Thursday, December 28, 2006

'Q' in Second life

Haven't been posting much in this blog of late as have been busy with a fairly large-scale building project...

I was contracted by Millions of Us to create a building to act as a base within Second Life for one of their clients. As the building is has not been officially launched yet, (although it is about to be), I have decided not to refer to the company name in the body text here as I don't want this blog entry to be picked up by searches for the name before the launch, (although it will be obvious from the images here who the client is). Instead, until the building has been formally opened, the company name is referred to as 'Q' below.
(I'll come back and amend the text later).

'Q' is a global interactive agency that uses innovative ideas and technology to deliver results for the world's leading brands. For more than 10 years, 'Q' has built strong customer relationships and realised positive results for their clients. 'Q' strives to be at the cutting edge of emerging media and technologies, and ''Q' Second Life' is an active demonstration of this commitment.

'Q' Second Life was constructed in the winter of 2006. The original brief which was provided by 'Q' was to construct a 'building without walls', to convey an open, creative and collaborative space. The intention is that the building and its contents will be continuously developed and updated. The building includes public spaces as well as spaces that can be made private for meetings, presentations and interviews.

The build...

The 'Q' Sim is set to constant night and makes significant use of local lighting. It is best viewed by setting your viewer's Advanced Graphics, 'Night Time Brightness' preferences to zero, and ensuring local lighting is present.

Gallery: Central to the building's design is the open gallery space. Sitting under a large roof canopy with a mezzanine walkway all the way around, this space is intended to house example real-world projects from 'Q'...

...alongside innovative virtual-world installations from Second Life residents and 'Q' staff.

(Image shown above is an installation by AngryBeth Shortbread entittled 'You Demand Too Much of Me').

The content on display in this area is also duplicated and inverted below a semi transparent floor to create an illusion of reflection and, as the gallery floor sits just above sea level, Second Life's dynamic water refraction is also used.

Sitting in the centre of the gallery there is a permanent gallery installation. This installation is linked to the local lighting so that if an avatar dwells on any of the colored panels, over time the interior lighting will drift to that color, taking the walls (and mood) with it.

Reception/Lounge: A long thin space, notionally divided into three areas.

i. Reception, complete with a 'Hyper-Link' board. This allows for quick navigation around the building to key areas, equivalent in some ways to web-browser navigation in that each key area includes a '<- BACK' button to allow for quick return to the reception. The board also includes a link to launch the user's default web-browser with the 'Q' home page loaded.

ii. Lounge 1: An informal meeting area with couches and tables.

iii Lounge 2: A more relaxed space, complete with a separate media stream for music, a functional chessboard and more seating. Music and conversation in this area is restricted and therefore will not bleed into adjacent areas.

Above the Reception/Lounge is a mezzanine floor with a long window providing a one-way view through the media screen to the main gallery. Doors on this level lead to the Gallery, Building Area and Boardroom, and on the lower floor there is a set of stairs leading to a Function Room.

Function Room: A multi purpose space, set out for presentations complete with a smaller video screen (will play a different video stream to that on the Media Wall) and rows of couches plus an interview area. This space can be set as private when needed.

Boardroom: The main meeting room is on the first floor and can be locked to prevent public access when required. A guest list can be set up to determine who is granted/denied access or the room can be set as open to all, this includes access through the open roof port. A functional interactive whiteboard has been installed here which allows many people to control pointers at the same time or to write messages, etc, along with another video screen. Sitting on the glass floor in the center is a large meeting-style table, with an integrated comment and voting system. Doors lead either back to the mezzanine in the Reception/Lounge, or through to an outside building area.

Building Area: Although built into the building, this space is set outside allowing for greater camera view freedom, useful when building. On the floor there is a custom made building 'mat', a grid to aid construction that can be zoomed in / out and can be illuminated, full-bright.

Surrounding Area, Roof Space and Hidden Garden: Easily accessed from the Hyper-Link board in the reception, there are other spaces to explore, some in unexpected places.

Media wall: A key feature in the gallery is the large media screen/wall. This has two modes which can be toggled from a button sitting at the bottom-center of the screen;

-Full-Screen- where the parcel's video stream (or any image) is displayed across most of the screen (very large), and -

-Patchwork- where a combination of many smaller images are randomly displayed as slideshows.

This wall is fitted across the entire width of the building and divides the gallery space and the reception/lounge. It is raised to provide easy access underneath to the Lounge.

(I'll provide the SLURL link when the building is opened).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Second Life Stats (Dec 06)

I noted total SL Resident Numbers back on 28th June '06 (298,407), and again on 11th August 06 (396,651). Over that period on average there were 2233 new sign-ups per day. Now, some 128 days later I wondered how this figure held up?

Well, as of today, 17th Dec '06, there are 2,051,648 total residents, and 18,230 are currently online. Therefore, 1,654,997 more residents since my last record, or around 12,930 new avatars generated per day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Second Life Profile Page

What the FAQ ?
This page is intended to be viewed in my Second Life Profile...

