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May 13, 2011 / smellydrinks

Protecting Intellectual Property

Intellectual property in relation to Second Life is any object, place, texture, or script that a user has created and their will to protect these things from being used at will by other users.

If a user creates something they have the right to protect whatever they have created from unsolicited coping or use of it by parties that do not have the permission to do so. Second Life has the means to do this through the no-copy and no-modify functions under the permissions system that is attached to any item that is used in Second Life.

In fortunately this does not always deter all users from attempting to take what they do not have the right to have. When this does occur Second Life is not responsible. The only real way to deal with such a situation is to use a lawyer is the same fashion you would if you found someone had printed a book you had written under their own name.

There are various means to circumvent the Intellectual Property Rights found in second life. One of these programs is called Copybot.

Copybot’s primary uses are:

  • Importing content created on a different grid
  • Importing content created on a locally installed simulator that is no otherwise connected to Second Life
  • Exporting content created in Second Life for use in other simulations

Copybot was originally created as a debugging tool by the LibSeconLife development team. It was intended to be used to back up Second Life content and avoids many of the restrictions set in place by the Second Life Permissions System.

Sadly this program can and is used for nefarious reasons by individuals who want to have what other users have created for their reasons without having to pay for it.

How to Protect your Stuff:

In most cases the in-world permissions system should be enough to protect your stuff from casual users copying it. But for users that are unwilling to trust the in-world protection system there are ways that they can protect their stuff from unwanted pilfering!

Fortunately there are many uses who are worried about the use of programs like Copybot and have taken a proactive stance. There are in existence on the Second Life Marketplace a variety of scripts and programs that work to protect your IP from programs like Copybot that manage to circumvent the in-world permissions system.

One of programs is Copybot Protection created by Peste Razor. This program will cost you L$1,499 or $6.68 USD.

There are other programs available that will help you to protect your intellectual property. If you feel at risk or if you are a user that prides themselves in the creation of truly wonderful Second Life content I reccomend that you spend a few dollars on similar software to make you feel safe.

It is wise to keep in mind that anything recorded on digital media has the potential to be copied. For every means we create to prevent it another is created to circumvent them. If at all possible it is best to never leave anything lying around where it can be copied. Though hta can be difficult when you have sold it to others that are either unaware of the ease at which things can be copied or just dont care.

You best defence has and will always be: Awareness!

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May 13, 2011 / smellydrinks

Second Life Community Standards:

Second Life community standards a based on six basic rules, These are referred to as the “Big Six”. Violating any of these rules will result in suspension of your account or even banishment from the Second Life community altogether, these rules apply to all the various areas in Second Life and extends to the Second Life forums and the Second Life website.

These rules have been created as a means to define acceptable behaviour in Second Life. Though most users are sure to act in a reasonable manner most of the time there will always be those users that get a kick out of interfering with others. While it is sad that such things happen regularly these rules allow users the ability to define whether thier own behaviour, or that of a user that is annoying you, is acceptable and whether they have grounds to lay a complaint.

There is included in the Second Life browser an Abuser Reporting Tool. This can be found under the help menu in the in-world tool bar. If you feel that another user has breached any of the following rules and would like to report them the Abuse Reporting Tool is your best bet to a speedy resolution!

Intolerance:

Intolerance is any actions that marginalize, belittle, or defame any individuals or groups. This is essentially allowing any Second Life user to be able to freely exchange ideas and enjoy themselves. This rule also covers the use of any language that might demean any race, religion, gender, sexual preference. The use of which is unacceptable.

Harassment:

Harassment is communicating or behaving in any way that can be deemed as offensive, intimidating or threatening. In particular unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favours are not permitted. Basically any action that might make another user uncomfortable or alarmed is deemed as harassment.

Assault:

Assault is any action that directly affects a user in a “Safe Zone”. Most areas in Second Life are deemed as safe zones and it is not permitted for any user to shoot, push, or shove any other user in these areas. This extends to objects which might perform similar actions in a way that interferes with their enjoyment of Second Life.

Disclosure:

Disclosure is the act of sharing any information about a user without their permission. In particular any information that has not been provided by them as part of their Resident Profile, this includes recording and posting of any information found in conversation logs without all the participants’ permission.

Adult Regions, Groups, and Listings:

Although Second Life is an adult community all “adult” content is not permitted on the Second Life mainland. This kind of material can only be used in private regions or on the designated Adult Continent, Zindra. All adult content will also be filtered from any account that is not verified.

Disturbing the Peace:

Disturbing the peace is the action of interfering with or disrupting any event, making sounds that are repetitive and annoying to other users, advertisements that are invasive or could be deemed as annoying. The creation of any object that follows a user, or slows server speeds, or interferes with a users’ ability to enjoy Second Life is also not permitted.

May 13, 2011 / smellydrinks

Permissions

Modify:

Modify is the setting that enables the current to change the object as they see fit. This permission setting also enables the holder of the objet to delete the object. IF this permission is enabled and the object is shared with a group then all members can also delete and modify the object.

