Results of the Reader Surveys

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Today I realized that I had not yet published the responses I received to my most recent blog reader survey, dated March 23rd. Not only that, but I had also published a reader survey on January 29th, and it would appear I never shared the results of that one yet, either!

So here are the results of both surveys. I’ll start with the March survey.

You guys are pretty much evenly split when it comes to Second Life content on this blog! Four of you want more Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies, and 8 of you want me to expand my coverage of SL. But 6 of you want less coverage of Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies, and 5 of you less coverage of Second Life in general. That works out to 12 yeas and 11 nays, a pretty even split. So, I will keep to the middle road, focusing my SL coverage on Steals, Deals and Freebies for now.

Five of you want to see more interviews with Sansar content creators, and another 4 want to see more coverage of Sansar products, places and events in general. (Only one person felt that I was spending too much time on Sansar.) So I will continue to do my best to provide that coverage.

As for High Fidelity, 4 wanted to see more interviews with HiFi content creators, and 5 wanted to see more coverage of High Fidelity products, places and events in general. (Again, one person wanted to see less HiFi coverage on this blog.) Therefore, I will certainly continue to cover news and events on the High Fidelity platform.

Six of you wanted to see more coverage of other social VR platforms (e.g. Sinespace, AltspaceVR, VRChat), and 2 wanted to see less coverage. So I will redouble my efforts to cover as many social VR platforms as I can.

Five people want to see less coverage of blockchain-based virtual worlds, with nobody saying that they wanted more. And frankly, I am tired of covering these worlds myself. Expect less coverage from here on in (with the only possible exception being Decentraland).

People also want to see more tutorials (4 votes) and more editorials (9 votes), so I will try to accommodate. (One person wrote in “Less editorials”, so it’s not universal.)

Finally, here is a selection of write-in comments from both the January and March reader surveys:

  • “You do what you want; it’s all good.”
  • “More coverage of lesser known creators, instead of the same top ones.”
  • “Your editorials are the best part of the blog. I’d love to see more of them!”
  • “VRChat [has] 100X the active users of HiFi and Sansar. Active Worlds has more too.”
  • “Ryan doesn’t take himself too seriously, and is honest in his opinions.”
  • “The ‘freebie’ section of the blog is the most enjoyable to read.”
  • “Sorry, I have no interest (and rather detest) SL fashion/shopping posts.”
  • “Some rare unresearched positions I’ve seen, they seem to be influenced by bias.”
  • “Nothing against Ryan, but the blockchain/cryptocurrency stuff makes my eyes glaze over now.”
  • “Currently, the blog doesn’t include any interviews with Sansar content creators. It would be a great addition to the blog if readers could get a peek inside the creative minds of the people contributing to the platform.”
  • “More emphasis on virtual worlds, less emphasis on virtual reality.”
  • “More focus on VR.”
  • “I think the balance of content is about right currently.”
  • “I think it’s good, I come here often.”

Thank you to everybody who gave feedback!


I’m Taking a Break

Did you know that you can help support my blog (as well as the newly-launched Metaverse Newscast show), and get great rewards in return? Here’s how.

Photo by Mohamed Ajufaan on Unsplash

I’ve decided to take a break from blogging for a week or two (we’ll see how long I last 😉 ). I’ll still be working with my producer, Andrew William, taping upcoming espisodes of the Metaverse Newscast. See you later!

Please note that I am currently tinkering with setting up my first Google AdSense account, and I’m brand new at this, so you may see some strange ads and messages appearing in various locations on this blog over the next few weeks as I test out the various options. Please bear with me as I work my way up the learning curve on this! Thank you.

A Blast from the Past: Brokeback Mountain Movie Mashups

All right, today you get something completely different.

As you all know, Google+ is shutting down its social network on April 2nd. I’ve already backed up all my data, but I have been browsing through some old posts and I wanted to share with you some funny Photoshop images I had created, way, waaay back when I was a rabid follower of slash fanfiction based on the characters from the Annie Proulx short story and the resulting 2005 Hollywood movie, Brokeback Mountain.

