A couple of years ago, for my birthday, my beloved invested in a really snazzy monitor for me. Boasting a glorious widescreen it was (and still is) a thing of beauty.
To be honest guys I don’t know the first thing about tech, but I do appreciate a good gadget when I see one. It was, and still is a great gift and shows how completely in tune me and my fella are with each other; he recognised that my Second Life was important to me and bought me something to enhance my enjoyment of it even further.
If that’s not true love then I don’t know what is, and and I adore my big monitor, I really do.
But in all the time I’ve had it I’ve only used it to within a fraction of its potential. Why? Because it has 3d capabilities, and was purchased under the sadly misguided impression that surely one day Linden Lab would introduce a 3D viewer.
Thing is I don’t play any games as such. Second Life is the only virtual reality that I occupy my time with so I was counting on the lab to get their arses in gear and release a 3D viewer. And of course it never happened. You really do have to question the priorities of our overlords sometimes..
So even though I use my beautiful monitor on a daily basis, the accompanying glasses have been carefully secreted away in their packaging with all hope fading that a 3D viewer would ever appear.
I’m pretty sure they would have stayed hidden away in their box had I not thrown a proper virtual hissy fit on Sunday. Second Life was being a pig and not loading for me, so I decided to have a nosey on the wiki page and see what other viewers were out there. (I don’t bother with alternate viewers as a rule; I have dabbled, but the standard release viewer has always been more than enough for my needs. ) I was being sassy and thinking that if the official viewer wasn’t playing ball, then perhaps an alternate held the key to my getting back in the world. (Like that’s ever worked before, right?)
So I loaded the page and began scanning the contents. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, and then these magical words leapt out at me: The CtrlAltStudio Viewer has been set up to try out and share a number of ideas, the first being stereoscopic 3D display.
I squealed. Jez came running, and we both rubbed our eyes at what we saw; a 3D viewer release. OMFG! Could it be?!! Could it even work on my monitor? We checked the specs. Yes, in theory it would. But I didn’t dare get my hopes up, what if it didn’t work once installed? It took a while. There were various issues with my machine and my 3D glasses had been out of action for so long that they didn’t have any charge. Also, my graphics card was way past its prime and I was having enough trouble logging in anyway without the extra stress that a 3d viewer would surely impart.
Fortunately for me, beloved had a winning card up his sleeve. Most women on their Fortieth birthdays would, I’m sure, be happy with a bouquet of flowers, some fine wines, Belgian chocolates and perhaps a piece of statement jewellery. I on the other hand am clearly not like most ladies and asked for the one thing that I knew would make my life rather more smashing than it already is.. brand, spanking new graphics card! Jez allowed the birthday fairies to deliver and install my card early and it was with some apprehension that we loaded the 3D viewer..
And there it was. Second Life in 3D. I’m not exaggerating but my eyes were moist!
I panned around my virtual abode and I was seriously overcome with emotion. THIS was the one experience I’d been desperate to have in my virtual life. I wanted to really feel the dimensions of the space around me, and live just a little more in my virtual guise. By the power of 3D (not Greyskull) I finally could.
Not only that but the objects around me were suddenly more dazzling to me than ever before. I felt I could reach out and grab the Schadenfreude Chibi cats I had arranged neatly in a row. The pages from the Lark Imaginarium Librarium were floating in the sky desperate for me to reach out and take them. The cup of coffee on my desk was steaming and inviting me to take more than my usual virtual sip.
This was no longer my Second Life, it had suddenly become something much more real, and all through the magic that is 3D.
You know, I actually think that it’s fate that I should discover this viewer now. The introduction of mesh has been fully embraced by the grid, and now more items are being made that are materials ready. It all adds to the virtual experience, and my stereoscopic enhancement was taking it to another level. Walking around my home (and you know how much I treasure my virtual space) I really was blown away. But just as it got good, it got even better. Just for devilment I decided to try to rez at The Arcade. Things have quietened down now after all, so I figured I would stand a good chance of getting in and it struck me that the environment would be ripe for in-depth exploration of the 3D kind.
Oh I wasn’t wrong. The experience was nothing short of sensational. Walking down the pier to The Arcade entrance I was captivated by the benches and lamps that I passed. They were within touching distance, and they were real! It was uncanny. As for the concessions stand? I could practically reach out and grab the pretzel and really hold it in my hand. If only I could take a bite! Walking into the venue was another experience entirely. Suddenly every Gacha stood out like never before as I passed, each one just begging me to reach out, touch and play them. Panning up to look at the roof for the first time was an experience I’ll never forget; here I was in a virtual world yet it suddenly, totally felt like I was gazing out into the sky watching the clouds pass by.
It’s been a few days since I enjoyed my initial 3D experiences. I’ve had no issues at all with the 3D, although for some reason my movement using my Space Navigator is completely awry when using the CtrlAltStudio viewer (if I switch to the normal viewer it’s fine). No matter; for the sake of enjoying this experience I can certainly live with having to navigate my Second Life the old-fashioned way.
Today I’ve visited The Seasons Story in 3Dmode and I can tell you it was absolutely dazzling. It seems to me that well-curated shopping events are even more enhanced when viewed this way. Not only that, but so is interacting with other avatars. I was very nearly whipped by the tail of a she-devil as she walked past me earlier; I actually flinched at my desk as she walked past expecting a hefty clout from her appendage! It’s true to say that this 3D interface has taken my immersion in-world to an even greater level. I really, really hope that this viewer is cultivated and supported by fellow avatars keen to experience their virtual lives in 3D. If you have the equipment please consider trying it out and I promise you won’t be disappointed. I am so excited by it, as you can probably tell!
As I finish this piece I want to send a huge thank you out to Strachan Ofarrel who has brought this viewer to the grid.
Strachan, your work has truly made a difference to how I’ll be experiencing Second Life from now on, and you’ve finally enabled me to enjoy a birthday present that I received (almost two years to the day )and had sadly resigned myself to never using!
I really do think it was fate that finally intervened and helped me find my way to the downloads page and discover your viewer, and I wish you every success with it.
Oh, and a final note dear reader, you know the Lab are working on an Oculus Rift compatible viewer?
You’ll already find one on Strachan’s page…jus’ sayin’!