Sinespace Celebrates Its 3rd Anniversary: Highlights from Chief Product Officer Adam Frisby’s Keynote Speech

The virtual world Sinespace has been celebrating its third anniversary with a week of in-world events, culminating in a keynote address given today by the company’s Chief Product Officer, Adam Frisby.

I had a long online chat with Adam before his presentation today, talking about various new features coming soon to Sinespace, and the following are some notes I took during Adam’s talk (Adam was also kind enough to share his presentation slides ahead of time with me, for which I thank him profusely for making my reporting job so much easier!).

Adam Frisby’s Keynote in Sinespace

Adam started off with a report on what had happened with Sinespace in 2019. Sinespace’s development team has doubled in size. Among the features worked on were:

The company has also been very hard at work on improvements to the default human avatars in Sinespace (which is actually already in the live release now). This major update to the avatars offers more accurate (less stylized) human proportions, with a new, powerful system of custom slider shapes or “morphs”. (Adam says that no pre-existing clothing will be broken.)

A new set of universal skin detail maps will be added to the existing skin maps on the human avatars. Adam shared a slide of what the new skins will look like, and I must admit they’re rather impressive:

There will also be several improvements to avatar clothing: a new auto-rigging algorithm, and blend shape support (for example, adding features such as dress length sliders to clothing). Sinespace already has support for in-world cloth physics, as you can see in the video below, and this functionality is expected to be improved even further in future software releases.

It’s now very clear that, despite experiencing some significant problems with upgrading Sinespace to Unity to 2018.3 in the past year (“the hardest we’ve ever done in ten years with Unity”, Adam says), the platform has benefited greatly overall from choosing to use Unity as an underlying game engine. In fact, Sinespace is now working in association with Unity, which offers the company even better support and more access to Unity engineers.

After some problems in marketing in 2019 (they fired the external company that was doing their marketing after one particular fiasco), Sinespace has just hired a new Vice President of Marketing, Al King.

So, in summary, 2019 was a big year for the Sinespace team in terms of building the product (mostly behind the scenes) and getting ready for a scale-up. Adam admits that the team has learned some expensive lessons, but ones he prefers that they have made before the platform scales up. Sinespace has also been watching competing platforms make some mistakes too, and hopefully learning from them. (For example, Sinespace has wisely decided to postpone a launch on Steam.)

And among future projects is a big push to provide mobile support (Sinespace has a full-time team devoted to this now, and there is an Android beta app already up on Google Play). They also want to improve the built-in screenshot capability, integrating it with social media. Another focus is improving what they call “the first five minutes” experience of new users, to encourage user retention.

Oh, and I saved the best for last: a brand-new contiguous mainland with in-client parceling, streamed regions and content, and a very cool new feature—voxel terrain editing, including the ability to dig caves and tunnels and create islands in the sky! (And Adam stated in my earlier chat with him today that they have implemented voxels “properly”; these are not the simple cubes used by Cryptovoxels!)

Here’s a couple of brief video previews Adam was kind enough to share with me of the voxel terrain editor in action (the second shows the digging of a cave):

And you can build mind-bogglingly large terrains using this tool: Adam’s test parcel for the voxel terrain editor is 96,100 cubic kilometres. (Approx. 23,000 cubic miles): 131,072 metres by 131,072 metres by 5,600 metres in size!

Oh, and did I mention? There’s voxel water, too!

An example of voxel water in Sinespace

So, as you can see, Sinespace is starting to look better and better all the time! And they are busy implementing features that many other social VR/virtual worlds cannot yet match. I must commend Adam and his team at Sinespace for doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes on the platform, and patiently biding their time before a full-scale product launch (perhaps sometime in 2020?). I’m quite looking forward to seeing how the platform evolves over the next year!

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Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Davide and Sascha EXMACHINA Full-Body Male Mesh Avatars Are 50% Off!

