Friday, May 01, 2009

Oriental Dispatch: Blue Mars, Synthe

Hello from ak Yip. At this time, I introduce two consumer-generated-worlds in Japan.

Blue Mars
Blue Mars is a beautiful world which uses CryEngine2 to render. Users can generate contents. Especially game-related contents.
Beta test will start at June. After that, Blue Mars will launch at September officially.

You can subscribe about latest Blue Mars news here.

via 「Blue Mars」国内開発者向け説明会を開催,βテストは6月から

Today new world "Synthe"'s website has launched.
"Synthe" has many interesting features.

1)Built-in avatar design tool.
"FBX" fromat(I don't know about this) is supported and it seems to be possible to import 3D models.

Script engine called "KIRIKIRI" is supported. With this, users can create games easily.

3)"KERO" currency.
"Synthe" has own currency called "KERO". Users can earn "KERO" by selling items. "KERO" seems to be possible to exchange to real currency.

via ホビーストック,汎用スクリプト吉里吉里を内蔵したメタバース「Synthe(シンセ)」のサービスを発表。プレオープンサイトが本日オープン

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

3Di OpenViewer 1.0 beta

found a movie about 3Di OpenViewer 1.0 beta on youtube.

"3Di OpenViewer" runs on IE as activeX compnents and enables you to view SecondLife or OpenSIM on web browser. I find "chat", "sit", "touch" commands on the right side of the viewer.

One interesting thing is avatar control. You know, in second life we move avatars by keyboards, but on 3Di OpenViewer you can move your avatar by mouse. I guess it's helpful especially for beginners.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Oriental Dispatch:CYBER TOKKU(Cyber District)

MIC, The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, has announced to start "CYBER-TOKKU" (which means "CYBER DISTRICT"). 

This virtual space will be operated in a closed community with a real User's name, and will experiment things, for example, the impact & circumstances on freeing a copyright.

MIC is accepting a research topics for "CYBER-TOKKU".

1. Merging virtual net space and reality.
2. Communication of secret and Personal information.
3. Contents distribution.
4. IT use for public services field.

Research topics that are related to these are wanted. MIC is accepting Research topics until March 6.These results of experiments will be used for future law making and maintenances.

I don't know "CYBER-TOKKU" will be similar to "CRD - China Recreation District" or not. But I am carefully watching about what "CYBER-TOKKU" will be.

via Cnet Japan

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Second Life Viewer on Playstation3

Takeshich Nakamura succeeded in compiling a Second Life viewer and ran it on Playstation3 (with ubuntu7.10 linux).

It works, but the performance isn't too good yet (about 0.4 fps).If you have any ideas to remove bottlenecks here, please let him know.Thanks.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Oriental Dispatch : Sony's Blue Stadium

Sony Marketing has launched "Blue Stadium" which aims to support Japan national football team.

Fans can sign up freely, upload their pictures of their faces and create avatars. After that, they can make their own teams and fight each other.

It's just a simple flash-based game(see video below), but it looks like fun.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Brain Stories

The human brain may well be the next frontier. I bookmarked several interesting stories about the brain, so put them down here:)

Recent amazing story is "Japanese scientists develop tech to read images directly from your brain". I hope not to use this kind of technology for army or spy...

I guess many know about this story, but write it here because it's interesting. The Biomedical Engineering Laboratory at Keio University is trying to move an avatar in second life by only thinking which way to go.

-NIA(Neural Impulse Actuator)
NIA is a mouse which is controlled with your brainwaves. Recently I bought it and tryed. was difficult to use. How can I control my own brainwaves?

IBM aims to replicate the brain with cognitive computing project is another-brain-releated-story.
"IBM Research and five universities have teamed up to creative “cognitive computing” systems that can simulate the brain’s ability to sense".
Finally I made a group called "brainwave" in Flickr. If you have any interesting brainwave-related-photos, please post to the group. I'm interested in how these kind of technology will change our life.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

BidSL is now on e-Bay

BidSL is an auction service in Second Life(tech crunch covered it before).

