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augmented reality in gaming

Evolution of brands to avatars?:

Second Life: one of the most controversial virtual gaming labs I have come across from my research

I have never used this software, nor do I have any interest in playing Sims using real money.

However this marks a very serious shift in culture moving towards virtual marketing and entrepreneurship and ultimately education.

It is highly regarded as the current platform for augmented reality, and opens up a whole new experimental realm for individuals and businesses without as many commercial/law restrictions in the real world. The true value of an open sourced, “conceptual playground” lies in the educational aspects drawn out semi-realistic engagement with emotional avatars as well as the transaction of virtual currency which is bought and valued as real money. Users of this game are also connected by advanced social network service. “Residences can explore, meet other residences, socialize, participate in individual or group activities, create and trade items which are virtual property, and create services with one another.

Games and small activities are constantly being created in Second Life which simulate real life applications, and should be regarded forms of intellectual property since they are original generated contents.

Looking at the bigger picture, we should ask ourselves. What would the world be like if we translated some of the openness of virtual reality to real life applications? What advantages would these scenarios bring?

The existence of this lab also created many new age jobs. People make money from stores and services in the game, which is strongly reflected in the 2008 “did you know” video clip about cultural revolution. According to statistics in the video, the top 10 in demand jobs did not exist in 2004. “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet”

Introduction to second life

attempts in augmented reality

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The below points are copied directly from Wikipedia, it is only for the convenience of making quick references

Second Life: a wiki definition:

Second Life (SL) is a virtual world developed by Linden Lab that launched on June 23, 2003 and is accessible via the Internet. A free client program called the Second Life Viewer[1] enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another, or travel throughout the world, which residents refer to as the grid. Second Life is for people aged 18 and over, while Teen Second Life is for people aged 13 to 17.

Built into the software is a three dimensional modeling tool based around simple geometric shapes that allows a resident to build virtual objects. This can be used in combination with the Linden Scripting Language which can be used to add functionality to objects. More complex three dimensional Sculpted prims (colloquially known as sculpties), textures for clothing or other objects, and animations and gestures can be created using external software. The Second Life Terms of Service ensure that users retain copyright for any content they create, and the server and client provide simple digital rights management functions.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Second Life

Second Life has an internal currency, the Linden dollar (L$). L$ can be used to buy, sell, rent or trade land or goods and services with other users. Virtual goods include buildings, vehicles, devices of all kinds, animations, clothing, skin, hair, jewelry, flora and fauna, and works of art. Services include “camping“, wage labor, business management, entertainment and custom content creation (which can be broken up into the following 6 categories: building, texturing, scripting, animating, art direction, and the position of producer/project funder). L$ can be purchased using US Dollars and other currencies on the LindeX exchange provided by Linden Lab, independent brokers (such as VirWoX[19], ACE Exchange, and MaxMoney[20]) or other resident users. Money obtained from currency sales is most commonly used to pay Second Life’s own subscription and tier fees; only a relatively small number of users earn large amounts of money from the world. According to figures published by Linden Lab, about 64,000 users made a profit in Second Life in February 2009, of whom 38524 made less than US$10, while 233 made more than US$5000 [21]. Profits are derived from selling virtual goods, renting land, and a broad range of services. In March 2009, it has become known that there exist a few Second Life entrepreneurs, whose profits exceed 1 million US$ per year[22].

Some companies generate US dollar earnings from services provided in Second Life. Examples are Languagelife.com,[23] Rivers Run Red[24], BNT Holdings, and Beta Technologies.[25] This opportunity is extending to normal residents and non-Second Life users via affiliate programs.[26] The total value of these transactions has not been calculated but in 2008 consultancy firms Rivers Run Red and Electric Sheep have reported annual revenues of $6 million.

Localization

In 2007, Brazil became the first country to have its own independently-run portal to Second Life, operated by an intermediary—although the actual Second Life grid accessed through the Brazilian portal is the same as that used by the rest of the worldwide customer base. The portal, called “Mainland Brazil”, is run by Kaizen Games, making Kaizen the first partner in Linden’s “Global Provider Program”.[27] In October 2007, Linden Lab signed a second “Global Provider Program” with T-Entertainment Co., LTD., Seoul, South Korea and T-Entertainment’s portal called “SERA Korea” serves as a gateway to Second Life Grid. Previously, starting in late 2005, Linden Lab had opened and run their own welcome area portals and regions for German, Korean and Japanese language speakers.[28]

Public chat within the world supports many different written languages and character sets, providing the ability for people to chat in their native language. Several resident-created translation devices provide machine translation of public chat (using various online translation services), allowing for communication between residents who speak different languages.

