Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: The Anthroxtacy Fox

By Grease Coakes

Many furries in Second Life miss the furry club as Anthroxtacy or AX for short. I remember Tactital Tempest told me when we ran into each other “AX was just like every other furry club. But it’s sorely missed.” That left a void in Second Life that has yet to be filled. People were used to seeing the same furries at Anthroxtacy a few times a week. Now a days I rarely see Keeser Cushing around or other furries from there. Aurora Avila clubs at a smaller club called Club Midi once a week.

However there’s still a small part of AX around that Bixyl Shuftan discovered. At NorthStar Polaris (33/181/3001) you can still buy AX avatars. I was very pleasantly surprised. The AX3 fox got everything right just like the avatar planet fox I reported on. I went to the sandbox at The Ark at the ark here to play with it at Quarabia (152/128/502).

There’s a few of the avatars there besides the AX3 fox but when I tried out an AX3 fox I instantly loved it. In fact I haven’t opened an AX fox in such a long time I forgot it wasn’t a box you rezzed on the ground but instead a little fox that matched the color you bought. Hence I bought a blue fox so the color box was a blue fox.

Just like the AP fox from the previous article, the hud is easy to use. Click the HUD to make your tail wag and click the color menu to pick out colors for your eyes. But like the popular toshuki avatars whenever you type or speak on voice you see your avatar become animated making arm and mouth gestures like you’re actually talking. The same goes for the AX3 foxes. I type nonsense and the avatar becomes alive.

Just playing with the hud I click the arrows at the sides of the eyes. It turns out it slowly closes your eyes from wide awake to closed like you’re taking a nap (Zzzzzzzzzz.) Might be handy when you take an afk break to close your eyes to make it seem your avatar is taking a snooze. Or you could look like you're walking around blindly.

Another good thing is that the AP fox had a cartoony look. The AX fox leans more towards a realistic look. When you look carefully around the fox muzzle you see whiskers and stray hairs around the face.

Also the AX3 fox is very inexpensive for all of 250L. The other avatars at the mini AX mall are different prices. However for the excellent graphical look and easy to use options. This avatar is more of a steal then the AP fox. But don’t get me wrong the avatar planet fox is also high quality, but I think the Antrhoxtacy fox is much better even if the price was the same.

For giggles and kicks I spent my last 250L on a purple colored fox. As I write this article I have all of 90L. But I don’t feel guilty, Bixyl pays me and any other reporter a set amount per article and there’s always other ways of making Linden so I can always make my money back.

So if you’re looking for an awesome buy but your linden isn’t so high go the AX avatar mini mall at northstar might be what you are looking for. In fact the vending machine had other avatars as well not just foxes for the same price of 250L. Maybe foxes isn’t your thing? There’s other choices as well. It wouldn’t hurt to at least check it out.

Editor's Note: the AX store at the Northstar Mall has both a vendor for individual Anthroxtacy avatars, and several "fatpacks" where one can get all colors of the same kind of avatar, such as the otter.

Grease Coakes

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Avatar Planet Foxes

By Grease Coakes

Just like any other furry in the world of Second Life I enjoy shopping around for a new avatar. When I was looking for a human avatar for going to the church in my earlier article I typed out avatar thinking I would find a cheap human avatar. I found a sim called avatar planet at Blacktail Ridge (50/66/215). Thinking it had human avatars I checked it out. I happened to see a vending machine not for human skins but for a fox avatar I never heard of.

I forgot about looking for a human avatar as chances are I had a freebie human skin anyway. So I bought the orange version and went to the church and saved the fox for later.

When I went to a sandbox to try it out I was impressed that it seemed easy to use. The cartoon look is appealing as well. But the cartoon appearance isn’t too cute as a turn off it seems just right.

It did come with an instructions note card however the hud is clear and easy to read. You click the blue buttons and it takes you where it says. Click eye colors one and two for not just one color but two within each eyeball.

As a bonus you can also change the color of your tongue and adjust it sticking out of your fox muzzle. And also that you can open or close your jaw as well. So it would make your avatar appear like you are wagging your tongue like a natural fox animal habit.

As you can see below jaw rotation are the numbers 1 through 4. 1 being closed and four being open all the way.  There’s also paw pad options to change the color of your paw pads and your tongue. The color hud is easy. Click on what you want to change and pick a color from the color palette.

I happened to see a friendly sign that explained their policy and also names to contact if you have a problem with your avatar or it did not deliver after you paid.

