new generatin reference platform for virtual worlds fans, a platform which for many years will live with the “oldSecond Life but which will have many differences both in the business model (it will cost much less to rent the new “scenes” in confront to the old sims, also having much more space available, but Linden Lab will apply a sort of “consumption tax”, ie a commission on every transaction between users, the Sansar dollars will also worth around triple than Linden dollars, since the first listing should be 1 US dollar for 100 Sansar dollars) as well obviousley as it is concerned the technical and “immersion” characteristics.

            The problem upstream, which seems to have curbed Linden Lab so far, is that the sales of VR viewers and controllers for now I have grown so much less explosive than forecasted, due to very high costs of the devices. Some recent signals show the availability by the manufacturers (like Facebook, which owns Oculus Rift) to reduce the price of devices, but for now some consulting firm like eMarketer forecast that 10,7 million VR users (ie who used at least once a month a VR device of any kind) present in the US at the end of 2016 won’t exceed 22.4 million at the end of the year, and then climb to 36.7 million next year and to 49.2 million at the end of 2019, also thanks to the spread of lso thanks to the spread of VR videos.

            Virtual reality, no boom for now

            Encouraging numbers, but they represent only between 3% and 5% of the US population and yet it is not clear if on other markets (Asia?) sales may be better, or slower. Moral of the story: for now, if you want, try to ask for access to Sansar, begin to get used to its scenes, if you are creatives try to make some content (which must be created externally using programs like Unreal Engine or Unity and then imported in Sansar).

            But do not wait a boom like that of Second Life in 2007: that will eventually arrive in two or three years if the VR and the AR have really got their feet around the world. If you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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              accelerator vr cover

              Some of you will know already that in addition to the project Mondivirtuali.it I’ve been involved or almost two years in the Italian startups accelerator SeedUp, specialised in the realization of ad hoc acceleration paths focused on pre-seed and seed investing, ie the stages in which the startup is made, business plan is defined and validated and the very first investiments for further development of the company are started.

              Even SeedUp look at virtual reality

              Well: among the areas that SeedUp is considering, considerng them very promising, beside green economy, food, fintech and insurtech there is also technology, particularly the development of apps and services for smartphones, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The VR / AR field is very competitive and you need very strong skills (and adequate capital): if you think to be successful simply by offering more or less graphically curated content for some public bodies or private companies you risk not to go a long way. VR AR main investors

              Rothemberg Ventures believes more than all of us

              It is interesting, then, to take a look at what are the main investors in this field and on whom they have bet so far. The first posting is, as recently stated a report by CB Insight, an old acquaintance of Mondivirtuali, ie Rothemberg Ventures, which has so far invested in 37 rirtual and/or augmented reality startups including, lastly, Vicarius Surgical, a “medtech” startup which aiming to use VR in the medical field.

              Even BoostVC bet on blokchain and VR

              Second place was ranked BoostVC, an accelerator which wagered in particular on blockchain technology and VR, with 24 startups accelerated so far. Their last bet is Vizor, a Finnish startup which has developed a platform for the creation of virtual reality content.

              Vive X has already 24 startups in its portfolio

              Third in the CB Insight rankings has been placed Vive X, an accelerator built up by Vive, producer of th VR viewer HTC Vive, even this one well known to Mondivirtuali’s followers. Vive X invested in 24 startups, among which an enterprise tool developer (Snobal) and an athletic trainer for soccer (Soccerdream), both of course using VR technology. VR startups

              A wealth of investors and startups

              Behind these three accelerators ranked The Venture Reality Fund, Precence Capital, Techstars, Colopl, Intel Capital and Y Combinator which have bet (sometimes together) on names like Skully, Upload, Rogue Initiative, Owlchemy Labs, Limitless, Eonite Perception or The Wave VR just to name a few. Keep these names in mind, because is possible that the next “unicorn” which will excite Wall Street’s fantasy may emerge among them. If you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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              Minority Report 15 years cover

              Second Life is celebrating these days its 14th birthday (SL14B), but was a film launched 15 years ago, Minority Report, that had a wider impact on our everyday life. In the Steven Spielberg‘s movie, launched in June 2002 in Us and then all around the world, Tom Cruise was a 2054 cop member of the “precrime” (a special police department which apprehends criminals thanks to the foreknowledge of three “precogs“), he used driveless cars, he was able to handle computers through simple gestures, and in all the movie film you can see a lot of devices for biometric recognition and ad hoc advertising. Minority Report driveless cars

              A year before Second Life

              Were all technologies considered science-fiction at the time, but became real in a few years, with a much wider impact on everyday life than that of Second Life, the virtual reality platform designed by Philip Rosedale which has never been able to overwhelm the traditional web nor to have the impact of social media like Facebook, Twitter or similar. Think about driveless cars: in 2014 Google started to back the first projects, then arrived Apple, Uber, Tesla and producers like Ford, General Motors, Bmw, Audi and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. So that in 2054 scenes like that in which Cruise was trying to escape on a motorway populated only by driveless car may not be so unusual. Minority Report precog

              Precognitive algorithms

              The concept of “precognition”, or foreknowledge, is no more so abstruse, at least at a software level: the Carnegie Mellon University has already developed a predictive program, CrimeScan, while according to a study of UpTurn cited by Cnn, about twenty major US police districts would already have adopted precognitive algorithms ni their investigative activities. It’s at least since 2014 that we are trying to develop algorithms which, analyzing tweets and posts published on social network like Twitter and Facebook, could be able to predict or intend to commit crimes by their authors or however dangerous situations. In the case of Twitter, in particular, as already noted Ubergizmo, geo-localized tweets analysis, their frequency, the presence of certain words is already able to predict 19 of 25 different types of crime.

              Yesterday virtual, today real

              So: while we waited for virtual worlds to become real, other geek technologies have shifted from science fiction to concrete reality but this could be just the beginning, should virtual reality and augmented reality continue to grow. If you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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              Atari Box cover

              Video games fans have long known that “retro gaming” market is growing, so much that even SeedUp recently has been able to evaluate some projects of “mini-business” participating in the Campania regional final of JA – Junior Achievment 2017 which proposed just to build ex novo arcade console replicas of the Eighties. Atari

              The Atari story

              But no one expected that Atari, an icon of the Seventies which helped to make the video game home consoles marke became a mass market but then, saturing the market with hundreds of low quality games, ended up going out (the last Atari console, Jaguar, launched in 1993 and withdrawn in 1995, just sold 125 thousand units, versus over 50 million of Super Nintendo), could announce its return. Atari Box

              Chesnais bets on Atari Box

              Instead, it happened: Fred Chesnais, who bought Atari brand in 2013 from bankruptcy and brought the company into profit specializing in the development of mobile games, just announced in an interview on GameBeats that he want to launch on the market a new console, the Atari Box, of which for now we know a little if not that it will be based on a pc-tecnology and that design is still to be defined.

              Console, an overcrowded market

              Waiting to see if Atari Box will succeed in the miracle of allowing Atari to cut a slice in the already overcrowded consoles market, dominated by group like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, if you wanna know more you can take a look at this very short video of the new Atari’s product.

              If you wanna know how this will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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