Friday, September 20, 2019

Review of Lab Gab Episode Two With Reed Linden


By Bixyl Shuftan

On Wednesday September 11, the new "Lab Gab" youtube program by Linden Lab featuring Xiola and Strawberry Linden had it's second episode, airing at 3PM SL time. The guest for this episode was Reed Linden, the Product Manager.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wcyTf79Z19s" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

(Click here if the video fails to play)

 Xiola and Strawberry admitted to Reed, whom stood out in his tiny penguin avatar, that he had been asked to appear as their guest at the last minute. But he didn't mind, especially as he was number one, "Am I the first one? Oh wow! That feels amazing." Reed told that he had been with the lab for "a little less than nine years." He started in frontline support, "so some of your viewers may have talked to me before." After three years, he was moved to the engineering team. Soon after, Grumpity Linden decided he would make a good product manager "so here we are."

Reed described himself as having seen Second Life from a few different angles. Of who knows the most about SL, he felt it's the users. Among the Lindens, he thought it's the frontline support team.
"The path I've taken is uniquely responsible for ... I have a very user focused perspective. Of his favorite thing about working on SL? He answered, "It's got to be the community, hands down." He enjoys stories about how Second Life brings people together, "Every week we hear a story about people that for whatever reason weren't able to make connections in their real life, but on Second Life they can. ... every time I hear stories about that, it makes my heart grow."

He described much of his work as a focus on web projects. Of what he called the the web profile "experiment," he stated it would "go away. and we shall no longer speak of it." He stated there would be a return to "old school" viewer profiles and "update them completely." He stated there would soon be further. changes to Marketplace, but wouldn't give any estimates of when they would be in effect due to the team working on profiles, destination guide, and events in the last couple months. He did discuss the recent release of a Marketplace feature, Shop Managers, which "allows you as a store owner to nominate other residents to be managers for your store," different abilities and manage them "basically allows you to have assistants." One upcoming feature was the Gifts Received Page, "something that people have been asking for for I think, forever." There would also be purchase notifications, specifically for store owners. This feature would be one they could opt-in or not, as owners of larger stores could be spammed with notifications. They would also be overhauling Marketplace for mobile use.

Other things discussed included the Last Names issue, which was "still in the works." Land pricing was also discussed, Reed feeling further reductions anytime soon were unlikely. Someone on the Youtube live comments asked if it would be possible for the viewer to have pop-out panels. Reed answered he wasn't sure how feesable it was, but it was worth pursuing a JIRA on if it hadn't been already. In the Youtube comments feed, Inara Pey answered that a third-party viewer had tried it, "It is *not* easy to achieve." Reed also stated the Lab was considering a level above Premium that would come with more benefits.

The Linden homes were brought up, Reed saying, "the response to the new Linden Homes has been absolutely just overwhelming and wonderful." There was some talk about the Bellisserian community, with some residents roleplaying certain community roles down to someone collecting the trash.

Of the recently released Bakes on Mesh, Reed stated he was, "super encouraged from the engagement we've been getting from the community ... already seeing a lot of mesh jumping." He was hearing about products in development, or already out and "excited about the flexibility this is going to give our residents." He felt content that was sitting around in inventories unused for years would soon be able to find new life, "our hope is that this will allow people to start making much more lightweight content ... in terms of graphic resources that are required to display it." He was looking forward to having his penguin avatar updated with BoM.

When talking to new people in real life, his "icebreaker" is that he works for Linden Lab, "The stories you can tell about working here, particularly in some of the fields that are closer to the residents themselves are just as wonderful and amusing." Of his real-life hobbies, Reed enjoys "miniature painting," or painting D&D figures and diorama.

No date has been set yet for the next "Lab Gab." Episodes have been on Wednesdays "every two weeks or so." So the next may be on September 25 at soonest.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, September 2, 2019

Rock Climbing in Second Life


By Bixyl Shuftan

Climbing up the face of a cliff in real life is a little too adventuresome for the majority of most residents of Second Life. Many of those whom wouldn't be detered by the strenous exercise and the element of danger can't face the thought of looking down and seeing ground hundreds of feet below. But there is a place in Second Life you can give it a try. At the Nitida sim on the mainland, there's a cliff one can scale, or head back down.

The cliff, Nitida Ridge, is at the Nitida sim on the mainland continent of Heterocera. At the bottom of the cliff is the base camp. The table of supplies, rope and gear, map, binoculars, radio, etc is basically a reminder of what real rock climbers would be needing. What you need will be at the sign. Click on it to get a notecard and picture of the routes up the cliff and the descents (by rope), a harness clip that attaches to your belt, called an abseil harness, and the climbing HUD. The pop-up that appears after you click the sign will ask if you want it to attach. It's default position is the lower right of your viewer. The HUD is red when disabled, blue when ready, and green when activated and working. You can also adjust your speed to climb faster or slower, or your avatar to be slightly closer or further away from the rock. The latter can help you avoid looking like your arm is going into the rock or climbing through air.

The cliff before you is about 100 meters high. While walking that distance horizontally is no problem, climbing here is something else. It's suggested that you check the routes on the picture provided, though not necessary as I was able to go up a path that was labeled for abseiling down, just slowly. Climbing is best up vertical parts of the cliff. If you encounter an obstacle such as an overhanging section of rock, as you can't climb upside down you'll have to go sideways until you can go around it.

Some routes are to head back down. There are a few points on the cliff with a pile of rope. Click on them, and your avatar will abseil downward to the ground below. There are also a couple points in which your avatar will do a little tightrope walking. Also at one ledge on the cliff is a small tend your character can step inside and rest.

The rock climbing system and the cliff area were created by Yasmin (YouAintSeenMe Resident), with some sections originally made by Funatik Resident. The notecard stated there were a few other cliff areas the HUD is good for climbing, but this is the tallest one.

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Nitida/136/175/131

Hat Tip: Inara Pey

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Update on LEA 2.0


By Marcel Mosswood

The effort to return LEA to its function as a means for artists in SL has shown good development. Linden Lab (LL) has responded to the email sent by Tansee. I interviewed Riannah and Tansee about this effort.