Land ownership

Main article: Real estate (Second Life)

Premium membership allows the Resident to own land, with the first 512m² (of Main Land owned by a holder of a Premium account) free of the usual monthly Land Use Fee (referred to by residents as Tier, because it is charged in tiers). There is no upper limit on tier; at the highest level, the user pays US$295 for their first 65536m².[29] Any land must first be purchased from either Linden Lab or a private seller.

There are four types of land regions; Mainland, Private Region, Homestead and Openspace. A region comprises an area of 65536m² (16.1943 acres) in area, being 256 meters on each side. Mainland regions form one continuous land mass, while Private regions are islands. Openspace regions may be either Mainland or Private, but have lower prim limits and traffic use levels than Mainland regions. The owners of a Private region enjoy access to some additional controls that are not available to mainland owners, for example they have a greater ability to alter the shape of the land. Residents must own a region (either Mainland or Private) to qualify for purchasing an Openspace region.

Linden Lab usually sells only complete 65536m² (16.1943 acres) regions at auction (although smaller parcels are auctioned on occasion, typically land parcels abandoned by users who have left). Once a Resident buys land they may resell it freely and use it for any purpose that it is not prohibited by the Second Life Terms of Service.

Residents may also choose to purchase, or rent, land from another Resident (a Resident landlord) rather than from Linden Lab. On a Private region, the built in land selling controls allow the landlord to sell land in the region to another Resident while still retaining some control. Residents purchasing, or renting, land from any other party than Linden Lab are not required to hold a Premium membership nor to necessarily pay a Tier fee, although typically the landlord will require some form of upfront and/or monthly fee to compensate them for their liability to pay the Land Use Fee charged by Linden Lab. However Linden Lab acknowledges only the landlord as the owner of the land, and will not intervene in disputes between Residents. This means, for example, that a landlord can withdraw a Resident’s land from availability, without refunding their money, and Linden Lab will not arbitrate in the dispute.

Fees:

For Mainland fees, the fee determines only the area of land available; the number of prims available is determined by the land itself. The values shown above are the norm but some rare mainland regions offer more prims in the same land area. For non-mainland fees, the fee sets both the land area and the prim count.

Applications

Education

Second Life is used as a platform for education by many institutions, such as colleges, universities, libraries and government entities. There are over one hundred regions used for educational purposes covering subjects such as chemistry[49] and English.[50][51] Instructors and researchers in Second Life favor it because it is more personal than traditional distance learning.[52] Research has uncovered development, teaching and/or learning activities which use Second Life in over 80 percent of UK universities.[53] At least 300 universities around the world teach courses or conduct research in SL.[54] New educational institutions have also emerged that operate exclusively within Second Life,[55] taking advantage of the platform to deliver a high quality service to a world wide audience at low cost.[56]

Info Islands uses library programming sponsored by the Illinois’ Alliance Library System and OPAL currently offered online to librarians and library users within Second Life. Another virtual continent called SciLands is devoted to science and technology education. While initially centered on the International Spaceflight Museum, it now hosts a number of organizations including NASA, NOAA, NIH, JPL, NPR, National Physical Laboratory, UK, and a host of other government agencies, universities, and museums. In December 2008, the United States Air Force launched MyBase, a Second Life island overseen by the Air Education and Training Command.[57]

Second Life’s usefulness as a platform for pre-K–12 education is limited due to the age restrictions on the main grid and the difficulties of collaborating among various educational projects on the teen grid. New approaches to fostering collaboration on the teen grid, such as the Virtual World Campus, offer some hope of overcoming some of these obstacles. For now, however, the primary utility of Second Life for pre-K–12 education is in the education and professional development of teachers and school librarians. Still, K–12 educators use Second Life to meet each other and to create objects and structures that help them develop curriculum, as EnergyTeachers.org does with its Sustainability Energy Science Lab.

Needs to hold a meeting of more people than can be supported by a region’s server, has prompted a behavior called “four-cornering”, i.e. meeting where four regions with servers all meet; this is unwelcome, as it tends to put excessive load on the system sending object and texturing information between those four regions’ servers.

Language education

Main article: Virtual World Language Learning

Language learning is the most widespread type of education in virtual worlds[58], with many universities, mainstream language institutes and private language schools using 3D virtual environments to support language learning.

