Geekzonia: A Brief Introduction

Geekzonia is another social VR platform that seems to have stalled in development. Calling itself “a virtual reality Comic Con for every kind of geek”, the platform was intended to be a place to celebrate and promote geek culture: science fiction, horror, fantasy, gaming, comics, science, esports, etc.

The founders of Geekzonia explain their platform and the project’s goals in this February 2017 YouTube promotional video:

Here’s a year-old sneak peek video of the platform:

I was able to download and try out the client software in an idle moment sometime last year, and I remember thinking at the time that it was a platform which still needed a lot of work.

The team behind Geekzonia attempted to crowdfund its development via an IndieGogo campaign which failed to reach its target. The events calendar on the Geekzonia website hasn’t been updated since September 2017, and the software download link no longer works. It looks like Geekzonia has closed up shop, seemingly a victim of the competitive social VR marketplace.

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Oasis Labs Raises $45 Million to Launch Privacy-First Cloud Computing on the Blockchain

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There’s still a lot of skepticism about blockchain. The technology still has hurdles to overcome in order to be truly useful in certain applications such as healthcare and the energy industry. But, as the MIT Technology Review reports, one recent blockchain startup, called Oasis Labs, is attracting a lot of attention and investment:

The cryptocurrency world is overflowing with big claims, but Song is a well-known computer science professor at UC Berkeley and a MacArthur fellow (as well as one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 in 2009). And a number of big-name funders seem to think her company, Oasis Labs, is on to something. This week, the startup announced that it has raised $45 million in a private token presale to a group of high-profile cryptocurrency investors and Silicon Valley venture capitalists. It also became the first project to get backing from Andreessen Horowitz’s new $300 million crypto fund.

Song says Oasis Labs has developed new “privacy preserving” smart-contract technology that overcomes fundamental limitations of today’s most popular smart-contract platform, Ethereum. She and several colleagues described a major component of the system in a recently published research paper (PDF).

According to a July 9th, 2018 press release:

Oasis Labs today announced it has raised $45 million from a16zcrypto, Accel, Binance Labs, DCVC (Data Collective), Electric Capital, Foundation Capital, Gaorong, Metastable, Pantera, Polychain, and more. Founded by a team of academic and entrepreneurial leaders, Oasis Labs is designing a platform to overcome performance, security and privacy limitations that have hampered blockchain adoption to date. The company has garnered investment support from a wide spectrum of the blockchain ecosystem including venture capital, crypto funds and hardware manufacturers.

“Today’s internet is experiencing significant growing pains when it comes to providing effective security and privacy protections, which is only compounded by the rise of data-intensive services like AI,” said Jake Flomenberg, partner at Accel. “At the same time, however, the opportunity has never been greater to responsibly leverage data in the web’s next phase of products and innovation. Oasis Labs is forging a new path by giving people control over their data while delivering a high-performance blockchain platform that will reshape the future of the cloud.”

Given the problems that people like Adam Frisby have pointed out in trying to apply blockchain to virtual worlds, this is an interesting development in blockchain research. You can follow Oasis Labs via their website, or via Twitter, Reddit, Gitter, or Telegram.

Dual Universe: A Brief Introduction

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An anonymous source told me about Dual Universe, which is an MMO/MMORPG which already has extensive in-world content creator tools. Dual Universe is by a company called NovaQuark:

Our goal is to create the first virtual online civilization, enabling millions of players to shape and share a universe of their own, together, at a scale never seen before.

A world with meaning, where everything you do has a permanent impact.

What we do is an old dream of Sci-Fi: create the first civilization online. Here millions of participants will be able to freely interact and build their lives and weave powerfully meaningful stories. If you are not afraid of trying to do the impossible, and are passionate about ambitious technology-driven projects, come join us.

My source tells me:

It’s in pre-alpha and I’m under a strict non disclosure agreement. But this is a link produced by the owners https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-47R9ZrcOg8 so it’s OK. The graphics are that good. It really does have building tools and NOT just for space ships, but buildings. It’s sort of a Second Life, but with a science fiction space underlying theme. It’s not divided up into separate experiences like many of the other newer virtual worlds.

Also look at the web site. https://www.dualthegame.com Which shows its not a complete flash in the pan since there is serious money involved.

Here’s the video:

If you pay 180 euros (US$209) for the Patron Pack, you can join the pre-alpha now. There are other, cheaper packs you can purchase for access to later versions of the alpha. The game has already attracted 6,850,878 € in funding, and over 30,000 eager users have already set up accounts.

You can follow the development of Dual Universe via their website, or via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It looks very interesting! The project reminds me of Worlds Adrift, which also has extensive in-world creation tools.