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linden lab @en

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    Desura cover

    Bad Juju GamesThe era of diversification that Rod Humble brought forward during his “reign” at Linden Lab is definitely over, after Versu, Creatoverse and dio had already been discontinued. With a press release widespread November 5th 2014, the developer of Second Life and Blocksworld (of which we have already spoken some times ago) announced the sale of Desura to Bad Juju Games for an undisclosed sum, pointing out that in this way Linden Lab will be able to “to further enhance our focus on creating the ambitious next-generation virtual world” (known as Second Life 2), while continuing at the same time “to improve Second Life and growing Bloscksowld”.

    Desura, digital distribution platform that allows to bring together game developers (and their products and services) and players through which initially it was possible to buy even Patterns (whose development has ceased on September 10 with the withdrawal from sale of the game itself, even if a note from Linden Lab suggested that the company was willing to consider offers from any potential buyers) will now be managed and developed by Bad Juju Games, company founded in 2010 developer of games based on middleware technology so far focused on mobile games, consoles and mobile devices as well as in development tools (company which is also recruiting a Unity3D developer, a senior mobile game designer and a senior 2D mobile game artist so if you are interested… check on the Bad Juju Games site and apply).

    Desura BJGIt is currently unclear whether the sale of Dasura could mean the departure , sooner or later, of Scott Reismanis, founder of Dasura who joined Linden Lab as Director of Digitals shortly after the acquisition of 2013 while remaining still one of the promoters of DBolical, community he founded in June 2002 which, with a staff of only 4 people, through sites such as ModDB.com, IndieDB.com and SlideDB.com as now passed 5 million visitors per month and is among the top 5000 most visited websites in the world.

    f you want to know how it will end and what other changes are coming to Linden Lab and the field of virtual worlds, fantastic and gaming you just have to follow Mondivirtuali.it, also through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it and on Paper.li).

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      Linden Lab 2014

      SL private regions July 2014Reviewing the contents of Mondivirtuali.it it happened to me to read a few pieces  of about three years ago or in which I was referring to as the peak of sim was now exhausted and the “islands” of Linden Lab virtual worlds shoud be under 24 thousand, mark already passed in 2009. Well, three years later, the number of private sim maintained online on the “grid” of Second Life declined further and now for Tyche Shepard (who whit his blog constantly monitors the numbers of SL) at the date of July 27, had slipped to 18,988, which is more and more distant from the historical high of 26,363 private sim touched October 19, 2008. Which has generated some noise among the small but fierce community of fans of the Californian virtual world.

      It must be said that the total number of sim maintained online in Second Life (therefore including those owned by Linden Lab, and not leased to any private player) remains close to 26 thousand (sims have slipped to 25,980 on July 27 while the previous week were still at 26,003) compared to a high of 32,988 sims touched June 13, 2010. Seen in this light, the numbers do not say much, but as a matter of fact Second Life (a “game” for creative and experienced users, since that Linden Lab has always considered in this way his virtual world, for over 11 years on the market) has returned to the levels of 2008. With some differences.

      In 2008, the media hype had just exploded, now it is not even a pale echo. In 2008 (to be true in the Spring of 2009, since data are not available prior to) the domestic economy of Second Life recorded on average $ 2.4 million per day exchanges between residents, now worth about 1.4 million. In 2008 (to be true at the beginning of December 2009, since even these data are not available prior to) the mean “concurrency” was between 45 and 60 thousand users per day, now is between 40 and 45 thousand users per day. Making business with Second Life, if you are not Linden Lab, is clearly more difficult, but the hard core of loyal users (which is estimated at 150 thousand users, in the absence of any data from some part of Linden Lab that since October 2010, no longer publishes statistics on the logins of the last 60 days) is more than sufficient to ensure accounts in profit for the company for some time, which probably was not true in 2008.

