Thursday, August 28, 2014

Avatar Social Network : The First Facebook for Virtual Worlds ( and Second Life, of Course)

By Wesley Regenbogen
Avatar Social Network ( ) is owned and operated by AP Holdings. It’s the first social network that doesn’t ask for your real life name, but asks for your Second Life name or any other virtual name you might have in other virtual worlds. They offer a free registration process. Also they offer a peaceful and friendly environment where people can share, create friendships, post photos and can be friends with each other. This is all supervised by admins and moderators, though.
Once you are registered, you can start posting, sharing and do other activities on the website and get credits for doing something on the website. Once you get a certain amount of credits, you can be rewarded in-world ( Second Life or another virtual world you are registered in ). This is why the website is a fast growing community for virtual worlds and games and where members are truly appreciated not by the rewarding system itself, but by other members as well.
You can also sign up with Facebook and Twitter, which is a bit odd, because Facebook and Twitter are more related to Real Life, right? Nevertheless, this new virtual worlds oriented social network does seem to be growing ever since it has been created. There is the ability to create groups, I created two already, while writing this article. You can also post your thoughts on the forums and you can also create your blog there. Posting videos and adding your virtual world employment to the social network are also possible. There is even a section where you can give or receive gifts. You can search with the “Search” feature, which is obvious, of course. You can add your own pages to the social network as well.
Chatting with your friends, similar to Facebook, is also possible, as well as sending private messages to each other. Playing games on Avatar Social Network, the so-called ASN Games are also available. This is more like what you can do on Facebook as well.
Well, to make a long story very short : Avatar Social Network is the Virtual Facebook for every avatar around the globe, whether you are in Second Life or another MMO or game, you want Avatar Social Network to get credits, both on the site and in-world, to get you started !
You can find Avatar Social Network ( ASN ) ATMs around in Second Life, but I don’t know if there’s a Avatar Social Network place within Second Life.

Wesley Regenbogen

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Commentary: Virtual Worlds "To Game or Not to Game?"

By Wesley Regenbogen
To Game or Not to Game? That’s the question …
Some players confuse a virtual world with a game, simply because they often have a game history and play games offline and online. Although games have become very mainstream, nowadays there are many MMOs that are playable online and mostly for free.
Virtual worlds versus Games
Role-playing and creation of objects in-world
In a normal game you play a “role” in the game. In virtual worlds you can also “play” a character but most users are themselves in most cases at least. The lack of the need to fullfill objectives, makes room for other capabilities and other functionalities within the virtual world. For instance, the ability to create objects.
Most virtual worlds are almost entirely created by it’s residents. This means that many people have devoted their time to making content for the virtual world in question. Thus, all that you see is made by residents. There are no companies involved to create all what has been made in-world. Many companies only “offered the land” for creative minds to create objects and let other residents explore the world created.
Virtual Money vs Real Economy
Another huge difference between games and virtual worlds is the fact that there is a virtual economy set inside the virtual environment. You can get a virtual job in-world and get paid virtual money. The amount of virtual money you receive for a virtual job can be different from one job to another.
There is a way to convert your virtual cash into real money, using a sort of exchange in-world or on a website. These exchange services are services created to allow residents of the virtual worlds to trade their virtual money into real US Dollars ( and maybe other currencies as well ). You are able to buy virtual money or sell your virtual money to trade into US Dollars or vice versa. As in real life exchange the exchange rates can fluxuate, so be aware.
When buying virtual money and you are logged in-world already it can take a few minutes for the database to be synchronized. So, this means that the virtual world and the real world economy are bonded together.
Getting Involved
Within the virtual worlds it’s easy to get involved and a wide community of residents is ready to help you whenever they can. Either by creating objects or starting a business in-world or by helping newbies to get adapted to this environment.
Real Life versus Virtual Life
Obtaining Virtual Cash in the virtual world
Just like in real life you sometimes need (virtual) money in the virtual worlds. There are different ways to obtain money in the virtual world.
Firstly, in most virtual worlds you can take on a “job” and gain virtual money that way.
Second option is to buy virtual cash with real life money, which is the most likely option, in most cases.
Third option is making objects or trade objects with other residents and sell those for the best price on the virtual market.
Communicating through an avatar
In real life we communicate through face-to-face conversations and discussing with each other. In most virtual worlds this is also possible, but there is a different approach.
With your avatar, which is a virtual representation of yourself in cyberspace ( the virtual world ) you can interact with other avatars and discuss with them about various topics.
It’s often hard to find people that share the same idea or have the same opinion in the virtual world. Luckily, in many virtual worlds there is the ability to join groups or something similar. When joining a group, you can share ideas or discuss whatever topic the group has and connect with people that share the mutual ideas. Most groups are free to join, however, some may cost you some virtual money to join.
Moving around in the virtual world
Moving around in the different virtual worlds can be either by walking around, flying, or using a vehicle or flying object to transport your avatar around in the virtual reality. Although in most virtual worlds this aspect is different, depending on which virtual world you are in, the main goal is the same : getting around as quickly and smoothly as possible.
In some virtual worlds it could take a while to transport from one place to another. Teleporters and alike are also available in most virtual worlds, allowing avatars to quickly go from one place to another.
As we learn, it turns out that some virtual worlds have game aspects and some don't. Either way, it's not easy to name a virtual worlds as “game” or “not game” but virtual world. But on the other hand, the social and economic systems have similarities. We might conclude that a virtual world is often not a game and could be named “virtual world” instead. Although, personal opinions may vary and are open for discussion, my personal opinion is that I always refer to “virtual world” and not “game” as it comes to online virtual worlds.
Please feel free to comment on this topic and let me know what you think about this subject.

