Facebook Occulus and Second Life

Well you knew it was coming.

In an article on UPSTART, Facebook, Oculus and Second Life (1.0) are linked in more than just passing rumor mode.

Is resistance futile?

I am not a Facebook fan and if I "have" to use Oculus in order to be in Second Life (or The New World) I'll be gone.

But that's just me.

New Worlds Adoption

Now I really don't have any great new news here, but I seem to be developing a following of sorts and what's a gal to do? I hate to go to blogs with nothing different to ponder.

So here's what I am thinking.

I have been exploring different platforms of late. In Virtual Paradise I made a couple of stores (almost free) and moved some items over and indeed created some new things that have and will eventually get to other platforms. I even made some pretty spiffy hair for a girlfriend. And amazingly I am making money on the very tiny grid. And yes, I am surprised.

I have been on a lot of grids. I tend to take on that "supportive" role. I want the newly forming grid to look like there is something worthwhile to purchase -- you know, for the discerning folks. I don't expect to make a lot of dinero, but sometimes it turns out that I do. And that's OK too.

I also returned to Kitely (not as Chic) to check up on things there. The website is greatly improved and while my email address seems to have been lost in the database (I faithfully wrote all info down but it just aint workin') I did manage to get quite a few places. [Later note: I am thinking that my problem there was that I was not a paying citizen and so was blocked out of some worlds.] One thing there that does seem smart is loading of the worlds when needed. Sure you have to wait a bit, but patience is a good thing. The marketplace isn't terribly impressive. Prices are high and quality in general low, but hopefully it is working for some folks. There ARE some nice places to visit and visiting is EASIER there now, so points on the score board.

I tried to get into Metropolis (looks like the largest Open Sim grid from the stats) a place where you can hook your sim(s) up for free using your own computer. It is a non-commerce grid.  I could get around in Metropolis OK but in three days I was never out of orange cloud status. The advice I got was to install yet another viewer and that was really too daunting for me (I am trying to pare down in the viewer category) so I finally gave up. I DO have an account there so maybe in the future.

Meanwhile all this out and about adventuring on both new grids and old had me thinking about what makes grids grow.

Inworldz (over five years) and some of the other older OS style grids seem to be stable but stagnent. People come and people go and life goes on as usual. Actually we could say the same for Second Life these days.

The New World has a bit of an advantage over other birthing platforms. There is a ready-made audience and I am sure The Lab is counting on that. A fair amount of SL citizens already know there is a new grid on the far horizon. Some are looking forward to it, others are happy to stay where they are.

When we look at the bread crumbs dropped we can surmise that in some ways the new world will be quite different. Mobile device accessability is a promise and with that come new rules. Let's look at Cloud Party. Wonderful tech, completely different building standard that were in part necessitated by the need for global viewing.

You needed to make two kinds of garments and attachments in CP. One for SD (standard definition low bandwidth and things seen at a distance) and HD (nicely sharp but still much lighter density mesh -- and CP was an all mesh world) than you find in SL.  There were HUGE areas to work on (four times the size of SL sims) but you had limited resources. Items with long distance viewer (good LODS) "cost" more against your allotment. Textures were an issue so 256 and 512 were the standard. Once you plopped down an item though, it no longer counted against your cost. So one tree or 50 trees were all the same -- and that I liked a lot.

We don't know what the New World rules will be, but we can be sure they will be different than SL. That will work for some folks and not others. I am guessing the younger crowd will be more inclined to make the switch -- especially the non-creators.

Movers and Shakers and Elitism

Well what can I say --

There is a group in SL, sort of moved over from the August Terms of Service days. It promotes original content -- a good thing. I am all for that.

But --

well of course there is a but. I read on the forums that this group really doesn't take all original content creators. When I looked at the list it was the movers and shakers that were listed, not the "little folk".

To be fair, I did a test. I had my alt put in an application. She has absolutely no questions asked original content and does not sell to other parties as full perm (a criteria).

You know what? She too wasn't accepted.

Now I know that most of the people in the top level of this original TOS group left. I don't know the complete details. Megalomania was mentioned :D,  but I was not there. What I can say is that having a group that only caters to the top tier creators while seeming to be for ALL original content creator is NOT a good thing.

So -- while it is likely that most of the folks listed (I mean I am sure the leaders are not checking daily for anything that could possibly be borrowed and oftentimes you can't tell anyway) are legit, leaving out the other 70 per cent or so of "legal" folks -- just isn't right in my book.

Another demerit for the fearless leader who really does seem to like running the show with her character's name in the marquee.