      Bob KominIf you take a look at the LinkedIn profile of Bob Komin (ex Coo an Cfo of Linden Lab, who leaved in August 2012), you can see, for example, that after the drastic treatment (including shots of layoffs) of Komin only in October 2010 the Californian company “became profitable and cash flow positive each month in October 2010 with over 20% adjusted operating margin and over 30% Ebitda”, having registered in 2011 the “highest cash generation in 10-year company history”. The reason is easy to understand: while revenues are still estimated at around $ 4 million per month (taking a simple average of of current prices ranging from $ 345 per month for a “skill gaming region” to $ 75 a month for an “openspace”), by approximately $ 5 million per month four years ago, once cut costs parameterised to expectations of a “mass market” developme of virtual worlds (never happened at least for “senior” users as those of Second Life), budgets have turned positive.

      At the expense as known were mainly employees (more than halved from 300 to the current 150 or so), but is likely to be a substantial savings come from reducing the number of servers required to maintain online the entire grid (still in 2011 the famous blogger Tateru Nino talked about 31,2150 servers, including even those in the number required for the maintenance of inventories), also because updating the same servers from the first to the current version (in theory class 6, but the numbering has been disposed of) the number of sims that can be hosted on each server (which remains variable) should be increased, on average, from the initial 3 to 8 sims for server and then you should not go beyond  3,250-3,500 servers for the sims, to which must be added a few hundreds / thousands of servers for inventories, given that the number of those who register in Second Life is stable around a little more than 13 thousand per day, with a total of members who now has 39 million superstate.

      While waiting for the elusive “Second Life 2officially announced July 11 with a note that states that Linden Lab is hiring new staff for the specific purpose of creating “a new virtual world (that) will go far beyond what is possible with Second Life”, world that will still maintain some specific elements of Second Life as “users’ Linden Dollar balances, identities, and social connections” and probably “more modern content from Second Life, such as meshes”, Linden Lab seems to have sufficient resources to continue the maintenance and further a slight improvement of its most famous creation.

      What they are not able to tell many of his actual or potential competitors. If you want to know more, follow us over that on Mondivirtuali.it through our Twitter account and our Facebook fanpage also (but you can find us even on Flickr, on Scoop.it and on Paper.li).

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        SL11B Giovanna CeriseLinden Lab‘s prorietary platform celebrate its eleventh birthday with SL11B, from June 22 to June 29 2014, a “community celebration” rich in terms of installations, performances and “not to miss” events that you can also follow from the web through its site and Twitter account.

        What to say if not “wow”? Let’s start by the numbers: this year there are 11 regions/islands occupied by 243 exhibitors whose stands will also be visited once over the holiday until 6 July, so if you are late, you still have time for a visit. In addition, in addition to all the events on the calendar, there will be a “big hunt” so rich and extensive that it has been divided into four different paths (you can find them here).

        A good starting point to begin the exploration is the Welcome Center; as to the stands to visit we root for Italians, but we don’t want to ignore the other, rather, especially since Linden Lab itself has announced a photo contest which is giving away 10 thousand linden dollars (do not get excited, in whole are less than 34 euros).

        That said, we visited the installations of Giovanna Cerise carried out in tandem with Daco Monday and of 2Lei (which has worked Aliza Karu and where they are exposed, inter alia, the always beautiful images of Paola Mills), among other things also “physically” close, while we intend to spend at least from the stands of Solkide Auer, of Daisy Silverweb and Doctorhawk Lord, of Tani Thor and of Livio Korobase (you can find them all in the exhibitors list).

        SL11B 2LeiWhile we watched them we thought about the Italian presence which in recent years has always made itself heard, positively, in these events, but there seems to have been gradually declining, at least quantitatively, years after years(by the way, if you know of additional “tricolor” installations reported to us and we’ll talk about it, willingly).

        We note that ideas (that like Pallina60 Loon stressed not in one but in two different video presentations of the event, are most important in these cases that not the ability/experience/skill of each single content creator) begin to fade after 11 years of using a platform that has now reached full maturity in some ways, but shows the limitations of setting and dated software that necessarily it is increasingly difficult to adapt to new technologies (as well as the habits that social networks have created in billions of users around the world).

        Thus, also thinking of the news circulated a few days already, about starting an internal team at Linden Lab to develop and produce the new platform in the future is likely to work alongside Second Life (then probably replace it as natural that it should be), news that have been substantially confirmed by Ebbe Lindberg during a session on SLUniverse’s forums in which it was indicated “next year sometime” as likely to start a beta of the new platform, makes me wonder not if we’ll ever see SL12B  (almost certainly yes), but if there will be many more birthdays able to give a performance worthy of mention.

