Virtual office for training


What a Fake Office Says About Real Ones

If you like to take a break from work by messing around on Facebook, you now have a strange option: slacking off on your real job by joining a fake office. At Fast Company, Justine Sharrock reports on “business live action role play,” or BLARPing, specifically as practiced in the Facebook group Generic Office Roleplay. She explains: “Over 2,500 members from around the world fill its virtual pages with posts that mimic office-wide emails. There are passive aggressive notes about food stolen out of the fridge, mandates about office dress and office supplies, and tips for improving synergy. Think TV’s ‘The Office’ meets David Rees’s clip Art cartoons, ‘My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable’ meets live action role play (LARP), all happening on Facebook.” ….[READ]

How and when is law applicable online?


When Uber and Airbnb Meet the Real World

on-demand apps that connect people who need something (a driver, a house cleaner, a grocery shopper) with people who want to do the job. On Thursday, the New York State attorney general said most Airbnb listings in the city violated zoning and other laws. Officials in California and Pennsylvania recently warned car services like Uber and Lyft that they might be unlawful. And workers’ rights advocates have questioned whether the people who provide these services should receive benefits, spurred by recent reports that some Homejoy house cleaners are homeless. Why have these companies run into so many problems? Part of the reason is that they think of themselves as online companies — yet they mostly operate in the offline world. ….[READ]

Are video gamers ready to be less sexist?


Gamergate: A Scandal Erupts in the Video-Game Community

At this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards, the closest the video-game industry has to an Oscars ceremony, Anita Sarkeesian received the Ambassador Award, a prize that honors individuals who help the industry “advance to a better place” through advocacy or action. Sarkeesian, a Canadian-American feminist and media critic, won the award for creating a series of videos titled Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which discuss and challenge sexism and misogyny in gaming. “My … project was born out of a desire to … take gaming seriously,” she said in her acceptance speech, adding that game developers can “portray women as capable, complex, and inspirational.” Earlier, the award ceremony’s organizers had received an anonymous e-mail that stated, “A bomb will be detonated at the Game Developers Choice award ceremony tonight unless Anita Sarkeesian’s Ambassador Award is revoked. We estimate the bomb will kill at least a dozen people and injure dozens more. It would be in your best interest to accept our simple request. This is not a joke. You have been warned.” ….[READ]

Gaming without platforms


Forget Windows, forget OS X, forget Linux: Humble Bundle is going truly multiplatform

The Humble Bundles offer a variety of interesting games at low prices, with the idea that selling in volume will make up for the lower per-game price. So far they’ve been correct, with the bundles raising large amounts of money for both the developers involved in the bundle and a rotating selection of charities. Players are also offered a bonus if they pay over the average price, and that bonus usually includes more games or soundtracks. The latest bundle offers something different, however. The games have been ported to a platform-agnostic Humble wrapper that will allow you to play each of the games inside your browser, no matter if you’re using a Linux, Mac or Windows-based system. This is a new frontier for Humble, and they’re excited about what it means for the future. ….[READ]

Is Oculus Rift for everybody?


Oculus Rift: ‘virtual reality is still niche – it’s hard to service millions’

Virtual reality is still a niche product, a senior executive at Oculus Rift has said, dismissing the potential of mass market success because the business and the technology is not ready to scale. Oculus Rift is well resourced after being acquired by Facebook for $2bn earlier in 2014. Yet its recent partnership with Korean electronics firm Samsung to launch the Gear VR headset, which attaches the powerful Galaxy Note 4 to a headset to create a virtual reality device, will remain a niche product says Max Cohen, Oculus’s vice-president for mobile. Cohen doesn’t want iPhone-style success yet because, he says, “it’s really hard to service millions of users at once”. ….[READ]

Are virtual actors better than human?

studios digital

At CounterPunch Studios, actors’ digital doubles come to life

Like a scene in a science fiction movie, actor Robbie Amell stands inside a giant aluminum globe, staring into hundreds of bright lights and a half-dozen cameras pointed at him. “Brows up, eyes open, take one” a technician tells Amell, who promptly arches his eyebrows and makes big bug eyes. “Three, two, one,” the technician says. The lights flash, and cameras click in machine-gun-fire succession to capture Amell’s astonished expression. “Feels like ‘A Clockwork Orange,'” says Amell, referring to the famous scene in the movie in which Alex (Malcolm McDowell) is strapped to a chair and his eyes are pried open while he is forced to watch violent scenes. ….[READ]

How to create virtual environments



LIDAR accelerates virtual building

Anyone who has worked on the production side of virtual environments can attest that content creation and scene development is a costly and time consuming endeavor. Depending on the complexity and fidelity of the scene, production can easily become the highest expense of the project. In more traditional virtual environments such as Unreal 3, CryEngine, Big World, Arma3, and Delta3D, highly skilled graphic artists are required to create the static meshes using Maya, 3DSMax, or Blender. People have to create textures that are in alignment with resolution and quality standards of the target platform. The process is much like a movie production and takes exhaustive planning. The Second Life and OpenSimulator platforms are different. ….[READ]