Archive for the 'Meetings, Conferences and New things in Virtual Worlds' Category


I’m very bad at most card, board and electronic games. I don’t like to lose. My idea of fun does not include getting stressed out over strategy and deal-making. I do not seem to have the patience for learning all the rules and applying them. One of my earliest recollections is listening to grownups berate each other over the bridge table. There was nothing that I heard there that sounded “fun”. My idea of fun seems to need physical activity, which makes it even more odd that I like SL so much, I suppose. But the games I like all involve many people working in teams: volleyball, softball, team charades, team Trivial Pursuit and the like.

Lately I have been viewing videos and attending discussions on gaming theory and game development as applied to business applications. Since I’m not really technical, most of what I watch is relatively “high-level” and so in many ways it’s not telling me something new. What I do find new and fascinating are all the ways in which people have been developing “games” that model real situations. Playing the games teaches the players more about the subject and often exposes fundamental fallacies in accepted wisdom.

(Let me make an aside. When I was a mere lass in elementary school, I had a wonderful game. I don’t remember the name – I’d love it if someone out there knows it, but since I can’t remember the details…. *grin*…. Anyway, this game was a race against time. The ball would drop down a given question such as “The longest river in Africa is:” and you would have to put the pin (blocking mechanism) in the slot with the correct answer: Nile. I loved that game and learned so much. So even in the archaic days of my youth there were fun educational games. )

Now I do see some issues in modeling real life into a game. One of the speakers I heard talked about his six year old son greeting him at the door saying “Dad, we need to talk.” And the issue was that the child had amassed so much stuff in his virtual world room that he couldn’t move. And he could either sell items or buy a bigger house, but that would necessitate a second mortgage. /me blinks. Yes. A six year old grasping the concept of mortgages. I like it. And I also think that maybe, just maybe, we are doing a disservice to our children. When I was six, I was a child. No one expected me to be other than a child. My world was about playing and learning to socialize and learning to learn. I believe the biggest trauma in my life when I was six was that Anne W. got to be the tight-rope walker in the 1st grade circus when *I* wanted that role. /me smiles smugly. I became the bareback rider. *grin* Hardly the stuff of mortgages and trade-offs of space/materialism.

A friend directed me to Ian Bogost’s video from FORA tv’s Growing Up in a Digital World series. (He is the one with the 6 year old financier.) Ian Bogost is a professor at Georgia Tech, a Founding Partner at Persuasive Games (a videogame studio), and a Board Member at Open Texture (an educational publisher), among other things. Bogost was talking about educational games he had helped create. I was fascinated by his description of the “game” they created to illustrate just how DIFFICULT it is for a virus to become a pandemic. He mentioned many other games that described such real life scenarios and actions, from modeling the most efficient way to pack (use) the Soccer-Mom minivan to how to train store employees.

Persuasive Games is an award-winning independent videogame studio that makes games about social and political issues. Our work covers a wide variety of topics not usually found in videogames, including airport security, disaffected copy store workers, global petroleum market, Christmas shopping, tort reform, suburban errands, and pandemic flu.

Ahuva’s Update:   I was a bit rushed yesterday and did not realize and mention that you can PLAY some of these very very cool games from Persuasive Games online at their website.  For free. Some can be downloaded for free. Some are phone apps. It’s definitely worth a look-see. You will be amazed at how many interesting games are there.

Yesterday I attended Metanomics Masterclass on Game Development. This was a panel discussion with 3 game developers: Tony Walsh, founder of Phantom Compass, Colin Nilsson of the MadPea Productions, a game and adventure destination in Second Life, and Oni Horan, one of the developers of the Logos collectible card game. At least two of these companies develop games that are played within SL. Again the interesting factor to me was their take on how games relate to learning and to life. It was interesting to hear them discuss whether they thought the non-player characters would/should become more “human” or less.

