Second Life: What Makes Us Human Competition

What Makes Us Human posterThe dynamos at Uni of Western Australia have launched another great competition for content creators in Second Life. Having had the pleasure of judging some of UWA’s great art / sculpture competitions in previous years, I have no doubt this one will be another cracker. Here’s the full details via the UWA in SL blog:
A UWA 3D Creation Challenge:
What Makes us Human?
 
UWA Encourages you to Create a Model, Animation, or Simulation that reflects What Makes Us Human at a Cellular, Organ or System Level
December 1st 2013 – February 28th 2014
Prize pool: L$268,750
Open to Everyone
You be the teacher!
Models that simulate and models that stimulate! Your models can be interactive!Imagine riding a blood corpuscle through a three storey high heart, watching from “inside” the brain as an aneurysm bursts (a “stroke”).
OVERVIEW
“What Makes Us Human?” is an event run by UWA and sponsored by the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology as well as the School of Physics. We encourage you to create a model, animation or simulation that reflects what makes us human at a cellular, organ, or system level. We encourage you to create fairly accurate or representative creations or models that can be used for teaching. The aim is to enable others to learn anatomical, histological, developmental and/or physiological concepts about the human body from your work.
Entries can be submitted anytime between the 1st of December 2013 and the 28th of February 2014. Entries should have no more than 300 prims. There is no limit on the number of entries you can submit. Entries will be displayed at the UWA Virtual Gallery.
HOW TO ENTER:
Fill out the Creator’s Notecard form (available from the entry drop box, or create a new notecard with your name, the title and description of your entry, a bried bio (optional) and your rl city location (optional)) and include it with your entry. Be sure to include your name and the name of your entry in the filename of the notecard.

Place the model in the contest entry receiver at UWA Gallery HERE http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/UWA/64/132/250:

  • Select your item from inventory while holding down the CTRL key
  • Drag the file from your inventory to the contest entry billboard prim.
  • The outline of the billboard should turn red. You may then release your mouse button and your entry will be deposited.
  • Do the same with your Creator’s Notecard.
  • Mod/copy perms are appreciated, so entries can be displayed via temporary rezzers. This will allow for a greater number of prims/land impact for individual entries, if mod is not possible copy is adequate
If you have problems with the receiver drop the model into the inventory of FreeWee Ling (UWA Curator of Arts) or Jayjay Zifanwe (Jay Jay Jegathesan: UWA in Second Life Founder & Lead) along with a note card stating the name of the model/animation/simulation and the creator.
SUGGESTIONS
Histology (convey the microscopic structure of human tissues)
Nervous System: What are the various representations of different types of neurons?
Integumentary System: What are the structural differences between the layers of epidermis (skin)?
Muscular System: Examine structural differences and/or similarities between skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle cells.
Anatomy (convey the gross structure of human body parts) & Histology
Embryology & Foetology: What are various stages of embryonic and foetal development? Perhaps look at the transformation from embryo to foetus.
Anatomy
Skeletal System: What are the components of the human skeleton?
Present the anatomy of various types of joints.
Physiology (convey the processes that enable the human body and its components to function):
Nervous System: What are some of the neural pathways that enable us to perform day to day cognitive and motor functions?
Circulatory System: How does blood circulate through our body to meet the metabolic needs and maintain the normal function of cells/organs/and bodily systems.
Anatomy & Physiology
Circulatory System: How does the heart operate, and what are its different chambers and valves?
Histology, anatomy, and physiology are disciplines that go hand in hand. It is only natural that you may construct entries that draw on more than one of these disciplines in order to facilitate the learning of concepts.
Furthermore, you could also think outside the box. You can portray/convey the difference between normal features and functioning, and the abnormal or dysfunctional.
Other topics could include representations of anatomy, physiology and histology pertaining to the following systems:Digestive, Endocrine, Exocrine, Immune,  Lymphatic, Reproductive, Respiratory, Urinary, Visual
PRIZES:*
1st L$81,250 (~$330 USD)
2nd  L$62,500 (~$255 USD)
3rd  L$37,500 (~$150 USD)
4th  L$18,750 (~$75 USD)
5th  L$12,500 (~$50 USD)
Anatomy Special Prize: L$18,750 (~$75 USD)
Histology Special Prize: L$18,750 (~$75 USD)
Physiology Special prize: L$18,750 (~$75 USD)
Total Prize Pool = L$268,750 (~$1,090 USD)
*(Prizes will be awarded in Linden Dollars. US Dollar equivalents are shown for reference.)