Arts

Second Life residents express themselves creatively through virtual world adaptations of:

art exhibits

live music

live theater

Art exhibits

Second Life has created an environment where artists can display their works to an audience across the world. This has created an entire artistic culture on its own where many residents who buy or build homes can shop for artwork to place there. Gallery openings even allow art patrons to “meet” and socialize with the artist responsible for the artwork and has even led to many real life sales. Numerous art gallery sims abound in second life. Most notable of these is the art gallery sim “Cetus”, which has been in continuous operation since 2006 as a planned, mix-use art community of galleries, offices and loft apartments for residents. Created by avatar Xander Ruttan, it has resulted in many collaborative efforts amongs artists, designers and builders from across the world.

The modeling tools from Second Life allow the artists also to create new forms of art, that in many ways are not possible in real life due to physical constraints or high associated costs. The virtual arts are visible in over 2050 “museums” (according to SL’s own search engine).[59]

In 2008 Haydn Shaughnessy, real life gallerist, along with his wife Roos Demol hired a real life architect, New York based, Benn Dunkley to design a gallery in Second Life. Dunkleys goal was to design an interactive gallery with art in mind in a virtual world. “Ten Cubed” is a radical departure in art exhibition, a futuristically designed gallery showcasing art in a unique setting. On January 31, 2008, “Ten Cubed” was launched. For its inaugural exhibition, Crossing the Void II, owner and curator Shaughnessy selected five artists working in and with modern technologies. These artists included Chris Ashley based in Oakland, CA, Jon Coffelt based in New York, NY, Claire Keating based in Cork, Ireland, Scott Kildall based in San Francisco, CA and Nathaniel Stern originally based in New York, NY now in Dublin, Ireland.[60] Real life as well as Second Life editions are available from the gallery.

The virtual creations from the metaverse are disclosed in real life by initiatives such as Fabjectory (statuettes)[61] and Secondlife-Art.com (oil paintings).[62]

In 2007, artists Adam Nash, Christopher Dodds and Justin Clemens won a AUD$20,000 Second Life Artists in Residence grant[63][64][65] from the Australia Council for the Arts. Their Babelswarm installation was launched in Second Life and The Lismore Regional Gallery in NSW, Australia on April 11, 2008 by Australia Council Chairman James Strong.[66]

Live music

Live music performances in Second Life takes place in three distinctly different ways;

With in-world voice chat, where the user dons a headset and microphone then enables a Second Life browse to “broadcast” his voice to other users, much like a telephone conference call.

With streaming, where vocal and instrumental music by Second Life residents can be provided with the aid of Internet broadcast software, such as Shoutcast. This is input, via microphones, instruments or other audio sources, into computer audio interfaces and streamed live to audio servers. Similar to webcast radio, the audio stream from the live performance can be received in Second Life for the enjoyment of other Residents on their computer speakers. This started with performances by Astrin Few in May 2004 and began to gain popularity mid 2005. For example the UK band Passenger performed on the Menorca Island in mid-2006. Another UK band, Redzone, toured in Second Life in February 2007.

With inworld samples, where sounds samples are uploaded and an inworld user interface – instruments – is made to trigger those. Unlike streaming, performing with inworld samples make use of the Second Life environment and creates a threedimensional sound experience to the audience. The Avatar Orchestra Metaverse featuring among other composer Pauline Oliveros is the most prolific representative with this approach.

Linden Lab added an Event Category “Live Music” in March 2006 to accommodate the increasing number of scheduled events. By the beginning of 2008, scheduled live music performance events in Second Life spanned every musical genre, and included hundreds of live musicians and DJs who perform on a regular basis. A typical day in Second Life will feature dozens of live music performances.

In 2008 the UK act Redzone announced they would release their new live album only via Second Life.[67]

Many amateur performers start their music careers in Second Life by performing at virtual karaoke bars[68] or Open Mic, then progress to performing for “pay,” or Linden dollars, in-world.

Theater

Live theater is presented in Second Life. The SL Shakespeare Company[69] performed an act from Hamlet live in February 2008. In 2009 the company is producing scenes from Twelfth Night.

In 2007 Johannes von Matuschka and Daniel Michelis developed Wunderland, an interactive SL theatre play at Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin, Germany.[70]

In 2007, HBO hosted a comedy festival in Second Life,[71] using live streaming audio. In March 2009, SL residents staged a two-day Virtually Funny Comedy Festival to “help build awareness for Comic Relief, Red Nose Day 2009 and of course, comedy in Second Life.”[72]

In December 2008, The Learning Experience,[73] a not-for-profit virtual education campus in Second Life, staged its first live theater events with the production of two short plays,[74] A Matter of Husbands by Ferenc Molnar and Procelain and Pink by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In 2009, the TLE theater company began producing full-length plays in Second Life, starting with The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde in February,[75] and followed by Candida by George Bernard Shaw in April.[76][77]

Work solutions

Second Life give to the companies the option to create virtual workplaces to allow employees to virtually meet, hold events, practice any kind of corporate communications, conduct training sessions in 3D immersive learning spaces, simulate business processes, and prototype new products.