I was simply obsessed with that movie, which had a huge emotional impact on me, for several years, and I had created these images to amuse and entertain my fellow BBM fanfic fans on various websites, notably LiveJournal. (Anybody here remember LiveJournal? They used to have some great communities back in the day.)

Anyways, here goes (and please forgive my lamentable PhotoShop skills!):

(The blurb actually was taken from something Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger had to say at some awards show! If the text is too small to read, click for a larger size in Flickr)

(If the text is too small to read, click the image for a larger size in Flickr)

(The text is how I imagined a cishet fangirl would review this movie mashup! If the text is too small to read, please click the image for a larger size in Flickr)
(mashup with the 1969 classic movie Midnight Cowboy)
(Mashup with Moulin Rouge)
(This movie mashup is my personal favourite!)

Cyan Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Firmament, a New VR-Capable Open-World Exploration and Puzzle Game

As I wrote about earlier, I have decided to branch out a little bit from my usual coverage of multi-user, social VR platforms and virtual worlds, and I’m going to start to look at some non-combat, open-world exploration and puzzle games such as Eastshade, which really caught my attention recently with its beautiful scenery and refreshing, non-combat-focused gameplay.

Of course, the first truly popular and successful game of this nature was Myst, first released by Cyan in 1993, which became the best-selling PC game of all time until it was eclipsed by The Sims in 2002 (source: Wikipedia). Cyan has an impeccable pedigree when to comes to building and releasing these type of games. It’s a niche market which they basically created from scratch with their evocative, mind-bending puzzle games that were so different from all the first-person shooters out there. Their games have attracted quite a following over the past 25 years!

Well, guess what? Today, Cyan launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds to create a brand new, open-world exploration/puzzle game, called Firmament. It’s being designed from the ground up to support users in VR headsets (Oculus Rift and HTC Vive), as well as Windows desktop users. Here’s their promotional video:

Cyan’s desire is to raise US$1,285,000 in only 31 days, a very ambitious goal! But if any company has the talent to pull this off, it is Cyan. I truly enjoying playing Myst, Riven and the other games in the Myst series back in the day, and I have also worked my way through their previous VR-capable puzzle game, Obduction, in 2017, which was extremely challenging and rewarding to play! So signing up for this Kickstarter is almost a no-brainer for me.

Here’s an earlier teaser trailer issued last March, which gives a bit more of the backstory:

This is an All-or-Nothing Kickstarter, meaning that Cyan has to meet their fundraising target in order to collect all the money. If they fail, everybody keeps their original pledged amounts. But I don’t think Cyan will fail. It’s actually been quite entertaining to watch as the live update of the total number of backers and the total dollar amount pledged inch their way up over the course of the day:

Raising the first 15% of your goal in less than 24 hours is a truly remarkable and enviable achievement! At this rate, they will reach their goal in a week!

So, if like me, you have fond memories of playing Myst and Riven, you might want to consider making a financial pledge to support this project. There are various levels of support, ranging from a small contribution of US$7.00 towards keeping the development team in coffee and donuts, all the way up to the highest-level full-blown prize package for a US$5,000 pledge:

You’ll join us for the 20th anniversary of Mysterium, the fan-based Myst-Con held at our headquarters in Spokane this year. Spend a day (Thursday, August 2nd) at Cyan with the team as an honorary Cyantist. Tour the studio, get a look behind the scenes, ask questions of the team, then join Rand [Miller, Cyan’s CEO] for an exclusive private group dinner! This package includes dinner, airfare (up to $800), and four nights’ lodging. We’ll also add your likeness to the game (but we can’t tell you where)!

Here’s a link to their Kickstarter where you can get all the details.

Firmament art by Joe Perez of Cyan, Inc.