All of these game developers, whether for modeling rl or escapism, understand that games have a set of agreed upon rules and a goal. I think that is another reason why people like games. There are reasons, answers, goals. So much of life is less clear than a game. We may toss off aphorisms such as “Life is just a game”, but it’s not. Or rather – if it is, we still don’t have the complete rulebook.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I’ve told you goodbye. I’ve told you that it’s not going to work out for us. I’ve done the “drama queen” thing. I’ve raged to friends. I’ve wept. It’s been nearly two years. I was always so good at protecting my heart, until you came along. Would I roll the clock back and wish that I’d never found virtual worlds, found you? No. But I’m telling you – this on-again, off-again stuff is making me crazy.

Right from the start I was blinded. People warned me. I said, “Don’t worry. I’m a big girl. I know what I’m doing.” And I went right on. You came along a little more slowly, but soon you were as hot as I was. It was rocky at the start, but then we hit our stride. Every day was exciting. And then. Then. It cooled down. Things just weren’t “happening” for us. Oh sure, we were together every day. But there was no thrill. No joy. No reason to wake up smiling. But we never called it quits. We got lucky. The passion, the excitement, the thrill all came back. You were everything to me – sun, moon, stars, breathing. I thought we were really going to make it. This was IT. We’d beat those virtual relationship odds. We’d be the ones to prove to everyone that it DOES workout.

And then……. it died. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I expected more from you than you could give. Maybe you were never what I thought you were. This summer I realized that I was wasting my time on you. We weren’t going anywhere together. We were as so many others had been. Done. Used up. Over. So I broke up. I said goodbye. Unfortunately, I only did that logically. My heart still belonged to you. So it was a hard few months.

The last several weeks I’d found a new interest to fill the time that had been filled with you. I have begun slowly to do other things, reach out to different people. Emotionally I had moved on. I was, dare I say it, feeling “free”. Darn you. Darn you darn you darn you. You called me this week. You said “We’ll just meet. No big deal. Really. Just talk.” I can’t say no to you.

We met. Oh my word, the difficulties in arranging a place to meet. Setting the time, getting together. It wasn’t like old times – so much of our usual routine was gone. But….. we were together again. Yes, we slipped right back into the groove. It felt so right. It felt so good. How could I ever think that I didn’t still love you? That I was “free”? Free???? OMG – I would be chained, not free, without you.

/me smiles. You know, don’t you, dear reader? I am talking about my project. My beloved, infuriating collaboration tool project. I demo’d it to someone new this week. I had no hope of anything happening. I was asked to demo, so I would demo. The project is dead. I’ve lost my volunteer team – they’ve all moved on. I have other work I need to do. I found what I thought might be an interesting career path. But…. she liked the demo. She wants us to demo it to a technical group. She wants to discuss it more for the original concept we’d had. I know, I know. Calm down, don’t get excited. But oh the thrill. The joy. While I played the 1 minute video that was shown to 4000 people this past June, other folk from the building walked into the conference room. They stopped talking and watched the screen, rapt. They said something like “How come our stuff is so dull and you get to do all the exciting stuff?”

Yes. You are exciting. You make me come alive. You are my passion. I can turn and try to walk away. But I will always love you. I will always come back to you, given any faint encouragement at all. Even if we never go any further than what we do now – the occasional demo, I count you as my true love. I am grateful, proud and thrilled that you are a part of my life.

And oh world please…… maybe THIS time we will find a home?

Getting out of the Box

The skybox, that is. *grin* Keeping with my resolution to get out and enjoy more of SL and spend time with friends, I have made a conscious effort to DO things.

The other day Bree plurked about Robert Sawyer speaking at the Univ of Texas at Dallas. He was speaking live on campus but would also be streaming to the UT Dallas campus in SL. Both Bree and Honour really enjoy Sawyer’s books. They were both so enthusiastic about the upcoming lecture that I made sure to clear my schedule to be there. Many other friends showed up as well, including folks I had only just met at SLCC 2010. Initially the acoustics were NOT good – a lot of static. But someone began streaming the picture/sound from in the audience and we were able to hear and see Sawyer. It WAS very interesting. And I’m going to try out one of his books. *grin*