Wesley Regenbogen

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Second Advice: Blowing Off Steam

By Nydia and Brandi Tungsten


   How many of us have wanted to scream that phase at our computer or gaming console because the game we were playing just handed us our butts? Or, we raged at an MMO like World of Tanks or World of Warcraft?

   I am here to give you all the best advice on the net about that when it happens to you…….quit!

    No, not rage quit or give up the game, just stop for now or go to another game.

Games are supposed to be enjoyable, something we do to relax and have fun with, hence to word “play." Too many it seems have forgotten that simple fact and feel they must continue to reach a “daily goal” in order to get a bonus or perk that is dangled in front of us like a carrot on a stick. MMOs make use of this to make sure that they can keep players, providing fun for us is secondary to them.

    So, to make sure you still have fun, walk away when you have had enough from the frustration of a game and go do something else. I have almost 100 games on my PC alone, and I play every one of them.

   I have been told by others, “I can’t play any other game because I HAVE to beat this one." Uhm…no you don’t. You play a game until it’s not fun anymore. One way or another, you will probably stop playing it anyways. Either from frustration to the point where you don’t even want to even THINK about getting on that system because you know it is there, or you rage quit and give up on games completely. As for rage quitting, we have all done it, we get so mad we can’t even think straight and hit the power button….literally.

   When you start feeling the heat of anger building, instead of raging at the “Noobs” and telling them that they all need to die in a fire…. step back and ask yourself this, “Am I having fun?” and if the answer is “No”, then log off and move on to something else. Just like in our real-life lives, if you don’t enjoy something, why do it? ( and no, I am not talking about work so don’t blame me if you quit your job *grin*)   Things like, fishing, hiking, bike riding, long walks off of short piers…..

If you don’t enjoy it, why do it? We have a choice, not to mention a duty to ourselves to stay as stress free possible. Even if you REALLY like a game, like Minecraft for example, there have been times I have had to walk away, for many reasons, one of which if you have ever played with me you KNOW how I feel about creeper swarms (shudders). I get SO FERKIN FRUSTRATED I WANT TO   S C R E A M ! !

   But I log out, get some coffee and go on to something else like World of Tanks, WarThunder, Space Engineers, SL, whatever and I play that for a while. Whatever you do, have fun with it.  It’s not worth your anger and rage to TRY and have fun, because if you’re feeling that …. you’re not.

   So for the first time since I started writing for the Newser, I am giving you all homework. Find a new game you have never played before and try it, have fun with it, if you don’t like it, delete it and try another.

   Now I can hear you all saying “Right, like we’re made of money and rush out to buy games.” You don’t have to buy anything. There are enough free games out there that you can get several good ones with nothing out of pocket. A good source for free games is Steam ( They have a LOT of them and Steam is free to join. There are other sites as well, but I have not fully explored those yet so I can’t recommend them.

   But find something and give it a try, and if you find a good one, let me know and I will review it here.
As always, until next time, GOOD GAMING TO YOU!!  (and have some fun)

Nydia Tungsten

Friday, August 1, 2014

Commentary: Hackings On the ADI Combat Group

By TheonlyJohnny

In SL, hackings are not new. They've occurred in SL, and all across the web, for years. So it isn't really news that they have occurred. However, recently, there has been a spike in the number of hackings.

In the last month of so, there has been at least 4 hackings, in ADI alone. This is not only strange, due to the fact that all these hacked accounts are in ADI, but also due to the fact that all are amazing fighters for ADI. Looking at the hacked accounts, one can see that it doesn't look random. In fact, it looks like a way to bring down ADI.

**Please note, I will not disclose the names of any of the accounts that have been hacked, for privacy reasons, among other reasons**

The Proof:

Let's take a look at the first account. It has been recovered, however, the account is that of one of the best fighters in all of ADI. He doesn't give up, and he's proficient in all ADI weapons, making him a force to be reckoned with. Like I said, the account has been recovered, however it was still hacked.

The second account to be hacked, also has been recovered. This account is that of an officer in ADI, and of course, another amazing fighter. This account is also proficient in all ADI weapons, and is one of the most beloved accounts, by ADI members.

The third account to be hacked, remains closed. This account is also that of one of the best fighters ADI has ever seen. This account has been with ADI for a while, and has been trained constantly, making this another force to be reckoned with.

The fourth account, a newer member of ADI, remains closed as well. Despite being new to ADI, this account is still that of an amazing ADI fighter. From spot on aim, to amazing use of surroundings, this account knows a thing or two about combat, making me glad it was on my side.

Though the toppling of ADI is just this reporters opinion, the facts do support it. One thing is for sure, you better keep a close eye on your accounts, if you're in SLMC. There is no telling who is next. The best advice I can give, change your password often, and make it extremely difficult.

Theonlyjohnny Resident