Saturday, November 15, 2008

OpenSIM based worlds - Legend City, DreamWorld

Last week I visited 2 virtual worlds which are based on the OpenSIM platform, Legend City and Dreamworld.

Legend City
First one is "Legend City". To get an account, visit the site below.


Legend City has its own currency "Legend Dollar"(200 Legend Dollar is equal to US$1). I could find its KIOSK in Second Life, paid 2000 Linden Dollar and got 1333 Legend Dollar.
secondlife://Legend%20City/119/223/23/


After that, i downloaded the viewer and launched. Here's fa irst snapshot of it.


Default avatars are nice.


When i visited Legend City, it's difficult to walk straight or to stay upon floor. One interesting thing is popular stores in Second life have their own stores in Legend City(Simone, for example). This world may attract fashion lovers.



Dream World
Second world on the list is "Dream World" in China.

http://www.3ddw.com/

梦幻世界-三维3D虚拟世界娱乐交友社区 via kwout



The first snapshot of its client viewer.


Dreamworld isn't very large yet, I found about 10 Sims on the map.


This is a lounge for English speakers.


This exibition hall might be inspired by last summers' Beijing Olympics.


Ni Hao!


When I visited this world, I couldn't find anyone. I visited at prime time and there is no time difference between Japan and China.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Philips Design Probes - I am becoming my Avatar

After blogging IBM's avances into virtual Fashion , it's yet another Fashion blogpost. This time from Philips. It seems fashion is getting fashionable in the Tech industry.

This time it's not a coproduction, but the presentation of a new Philips Product: Fractal - Living Jewelry.

Why limit yourself to a few beads or earrings when you can slip on a full-body 'living jewelry' suit that also changes in response to your behavior and mood? Introducing Fractal, the latest expression of the Philips Design SKIN Probes program …

Fractal is a stunning, figure-hugging outfit consisting entirely of huge imitation jewels augmented by pulsing LEDs. By incorporating sensors that measure movement, excitement levels and proximity of others - and using this input to alter the intensity of its integrated lighting - Fractal essentially becomes an extension of the body. It also serves as a platform for exploring emotional sensing.

Read more on Philips - Living Jewelry.

Over the course of last year, Philips has organised a number of Design Probe sessions in Second Life, in which they presented a number of concepts they were working on and discussed these with us, see Designing the Future 1a and Designing the Future 1b on this blog for detailed transcripts.

Under the title "Don't predict the Future, design it!" we discussed three themes back in august 2007, which were:

  1. The future of self-expression
  2. The future of packaging
  3. The future of clothing

These brainstorm sessions have been a huge success for Philips, said Slava Kozlov at the 3rd Eduverse symposium last month. Not that we've actually invented new products for them, but as Slava added yesterday on twitter:

"As always in case of probes, it is difficult to point to a direct influence; it's a logical line from earlier 'emotional dress' concept. However, I feel that Second Life in general made a large impact on the designers' way of thinking "

The Electronic Tattoo

It's hard to say if Fractal, or the living Jewelry as you like, fits in one, two or all three of the above categories. A second project has been the Electronic Tattoo, which clearly falls under the self-expression category.

Tattoos and physical mutilation are amongst the oldest forms of personal expression and identity. Subcultures have used tattoos as a form of self representation; a visual language communicating personality and status. Philips Design examined the growing trend of extreme body adornment like tattoos, piercing, implants and scarring.

Read more - Philips Electronic Tattoos, including a cool video about the tattoos.


I am Becoming my Avatar

In Second Life we often see people trying to shape their avatar as much as possible to their Real Life appearance -kinda counts for beach babes and sixpack Joe's I guess) or the other way around, people shaping their avatar in their ideal sort of way and then try to become like this ultimate adonis in real life too. With this combined technology Philips will provide the change to bring this a step closer. Soon we will be able to project those textures and skins from Second Life on our own skins and clothing.

Off course, that is not the idea behind these projects. It is ultimately about sustainability, but also has commercial ends:

The relationship between the human body, apparel and the near environment is seen as one of the next big challenges. That is why explorations in this area can help build up essential knowledge that could serve as valuable input for future business activities. There could even be shorter-term spin-offs. "In Fractal we’re taking LED light, which can feel harsh and cold, and experimenting with it," says Van Heerden. "We pulse it at different speeds, making it appear quickly and fade slowly, and also diffract it through various materials. The result is warmer and more comforting, something that could be very interesting to our Lighting division."