“We are processing the feedback that we have received from everyone," Riannah explained about the work they have done so far, "We have put together in words how the new committee structure should be, regarding how many committee members and tenure. We looked very closely at the notecards we received and what the majority of the people think would be an ideal committee. We do have enough volunteers for the new committee but anyone can still volunteer. We also are looking at implementing a 'watchdog' group to guarantee transparency with the committee.”

Q: About the new committee structure, can you be more detail about that?
“We are looking at having five committee members each with a two-year tenure," Riannah told, "We are working on details of how the committee members will be appointed. We're thinking a voting system so that everyone has a voice.”

Q: The watchdog, who will be in that position? And how they will work?
“We have not discussed that yet. But they will be LEA members," Riannah said, " They will review the committee meetings notes and ensure the accuracy of what took place during the meetings. Such things as decisions made regarding grants and other things that affect everyone at LEA.”

Q: This is a good idea about the watchdog. How you can guarantee the transparency of watchdog performance?
“After the watchdog group has verified the accuracy, the information will be public," Riannah continued, "Anyone can read what transpired. And hopefully, easily understand why decisions were made. The watchdog will consist of more than one person.”

Riannah went on, “The current committee issues stem from not having anyone perform any checks and balances, to make sure the rules regarding the committee are adhered to. Because things like what we are facing now, just should not happen. They could have been avoided. Tansee and I are working very hard to ensure the continuance of LEA... but in the way, it was intended.”

Q: Does the previous LEA committee doesn’t have the watchdog?
“That is the difference," Riannah answered, "Tansee nor I have to be on the committee, that is not the plan. I will be if needed. But always, the priority is LEA itself. We are looking at resumes of potential committee members, and we have a variety of experiences involved. From technical to artist experiences. That will be required for the direction of LEA.”

“We continue to receive a lot of support. And it's very encouraging. We can not express enough how much we appreciate it. One thing we have heard a lot: people feel they are cut out of the process like they don't matter and that the administration of LEA is done in secrecy. That will no longer happen, the favoritism will stop!”

Q: Some people see that the LEA committee is exclusive, not transparent, is this what you want to improve on?
Riannah explained, “Absolutely! We want to provide as much transparency as possible. Everyone matters. Everyone has a voice. Everyone is treated equally and with respect.

Tansee added some explanations, “We are still in the infancy stage of putting all the ideas into place and as we progress it will all become more refined and include everyone's ideas. And I also reconfiguring the placement of 29 sims to include some of the new ideas and suggestions we have gotten from the group. Together WE can make a change!”

Marcel Mosswood

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Rand Lupindo of Timber Wilds Industries


By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich Resident)

Rand Lupindo (Randermander) is known as a talented avatar creator and a role play community owner within Second Life that has been around for the past ten years. I had a chance to interview him about the history of their sim as well as their next avatar release and future plans.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cyfir: How did Timber Wilds Industries start?

Rand: Timber Wilds started as a small, casual, wolfpack-themed roleplaying destination in 2009.  Myself and a couple friends; Rabid Ghost and Jackal Avril, had met earlier in 2009 while roleplaying as wolves on the Lion King themed "Lost Pridelands" sim.  We initially rented a small Homestead region (basically a lighter, less powerful sim that can handle fewer people, but is cheaper than a full region), and had a blast landscaping forests and mountains and caves and swamps and all manner of natural perils for Wolves to play around in.  But $100 a month for a hobby is a lot, especially as I was a student at the time. So, I thought, if I could make some kind of quadruped wolf avatar to synergize with our wolf roleplay area, it might help pay the bills and keep the sim running.  It took a few months but in August 2009 I released the first Timber Wilds Industries Wolf Avatar, and everything exploded. 

 It sold way better than I was expecting or hoping, but quickly got into controversy.  Another avatar company, which I won't name, thought I had "copied them" and made some pretty public accusations of theft.  I had certainly been inspired by the idea of their previous Wolf avatar, which was a quadruped body with its own Animation Overrider and a wide assortment of active poses and action animations as well as a marking customization HUD.  I was pretty naive at the time and could have made more effort to distinguish my avatar from their wolf, but what they seemed to be claiming was that I had somehow stolen their actual animation files or something, which is bogus of course. I hand animated everything, sometimes taking ideas for what kind of movement to animate from existing avatars (such as the left or right step to shift weight during an idle pose), but come on, you can't copyright "A wolf stepping left".

The accusing company published a whole youtube video lining up my avatar next to theirs to supposedly prove their case.  It wasn't very convincing, because it seemed to drive more skeptical customers to buy my avatar than the few of their loyal fans who came to make trouble.  A few vendor malls wouldn't rent space to me as a result of the connections of the accusing company, but I don't think that it significantly held back interest in TWI avatars.

 I didn't do anything to fight back, hoping the situation would eventually blow over, and it seems to have done so.  The company seems to have left Second Life at some point over the intervening years. I hope that I didn't cause them to leave. I really wish we could have just coexisted. Other companies have made competing avatars to mine, some with features that could have been references to mine and attempts to "one up" my avatars, and I never flipped out about it. That's how the market works. If someone else makes a better avatar than mine, the customers get a better avatar and I get fresh ideas of how to improve.

I feel like the whole ordeal taught me that it's really shooting yourself in the foot to get overly litigious and try to dominate a market through fear rather than simply making better products. Especially in artistic fields, where the quality of products is often subjective, and there will always be a segment of the population that prefers one or another for seemingly random reasons. No competing avatar is going to knock out 100% of your sales.

Cyfir: For those not in the know, what is TWI and the sim all about? What does it offer?

Rand: Timber Wilds is a place where you can be a wolf, or a fox, lion, eagle or a bear!  And soon, a deer!  Basically for people who love the idea of being wild animals (called Ferals on Second Life and in the wider furry/animal fandom).  Become one, get accessories and skins to make yourself unique, and meet & chat with other ferals who have done the same.