Religion

Religious organizations have also begun to open virtual meeting places within Second Life. In early 2007, LifeChurch.tv, a Christian church headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma, and with eleven campuses in the USA, created “Experience Island” and opened its twelfth campus in Second Life.[78] The church reported “We find that this creates a less-threatening environment where people are much more willing to explore and discuss spiritual things”.[citation needed] In July 2007, an Anglican cathedral[79] was established in Second Life; Mark Brown, the head of the group that built the cathedral, noted that there is “an interest in what I call depth, and a moving away from light, fluffy Christianity”.[80]

Egyptian owned news website Islam Online has purchased land in Second Life to allow Muslims and non-Muslims alike to perform the ritual of Hajj in virtual reality form, obtaining experience before actually making the pilgrimage themselves in person.[81]

Embassies

The Maldives was the first country to open an embassy in Second Life.[82][83] The Maldives’ embassy is located on Second Life’s “Diplomacy Island”, where visitors will be able to talk face-to-face with a computer-generated ambassador about visas, trade and other issues. “Diplomacy Island” also hosts Diplomatic Museum and Diplomatic Academy. The Island is established by DiploFoundation as part of the Virtual Diplomacy Project.[84]

In May 2007,[85] Sweden became the second country to open an embassy in Second Life. Run by the Swedish Institute, the embassy serves to promote Sweden’s image and culture, rather than providing any real or virtual services.[86] The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, stated on his blog that he hoped he would get an invitation to the grand opening.[87]

In September 2007, Publicis Group announced the project of creating a Serbia island as a part of a project Serbia Under Construction. The project is officially supported by Ministry of Diaspora of Serbian Government. It was stated that the island will feature Nikola Tesla Museum, Guča trumpet festival and Exit festival.[88] It was also planned on opening a virtual info terminals of Ministry of Diaspora.[89]

On Tuesday December 4, 2007, Estonia became the third country to open an embassy in Second Life.[90][91] In September 2007, Colombia and Serbia opened embassies.[92] As of 2008, Macedonia and the Philippines have opened embassies in the “Diplomatic Island” of Second Life.[93] In 2008, Albania opened an Embassy in the Nova Bay location. SL Israel was inaugurated in January 2008 in an effort to showcase Israel to a global audience, though without any connection to official Israeli diplomatic channels.[94]

Malta and the African country Djibouti are also planning to open virtual missions in Second Life.[95]

Live sport entertainment

Popular forms of live entertainment have been making their appearance in Second Life. Many sports have appeared, allowing residents to watch or participate in many popular activities. Sporting leagues have sprung up in Second Life for Cheerleading, American football, Association football, boxing, and auto racing. Two large outlets are:

The Digital Championship Wrestling Federation (DCWF), providing live wrestling for residents regularly. It holds two main shows, Showdown on Saturdays at 12pm SLT and WarZone on Wednesdays at 4pm SLT. It also hosts regular exhibition matches and holds its monthly Main Events on the first Saturday of each month.

RAGE Fighting Championships brings mixed martial arts to Second Life, allowing residents to have a virtual career as a professional prize fighter. Free training and equipment is available to get users started. Users can choose fighting disciplines including boxing, muay thai, kung fu, capoeira, kick boxing, and many others. RAGE Fighting Championships offers an extensive amateur circuit and events held several times each week.

Marketing

Second Life has been attacked for the use of various marketing techniques, which are frequently seen as dishonest. These include:

Manipulation of user count statistics to make the world seem more popular than it is. This includes counting multiple avatars created by the same real person as separate accounts, never removing accounts from the database, no matter how long they have been idle, counting accounts which are created for free and which never pay any money into the game equally with those that do, and implementing in-world systems which encourage the creation of bogus extra accounts (for example, “traffic bots” which simply remain stationary in a store, causing the system to rank the store as popular because there are people there).[117][118]

Over-emphasis of minority groups. The marketing of Second Life frequently focuses on particular groups (money earners, live musicians, corporate networkers) who represent a tiny minority in the actual world, while at the same time being heavy handed in restricting the commercial opportunities LL has attracted those same people to SL to engage in.

Vagueness about what is prohibited. The Second Life home page and other publications by Linden Labs are extremely vague about what activities can and cannot be done in Second Life. Although ostensibly this is necessary because residents may create entirely new activities which Linden Labs could not have predicted, it is alleged that this is a deliberate technique to fool users into logging in and spending time and money pursuing activities that may initially appear to be possible but in fact are not.

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