Saturday, January 26, 2008

(Educational) Self City on Teen Grid

Dutch MDC [Lost in the] Magic Forest finished developing an island on the Second Life Teen Grid for the Waag Society a little while ago. As I don't have TG clearance it took some time before I picked up this story.

The Waag Society is an organisation which started in 1994 as 'Society for old and new Media', de Waag'. Founders were Caroline Nevejan and Marleen Stikker, who is still Waag Society's director. Before, Stikker was the mayor of the Digital City, the first internet community in the Netherlands.

The Society's -soon to be called 'Waag Society'- mission was to make new media available for groups of people that have little access to computers and internet, thus increasing their quality of living. After a complete restauration of the Waag building, a small group of enthousiastic idealists began their activities in 1996.

The island in Second Life (TG) is called Self City and is an educational project to experiment with new teaching methods for pupils with special needs in the age of 12-14. It is about students which cannot function properly in a normal classroom, often through social emotional or light mental handicaps.




Dobre VanBrugh from Lost in the Magic Forest says:

"We developed a complete city on the island with a movietheatre, (fake)gambling hall, basketballcourt and a Heads Up Display (HUD) to assist the pupils in their interaction (see screenshots). The scientific findings of the new teaching method in Second Life have been gathered in this report (Dutch only): Research Report Self City"

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

1st Metaverse Meetup - Amsterdam

At exactly 0.00 I returned from Amsterdam where I attended the first Metaverse Meetup (Amsterdam Edition) in "De Balie" which was initiated by Joja Dhara and Ze Moo.


As this was a first meetup, apropriately themed "Meet the Avatar", the most timeconsuming event was the introduction round, but on the other hand it was nice to know who was who. We saw representatives from several MDC's such as Jeroen Frans, Executive Director of the Vesuvius Group (the guys that brought us Google in SL), Damian Simmons of Lost in the Magic Forest (Content, Essent, Aegon) and Up the Vortex (blog), and on the corporate present there was 'moi' for Sogeti, and people from ING (Our Virtual Holland), KPN and Philips Design, researchers from EPN, bloggers like Roy Cassini from Digado and excellent freelancers such as Ollie Kubrick from Unreal Design.


And off course, Bart DutchX, Founder of the Dutch Echange was present. I seem to run into him at about every metaverse related event these days. The Linden Lab banking ban doesn't seem to affect his business, as it is still expanding and they're hiring new people and adding new payment methods continuously.


As it was the first meetup I won't do an assesment of the contents of the meetup, as it was primarily a networking event tonight. I hope we'll get to discuss hot metaversal topics in the future.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Massive lay offs and the future of NVE's

Today Massively made it into my RSS feed. There's really a couple of cool Second Life residents blogging over there now. This time it's Moo Money that brings up some juicy gossip from Second Life as she writes on the ESCapists:

In a shocking blog entry today, Jeremy Flagstaff noted that the Electric Sheep Company has laid off approximately one-third of their staff, or about 22 people. It has been previously noted that ESC had to cut back on the number of islands for CSI: NY, and now both AOL Pointe and Pontiac are pulling out of Second Life. This news should come as no surprise, but it's still heartbreaking to hear that it
happened so close to Christmas.

While it is not known at this time exactly why the layoffs occurred, Jeremy speculates that they will be focusing on technology like OnRez. Joel Greenberg, whose job status is unknown at this time, announced on Twitter that ESC is shutting down their virtual ad network project. In a prophetic blog entry written last week by Rez Menoptra, he speculated on how long builds will last in virtual worlds and who will remember them.

Massively will update you with the latest news on this topic as we hear it. Stay tuned!

Most of these people we will never know, but we've seen Jeremy himself move away from the Sheep earlier this year as well as Jerry Paffendorf. Is the negative trend for Second Life we've seen in Europe now crossing to the US as well? Are we close to a dotcom-burst in the virtual world industry? I don't think so.

In november I quickly mentioned AOL's departure from Second Life, now Pontiac is joining the list of departing companies. How should we read these signs: Is it true that Second Life has proved itself unfit for business? In the case of Pontiac / Motorati I think it surely didn't.