The avatars are I think the central inspiration, namely the TWI Timber Wolf, Red Fox, and Lion made by me, and the BRD-MRT Eagle and Bear made by long time sim staffer Raven Seraph.  The sim is primarily the mall for these avatars and third party accessories for them, but we also have a pretty popular but laid back sandbox/hangout area, and an expansive roleplaying/exploring area. 

The mall has, in addition to the main avatar vendors, about 45 third party vendors selling all sorts of skins, wearables, animations, sounds, and other accessories for TWI and BRDMRT avatars (and some others, but we try to enforce at least majority TWI/BRDMRT).

The sandbox is a kind of casual hangout, where people (of all kinds, human or animal we don't discriminate!) come to try out their new bodies or skins, or loiter while testing new stuff they are building/painting, or just shoot the breeze and chat with other guests. It has a real laid back vibe I think, usually with at least a few folks lounging about or running around and goofing off with toy guns or other items. It's a great place to come if you enjoy meeting new people, especially in a low-intensity peaceful setting, and especially people who like wild animals!

The roleplaying area is in my humble opinion one of the prettiest areas on Second Life, landscaped mostly by BRD-MRT creator Raven Seraph. It's got ice caves, glowy caves, scary caves, mountains to climb, hidden secrets to find, beautiful vistas and cozy coves. Our policy on roleplaying is to be less restrictive. We don't require any HUD or meter or anything, instead focusing on text roleplay or allowing guests to roll with whatever system they prefer. The area does have a fantasy backstory, and a free custom-built optional HUD with utility functions like dice, titler, Out of Character/Away from Keyboard indicators and some TWI avatar-compatible animations.

Cyfir: What were the challenges of starting a business and community in Second Life and what advice can you give to anyone looking to do so?

Rand: It's really easy to set up a business in Second Life, which is why I think almost everyone I've met who uses the software for very long ends up getting curious about creating content and selling it. It's a very simple process to set up a vendor in-world, and free software (Blender for modeling/animation, GIMP for texturing, Audacity for sound effects) and training/tutorials (via youtube) exist for almost all types of content creation. To become a large or successful business in SL requires a bit more time and effort, but is still very accessible to even a solo creator. You really only need a good idea, and time. My advice would be to spend some time exploring, and enjoying, the world of Second Life for a while in order to get a feel for what kinds of items are in demand or popular. Whatever cool stuff you find and enjoy using, you can learn to make yourself and maybe even make a unique improved version. 

Communities are often related to products; since it costs money to maintain a region/space, it can be smart to have some kind of product line in development to help pay your sim fees. If the products synergize with your community theme (like clothes/fashion accessories for a club, or animal avatars for a wild animal roleplaying sim), it makes all the more sense as those interested in your products will probably become interested in the community and vice versa. 

Cyfir: In a recent article I did on Albright, she mentioned that TWI would be releasing a feral deer avatar in the near future. Can you tell us more about that and is there an estimated release date yet?

Rand: It's true. I am making a deer avatar. I am hoping to have it done sometime in the next month or two but I can't put a hard date on it yet. I'm very slow with avatar work, I think partly because I have high expectations and I insist on continually re-doing things until they are as good as possible. I take inspiration from Blizzard Entertainment, which would usually release their games later than initially planned, but only because they always took all the time they needed to get everything perfect, never rushing unfinished work to release because they had set a deadline. 

Cyfir: Are there any other projects in the works that you are able to talk about?

Rand: We have a few other avatars of different species in production, as well as some animesh experiments in the works!

Cyfir: What do you enjoy most about being part of the Second Life community and is there anything else that you would like to bring up about the sim or store?

Rand: Hmm, I guess I just appreciate being able to see all the creativity coming out of Second Life, driven by the ease of content creation and monetization. A lot of the content created is questionable, and the nature of Second Life means it's sometimes hard to keep trolls and problematic content away, but I think the freedom in SL allows a lot more amazing and awesome things that wouldn't otherwise see the light of day. Every day I log in to Timber Wilds I see stunning new textures, wacky third party animations, and scripted toys and doodads that pique my curiosity.  We've even had an in-world theatre company perform plays at our sim using SL avatars (some TWI and BRD-MRT ones!) as the actors, which was a really unique experience. I'm just eager to see what the SL community comes up with tomorrow, and the next day, and every day after that.

---------------------------------------

You can check out the TWI store here: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/32831 and their sim here:

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Silent%20Hills/172/32/2

Cyfir

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

LEA 2.0 - An Effort To Save The LEA


By Marcel Mosswood

LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) is a place that is the hope of almost all artists in Second Life because LEA can provide a full sim for artists to create freely! However, Linden Lab will close the LEA in August. Some avatars reacted, they decided to act so that the LEA could be returned to Second Life artists. Two resident, Tansee and Riannah Avora started a movement to return LEA for the artists. 

Who are Tansee and Riannah Avora? How did they connect to LEA?

“I joined LEA seven years ago and can contribute my artistic, creative and personal growth as a direct result of my building trials and errors at the sandbox. From that point, I have been fortunate to be awarded both AIR and Core Grants which has enabled me to keep growing and learning. Along with the Grants I have been able to hold several art exhibitions, events, and educational displays. For me the experience has been priceless and continues,” said Tansee.

Different from Tansee, here is what Riannah said, “I came to LEA November 2018, so I have not been here that long. I had never heard of LEA before, as is the case for most people. Someone found me playing with light and shadows in a public sandbox and suggested that I come to LEA. Since I started Second Life, I have loved to build and create things... and I'm not the only one. When I came to LEA, it was like I found my "home" of sorts. I felt accepted. I am fairly shy about my work. I never really wanted it to be so public. However, others at LEA have been very encouraging. Bringing me out of my "shell" so to speak. I just got my first land grant at LEA... and it will be cut short because of the closing. But nonetheless, I will give it all that I have to give.”


Group joiner and notecard dropper at LEA Sandbox (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA5/215/149/21)

Well, we feel sad about the LEA closing, what do you think about this?

