How You Can Catch the MetaMovie Project’s Upcoming Show, Alien Rescue, for FREE!

The MetaMovie project is a live virtual reality cinematic adventure, which I have been following since the very beginning (you can read all my old MetaMovie blogposts here). The project first began on the now-shuttered High Fidelity social VR platform, and has since moved to their new home, NeosVR*.

According to the official press release for their latest production, called Alien Rescue:

The MetaMovie presents; Alien Rescue, an innovative project conceived by Jason Moore, in which the user embodies the starring role in a LIVE-performed Virtual Reality cinematic adventure. The project [was] selected by the Venice International Film Festival [which took] place online from September 2nd till 12th, 2020.

The MetaMovie project is an ongoing series of experiments exploring immersive, interactive storytelling inside the virtual reality metaverse. It combines cinema, video games, interactive theater, and role playing activities like D&D to create an entirely new way to experience a story: from the inside. In a MetaMovie you don’t just watch the story, you’re part of it.

As ‘the Hero’ you are the lead player. Your co-stars are played by live actors who lead you on an immersive and cinematic adventure and you have the agency to do or say what you want, and even affect the outcome of the story. Curious, but not exactly a hero? Experience the story as an ‘Eyebot’ without needing to interact with the other characters.

The world of live immersive work is upcoming. The Venice International Film Festival selected three of these projects for this year’s VR Expanded edition. Besides the fact that these experiences offer consumers live entertainment from the comfort of their own home, it also creates job opportunities for actors all over the world. Something that’s more relevant than ever since we’re dealing with COVID-19.

Here’s the two-minute teaser trailer for Alien Rescue!

And here’s the best part: you can take advantage of a special free offer to help iron out the last few bugs in performances of Alien Rescue before ticket sales to the general public! Jason Moore left the following message on the Discord:

I’m Jason, the creator and director of the MetaMovie Presents: Alien Rescue. Alien Rescue is a live immersive asymmetric PCVR/Desktop experience that puts you in the middle of an action packed VR movie where you role play with five live actors. We’ve performed at the Venice Biannale VR festival and won a Special Mention award, and we are gearing up for our public launch in a few months.

Currently we are running preview shows to squash the bugs and I’m here offering free tickets for some upcoming shows! Please come check us out, give us your feedback, and help us bug test!

We run on NeosVR, which is available for free on Steam. The days/times of the shows are:

• Saturday August 28th, 2:00pm ET
• Saturday, September 4th, 2:00pm ET
• Saturday, September 18, 2:00pm ET
• Saturday, October 2nd, 2:00pm ET

Click the link below to go to our website, where you can select the day of the show you want. Then you’ll get taken to Eventbrite and you can use the Discount Codes below to get your free ticket.

Please only take a ticket if you are sure you will use it. Please only take 1 ticket, not multiple tickets. And please note we are still working out the bugs…..

Discount Codes:
• Saturday, August 28th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick2808
• Saturday, September 4th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick0409
• Saturday, September 18th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick1809
• Saturday, October 2nd, 2:00pm ET Sidekick0210

Copy your discount code, then go here:

Thank you for your support and helping us test Alien Rescue!

If you are interested in learning more about the MetaMovie project, please visit their website, join their Discord server, or follow the project on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

*If you’re interested, I interviewed Jason Moore about the MetaMovie project, back when it was still on High Fidelity, in the following episode of season one of my show, the Metaverse Newscast:

Core to Build a Virtual World for DJ Deadmaus5*

In my sometimes-obsessive quest to cover as many virtual worlds as possible on this blog, I have yet to write about Core! Core is an Unreal-based world-building and gaming platform similar to Roblox and Minecraft, whose company, Manticore Games, recently raised US$100 million dollars in venture capital as part of the renewed interest in all things metaversal.

What brought Core to my attention is that it is following the precedent set by Roblox and Fortnite, and other game platforms, in branching out into music! And Core is starting out with a well-known musical artist: Joel Zimmerman, better known as deadmau5! According to an article in Protocol:

Game development platform Core is offering its own twist on the metaverse by pitching musicians to use its tools to build their own virtual worlds. Manticore, the company behind Core that in March raised $100 million, has its first artist onboard: Joel Zimmerman, known better as the electronic music artist deadmau5.

