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Linden Lab To Launch '3D Voice' in Second Life

2007-02-27 00:00:00 UTC

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Linden Lab To Launch '3D Voice' in Second Life

Residents of Virtual World Will Enjoy Richer, More Dynamic Communication, Including Spatial Awareness Capability

San Francisco, CA — February 27, 2007 — Linden Lab®, creator of virtual world Second Life®, has announced that it will be adding voice capabilities to the Second Life Grid, as part of its ongoing drive toward creating a richer, more immersive virtual environment.

The voice capabilities will enable Second Life Residents to speak to each other if they wish, in addition to the current Instant Messaging and chat functions. Linden Lab anticipates that voice will be particularly valuable to Resident groups such as educators, non-profits and businesses, who might use Second Life as a collaborative tool for learning and training.

Linden Lab is the leading company in its field to offer integrated communication capabilities with 3D "proximity-based" voice communication. It uses spatial awareness, taking distance and direction into account, for a more realistic "in-world" voice experience. When speaking, Residents' avatars will become animated according to the intensity of speech volume.

"The addition of Voice marks a natural progression in the ongoing evolution of Second Life," said Joe Miller, Vice President, Platform & Technology Development at Linden Lab. "We believe Voice is a transformative technology that will change the way Residents communicate, and will lend more immediacy and dynamism to their interaction with others. For example, academic institutions could use the voice feature of Second Life to carry out lectures, corporations could use it for customer training and friends can simply catch up with each other."

"Voice has always been part of the long-term plan for the Second Life Grid, as we feel it will help Residents become more immersed in their virtual lives," said Philip Rosedale, CEO at Linden Lab. "Our approach is to give Residents the tools to create their own unique experience, and we're hoping that many of them will develop new ways to use voice which will ultimately enrich the collective evolution of Second Life."

"Many of the projects my students and I are working on in Second Life will benefit from voice, as we often work with our hands, designing, building and creating," said Terry Beaubois, AIA, Professor of Architecture at Montana State University. "Voice will enable us to communicate and collaborate freely, and I'm looking forward to exploring its use."

A private beta program on a test-grid for 1,000 users will be launched next week, before a Grid-wide beta trial, which will give current Second Life Residents the opportunity to explore the benefits of voice-enabled communication. A formal launch is scheduled for Q2, 2007.

For more information on the beta program, please visit: http://blog.secondlife.com/

Using Second Life Voice

    • Voice will be enabled throughout Second Life, and will be available to all Residents.

    • To use the voice option, Residents must have a computer headset connected to their PC or Mac. Residents simply log into the Second Life Grid and can automatically start speaking to others on voice-enabled land.

    • Mainland 'parcel' landowners can choose to disable the voice option on their land at their own discretion.

    • Private island owners will have the option to enable voice on their own land, dependent on the terms of their subscription. 

    • There will be several usage scenarios available in terms of group and private one-to-one conversations:

      Scenario 1 - Residents can teleport to voice-enabled land, and automatically start speaking, with the volume of speech modified according to their spatial relationship with others. Up to 100 users can be present in the same audio channel at once

      Scenario 2 - Group conference calls for two or more Residents. This enables Residents to communicate with large groups across geographical boundaries (e.g. concert setting, or between pockets of land etc).

      Scenario 3 - One-to-one personal communication. This enables Residents to privately share a conversation, which can be initiated by an Instant Message. Residents don't have to be on voice-enabled land to do this.

 

  • Core voice capabilities are provided by Vivox, under the terms of a service agreement with Linden Lab, incorporating 3D voice technology from DiamondWare. 

Second Life and Linden Lab

Second Life is a 3D online world with a rapidly growing population from more than 100 countries around the globe, in which the Residents themselves create and build the world which includes homes, vehicles, nightclubs, stores, landscapes, clothing, and games.

The Second Life Grid is a sophisticated development platform created by Linden Lab, a company founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale, to create a revolutionary new form of shared 3D experience. The former CTO of RealNetworks, Rosedale pioneered the development of many of today's streaming media technologies, including RealVideo. In April 2003, noted software pioneer Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corporation, was named Chairman. In 2006, Philip Rosedale and Linden Lab received WIRED's Rave Award for Innovation in Business. Based in San Francisco, Linden Lab employs a senior team bringing together deep expertise in physics, 3D graphics and networking.

Note to editors: Second Life® and Linden Lab® are registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.