Now BidSL is on e-bay. Current bid is US $360.00. I tryed to get more information about it and found a post on XStreetSL("Looking for someone to take over BidSL"). It said below.

Unfortunately, current first life job and family commitments have made it very difficult for my wife and I to get inworld as much as we need to for the running of the BidSL auction service.
Auction's end time is Dec-07-08 14:49:32 PST. I'm interested in how much does bid go.

By the way, auction called "3D auction" was held in Second Life for Japanese. Unlike BidSL, it offered real-time auctions. To my joy, I was there as bidder and got i-Shade, 3D software package, by auction(with auction HUD). It was an exciting experience as if i was in kinda Sotheby's auctionhouse.

Unfortunately, 3D auction has never been held since spring 2008. I don't know why but I think real time auction in virtual world is one of killer contents. Cause everyone can gather, bid and have exciting time.

Bidding has ended for BidSL. Winning Bid was US $416.00.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meltingdots starts Weblin-based-services

Meltingdots, a Tokyo based company which specialize in virtual worlds, has supported many companies to get a Second Life presence (for example, Suruga Bank which we blogged June 2007 at MindBlizzard).

Recently they partnered with Weblin, one of the web based avatar chats, and started to offer several interesting services using Weblin. Recently they have live-streamed a video of a concert. Fans who couldn't attend the concert joined together at a website as Weblin avatars and enjoy chatting with other fans while viewing the streaming-video.

I asked Hiroshi Asaeda, CEO of Meltingdots, about Weblin and the future of Second Life.

Q:Now you're focusing in Weblin. What's the advantage of Weblin?

Easier to join, on a web browser. As we were working on Second Life, I noticed the most important part for SL wasn't 3D, but real time communication. SL still has a huge barrier to join, and I thought Weblin was one solution which could bring in more normal people (meaning computer users who are not geeks) to experience online communication. Using Weblin is just like using Skype, and is easy to download for these people. Also, Japan has a culture of not wanting to show their real identities, and prefers to use avatars. As long as people aren't desperate to use cool 3D designed offices, I thought it was good enough to communicate using a web browser.

How was the Weblin + live streaming?

The Weblin live streaming with Denpa worked out pretty well. Even though it was a daytime real club event, the people who lived away from Tokyo attended the virtual live.
Although we had some trouble in the live streaming itself, we thought there are huge opportunities to do events with Weblin.

What do you predict about Second Life or other virtual worlds in 2009?

Meltingdots still thinks Second Life to be one of the most innovative social services in the world. No one is coming even close to them, but I think they need a visionary so the users will keep believing them. What we first need to do before using Second Life is to have more people get used to using avatars as themselves. Weblin is a good way to start out, and when the users get bored with the flat interface of the 2D web, that's when the 3D virtual world business begins. We will continue SL until this day comes.

Disclosure:Meltingdots is the sponsor of Avatar Watch, which is my main blog.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sun goes bankrupt.

Sun inc, one of the leading companies focusing Second Life business in Japan goes bankrupt.

On Nov 16, Sun's CEO Okui was arrested for helping a lawyer go abroad. The lawyer, who seems to be the owner of Sun inc actually, was evading tax. Then a notice about bankrupcy was posted on Sun's website on Nov 21, stating Sun's negative networth is at least US$5 million.

Sun had released Second Life viewer for PC and mobile(Sun Inc Second Life Browser Viewer (Beta)), and was trying to built e-commerce platform called "Tokyo Zero" in Second Life(it enables users to buy real bags, clothing by Linden Dollars).

Sun's got funding from Acrodea(mobile solution provider), Hakuhodo DIY Mediapartners(agency), Fullcast Markting and Ngi(venture capital which is also the owner of 3Di inc).

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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.

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.

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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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oriental Dispatch: Nurien, MiniLife, Kloseup, Zeb

I can't read Korean, but did find many interesting services in Korea.

