Over the past 15 years, thousands of students have logged into Second Life to extend their education beyond the classroom and into the virtual world. While Second Life continues to expand with new features and enhancements, many virtual world education offerings are also evolving to include more engaging and exciting lessons bringing students from different locations together in fun, shared learning environments.
This evolution of virtual world education is the subject of the latest edition of “The Drax Files,” which returns after a brief hiatus with a new super-sized episode that spotlights the latest edtech work ofChant Newall Development Group, LLC (CNDG).
Pictured: CNDG CEO William Prensky meets with Pearson’s Dolly Womack and another attendee at a recent STEM Conference.
For over a decade, CNDG has worked closely with Florida State University and the University of Central Florida on exciting Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) that cover multiple disciplines including biology, chemistry, economics and environmental science. These efforts have been developed in partnership with education giant Pearson to create the “textbook of the future” using unique virtual world learning modules that include compelling social 3D virtual experiences and games.
“What differentiates what we do from many other iterations of distance learning is that we are virtual worlds learning,” says CNDG CEO William (Bill) Prensky. “Students begin to sense that they are present to each other.”
He adds, “The sense of presence in the environment is real. The live networked interaction between teaching assistants and students is vital to maintaining that sense of presence. So, it creates a community of teachers as well as a community of learners. It empowers them and it energizes them.”
Pictured: CNDG promotes a learning module developed in Second Life at a recent conference.
You can see some of CNDG’s work and hear from its executives and university faculty in the latest episode of “The Drax Files” below.
Want to check out an example of CNDG’s work for yourself? For a limited time, CNDG has opened up a free preview of its “Ice Core” module in Second Life (as featured in “The Drax Files” video). In this exclusive experience, which was developed for an environmental science course taught by Professor William Landing at Florida State University, participants take a helicopter to a drill site to begin an exciting scientific expedition in Antarctica. Adventurers will learn how scientists live and work in this frigid environment as they collect and analyze ice cores that provide clues into Earth's climate history.
Second Life community members can check it out now at the Destination below.
Pictured: A scene from “Ice Core” developed by CNDG.
Earlier this month, we debuted the first episode of “Love Made in SL” - a new limited-run mini-series that showcases some of the many real stories of romance found within the virtual communities of Second Life.
We’re heartened by the positive responses to the series debut, which was shared widely across the Internet after premiering on our YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Several couples even shared how they met in SL and, in many cases, they’ve posted wedding and baby photos from both in and outside Second Life to share with the world.
This week, the love stories continue! Meet Lily and Charles, a couple that first met in Second Life back in 2007.
“[Second Life] is an extension of my real life,“ says Charles. “It’s not something I play.”
Upon meeting Charles in the welcome area of Second Life, Lily says that “we stumbled through things together...The honesty of both of us made the foundation for the relationship.”
Charles adds, “If you get to know someone over several months just typing for hours then, in the end, the personality is becoming really clear.”
Shortly after finding love in Second Life, Charles moved from Germany to be with Lily in the U.K. To further seal the deal, he even got a heart tattoo that features both of their early Second Life avatars!
Just in time for Valentines’ Day! Second Life is proud to announce the debut of “Love Made in SL,” a new limited-run mini-series showcasing the many real stories of romance in the virtual lives of the Second Life community.
Love Made in SL logo created by Marianne McCann with permission from Linden Lab
Over the next few months, we’ll unveil a series of short video profiles that tell the many stories of couples discovering love in Second Life. As you’ll see in our first episode, these virtual connections can also extend successfully into long-term relationships in the physical world.
Meet Teal and Wolf, a charming couple that met 10 years ago in Second Life within the “Tiny” community of RaglanShire. After several years of a long-distance relationship, Teal recently decided to move from the US to the UK to be with Wolf and they are getting married this week!
Pictured: Wolf and Teal, a soon-to-be-married couple that met in Second Life.
“I think virtual worlds have that ability to allow people to just see whether their souls match up,” says Wolf.
Watch the full video below, or on our Official YouTube Channel here.
