Pick of the Day: Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is an experience created by Beverly Zauberflote, a pretty little village on a midwinter’s night.

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A helpful neon sign directs you to a jet-powered Santa sleigh that whisks you off on a wild ride through the night sky!

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It’s all very cheerful and festive!

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Designing Worlds Returns to Sansar for a Second Visit

Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin, the co-hosts of the Designing Worlds weekly TV show, pay a second visit to Sansar. They visit the Hall of Materials experience and interview Jason Gholston, Head of the Creative team at Linden Lab for Sansar.

Designing Worlds

Sansar Customs in Sansar, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont Sansar Customs in Sansar, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Join us at 2pm SLT today, Monday 11th December, for the new episode of Designing Worlds at our studio in Garden of Dreams in Second Life, for a very special show as we pay the second of our visits to the new Linden Lab platform – Sansar.

114 Harvest in Sansar, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont 114 Harvest in Sansar, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

In the first part of the show, we visit the Hall of Materials, a special resource for builders in Sansar, created the Linden Lab Sansar creative team, which aims to demsonstrate and explain how to set up Sansar’s many rendering and audio materials to achieve the desired artistic effects. Here we meet Jason Gholston who is heading up the Creative team at Linden Lab for Sansar. He talks to us about the development of Sansar and shows how different effects are being achieved – which necessitates…

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Why I Believe in the Power and Potential of Virtual Worlds

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Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash

So, you may ask, why do I believe so strongly in virtual worlds?

Ironically, I was first introduced to the virtual world of Second Life through work. A little over ten-and-a-half years ago, I was sitting on a bibliographic instruction planning committee, and we were all brainstorming various ways to teach the undergraduate student population how to properly navigate all the information resources offered by our university library system. Talk turned to gaming and gamifying education, someone mentioned Second Life, and I said I would look into it. Of course, that particular idea went nowhere, but I stayed in SL.

My visits became longer and longer. Some people like to build, others like to design clothes or furniture or vehicles, still others like to DJ or perform in SL’s many live music venues. For me, my favourite pastime by far was to create virtual characters—Second Life avatars. I would create more and different avatars, and then spend hours shopping for them to outfit them properly. I would take part in different kinds of historical and fantasy role-playing (no, not pixelsex; I always found that somewhat ludicrous).

Some avatars lasted only a couple of days before I deleted them; others have been with me since the very beginning of my adventures in Second Life. Witches and wizards and wolves, pirates and painters, sergeants and satyrs, barbarians and ballerinas, harlequins and hippies, gladiators and geishas… my hobby has given me endless hours of pleasure and escape. Some were exclusively for role-play purposes; others were just a means to live inside somebody else’s skin for an hour while strolling the grid. Others were created specifically to evoke reactions from passers-by. I could be whatever I wanted, and I was: an angel, a fairy, a goth girl, Elvis, Queen Elizabeth the First, Lady Gaga, Santa Claus, a supermodel, a hobo, a spaceman, a Na’vi from the movie Avatar, a medieval minstrel.

I became obsessed! At my very worst, I would spend 6-8 hours online every evening, and 12-16 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. I would wake up and log on to Second Life; I would log off SL and go to bed and not fall asleep for hours, my mind all awake and abuzz with creative possibilities and plans. Near the end of my third year in Second Life, I began to spend less time there, but I had begun to explore other virtual worlds such as Blue Mars, and then Cloud Party, and then…well, you get the idea. I have gotten my Ph.D. in Virtual Worlds by now, mainly from the University of Second Life! I’m sure many of you could easily claim the same.

Mary PoppinsI’ve been on Second Life over a decade now, and during that time the virtual world has been an unparalleled creative sandbox for me.

I have had some truly wonderful experiences in Second Life. Hell, once I even dive-bombed an S&M orgy in my Mary Poppins avatar, complete with levitating umbrella and carpetbag (see picture)!

And I’ve been thinking lately about why I was initially so taken with virtual worlds, and why I still believe in their potential today.

I think that the power of virtual worlds lies in your ability to reinvent yourself, and how you present yourself to the world. You can literally be anyone—or anything—you want to be. You can do just about anything (as long as you don’t fall afoul of the Terms of Service, that is).