The thing I keep saying to our clients is this: Right now Second Life is the ideal platform to experiment. It is open, and it's present, which means you can start up exploring the metaverse at relatively low cost. Try to get a feel for the technology, explore opportunities, chase ideas. Second Life makes this possible because it's free to sign up and you can put in almost any kind of data. Second Life is as open as the gates of heaven to whom believes. The feeling I get now is that most of the departing companies are not going out of business, they're moving. It's just as much tribal migration that we see in social networking sites. You explore, then find a site that better suits your needs. A lot of these companies gained experience from Second Life and are now preparing for dedicated themed worlds, based upon enterprise technology on platforms like There.com

It is a moving business we're in. The past year has seen an extreme usergrowth in Second Life, and an enormous commercial / PR drive for companies to enter virtual worlds. Now it's time to check the balance. All in all, as I wrote in my previous blogpost on the Millions of Us venue for Splenda; "It's Dozens of Them" meaning right now it's just too much of the same. We're creating presence for companies. There's an occasional immersion that goes beyond simple presence and really adds something to the industry.

Millions of Us, Lost in the Magic Forest, Electric Sheep Company, Virtual Italian Parks, and many many other MDC's have mastered the skill of building in Second Life. What they haven't got is the skill of Business Analysis.

It will take skilled consultants to translate core business to virtual representations. It will take experience and time for us to be able to build virtual venues that are fit for business and will form an extention to our daily operations. 2007 has been a year in which Second Life and virtual worlds have been a toy for marketing and communication departments, 2008 will probably see NVE's as a playhouse for IT departments and 2009 will probably be the year in which the NVE potential really sinks in, the time when the Business takes over and will use it as a medium for its core processes.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Walking in a winter wonder land

In a time when global warming and major climate changes are the talk of the town, Dutch insurance company Aegon (one of the biggest insurance companies in the world) comes with a good old Dutch winterscene. The island is dominated by the flat fields of the Netherlands with frozen streams.

The scenerty reminded me of the legendary 'Eleven City Tour' a 200 Km long skate tour which was last held in 1997 (it's been so long since then we have had enough ice). Due to the requirement that along the route the ice needs a minimum thickness of 15 cm. it's only been held 15 times since 1909. When it's on though, it's a national holiday.


The second picture reminds me of the Bridge of Bartlehiem (a tiny village a.k.a. Bethlehem in Frisia, which the tour passes two times en route to Dokkum and back to the finish at Leeuwarden).




It's almost impossible to have a guaranteed thickness of 15 cm. everywhere on the track, and especially under the bridges the ice grows slowly. To safeguard the over 15.000 skaters that usually participate there are occasional 'kluning points' where skaters have to pass a bridge on the road. These parts are usually carpeted so the skating irons don't get blunt.

But alas, that's ancient history now. Let's concentrate on speedskating. And so does Aegon, who's been sponsoring a Dutch speedskating team for ages. The center of the sim contains a mega iceblock which holds the Aegon logo. On top of it, there's a speedskating ring.



At the side of the ring you'll find this seasons speedskating calender and you can buy (~!@#$%^) skates for L$ 900 and try it out. Get outta here, I like freebies!

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

Last but not least, a new Dutch company has arrived in Second Life, this time the USP XS4All, though they're not open for business yet. (SLURL)

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

R3 makes same mistake twice

Early april I went to a seminar on Second Life in the Netherlands. Today I missed out on the next big thing in the Netherlands, the Second Life seminar organised by Euroform.

Fortunately I received some good updates while I was working hard on a RL thing for a change.

It seems I haven't missed too much as there were several speakers present who were also present at the april session (like the University of Amsterdam and Dutch Stock Exchange) and the guys from Lost in the Magic Forrest were again. I've probably missed out on a few interesting stories from speakers from Adformatie, Ymerce and Essent.

The one thing remarkable is that for the second time in a row, Justin Bovington, CEO of Rivers Run Red failed to appear. There have been many people wanting to hear him, and paying a lot of money to do say, who didn't leave satisfied today. These sort of misfires spread quicly in the SL community making several large Dutch companies switching to local content developers.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

ABN AMRO Young Professional Launch

Earlier this week I blogged on the upcoming ABN AMRO YP launch. Well, today's the day.
In short, the opening event is a simulcast with DJ Jesse Voorn (Jesse Bourne) performing life in the Panama Club in Amsterdam and in Second Life. It's also a Dance4Life party. I won't go into details on the background much since I've blogged that here.
Anyway, the sim's open now and here are some pics. I see I need to mention a bit of background still to explain it. The sim is intended for Young Professionals. The idea behind the build is a relaxed mediterranean village with harbor, a place where Young Professionals would like to hang out.