I joined Honour for a tour of The Curious Prim in Fairypunk Kingdom. I was TRYING to do some work, but she was very insistent. It is indeed a lovely build. I hope she blogs about it to do it justice. I mostly followed her about, looked where she told me to look and tried to work. *grin* Finally we found a room that reminded me of Maxfield Parrish, one of my favorite artists. I changed into an outfit I thought was relatively suitable and cajoled Honour into taking my picture. There was some great furniture for sale, lovely castle build. When I go to places like this, I realize that building in Sl is very much as involved as building a site in the atomic world. You must plan the earth, the landscaping, the buildings. My husband is a structural engineer, I’ve looked at plans, drawings. I don’t see the world that way. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would take a new sim and make it into something beautiful. We take so much for granted in SL – fantastic, marvelous builds are all around us. Our world is filled with talent.

I caught another meeting inworld during my lunch hour. The Gronstedt Group holds weekly “Train for Success” sessions in Second Life. They were doing a presentation on Virtual Worlds in the Enterprise. As you know, this is a subject dear to my heart. I’m still trying to make that connection between my “real” day job and the virtual world project from this past year. The panelists were Doug Thompson (“Dusan Writer”), Ian Hughes (“ePredator Potato”), and Maria Korolov (“Marie Kolache”). Again, I ran into friends I met as a result of SLCC 2010. I listened to the speakers and was a bit reassured. I think the most interesting comment I heard was made by (I think) Dusan Writer. I keep hearing that VW aren’t going to be mainstream until they are accessed via a web browser, removing the need for all the high-powered gaming equipment. Dusan (if it was indeed he) said that he did not think that was the case. I don’t know enough to know if that is right or wrong. But I do remember my first days in SL, and how I never really knew what was going on and never saw what other people saw because my equipment couldn’t render the world adequately. It was the people, the social networking, that kept me going until the hardware came. Anyway, I suggest you check out the Gronstedt Group sessions – they seem to be interesting and informative.

But today is a busy day for me in my atomic life. Participated in a VERY cool virtual world test. I will have to find out when and if I can talk about it. In my mail today was a letter from the IRS, wanting to discuss 2008. Uh oh. I thought we’d closed that book. Ugh. So between work and cooking and cleaning, I was at the accountant’s saying “This is YOUR problem!” *grin* This means that I don’t have time to explore any more today. I’m chilling in the sky box!

That Which We Call a Rose…

…might actually be Ahuva Heliosense. At least, so I understand from the announcement about Display Names. Everyone and their dog has begun commenting on Display Names, one of the new features unveiled at SLCC 2010. This is indeed one of the topics that has merely confirmed my opinion that I am lazy, that I have limited energy to devote to tracking information, and that I do not need to be an expert on all things. On the other hand, nothing in that previous sentence will stop me from giving MY 2 cents worth.

First, I’m listing a bunch of links. I wish I could publish the group chat. *sigh* No, I like you folks, I wouldn’t do that. But the coding/technical group to which I belong – wow – they went ballistic. There may indeed be just cause. LL claims that Display Names will not change how scripts work. Okay, as much as I give LL the benefit of the doubt, I’ve spent my professional life in software development. I’ll believe that the changes are transparent when I actually run the code myself.

The official announcement from the labs by Jack Linden
Of course Torley has a video
Dusan Writer has thoughts on this as well
Tateru Nino doesn’t seem all that impressed
Ordinal Malaprop sees some good in it

I can’t list anymore. You go and follow the links. It isn’t even the original posts – it’s the torrent of comments on each post.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I believe that corporations can and will be doing business in virtual worlds. It’s not just meetings because of budget economy. I believe that if we write the tools for business applications, working in a virtual world can simplify interfaces, thereby simplifying communication and helping solve the business issues. So when I heard that LL was parking SLE, I was disappointed. I have talked to some very smart people about this, people who know the technical issues. Certainly there are enough people speculating on the business reasons to end SLE. So if LL wants to get back to the residential community, as Gwyneth LLewellyn posts, or if they simply find the business community non-profitable as Prokofy Neva suggests, that is their prerogative.

