Atlas Hopping, Episode 30!

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It’s hard to believe that we are at the 30 episode mark already with Atlas Hopping! (Unfortunately, Strawberry Singh could not join us today.)

Today we visited six science fiction themed Sansar experiences:

We wrapped up by joining the crowd over at Alfy’s Arena Live Music Stage, where singer/guitarist Stratus Mactavish is performing.


Elysium VR: Another Cryptocurrency-Based Virtual World

Early this morning I heard about yet another cryptocurrency-based social VR space/virtual world. This one is called Elysium VR, and the emphasis appears to be on roleplaying:

We are RAV3 team, we are working on Project Elysium. Elysium is a multiplayer Roleplaying game designed for virtual reality. The player falls into a sandbox world (Saint-Graice islands), in which he or she will live, work and have fun. The everyday life is detailed, starting from the need for water and food, finishing with decoration of their apartment / house. You just have to comfortably settle in this world and go in search of adventure with your friends. Each player can have different jobs, ranging from a dangerous bandit from the hood, ending with the president of the island state of Saint-Graice islands. You are guaranteed to experience maximum immersion in the gameplay! After all, all this will happen in VR ( and PC )!

Here’s a YouTube promotional video for the project:

The graElysium Avatars 16 Mar 2018phics remind me of the VR game Job Simulator. There’s a rather disturbing reliance upon handguns and other weaponry in the promotional video, and the avatars look pretty blocky and unappealing, according to this picture taken from their website (left). We’re obviously not aiming for realism here!

And it looks like they are going to have a smartphone app (below), allowing you to “be able to control all important game processes even if you are not in game!”:

Elysium App 16 Mar 2018.png

Their cryptocurrency is called MINERAL:

Mineral 16 Mar 2018.png

It would appear that they are currently in the fund-raising part of this venture. They are asking for donations from interested users:

Elysium DOnations 16 Mar 2018.png

So, if you’re interested in becoming among the first to set foot in Elysium, you can shell out US$10 or more to get a game license.

Like the three other blockchain-based virtual worlds I’ve blogged about previously—Decentraland, Mark Space, and VIBEHub—I’ll be watching from the sidelines. I refuse to invest in any of these new virtual-world-based cryptocurrencies because I am skeptical of the current massive hype around anything with the word “blockchain” attached, and I don’t have faith that I’m not going to lose my money when these novice virtual worlds shut their doors, as some of them surely will. The marketplace is getting overcrowded and frankly, many of these startups are not going to survive.

I buy Linden dollars and Sansar dollars and other virtual world currencies when I have confidence that the virtual worlds where I can use my currency are going to be around for the long term. High Fidelity and its HFC coin beta test is an evolving situation which I am continuing to monitor, but I haven’t yet actually purchased any HFC. All the HFC I currently own was donated to me by HiFi.

And so I’m not touching any blockchain-based virtual world currency with a ten-foot pole until I see evidence of a truly three-dimensional virtual world which I can actually visit! Decentraland, VIBEHub and Elysium VR do not yet meet that requirement, and Mark Space is NOT a three-dimensional virtual space at all!

Sansar Pick of the Day: STONE(D)

Today’s Pick of the Day is a Sansar experience which I first learned about when Torley did a Twitch livestream from it: STONE(D), by theoxyz. Obviously a play on words, the title underscores the many “captured” rocks you see in this artistic experience.

You arrive in the middle of a circle made by an intimidatingly large rotating pendulum (don’t worry, it won’t hit you!):

Stoned 1 16 Mar 2018.png

There are a number of intriguing art installations, all set against an inky black sky and the light of a full moon. There’s a haunting, moody, brooding soundtrack.

Stoned 2 16 Mar 2018.png

Stoned 3 16 Mar 2018.png

Be sure to wander around and see all the installations! They’re all very well done and capture an overall feeling of alienation and isolation.

Stoned 4 16 Mar 2018.png

More Snapshots from Sinespace!

I couldn’t resist! Here are a few more pictures taken using Sinespace’s in-world Snapshot tool, using a variety of photo filters, avatar poses, camera angles, and overlays/underlays:

Screenshot 2018-3-16-07-09-58Screenshot 2018-3-16-07-10-57Screenshot 2018-3-16-07-11-25Screenshot 2018-3-16-07-12-54Screenshot 2018-3-16-07-17-37Screenshot 2018-3-16-07-19-27Screenshot 2018-3-16-07-21-55Screenshot 2018-3-16-07-26-48.jpg

It’s a very easy and fun tool to use! Did I mention that you also have the option to capture the image as an animated GIF, or as a 360-degree image? It’s a very cool feature to have.