Catch future episodes of “Love Made in SL” on Second Life’s official Facebook page or YouTube channel. “Love Made in SL” is produced for Second Life by virtual journalist Draxtor Despres. If you’d like to be considered for a future edition, please contact Draxtor inworld.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love! In these complex times, a little more love in our hearts and minds is as precious as ever. Love is kind, and love is complicated—but when it’s true, you want to pay it homage through poems, prose, songs, and all forms of art. Celebrate it with flowers, fireworks, and fantastic moments spent basking in the warm glow of all those good time vibes. Love always trumps hate, so let’s enjoy a big dose of that sweet amore that powers the world.
Isle of View has returned with its forested walks, love nooks, and romantic swan boat rides. Love is in the air, and pink sunbeams are the perfect spot to profess your true feels to your belle or beau. Enjoy a scenic glide across the pink and purple waters, the twinkling rain of fireworks (and not just the kind you expect when you sneak that first kiss!), or stroll through the twining paths to hugging booths for picture-perfect moments. Be sure to share you valentine pics to our Official Flickr pool.
You’ll also notice the return of some gifting kiosks. This is a way to let your friends and loved ones know that you’re thinking of them by sending them a special Valentine’s Day gift. Candy hearts, bears, and roses are all available for you to have delivered directly to your good friends. Just visit a gift kiosk, click, and follow the directions. It’s the thought that counts, and thoughts are free—so the kiosks are free to use as well!
Everyone appreciates a little acknowledgment that you’re thinking of them, so send someone special a valentine!
With music, festivities, and love in the air—solo or soulmates—The Isle of View is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.
HUG AND DUNK A LINDEN
Roses are red, Violets are blue It’s time to hug and dunk some Lindens At the Isle of View
On Thursday, February 14th from 10am-12pm, drop by the Isle of View for a chance to hug and/or dunk some Lindens. Bring your friends, family, your main squeeze, even bring the kids! It’s bound to be a ton of fun—and really how often do you get a chance to cozy up to a Linden, or dunk them into a tank of freezing cold water? Do NOT miss this opportunity: it only comes about once a year!
Acclaimed artist Cica Ghost is known for her frequent pop-up art experiences in Second Life. Each creation is only active for a very limited time, which means that you’ll have to act fast to catch her latest work “Drawn Town” that debuted on Feb. 1.
“Drawn Town” is an immersive space filled with scribbled black-and-white chalk drawings and stick characters that are delightful to explore as you either walk around or drive in the provided cars. Cica ambiguously describes the piece with the quote from Maureen O’Hara “In the beginning it was all black and white.”
Some Residents have noticed that we’ve added a new group of classic, system “starter avatars” to the mix this week - a more mature couple in formal apparel, a groovy guy and gal, a pair of grunged-out music lovers, and some well accessorized, fashion-forward folks (because there is no better addition to any outfit than a pet!). While the last few batches of new starters have focused on Fantasy themes, this round we wanted to add some updated humanoid styles for new Residents to select from. Each avatar has been created utilizing some of the latest features in Second Life such as Bento - and have also been created with a focus on optimization to keep the avatar complexity below 30,000 (with most coming in around 10,000- 20,000).
While these avatars are intended to be just the starting point for new Residents of Second Life to get to exploring quickly, everyone is welcome to take them for a spin around the Grid via the Avatar Picker inside the viewer.
Resident Windywinters started a thread on the forums already - feel free to share your thoughts there - and let us know what else you’d like to see in the starter avatar selections.
There will be more avatars in the future - some new themes and styles - so stay tuned!
Linden Lab, the maker of Second Life, is one of the hundreds of organizations collaborating today to generate awareness about the importance of protecting user privacy. We know that our community cares about its privacy...and that’s why we’re happy to support Data Privacy Day -- an international effort to empower individuals and business to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust.