“Sad, very sad. It doesn't surprise me because LEA has been going on for so long and I fully understand that people get tired and need a break. Being in Second Life for nearly nine years now, I've seen places come and go. But if something can be done to save it, I'm all for it. Creating things, (objects, scripts, textures, and particles) is very therapeutic. And the atmosphere in LEA is very calming and people can do their work without fear of being ridiculed,” said Rainnah.

“It was not a complete surprise to me when I heard the news, and like so many others I felt a deep loss. In my heart, I knew that I would only have myself to blame if I did not take proactive steps to see that this would not happen. With the help of fellow LEA supporter Riannah Avora, the Group was formed,” according to Tansee.

Tansee Resident

Why do you think that LEA should not be closed?

“LEA plays a huge importance in the development of Virtual Art and creativity in SL as well as provides education on many levels. It provides positive social interactions with other like-minded online individuals. Those new to Second Life can come to see and learn the endless possibilities of creating in a virtual world. Friendships have been formed as well as the sharing of skills,” said Tansee.

And according to Riannah: “It provides a vital area and environment that enables people to express themselves via the things that they create, much like real life. There is no other place like LEA. Period. I know so many people who would love to learn, but they have no idea where to start. There are places to help you learn some of it... but they are not like LEA. No one really judges you here. They just want you to succeed in whatever it is you are creating. It's really a great "family" of sorts. And there's always something different to learn from looking at each other's work. No one can be great at everything that they want to do. But with the help of LEA, you can consult with others, learn, and figure it out. That's what LEA is about.

What are your ideas to persuade LL to turn LEA back for the artists?

For this question, Tansee decided to include her ideas along with all the others who are sending her notecards. “We're not exactly sure what it will take, to be honest. We are gathering ideas from our fellow artists. It's not just us, Tansee and me, in this. And we have gotten a very good response so far from other people in LEA. LEA is alive. LEA provides so many things that help people in so many ways, in Second Life and real life. There are opportunities that, without LEA, most people would never get to enjoy and experience. It's freedom. It's like the chains have been undone by being a part of LEA. And with LEA, there's nothing that we can't do!” said Riannah.

She continued, “The world is going to the 3D, VR, concepts of doing things. It would be an advantage if Second Life could say, "We helped". SL has always been great in showing support for many different causes. Their ability to support other real life organizations is amazing. Like with the Fantasy Faire... that totally rocked! Our cause might not be as obvious as some might think. But the people who make great builds, like at the Fantasy Faire, need and deserve a place to be. Most of us work and play here without any expectations on what we create. And a lot of our own money goes into what we build. Not to mention the time involved. We just need a bit of help with the "place" part. SL is great because of the people in it. And LEA is no exception to that. We create things that make SL better for everyone.”

Riannah Avora

You only have less than two weeks to gather ideas and coordinate with Linden Lab about the return of the LEA, is this enough time for you? How will you work to make it happen?

Tansee answered, “As we know viral can happen in an instant. I hope that anyone who has "positive" input will pass it on to other like-minded LEA supporters. So that we can compile a variety of suggestions. Spread the Word! Join the inworld group to stay informed. URL: secondlife:///app/group/4fec0f5b-ae2d-8cff-3b38-b8763bf2ca68/about

“It will just have to be enough time. We can only do what we can do. And if you don't try, you will never know. We can do a lot of things here, but we have yet to be able to control time. However, you never know when that might happen! There are some really great creators here, never underestimate them,” said Riannah positively.

Many people think that your efforts will be in vain, how do you deal with this?

“That is a great question. I respect and appreciate everyone's point of view and opinion however and I am determined to have a solid focus on taking swift "positive" action. (I can not use that word enough) to the best of my abilities. It is easy to be a critic. My real life background is in business and along with that management and problem-solving. I love the quote by Eldridge Cleaver and have used it many times with others: "You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem." I invite all critics to share specific suggestions to be a part of the solution,” said Tansee.

“That may be true, having a reason not to do something is easy. But I have never been one to back down from a challenge though. People can say "that can't be done" or "that is too much work"... eh... It's not that I disbelieve them, it's just that I'm a firm believer in "you can do anything you put your mind to.'' To not try at all, is certain failure. To have tried and failed, well, I will take my experience from trying and learn from it. Failure is a part of learning. I'm not afraid of it,” said Riannah.

Has Linden Lab reacted with this plan?

“I don't really know, actually. We are to meet with Patch Linden and Derrick Linden to present our case after they have read over ideas and comments that we collect from our fellow members of LEA. We feel there is a good chance we can reach an agreement. We have to start somewhere, and this is as good of a place as any. We'll go wherever the path takes us. Sometimes just starting somewhere is the answer,” said Riannah.

According to Tansee, “At the present moment, the group was formed to find like-minded positive people who are willing to share specific suggestions. Riannah and I are accepting those in Notecard format and will be credited and presented to Lindens in two weeks. My greatest hope is that they will give us a big thumbs up so that we can move to the next level of Keeping LEA Inworld!”

Do you get help from other avatars to make this happen?

“I have developed a friendship with another avid LEA supporter and Second Life creator Riannah Avora and it was a natural collaboration to work on this as a TEAM effort as we both love LEA and its future. Many who have joined the group and are offering some fantastic input already on many levels. Keep them coming!” said Tansee.

“Yes! We do! There are some truly awesome people in Second Life. Chelo, Rory, Earthling, and Roxy just to name a few people.

This is uncharted territory for us all. Even folks that can't help with the technical inner workings of things are doing a lot to help just by their support and encouragement. But we do need more support! So everyone should contact us that wants to be a part of it.”

“Ending this interview with a bit of philosophy that I live by:

"I'm fearless at times because the only alternative is to be terrified."
~Me (Riannah)

"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." ~Walter Bagehot

"Kindness is more persuasive than force." ~Aesop,” said Riannah closing the interview section.

Marcel Mosswood

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Kultivate 4th Annual Anniversary


By Marcel Mosswood

Today Kultivate Magazine celebrates the Kultivate 4th Annual Anniversary by holding an art exhibition. The art exhibition involves 25 artists on 2D art and two artists on 3D art.


