Bits of News 2014-28 #2

Iris Ophelia has an article up on New World Notes (NWN) about her experience in the as yet unreleased SIMS-4. It is a long article for NWN. See: The Good, the Bad, and the Unclear: My First Impressions of The Sims 4 Create-a-Sim Demo. (Translating for non-SIMS people, Create-A-SIM means create an avatar.)

She writes about what she liked and didn’t. For instance the SIMS developers are going for a CG look not a photo-realistic look. Hats can be worn over hair… apparently any hat over any hair. I wonder how they did that? I would love to be able to wear hats with any of my do’s. Continue reading

The Change in MMO Appeal

Over at New World Notes Hamlet has an article up titled: The MMO is Dead; Long Live the MMO. He points us to an article over at Paste Magazine (site about entertainment). It has an article titled: The Moment of the MMO has Passed.

Playing Around

Playing Around

The author is writing about how the age of MMO’s (Massive Multiplayer Online) has passed. He feels that much of their popularity was from socialization. If you have read the study Longevity by n-Yuen Teng and Lada A. Adamic, that I often refer to, you’ll see how the two support each other. It seems social interaction is more the key to player retention than any other single factor in a game. So, I see the study as supporting the author’s thinking.

The author, Ian Williams, feels that while MMO’s once filled this niche for social interaction in our lives they now have competition and thus are not going to be as popular as they once were. He may have a point. Continue reading

Second Life and Hardware for Oculus

The Road to VR has an article up by Ben Lang: Two Reasons You Will Want to Buy a New Gaming Rig for the Oculus Rift CV1. Oh good, we are going to need new hardware for Oculus… Well, it isn’t all that bad. But, it is interesting the direction the Oculus will probably push hardware design.

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift

Ben is pointing out that once the Oculus is near release or at release time, hardware makers will be releasing new hardware optimized for the Virtual Reality (VR) experience. Palmer Luck has been quoted as saying Oculus is working with hardware developers ‘…on all kinds of optimizations.’ He would say what those might be.

Ben tells us how Intel is looking at VR/Oculus. Randy Stude, of Intel, said, “The VR world can expect that engagement with Intel, from the top down, will be very deep.” Considering they make the CPU’s and HD graphics chips as well as the data controls chips (North and South bridge chips) their integration and optimization could be extensive. Continue reading

Second Life News 2014-23 – Group Ban

We have some actual news today!

Group Ban

This new feature is now running in the main grid in RC channel: Le Tigre. Many people have been looking forward to this feature coming out. If all goes well we could see it move to the entire grid next week.

Any group owner or manager with proper permissions can use the feature.  You need to visit a region in the Le Tigre channel to use the feature. Also you need to be using the Group Ban Project Viewer. Unfortunately the viewer is not showing on the RC/Project Viewers page. But, you can get the viewer here: Download: WindowsMacLinux.

You can find details on using the project feature here: Group Ban FAQ.

Be warned, the bans made in Le Tigre may not stick, meaning a banned person may be able to re-join from regions outside the Le Tigre channel. So, while the ban is server side older regions don’t know to check for a ban before allowing a join. But, the person will be in the ban list.

Once the project goes grid wide you may have to re-ban or eject the banned people one last time.

The server side code is at RC level, meaning it is working as planned and is expected to be the finished product. The viewer is just reaching ‘project viewer’ status, which we might consider the old beta version status.

Expect some changes to the viewer before it rolls out as the main viewer. When the server side code goes grid wide one can then use the Group Ban Viewer and ban people. Since the ban is enforced server-side and all the servers will then be running it, it won’t matter which viewer a banned person uses, they won’t be able to get in the group.

This should make life in group chat much better.

Servers

There was no roll to the main channel this morning. There was maintenance to the servers and logins were down for a time this morning.  Continue reading

LEAP Motion 2014-22

The LEAP Motion people have an article up (Drax links to it also in episode 21) about recent changes in their technology. They are striving to make a natural user interface for the computer. With VR becoming a reality many think we need a new user interface that allows us to use the computer in the same way we manipulate real world things.

LEAP Motion Controller - Image by: Ken Hawkins - Flickr

LEAP Motion Controller – Image by: Ken Hawkins – Flickr

The LEAP controller I purchased some months ago is not the answer. It can detect hand motion. But, to control a game we used gestures. Trying to remember that gesture ‘A’ (may be pointing two fingers right) means turn right and gesture ‘B’ (may be moving both hands up and down) means jump is not much of an improvement. We are just changing what we manipulate to tell the computer something.

Continue reading

Oculus 2014-21

Hypergrid mentions an article published by Wired regarding the Oculus Rift.

The article is interesting, giving insight into the creation of the Oculus Rift people and the technology. The article includes a video that to some extent I see as a separate article in its own. Consider the video an overview on Virtual Reality (VR).

There are some interesting bits of information within Wired’s article. For instance, the Oculus people have been bombarded by requests from the Hollywood crowd, the techies that make the media, for information and participation in projects. So many that Oculus hired a director of film and media.  Continue reading

Home Made VR Headset – DIY

This is for the techie peeps. It is a way to built a head set for US$25 to $50. And it appears to be no harder than building Revell model cars and plains.

This first video is the overview of how things work. Below the fold is the How-To video.

This head set uses a smart phone for a display screen, like a Samsung S3, 4, or 5. To avoid using your phone you can buy a screen. That adds $120 to $150 to the cost. It also adds to the complication of building this contraption and you have to be good with electronics.

Still, that is way less than the current cost of an Oculus DK1 or 2 and the estimated retail price of $350 for the planned retail version of the Oculus, which is now estimated to be released in 2015, not 2014 as many of us were thinking last year.  Continue reading

VR Forecast

We have an ongoing debate… or maybe it is just a voicing of opinions… in Second Life™ about VR and the Oculus Rift. Will it be a game changer or a minor fad? Perhaps like the Space Navigator. A few people use it, but the majority have ignored it. And when will it arrive? We have no guaranteed answers, but we have some good predictions coming out of the game industry.

In January 2014 at Steam Developer Days Michael Abrash gave a talk about the state of VR and what he expects to happen over the next two years. The video runs about 28 minutes. I cover some of the points from it below as well as some other information.

We are starting to hear of industries that will support VR headsets ramping up. Companies have leaks and there are some dandies. See: Massive leak regarding Sony VR headset? The competition is heating up.

Of course the thing with leaks is they usually cannot be verified and are often from anonymous sources. If there is anything politicians have taught us, it is anyone quoting an anonymous source is not to be trusted. So, we do need to salt such information pretty heavily. But, we are starting to get more rumors and hear more little leaks. This we call smoke and smoke usually leads or at least alerts us to the fire, the reality. Continue reading