“I believe strongly that privacy isn’t just one team’s job - it’s a collaborative, communal effort,” says Pearlman. “Many large organizations have had dedicated privacy teams, yet have ultimately failed in safeguarding consumer data and protecting user privacy, which is why it’s so important to us here at the Lab that privacy comes first at every turn - that it be woven directly into the fabric of our products, from the engineering level to the product level to the marketing level.”
It’s been over a year since we last gave an update to the community about Second Life’s sister social VR platform Sansar, so we’re excited to share a bit of new information including some fun news about an exclusive event happening this weekend.
If you haven’t given Sansar a try yet (or want to give it a second look), now is a great time to check it out on VR and PC at Sansar.com or on Steam!
If you like stand-up comedy, then join us THIS SATURDAY, 1/26 @ 1 PM PST, for a virtual comedy show in Sansar headlined by Michael Ian Black (The State, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer) and Andy Kindler (Late Show with David Letterman, Everybody Loves Raymond, Bob's Burgers), with support from comedian and filmmaker Emily Catalano. Please note: Sansar is free to play but this specific event uses Sansar’s new ticketing system that helps creators monetize their experiences. So, admission for this exclusive live event is $4.99. Learn more at https://www.sansar.com/sketchfest.
Come one - come all to the Snowball Arena for a friendly ice battle of epic proportions! This Snowball Showdown means you're free to pelt your fellow Second Life Residents and Lindens with a bevy of sparkling snowballs! But the Lindens and your fellow Residents get to return fire with their own avalanche of snow-arsenal.
The battle commences tomorrow - Friday December 21st from 11 am to 1 pm SLT. Spots are limited, so be sure to get there early to grab yoursnow launching weaponry from the vendors around the arena.
Mark your calendars, assemble your dream squad, and be there!
As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at some of the key accomplishments and new feature highlights that helped to make it one of the best years ever for the Second Life community.
Celebrating 15 Years. Here’s to 15 More! Second Life recently turned 15 and, to mark the occasion, the community held a jam-packed SL15B celebration across several crystal-themed sims. In addition, Linden Lab organized several birthday events including MusicFest and an ambitious Shopping Event. Relive the highlights in the SL15B Flickr feed. So… is anyone ready for SL16B yet?
Lower Costs & More Land? That’s Crazy Talk! What a way to start the year! Early in 2018, we announced a 10 percent reduction in Mainland costs and doubled the Mainland allotment for Premium members. Then, in July we continued to reduce costs by lowering monthly maintenance fees on Private Estates by up to 15% with one-time land setup fees reduced by as much as 41%. As a result, land is now more affordable than ever!
Performance & New Features As part of our commitment to improving Second Life, we announced plans for 15 enhancements and features on our product road-map. Many of these improvements are already in place or are close to completion, while work continues to perfect additional enhancements and features for 2019.
Estate Owners also saw improvements to the Land Manager page including web-based region restarts. There is also an Estate Access Management Release Candidate Viewer, which simplifies many Estate Management tasks, including ban list improvements. It will be making its way to the default release soon.
Speaking of land … there is the overhaul for Auctions with several key improvements and a serious facelift - and we’ll soon add the ability for Residents to create Auctions to sell the land that they own.
In November, we unveiled the long-anticipated debut of Animesh, which allows independent objects to use rigged mesh and animations. We’re already starting to see some creative ways to take advantage of Animesh. This new “dancing Santa” from Blow Up is an Animesh companion, which can follow you around and even dance with you as you celebrate the holidays in Second Life. Or for you. Santa is cool with whatever.
A few Creators have already put out quite a number of cool early creations. Check out the Animated Objects category on the Second Life Marketplace to see what’s available.
We are always striving to help our Residents achieve an immersive experience. The Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), is a series of new customizations in the environment rendering system (also known as Windlight). Soon, you will be able to create and share even more advanced environment settings including up to four different sky layers which can be set independently. Check out this preview video that shows early testing on the Second Life Beta grid from Resident Silas Merlin:
Testing also continues for Bakes on Mesh, a new feature that allows system avatar baked textures to be shown on mesh attachments. We’re hoping this will help us all ditch some of those avatar onion layers in the new year.
