Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Avatar Review: 1st Act Mesh Werewolf

By Xymbers Slade

In thinking along the lines of "Go Mesh or Go Home", I decided to go through my old landmarks and see if any other of my favorite avatar makers had also gone mesh. Cue 1st Act, makers of werewolves. I've spent quite a lot of $L on their werewolves (their originals --- the "big buff wolf" in my pictures --- cost 1950 $L per color of wolf and I have over a dozen) and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they too had "gone mesh" with a new variety of werewolf.

The starting werewolf comes in three flavors (each for 1250 $L) --- Timber, Shadow and Arctic. Off to one side, there's also a vendor for re-skinning (at 650 $L a skin) where you buy a little hud that you click to change the basic color of the body. Simple and easy. There's a shop next to the vendor that has basic mesh clothes to fit the body (I settled on a dress for 450). The hud for controlling the wolf allows you to control the expression of the wolf (there's about a dozen programmed expressions, and five different hand positions) as well as controls for the ears, eyes and mouth.

Missing from the hud is a howl or snarl sound effect gesture like from their originals as well as an option for coloring eyes (those are now human-esque and need to be bought separately (at 150 $L per variety, coming in black background with "rich color", natural, evil eyes or cybernetical), but I think that's just a minor nitpick as the mesh is really well done. My only real nitpick is that the mesh isn't easily editable; in an effort to make my female wolf a bit bustier, nothing changes from the "edit my shape" menu when I go to edit (well, the shape changes but is hidden by an alpha layer; the mesh doesn't change with the avatar shape as the two are different things).

So that's that. A short and sweet write up on the new 1st Act mesh werewolves which I am going to rate at 4 dragon hoards out of 5 --- I think the skins and the clothing could be a bit cheaper, and I would have liked to see a few more gestures like snarling, scratching, tail-flicking, etc. It's a good choice if you want to upgrade your avatar to a mesh skin (that and it's hard to find clothes  for the female bigger buff original versions that -aren't- harem wear, so I was looking for something new). These new mesh wolves can be found at the 1st Act Main Store.

Xymbers Slade

Monday, January 20, 2014

SS Galaxy Art Exhibits

By Gemma Cleanslate

Visiting the Galaxy is always fun since there are always events taking place somewhere on the ship , or fun games to play, or exercise, or a visit to the Port of call which at this time is Dublin. Check out the events at the blog .

I went over to the three sim ship to check out the latest art exhibits taking place on board. My visit to the International Gallery in the Aft part of the ship was a walk through a display of lithographic prints  placed by Nicolo Anthony, of  Second Life New England, and a real-life art curator. There are many pieces I have seen before in real life. Currier and Ives works were very popular back in the victorian times for household decoration. 
After that I made a stop in the Nova Straaf Gallery midship where several artists are displaying their art in various mediums. In one corner is a splash of color, and in the other subtle beauty so you get to see many techniques in one place.
 My last stop was at the Ransome Gallery in the forward part of the ship which winds around the entire 2nd deck there. This is a holiday showing . There are lovely photographs from various sims in sl, one of the lighthouse I visited last week, and another from LEA of the Portuguese castle that I recognized.  One wall is covered with various vintage  holiday greetings, very sweet. Just walk along the deck to see all the pieces. I found several interesting  3d creations by my friend Neeks Karu against the other wall. .
There are pieces from these artists in both galleries: Blaize Batra, Fuschia Nightfire, Moeuhane Sandalwood, Sanspareil London, Antenna Rae, Asmita Duranjaya, Burk Bode, Em Larsso, Moeuhane Sandalwood, Neeks Karu “ you are certain to find something that speaks to you and have a wonderful time looking as well.” There are always exhibits at these galleries to view and also along the deck walls all over the ship so take a long walk while you are there. 
Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Avatar Review: Spider Productions Dragon Guardian

By Xymber Slade

Wandering around Second Life, these days I tend to wander the Social Islands, where new residents start out. In between dodging simcrashers, trolls, religious nuts, "free lindens, click here" signpost-wearing bots, and mic-screamers, I came across someone wearing a huge mesh dragon. It was really well done and when I found out the dragon was by Spider Productions, my interest was raised (as I have some of their original dragons and they do good work). Naturally, I hopped over to the Spider Productions mainstore to have myself a look.

