Hello from the new Java Sprockets Coffee House on Puffin Head! I’m so pleased Linden Lab is going back and revisiting the older regions of Bellisseria. My favorite house is right next door to the Java Sprockets, so I am definitely thrilled by the new coffee house!
When I read about the passing of Ebbe Linden this week, I reflected on all of the past CEOs that Linden Lab has ever had, and he was the most engaging of all of them. A lot of cool projects happened under Ebbe, so I think that the grid will continue forward pretty much the same, as long as the executive team still believes in the same vision.
This is a post I’ve been waiting to write since last year. Last year, being a total Bellisseria enthusiast, I bid on two Relay for Life auctions and won them! I like that the Lab is so involved in Bellisseria and finding ways to engage the residents and hype up the interest. The auctions that I won are:
When it comes to music events in VRChat, its hardcore partygoers are happy as long as there’s good music and positive vibes. With only a few optimization hiccups, Slyfest provided such a space this weekend, with a 3-day roster and slick social presence to boot.
Slyfest is a virtual festival aimed at bringing IRL and virtual djs together. It isn’t the first venue to do this, but the ease of real djs announcing they were playing at an event in VRChat was impressive. Loner Online, a well-established dance scene with its own heavy social media presence, is one of the only other venues which does this regularly. The club paired itself with Slyfest for the event, so it’s no wonder this was observed again. Real-life djs also sometimes announce spinning at other weekly virtual clubs, but the crossover isn’t that frequent.
Slyfest’s map design felt top-notch:
Usually in a virtual club like this, you would peer out the window and find a background shader put up to cover the vista, with the exception of places like DDVR and Loner.
Slyfest’s vista is a gently rolling sea with jellyfish floating slowly towards the surface. It’s beautiful.
There was the expectation that the main floor would be different from TheSlyThief’s tribute map to Porter Robinson’s Secret Sky Festival. The same round dance floor was found again in Slyfest, with two whales from the previous map swimming around at the top. None of this was a paid experience, so there’s not a lot of room here to complain. I probably would’ve kept the same tech but changed the shape of the floor, though, to make it a bit different.
The normals on the map were beautiful, and everything was optimized pretty well when the festival wasn’t at capacity (to provide ease with lower end computers, I would have a button to disable video on surfaces except for the main video screen next time). No one can complain at how luxurious the map’s textures were. This is still top of the line work.
Both Slyfest and Virtual Bass should be showcased as the kind of quality VRChat is capable of with digital events, along with Ghost Club.
The real star of the show with Slyfest was the energy. When there were technical issues, people stayed in the Twitch chat and played word games or provided encouragement while the staff figured out the problem. Every festival day was completed with a group photo and shared around with thank-yous. Pregaming, as with other EDM festivals in the game, became its own event. I even wound up at a small apartment with a group of streamers to pass the time until the day 1 festivities kicked off. These events aren’t built-in to virtual festivals, but the way they organically happen are special.
Slyfest is still going with day 3 events. If you don’t want to log into VRChat to attend, you can click here to listen in and watch the festivities.
You mean to tell me, in the Year Of Our Lord Two-thousand and Twenty, someone is paying less than a dollar per hour for a CSR job from a corporation that’s operating in a virtual world? You mean to say with Coronavirus running around and causing people to scramble for rent, these are the wages you wish to hire someone for?
According to the past week’s Virtual Secrets, this is the case of the gaming company MadPea. An anonymous submission for item number 18 screencaps what looks like an official job posting on behalf of the entertainment group, claiming a customer service job needs fifteen hours a week’s time in exchange for 2500 Lindens. In case you were not aware of the current selling rate, that’s a scant more than ten dollars a week.
“Cake, what’s one of the most exclusive, immersive VR club experiences I can find nowadays?” you ask. I would immediately tell you, it’s Ghost Club.
Ghost Club is a cyberpunk EDM club that opens when the mysterious twitter user @gst_kkgr announces it. You can’t find the map on VRChat during the week, not even if it showed up as a private world on the aggregate map lister VRCW.
At 10pm Tokyo time (9am EST), GST uploads the club map and opens it to anyone who is a friend of someone currently visiting. They then tweet out a link to the instance the party is being held at, so you have to wait at their Twitter page to get the key.
Do you know what a 21 year old looks like? Sometimes an avatar created by a younger user is told they look too young, according to those who are older.
This group of people disagreed on the issue, due to generational differences of their perception of a woman in that age group. True, the thread had factors such as the sim owner being able to impose whatever rule they wanted on their land and who was allowed there. This, however, is not about the sim owner’s prerogative. It’s about how users in Second Life consider young adults and what they think they actually look like.
I think many times in Second Life, we disagree about what a young adult appears as. We all grew up during different decades, and our heyday has given us an implied bias. For me, the picture above is what I think someone who’s 21 can look like. She’s following an e-girl trend (though not all do), and is willing to try a lot of different wild trends because she’s got the money and freedom to do so. I, however, am a Millenial. Maybe you think differently about this than I do.
What do you think the answer is? Take a picture, post a blog, tag it on IHeartSL with “21Challenge”, and let’s see the results! I want to know the answers others come up with.
Don’t fret. Second Life is very likely not going to shut down within even a year’s time. In fact, the recent buyout looks like a good thing!
Change is scary, but the extra cash flow might be what gives Second Life its… well, second life. If Linden Lab makes its move to the cloud by the end of the year, it can sustain its userbase for a while longer until it finally crosses the threshold of being unprofitable.
So for now, the game is safe! You should enjoy it without any worry. Of course… there are some things that can shorten SL’s lifespan in the long run. Can you guess what I’m going to say here? Let’s go over them again, and zoom out a bit to see what else might be a contender down the line for the Lab’s income.
The world around us right now is changing, and a lot of people are rejecting old racist ideologies that have made up quite a bit of America’s history. It’s daunting to want to get outside and protest, but luckily, there’s a lot of messed-up things within Second Life you can turn your attention to. You don’t even need to leave your chair!
Because I’m black, it’s easy for me to see all of the things I have seen and not be surprised by them anymore. I can’t say the same of my white counterparts. I think the breadth of how ugly race is depicted in this game might shock some of you.
It can also tell you some of why I decided to largely part from the game and am looking at its gradual changes with trepidation. Other virtual worlds have more updated stances and intolerance for these things, and yet this stuff persists by and far in Second Life because… I don’t know why. Free speech? Is that it? I don’t know anymore.
I will now go in and describe the tiers on which this problem persists in this virtual world.
Here I am, doing my part practicing social distancing in both lives!
Earlier this week, Linden Lab posted about coronavirus and how it would affect Second Life operations. According to their post, most of the staff is already remote, therefore, business as usual at the lab. This is good news for all of the current residents that will be home more during the COVID-19 quarantine.
I found myself on this map in VRChat not long after signing up for the game. I didn’t know what was going on at first. People were waiting in this lobby like it was a real club. I could hear muffled music as if I were outside a real building. A group of girls chattered away near me, talking about what club to hit up next since their favorite dj’s set was over.
Inside, people were dancing. A moderator was positioned off to the side and looking over the crowd like a bouncer. As I had no one to talk to and didn’t have a VR headset at the time, I left once my curiousity was satisfied. I wouldn’t return again for half a year. That’s when my experience changed entirely.
Do you like my outfit today? As soon as Neve announced this new release, I ran to get it! Grime and Grit are a respective top and shorts set that makes me feel like it’s the 90’s again. Not that the 90’s were a particularly great decade for me growing up, but sometimes it’s fun remembering the fashions from back then. You can grab this set from Uber.