We also introduced the new Swaginator with two ambitious seek-and-find events. As part of our SL15B event, we created 15 limited-edition gifts for a Birthday Gift Grab grid-wide hunt that extended over a whopping 15 weeks! More recently, we held the Winter Swaginator Hunt which included five hidden gifts created exclusively for holiday hunters. There were also numerous exclusive shopping and community events, which are always a blast! Look out for the traditional Snowball Fight.
2018 In Numbers As the year comes to a close, we’ve rounded up some interesting statistics to share insight into how the Second Life community is spending its time and money.
One thing is clear: Second Lifers were a busy bunch in 2018. You spent an estimated 336 millionhours inworld in the past year alone! And there are 50 million+ chat messages daily.
Our daily concurrency rates remain stable, too. Take a look at this chart, which shows the overall traffic trends on logged in Second Life users over the past two years.
Pictured: Second Life concurrency rates from early 2017 to late 2018.
This active population helped keep the Second Life economy healthy in 2018. Approximately $65 million was paid out to Residents in the past year for a variety of items and services. On the Marketplace, there are currently over 5 million virtual goods for sale. Since we lowered prices on the Mainland and maintenance fees on Private Estates, we’ve seen some growth in the overall land market as well. For example, we saw increases across the board in land ownership - more Region owners, more parcel owners, more group-owned land, more Regions on the Grid. As many owners traded up from Openspaces and Homesteads to full Regions to take full advantage of the lower pricing, we saw growth in overall SQM owned by Residents.
So, what was popular with the Second Life community in 2018? Here are some interesting insights into General and Mature-rated places and items:
2019...Here We Come! In true Linden tradition, we didn’t get through everything we wanted to do in 2018 … but we certainly feel proud of the developments already out and we’re excited for the things to come. Stay tuned for even more improvements, including progress on our migration to the cloud, Linden Home updates, Gridwide experiences, and the much-anticipated ability to change your name!
Thank you from the entire Linden Lab staff for your continued creativity and contributions to the Second Life community. We cherish the opportunity to help this unique and amazing world flourish year to year, and we can’t wait to see what adventures await in 2019!
We wish everyone happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!
The holidays are upon us, and for many that means baking, wrapping, peppermint lattes, and shopping! We've gathered 100 Merchants for a very exciting shopping event! Bigger than our inworld shopping event from SL15B, this shop-stravaganza spans 5 full Regions, with some layover areas where you can cam shop! All 100 Merchants have provided a free gift (and in some cases more than one per stop) and some generous discounts on some of their most popular products.
Stop by Aurelian, Gilded, Golden, Halycon, and Tinseled between now and January 4th to catch all the deals and grab all the gifts.
When it’s cold outside, nothing sounds better than a warm spot on the couch next to a roaring fire, a cup of hot cocoa, and a little getaway time in a cozy alpine cabin.
This winter season, Premium Second Life members can relax in their very own winter vacation home by stopping by the Premium Gift Kiosks and grabbing their free Premium gift.
This charming home-away-from-home features a scripted door for added security, extra textures for the exterior, and other features. If you’ve been collecting the weekly Swaginator gifts, you’ll find this cabin in the perfect place to decorate with those gifts or give it your own personal flair with your unique decorative eye.
If you’re a Premium Resident already, don’t hesitate, and log on now to grab your gift!
Not yet a Premium member? Upgrade toPremium* and grab your cabin today!
HINT: Among sparkling crystals and dangerous rocks, the treasure is hidden inside a magical box! In this Realm, look high, look low. It's hidden nearby a tree that glows. ( Head to Linden Realms from Portal Park!) http://bit.ly/2SlU3x0
Grab the gift before it's gone!
If you missed out last week and didn't get your HUD to get started - you can drop byWinter Wonderlandto get one now - just in time to get this week's gift.