Here’s my 2 cents. I don’t want to change my name. I don’t want other people using MY name. I even got used to the idea of forced last names. I like subtle indicators and last name was a real clue to the age of an avatar.

Having stated my bias, it seems to me that there are really only two groups of people who need to change their avatar names: the folk who are trying to do RL business in SL and the folk who didn’t understand that they would be stuck with a “strange” name and now regret it. I have read about people in Role Playing sims “needing” to change their names. I’m not quite sure that I understand that. It seems to me, speaking from the depths of my inexperience, that those people should be fine with the floating text provided by group tags. You can change your floating text very easily. So if you need to change your name frequently for role playing, it seems to me that you already have that capability, WITHOUT endangering all the scripts and, forgive me, MY name.

If you signed up with a first name that you now find awkward, I think there should be some process in place to allow you to change it. Yes, that will require effort on the part of LL. But it could be done. There is no reason such a process needs to be speedy (in the sense of immediate – do it NOW) nor does it need to be under user control. (Oh dear, I suspect my developer bias just showed. And *I* am the liaison between the coders and the clients….) /me waves hand imperiously, dismissing that group of users

That leaves the business crowd, the ones who insist that they have to use their REAL names to do business. I should be in that group, I suppose. I am still conflicted on it. Having been “outed” several times in the last year (always with my consent), I will say that it was extremely uncomfortable at first. I attended some conferences held in SL where attendees were asked to float their RL names above their avatars. It was not mandatory, but strongly preferred. I thought about not doing it. Then I looked at my mentor and coworkers and friends who displayed their names. I thought about it and did the same. I think that it’s much like the first time I went out in public in a bikini. Or went out in public wearing a strapless top. I FELT incredibly exposed. But no one else really saw me as exposed. Would that be the Emperor’s New Clothes in reverse? Anyway, I’m wandering.

Since it appears that LL is NOT interested at this time in actively supporting and recruiting the corporations and educational institutes and other business, I don’t see who NEEDS this Display Name feature in SL. My guess is that most of the dev work was already done and they are rolling this feature out to show that they are still alive, still developing, still responding to their client base. I am not sure, however, that their professed target community wants or needs this feature. For most SL drama, I wouldn’t care. SL is made up of many diverse people, all with different priorities. LL is a privately held company that can make whatever business decisions it wishes to make. But I am immersed enough to not be happy at the idea that somehow “my” name may be damaged. “MY” name. You know me as Ahuva Heliosense. *I* know me as Ahuva Heliosense. I don’t want that changed. I don’t want other people being able to be Ahuva Heliosense. I don’t even want people “almost” to be Ahuva Heliosense by displaying “MY” name, even if their unique name is something different.

My solution? LOL. My solution is probably another whole blog and not original. Go create a new, UNIQUE avatar. Link that avatar to your existing avatar with full rights to the inventory. There. Done. You can have whatever name you want as long as it’s not mine. AND you have all your existing inventory from your original avatar. *grin* Hey. I didn’t say I’d thought it out all that carefully, or that it would be easy. Just keep your hands and your display off MY name, okay????

What Happens at SLCC, Stays…

in our hearts. Okay. That is totally corny, I know. But it would be oh so wrong to say that what happened at SLCC, stays at SLCC, despite my goofing around in Plurk and insisting that that IS my story and I’m sticking to it. *grin*

By now everyone else has begun posting about their experiences at SLCC 2010 and most of those bloggers have been far more articulate and to the point than I will be. So don’t expect much in the way of brilliant insights HERE. Certainly Prokofy Neva has what I think is a VERY good description and analysis of what went on. Dale Innis’s description of how it felt and schedule changes and why meeting SL friends in the atomic world is really wonderful, speaks for me as well. Although Dale’s bit about alcohol does NOT apply to me. 🙂 Chestnut Rau mentions the power of how meeting people “in the flesh” so to speak, so very strongly impacts the way we view their avatars and our future relationships. And yeah, she’s right about Philip. *grin* Fleep Tuque posted a slide show! (I’m in it!!!!)