In real life, I’m an overweight, divorced, gay librarian with diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and a long history of mental health issues. I’m not particularly close to the rest of my family, and I have few real-life friends. I’ve been on extended sick leaves for the treatment of serious clinical depression. I am getting old (I’m now 53), and I move one hell of a lot slower than I used to when I was young. It bothers me. A lot bothers me.

To be honest, I kinda suck at this whole reality business.

But in virtual worlds, I can get away from all that, at least for a while. I can start over from scratch. I can be anybody. I don’t have to be myself, plain old failure-prone Ryan Schultz. And that’s the draw, that’s the pull for me: the potential to transform yourself and your world. It’s just that a whole hell of a lot of people in this world haven’t yet discovered that power, that potential, of the metaverse yet. But I bet they will, and sooner than they expect. We are just the first wave, the pioneers.

Thank you, my faithful blogreaders, for sharing this journey with me, as we embark on a new adventure in a new world, Sansar. I think we’re all going to have a lot of fun!

Greg Aronowitz Conducts an In-World Tour of His Star Wars Production Art Collection in Sansar

Well, we had a real treat this morning! Greg Aronowitz, the collector behind the wonderful Star Wars production art exhibition you can now visit in Sansar, conducted a personal tour of the museum this morning, and I was lucky enough to tag along and take some pictures! Very interesting talk as Greg described some of the history behind various objects. Drax was the interviewer (he’s the one with the red headphones and the microphone in the pictures). Greg is the avatar in the blue-and-white jersey and black baseball cap. Note that Solas is wearing a very funny tribute to Princess Leia with her croissant-bun hairstyle and pink light-sabre!

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Drax did a livestream of this event (complete with some attempts by trolls to interrupt the proceedings!):

Strawberry Singh also did a livestream:

 

Inara Pey Blogs the Sansar Product Meetup Fri. Dec. 8th with Ebbe Altberg

As usual, Inara Pey blogs the most recent in-world Product Meetup of Friday, December 8th.

Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Sansar Studios 3D Cinema Dome – location for one of the Friday, December 8th, 2017 Product Meetings

The following notes are taken from the 4:00pm PST Sansar Product Meeting held on Friday, December 8th. Product Meetings are usually held every Friday at 9:30am PST and 4:00pm PST, and are open to all. There is currently no set agenda, and the meetings are a mix of voice and text. The official meeting notes are published in the week following each pair of meetings, while venues change each week, and are listed in the Meet-up Announcements. and the Sansar Atlas events section.

The afternoon Product Meeting featured a drop-in by Ebbe Altberg, the Lab’s CEO, and notes on his comments, with audio extracts are included in this update.

Fashion Release

This is still on-course for a deployment  – mostly likely during week #51, commencing Monday, December 18th, 2017. For a summary…

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Pick of the Day: The Club

As interest in Sansar picks up, it will be important to have places where avatars can gather, relax, and chat. Places like this experience created by Marcus, and simply called The Club. This cosy spot is located in a city highrise, with oversize beanbag chairs, barrels for tables, a well-stocked bar, and even a disco dancefloor with a DJ spinning records!

Pick of the Day: Pictures from the Grand Opening of the Star Wars Production Art Exhibition at the Hollywood Art Museum

I was able to get into the Hollywood Art Museum experience a little bit early, and I have some exclusive first photos of this stunning new Star Wars production art exhibition! In my opinion, this is one of the very best experiences built in Sansar to date, and if you’ve never been to Sansar before, it’s absolutely worth setting up an account, going in-world, and seeing all the items on display in this wonderful museum experience up close! Best of all, if you have a VR headset and hand controllers, you can actually pick up many items to get a better look at them! (I bet you can’t do that in a real-world museum!)

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Entrance to the Exhibition
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The First Section of the Exhibition
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Creating A World Section of the Exhibition
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Beyond The Theater Section of the Exhibition
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Another View of the Creating A World Section
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SIN dressed as Darth Vader

Many items on display have an audio track that you can invoke to get a bit of an explanation of what you’re seeing (nobody else can hear it, just you!). If you’re clumsy and drop one of the collection items on the floor, you can hit a reset button on the pedestal to put it back in its proper place.

Just drop whatever you’re doing and come see this exhibition! Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, it’s a wonderfully designed and executed experience, an excellent demonstration of Sansar’s potential for virtual museums, and absolutely worth your time.