Blaze Borgin and Doug Falta did a great job creating this fox avatar. They found the happy medium between bells and whistles and ease of use. You may have heard the expression “less is more.” That’s the case with their avatar planet fox where it’s very simple as I’m playing with the hud I’m not confused at all.

Maybe you’re not interested in a fox avatar? Blaze and Doug made other choices such as a velix whatever that is, but it looks cool like a kind of demon. An otter, a bat, and a red panda.

Wandering around the store I see they also have skins for other avatars and some clothes. So you’re a winner if you check out avatar planet you get a new avatar at a fair price and some new clothes to try out on your new fur and tail.

And that’s another good thing about the avatar. The price as you might have seen on the vending machine is a mere 800L. Other avatars I have seen priced for 900 or 1,000. So for you’re what getting for your money is a steal I’d say.

I have nothing but good feelings and happy vibes about the avatar planet fox. I didn’t try out the other four avatars. However if Doug and Blaze followed the same simple and easy to use hud and graphically appealing design I’d say each of the other avatars is a bargain just like the fox. I highly recommend if you are looking for a new avatar look no farther then Avatar Planet

Grease Coakes

Friday, February 20, 2015

JasX Games Part 3

By Locke Esgal

    In the previous part, we learned about how JasX managed to succeed in game creation, but Jas has also had a few mistakes. While games like TiS, BARE and Fright have done extremely well, one game didn't quite top the charts in sales.

    “jFish. Nobody plays jFish," Jasdac Stockholm explained, "I wanted to take on 7seas, but I guess fishing just isn't popular on SL. It's a bit of a niche, something you could do when there was nothing else to do. jFish was a really good learning experience for website-scripting though. By today, jFish has 1377 players. I'm not even sure if I've made back the Lindens I spent uploading content for that game, so I guess it's pretty dead in the water.”

    Not to be deterred by a single loss, Jas moved on to some more familiar projects, ones that are still played today. “jFish was released in early 2012. Since jFish was not doing well, I decided to start anew at an adult game. This time I wanted to explore PVP, so I came up with Fright. Fright is probably the quickest 'big game' I've ever made. ... Oh yeah, mesh came out just as I was rounding up TiS, so Fright was the first game I made where I completely abandoned sculpties, since they're really bad. I think Fright took less than a month and a half to make.”

    During the creation of Fright, Jasdac began to sit down and show his process to his growing fanbase, starting to create on stream for all to see. From these, others could learn how to make their own mesh objects, including potential levels for both Fright and TiS “I also remember streaming a lot of tutorials on mesh. When I made the game I wrote down all the meshes I'd like to use, then I'd sit and stream for hours at a time while I just worked off that list. It wasn't very fun, but some people enjoyed it.”

    “My reason for making Fright was to just make something people could enjoy for Halloween, but it did get some traction, so I made two additional maps and some extra game modes. It was fun all in all, even though the fun of playing died down for me quite fast.”

    Stay tuned for part 4, when we take a look at BARE, what inspired it, and talk a bit about Jasdac's Dungeons and Pandas branch!

Locke Esgal

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Installation at LEA 26

By Gemma Cleanslate

I actually was able to attend an opening of a new installation in LEA 26. I have been missing so many openings lately it was a real treat! It was a fun party with live entertainment, songs by Luke Auster, danced to by an appreciative audience.  Soon after I arrived I was invited to TP to the ground for a dragon ride  installed by Judi Newell . What a great overview of the project. There is so much to investigate, touch everything  and find out what happens. This is a huge exhibit reaching high into the sky and under the water.  After the ride, which took me over the party area, I returned for the end of the party.  Monday I went back to investigate all that I had missed or not visited yet.There is so much to see and explore! 

I happened upon Lorin Tone who explained a lot to me. Since Madcow is absent from Second Life at this time, Lorin has done most of the building and the sounds. There are many parts of the exhibit that are  pieces they did together in the past which you may recognize from other exhibits but many that have not been seen before. 

One particular part is a section of Las Vegas and I asked Lorin about that...“Ah, we did a machinima with Chantal Harvey of Eric Whitacre's 'Godzilla Eats Las Vegas.' Whitacre came into SL and was interviewed, I met him there. Asked him if I could a SL version of the piece and he said sure.” It is : A Second Life version of Eric Whitacre's "Godzilla Eats Las Vegas," produced and directed by Chantal Harvey and Lorin Tone, featuring Madcow Cosmos, Lauren Weyland and Judi Newall (and a cast of dozens).” You can see it here. Cute and funny! Las Vegas machinima, or you can view it at the Las Vegas set in the sim as part of your visit. 