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IBM gets into virtual Fashion

After blogging the Forbidden City today and Boulanger3D two days ago I've yet another post about IBM in Virtual Worlds. Rest assured, I am not becoming an IBM-er, I rather find it troublesome that IBM is the only bigshot from the traditional tech companies that is actually doing stuff in the Metaverse these days. Fortunately, it's not a guaranteed success with them for now. I was disappointed in Boulanger3D, but on the other hand found the Forbidden City actually quite exciting to explore.

This time is the news that's been inbox since yesterday when my obsession to get to hear Terry Pratchett in Second Life prevented me from keeping on top of the news. The news is actually not a release yet, but just a press statement that IBM signed a service agreement with the Fashion Research Institute.

Fashion Research Institute, headquartered in New York, NY, conducts research into technology-based initiatives and develops emerging technologies to overhaul traditional fashion practices and methodologies. FRI's mission is to reduce the carbon footprint and change the environmental impact of the industry in ways that are sustainable, replicable, respectful of the practitioners, and meaningful for all stakeholders. FRI maintains Shengri-La, a five-island complex in Second Life, and an OpenSim complex.

The most interesting point in the press release to me is that we have now officially left the small cash development scenery of Second Life (ranging from 50K to 500K for a sim, okay small cash which doesn't fit into my wallet either), but are actually moving on to million dollar assignments.

NEW YORK, NY, Oct 09, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) --

IBM today announced it has signed a multi-million IBM Global Business Services agreement with the Fashion Research Institute (FRI) to implement a first-of-a-kind Virtual World Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Enterprise System.

...

"We're proud to pioneer the first big business solution that leverages the OpenSim virtual world platform to address economies of scale," said Shenlei Winkler, FRI. "The Fashion Research Institute understands how to design real world consumer goods using a virtual world environment, and IBM understands the scaling challenges of global enterprise. Taking on both simultaneously is a winning move."

This virtual world enterprise solution, expressly created as a product design environment, will offer a fundamentally new work flow addressing critical issues facing the design industry, such as ensuring manufacturability of designs and decreasing substantial sample costs by two-thirds. Users of this solution will ultimately be able to enter a virtual world, receive training on the systems, and take a design from concept to prototype -- with every step short of actual manufacturing being done virtually.

Read full press release here.

Another interesting point to note is that the FRI also has a presence in Second Life and Opensim. They've worked with IBM to explore Virtual Worlds. This experiment led to the believe it was worthwile pursuing a full scale Virtual World. Contrary to the believe that Second Life is a total business failure and stories about companies fleeing Second Life, this is once again an example of where Second Life has been the catalyst. The platform in which companies could (relatively low budget) experiment with 3D-ness and prepare a full launch in a socalled extraverse (also named themed world or branded world).

Visit the Fashion Research Institute in Second Life at the Shengri La island:

SLURL: http://slurl.com/­secondlife/­Shengri%20La%20Peace­/161/182/91

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Passions of Black Swan Fashion Show machinima by Rezzable

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Metapage: SL Shop Directory


On the main MindBlizzard website I've created the MetaPages a while back which basically is a list of links to virtual worlds, metaverse development companies and the well know RL Brandlist of Real Life companies in Second Life.

This weekend I've made a start with a new page; the SL Shop Directory, which now is a list of about 140 links to websites of well known Second Life shops.

As usual, updates to the list are welcome, through reply on this blogpost, but better yet, why not register at the MindBlizzard website and be able to suggest links directly.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Playboy gets Dressed

This weeks top story features Playboy getting dressed for the occasion. Playboy getting dressed isn't your typical April Fool's Day prank but a very smart move by the popular magazine, as reported by James Wagner Au at the NWN blog:

Smart Bunny: Playboy Sells Fashion Created And Co-Branded By Second Life Designers

With regular events and a staff of gregarious, frequently dancing Bunnies, Playboy's official Second Life presence, a tropical island club developed by Boston's Green Grotto Studios, is one of the few real world company sites boasting steady visitor traffic. (Direct SLURL teleport at this link.) And unless I missed a previous announcement, it can now claim another title: the first major company to link its brand with Second Life-only brands. In this case, Playboy-branded fashion sold on the official island, but created and promoted by SL designers who are an integral part of the label; among them, KO Designs, Alpha Male, Sharkture, and Simply Spoiled.

Playboy started out in the Metaverse with the opening of the Playboy Island in Second Life in June 2007 (read blogpost here), which surprisingly (for many) didn't become the house of sin in the sex-filled world of Second Life. No actually, there was nothing sexy about Playboy's presence.