Hi, I find myself often answering the same set of questions,
so to speed things up I thought I would supply a FAQ list,
if you have a question, please read on to see if it has been
answered here:

Russian Roulette:

Q: I'm interested in buying a Russian Roulette Table,
where can I get one?

A: Please see the My Picks tab for a direct TP to the vendor,
there is a table out nearby too so you can try before you buy

Q: Can you make me a special Russian Roulette Table
which will give me a cut of the winnings?

A: Sorry no, this was the game I wanted to make.

Musical Instruments:

Q: I'm interested in buying a Musical Instrument,
where can I get one?

A: Please see My Picks for a direct TP to the Musical
Instrument vendor, also there is a TP to my showroom,
many of the instruments can be viewed here,
and some can be demoed, thanks!

Vendor Instructions:

Q: I'm at your Vendor, how does it work?

A: The home pages on the vendor show many smaller images
all at the same time. Use the <- -> keys to move between pages.
If you see an item you might like to buy, press the image to
enlarge it. From here you can either press the ' i ' button to get a
notecard about the item, or pay the vendor to buy the item.
The price is shown ABOVE the vendor in floating text - you need
to be fairly close to be able to see / read the price - Remember to
look ABOVE the vendor please...


Q: Can I hear a demo of a Hyper-Instrument?

A: Yep sure, a demo of the Hyper-Flute can be seen/heard
in this video

Q: Any advice on how to work the
Hyper-Instrument's HUD
- what do all the buttons do?

A: Yep sure, you will have got instructions but loads
more help here

Q: Any advice on how to write a Musical Score for
the Hyper-Instruments?

A: Yep sure, loads, and loads of detailed help
can be found here

Q: Can I get more Scores/Music to play in my

A: Yes loads, you can collect more score-notecards
from my Hyper Instrument score sharing-vendor and please
leave any of your own scores here too for others to collect
and play. Please see My Picks tab for a direct TP to the
sharing vendor, thanks!
(Please remember, if you are leaving a score for others
to play, use a name for your notecard that is NOT longer
than 24 characters in length).

Q: How do I add new scores to my Hyper-Instrument?

A: In edit mode select the attached HUD. In the HUD's
edit window, choose MORE>> and then choose the contents
Tab, drag and drop new scores here to add them.

Q: My Hyper-Instrument no longer loads a new score,
what's wrong?

A: This is most likely because you have a notecard in
your HUD's contents with a name of greater than
24 characters long.

Rename the offending notecard with a shorter name,
and you're good to go!

Q: My Hyper-Instrument is not working,
"stack-heap collision error",
what's wrong?

A: The script has become inactive, this can happen
if you try to load a Notecard score which is too long
for the memory capabilities of a SL script, or sometimes
if you have tried to load a score whilst it is already
busy loading one....

To fix this problem, please select the HUD in whilst in
edit mode and choose 'Reset Scripts in Selection'.
This can be found near the bottom of the 'Tools' Menu.

Syncronisation/ No Sound Issues:

Q: My Drums or Gamelan instruments
don't play sound, what's wrong?

A: Most of my drums require you to also rez the
conductor object nearby, you will have received
one of these when you bought the drum(s).
Please rez this and touch to turn it on (Green = ON)
- this thing holds the timing between many drums so
they play in sync, and without it you get no sound.

The Gamelan instruments need this too and also need the
Pattern Changer object to be rezzed, which looks like a
set of 4 large gongs, but is actually 4 buttons used to change
the patterns on many Gamelan instruments at the same time.
If you have not rezzed the Pattern changer and the conductor
objects you will get no sound from the Gamelan instruments.
Yep, the Gamelan instruments work in time with the
Elven Drums too!


Some reviews for Hyper-Instruments:
(copied from my SLEX page)

  • "Truly a fantastic piece of work! Easy to use and
    looks and sounds fantastic"

  • "This is a wonderful item - looks and sounds
    beautiful - and very easy to make REAL music with"

  • "It plays beautifully and is very intuitive"

  • "All in all, I'd say anybody with an appreciation
    for instrumental music would find a fun use for it"

  • "Very beautifaul and well worth the extra for
    composer edition. great if your creative and enjoy
    the sounds"

  • "The most amazing thing I have ever seen in SL.
    As a musician, I have been looking for a way to bring
    my music with me into SL. Now I can. I can't wait to
    start composing"

  • "Awesome design and lots of fun to play and

  • "I love the Hyper-Pipes! They sound gorgeous.
    These instruments are such fun and so much more
    versatile than most other SL instruments"

  • "These (pipes), the Hyper-Flute and the
    Hyper-Cello, all highly recommended"

  • "Works well, sounds beautiful. Love it"

Q: Do you do custom work?
I want an instrument making?

A: Usually the answer to this will will be "no sorry"...

... (unless you are making a sensible offer for work).