Contest Entry Rules (ESSENTIALS):
  • By submitting an entry, you agree to allow the University of Western Australia to use your model/animation/simulation for teaching and learning purposes, and for promotion of UWA’s programs.
  • Maximum land impact for any entry is 300. Mod/Copy perms are appreciated so we can rez/remove entries on demand, however, if mod is not possible, copy is appreciated.
  • Size is not technically limited, but may not interfere with other exhibits or activities on the sim.
  • Script lag, light or particle emitters, or sounds should be confined to the area of the entry.
  • Contact FreeWee Ling, curator, regarding any special requirements such as orientation, media parcels, environmental needs, etc.
  • We encourage the submission of all-original work. If any component of your entry is the result of rendering work that has originated from another author, whether or not it is under copyright, you must have permission to use it and acknowledge the original author of the component.
Judging Panel:
Professor Stuart Bunt (Anatomy)
Professor Geoff Meyer (Histology)
Assistant Professor Gavin Pinniger (Physiology)
Jay Jay Jegathesan (Founder & Lead – UWA in Second Life)
FreeWee Ling (UWA Second Life Curator & Designer)
Teresa Clune (UWA APHB Contest Administrator)
ENTRIES CLOSE FEBRUARY 28th 2014
Cranial nerve models, like the one pictured in the competition poster, can be viewed at the University of Kentucky’s Cranial Nerve Skywalk in Second Life. To teleport there, click HERE.

Project Sci-Fi: Enter Your Machinima

The team at University of Western Australia continue their amazing virtual worlds work, hosting the machinima section of a huge undertaking called Project Sci-Fi:

WD Project: Sci-Fi Film Challenge (Australia) 2013 is a Competition run by Screen My Shorts Inc in collaboration of WD (S.E.Asia Ltd). We invite entrants of all ages, cultures and ability to submit original creative digital content and win a share of the AUD 10,000 (L$2.28 Million) cash and prizes (with at least AUD 1,500 / L$230,000 reserved for Machinima), and have their works exposed on the international stage.

Here’s the teaser trailer:

If you want to enter, check out all the details over at the UWA in SL blog.

Vale: ABC Island in Second Life

As I wrote a few weeks back, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s presence in Second Life is about to come to a close. The 22nd September sees the curtain fall, but not without some festivities prior. Particularly this Saturday 22nd September when the final party occurs. (Here’s the SLURL to teleport to ABC Island)

I’ve been an admin on the island (in name only – I’ve had no active involvement really) since 2008 and I’ve seen it evolve and grow over that time. As you’ll see below, it’s made an impact on a lot of people.

I wanted to take some time to posts some memories from a number of people who’ve called ABC Island another home at different times since 2007.

Tiffy Vella:

So sad…I was born there, and owe many old friendships to SL’s ABC Island.

Laura Seabrook sent through these great pics and descriptions:

Australia Day picnic for that year. Elsie (my AV is sitting middle back in sun dress. At right is Wolfie Rankin

Special “Rockit” quiz show held on that day as well

Part of the anniversary fun was the building of a chute you could ride down by sitting inside a giant marble. Lots of fun in MOUSE view. This was the view at the end

Lecture held at the Island. Can’t remember the topic but I think it had something to do with law

Chatting with Wolfie while making an “Elphaba” outfit, in the entrance to the sandbox tower

Exploring Laneways in 2008, before it was demolished

Katisha Honi:
ABC Island for myself is, and from conversations with a lot of visitors I’m not alone, a place where we grew up as an avatar. ABC Island was and still is a friendly relaxing laidback environment, someone said it was just how the Australian-run sims that made them this way. Personally I had visited ABC within my first week of being in Second Life, and it was the friendships I made that kept me coming back. Once I had found my feet and was looking for “something to do” I wanted to give ‘admin-ing’ a go, I had always wanted to work in television, and well ABC would be the closest I could get.
Over the last 5 years or so, I’ve gone from doing sandbox duties to event runner and recently we got the keys to the sim and redesigned it. Finally, not only for me but for a lot of admins, ABC island was kind of like a big sandbox that we could play in. I think whether you ‘discovered’ ABC island 5 years ago or 5 months ago, the common theme has been “but where will I go now?”
Saying goodbye to ABC, is like saying: Goodbye….old friend
Juko Tempel:
One of my favourite things was the Sandbox, and in particular I remember a day when we built a pond on one level.. it was just a spontaneous group activity that started with one idea and grew and grew as we all found things in our inventory or built new things..http://www.flickr.com/photos/jukotempel/2420554975/in/photostream/. I had a similar experience when Diag Anzac and Gary Hazlitt and I got together one day to build the beach area on ABC Island http://www.flickr.com/photos/jukotempel/1678133214/.
 