This time, everybody is getting fluffy with the bunny as Playboy is now in cohoots with a quality selection of Second Life fashion designers. Reactions from the more marketing oriented blogs are pretty happy about Playboy's move;

Nic Mitham says:

"The company is selling Playboy-branded items on the island created by residents inside Second Life - they are tapping into the expertise incumbent in-world."

And Digodo writes:

"It’s an interesting move because apparently Playboy thinks they can fill a gap the Metabrands have - a recognizable, A-brand that separates the quality from the B products for people who haven’t spend months in Second Life. On the other hand, the metabrands bring ‘good will’ of the existing community to the table, a recognised and appriciated brand amongst people who have spend some time in Second Life and are well rooted into the community.

What the most important thing is, in my humble opinion is that Playboy seem to understand how communities work and that is even more important than getting your product out in the virtual world. I have been very disappointed with the things (the majority of) real world companies have done in Second Life sofar. It's been a marketing trip mostly, and the community just isn't interested. It's time companies skip the promo-attitude blabla and start taking their business into Virtual Worlds.

This would have been easy for Playboy, to bring their business to a Virtual World which is sex-infested according to many. Doing the opposite; getting dressed gets them my respect and it shows they understand the way the Second Life community works. Whereas most brands come in and invite people to 'leave their natural habitat' to come to their island, Playboy is bringing the brand to the community.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fashion Fusion

Amsterdam is the place to be this week if you want to get a taste of mixed reality so it seems.

First of the cross-reality events this week was the First Fusion Fashion show at de Balie in Amsterdam (Leidseplein), organised by The Artist Advice. The event was simulcasted with a fashionshow in Second Life, by Ewing Fashion Agency with creations Nicky Ree, Aphrodite Outlander, Sysy Chapman and EFA Design Awards finalist Indira Bekkers.






Outside the entrance of de Balie you'd find the red carpet catwalk ending in a big screen projecting the Second Life fashion show. It wasn't 100% cross-reality but it was a good start of the week.


SL pictures by Tillie Ariantho's

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

YSL fashion without body

The summertime has been extremely quiet when it comes to new corporate immersions. Now summer break is long gone and I'm having a hard time keeping up. There's hardly been time to do some proper simspotting. Since we've been on the television meets virtual world meme thing in the past weeks it might be of interest to see what's exactly behind the Sera Korea sims. These are a bunch that might supporting the Korean TV drama series Que Sera Sera. The Asian invasion doesn't end here, there's another heap of islands shouting the name Samsung.



Yves Saint Laurent & Elle


Asia isn't my particular interest, there's others who keep a closer watch on the devs from the Far East; I'd rather keep an eye one European and American corporations. Since I've been running a streak of Fashion and Girlworlds it seems fit to note the immersion of Yves Saint Laurent, a well known French house of Fashion.



Blogging it is also logical, because I might otherwise forget this one is actually here. It didn't impress me and may fade out of memory soon. YSL's immersion has been centered around their fragrance "Elle", or as Nic Mitham from KZero reports:

"YSL is using a fuschia-themed island in SL on a tactical basis during October to promote their new fragrance Elle.

Marketing Director of YSL Fragrances, Thomas Lalague commented:
“Elle is geared toward “an active woman who is urban and contemporary, daring and elegant, attractive and bohemian, smart and sexy. A woman who is open to the world and who wants to express her personality.”

The theme of the island is the story of Elle using audio/video of the TV spot as well as rooms containng further information."


For a casual visitor though, this story is hard to find. Yes, there this big fallic bottle in the center of the island which is hard to miss, and it has an audio outfit. But on a rather casual stroll, I didn't feel tempted to pick up one and listen to a lengthy story.



I hovered around a bit to see what the rest of this purple-sim was made of, but the hallways are rather empty. Without you taking time to listen to their story, this sim has no body. If this sim is about the expression of a woman's personality.... I think there's a bit more to most women out there.









SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/YSL/128/128/0

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Virtual CosmoGirls goes There.com

I just received a comment on The Office stars Second Life by an author of the Dutch "up the vortex" blog. I followed the link and took a peek. One of the most recent articles features another upcoming Girl-World: CosmoGirl. The American teenmagazine, which is also available in the Netherlands is partnering with Makena Technologies to build their virtual hotspot on There.com. Teen worlds seem to be the fastest growing in the industry.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Go Supermodel

Last week I already mentioned the fashion vw goSupermodel in the article virtual Girlpower. Today I ran across a YouTube promo. Here it is.