‘Tis the season to be jolly - and what could be more jolly than a ton of new gifts? From now through most of December, we will be giving away some goodies for everyone. We introduced the Swaginator this last summer during SL15B, and now we’re bringing it back, better than ever, with 5 weeks of gifts - starting today! Each gift will only be available for one week, so you’re going to want to make sure you do not miss out on any week!
How to get started:
Follow the first clue (below) to grab your Winter Swaginator HUD
Equip your HUD from your inventory, by finding it, right-clicking it and selecting “ADD”
Find and collect your gift!
Stay tuned to our blog, MoTD, and Social Media channels for new clues each week.
We’ll get you well on your way to gift-o-rama, and get you started today with the first of our clues. Are you ready?
Week One Clue: It’s a Winter land full of frolics and fun. Can you find the hidden chest for the prize to be won? Go!
You may find yourself in a familiar location - the return of Winter Wonderland is here - so you know there will be plenty of fun activities including an upcoming Snowball Fight - stay tuned!
Pro Tip: Premium members will see a very special new and exclusive gift soon (HINT: to go with your Winter Swaginator gifts) , so make sure that your premium membership is up to date!
The long wait is over: Project Animesh has been released Grid Wide! As of today the default viewer download and all regions on the grid support Animesh.
Animesh, first announced a year ago (!), allows independent objects to use rigged mesh and animations, just as you see today with mesh avatars. This means that you can now have wild animals, pets, vehicles, hair, zombies …. The possibilities are in your hands! We’ve created a Wiki which outlines how you can begin playing with Animesh. If you are a Premium Account, you will be able to attach two Animesh attachments instead of one. Note: You will need to be on an Animesh Enabled Viewer to see Animesh objects work correctly; if you are using a third party viewer they can let you know when support will be available.
A huge “Thank you!” goes out to those Second Life Residents who participated in our year-long Beta, both in the forums and at our inworld User Group Meetings .
We’re can’t wait to see what you will create and share with the rest of the community using these new capabilities. To help everyone find new animesh content, we’ve added a category on the Marketplace for it: Animated Objects
We look forward to your comments and bug reports in Jira.
We realize many of us are still recovering from the Halloween holiday, but the truth is - the rest of the year will creep upon us like the creepiest of Halloween creatures. Winter is coming...and that means it’s time for cheerful greetings, the spirit of giving, and lots of festive music!
Like last year, we’re winding up for a winter inworld shopping event - and we’re now looking for Merchants who would like to participate!
Our last big inworld shopping event for SL15B was a great way for us to see how big these events can be - and we’re adding in some extra space for shoppers, to make sure access to all the steals and deals is much better.
This event, which opens on December 17th, 2018 and runs through January 4th, 2019, is an opportunity to bring a ton of new customers to your brand, offer some of you best items, and celebrate the holiday season in a huge shopping event across several Regions.
We are looking for merchants willing to offer a discount on some of their items (think after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday deals!) and provide a small non-exclusive gift to holiday shoppers.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please fill out this form as soon as possible and no later than Tuesday, November 27th, 2018. The cut off will be at 12:01 am (SLT) on Wednesday the 28th of November.
We are excited to host this event and look forward to putting it together!
Happy Thursday everyone! We hope everyone had a great Halloween and had their fill of tricks and treats.
We’re excited to have more marketplace updates to share with everyone - like a pumpkin full of the best candy, it brings you a good mix of fixes and features.
We’ve added three new Categories to Marketplace:
We’ve also added “Anime” to the list of Marketplace communities.
Marketplace order confirmation mail should include a product link and seller data. So it will from now on.
"Items per page" kept resetting to 12 in wishlists. Annoying!
Any search field will now display an x on the right side once the user has started typing. This will allow you to quickly remove/delete all text in the field instead of having to backspace out the information.
Merchants can no longer review their own listings. Obviously, yours are the best.
Store favorites used to say "Sold by [current user]" instead of the store owner. That’s silly!
Merchant dashboard Report pages were missing the store banner
Updates to search for more precise results
Fixed searching within "manage listings"
Marketplace review helpfulness rating buttons were broken, but we unbroke them.