You might remember that I recently raved about the Sascha special edition of the Davide version 6.0 EXMACHINA male mesh head and body package that I bought for just L$2,900—a real bargain compared to other male mesh head and body combinations.

Well, guess what? I discovered today that EXMACHINA is having a 50% off sale, both in their in-world store (here’s the SLURL) and on their SL Marketplace store:

So both the original Davide full-body avatar and the Sascha special edition of the Davide full-body avatar are only L$1,500 each! Now that I have had mine for a while, and tried out all the options, I can recommend this body very highly. And if you want just the body (no head), that is just L$800! It’s a stupendous deal.

I have no idea how long this half-price sale will last, so don’t wait! Here’s a few pictures of my Sascha avatar:

Even better? The entire outfit I am wearing today—right down to the socks and shoes—is free from the Kauna menswear store (SLURL). This grass green plaid jacket and pants, the sage green dress shirt, and the black socks and Oxford dress shoes are just some of many free wardrobe items you’ll receive when you click on all the vendor panels in the tiny Kauna store! There are literally dozens of high-quality menswear items, mostly formal wear and suits, but other men’s clothing, too! It’s the best deal in menswear on the grid!

Another Fifteen-Minute Second Life Avatar Makeover: Queen Elizabeth I

At the moment I am binge-watching Season 3 of The Crown on Netflix. I love watching the drama, intrigues and scandals of the Royal Family!

And it just so happens that I have a Second Life avatar whose actual legacy name is Elizabeth Queen (yes, I got lucky). Surprisingly, there’s nothing out there, either on the grid or in the SL Marketplace, to make her look like the current reigning Queen Elizabeth II. (Yes, I have actually identified a gap in the vast merchandise machine that is Second Life! Somebody needs to address this immediately!).

So, I decided instead to make her look like her namesake, Queen Elizabeth the First. Here is her before picture:

Not bad, but the look is a bit dated now: a classic system avatar, with system-layers-and-prims clothing. So I decided to do one of my patented 15-minute avatar makeovers (in the past, I have done the same for a nun, a vampire, an elf angel, Mary Poppins—even Santa Claus!)

And here is what Elizabeth Queen looks like now!

This avatar is wearing:

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: Only L$839!

All pictures are taken in Tudor London at Jo Yardley’s wonderful Time Portal sim.

The Sandbox: A Brief Introduction

Yep, yet another blockchain-based virtual world. This one is called The Sandbox:

Here’s the requisite promotional video:

Basically, you build and animate voxel-based assets, and you can put them up for sale in the store to earn cryptocurrency called Sand (get it?). Their virtual land parcels, 96 by 96 metres square, are called LAND (gee, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) and the presale starts in eleven days from now, when 166,464 LANDS will go up for sale (with all the expected talk about land scarcity, buy now, supplies are limited, etc. etc. etc.):

The Sandbox looks an awful lot like a cross between Cryptovoxels and Decentraland (there’s no mention of virtual reality support). A potentially interesting twist is their VoxEdit software, which they claim is “the first software that allows you to create your own voxel models, rig them and animate them in no time”. They have an alpha version of VoxEdit available to download for Windows and Mac users.

They also are offering cash rewards to attract game developers for their new platform, from a US$2 million fund called the Game Maker Fund, which will grant amounts from US$5,000-30,000 each to fund up to 100 games:

We are happy to announce the creation of the Game Maker Fund, our exclusive program that will reward the first 100 original game proposals that get accepted. Yes, you read that right: we’re offering free exposure for the games you create in The Sandbox, one of the most anticipated blockchain games of 2019. The Fund will be used to reward and incentivize Game Crafters to submit unique experiences. Don’t worry if you have more than one great idea: there is no limit on the number of proposals that each candidate can submit!

If you want to follow The Sandbox as the project develops (as far as I can tell, they haven’t launched yet), they have accounts on all the standard social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Medium, Telegram, and Discord.