The instruments all around the region on and ground and above need to touched and be sure to listen. Some are trampolines, which I found out as I bounced around (laughter). Lorin will be doing some performances and  demonstrations of the instruments and also discussing sound techniques in Second Life. While you are there don’t miss the singing whales, the harps, and try the evolution of a sandwich, and The Steam Dancefloor! There is so much!!

Start here near the dragon ride and grab a notecard at Welcome and Information . The dragon will help you recognize where you want to be and then you are on your own. Pick up some of the wonderful instruments as you move along.

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review of Madpea's "Buried"

By Kiirya Lii

 As far as easter-egg hunts go, Buried is one of the best, and one of the worst of the genre. You begin as an amateur geocacher ... using GPS coordinates to hunt down little trinkets and doodads for sport and entertainment ... just like the protagonist of our story. Introducing Lily Morano, an famous author who got a little too invested in geocaching ... and is now missing. Her husband Joshua Morano is offering anyone who can find her a whopping $500,000.

That's where you come in. After forking over the 300L for the HUD, which that alone is difficult enough to understand until you realize it's an overhead view of the entire mesh of the sim. Then you embark on a mysterious adventure ... or so you think. The first clue is an interesting find. You wonder around the isle until you come upon some clues that lead you to Lilys iPad. (Lilypad, for those who miss the joke.) After some decent voice acting and an interesting plot twist, you're suddenly teleported to a shop.

At this shop, you're likely to spend anywhere from twenty minutes to a couple hours searching for a tiny geo capsule whose only purpose is to give you a tiny sense of immersion. As one player put it, whose name will be left out to protect anonymity,  "Thrusting people into a resource-intensive sim without any indication of what they're supposed to be looking for? Genius."

After a few of these you start to realize the story is more of an afterthought while advertising and exposure is the true point of this whole game. You just paid someone to tell you buy items.

"But Kiirya!" you say, "There are prizes!" Yes! I tell you, albeit a bit sarcastically, Have you seen them? For the amount of work involved with finding just a FEW capsules, let alone TWENTY-FIVE, I personally feel the end does not justify the means. From what I understand, on each "level", shop and sim owners had the say on where they would hide the capsule. Some were very clever, others were like finding a purple elephant in a white room.

This lack of consistency in ascending or descending difficulty is another reason I am not fond of this game. Besides the progressing story, you don't feel like you're making any progress. By capsule six, you feel more like a parent observing their child's magic trick for the thousandth time and less like a rising geocacher on the adventure of a lifetime. The coordination required for this game non existent. One would assume they didn't communicate much during the development stage.

The games saving grace comes in the form of friendly faces sharing your adventure. The madpea group the you join in correlation with starting the game is filled with wonderful, helpful and willing people. In fact I believe it's safe to assume that without this group, a large majority of players simply wouldn't progress enough to find the encouragement to keep playing until the end. This game is infuriating, welcoming, annoying, and wonderful. Regardless of my obvious negative opinions of the game, I would STILL recommend you go out and get it, if for nothing else other than the wonderful community you encounter while embarking on this adventure.

Kiirya Lii

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Singularity Viewer : A Lightweight Viewer for Second Life

By Wesley Regenbogen

A while back I wrote about the Firestorm Viewer that I tried out as a replacement for the standard Linden Lab viewer. After using it for a while now, I've began to have issues with it the last few times that I used it. My avatar wasn’t loading and clearing the cache of the viewer didn’t work either, so, I decided to search for another viewer to install.
After consulting "Uncle Google" ( no family relation), I tried a few viewers, like Catznip and a few others, but I had the same issue. Then I came across Singularity Viewer and I installed it. And … thank God! It worked like a beauty. So far I haven’t had any issues with it.
In the beginning there’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not that high. So if you want to try out this viewer, don’t be afraid, it will work fine. I chose the 64 bit version of the software, because I have a 64 bit Windows 8.1 running and I have a 64 bit processor in my desktop as well. It didn’t let me down yet and I hope it stays that way.
Although it’s based on an older version of the original Second Life Viewer, the look and feel is almost the same, but it has added a few cool features. One of them is “Streaming Audio Display” which serves as a “widget” which will be added to the HUD of your viewer. It will tell you the title and the artists of the songs that are currently playing when you are somewhere, if audio is streamed, of course. The toolbar buttons can be changed to the user preference, so it’s possible to change toolbar buttons at the bottom of the viewer.
Too bad there isn’t a “Landmarks” toolbar button, that would be much more handy than going to the “Inventory” toolbar button and then going to the “Landmarks” folder and get a listing of the landmarks that you have collected.
When you go to a parcel where there is audio streaming playing, the Singularity Viewer will ask you if it’s allowed to play or not. So when you push the “play” button on the media buttons on the lower right corner side. You have the option to either “blacklist” or “whitelist” a streaming audio on a parcel. So, this allows you to control whether or not you like to let the music play or not.
As far as I’m using this viewer, I’m satisfied with it. I hope it stays that way, and I will keep on using it indefinitately. 
More information about Singularity Viewer can be found at :

