Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: A Free Bakes-on-Mesh Compatible, Bento Mesh Head for Female Avatars from the Genus Project

I just learned today from the Free*Style blog that the Genus Project, a major Bento head retailer in Second Life, is giving away a free version of their Strong Face model of female avatar head, which is Bento (fully adjustable) and supports Bakes on Mesh:

The Free*Style blogger, Helena Stringer, reports:

You can try to fight the horde that are grabbing Skin Fair Heads, or you can join the in-world group, which is free to join, and grab the head out of the notices: secondlife:///app/group/b153906f-38dd-0dd6-d327-345bef9f446e/about

They have also reduced their heads by 40% until an undisclosed time. 

Thanks, Helena! I would also very strongly advise you avoid the doubtlessly jam-packed sim where the Genus Project store is located. It will be an exercise in frustration.

Instead, join the GenusProject group for free (just copy and paste the above link into local chat in your SL client, and it will generate a group join link), and pick up the free Strong Face head from the group notices. The title of the notice you are looking for is: Support from the Genus Project team, and the head will be an attachment to that notice that you can click and download into your inventory. Group notices expire after two weeks, though, so please don’t wait too long!

The package includes:

  • the Genus Strong Face head itself and a head alpha;
  • a modifiable default shape (which should be your starting point);
  • Genus “jaws” (I assume that this is the teeth for inside the head);
  • a Genus neck fix;
  • Genus eyes and an eye alpha;
  • a Universal Setting HUD in two sizes (big and small);
  • a Basic Animation HUD in two sizes (big and small), and a variety of animations;
  • a Genus skin applier in three skin tones: Honey, Toffee, and Brownie, and four hair colours: Blonde, Ginger, Brown, and Black (a nice bonus!);
  • a Frequently-Asked Questions notecard.

Happy freebie shopping!

P.S. I will add this news to my ever-expanding, ever-popular blogpost on free and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for female Second Life avatars.

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The MuseWeb 2020 Conference, Running March 31st to April 4th, Will Have Some Events Taking Place in Second Life

One of the largest annual museum conferences in the world, MuseWeb (Museums and the Web) has moved to an entirely online version because of the coronavirus pandemic. The organizers of the MW20 conference, running from March 31st to April 4th, 2020, have decided to hold part of the conference within Second Life:

Dr Nancy Proctor, a leading organizer of the Museums and the Web Conference in Los Angeles, had not played Second Life since 2003 – until a few weeks ago, when she had to take the now-cancelled event online. 

Second Life is too technically taxing to carry the whole event, she says; not every attendee can download the software, make their own avatar and learn to navigate the world (which sometimes involves flying). But traditional videoconferencing struggles to replicate “the serendipity, the sense of being there and being together” of in-person networking, whereas Second Life has “exactly that ineffable quality”.

All this has made things pretty frantic for Linden [Lab]. It is scrambling to educate new customers, setting them up with restricted private islands ($349 a pop, although Proctor’s conference has been donated one for free).

Unfortunately, unlike the Educators in VR Summit and the IEEE VR 2020 Conference, the general public cannot attend the MW20 conference sessions for free, whch will be held using Microsoft Teams. However, anybody can visit the set of four sims that Linden Lab has set up for social events, the Birds of a Feather Breakfast, and the closing plenary at this SLURL:

The conference’s spacious auditorium is decorated with works of art by Afrofuturist artist Nettrice Gaskins:

I popped in for a quick visit, to take these pictures, and I met a couple of people who had just joined Second Life, to attend the MuseWeb conference events.

Here is the full program for the MW20 conference. I would encourage Second Life users to be on hand to help welcome and orient all the newcomers this conference will bring to SL!

Engadget Interview with Ebbe Altberg: Why Linden Lab Decided to Sell Sansar

On March 27th, 2020, the Engadget website published what is probably the most detailed interview yet with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg, in which he explains the thinking behind the company’s decision to sell their fledgling social VR platform, Sansar, and focus on Second Life.

It’s clear that one of the strong messages that Ebbe wanted to send out with this high-profile industry interview is that Linden Lab is now in a strong, profitable position as a company. Here’s an excerpt from that interview, which I would encourage you to read in full:

So why did Linden Lab sell the platform? In short, the company wanted to be profitable and Sansar wasn’t making enough money. “We incubated Sansar,” Altberg explained. “We got it up and going. It’s fantastic technology, but it’s still [got] quite a way of runway [before it can] become a cash-positive.”