While I wasn't looking

screen shot
Long ago I wrote a comprehensive post on the new SL mesh avatars. By accident I hit the "make an account" button on my way to the Marketplace and I found there are more choices now. It even looks like there are a set of men with regular sized hands! Some nice choices of clothing is in the mix also.

Now these additions may have happened some time ago, but it is nice to see them. I haven't noted clothing made for these avatars; again I haven't been looking. All the folks I know are OLD and in the classic avatar (with various mesh improvements) camp.

The Movement of Money

Ebbe has stated that money between "the old world" and "the new world" will be the same and will flow freely. Whether or not there will be Marketplace-like fee, we don't know. I am guessing not, but I am not always a great guesser.

In the meantime --

This appeared on the Inworldz forums today, a copy of a message sent out by the owner of Inbiz, a long time Inworldz marketplace:

Message from Anna Debruyere
08/20/14 08:51PM
inBiz Exchange now closed. You can help inBiz.|Lindens Labs has notified me that my account that owns the terminals and processes transactions in SL (Dr Debruyere) is to be terminated.
Here is the backstory.

For a long while you have been able to move money between SL and IW by making an inbiz account in both worlds and transferring funds over via kiosks. Aside from the physical hassles, it was often almost instantaneous. Lots of new folks used the service to get money easily for shopping in Inworldz.

Now this never seemed right to me - on many levels. SL and IW are two different grids (not the SL1 and SL2 scenario above). They are owned by different people. They each want to make a profit. So smoothly transferring money from Grid A to Grid B (it only went one way because of fraud issues) never seemed like a smart business plan -- at least from LL's point of view. It also seemed to be against the Terms of Service. It was however greatly promoted in IW.

So now the folks that use their SL profits to pay their IW tier will actually have to cash out, wait and then buy Izzies. They are not happy.

To me though, it seems more fair. 

What's Happening - Big and Small grids

I have been over at a new virtual world a lot this week, uploading and decorating a shop (and actually selling a few thing). Virtual Paradise is a month old, very tiny but promising and has grown by nearly 20% in the week I have been there. Meanwhile what's happening with the big boys?

High Fidelity

While I can't embed the video, it is here. Very cute and cartoony (alpha) the avatar lip sync is impressive. The singer is a 17 year old high school student interning this summer at HF. Many talents as see is apparently very smart too *wink*. 

If I Were Queen

First off I am amazed anyone is actually reading my ramblings, so thanks for that. These pages are primarily for me, but feel free to peek over my shoulder.

New Open Sim grids are popping up. Some perhaps planned for awhile, others perhaps (I have no inside intel at ALL) taking advantage of what seems to be an optimum time with the SL New World announcement.

If you have read some of the articles I linked to earlier in this post list, you will have noted that some folks feel  -- OK, let's call it TNW as I am tired of typing -- is not good for OS. Little more R and D shared is one possible downside. TNW will be very different; that hand held device mention has me betting on web-based as in Cloud Party which worked nicely by the way.

I haven't really been on all that many OS grids lately, IW being the biggest is the one I am in more than others. Some look promising, others that have not opened are already sending up red flags in my field of view with screenshots from other games (definitely NOT open sim) on there coming soon entry. Remaining photos are all stock and real life and that isn't working for me either. So we'll see.

I have also been talking to folks who HAVE spent more time in the OS grids and some reports got me thinking.

We all know it is wrong to take copyrighted photos from the web, upload and sell as "your art". This is just one scenario, there are others that are less than optimal (uploading free to use mesh for example and selling doesn't work for me either).

Stolen stuff in all layers of awfulness has been around SL forever -- well as long as I have been here. I can see that it would be very difficult to find it all and take it down.

Now here's the thing :

I heard from someone recently that a new grid has obviously stolen graphics (we aren't talking free to use stuff like CG Textures and other graphics sites) in their store. Actually the whole store was stolen graphics or at least appeared to be. The new grid owner was informed of the shop. The answer from the top was that there was nothing they could do about it without a DMCA claim.

Now, let's think about this. In a long discussion with a few RL folks we hashed over what ifs.

IF the TOS states that you may not upload items stolen from the web (it does in this case), isn't doing so breaking the TOS? Doesn't that avatar account need to be deleted?

If "I" were Queen, the answer would be yes. I have had graphics work (lots) stolen and used on other people's websites. One had the audacity to claim they had made the works and were trying to sell customized versions. They actually had no way to do this so that makes it fraud besides theft. I called them up across the country and asked them what they thought they were doing? I got the boss eventually. He said, "how do I know these are yours?"