It was great. I had a wonderful time, I’m so glad I went. I am STILL trying to recover from the sleep deprivation. When I first started keeping crazy hours in SL, I was taught that SL REALLY means “Sleep Less”, not whatever other words may or may not be copyrighted. 🙂 So SLCC means Sing, Laugh, Chat Continuously.

So let’s see…. I said I hoped to get renewed if I went. *grin* I suspect that even after I catch up on my sleep, this crazy happy excitement will continue. Philip DID come in person. That was great. Philip had retired before I rezzed. That means that my entire SL experience has occurred during the reign of M. Until the return of Philip. Now I begin to understand the whole mystique that jazzed up everyone when he came back. He is charisma in a human shape. I hope that he can accomplish as substantial tangible success with SL on this go-round as he does with people’s emotions.

It was interesting and useful to hear announcements from the Lab and get feedback immediately from all the different people around me. The buzz after announcements about the teen grid, SLE, mesh, avatar limits, scrum and the rest… wow. Mostly what I realized is how lazy I am and so I am neither sufficiently informed nor experienced to grasp the nuances as quickly as so many others can and did.

I loved meeting/hearing so many of the bloggers I’ve read. Although I spent a good part of my last 2 years at work supporting meetings in virtual worlds, sometimes you simply MUST meet face to face, breathing the same air, not just viewing through a camera.

To my great amazement, my work project that I thought was pretty much over, may indeed still have a little life left. *grin* I have been asked to forward the video to some folks. I got an offer of assistance (hardware kind of stuff) from a coworker. I think that maybe I listened to the wrong presentations. Or maybe I need to go back and view the videos of sessions I missed. I was following the Opensource and Business tracks. At lunch on Sunday, 3 younger folk sat down and talked about their work in education. I think that they had a lot of information and attitude that would have helped and might still help me as I attempt to develop tools for use in virtual worlds.

Meeting my existing friends, making new friends….. aw c’mon folks. You all know how wonderful that is. What more can I say? I met so many people that I’d never have met in my normal SL travels. I have new names in my friends list. And wonderful glowing memories of good times. Sitting about chatting, dancing to music, listening to the talks, laughing and being silly, giving myself over to being only Ahuva and not worrying too much about atomic world issues for a bit. I loved dressing up (or maybe my mother would think I was dressing down, I’m not sure…..) I LOVED finding and wearing Ahuva shoes. OMG – I LOVED dancing. And don’t forget: what happened at SLCC, STAYS at SLCC. *grin* There is one of you, oh person who walks the halls late at night and hears things like “you never saw us and we never saw you”, who seems to be trying to defy that edict!!! *ROFL*

My thanks to all of you who humored me and partied with me and talked seriously with me. It was grand to be among hundreds of people who also believe in and love SL.

SLCC 2010

I’m heading to Boston this weekend for SLCC. I’ve swung back and forth from great excitement to “why am I bothering?”. My dear friend Chestnut is worrying about meeting SL friends in our atomic form. *grin* Ah, sweetie – you are beautiful, inside and out. If you wore a paperbag over your head – your beauty shines through. We love you. It will be okay. I promise.

I was extremely excited about going from a professional point of view. I hoped to meet folks with whom I shared the interest and passion for building and developing in virtual worlds. I’m still looking forward to meeting those people, but that does not appear to be the career path down which my feet will be walking. Maybe those folk will rekindle my enjoyment of building. Unfortunately I let that slip to the side as I focused on other avenues.

I was extremely excited about meeting Philip Linden. I am disappointed that he won’t be there in person, but I am so glad that he has the sense to make his family a priority. That increases my respect for him. I was already impressed by him from his talk the other day. Again – I was hoping that meeting him would fan my faded enthusiasm for things virtual.

