May 232009
 

A cross posting from JustVirtual but there has been lots of excitement about Second Life becoming a more ‘evocative’ engine (visually speaking) for at least 18 months with lots of posts and short demo videos. Recently the Illclan’ers posted an item suggesting we are quite close to having an official Linden Lab release here, Dynamic Lighting and Shadow Engine Coming to Second Life. They like me are also very interested in the ‘controlled’ lighting effects using artificial (isn’t it all?!) light sources vs the ambient ‘sun’. But for starters here is a quick ambient test video…

A quick exploration of some of my old builds which may not be there much longer! Using the Space Navigator and running Windlight in Day cycle mode (the sun and moon take a minute or two to do a full rotation)  to produce lots of moving shadows across the landscapes, people and builds. Rather than just show shadows I was keen to tie some ‘psych trance’ music into fast moving space navigator footage hence the constant movement – all shots took into account the timing with the shadows too.

The whole process was about 1 hour of capture, 1.5 hour edit and 2 hours on music track. Music was composed on Logic Pro mostly using Spectrasonics Omnisphere plug-in software ‘processor-eating’ synth.

I had access to a top end NVidia GTX280 high spec graphics card and quad processor machin so I put all SL graphics settings at max for once! The video was captured at PAL resolution using Fraps and the raw files edited using Adobe Premiere.

To have a go at this yourself make sure you have a top flight graphics card from NVidia or ATI and then download the Shadow Viewer client from Kirsten here or I believe a more recent one (that I used) from Boy Lane here. I am not sure of the widespread use of shadows given the grunt your computer needs to handle this, windlight, voice on top of all the usual networking issues – but for those with computer horsepower it definitely brings the place to life.

shadows_sl

Published & created under creative commons – attribution, non-commercial, non-derivative, 23 May 2009 in Sydney, Australia

My Second Life sim builds included: Esperance (AFTRS), ABC Island, Melbourne Laneways, Thursdays Fictions, Deakin, The Pond and others. (I would have loved to show some more commercial & arty builds but non-disclosure and all that!)

Jan 152009
 

Senor Hontar: “We must work in the world. The world is thus.”
Father Altamirano: “No Senor Hontar…thus have we made the world. Thus have I made it”
Final lines of the film ‘The Mission’

As well as the increase in venture capital investment across all virtual worlds, the time spent in them, measured in user hours, is growing too. While this is partly due to existing users spending longer it is often the about the typical new user who after the initial log-in hurdles becomes highly engaged for 3-18 months or longer with a particular personally resonant virtual world service. Virtual worlds that offer something beyond mall-like activities (PS3Home springs to mind) or just a glorified chat channel (there are quite a few in this category) will obviously increase engagement. The personalization factor, to make the virtual space YourSpace either by customising other community members work or by creating it from scratch yourself, naturally increases your personal investment. Second Life has always been about Your World and one of the major driving factors is aspirational lifestyle and peer appraisal.

We partly escape, we are often out to impress, we love the control but most importantly we like to co-create and communicate with those we like on our terms and in areas we make.

Increase in User Engagement Second Life

Linden Lab who run Second Life have just published figures looking at 2008 and as in several presentations I have been giving around the world, it shows that SL and other worlds are far more ‘sticky’ than traditional 2D social networks such as Facebook and MySpace. From the Linden Lab (second life creators) Blog:

Second Life Residents logged nearly 400 million hours in 2008, growing 61% over 2007
Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 12:33 PM by: Zee Linden

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