The sim's core is a mediterranean village with some nice houses, a harbor and several meeting points like bars, pools and conference center. According to the Dutch Lost in the Magic Forest the build had to be realised in just one week. All buildings are custom made meeting the quality standards whe'd expect from LitMF (both architecturally and texturally speaking), though a number of props like yaughts and furniture were bought.
One of the sims fun things is the Mocassin 1200 Jetski ride (okay, here's a pic from me without the usual business suit). It's strong engine propelled me rapidly forward, causing me to bump into several yaughts and even launched me onto the dance site knocking over a few early dancers.

The Dutch partyscene raced out to be there (many Dutch SL club owners were present as well), and I must say, the party was well organised and every possible dance was prepped, I even saw the "feet of flame". Some minor glitches, such as partybubbles that were causing some lag were quickly disabled before the real event started. Truth be told, it remained quite laggy at times causing a hard time for the streaming media to render properly, but the crowd liked it.

Finally the audio stream was disabled and both image and sound were streamed through the movie, but the soundquality was less than that of the audio stream. All in all I must say the load of the dancefloor, dancers, the sim and the streaming media was too heavy. Sound fell away quite often and it was hard to get a decent snapshout without the stream being blocky.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

ABN AMRO Dances 4 Life

Friday the 8th wil see the launch of a new ABN AMRO venture in Second Life; the Young Professional Island. The opening will be supported by DJ Jesse Voorn, ambassador to Dance4Life with a simulcast or cross-reality concert from the Panama Club in Amsterdam .

In this coop ABN and Dance4Life are opening an island for people at the start of their careers. It will be a place to meet, socialize and relax. The Dutch bankers will organise several events for the community. The island is one of the new builds from the Dutch Lost in the Magic Forest and the Dance4Live club on the island is build by ABN AMRO themselves.
According to Lost in the Magic Forrerst the build is not complete yet, but will be further developed in coop with the YP community.
DJ Jesse Voorn will perform between 00.00 and 01.00 (CET) in both Club Panama as well as Second Life. Jesse is no stranger to Second Life, as he has done a rather succesfull gig earlier this year.
Dance4Life is an international organisation which gets young people together in the fight against hiv and aids. Dance is the international language that binds young people all over the world. Dancing is combined with television programmes, media campaigns and fundraising to benefit projects in areas that suffer strongly under the presence of hiv and aids.
ABN Amro is one of the sponsors of Dance4Life

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

SL takeover

Today the Design Corp Brain Gaime (with clients like BNN) has been taken over by Lost in the Magic Forrest due to rising demand in design expertise. The Magic Forresters have been working hard on succesful immersions like Nextstrategy, Essent, Talpa and Content.

Dobre vanBrugh, CEO of [Lost in the] Magic Forest explains that they want to guarantee maximum creativity for their clients, which makes Brain Game a logical choice in their strategy to become one of Europe's leading virtual branding agancy and cross-reality campaigners

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Content at Second Life

Here's the latest news on Dutch corps coming to SL. Finally I get the chance to publish the pictures I took two months ago in a sneak preview...

And yay.. it's another Lost in the Magic Forest production.
Rotterdam, 26 April 2007 - Dutch employment agency Content goes Second Life. Dutch employment agency Content, one of the biggest in Europe, opened an island in Second Life. Content sees Second Life as an important platform for dialogue and crowdsourcing. Furthermore, Content will offer both real jobs as well as Second Life jobs on the island. Virtual branding agency [Lost in the] Magic Forest was responsible for the design, working closely together with internet agency Evident.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Paul Verhoeven exclusive

Triggered by the audition series I blogged about yesterday, I went in and had a quick look. Various virtual actors and actresses came by to perform a scene from the movie. After the first night of the auditions I had an exclusive interview with Paul Verhoeven, one of Hollywoods great directors.