        Frankly I could not give you an answer, for that matter, but I suggest you stay in touch following us over that on Mondivirtuali.it through our Twitter account and our Facebook fanpage also (but you can find us even on Flickr, on Scoop.it and on Paper.li). Because virtual worlds are not just Second Life, indeed!

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          Meshes Avatars SL

          Meshes Avatars SLMeshes conquer avatars and is not only about Second Life. Linden Lab has recently announced that it has updated its 24 basic avatars “to give new users a more appealing set of choices as they start their time in Second Life”. If you wanna see the new avatars available (a part of which appear sin the image courtesy of Linden Lab) and you use the official viewer of Linden Lab, just open the Avatar Selector, go to the People menu and you can choose from nice male or female models to vampires, monster, zombies and whatever else you prefer. Please note that if you still prefer the old avatars or if you have low performance graphics cards, you can still choose an old avatar: if you do not see them available in the Avatar Selector you can still find them in inventory-clothing-previous outfits.

          Apart from Linden Lab, very interested in developing avatars, using the meshes, is the Us Army: the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711 Human Performance Wing (to whose courtesy we owe the pictures you see below) is drafting new avatars using, of course, 3D scanners and meshes to create high dedinition avatars to be used in simulations and training through video games. In this case to create the meshes the researchers of the Us Air Force first reproduce a real human body using a body scanner formed by a ring of cameras aligned around the subject. Each camera takes a picture, thus producing a cloud of points on the body, connecting them with lines gives the digital reproduction (mesh) of the subject.

          To recreate the movement, however, is used technique similar to that of the digital 3D animated movies: a series of reflective stickers are placed on the body of the subject and the cameras pick up the movement of these stickers when the subject moves, so being able to reproduce digitally (the same technique, incidentally, has been used to realize the sequences in which appears the character of Gollum in the movie The Lord of The Ring, directed by Peter Jackson).

          mesh for Us ArmyUse 3D scanners to create mesh avatars and cameras to capture and reproduce the movement can reach levels of realism not only far higher than those of Linden Lab, but also of the top performing videogames not only as regards the movements, but also of bodies and avatar’s clothing. In fact, to hear the engineers involved in this project, one of the problems that prevents a more rapid adoption of these new avatar is the fact that the trading platforms and graphics engines of video games and virtual worlds (if you remember the Us Army has experienced for a long time Second Life for its simulations) still can not support this level of realism.

          I wonder if the next successful startup that will not be able to let us use photo realistic avatars in our favorite games. For now I suggest you to keep in touch and continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, as well as our Twitter account and our Facebook fanpage (but you can find us even on Flickr, on Scoop.it and on Paper.li).

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            Linden Lab is backto shop and announces the acquisition, for a sum that has not been revealed, of Little Text People, a British company specialized in developing games that have wide social interaction founded byRichard Evans (whom you can see below in an image taken from Wikipedia) and in which had landed Emily Short (whom you see in a picture of Ben Collins-Sussman).

            The “core” technology developed by Little Text People is a simulator that can recreate social behavior and individual personalities to the characters of its games, so as to arrive at a product that looks more like a novel than an action movie.

            Rod Humble, Ceoof Linden Lab, press the accelerator in the direction, announced earlier this year, of a more diversified range of products from Linden Lab, so far focused only on the platform of Second Life and in fact theofficial note about the launch of “several new stand-alone products this year”, something different (probably designed for mobile devices) from the experiment ofLinden Realm in whicha new game was introduced into the virtual world of Linden Lab.

            Shortand Evans’s curricula are those “heavy” ones: Short is a writer who gave birth in 2000 to Galatea, text game, called one of the best NPC games (i.e. games where the characters are not driven by the players) of all time, while Evans is a developer known for being for Electronic Arts / Maxis the manager of development of artificial intelligence forThe Sims 3 as well as Black & White, for which shewon numerous awards.

            The acquisition seems to confirm that Humble, after putting order in Linden backyard, is starting to look around to strengthen its diversification strategy, in order to find new sources of income and ensure a future to LL.