Wesley Regenbogen

Friday, February 13, 2015

JasX Games Part 2

By Locke Esgal

    In the previous segment, we took a look at how Jasdac Stockholm of JasX Games got his start in creating his different games. Jas had created a game called Fable of the Unknown that took SL by storm, setting the framework that helped create Tentacles in Space. However, it wasn't his first game.

     “Somewhere there I also made a Halloween game. I think that might have actually preceded all of those. Well before all that tentacle stuff, I do remember making a Halloween puzzle game. Basically just a big haunted house (like Fright). I got permission to rez it and play in one of the sandboxes during Halloween and a bunch of people had a lot of fun with it. Even though it was VERY crude, that game kinda spawned a running gag. In the game you'd first find a shovel, then you'd find a frying pan and pitchfork to tie to the shovel to remove spider webs, then you'd find a key holder to add to it to keep your keys in one place. Then finally, you'd be able to add a bolt launcher to it. The 'shovelnator' made it's way into TiS. I think there might still be a shovelnator poster somewhere in Fright. It's not in BARE though.”

    References to Jas's other games do occasionally pop up in the background of BARE maps, but they weren't the only inspirations for some of the games.  “Anyways, moving ahead to 2010. A friend and I play Borderlands a lot. I decide I want to make a similar thing in Second Life. Thusly, TiS is born. A new function has been added, llSetLinkPrimitiveParamsFast(), which lets you reduce lag by a lot. Also by implementing a sort of "LOD" which makes monsters only animate when players are near. So TiS is still laggy, but at least it's better than FotU.”

    Even with TiS' success, Linden Scripting Language is notoriously limited for such large-scale complex projects. “Some time a few years ago, I stopped selling and took down the remnants of FotU, because it was a security hole. Right now, TiS is the security hole in by back. Going back, it's awfully scripted.  But TiS is nonetheless where I got my first popularity, if you can call it that, in SL. It's a really good learning experience, if I see something I like, I tried implementing it. It was fun all around to make, even if it's a pain now.”

    “TiS today has 4500 registered users. That sort of game is really not meant for SL, though. It does have some major issues, most of them stemming from it's size and age. High lag, high prim cost, and a steep learning curve makes it not a game for everyone. But it did get some very dedicated fans, and I made enough money to keep going at least.”

    Not all of JasX games were the successes we know today. In the next part, we'll take a look at a game that didn't do so well, as well as some more of the well known games. See you next time for Part 3 of the Jasdac interview!

Locke Esgal

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Visit to Linden Endowment for the Arts 17

The Greatest Story Ever Told—The History of Second Life™ 1999-2015

By DrFran Babock

Perception is Everything

Over the years there have been numerous displays that covered the history of Second Life. It’s hard to deny that SL was and is something new and different and completely different. A lot of the past has been destroyed and built over, but the facts remain, and they chronology of this virtual can be laid out. What differs in each presentation that has been created is perspective and viewpoint. Different displays have focused on different aspects of the evolution. This is perfectly understandable. At the risk of getting too philosophical, it has to be said: The way in which a person sees things is clearly their truth and their reality.

Marianne McCann’s Second Life Tenth Anniversary (SL10B) build ( ) focused a lot on the early days. There is hardly anyone around who has a bigger collection of SL memorabilia than Marianne, nor anyone who can speak to it with as much eloquence.

That said, there is yet another display now that focuses on the history of Second Life™, and it opened February 8th on the LEA 17 sim. It is the work of Sniper Siemens, who had attempted this challenging task once before on very short notice in LEA6 last year and was determined to try again.

I ran into Sniper, perched on an interesting armchair at the entrance to the installation, and she told me that she was very pleased with how this year’s version had turned out.

What about perception? Well, I found that a lot of the time, as I walked through this amazing installation, that I thought I might not have covered things the same way. Everyone loved the Greenies, but Sniper spent a lot of space covering them. It could have been that she had a lot of content from that time, but I can’t really know.