A Postcard from Sinespace

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I took the following picture using the Snapshot tool within Sinespace, and added the postcard foreground overlay. The Snapshot tool allows you to use a variety of avatar poses and photo effects, and it’s definitely fun and easy to use! Strawberry Singh told me about it.

Note also that Sinespace is the first newer social VR space/virtual world which allows me to adjust my avatar body sliders to look more like the heavier, older person I am in real life. (The hair colour is wrong, but that’s just me being picky.)

Two questions for the team at Linden Lab:

  1. When are you going to add in-world photo and video tools to Sansar?
  2. When are you going to add avatar body sliders so we can adjust our shapes?

I’d love to know where those items are on the development roadmap, please.

Discrimination in Second Life Based on Avatar Appearance: Don’t Be a Meshist!


Don’t judge a book by its cover (Photo by Donald Teel on Unsplash).

Is there discrimination in Second Life based on your avatar appearance? You bet. Last October an avatar was banned from a popular music club, seemingly solely based on his appearance.

Yesterday, somebody made a post to the official Second Life community forums bringing up the topic:

People asking for friend but only if you are mesh. This maybe not full racist to you, but just  sub the word mesh to an ethnicity or religion.

One person replied:

Well, mesh isn’t a race, but I understand where you’re going with it. Those people tend to state that they’ve put a lot into their avie and don’t want to look at a sub par one (in their opinion)…I usually just scroll on by if it’s just the mesh thing mentioned. I can’t get butthurt over every stupid thing people write. If someone is that picky about what sort of pixels they want to associate with, that’s on them. There’s too many real issues in the world to worry about, why create more?

And someone had the idea:

Let’s just call it meshism and meshists. It’s a brand new discrimination!

You might be surprised to know that there are actually some places in Second Life that explicitly ask their users to use a mesh avatar. For example, this note appears in the rules notecard of the popular FMD club, which describes itself on its Flickr group page as “Second Life’s sexiest club and lounge”:

No noobish looking avatars. It’s 2017. Get mesh. FMD Staff determines your appearance and if you feel we’re being too harsh, take it up with someone who gives a fuck.

Now, I have been to FMD many times, and I don’t think I have ever encountered a classic SL system avatar there. Everybody has a mesh avatar head and body, and many obviously have spent a lot of time and money pulling together their look. I don’t really know if they do toss you out if you don’t have a mesh avatar, but it’s a bit intimidating.

And the thread in the community forums made me realize that perhaps I, too, am becoming a bit of a meshist. When I visit Frank’s Place, one of my favourite things to do is to right-click/inspect what the other avatars nearby are wearing. (That’s how I find some really great items to buy for myself.)

But I now notice that I am beginning to critique—in my head, not verbally—some rather dated-looking classic avatars. (“2007 called. They want their avatar back.”)

And it’s not fair. Many people who use Second Life can’t afford to shell out forty bucks to get a full-blown mesh avatar head and body, plus associated shoes, hair and clothes. Catwa Bento heads cost L$5,000 or US$20.00. The popular Maitreya Lara mesh body sets you back L$2,750, which works out to about US$11.00. (Honestly, Onyx LeShelle must be taking home money by the wheelbarrow from her Maitreya Lara mesh body sales! Maitreya must have seventy percent of the female mesh avatar body market. And as a result, everybody designs for them. It’s a bit of a vicious circle.)

Avatar fashions change over time. I still vividly remember the pre-mesh days, system clothing and flexiprim ballgowns. In fact, I sometimes pull them out and wear them to Frank’s. Stuff that Nicky Ree made a decade ago still holds up very well today:

Vanity Fair in Red Satin Shine Gown by Nicky Ree 5 Jan 2018_001.png

(All I did here was upgrade to a Bento mesh head—Catwa Kimberly, ka-ching! there’s twenty bucks right there!—and Bento Slink hands.)

What I’m saying here (and what I need to keep reminding myself, as well) is to try not to judge other people by the quality of their avatar. Don’t become a meshist!