My answer:


It isn't difficult to prove you made something. All programs have active files. The owner of the active files is in my mind the maker. There are some obtuse scenarios that might negate this, but they are a very convoluted trail.

And here is my point. New grids CAN start policing now -- when they are small and it is easy. If it were my grid? The people would be deleted and their goods with them. That should be stated in the TOS of course. It would make me happy to see the rule in print.

It won't happen naturally. Too much hassle to check and receive evidence -- decide etc. Instead the powers will hide behind that DMCA screen. Since few people would ever bother to go through all the hassles, it is pretty much useless.

In a perfect world we would be more honest.
In a perfect world we wouldn't try and cheat.
In a perfect world we wouldn't ignore the problems.

Alas, this is not a perfect world.

Ebbe Speaks

Along with many comments that The Lab is working on getting as much input from various groups and the repeat of " we said from the beginning that the next generation we're going to build it so that it targets phones, you know, pads, PC's and Oculus" there is a fair amount of interesting comments in this talk.

Listen or read and see if you can find the comment that directly goes against what the TOS actually says - LOL. Had to smile at that one.

People Are Saying

I started this research expecting to find a few interesting articles. Along the way I discovered this one from PC World, mostly concerning Oculus and both SL 1.0 and the New World. If you read carefully -- not even between the lines -- there is a host of newish and confirming statements by our current fearless leader.


An article about how the new platform might influence the future and the current state of Second Life 1.0 and Open Sim and a recent  newbie travelogue.

I can't say I agree with these articles all that much.

As a content creator and consumer I am not worried about the issues spoken about in the first article.

And comments from people who have only spent a very few hours on the grid are not exactly "in the know" from my point of view. Those that have lived in Second Life for many years understand there is much more than sex clubs and really childish 2003 builds; we obviously have a different view of he world.

Still, in the spirit of historical time frame, here are some thoughts



A press release concerning skilled gaming in Second Life (deadline for implementation has been changed to Sept 1).


R and D

screenshot Goggle
I was thinking this morning while soaking (often my most productive thoughts of the day) that The Lab and the August TOS (and the revised version of this July) has much in common with some resource and development companies.

I can't speak to the other platforms in the LL fold but let's look at Second Life. Like many grids following in its likeness it started out as a grid for creators. After eleven years there are plenty of consumers, and now after the advent of templates in all their various forms, workshop creators -- ones that take parts and pieces of readymade items and add their own textures and touches.

In many R and D real world companies employees are bound by a contract giving all their work to the company -- even work done at home on their own time having nothing to do with the company. I have never been part of that scene. In real life I was always an independent contractor and either did work for hire or had my own company. So for me, it was "contract or agreement, money down, work completed and delivered, it was all theirs". Honestly I would never work for a company who had  a stringent "everything you think about is ours" work contract.

I had never thought about Second Life in this context before. There is still the possibility that part of The Lab's end game is to sell our items on the open market to other game developers. In my personal "it might work" scenario this would involve OPTING IN by the creators, much like our choice to opt into the Marketplace. The TOS that we already signed let's The Lab sell our products. While they might legally (still up to testing) be able to do it without recompense to the creators, I don't think they are willing to try that. Some recent unfair but signed TOS fiascoes have shown that isn't a smart move.

While the " you are not our employees" text was added to the TOS last summer (seemingly for tax purposes but who knows) we DO use their platform with little overhead to make money -- some of us anyway. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Time will tell the tale. Until then we can only wonder.

Exodus Update

While I am not spending much time in Inworldz these days, I do try and keep tabs on what is going on.

Did folks move over to IW from SL after the New World announcement?  Well some did including at least one land leasing firm (two if rumors are correct). There are now 28 more private island regions than there were a couple of days after Ebbe's announcement.

Since people are always leaving as well as coming, we can probably assume from the sketchy statistics that a couple of dozen new landholders were due to the New World and people's perception of what the SL future holds.

Concurrency is up a little -- maybe 25 more folks are in world during popular hours. Since it is August, traditionally the slowest month of the virtual world year, that is a big percentage increase. I am no longer seeing concurrency over 300 though -- even on weekends.

Many disgruntled folks made accounts in IW this last month. Lots explored, some redid their default avatar either with purchased or free upgrades. Some apparently stayed; others left.

IW has several things going for it. Land is much cheaper; this is the biggest perk that I can see. You also get three times more prims on an IW island than you do in SL. Honestly though unless you are still using prim built stick housing and the like, it would be VERY difficult to use all those prims. Uploads are free so you don't have to be quite so careful when testing and that lowers stress levels for some.