Half of the Water Haven sim is decorated in a steampunk theme for this art exhibition. The artists are also given the freedom to decorate their own exhibition booth measuring 20x20 m. With this freedom, artists develop their creativity in decorating their booths.


List of artists:
aht1981
Anouk Lefavre
Bellissa Dion
captainofmysoul
CybeleMoon (hana.hoobinoo)
DreamMakerXDreamBreaker Resident
Elle Thorkveld
etamae
EvangelinaBurroughs Resident
Fluer Heartsdale Chun
Freedom Voix
Hadiya Draper
ilyra chardin
Jamee Sandalwood
KodyMeyers
Marcel Mosswood
Matt (mth63)
Myra Wildmist
Nikolai Warden
Pam Astonia
Sheba Blitz
Sophie72 Congrejo
Syphera Inaka
talligurl resident
Veruca Tammas
ViktorSavior
Warm Clarity


At the 4th Annual Anniversary, Kultivate Magazine holds various events every day for 7 days with live music and giveaway.

You can win a prize too! The following is a list of events:

Sunday, July 14, 2019:
- 1 pm slt – Exhibition Opens
- 1pm slt to 2pm slt – live performer Lark Bowen
- 2pm to 3pm slt – live performer Melenda Baptiste
Monday, July 15, 2019:
- 4pm slt to 5pm slt – live performer Dimivan Ludwig
Tuesday, July 16, 2019:
- 4pm to 5pm slt – live performer Mavenn
Wednesday, July 17, 2019:
- 4pm to 5pm slt – live performer Wolfie Starfire
Thursday, July 18, 2019:
- 4pm to 5pm slt – live performer TBD
Friday, July 19, 2019:
- 4pm to 5pm slt – live performer Erika Ordinary
Saturday, July 20, 2019:
- 1pm to 2pm slt – Close party


List of Giveaways (throughout the week, you must be present at events to win and enter the raffle board, only one item can be won per person)

2 LumiPros, Serenade Photo Studio Pro, Tillie’s Pose Stand, 5,000L’s, Fotoscope FotoFrame Publisher, “Beachyhead House” 100% original mesh Version 1.1 from DAD Designs, and the Camden Photo Studio from Maven Homes.

Here is the LM: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Water%20Haven/141/129/22

Marcel Mosswood

Editor's Note: Neoma Vasilia was going to be in the event, but had to drop out.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

New Crux Avatars On The Way


By Cyfir (cyfiremmerich Resident)

Sovereign Wolf, owner of Cerberus, is an accomplished mesh and avatar creator who is working on bringing the original Crux avatar to a more modern shine. I recently had a chance to interview her and ask questions regarding this and more.

Cyfir: What got you started in 3D work and avatar making?

Sovereign Wolf: Maybe it's kind of anti-climatic to hear, but I was tired of relying on other people for mod parts! I realized I had a knack for it. I've always wanted to do avatar design and creation, even back when all there was were prims. I've been meshing for mainstream human stores for the past 7+ years, and now I've decided it's time to take those skills and try to get into full time avatar creation!

C: What have been your inspirations when it comes to your work?

SW: I used to be a huge Sonic nerd and I'm a huge Disney nerd too. Anything animated, 3d or traditional. Huge nerd for it and now here we are! Some of my in-world influences are Curious, KZK, and Mutation Industries. Just to name a few!

C: What got you interested in redoing the crux in modern mesh and bento?

SW: I loved my MI fox and MI crux, (I still have my original crux somewhere in the depths of my inventory, ha). I just felt like the following the crux had would appreciate a modernization, as I felt I would, too! I would have never stopped wearing mine if it had been updated to bento. The crux has influenced so many people. This is much more of a passion project for me. It's very nostalgic!

C: What have been the challenges of recreating the crux to "modern" standards?

SW: Definitely the facial structure; the brows and lids mainly. A lot of stylization of the original crux was sort of due to the limitations of sculpts at the time. And so trying to find a middle ground that doesn't change the look too much has been a bit of a task!

C: What does the original creator of the crux think?

SW: She told me, quote, "I think that if the folks who liked the sculpted version just want a mesh update without heavy design modifications that would be pretty ideal!"

C: Can you tell us what features will be included in the new crux?

SW: So far, I'm trying to make a full facial expression AO. The tongue should have multiple states, maybe some animated ones. The ears will have an AO setting, as well as poses. There will be two selections for styles of teeth. I'm going to be including a full mesh body, and standalone versions of the parts and head (as fitments allow). I will probably offer multiple sizes of the limbs; toony proportions and maybe less exaggerated. I'm testing out various configurations for bento animating the tail, but will probably include static versions just in case! I'll be trying to stay as close to the original textures as possible, but offer multiple choices for things like teeth ( Clean or dirty ). Hopefully the final features will be too long to list!

C: Some original crux modders rely on sales from different color mods. Will there be a color palette chooser baked in to the avatar?

SW: I will only be covering the colors originally released. I will include shading PSDs with the avatar, as well as UV maps and everything else anyone will need to work on the av and modify it! There will also be an applier system! I will be splitting the original colorations into 3 packs of 6 (There's 18 original crux).

C: Is there a general release date window yet?

SW: Afraid not. This is in the pretty early stages. Avatar development usually takes me anywhere from 3-4 months (and I'm about 2-3 weeks in). I might decide to give it more time to add all the details and options I want to add in.

C: Is there anything else you would like to add about the new crux or your store in general?

SW: Yes. Please, all you die-hard crux fans out there, keep in mind that this remake will in no way stop you from enjoying the original. I know I'm not Malluch, but, I assure you that I too am a fan and I will do everything that I can to pay homage to this influential avatar! I am going to handle it with as much care as I can possibly give!

It seems that the new Crux avatar is in good hands. Those who have wanted to see a new version of the Crux will have to wait a bit longer, but it should be well worth the wait!

