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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Added Dimension to SL - Orchids Zenovka Reporting…

We all know the well-known quote   “The Only Constant In Life Is Change.”   - Heraclitus of Ephesus, and the same applies to Second Life, and we shouldn’t expect anything less.  As we approach the 10th Birthday of this virtual world of ours there are rumblings out there on the grid as to exciting changes that are afoot.  We are all weathering the mesh storm and eagerly await the mesh deformer which will make wearing mesh outfits so much easier and the next big thing is rumoured to be 3D ….

We are not talking about 3D chat but about complete 3-D immersion into Second Life, seeing through the eyes of your avatar and experiencing what he/she experiences.  You could walk through a fantasy forest or engage in immersive game/ role-play. When you look anywhere you actually see the environment around you and not on a HD panel display. Immersive 3D is a recent phenomenon, but decades ahead of its time, Mort Heilig dreamed up a 3D, full immersion, virtual reality Sensorama Machine way back in 1962 which has now gained museum status.  Virtual reality (VR) is the concept of simulating our physical presence in the real as well as in imaginary worlds like second life, through computer-simulated environments. Current virtual reality environments are primarily visual experiences, either on a computer screen or through special stereoscopic displays which comes under the gamut of 3-D;  but some simulations include additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphones which goes under 4-D. Some advanced, haptic systems now include tactile information in medical and gaming applications. 

You might think of 3-D technology as being in the realm of geeks or as the future; but you may have experienced a 3-D technology in a most common circumstance…. a visit to your dentist. The “Stratasys VeroDentPlus” is an example device optimized for printing models for crowns, bridges, implants etc from data obtained from intra-oral impression or plaster scanner and then 3D printed.
Okay, so you’re not convinced yet. Lets imagine being able to print out your favorite SL jewelry into Real life? Maxi Gossamer's Second Life jewelry escaped to the real world in December 2012. She 3D printed some of her virtual steel and silver jewelry into real life, via Shapeways for under USD$125.  Her blog states: “Shapeways and 3D printing is something that many SL creators could start thinking about right now. We can build in mesh for Second Life and then take those meshes and send them to the awesome Shapeways (3D printing bureau and shop), upload them and make them available for sale as real world products.”

Maybe print a guitar? A guitar specialist store AweSome Musical Instruments have made the very first, fully functioning and commercially available 3D-printed guitar. Yes, the guitar survived the stringing process.
And then there is the famous story of the 25 year old law student who with a 3D home printer produced a firearm. Is it viable?  A gun managed six rounds before it broke. But as they say… sometimes it only takes one shot...
Jeff Lipton, of Seraph Robotics, argues that food will be 3D printing’s killer app, and demonstrated how scientifically precise cakes can be produced, feeding all the usual ingredients into the machine. Imagine second life yummy cakes coming to life.
The Street Opinions:
Upon asking you, the people on the SL streets: “What do you think of a “virtually real” 3-D SL? And how would it affect you?” I got many interesting responses. Initial confusion as to why this question was coming up in spite of SL being “3-D” got cleared up pretty quickly. Thank you all for taking the time out to respond.
·         “ I wouldna like having to wear glasses to see my SL”… Hmmm..
·         “anyone watch star trek? I think she mean like holodeck fashion :) ”
·         A practical soul offered : “yes... might be interesting to be in a room where I could interact in SL in 3D, like I was really there, but that would be a problem for many... the cost of the 3D equipment would be prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthy.” One can now buy a proper second-hand 3D printer for a few thousand pounds and the price will keep on falling; eventually, they could become as ubiquitous as microwave ovens.
·         A group moderator was interested in a most… interesting way:  “no idea but if we do that I want a stun gun to watch chat” (to eject spammers)
·         One person was kind enough to tell me his testing experiences with: “the kirsten viewer, it can display in anaglyph mode. i tried it out by making 3d pictures... its good and ok as long as you don’t have too much red or can object colors in the view... they are "flickering" a bit with those glasses. but you have the 3D effect ”   This seemed a major new development in machinima and Chantal Harvey tested it at the alpha point sim. You’ll have to take your red and blue glasses with you. Unfortunately, the viewer development was stopped on December 2011 after a failed crowd-funding effort.