I was also somewhat reluctant to tie my virtual self to my physical reality. I’m not sure why. I only once met someone in SL who scared me. Someone who I thought might stalk me, harm me, wish me ill. Considering all of the people I have met in just over 2 years, that’s not a bad percentage. I have offered to meet so many SL friends for real. I HAVE met SL friends for real. Yes, the first time I did that WAS scary. But you know what? It was wonderful. We were still us. *grin* We were in RL as we were in SL. It was grand.

So now the clock is ticking. The day is approaching. And I find that I am becoming more and more excited. (LOL – this is probably a case of cognitive dissonance, but hey, what the heck. It’s working FOR me.)

I am VERY excited about seeing my friends, meeting new friends. I have come to realize that, for the most part, I am in SL for the social networking. I suspect that is a very déclassé admission. I loved Dusan Writer’s post about the dots on the grid. Unless I am at a music event or a friend has dropped in (or I am on a Midnight Mania board run), I tend to come inworld, make myself comfy in my sky box, and chat. One lone green dot who is not alone.

I am looking forward to meeting Dusan Writer and hearing him speak. I’m looking forward to hearing many of the other presenters as well. There is a difference between hearing and seeing someone speak and merely hearing them.

This last will come as no surprise to those of you who know me. I can’t wait to party with everyone. *grin* I am looking forward to the avatar ball Saturday night, when we can let out all our SL’ness. Okay, maybe let out a LOT of our SLness, not all of it. *grin* I have had my few weeks of introverted respite. I am ready to don my extroverted self, my Ahuva kick-butt shoes, and dance the night away.

Can’t wait to see you there!

If you have nothing nice to say

I am fed up. I have had it. I was raised with the expression “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything”. That does not mean I am opposed to criticism. Or to suggestions. Or to editing, corrections, opinions, or comments. BUT…….

You don’t like SL? Fine. You can prefer using phone conferencing. You can prefer Facebook. You can prefer face-to-face (and I so hope YOUR company allows travel). Go for it. Do what works for you and makes you happy.

But ENOUGH with the negative remarks. You can prefer Facebook without sneering about bobbing avatar heads. Or whatever. You can state your reasons for disliking SL or Opensim or any virtual 3D world WITHOUT having to be nasty, patronizing and rude. All you do is show YOUR inability to make a reasoned, well thought-out, articulate comment.

I’m blogging here because for the last several days at work I have read nasty, patronizing, derogatory remarks about avatars. You know what? Facebook does not work for me. Yes, I have an account, yes, I check it out daily. I rarely post or use it. BUT – I feel no compulsion to insult everyone who loves it, uses it, lives there. Hey – it works for them. That is a good thing. I love SL, opensim, 3D worlds. THAT works for me. I love the interaction of avatars, voice, creating, music. I find the avatar experience much more immersive and productive than Facebook or video conferencing. I find that using an avatar feels to me as if I have a physical presence at the meeting. For me, I find that avatar placement and movement conveys meaning and intent.

See? I didn’t need to insult anyone at all. Just stated my opinion and preference. I could go on, stating calmly the interfaces that work and do not work for me. No insults. No sneering. No foaming at the mouth.

This goes for group chat in SL too, by the way. Screaming mindlessly at a lone Linden for ALL of LL’s policies for the last 3 years is neither productive nor civil. If you wish to point out all the ways LL’s policies have disappointed or harmed you, you can do that without calling the individual a liar, close-minded, an enemy, willfully destructive and more. Allow the person a chance to actually speak. Remember that undoubtedly the terms of employment force an employee to temper responses. Sheesh. You were like a bunch of rabid dogs. Disgusting.

You think you are professional? You think you are smart? You think you know so much? Act it. Demonstrate some veneer of civility.

Brrrring! Time for School!

It is only fitting that I return to my blog as I send my son back to school. *grin* I’ve been doing a lot – both RL and SL. I’ve made new friends in very SL-fashion. Work is going well. Family is good, pets are okay. So it’s time to stop dancing and partying and get back to LEARNING and BUILDING!!!

Although I don’t expect to post anything on it, I attended SL Pro! back in February. I thought it was worth the price and I learned a lot. I followed the builders’ track. Without a doubt there are people doing some amazing things in SL. For me personally the most useful thing was the explanation and introduction of the Beta Viewer 2.0. I LIKE it, although I LOATHE what they did to the camera controls. BLECH!! Put them back as they are in v1!!!