Altberg said it was ultimately a “strategic decision” to sell Sansar and give the development team a chance to branch out on their own. “I’m super stoked that we’re able to find a way for them to continue the journey,” he explained.

First, though, the company needed to find a buyer. It considered “a bunch of different paths,” according to Altberg, which included some larger owners. In the end, it settled on Wookey Project Corp., a little-known startup that wants to create “a new generation of online AR/VR experiences,” according to a Linden Lab press release. Altberg describes the company as a “really scrappy investor type of player” who wants a challenge and is prepared to let the Sansar team drive its own agenda. Wookey’s CEO also lives in the same town as Altberg, which probably helped seal the deal.

And (yes, I have to say it), I first drew attention to Linden Lab’s essential dilemma in a blogpost I wrote two years ago:

I think that Ebbe Altberg and his team at Linden Lab can’t win no matter what they do. If they continue to throw too much time and money at Second Life, Sansar will suffer and they’re betting the future on Sansar… Yet if they try to promote Sansar…folks who are wedded to Second Life get upset. Or people will say that SL is “being actively starved and strangled”.

Linden Lab was trying to juggle two completely separate projects, at completely separate stages of development, and was finding the juggling to be a bit much. Like Philip Rosedale found with High Fidelity, Linden Lab discovered that all the time and money they had poured into a social VR platform, in hopes that users would flood in, was a cash drain that put the entire company in danger. In the end, something had to give, and that something was Sansar, which, under the circumstances, makes perfect sense.

Sansar now has a “really scrappy investor type of player” who will try to turn the platform into a profitable endeavour, and Linden Lab can go back to what they do best: keep Second Life humming smoothly along as the reliable cash-cow it is, at almost 17 years of age. I’m quite sure that Philip Rosedale and his original team at Linden Lab back in 2003 never dreamed that SL would enjoy the long, successful life that it has had!

However, I will put on my prognosticator’s hat and issue a prediction: Wookey will go all-in on Sansar, and they will do their absolute damnedest to aright the Good Ship Sansar, which has been listing badly of late. (Go ahead. Call the metaphor police. I dare you,)

But Wookey isn’t going to stick around forever if Sansar fails to take off a second time. The number crunchers at Wookey already have a deadline in their head. I give them two years, max. If they haven’t turned a profit by then, Wookey will sell Sansar in turn, or shut it down.

Clock starts now.

Image from the brand new Wookey website

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Angel Wings!

If you act quickly, you can pick up a free pair of beautiful, Bento angel wings for your Second Life avatar. Join the Blueberry group for L$20, and check the group notices for a HUD. Simply attach the HUD and click on it, and you will be awarded L$350 in free store credit for Blueberry!

Of course, the sim where the Blueberry store is jam-packed with avatars at the moment, so unless you have a Premium account, or use a handy tool like the Teleport Hammer, you are unlikely to get in to use those credits before they expire in a week. However, you can easily get into the two neighbouring sims, and do some cam shopping! (Here’s a blogpost with all the information you need to cam shop. All you need to do is change a couple of settings in your SL viewer, and you’re all set to go!)

You’ll have to use your camera to hunt through the store to find the angel wings, though (it’s located to the right of the grand staircase):

These wings come in a variety of colours, and the package includes Bento and non-Bento (static) versions. Just right-click on the shade you desire, select Menu, then choose to pay using your store credits. Each pair of wings costs L$250, so you still have L$100 left over to put towards another purchase.

The wings are unisex and work just as well for male avatars as for female ones, as you can see here:

In fact, over the past couple of years I have been steadily using the generous Blueberry free store credits given away at various events like the Shop and Hop, to build a small inventory of angel wings for each of my Second Life alts! (Hey, you never know when a halo and pair of angel wings come in handy 😉 )

The credits are only good for another week, so don’t delay!

Here’s the SLURL for the Blueberry store, and the SLURLs for the two neighbouring sims (for cam-shopping purposes) are here and here. Like I said, you’ll have better luck with the latter SLURLs than trying to hammer your way into the main store sim.

Happy shopping!