A closely connected permission setting is “next owner modify/no modify”. When this is set to next owner no modify then when the object is given to another user they are unable to change it is anyway. Conversely when the opposite setting is set the next owner can modify the object but if they pass it on the new owner will not have this ability. Though if an object has another object inside it the containing object can still be modified. This sounds a little shady to me, but what can I say other than “Wiki told me so!”

Copy:

Copy is a setting that allows the owner to make as many copies as they see fit. Each copied item will maintain all the properties found in the originating object. These include all the creator information.

If the object is set to copy but contains other objects that are set to no-copy then these objects must be removed before the containing object can be copied. This does not apply in reverse, any objects contained within a no-copy object can still be copied if they don’t share the same setting.

Transfer:

Transfer is a setting that allows the owner to transfer the object from one person to another. If the object is set to no-transfer then the object cannot be given away, sold, released or embedded in another object that is transferable.

The transfer setting can only be modified by the owner as no one else can initiate a transfer. When an item is transferred the next owner field is duplicated in the owner field and new permissions are recalculated. I don’t truly understand this process but am assured that it does in fact work.

May 13, 2011 / smellydrinks

EVE Online Community

A community I participate in regularly is an EVE Online community.

EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online sci-fi space game (MMOSSG) with a scope that is daunting when viewed at a glance. The game itself is essentially a third person space shooter/trader where the player does what they can to advance in the game by making as much game currency as possible. This can be done in a variety of ways but there is little doubt that this is more easily achieved when part of an in-game community. To put the size of this game into perspective it is important to note that EVE has only one game world for all players to play in. This single world is made up of more than 5,000 star systems and is filled with more than a million players.

I participate in a community that calls itself “Sativa Industries”. These communities are referred to as corporations in EVE Online.

Sativa industries are a relatively small community when compared to many others in EVE Online. We have about 25 – 30 players in our community, this can be put into perspective when compared to other in game communities that can have up to 100,000 players.

The corporations themselves can also have differing levels of cooperation with other corporations. These relationships range from being friends to set in stone alliances. At the other end of the scale is war. Some EVE corporations live for war and this is often reflected in their choice of name.

There are middle ground levels of cooperation as well, for instance some of the industries types that our community uses as a way to increase in game wealth requires large amounts of resources. The amount of these resources required is so vast that it is difficult and expensive to own enough ships with the cargo capacity needed to ship them. For this we employ corporations that specialize in transporting goods at a fee. Our corporation then uses these resources (mostly metals and ship components) to build expensive ships that can be sold for vast amounts of game currency (ISK).

Sativa industries are somewhat different to other corporations because of the place we call home. This is also the place where we have placed all of our very expensive factories and installations for the building of spacecraft. Because of the vast amounts of game currency invested in these installations they need to be in a very secure place.

This image shows my Hurricane Battlecruiser infront of a wormhole entrance:

The place that has been chosen for this is inside a wormhole. A wormhole is a small section of space that can hold one or more star systems that are not connected to the game world by the star gates that normally facilitate travel between star systems. The only way to get to these star systems hidden within the wormholes is to find a worm hole and dive into it. This can be a very dangerous thing to do as you might appear in another very unsafe solar system that is completely controlled by a corporation that is dedicated to piracy or the wormhole itself may have certain properties that are dangerous as well. It is important to note that the entrances to these wormholes regularly disappear and reappear in places that can be very far apart.

Our corporation’s wormhole is a relatively stable one that has mostly benign properties and has long since been cleared of rival corporations that may also like it as a base. One of our corporation’s rules is that there must always be one or more players in the wormhole star system that we call home so that when the wormhole moves they can pop through and tell our other members or the transport corporations we employ how to get back in.

The small size of our corporation allows all its members to get to know each other reasonably well. We chat regularly using the in game chat system or talk on the Ventrilo server (voice over IP software) provided for our use by one of our members.

My Battlecruiser orbiting a ringed planet:

We are a close knit clan dedicated to making money and having fun. We support each other on our endeavours and quite often explore the galaxy as a group or do missions together that would be difficult to complete alone. Though because of the vast distances that a player must traverse in order to congregate as a group in EVE, more often than not our community interactions are not so much game related but simply friends chatting as we each play the game on our own.

April 17, 2011 / smellydrinks

MUVE Viewers

Second Life Viewer 2:

Who it is developed by:

The Second Life Viewer 2 was developed by Linden Labs as the newest version if the official Second Life Viewer.

What functionality it provides

The Second Life Viewer allows the user to do all the things that the world has to offer, from social chatting to world creation. It provides the user with all the tools to do anything to do with second life. It is well suited to new users but does miss the mark on some of the more complex functions.

How easy is it to use:

While it was the first viewer I used to explore the second life world I felt as if most of the things that a new user wanted to do were to be found in places a user would expect to find them. However its clunky interface is frustrating at times.