            Which are also profitable (according to various estimates Linden Lab should have closed 2011 with sales of over 75 million dollars and a profit of several millions) and where, after finishing some “experiments of the past” that have puzzled the same employees, the focusis now on developing new products that connect, entertain and amaze users and are easy to use.

            In this sense Facebook and Zynga seem to haveprovided a good example, but not necessarily the only way for Second Life is that of a trivialization of the user experience in an attempt to broaden the base of players. The skills of Short and Evans could lead to interesting developments for the virtual world in the sense of greater capabilities in education, roleplaying, and even in the arts, provided in Linden Lab’s interests (and thus pay by economically) to continue to push the use of Second Life in these areas.


            Even Linden Lab felt “the Minecraft effect”: Californian firm, famous to have developed years ago Second Life, recently announced are focusing that means it cease development and support of products as dio, Versu and Creatorverse (which also contained interesting elements) to focus only, beside Second Life, on Desura (a community driven digital distribution service for gamers who use the PC as a gaming device on which you can buy Patterns) and Blocksworld, an iPad, smartphone and pc game developed in 2012 by Swedish Boldai (studios foundend in 2010 by an AI expert, Martin Magnusson, an a super hacker, Magnus Hallin) and bougth by Linden Lab in 2013 (with the development team of Boldai).

            Blocksworld Wiz of OzThe decision to discontinue the development of products designed in-house during the Humble era which was a form of diversification than SL surely have been agreed with the new Ceo, Ebbe Altberg, in charge since the beginnings of February after the end of the three-year term of the same Rodvik Humble and focuse the company on only two segments and only two products: Second Life for teen audience (and beyond) and Blocksworld for kids. By downloading the free app which you can find on Appstore (unfortunately is not available an Android version at the moment) you can create and manipulate characters and objects that will remind you of those made with wooden blocks with which you probably used to play as children.

            And then of course you can play with it, take pictures, share them on the community board (images you see in this article are Linden Lab courtesy). Borrowing some of the characteristics of successful social games such as those of Zynga, even Blocksworld “awards” those who connect daily with small gifts and of course has its own Facebook fanpage (as also Mondivirtuali.it) and its own board on Instagram, a thing that leaves me a little puzzled because Instagram, founded in 2010 and enjoyed by more than 150 million monthly active users, it is not typically a service used by children, who instead are supposed to be the target users of Blocksworld.

            Blocksworld On the other hand I think the kids will appreciate the wide selection of videos and tutorials available on Youtube dedicated to Blocksworld: my family counselor (my son  Davide, 11 years old) said that after he saw them, he felt the need to try the game and I imagine that a similar effect can be felt by many. It remains to be seen whether Blocksworld (which has now surpassed the milestone of one million downloads and more than 400 thousand generated content from its users) will have the same success it has had Minecraft, certainly the virtual worlds for kids market seems to continue to affect businesses a lot, despite some disappointment as the one linked to the closure of Lego Universe.

            A confirmation of this interest comes from Blocksworld itself, which in anticipation of the return in movie theaters around the world of the Wizard of Oz saga, by May 9, 2014, saw the launch of a new set, “The Legends of Oz”, the subject of a communication campaign carried out by KZero. How to say that about Blocksworld and “branded” virtual worlds we will hear much more in the long: do not miss the latest news, if you want, continue to follow this site as well as our Twitter account and our Facebook fanpage.

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            Under an OcTree cover

            Knowing an artist albeit “virtually”, at a distance, always procure me emotions. Then, when the person is nice and helpful at least as far as technically prepared, is really a pleasure to talk about her as in this case. An exhibition, organized by Crystalship Rehula(artist and “graphic dreamer” I appreciate since a long time) in Second Life, virtual reality platform of Californian Linden Lab, entitled “Under an OcTree” in which they are presented some works of Parmisan Nur Moo, gave me the chance.

            Under an OcTree Nur MooNur is since a long time in Second Life, but also took many photographic exhibitions in “real” art galleries and I find she is one of the most interesting emerging artist. For some time her daily activities has moved her away from SL, so I asked her why she came back to expose (the images you see in this article just refer to the virtual installation, ongoing at the gallery of Crystalship, What’s This Art) and as always she answered me.