Nurien uses CryEngine (you may know Entropia and BlueMars use it) and offers a superreal virtual world. (See video below!). Members have their own profile page, enjoy chatting and games like a quiz show or a dance compettion.

Nurien plans to launch in China, Hong Kong this year. and do a USA release next year.

Mini Life
Cyworld, Korea's leading Social Networking Service which has 22 million members(!) in Korea, has launched a new 3D world called Mini Life in June.

kloseup is a online machinima making service. Select scenes, animations, and create movies. Adding that, you can upload google sketchup files.

I don't have much information about ZEB. I tried to visit the website again, but no response. The service is continuing?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oriental Dispatch: Splume, Meet-Me, Vizimo

In this second post in the Oriental Dispatch series, I'll introduce some more Japanese 3D virtual worlds.


Splume is a 3D virtual world which has some interesting features.

  1. Splume is based on VRML. If you have some experience of making VRML, you can create your own rooms easily.
  2. Splume is offering Widget. You can put your 3D world to your blog or website.
  3. Splume is offering not only 3D virtual worlds but also SNS. You know, it's not easy to find interesting peolple in 3D virtual world. SNS is a good way to solve this kind of problem.


Meet-me is a virtual world offering a replica of Tokyo. Users can edit their avatars, move around virtual Tokyo, enjoy chatting and get coins by playing games. It's possible to exchange coins to "Amazon Gift Ticket" which can be used at

TOYOTA, a giant car maker, has a place called METAPOLIS in Meet-me. It has been promoting their cars. Recently younger generations in Japan seem to loose interest in cars. TOYOTA wants to attract youths by promotions in Meet-me.


At Vizimo, you can easily create 3D games such as Maze, a fishing game or 3D hockey. One of Vizimo's advatages is supporting physics.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sun Inc Second Life Browser Viewer (Beta)

Another Japanese company which has comitted itself to virtual worlds is Sun Inc. They have released a first second life viewer for mobilephone since the end of 2007 (which is similar to vollee) and one for PC in June this year. You know, there are some second life viewers on web browser(Ajax Life is a famous one), but with this vieuwer you can log in to second life with streaming images.

Unfortunately, this java-based viewer is written in Japanese, so let me introduce. At first, visit the website and click the yellow button to launch the viewer.

Put your first name, last name, password into fields then click the button next to the fields(buttons are "login", "clear" from left). At this time, the viewer only supports HTTP connection. So I recommend you to use your ALT account for your security.

After logging in, you can find text field to chat and "say" button next to the field. 4 buttons below are "Close","Map","Search" and "Logout". Use the cursor key to move around, page up key to fly. You can't control your camera position.

OK? So let me teleport to rezzable. Click "search" button and put "rezzable" into field. Then double clicking on "Greenies Home Rezzable" from the result will let you go to the SIM.

Right/left click is enabled. This means that you can touch objects, show the pie menu and show edit dialog. Touching key "i" will let you show your inventory.

It's amazing that you can use second life with real time rendering within a webbrowser if you only have low spec PC.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oriental Dispatch: ai sp@ce, iA, ARis

Konnichiwa(hello!). I picked up some interesting services in Japan.

ai sp@ce

Dwango, a game developer for mobilephones, has launched this week. "ai sp@ce" is a virtual world. It's kinda lobby for game lovers. You can't create buidings or clothings in this world, but create game-scenarios and can sell them. Quite interesting.


Sega, a famous videogame developer, is testing an avatar service called "iA(Internet Adventure)".

It's similar to weblin or RocketOn, but at iA, avatars appears on your desktop(like wallpaper). When you change URL of your web-broser, the place in iA will change automatically. I mean each URL has its own place.

iA is still in closed beta.


Last one is not a virtual-world-thing. But I guess many readers will have an interest in it.

"ARis" is kind of a virtual pet using Augumented Reality. A small girl appears on PC via web camera. You can poke her with sticks or give clothes.