How it compares to others:

As with most of the viewer I have used so far it’s a difficult comparison due to the similarities forced on all Second Life Viewers in order for them to perform all the functions that the world allows.

What your impressions of it are:

I felt a niggling dislike for this viewer right from the get go. The inventory system is clumsy and the building tools annoying. I felt sure that it was running slower despite speed being reliant on network speeds above all else. Reading through blogs led me to understand that many others felt as I do about it. This may well be one of the reasons that there have been so many offshoots of slightly different viewers.

Imprudence:

Who it is developed by:

Imprudence is a standalone viewer that is not affiliated with Second Life though it is heavily based on the Second Life Viewer. The Project was started by a group of second life enthusiast that were disgruntled by what was provided by the Second Life Viewer 2, but development was started by two main people, McCabe Maxsted and Jacek Anatonelli.

What functionality it provides:

Imprudence is basically just the Second Life Viewer 2 with a different skin and a few different functions. For the most part it’s essentially the same.

Ease of Use and Comparisons:

While the interface itself is relatively similar to the Second Life Viewer, Imprudence does seem to have a feel of efficiency to it. Anyone who has had any experience using the official viewer will be right at home and probably fall in love with this viewer.

What your impressions of it are:

Frankly, I like it. It seems to do nearly everything slightly better. The building tools in particular feel vastly superior to many others.

April 17, 2011 / smellydrinks

MUVE Platforms

Minecraft:

Minecraft is a sandbox multiplayer construction game created by Markus Person (“Notch”), with music by Daniel Rosenfeld (“C418”), and artwork by Kristoffer Zetterstrand.

The game itself is an open world construction game that allows the User to break or place three dimensional objects in a three dimensional environment. The game exudes a nearly nostalgic look with very low textures and a world created entirely of cubes of differing substances. This gives a User nearly unheard of freedom to place or move any terrain in a way that makes nearly any construction idea plausible. This is enhanced by a multiplayer option that gives this game the label of MUVE. Players are able to Work together on servers that only have a theoretical player limit, in worlds that are limited in size only the by hardware its run on.

It runs very well on relatively low spec hardware.

The game is currently still in Beta and is set to be formally released in November. This means the game is being regularly updated and improved on. Regardless the game runs very well and gives a feeling of freedom that is hard to find anywhere else.

Second Life Platform:

Who it is developed by:

Second Life was developed by Linden Labs in 2003

What functionality it provides:

Second Life is a large world filled with rented lands that a user can use to build nearly anything that he or she can imagine. Extra functionality is provided by a second life’s own scripting language.

How well it runs:

The performance of Second Life is based primarily on the network connection speeds available from where you are connecting from. As a whole streaming everything does not seem to be an effective way to produce results. Frankly I can’t imagine what this program would have run like with the Internet speeds as they were in 2003.

How it is used:

Second Life provides an effective social medium for both personal and business purposes. It allows people to meet in nearly any situation for any reason and supports text chat and more recently Voice chat.

How it compares to others:

It appears that Second Life is one of the first successful MUVE environments to be produced. It’s also the most long lived by far.

What your impressions of it are:

Second Life is a very functional world that has a level of functionality that is nearly unbeaten by any other MUVE platform. It’s just a shame that it does not run as well as it could.

February 23, 2011 / smellydrinks

Introduction to Virtual Worlds:

What is a virtual world?

By definition a computer based virtual world is a virtual environment that allows users to interact in a 3d environment. This environment may take many different forms and may not even be 3d.

Some of the most well known examples are Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMO’s) that can involve vast numbers of players in single or multiple game worlds. World of Warcraft and EVE Online are good examples of this.

EVE Online currently holds the record for the largest number of players a single gaming world, nearly 1.5 million players!

Some people believe that these games are not indeed true “Virtual World’s” due to them all taking place in a static environment. This is where the virtual worlds like Second Life differ from their gaming equivalents. Second Life and its counterparts allow users to own large areas of real estate to develop and build as they see fit.

What is interesting to me about virtual worlds?

Virtual worlds to me are a way to communicate with a variety of people and to behave in a fashion that you may not be able to in RL. They allow a vast number of people to be brought together in a variety of different ways that would have been unlikely to meet otherwise.

How important do you think virtual worlds are now?

Virtual are at present a financial gold mine for those that can create a game that can stand the test of time. They represent an amazing business model that involves very little product creation after initial release with fantastic revenue capabilities and relatively minor overheads.

At this time most non gaming virtual worlds are a curiosity. While there is no denying that it is possible to make money in these worlds the possibilities are limited by current technology.

How important do you think virtual worlds will be in 5-10 years?

As our level of technical prowess increases the relevance of a virtual environment as a having a day to day use has HUGE potential. It is easily conceivable that people that currently shop via a web browser can instead walk through virtual malls and shops. The business possibilities for this are endless and may even eventually lead to web based shopping becoming obsolete.

I personally have a wish to charge, sword in hand, down a hill to do battle!

AAaaaaarrrrrrrg!