VeeJay: Very kind of you to drop in at our island and take the time to answer some questions
Paul Verhoeven: : No problem, that’s the great thing about this environment. You can take time for a conversation and it doesn’t cost you too much trouble
VeeJay: This SL gig is about promoting your movie Blackbook?
Paul Verhoeven: : yes, it is
VeeJay: Don't you think using the Drop Zone will make it an exclusively Dutch event? How about promoting the movie in other countries?
Paul Verhoeven: : We wanted to do something creative to draw attention to the DVD release
VeeJay: only for the Netherlands?
Paul Verhoeven: : this is only for the dutch DVD release
Paul Verhoeven: : we didn't want it to get too big, because we didn't know if it would work yet
VeeJay: Did you enjoy your first virtual auditions?
Paul Verhoeven: : yes, I think it went quite well
Paul Verhoeven: : more people showed up for the first evening than I had imagined
VeeJay: and how about the quality of acting? considering of course, we are limited still in our movements in SL
Paul Verhoeven: : some people take it very serious. It surprised me a bit
VeeJay: more seriously than you yourself?
Paul Verhoeven: : When you visit a SL party, you get the idea everyone is more or less making a fool of themselves
VeeJay: sounds you're experienced
Paul Verhoeven: : I walked around for a while before we tried this
Paul Verhoeven: : With another avatar of course
VeeJay: I can imagine
VeeJay: With movies Like Total Recall and Robocop, you’ve probably got a long record with computer animation. What makes Second Life different?
Paul Verhoeven: : Well, I don't see any Hollywood films appearing from SL anytime soon
Paul Verhoeven: : It's the easy acces and streaming technology that's interesting
Paul Verhoeven: : consider doing auditions like this in a real-world promotion
Paul Verhoeven: : it would be very expensive and timeconsuming
VeeJay: I can imagine, perhaps the same will count for making first draft versions of movie sets?
Paul Verhoeven: : yes, that might be useful too
VeeJay: have you got any plans to use Second Life more often for promotions and auditions like this?
Paul Verhoeven: : that hasn't been decided yet
Paul Verhoeven: : this is sort of a pilot
Paul Verhoeven: : if it's succesful, perhaps we'll do more
VeeJay: okay, one last for the sake of the community, did you like working with the guys from Lost in the Magic Forest? I know Dobre has got some movie experience. Did it show in their professionalism?
Paul Verhoeven: : yes, they worked very hard to get this event finished in time
Paul Verhoeven: : And I'm very pleased with the results
VeeJay: Thank you for your time, and I wish you good luck for the remainder of the auditions and the release of Zwartbook
Paul Verhoeven: : thank you
Paul Verhoeven: : I hope the next few days will be as interesting as today
Paul Verhoeven: : Ad I think the auditions will only get better
VeeJay: we'll see. I'll keep an eye at the DropZone traffic rates ;)

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Virtual Auditions at Talpa Drop Zone

Despite a major buzz about being taken over by RTL media, Talpa, or TV 10 or whatever, is setting up its next SL event.

"We are very proud to announce that starting from monday we will host Blackbook on our DropZone platform. More info coming soon. Please take a sneak preview of the commercial which we will air next week! Check our own info page on Tien.tv, see you at the DropZone!" [Talpa Drop Zone]

On april 26 the DVD Blackbook (Zwartboek), a new Paul Verhoeven movie will be released. Starting monday april 23rd a series of unique auditions will take place at the Drop zone. Director Paul Verhoeven will organise a virtual audition in which visitors can play a scene from the movie. The winners will be anounced in SL at Liberation day (May 5th)

The ultrashort IMDB description of the movie: "Set during the end of WWII, Black Book is the story of a Dutch Jewish girl who narrowly survives the war in Holland. She joins the resistance to find out who betrayed her family after all of them were killed in an attempt to reach the liberated south."

Oh, and by the way, it's another build by [lost in the] Magic Forest

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Van Gogh exposition

Even artlovers don't have to leave their pc's anymore if they want to go to the museum.
Raceman Dal took the initiative for a virtual van Gogh exposition; "Virtual Starry Night - Vincent van Gogh's Second Life"


The exposition is a great build, having three alternate routes; landscapes, portraits and stills.
The virtual paintings give info about the original and in which museum they can be found. Top attraction is the painting below, which is a virtual reproduction. Visitors can walk into this painting.
Second Life's an excellent medium for cultural expression, I can't wait to see a reproduction of Rembrand's famous Night Watch.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Luctesa/105/199/66

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

SLUC: Second Life Under Construction

A number of corporations have sims under contruction

Millions of US

These sims are not accesible yet, but at least Microsoft and Comcast look nearly completed.