From 1995 to 2015

I loved the intelligent design of this exhibition. There is a definite path (a beautiful stone walkway that has outstanding specularity, created by Kriss Lehman of Botanical) that meanders from 1995 to 2015. The specularity is important, because it adds to the overall look of the build. As I wandered from year to year, the gleam on the ground and the trees that surrounded the paths created a sense of unity that was artistic at the same time that it decreased some of the confusion that often occurs when trying to get the sense of a large installation.

I won’t spend a lot of time covering the individual exhibits, because I just noticed that genius writer and blogger Canary Beck has discovered this gem of a build, and will focus on the history details and the quiz contained on the sim. ( )

What I Noted

The installation is a knockout for those of us who love and appreciate the history of this virtual world. One thing of note: If you don’t like to read a lot when visiting, you will miss a lot. There are many signs with a lot of writing on them. I don’t know how to get around this, when there is a detailed story to tell, but I am not sure many will stop to read unless they want to complete the History Quiz.

The only other comment I have is that Sniper is a good builder. Her mesh seemed to add a lot to the build, especially when there is not a lot of 3D content about the early days. 

For anyone who has ever built a history build (as I did for SL10B and SLL11B) the big problem is always how to represent residents, because the human/furry, etc. form has a high land impact. Sniper’s solution was to use these bean type cartoon characters along the paths to represent the human aspect of SL. They added color, and another level of uniformity to the build, but they didn’t really seem to be part of SL history, so they struck an incongruent note to me.

What I Loved

It is clear that this build is a labor of love, and that Sniper poured her soul, and her time into its creation. I especially loved the Linden Lab San Francisco build, and the silliness around the Zindra build.

This build is a must for anyone who wants to learn about the history of Second Life™. Sniper had a vision for creating this history, and it is accessible and understandable.

The build focuses a lot on the financial aspects of the history, and for me, it provided a revelation. I never knew that the “haptics” equipment that is now becoming so popular with the current virtual reality craze, was actually the catalyst for Phillip Rosedale to create Second Life™. The Rig, as its called, supposedly still sits in boxes in Linden Lab.

There is a great display for those of you who don’t remember a time when Burning Life was very much a part of the culture. I have always thought, along with many others, that Phillip Rosedale was trying to create a virtual Burning Man when he first envisioned Second Life™.

The Greatest Story Ever Told—the History of Second Life™ 1999-2015 will run through the end of May of this year on LEA 17, allowing you plenty of time to learn about what came before, and what might come in the future.

LEA 17:

DrFran Babcock

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Two Artists in Exhibits

By Gemma Cleanslate
Sorry to say I missed the opening of Giovanna Cerise " Retrospective" over at Gay Island Resort Saturday the 31st . In November I did an article on her “Chaos” at LEA   I made it over to the gallery the next day however and was so impressed with her many pieces from all years . The entrance I believe is from her Chaos exhibit . Inside the art on the walls and the sculptures ts are so impressive.  Her first piece ‘Obelisco a spresa’ from 2009 is amazing. 
I was lucky to see Giovanna while I was there as people were coming in to see the exhibit. She told me that most of her works are in prim but lately has added mesh to the newer ones. I had a hard time deciding which I like best as did another visitor . Her latest, The Ballerina , I believe is almost all mesh. It is entrancing. Giovanna also will have an exhibit at the 1Billion Rising so I will be looking for her works there too.
This Retrospective will be on display for the month of February . I hope you will be able to visit to see the full range of her past years all in one place. This is an adult sim and I am not sure if you need to be age verified but try..
GAY ISLAND Resort (127,157,1504)
Another exhibit that I visited this past weekend was the new SL Photography exhibit that opened at the Seaside  Gallery owned by  JMB Balogh. My friend Slatan Dryke .with whom I have worked on several sl birthday events and Burn2,  is showing his varied pieces. Again I missed the opening event but went over to see what he was displaying. Slatan likes to explore Second Life and finds sites that intrigue hims. I asked him what windlights he uses, and he told me that he plays with the setting until he finds one that he likes that will achieve the image he wants. 
The pieces on two floors are eclectic . He says of his work "Photography... My Photography is not an Art Expression.  It's only a way to bust from myself... however, being closer to my Kernel."  There is a biography note card with more information about his works in the gallery.
I would say my favorites are the ones with a foggy , smokey look that are so intriguing. He does some in bright splashes of vibrant color and some in subtle hues .  He also has set some of his scuplts around the gallery. Make time to visit both during February . 
Gemma Cleanslate