Spider Productions makes quite a lot of things, from medieval armor and weapons, some jewelry, to multiple avatars (the Dragon Lord, an anthro shark, an anthro fox and a "freak" which looks like a rabbit-ized version of a Crux).

This newest mesh dragon of theirs is billed as "over one and a half years of blood, sweat, patience and experimentation" and quite honestly I think they did a good job. The dragon stands in at about three or four times the height of a normal human avatar (about the size of an adult Seawolf dragon, for comparison). It's very Godzilla-like in its bipedal form, which was a slight turn off for me but I quickly put it out of my head as I messed about with the HUDs. There are quite a lot of different options on an actions hud, 12 different dragon sounds (the roar of which they reuse from their original dragons, but I think that's a shortcut they're allowed to take), and they can both take a rider and carry people in their claws while flying (which is something I haven't tried yet).

The work that went into this avatar is plainly visible, and the only complaints I had while stomping around with it (there's a "stomp footstep" sound that can be toggled on and off) was that the anatomy looked a little weird and that the body shouldn't be supported on such short thin legs. Well tough, this is Second Life, things can look how we want them to look (grin) These dragons are also able to go into a quad mode (there's a shape and a mod attachment to move the feet to the right shape, though to me the movement makes it look like the dragon is crawling on his knees).

Overall, I think Spider Carnot (the maker of this dragon) outdid himself. Certainly they're much better than his original bipedal ones (of which I have a few). At 3000 $L, I think it's a bargain considering how much work obviously went into making this avatar work. I'm going to give it a full five dragon hoards out of five because to give anything less would be a crime. About the only bad thing that might be a put-off would be the price, but the price is reasonable. I ended up looking at the other dozens of dragons I have in my inventory and went to myself, "People are going to have to go mesh or go home..."

Spider Productions and the avatar itself can be found both on the Marketplace and at the Arachnid Island (129, 243, 376).

Xymbers Slade

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lost Second Life

By Becky Shaman/Joshua Xavier

This reporter has been featured in the last 7 articles published by Becky Shamen. He started out as an alt, but in November he split off into a seperate account and now is his own man. At the January Newser staff meeting, Josh attended in Sha's place and asked to be hired, so he could have his own Byline in the paper. At the meeting, Josh indicated that he and Sha were also working on a series of articles, a synopsis of "The Unveiling", by J.J.Dewey, which is being posted at , but they were also looking for new adventures in Second Life, to write about. The Editor suggested a photo exhibit, that he had heard of, might be just our cup of tea. The name of the exhibit is, "Lost Second Life." Josh, being a sorta Indiana Jones type, was on it like a mouse on cheese.

The landing, on the Mado sim, puts you in the center of a desert, said to be a post apocalypse sea floor. As the only building on the sim, you won't have any trouble finding the Anita Witt Photography Gallery. The main gallery features photos by Anita, which are all very high quality and copies are for sale. Behind the main gallery, there is a four story building, housing the "Lost Second Life" exhibit.

The photos in this exhibit are all by Photographer Ziki Questi, of sims that are no longer in Second Life. Knowing this premise, we were hoping there would be a photo from our all time favorite, the Sistine chapel, which disappeared last year. To our great delight, they not only included it, at L$100, it is the most affordable photo at the gallery.

We found the stairs difficult to navigate, but fortunately the building was missing one side and flying is permitted, making it easier to view all of the fine photographs.

As a life time artist, we can be somewhat critical of what some galleries have to offer. In the case of photographs by Anita and Ziki, we are pleased to report these are exceptionally good quality. No
doubt, some of you will find photos of sims that you have visited and now miss. Here is your chance to see them again and add reminders to the walls of your home.

Having, in the two months of our independent existence, evolved the persona of our new avatar, we were now planning to make a fresh profile pic. As we viewed each photograph, consideration was given as to how it would look as a background for a picture that fits our character. The one chosen fit both style and colors needed and now is included in the profile. From this slice of the visit, incorporated into my profile, it should be evident that we liked the exhibit. We give it two thumbs up and recommend y'all go check it out, before it goes away like the Lost Second Life it depicts.

Joshua Xavier