The biggest drawback is content. There are a few premium content creators in IW, most have come over from SL and ported some (that's an important concept, so remember that) of their goods over. I personally am thrilled that they have bothered.

According to one of the founders in a forum post, there ARE folks making in the thousands per month in IW. I am wondering who that might be. [Note: later info from long time residents suggest land barons.] For the most part and for now, the second grid isn't a moneymaker for most.

And that's the BIG issue and one on many minds apparently for many years. Except for spurts when The Lab does something (or is perceived as doing something) BAD and people leave in protest, IW doesn't grow. The really good content creators don't really make enough to encourage them to stay; most, I think are just waiting to see what happens. Many of course stay a few months then leave.

So if you are a builder and can make most of what you need OR have very few wants, then the low land prices can certainly tip the scale. If, however, your want your premium skin, mesh hands and feet, furniture with adjustable animations etc. -- it's tough.

For months I have heard IW mentors and others attesting to having better content creators than SL. All I can say is that they definitely don't shop the Big Grid places that I do.

Until there are enough people to justify the time and effort it takes to set up shop and port items over, the  chicken and egg syndrome based on content and need will continue.

SL's New Portal Park 2014

We have been told that work will continue on SL 1.0 albeit with a smaller team. I believe that is a truthful statement mostly because work has continued for many months while the major energies were spent on the new world. We have see new features. Some may be in part an overflow from work on the new grid. That's good enough.

One of the bits of newness is the Portal Park. If you have ever been a Linden Realms fan, you know that the Realms portal was very minimalistic. There were plenty of folks standing around and chatting, but it wasn't because of the surroundings.

The new Portal Park is much more inviting. It includes one path to the Realms (we should say "Realm" now and I will get to that). Another path leads to the older icy quest, one to a Tea Party (Alice Style), one to a conversation area, one to The Wilderniess (premium), one to the Cornfield (new) and a not quite finished one that looks interesting but probably will include guns which isn't my thing. Oh, and let's not forget the land of the gnomes (not really sure what that is for but cute).

When you teleport using your old Linden Realms landmark, you arrive at the new portal. If you are headed for The Realms, you simply find the right path and continue.

And here is where it gets a little dicey. There is now only ONE Linden Realm --  replacing the many versions of Tyrah's. The current Realm has always been there just not accessible to the general public; now and then you might have seen a green dot or two (supposedly Lindens at work or play high above the landscape). This new realm wasn't crowded the two times I visited -- once Friday eve and once Saturday afternoon. It didn't take me too long to figure out why.

The Realms have been broken pretty much continuously from the time of their unveiling. First the quest disappeared. Then there were griefers, griefers everywhere. Then the areas would be "close for repairs" -- most often without notice. Then after cleaning up the cheaters (loud clapping here) there was a new twist. Instead of closing the portals, they just took away a lot of the crystals. Actually, a pretty good plan if you are trying to keep folks happy AND save money.

And here's the kicker. There were originally (at least when I first ventured over with a mesh viewer) FOUR portal parks that lead to six different instances of Tyrah's. Then maybe a year ago that switched to TWO portal parks and four instances -- and NOW there are two portals that lead to the same single instance  -- THE REALM :D.   OK, not all that bad except that the once instance is definitely broken. Many areas that "should" have crystals are barren. There aren't many folks there either. Why would there be?

One advantage SL had over the other smaller grids was that there was a way for new folks to make a little money. They had to work pretty hard; even if you knew where the crystals should appear and at what time, the average take was only about 25 linden an hour. Lots of folks; only so many crystals.

So now that is gone.

Single Sock Syndrome

In real life many of us know about the mysterious disappearance of socks. We seem to have many singles and no mates. We buy more sock as matching is important to the fashion conscious -- and we continue to lose socks.

Things have been disappearing in my virtual world. This isn't a new event; my first was six years ago -- my biggest, a loss of 10,000 home and garden items about four years ago. I kept backups when I could. That backup folder also disappeared. What's a gal to do.

I know it isn't just me. Folks write on the forums all the time about lost inventory. Others get on and tell them that it is only their cache that isn't working and we NEVER lose inventory. Well, I know better.

I note things are gone from time to time. I try not to let it bother me and with a sim to caretake I know have a lot of rezzables out in world (a slightly but not guaranteed safer place).