Cyfir

Friday, July 5, 2019

Oz And April Linden Summary, Last Names And Other Questions


By Bixyl Shuftan


On Tuesday June 25 at 2PM SL time, the "Meet the Lindens" event with Oz and April Linden took place. Saffia Widdershins gave the interview, with Patch Linden taking questions from the audience. As Oz is the Senior Director of Second Life Engineering and April the Systems Engineering Manager, this was the event of the week in which people would get the most answers about upcoming features and technical questions about Second Life. This included when will residents get the option to get a new account surname, which Linden Lab stated in March 21 last year they were working on.

To begin with April had been a resident of Second Life since 2006 before being hired by Linden Lab. She still has her regular account and has a couple regions under it. She commented she feels more of a resident than a Linden, saying at the end of the work day and after dinner, she goes to her computer and signs onto that account. She described her coming across Second Life as especially important as she came from a family where certain issues "were not to be discussed." The virtual world allowed her to learn more about herself and others, "I love working here, this platform is so important to me."

Oz in contrast had signed up years ago, but he was on an old machine at the time and didn't do much. While April had the benefit of her residency experience, Oz compared his learning experience to drinking water from a fire hose. Although he found his first days overwhelming, he liked working at the Lab as it was a fun place to work with great people, with fascinating "lore" about the early days. While April is at an office, Oz works from home.

What Oz liked most about Second Life were the stories about how the virtual world can help people in their real lives, "We get a steady stream of those. ... you don't get those working on web browsers or telephones." April stated it was the same with her, "If I'm having a really bad day, I'll hang out with some folks here to remind me what I'm doing here"

The challenges though were many. Oz commented the biggest one is usually how to update something or introduce something new without breaking something else. The "backwards compatibility" of making sure older things don't get broken is a neverending issue, "we often don't know about it until it breaks" April called the grid complex and diverse, built by many generations of Lidens over 16 years, additions made on top of another. And occasionally the way to fix things is when the Grid is offline. April stated it gave her no pleasure at all to do that as when she was a regular resident she hated it as much as everyone else.

Finally came the issue of last names (28:24 in the video). Saffia commenting,"Something we've been asking for for years." Oz's response was, Oz "I'll give you the short form quickly, and then we can keep talking about it. The short for is, last names would have been difficult, last names would have been easy. We still do last names, it's just that we give everyone the same last name.

"The hard part, and I may have contributed to making it the hard part, because I underestimated how difficult it would be. The hard part is allowing you to change your name. What we didn't want to do is say 'We're going to reintroduce last names, but you can't ever change your last name, which means all of you who got "stuck" with the last name "Resident" are just out of luck and you have to create new accounts.' That didn't seem fair. So we said we shouldn't just reintroduce last names. We should give people the ability to change their name. And that turns out to be the tricky part. It turns out that every part of Second Life, absolutely everything, was built with the assumption that your name can never change. And that means lots of things treated as something that can be cashed and the cash never needs to be cleaned up or updated and it has to be ... we have to go back and find that assumption everywhere in Second Life. And that's a *lot* of code.

"So we're working on it. We're knocking it down one system at a time. You would have thought it was based on a key, it isn't always, and the trick is that despite the fact that it was maybe not the best way to do it, to be saving names in diferent places, it always worked because names could never change. So it's the changing part that's ... We are working our way through that process. We're getting there. We're making progress. We'll get it done eventually. Anyone who's been to one of my regular user group meetings knows that I don't talk about making predictions of when things will come out until it's so close, I just can't be wrong."

April commented, "As Oz and I sometimes joked, turned out this was a really hard problem. And we didn't quite realize how hard it was until we started actually trying to do it." Oz added, "We're working on it. We are making progress. It'll be out, eventually."

Saffia asked if one possible problem was someone who changed their name possibly loosing their inventory. April answered , "That's the kind of stuff we're trying to not have happen."

When the audience had their chance to ask questions, many were about last names. One was how did the Lab plan to make name changes? The current plan was that residents could pick from a list. The number of names on the list wasn't decided on yet. But like before the list would change time to time. There were no plans on making old surnames available again. There was discussion within the Lab of possibly accepting suggestions for last names.

There will be a webpage to go to for those interested in changing their names. For the first time, it was revealed that having one's first name changed is also part of the plan. But the combination of the first name and new last name will still have to be unique, "not used by anyone, ever."

It was asked if new residents will have the option of choosing a last name. Oz Linden answered there were no plans to do so. He reminded the crowd that when the Lab looked into the issue in 2010, they found people signing up saw it as an "unfamiliar thing." In fact, their rate of successful registrations went up when they took last names away. "You'd be surprised at how difficult, how many places there are in the user experience to give up<" Oz spoke,  "And it turned out that was one. People were bothered at having to pick a last name. So we'll give them the default name, which will probably remain 'Resident.' We don't want to scare people off by making them pick a second name."

It was asked why was the Lab planning to charge residents to change their names. Oz answered, ""It has a social cost within the world, and a complexity. Not something you want people to do too frequently. It creates trouble. One of the ways to slow down things we don't want to go too fast is charging people for it." As of now, there were no plans to have any other limits. Oz stated though if too many residents changed names too often, they could impose time limits such as no more than once a week.

It was asked if residents would be notified when someone on their friends list changed their name? Oz answered, "We haven't addressed that.That's an interesting question. I can see ... that might be a good idea. We haven't discussed it." The person would still be on the friends list. Someone asked would the name on whatever items the person made be changed? Oz answered that was the goal. But as names would be in caches, the updating might not be instant, but could take some time. He hoped that it would be a short transition period.

On how much would changing names cost, Oz stated they were no longer making guesses on how much the fee to do so would be until after they figured out the process on how to do so.

Another issue was Linden Lab moving Second Life's data to "The Cloud." Oz answered they were making progress on that. They hadn't been notifying residents about updates concerning it partly because there were so many components of data, April stated about 200. But another reason was people were blaming cloud updates for perceived bugs, "We will avoid telling you when we've moved something. ... We get lots of bug reports that blame that ... muddies the waters." It was April's team that was largely responsible for moving data to Cloud servers. Among the things in which the moving was done were most of the resident inventories, "We didn't tell you, and we didn't get the bug reports," Oz remarked, "Some months after we've done something, we might mention it." They hoped a result of inventories being moved to The Cloud would be to make them more stable.