            Luciana Pinazzo: I saw that you have an exhibition taking place in Second Life, it was an idea of yours or of Crystal?

            Nur Moo: The idea of content of my photographs is mine like the “way” to expose them too, I never agree to exhibit in places where I have to just “hang” in a classic pictures: we are in the metaverse, so I like to take advantage of creative possibilities with respect to real world.

            L.P.: Why “Under an OcTree”?

            Under an Oc Tree Nur MooN.M.: “Under an OcTree” is a funny play on words that relies on the double meaning of the word “tree”, as a tree data structure, usually used in 3D graphics. The central concept of this work, once again on the avatar of Second Life, is to highlight the very real structure that makes up the virtual reality in which our avatars move, the structure that underlies the moving images we see on the monitor. I think it’s very important to remember, at this moment in the history of Second Life, that there is always a separation between reality and virtuality that makes the most creative “game”. I often see with sadness as now there is a dominant trend in the metaverse to copy in all respects reality, creating an hyperreal vision (as the “boobs mesh lolas tango” which have invaded SL) of poor quality.

            Under an Oc Tree Nur MooL.P.: Do you think SL still has something to show us or your return is just a sign of your affection for this platform and its users?

            N.M.: I still believe that Second Life has a lot to give as a creative platform for (true) artists, as long as used in the right way. I am very sorry that Linden did not understand this important potential, pushing hard only the commercial and relegating the art in that sort of “marketplace of ideas” that is the Lea (Linden Endowment for the Arts).

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            Linden Lab CreatorverseNever again only Second Life for Linden Lab, which updates its official site and returns to hire: after over an year of waiting (since August 2011, when during SLCC11, Rod Humble, Ceo of the Californian company, announced that had been started the development of new products “external” and not connected with SL) came the announcement of the official launch of the first two of four products that will be released by the end of this year.

            This is particularly Creatorverse and Patterns: Creatorverse is the first app for tablet produced by Linden Lab that some experts as Pierluigi Casolari (co-founder of Koinup, these days busy to develop the partnership with Bigoom) judge “interesting, a mixture between Spore, a painting tool and the cartoon Louie” which seems aimed at an audience much younger than that of Second Life (whose residents are on average thirty), as confirmed by the description given by Linden Lab itself: “Tinker, play, and explore on your iPad, you become an inventor, designing unique creations and then setting them in motion. Your creations come to life as you play with different joints, forces, motors, teleporters, and more. From the simplest bouncing ball to an elaborate pinball machine, the possibilities are endless in Creatorverse”.

            Linden Lab PatternsThe wait to see Creatorverse in action (here a first movie) is meant to be short, has just undergone the Apple and should be available in the coming weeks, in the meantime you can see some pictures preview here. A lot of curiosity can also be seen around Patterns, which for Labs is “a new 3D creative environment to explore and shape, where you can build large-scale structures that reach the sky, bridges that traverse chasms, and more, all while the pull of gravity challenges your construction techniques”. Which sounds a bit like a sort of “second Second Life”, maybe more like Minecraft (which seems to be for now quite popular between online gaming enthusiasts), this time hopefully characterized by a scalable technology and increased accessibility that facilitates a better user experience. Needless to say, we will try the beta as soon as possible to give you our impressions.

            Linden Lab new productsLinden Lab said it want to reveal more details soon with a video trailer, and that “the first adventurers will be able to get the genesis release” (i.e. the first public version) and asked to join the beta  (here) to “contribute to the development of Patterns, by providing feedback and suggestions and seeing their names in the credits added as founders” of the new product. Definitely a much more user-oriented than they have often complained about the “residents” of Second Life.

            Humble seems therefore to confirm as the right man to turn Labs from the dream of visionaries like Philip Rosedale (now engaged in the Coffee & Power project), Cory Ondrejka and Bruce Rogers (the latter two returned to work as a team together for the development of CloudParty) in a “mainstream” company able to churn out successful products brought together from being all “shared creative spaces”. A new term, intended to replace or to support the definition of “virtual worlds”? This will be the time to say it, but  at the moment it appears to be less likely.