A couple of days ago I noted that a previous working texture change item I had made was no longer working. I fiddled a bit making it work but not as designed. Today I wanted to add some flower textures to a new build. They were gone. Others were also absent including ones I know were in my inventory a couple of months ago as I needed to find them in order to get a legal transfer to Inworldz. So I have the textures THERE but not HERE. I do have the normal maps that I generated to go WITH some of the missing foliage.  Hmmmm.

Another odd thing happened today. A pouf no longer contained all its animations. Script errors looking for animations came up more often than the poses -- well often anyway.

All this got me wondering if textures and animations -- and who knows what else -- might have been deleted purposefully. I have only had one placeholder plywood box appear in my inventory from a DMCA charge. It was a dance. I didn't care about it. I deleted the plywood placeholder. But what if textures are in question -- do we get the same head's up or are they simply deleted from the database?

I don't know the answer to that any more than I know WHY I am missing so many things and other items aren't working. Happily it seems like even if the texture is missing from the database (my UUID one anyway), items are not broken; the textures still appear on them.

It is still murky so far as porting textures over to The New World. Obviously we could reupload our own handmade textures, and The Lab could legally -- OK "legally" move our textures over for us under the August TOS of "we can do anything with all content" clause. Does that mean all the illegally uploaded textures would go into the new world? It is impossible to stop the uploading of stolen and copyrighted textures. We see them everyday in world.

While I would like to think this new disappearing syndrome was somehow connected to cleaning up stolen items on the grid, I am guessing it is most likely just another database meltdown.

Later note before this gets posted: Sunday morning I found a folder with many folders within it from Dec 2013. I clean my inventory regularly and this just (JUST) appeared. Another previously deleted folder from long ago also appeared. The textures did not :(.  So I suspect this is yet another inventory issue. It seems like that will never be remedied. 

The Pulse of SL

It's August. A traditionally slow time.

And yet ---

And yet --

there are many things that don't seem slow at all --

* More new shopping venues are showing up with good attendance.
* My personal income is the best it has been for a summer month that I can remember. I have no idea if that transfers over to others, but I am not doing any advertising or changing product types. Nothing that I can attribute the raise in revenue to except perhaps support from the general public.

 and other things are regressing --

* The forums have very few post other than ads for land.
* Land prices (rentals) seem to be down; there are many spots with less than $1L per prim prices (my personal standard when shopping).

There is no way to actually know what those factors add up to. There are fewer people online but not by scads. Some folks have left the grid over the New World announcement, but not all that many judging from Inworldz's new account additions.

Are people be intentionally more supportive?
Have they switched to a more nomadic life and abandoned property or rentals planning to "play" and not "nest"?

We can't really know.

Someone on the SL forums aked why the linden dollar wasn't losing value with the announcement of the new world. Personally I thought that strange and couldn't see why one would necessarily influence the other. Any major changes are years off, not weeks. Life is moving on as usual for most folks. If they are ignoring the possible future -- well whatever works for them :D. If they just feel it is too far in the distance to worry about -- well I get that too.

From my point of view things seem pretty stable and in fact better than I would expect for THE mid summer month.

That is encouraging.

We Are All Connected

I started this blog in preparation for the future.

I thought it would be good to have a "New World" blog already in process (such a crafty dame).

I also wanted to chronicle the events and atmosphere leading up to the birthing of the new platform. I like keeping records. It is a bit like a diary.

Those were my reasons, but I find that people are actually coming here to read my thoughts. It's OK. It isn't private.

So here are my thoughts for today.

Someone on the Inworldz forums (before I stopped reading them) wondered why there were so many post about Second Life. Why should the IW population care?

Well, for starters -- Second Life was the vanguard and is historically the largest and most popular -- and "successful" grid around. The world watches SL, they don't watch the tiny grids with concurrency of 35 - 300. That just makes sense.

There are several "six degrees of separation" type theories. I find the idea difficult to fathom really but let's say it is true. The bottom line is that we are ALL connected -- and THAT I do believe. What happens to one of us sends ripples into the worlds of the others.

Blue Mars and Cloud Party both closed. Different reasons but the effect reflected on all virtual worlds. That might not be fair, but it is indeed true. Now folks point to the failures, and perhaps that is to be expected. The history of one of us is in some part the history of all of us.

I would have been much happier in Inworldz without the constant bitching about Second Life. I think I can say b*tching here; I have no affiliations to anyone on this particular set of prose pages *wink*.

We really need to be supporting each other, not try to rip each other apart.

I hope we learn some lessons along the way.

Somehow, I doubt we will.

PS. Thanks for stopping by.