There were other questions. Someone asked if there would ever be more than ten pics in a profile. Oz stated that was a likely perk to offer those on Premium accounts in the future. It was asked with so many events and places having multiple groups, the Second Life Birthday being one example, would there ever be a "sub-group" category? Oz answered, "We haven't talked about it," admitting groups ended up being used for a lot of purposes. He stated what the Lab has done mostly is work on reliability.

It was also asked if Linden Lab would work on a "web viewer" in the future. Oz answered, "Absolutely," but couldn't offer a prediction as to when it could be available. "We know enough about it that it's possible, works pretty well. ... There have been three or four experiments that other companies have done." He stated the Lab worked on one for a while, "What we haven't solved is how to make it affordable. We expect that in time." April called making one "not a small task, but we've done it before."

There was also a mobile viewer in development. Oz stated there would be an alpha version available soon. But the first version would be limited to logging in and chat. It was commented it sounded like Radegast in how it worked. Oz called it a way to get in touch with SL without the graphical interface.

It was asked how come Second Life puts a low value on texture memory. Oz answered the main reason it's stayed so low, many users have older computers, and if it was allowed to be set too high, some of them would crash before they were even logged in. So old software "lies" about how much memory is available, "Don't run (SL) on Windows 98, really." He did say they were committed to making the number larger for users with more high-end computers.

One thing Oz brought up a few times was that Linden Lab has been trying to hire a senior graphics director, "please send them our way." The hiring of one he stated would speed up a few certain projects.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YIK_w9bdm6M" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

There would be a few other questions from the audience. They and the answers can be seen in the video of the event.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Behind The Scenes of the Second Life Birthday


By Gemma Cleanslate


I went over to check out the layout of the birthday sims.The opening is getting close so activity is going on behind the scenes to make sure your experience will be a memorable one. I always like to see the builders throwing their prims and never being satisfied or finished in their minds although to the viewer it all looks perfect.


I ran into Yavanna setting out her pods to take you on tours of the whole area and took a ride to check out the route . It is a great way to learn about the installations . As you pass by the pod tells, you left or right, what the creator had in mind. You can hop out any time to go through the parcel and hop back in again when you want. I like to take it all the way around its meandering to get an overview and then go back.


I spotted several moles working feverishly on the decor. Alotta Mole was suspended high above the trees as he worked. on another sim Squishy Mole also took to the air to look down on her job.


Squeaky Mole was down on the ground placing her decor. Someone had been eating ice cream and dropped it nearby.


I love to see some of the place holders that builders set out on their parcels to show they have been claimed . This one looks like the artist is really thinking hard about their work.. Sher told me she was!


The greeters’ class was in session off sims to get us all prepare for the onslaught of visitors , distribute gifts, guide them on their way to the stages or auditorium . There are many greeters ready to roam and help. Look for them anywhere to ask for help. We will be waiting for you ! I have that job this year.

The celebration will go on for over a week so save time to get to every part of the huge display. I was an exhibitor assistant for some years and never saw everything though I was on the sims for weeks before the openings each year. This year it looks like it will be a little easier to be able to keep track of where I have been and where I need to go . All the installations are to the west of the map. Take a look at your map and you will get the idea before you go.

Here is a large display of the Linden Homes where you can get to see all the models that will be available. Looks like one of the moles was in a hurry. I give the moles so much credit. It looks like double duty is going on to get more homes and houseboats out as fast as they can and also working on the birthday. If you see one thank them!! See you around the regions ....

Gemma Cleanslate

Editor's Note: Originally, this article went up Thursday June 13, after getting an okay from one of the moles. But when one of the Lindens saw the article, we were told to take it down

Friday, May 31, 2019

A Look At A Linden Houseboat


By Gemma Cleanslate


I thought I would bring you up date on my new Linden Houseboat.  Finally I was able to acquire one on the last release day. It was hard work as many hundreds who did not make it will attest. I actually brought my laptop to work to check on the release. There are many left waiting again so I consider myself so lucky!


I love the location too!! It is in the far northeast corner of ... right next to a spit that is unoccupied. It is next to ... beach . To the west of my boat is the bay. It is almost like a private island!!  I can hope over to the spit and take my horse for a ride all over the peninsula and check out the decor of the other decks.


I started with one model and was decorating a friend came to visit. We talked about the model and the sloping back wall. After going over and checking out his model I thought about it and decided to change. There is a lifesaver on the dock next to each house that gives one the option of 4 models. Just press and voila! Of course I had to move and reinstall all my furniture but I managed it.


With the prim allowance I have two boats in my boat slip. I rezzed some things I really like but don’t have room for at my other home in Thorstar. I found an SL14B kittycat in my inventory and rezzed her too!!  I had a few issues with finding her swimming under water when she was tiny but now that she is over 5 days and larger she seems to be stabilizing on the floor of the houseboat. My other kitty , Puffin, won’t be jealous since she lives at Thorstar.  I still have some prims to play with  when i can look at all the decor I have saved .


I know that the Moles are overburdened right now with the SL16B and  getting more Linden Homes ready for those panting for them.  Ihear that there is also a new model of Linden Home to be introduced at the SL16B Have faith and maybe some patience! It is worth the wait! The community is forming groups for various activities I must check into. My home is called Peace.  If you would like to visit let me know.

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, April 15, 2019

First Annual International Photography Festival


By Marcel Mosswood

    The “First Annual International Photography Festival” will be held on April 13th – May 12th. It is to bring together real-life photographers in one place and allow them to exhibit their photos in Second Life for one month.

    “The festival will allow people who are interested in the photo real-life to discover more easily the work of the photographers present in Second Life by grouping them in the same gallery. Currently, they are scattered in several galleries with other artists (painters, sculptors, art designers, etc.). I am convinced that SL is still a good way to promote photographers in the real world,” said Nils Urqhart, the avatar behind the event.


    The Annual International Photography Festival will be organized every year with more photographers, this year they are twelve. “It's already a good start,” said Nils. There is no charge for the photographers and they are allowed to sell their photos during the exhibition.