All said and done, now you don't need to check out yourself ;)

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Does Robbie Rock?

There's a platform out there that has some attraction to corporations, but hardly known in the regular Virtual World Business, named Why Robbie Rocks.





Now it's pretty hard to define what exactly is a virtual world (see this discussion at Metaversed), but I think Why Robbie Rocks should be considered one, except... it doesn't really show. There's quite a bit of preformatted avatar pimping, but that's about it.



A feature on the website is the Elle Girl shop / site which uses WRR. As for serious business, also Dutch banker Rabobank (one of the few triple A rated banks in Europe) runs WRR and the latest is the Dutch One Campaign version.




The fun parts though is that there's web 2.0 integration. You can put your avatar on the (Google) map, push it to MSN spaces, MSN Messenger or embed it on your website or as a gadget on the ruling Dutch social network site hyves.

I haven't been able to see the full potential of Why Robbie Rocks, so tell us, why should we sign up?

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Armani drops more than a stitch


On august 9 I wrote this:



Next stop on the mediterranean tour is the rumours of Armani coming to SL, supposedly at this island. If it's true, they will have to compete with several 'impostors' as there are many Armani, Emporio and other related groups and shops in Second Life.

Well, my guess was right. Armani has immersed at that location a little while back. This time I went to see what it looked like. The Armani venue is based upon it's Milanese main store on the Via Manzoni. The build looks solid, yet somewhat empty. It's only the Armani store, no further context. Even the subway entrance is there, but that's about it. Underneath no spectacular fashion show, just a big black hole.





Upon entering the store my line of sight was sometimes a bit blocked by various columns and walls. Even though the store seems quite large and well build, I'm under the impression that the scale is a bit off for a virtual world, perhaps a tad larger than the real life venue, but too small for this virtual world.





Now this is nitpicking of course. Every bit of criticism would have been out of the question when you could come to Armani in Second Life and buy top of the bill clothing. In the Real World, Armani is a wanna have commodity. In virtual world, clothing is considered to be a valuable commodity as well. Armani would probably have made it to the top of the traffic lists when it had opened up shop in Second Life instead of show. Buying exclusive Armani clothing to dress up your avatar would have worked. No other real life commodity has as much value in a virtual world than clothing.



SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/ARMANI%20via%20Manzoni/128/128/0



NB: Allesandro Manzoni was a Milanese poet and author of several tragedies.

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virtual Girlpower



One of the most targeted audiences for Virtual World and general online advertising has become the teen and tween girlscene. In the wake of tv-programmes like (America's) Next Topmodel and various makeover series this group has an appetite for fashion and beauty.





doll 2.0


By the end of october Red Chocolate will come with doll 2.0 which will have to put this Dutch startup ahead of compeition. Doll 2.0 has been developed with the watAgame software. This Danish enterprise is also responsible for girlcommunity goSupermodel, and recently received an additional 3,000,000 euro in funding. goSupermodel now has about 1,5 million unique visitors worldwide.




Girlz'own City


Another Dutch girlpower developer is CiC Mercurius which teamed up with Mindscape. Last june saw the beta release of Girlz'own City. Mindscape backs up the technical aspects and CiC Mercurius powers the look & feel from a marketing point of view.



Girl Classics


Other specialised Girly sites are Cartoon Doll Emporium, Stardoll, Girlsense and Barbiegirls.
Another Dutch site dealing with fashion and dressing up is Why Robbie Rocks which brings a beauty shop and an ELLE-girl special mashup.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Apple Inside?

Second Life is a place where looks matter, maybe even more so than it Real Life itself. Thousands of residents spend lots of money on looking good. Money is spent on clothes, housing and cars. Lifestyle icons are important to the general Second Lifer.

And when looks and lifestyle get more important than functionality and usability, Apple shouldn't be far away. And it isn't... is it?
Well, there's an applestore in the SL search. And it brings genuine Apple replica's for absolute rockbottom prices. gPhone L$ 50, gPod L$ 20 and gMac L$ 500. Note the "g" as it isn't an official Apple outlet, but a "Grape"

Which in my opinion is a missed chance. Is it worth going into Second Life? For a lot of companies probably not. But it would have been for Apple. Second Life is about lifestyle, but even more so, it's userbase is largely an applecrowd; Creatives, Bloggers, Designers and Geeks.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Passion 4 Fashion

Don't worry, I won't start blogging Fashion in Second Life... There's a ton of good, bad and ugly blogs about fashion in Second Life.