We will now notify a marketplace shop owner if items have their rating changed
Marketplace profile - some incorrect truncation of Policies box content was going on, so we put a stop to it
You could not preview listing with no price, but now - you can.
Buying item for users not in the marketplace would throw an error, but that’s fixed.
New Marketplace wishlist didn’t work in other languages than English. Wishlist Joy to the world!
Added a helpful popup for the keywords field, which describes Boolean search functionality, so more people can discover it.
Additionally, we’ve started cleaning up some older listings. Only merchants who have not logged in in five years were affected, and only those items which have not sold within two years. If you find that your listings have unlisted, please file a Jira and we’ll look into it presently.
Thank you all for making Second Life great! We look forward to hearing from you.
Treat yourself to a Premium Second Life membership at an exclusive promotional price starting today - for a limited time, get 50% off your first payment on a new monthly Premium Membership subscription.*
Premium members receive a L$1000 sign-up bonus, a weekly L$ stipend, your own personal home, land allotment (which is now 1024 land instead of 512 LI), and exclusive gifts like the current spook-tacular Haunted Campsite (pictured). As a Premium member, you also enjoy many other benefits, like exclusive access to Premium Sandboxes inworld (where you can create and meet other Premium members), priority access to crowded Regions and events, expanded customer support, and increased missed IM caps and group membership limits.
Upgrade to Premium and start enjoying the benefits now!
*TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR 50% DISCOUNT
This offer begins on October 25, 2018 at 8AM Pacific Time (PT) and expires on November 5, 2018 at 8AM PT.To qualify for this promotion, you must 1) have an existing Second Life ("SL") basic account or create a new account, and 2) select monthly (every one month) billing for your SL account. The fifty percent (50%) discount will be applied to your first month's bill and future months will be billed at the standard Premium Membership price (currently US$9.50 per one month). For new accounts or accounts not previously upgraded to Premium Membership, after initial login through the Second Life viewer following upgrade to Premium Membership and: 1) following your first full week, the L$300 weekly stipend will be deposited to your account every Tuesday for the duration of your Premium Membership; and 2) after your account has been active for forty-five (45) consecutive days, the L$ sign-up bonus will be deposited to your account.
There are a lot of people working behind the scenes on Second Life, creating new features, improving performance, keeping things running smoothly, and performing incredible feats of troubleshooting and resolving issues when it doesn’t.
That is why we have invited Grumpity Linden (Director of Product), Oz Linden ( Senior Director or Engineering) and Patch Linden ( Senior Director or Product Operations) to participate in our next Town Hall - taking place November 15th from 10 to 11 am SLT.
Collectively, these three have over 28 (!) years of experience working on Second Life and work closely with all the Second Life teams to continue to improve this platform that we’ve all come to love.
They are some of the biggest stakeholders in the direction of the product development roadmap each year, and know the product inside and out!
If you have a question that you would like to ask these Lindens, please take a moment to post it in the Community Forum thread “Town Hall Meeting with Grumpity, Oz, and Patch Linden - November 15” in advance of the Town Hall. Questions will be selected from all submissions made prior to November 9th, so be sure to get your question in before then!
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for November 15 to see if your question is selected. On that day, you can join us live for the Town Hall meeting. Location will be publicized closer to the event - stay tuned!
If you’ve been in Second Life for awhile, you are probably familiar with the MadPea Productions brand. In fact, back in 2013, the Drax Files covered and chronicled what they were up to and here - five years later - they are creating even bigger and more interactive games within Second Life!
In the latest episode of Drax Files: World Makers, Draxtor Despres revisits Madpea and Madpea Production’s Queen Pea - Kiana Writer.
Just in time for Halloween - this episode dives into the dark themes of many of the MadPea products, including Mad World - an amusement park with interactive games, rides, an escape room, and plenty of photogenic spots to get your creep on.
Dive into the newest edition of the Drax Files and watch the video here, or watch below.
Previous episodes of the Drax Files: World Makers are available on our official YouTube channel, and a selection of the most recent 10 is below.