One of the great things about SL, and the Island provided by the ABC, is the opportunity to meet people and do things together, to create fun ‘places’, with a real sense of the presence of those other people and a location rather than just a text box for interaction.
I wanted to give the final word to…
Wolfie Rankin:
Notice though, how many of us Second Life users still keep our SL names for our other Social Networks?I gained “Rankin” from there.Not long ago I seriously considered changing my name to Wolfie Rankin.

I didn’t go through with it because I realised what the advantages of having two names was to me.

SL gave me a lot of confidence in talking to others, which I didn’t have before that, and was a real boon when I was still recovering from illness.

Thanks ABC, and Thankyou to the other Admins.

 Now it’s over to you: post your memories, links to pics or related stuff in comments!

ABC Island to Close in Second Life

It’s not surprising but sad all the same: the wonderful community-driven project that is ABC Island in Second Life, is to close on the 22nd of September.

The island has been a staple of the Australian Second Life scene since March 2007, and it’s undergone a number of iterations since then (check out a lot of them here).

Given the relatively small number of Australian visitors the sim gets compared to its heyday, it’s not a shock that the ABC are redirecting the funds. That doesn’t make it any easier for the small and dedicated bunch of volunteer admins of the sim.

We’ll have more details on farewell arrangements / spontaneous wakes etc as we find out ourselves.

Euclideon pops its head above the parapet

</aIn August last year I posted the last of a few articles on promising new graphics technology called Unlimited Detail. As I posted there, the team were going to ground to work on getting the technology to a stage where they have something even more substantive to show off.

That may be a little while off yet, but xbigygames.com has an interesting piece on how Euclideon are doing. A snippet:

As mentioned when Euclideon was first revealed, this technology is something they plan to utilise not only for video games but also scientific research. Supposedly there will be “some Euclideon products released in non-games related industries over the next few months”. “There turned out to be a lot of demand for our capabilities across quite a few industries, so we have tried to put that demand in order and address each area one at a time. As soon as we have revenue coming in, we can expand our team into different departments to deal with each industry,” Dell tells us.

“I think it’s fair to say that people are starting to accept that the future of 3D graphics is atomic,” he finally points out. “Polygons will still be around a bit longer as an editing tool, but I don’t know how much longer they will remain for visualisation. So many games today have polygons that are so small that they are only a few pixels in size. When polygons become smaller than the 3 corner points that make them, there is no point in treating them like triangles anymore and it makes sense to use atoms instead.”

On the question, when we will get our next look at Euclideon powered gaming, all Dell responds is, “Well there is soooooo much I’d love to say about that, but I’m afraid that I’m sworn to silence at this point in time. My apologies, but I think you’ll find it worth the wait.”

So things are still progressing and we should start to see some implementations of the tech before the end of the year by the sound of it.

Thanks to Phillip Street for the heads-up!

Frenzoo gets more funding for Me Girl

We’ve been following Frenzoo since 2009, and over that time the company has shifted very squarely into the mobile market.

This week they’ve raised another $1 million of venture capital to primarily develop its ‘Me Girl’ 3D fashion applications (here’s a link to our 2010 story on the 3D fashion move Frenzoo made)

The full press release reproduced for you below. Congrats to CEO (and expat Aussie) Simon Newstead and the team for their ongoing success – it’s no mean feat to keep the momentum going in the application space and they’ve managed it over a significant period of time.

Frenzoo Raises $1 Million to Create 3D Lifestyle Mobile Games for Women 
Major investors include Efficient Corporate, Siemer Ventures, K5 Ventures and Metaverse Services

Hong Kong and San Francisco, CA – May 10, 2012 – Frenzoo (www.frenzoo.com) the pioneers of a new class of 3D lifestyle and fashion mobile games, today announced it has received US $1 million in new seed funding from investors based in Asia, Europe and the United States.