I heard of another VW builders’ conference coming up. Please note how grown-up I am being. *I* am a Nittany Lion. Yet I am giving press to another school, not even a Big 10 school. The University of Arkansas in collaboration with IBM is holding an Extensible Virtual Worlds Workshop March 29-April 2. The timing is extremely bad for me. Sheesh – don’t these folks KNOW that they are supposed to check with ME before setting dates and times??? I mean, it IS all about ME, after all. I hope to make the end of the conference. It’s free, it’s in SL, and it sounds very interesting. Note – this isn’t about building prims – it’s about constructing worlds. The conference covers 4 themes:

Extensible Virtual World Architectures
Virtual World Applications
Integration with the Real World
Enhanced Capabilities

I am interested in the Apps and Integration. *grin* I confess – I looked up the definition of extensible, which apparently means that implementation of the system takes into consider the future use/construction of that system. I guess I’ve always been associated with the design of extensible applications without knowing the terminology. This is what happens when a classicist ends up as a software developer. *grin*

I hope I’ll see you there. The papers are posted and I see some well-known names there.

New Horizons: Shengri La Chamomile

The Saltwater House
You know I adore my friend Shenlei. She is a dynamo, never relaxing, never stopping, one brilliant creation after another. If I want to get to have playtime with her anymore, I practically have to kidnap her. *grin* I think I need to drop another “time-to-play-and-laugh-for-30-minutes” present on you, Shen. When last we saw our heroine – she’d just published a book. Okay, she topped that. She built 4 regions in Opensim. Yep. Four. Gorgeous, prim-full regions. /me grins happily. I have been there twice already, visiting, seeing the sights.

Resting on the deckFashion Research Institute, Inc. and Intel Labs announced their new research collaboration whose focus is exciting, quality content and optimized performance of the OpenSim platform which, together, will provide for an enhanced user experience. Maybe you don’t know how truly exciting this is. Maybe you don’t play in virtual worlds. Maybe you only play in SL. But as one who has been working in Opensim for the last several months – believe me. This is MAJOR. The efforts being made on Science Sim for both content and performance are huge. You know I am not a techie, I’m not really anyone who “knows” much. I am your typical end user. So what I say reflects the masses, not the cognoscenti. These sims are stunningly beautiful. Fascinating to visit. I think that we are looking at another major step in OS’s rise to fame and glory. *grin* Okay – maybe that was over the top. But since I am NOT technical, I do fall back on my liberal arts upbringing.

Quoting from Shenlei’s blog:
This collaboration is currently scheduled to run for a year, during which time FRI will provide increasingly complex, highly detailed, large scale (beautiful) designs which will be showcased in Science Sim with hosting and hardware provided by Intel Corporation.

We think it is important to have active human agency providing feedback to the technologists about the quality of the user experience. As fashion designers from the apparel industry, we think function should also be delivered with flair, and dare we say it, fashionably. With that in mind, we have begun developing the new Shengri La regions on Science Sim: Shengri La Chamomile, Shengri La Sage, Shengri La Thyme, and Shengri La Rosemary.

Sailing the Waters of ChamomileThere is a wonderful video on the front page of the FRI blog. It highlights the Chamomile region. The hauntingly beautiful music is by Kyle Bronsdon (who you may know as Kyle Beltran), and was composed specifically in honor of Shenlei and Shengri La.

The Horses of the GalleryAt the moment there are sailboats and gardens and landscaping and the stupendous Saltwater House. Also there or coming shortly are works by the FRI interns (hey – they are doing a fashion show in SL in 2 weeks – *grin* you know *I* will be there) and interactive butterfly displays and much more. There is also an art gallery coming, but I’m not allowed to say anything more about that. (Contact me in world – I can be bribed. *grin*) I snuck over and could not resist taking this picture of the grounds about the building. Opensim can be a beautiful space.

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