Its price is 9800 yen(US$9.8 US$98.00). A little bit expensive?

UPDATE: Sorry, i made a mistake at the price of ARis. Thanks to shiela-san for letting me know that.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Q&A about 3Di OpenSIM standard

Recently 3Di launched "3Di OpenSIM standard", first enterprise solution for OpenSIM(3Di moves OpenSIM into Enterprise mode). I know many people are interested in it, but feel frustrated because their website is only written in Japanese.

I sent some questions to 3Di, which they kindly answered. Here's a few that may help you out too.

Q:When can I read your website in English?
A:We are planning to release it at the end of Octorber. But it will be just a summary.

Q:Can foreign users try your product now?
A:Unfortunately, we don't have no demo software. But if you want, you can try our trial sim.

Q;What kind of usages do your customers want with your product? Educational purpose or enterprise one?
A:We have many kind of customers. Especialy, many real-estate developers are interested in our products. Because our next version will support 3D-CAD(Autodesk etc) data import feature.

Q;Any messages for readers?
A:Currently, we are developing 3Di OpenViewer. This works in-broser viewer using ActiveX technology on Microsoft Internet Explorer like Adobe Flash. Especially, for many people who aren't used to control 3D, it will be more easier to access virtual world.

Also, they said that 3Di will welcome to partnership for their products.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Daletto World

Hello! I'm ak.

First, I'd like to thank to MindBlizzard for inviting me. I'm glad to write about Services, Developers and Trends about Virtual Worlds here in Japan (in Korea and China, maybe).

There are a number of virtual world services which have started here in Japan. One interesting trend is that Video Game Developers are trying to create their own worlds. XBOX live has been getting more social and SONY is testing HOME. Therefore it might be quite natural that others are following. One example is CAPCOM. CAPCOM is a video game developer and famous for "Residents Evil"/"Rockman".

Capcom Co., Ltd. is a leading Japanese international developer and publisher of video games headquartered in Osaka, Japan. It was founded in 1979 as Japan Capsule Computers, a company devoted to the manufacturing and distribution of electronic game machines.

Over the years, Capcom has created some of the biggest and longest running franchises in video gaming history. The company released their first arcade game in 1984: Vulgus. Their early games were mostly arcade games such as the scrolling shooter 1942. [Wikipedia]

One of their latest projects is the launch of "Daletto World". "Daletto World" is a browser based world using ActiveX components. You can walk around the world, enjoy chatting, but can't change position/angle of camera, can't create something like buildings or clothing.

Several real stores put their virtual stores on "Dalette World". "BEAMS", a popular clothing store in the real world has their own store selling shirts/pants for avatars.

TSUTAYA, a chain of DVD rental stores, has their virtual store, too. At the store, you can search DVDs and make a purchase.

I'm a little bit disappointed because there's no Residents Evil or Rockman in "Daletto World". CAPCOM seems to attract non-game-users via their own world.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Introducing ak Yip as MindBlizzard reporter Japan

Time and again I have been frustrated by the fact that I just can't make head or tale from Japanese sites. In the past year and a half many Japanese firms have established a presence in Second Life and set up supporting websites. I have had a hard time figuring out what the companies were about and which message they were conveying in Second Life. Besides Second Life, there is a whole lot going on in the Asian World when it comes to Virtual Worlds, of which only occasionally a name, a new startup comes through to the English speaking world.

Therefor I'm very pleased to welcome ak Yip as a guest author to the MindBlizzard blog. ak Yip has helped me out in the past quite a few times in providing details on Japanese firms and he has agreed to blog the Japanese Metaverse at MindBlizzard.

His main blog is AvatarWatch - which I can't read again as it is in Japanese. You can also find ak Yip blogging at 100 Innovations in Second Life and Metaverse Mashup

ak, I hope you'll enjoy blogging for MinBlizzard from Japan, as I'm sure we'll enjoy exploring the Virtual Realms from the land of the Rising Sun.



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