Investors include: Efficient Corporate, the investment vehicle of Hong Kong-based angel investor Tytus Michalski; Siemer Ventures, an early-stage, cross-border venture firm with offices in Los Angeles and Asia; K5 Ventures, a pan Europe- and Asia-based group focused on media and commerce; and Metaverse Services, a China-based leader in game content creation. They join existing investor Ambient Sound Investments, an early stage venture firm backed by the founding engineers of Skype.

In addition, joining the Frenzoo board of directors is Doug Glen, a veteran gaming and entertainment executive whose previous roles include Chief Strategy Officer of Mattel; CEO of Imagi Studios; and Director at Harmonix, the creators of Dance Central and Rock Band. Also joiningFrenzoo as an advisor is fashion stylist and blogger Jasmine Webster. Founder of the popular DressMe blog, Webster has been nominated as a “Marie Claire Fashion Blogger of the Year” and selected as the “Style Judge” of Fashion One TV’s soon-to-air “Correspondent Search.”

Frenzoo will use the funds to accelerate the launch of its Me Girl brand of titles (www.megirl.com) that offer lifestyle and fashion mobile games for all ages. Data from mobile analytics firm Flurry shows that women make up a majority of the mobile social gaming audience. The Me Girl titles aim to be the first 3D games crafted specifically for this market.

“We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to combine the best of mobile gaming with the world of fashion and lifestyle,” said Frenzoo CEO & Co-founder Simon Newstead. “Our goal with Me Girl is to leverage glamour and emotional appeal to create fun, accessible gaming experiences. With our innovative 3D platform, we can create interactive characters with natural movements and expressions that really bring the whole story to life.”

“In the mid-1990s, Mattel pioneered computer entertainment for girls,” said Doug Glen, who currently serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at M-Lab, a technology incubator.  “Games like Barbie Fashion Designer were hugely successful, in part because the market was so underserved. Fifteen years later, the girls’ and women’s market in mobile entertainment is now underserved, and Frenzoo is releasing wonderful games that have raised the bar to an exciting new level.”

Added Tytus Michalski of Efficient Corporate: “I believe that Frenzoo’s technology is the key to engaging with players on a more intimate level, and is truly a game changer.”

The Lab: the great work continues

In June last year I profiled the superb work being done by Stefan Schutt and Dale Linegar at The Lab.

If you haven’t read that profile then definitely read it now, or even better listen to this interview with Melbourne’s RRR, recorded this week.

If ever there was a program involving virtual environments that deserves major league support, it’s The Lab. Go have a look in detail for yourself.

28 Australian Tertiary Institutions in Joint Paper on Second Life

Virtual Worlds Working Group, albeit a very inactive one at present – if you’re interested in getting involved drop them a line.

Via uwainsl.blogspot.com.au

Channel 7 jumps on the Second Life bandwagon: 5 years late

You’ve got to love tabloid media. Hot on the heels of Tuesday’s radio feature on Second Life, Channel 7′s Sunrise program has run a story called “Second Life Controversy: Is the online community ruining our reality?”.

No, you haven’t missed anything, this is the same ‘controversy’ that got so much media attention during 2006. There’s no new issue that’s led to this media coverage – it’s just the sad reality that someone on the Sunrise show was listening to the radio on Tuesday and decided they’d better do a story.

Now before you think I’m sounding too cynical, I do have to give credit to Sunrise for attempting some balance. Psychologist Les Posen is given some good airtime to give an overview of some of the great work going on in Second Life. Rhett Woods from Linden Lab doesn’t get much chance to say anything really aside from emphasising the creative basis of SL. Anyway, have a look for yourself:

Given this same mainstream media focus has been going on for over five years now, you have to wonder when things will move to a more nuanced perspective?

Over to you: would love to hear your thoughts.

Rod Humble (and I) talk SL on Australian radio about Second Life

An interesting morning, with Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble and myself being invited to appear on the Kyle and Jackie O show.

For Australian readers, you’ve probably heard about Kyle Sandilands in particular, so I went into the interview with eyes wide open on how balanced the interview would be.

As expected it was a predictable angle, paraphrased as “Hey, look at those freaky people who give up their life to go into Second Life”. That said, Kyle Sandilands was the comparative voice of reason out of the two hosts, at least keeping an open mind.

It’s worth a listen to hear how Linden Lab’s CEO deals with a tabloid approach to Second Life. Not surprisingly the piece opens with Sissy, a self-proclaimed SL addict. Have a listen for yourself and here’s a link to 2Day FM’s podcast of 17th January. It did make the cut – as predicted, sex pose balls make for good listening in the tabloid world.

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