Zimmerman plans to launch his own virtual world on the Core platform this fall, the company announced at the Gamescom Opening Night Live event on Wednesday. The world, called Oberhasli, will feature live music performances, games and other experiences both created and curated by Zimmerman himself. A former programmer and 3D animator, Zimmerman is an avid gamer and game development enthusiast who over the years has taught himself some of the tools of the trade for use in his live productions.

The partnership is Manticore’s biggest entertainment crossover to date as it gears up to compete with the likes of Epic’s Fortnite, Roblox and other titles that have become both popular development platforms for young and burgeoning creators as well as lucrative destinations for large-scale virtual concerts and brand tie-ins.

It turns out that deadmau5 is himself a geek at heart, even trying his hand at building his own music platform form scratch before abandoning the effort:

Right now, the company is focused on bringing more people to Core, especially those who are excited about the prospect of building virtual worlds. Zimmerman, who has spent much of the past decade teaching himself real-time graphics and other game development techniques for use in his live productions, was an ideal candidate.

“I dove down the rabbit hole and decided I could take a good stab at producing a real-looking thing from Unreal Engine solo,” Zimmerman told Protocol in an interview over Zoom from his home in Toronto. That was a gigantic mistake, he said. “I soaked in too much, but I realized that’s why it costs $200 million to make a video game.”

Zimmerman says his efforts in learning how to push his stage productions, lighting and graphics to the next level gave him a newfound respect for the art of game development. That led to conversations with a number of companies over the past few years trying to build a bridge between traditional entertainment and video games. With the COVID-19 pandemic shifting many music events online, combined with the efforts of Fortnite and Epic’s pioneering virtual concert series, the timing felt right, Zimmerman said, and Manticore made an appealing pitch.

My first thought on reading this new is that the many companies who are vying to become music performance venues (and I especially thinking of Sansar here) are going to have to pull up their socks in what is becoming a feverishly competitive marketplace! I can only assume that a lot of money is being thrown around to woo big-name musical performers such as deadmau5, and I have no doubt that some bidding wars have already reupted!

It should be noted, however, that despite launching deadmau5’s virtual world with a live concert in October 2021, the focus here appears to be more on building a music-oriented virtual world, something that persists for fans and visitors, as opposed to one-time-only musical events.

Core can be downloaded for free. I note with a mixture of bemusement and chagrin that the minimum PC specifications for Core are an Intel Core i5-7400, or AMD equivalent, while my 4-year-old desktop computer is chugging along with a mere Intel Core i5-6600. Yet another reason for me to upgrade! It’s such a shame that high-end CPUs and GPUs are as scarce as hens’ teeth due to the cryptomining craze, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other reasons. I may have to make do for a while!

For further information about Core, please visit their website, join their Discord server, or follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube. And I will be adding Core to my comprehensive list of social VR/virtual worlds.

*Yes, I know, it’s supposed to be lowercase-d deadmau5. But it just looks wrong to me in a blogpost title! And I learned from the included video that it pronounced “dead-mou-five”, and not “dead-mouse”.

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Gifts from the 7th Anniversary Uber Hunt

The Uber shopping event is celebrating its 7th anniversary in Second Life, and instead of making all the gifts available on a single shopping sim, the organizers have decided to turn it into a hunt. You are searching for a gift box hidden in each of the participating stores (here’s the website with the SLURLs and hints). There’s no need to join any group, just click on the gift box and it’s yours!

Now, you should be aware that many of these gifts are additional HUDs that will only work with a separate article of clothing which the store has for sale this round! However, I have picked out three very nice gifts which stand on their own.

From BREATHE comes this generous gift, a complete fatpack of these subtly patterned women’s pumps (they come in 18 colours, plus 3 colour options for the sole, to match whatever you’re wearing):

The gift from Neve is this well-made overshirt/jacket, which comes with a HUD with eight colour choices. It’s the perfect finishing touch for your autumn outfit!