Electric Sheep
  • Too many half finished sims makes you wonder if they can finish anything soon.

Rivers Run Red
Lost in the Magic Forest

SLionhead

  • According to the CEO they've recently started working on some major projects. I'' try and scoop them.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Rivers Run Red

Rivers Run Red was the world's first agency to establish a working presence within a virtual world. RRR has been active in Second Life since 2003. In meatspace the company has offices in London and San Fran.

Projects include Vodafone, Philips, ING, Reebok, Adidas, Calvin Klein (CKin2U), Heineken, BBC, Channel 4, Penguin, Duran Duran and Radio 538. It's surprising to see how many Dutch client the company has. Since 2007 the RRR faces serious competition with new native Dutch virtual builders such as [lost in the] Magic Forest, Damanicorp and SLionhead.

Aside from their corporate website RRR runs the Space Think Dream thingy as an extra outlet of their works.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Boer en Croon | Nextstrategy

Last week I was reminded about the Boer & Croon sim. I'd almost forgotten about it since it's been a few weeks since I visited it by invitation of Dobre VanBrugh from [Lost in the] Magic Forest. At that time the sim was in development, so I couldn't really post pics, but here they are:









SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/NeXt%20NL/131/123/40

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Dutch Design

Some of my foreign friends are getting tired of all those new Dutch companies entering SL. It appears that the Dutch are early adapters in Second Life. Right now the Netherlands is one of the most represented countries in this virtual world.

Where the earliest of entries for Dutch companies were crafted by overseas agencies like Rivers Run Red or the Electric Sheep Company, more and more businesses have discovered that we have a number of excellent builders in the Netherlands as well

The leading SL builders in the NL are [ Lost in the ] Magic Forest and Damanicorp. DMA is starting to gain momentum as producer of Streaming Media in SL.

[Lost in the] Magic Forest & DMA Studios


Damania by Damanicorp

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Second Life Seminar

Wednesday April 4th the Dutch Media Conference Center, Media Plaza, organised a seminar on Second Life, talking about doing your homework!

Indeed, wednesday, worldwide Second Life patch day!

Contents:

  • Presentatie door Dr. Frans Feldberg, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Presentatie Bart Bockhoudt, oprichter Dutch Exchange
  • Live streaming video in Second Life door Ivo Krupinski, DMAEen aantal locaties waar (live)streaming video in Second Life plaatsvindt passeren de revue. De DMA-Studio, muziekevenementen, zakelijke bijeenkomsten en een locatie waar onderwijs centraal staat.
  • Presentatie door Damien Simons, [Lost in the] Magic Forest
  • Presentatie door Gertjan Kaaij, Business innovation manager ING
Sogeti was well represented at this event with about 7 employees, leaving the poor lonesome junior of Cap Gemini wondring if he should have looked for a different employer.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Second Life ESSENTials

One of the most obvious things to do on Second Life is job recruitment. Be a hip company and show it by your SL Presence. No wonder agencies like Randstad are planning to go Virtual.

However, it is not the job agencies that are among the first to try this new medium for recruitment. In the Netherlands, one of the first is the energy company Essent.
Their sim was eventbased and designed for the Nationale Carrierebeurs in the Amsterdam Rai (9-10 march 2007) and built by [Lost in the] Magic Forest.

The event and SL presence were a success, they received quite a number of applicants through SL.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Time to add some Content

Today I received a sneak preview at the new sim of the Content Job Agency... Randstad is facing some serious competition. Another great sim being built by [Lost in the] Magic Forest.

When the sim goes public I'll put up some pics ;)

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Time to Drop In

Well, the Talpa launch (on February 9th) was an event! For the grand opening of the Talpa Dropzone sims a stage was set up where the band 16-down performed in SL -or not?

16-Down actually performed live on stage in Paradiso (Amsterdam) and the concert was live-streamed to SL and vice-versa. Visitors of the actual concert could watch the virtual crowd dance to the beat as well. The Talpa website names it a cross-reality concert.

The Dropzone, aptly named of course, since one really does drop in after a teleport, is created with the help of [Lost in the] Magic Forest.



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