While looking that up, I found the  “Dale’s Stereoscopic Client” but based on a 1.18 version, it becomes pretty out dated. Both are still available for download in case you want to give them a whirl.
·         “LL is just taking part in the deployment of the new 3D glasses named oculus rift.” Checking that out and it indeed seems so.
New World Notes states that Linden has already started compiling feedback for the rift.  Linden Lab intends to integrate the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset with Second Life as per company spokesman Peter Gray.  It seems like we'll all get to experience Second Life with the Oculus Rift sometime in 2014 or 2015. .
Or Check out the Oculus Rift and Second Life Facebook page.
·         The sane one had this to say: “I think if that could be done it would be cool....but at the same time I would be afraid for a world with something like that. Oh I know there are a few games with it, but a game like SL with something like that...Too many already ignore their real lives for this game, throw that would get worse” . Once upon a time, the sun and moon dictated our schedule; but with technology, that is no longer true. Digital innovations give us unimaginable opportunities and free us from the binds of time and space, but we need to have the social and psychological systems in place to avoid getting lost in the virtual world.
·         And medically speaking: “as somebody who has seizures. Video can sometimes bring siezures on...3d n glasses are a danger or at least...... a caution area for me.” Samsung has issued a warning about possible precipitation of seizures and other medical problems by 3D TV viewing in susceptible individuals as the flicker can provoke seizures. The movie Avatar used a different technology of circularly polarized light, viewed with non-electronic polarized eyeglasses and newer tech has come in place for these issues.
·         The wary one said: “I can’t even imagine this oculus gadget in a place like SL with all these adult sims and poseballs and what not ... kinda scary”...
Some weren’t convinced.
·         From one of the fishers of the groups in-world “ you can sit on a chair in front of your computer and click to fish?”.. or fly. That’s 3-D enough for us thank you.
·         “like in a 100 years when we live on mars.” 

The Designer’s opinion
I hunted around for info on how a designer could benefit and I found the New World Makers series interview between “ Drax Despress” and  “Eshi Otawara (owner of Chambre du Chocolat) ” where she talks about how she is waiting for someone to create “gloves” that would allow her to pick up prims and rotate them around while creating her outfits.

I decided to ask “Sawsan Secretspy” of  “WoW Skins” and she  says that she was indeed excited with the technology. She herself has a 3-D TV at home and loves the immersive reality. But she still cannot imagine at this point what the benefit to her designs it would make. SL glitched up on me and crashed and I lost the excerpt of the IM. I could have hunted out the excerpt but this is exactly the type of frequent crashes, bad coding, lags, SL marketplace transaction issues plaguing LL which makes us understandably skeptical on implementation of new radical designs in second life’s buggy environment.
That said, 3-D is no longer in the realm of when and how will it arrive; it is now only a question of how soon. Trying to pin down whether 3D is good or bad is like trying to answer the same question for the internet, cell phones, and touch screens. Downloading and printing out goods instead of buying them online and having them shipped may not be too far-off.  We may even be be  due for a major showdown on the copyright implications of 3-D printing.
3-D cannot be a success if the “virtual” remains non interactive. Modifying existing 2D content by putting documents and power points for learning in virtually real 3-D environments defeats the very purpose of 3-D. Depth  is when a person can interact with objects, perform engaging activities and create new things; that cannot be achieved in 2-D. The experience needs to be “reality" rather than simulated.  Second Life is an app made for the Oculus VR. It makes Second life more realistic and at the same time makes escapism interactive. However, the drawbacks or advantages as is ones point of view could be that, there is a fine line between the “virtual” and “real" self. There are some who wish to keep that line intact; others not so much. So the moot question also arises: “how much is too much?.. Does SL need a better rendering of the 3D illusion, a more photorealistic environment... and where do we stop improving?” 

As my friend Pameola says:maybe no need for glasses at all... just a piece of cardboard to divide the screen that displays 2 images”  many thanks to her common-sense, without which I would have got carried away and couldn’t have written this article.

Here is a question to ponder, would you design a new 3D you?

Photographs Information
SLURL (In world )
1.    Fantasy Forest sim
Walking through my dream….
2.    Bladerunner city machinima sim – the blob on the central podium is me. Photograph is taken with “ghost” windlight setting as recommended by the creator.
Other : (Web Based)
1.    Maxi G - Sapeways - Order 1 - Jewellery (Custom)


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