Finally, the gift from Glam Affair is this beautiful freckled fair skin for LeLutka Evo X heads, which comes in four versions with different coloured eyebrows (blonde, red, brown, black), plus one with no eyebrows if you wish to add your own. Please note that you will have to shell out for the matching Glam Affair fair body skin at L$299, though. However, I still think it’s a great bargain and I’m quite happy with this look:

Naria Panthar has posted a very helpful video showing you most of the over 125 gifts (she recommends you watch it on fast forward and just visit those stores whose gifts interest you):

Happy freebie shopping!

UPDATE August 29th, 2021: If you don’t have the time to watch Naria Panthar’s video, here is another video by Peach Daniel which covers most of the Uber 7th anniversary hunt gifts in just ten minutes!

…Aaand one more gift to show you all! While the Uber hunt gift at BAZAR is a bit hard to find, it is well worth the trouble, because you get this adorable popcorn machine to decorate your virtual home! Add a few movie posters and you’re all set!

Happy gift hunting!

The Explosion of the “Buy a Virtual Piece of Earth” Game Market: Caveat Emptor!

In the past, from time to time on this blog, I have written about virtual world apps which consisted of arbitrarily dissecting the Earth into sections, as an augmented reality overlay, and then selling the rights to these virtual plots of land. In each case, the company involved makes vague promises that the buyers-in will make some sort of profit (usually by selling said lands for more than what was paid for them, or perhaps building stores or selling advertising on them at some future point). Among the projects I have blogged about in the past, which fall into this category, are Infiniverse, Mossland, SuperWorld, and Worldopoly.

(A variation on the theme is selling virtual plots of land on a made-up-from-scratch planet, the prime example of which was the ill-fated MATERIA ONE/Staramba Spaces project, of which you can read the whole lamentable saga here.)

Well, over the past three days, attracted by no small amount of messy YouTube drama regarding yet another one of these projects, I discovered that the number of these buy-a-piece-of-Earth apps has multiplied! In the past 72 hours I learned about a number of projects which I had never heard of before:

Here’s the requisite glitzy promo video for Earth2:

It was Earth2 that first led me down this rabbit hole, where a number of YouTubers are engaged in vociferous verbal battle with each other regarding this project, in which some players have invested tens and even thousands of dollars (converted into something called E-dollars, Earth2’s in-game currency), in order to buy the rights to virtual tiles corresponding to real-world locations.

The best overall summary of how Earth2 works is the following 50-minute video by a British fellow named Josh Strife Hayes:

In it, he does a masterful job of explaining that Earth2 is engineered in such a way that the company running it will never lose money. (He also briefly mentions Decentraland, as an example of a virtual world that actually already has visitable destinations with games and such, as opposed to promises of future development, which may or may not come true.)

Earth2 is being marketed in three phases, of which Phase 1 is the sale of virtual land, and Phase 2 is the creation of a 1:1 virtual version of the entire Earth, similar to the Matrix or Ready Player One. A game developer released the following 6-minute YouTube video explaining why this Phase 2 claim doesn’t pass the sniff test:

Other critics of Earth2, such as Callum Upton, have been nothing short of absolutely scathing in their dissection of the project, comparing it to the notorious Bitconnect scandal:

Given that most of the projects I have written about to date have failed to arouse very much interest outside the hothouse bubble of crypto greed (and I should be very clear that, as far as I can tell, there is currently no crypto or blockchain in Earth2), the amount of attacking and counter-attacking relating to Earth2 is quite noteworthy! Most projects would kill for this level of attention… 😉

Now comes my standard warning for any and all such projects: please do EVERY. SINGLE. SCRAP. of your homework before investing a penny in them! Read everything on the website, including the white paper, if any. Check secondary sources of info—including Discord servers and social media— for opinions, both pro and con, before you invest. Caveat emptor!

UPDATE 9:58 p.m.: A commenter on the Twitter post of this blogpost pointed me to the Build the Earth project, where thousands of people are busily at work to create a 1:1 version of Earth in Minecraft!