..unless it has some RL impact of course. Summertime now, time for some mediterranean moods while I drink a nice chilled Sangria it's time to head back to Bershka for some snapshots of the finished build of this Spanish house of Fasion.






Next stop on the mediterranean tour is the rumours of Armani coming to SL, supposedly at this island. If it's true, they will have to compete with several 'impostors' as there are many Armani, Emporio and other related groups and shops in Second Life.
According to KZero this rumour seems to be part of a bigger strategy:
"The SL launch is being tied into a wider strategy to implement e-commerce solutions across the Armani brand range."










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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Playboy

Last month I wrote on Playboy entering Second Life, well, earlier this week they opened up with a big party -which of course was a USA timezone thingy, too late for me to stay up.

So I probably missed out on a few lightly clad party-animals, cyberchampaign and some music. No big fuzz then. I popped in for a peek to see how the build was done -though Nic warned me:

"This may not be a venue you would perhaps want to visit from work - it’s got a mature rating and most people there do seem to be wearing very little. Of course, you could always convince your boss (or IT department) that visiting the virtual Playboy mansion is in fact a research exercise into leveraging real world media into virtual worlds. Let me know how that goes."

It became PG rated somehow, Partner Guided that is, as I was having coffee with Mrs. Vee.

The Playboy sim is hard to miss on the map, it's logo stands out very clear and the design of the sim is very handsomely build around the trademark bunny. It's probably no surprise the general look and feel are on the sunny side of life, there's a high beach and coconut tree per square inch ratio. Being there from a business point of few I politely turned down "my Happy Meal" who asked me to dance.

The first thing that got me excited had absolutely nothing to do with Playboys' core business, but with simple communication. This is absolutely one of the very few business sims that has an Event Calender! How hard can it be ;)

The pic on the left is something that would please a colleague of mine, who's been immersed in There.com for several years and showed me several mood-pictures from his favorite places, they always had similar signs. On the right is The Cherries, the club "to enjoy formal elegance in an informal setting." Throughout the sim there's music, not only on the audio stream, but interactive music as well, like this harp. Later we'll get to Drum Mountain and inside the store I also saw a piano.

The Playboy Store

The sim's main event is the Playboy Store, which basically has a platform for clothing and apparel (left) and a hovering platform for Playboy movies and mags. (right)

The Sunny side of life

On the sunny side of life there's the Reed Resort, a Tiki shack with a sculpted bunny hostess and free raft rides" The pic on the right shows me doing a modelling pose, one of the many spread throughout the sim.


Then There's Drum Mountain with all sorts of drums and the Grotto, a lush secluded pool paradise for Hugh's private pool delights.

There are a few more elements on the sim, but I'll leave it up to you to explore. I'm a little pressed for time, so this time I'll skip the surfboards.

A short wrap up; unlike Nic's statement the visitors were quite decently clad (must be since I visited during US office hours) and the overall build is well designed and done. On a few occasions I saw prim jitter and cornerpieces that were slightly off. The most positive thing is that it's varied and has an event calendar.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Playboy/128/128/0

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fashion gets Spanish Spice

Fashion has been one of Second Life's hot commodities since the early days. Many residents leaped to the challenge of creating virtual clothing and the number of stores is astonishing. Everybody in Second Life needs clothing, even more so than bling bling apparati or cars.


Yet very few Fashion houses have come to Second Life. Adidas and Reebok have a presence, and Calvin Klein, but that's about it as far as it goes to official presence (and not imitation). Spanish fashion house Bershka is going to add another big RL fashion brand to that shortlist.

"For us, bringing Bershka to SL (for whom we've been long developing design and web projects) is specially interesting. Bershka is an important brand on fashion industry (400 shops in 28 countries) who consider Mosi-Mosi their preferred new media partner.Bershka will offer a complete subset of their real life clothing items every season with their woman, man, jeans and Bsk sections. The entire island will also be updated every season to keep up with the collection main theme. We will also have regular parties and events for the SL community in an effort to offer a good place for them and us to meet and discover each other." says Daniel Aguilar of the Spanish interactive agency Mosi-Mosi, located in Barcelona, also responsible for some work on the Swedish Embassy in Second Life (next to Electric Sheep Company) and is most known for its SLOOG product.

The build is still in production stage right now, and next week will see a wrap up. A few days later will see an official opening event, mainly targeted at the press. I'll be looking forward to seeing the complete build.

Some pics on the work in progress can be found in this Flickr set.
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Bershka/128/128/0

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