    This event was inspired by the photo festivals in real life. For example in France: Montier en Der, Bourg en Bresse, Hauteville-Lompnes, or Namur in Belgium. Montier en Der and Namur are international festivals. It’s also held on April - May in same reason, it is the moment of the photo festivals in France.

    For the event, Nils work in a team with Annie Scott-Siegel (claera). This event also supported by Chia (volchia.ferduccio) the owner of the Art'e Gallery which provides a gallery for displaying photography for free during the festival.


    Nils Urqhart (Paul Maurice in RL) is a French landscape photographer in real-life. He takes photos mainly in French Alps and other French mountains (Vosges, Jura, Bugey, Aubrac). He is present on SL since December 2007, opening his 1st gallery at Isla Victoria in 2008, and since 2010 he shows his photos at Helvellyn (Art gallery Rill'Arts).

Here is the LM of the First Annual International Photography Festival: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Helvellyn/58/217/30

Marcel Mosswood

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Primtionary Games

The Primtionary Games: Challenge Your Building And Language SkillsBy Marcel Mosswood

Have you heard about Primtionary? It’s a cool and fun game in Second Life. I remember, one day when I was in the middle of the games, my friend asked me over IM, “Hey, what do you do?” I answered, “Playing games.” She said, laughing, “Of course, I’m in the games too. It’s called Second Life!” But I was too busy playing Primtionary to explain to her.

Primtionary was established in 2004 and has been played since, the copyright is owned by Yummie Olsen. “Primtionary may just be the longest-running, most popular game in Second Life,” said Peace Dragovar, the manager of one running Primtionary game at Creations Park and The Palace.

The Primtionary Games at Creations Park
“The rules are simple: the contestant puts together prims to build out a secret word, while the audience tries to guess the word within 10 minutes. The audience member who gets it right earns 25L and the privilege of building the next word. Primtionary is a challenge for both your mind and your building skills,” Peace explaining on my interview with her.

There are four levels word: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Evil. The Easy level can be built with 1 prim. The Medium level is a concrete word for everyday kind of objects or obvious symbols. The Hard level is a common word that is an object or concept and takes creativity to build. The evil level is a common word that takes a lot of creativity or uncommon words. So Evil should be hard to build, but could be easy to guess.


So, who are the avatars behind these great games? As mentioned earlier the copyright owner of Primtionary is Yummie Olsen, the scripter for the timer and word catcher is Lum Kuhr, Hooten Haller created the theme manager, and Aisuru Reiko built the stage (he is the winner of the Design-a-Stage contest). The avatars who keep it running are the hosts: Gardendancer, Technus Grayman, Hooten Haller, Peace Dragovar, Buck Enoch, and Ololo Petya. Yummie is the head host.

As a game, Primtionary makes benefit for the players. According to Peace, “Personally, I enjoy guessing what is being built. Once in a while, I like the challenge of building the word given to me. As a host, it's amazing to see how builders build clues. I often get surprised by how creative people can be. I also find it’s a relaxing game, there's pleasant chat among players.”

And what are the other hosts said about the benefit of this game? Technus Grayman said that “Newer folks learn new building techniques. Also, non-English speakers learn new words! Actually, some English speakers learn new words as well!” According to Ololo Petya: “We have fun! Also, an incentive to make people learn to build.”

If you are interested to participate in the game here is the schedule:


And here are the LMs:

Creation Park: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Creations%20Park/246/13/24

The Palace: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Terra%20Delta/138/157/805


Marcel Mosswood

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

AGRA Racing


By Bixyl Shuftan


Various games and competitions have made their way to Second Life. Among them are various races and racetracks. The Giant Snail Races have been a part of the virtual world for over a decade. But there are others. One that got my attention recently was AGRA Racing. While some races may take things into the third dimension with jumps, AGRA (Anti-Gravity Racing Association) Racing does it even more so with the track and cars going part of the way on the walls.

Not long ago, I went to United Furry Outpost at the Topaz Oasis sim where my friend Jasmine Dawn found something interesting. She introduced me to Skywind Kitsune (Gravity Wright), who showed me around. Eventually, he decided, "I'll show you the Anti-Gravity Racing Association. This is something that only we have, and we are very proud of. ... Ever hear of the game F-Zero? Well, we basically made that game in SL, with cars that can cling to walls."

The track itself resembled a holodeck, with the techy grid-like appearance of much of the surface, but was much, much larger. Much of it was on the ground, including the starting/finish line and the vehicle rezzer. But there was lots of track on the walls of the place, as well as the ceiling. "People can register here to race," Skywind told me, "We host racing tournaments every year, with a 1st place prize of L$2000. ... Weve been hosting this events since 2006, we even had Lindens race. But back then, we didn't have the wall-clinging cars. At AGRA, we've been perfecting the racing tech over the years (chuckle), finding new and creative ways to race in Second Life."

Skywind brought my attention to the car rezzer, "Let me rez a car." The rezzer offered a choice of two red vehicles, the Taravi Tundra F2K-XL Racetruck, and the VixLock Zeta-1 F2K-XL Racing Machine. There was also a cube that allowed people to make their own custom vehicles, the "AGRA Voltage-XL Vehicle Building Kit." I would later be told that experienced drivers were encouraged to build their own vehicles. Behind the rezzer was an opening leading to a "Vehicle Testing Area," presumably for custom made cars, underneath the racetrack.

Skywind chose the smaller VixLock, "This car hovers inches above the ground. They use raycasting physics." When I asked how they were controled, he answered, "Arrow keys, and you have to be in mouselook. Otherwise, you get dizzy (chuckle)." When he got in his car, he told me and Jasmine, who was with me, "Just train your camera on me." Then he started, and went to racing speed in seconds. And moments later, he was on a section of track that took him up the ceiling. "Oh wow, he wasn't kidding!" Jasmine quiped. Skywind went around the track, going around a number of turns and one jump, eventually finishing the lap and steering back to the pitstop area.

Getting back, Skywind suggested to watch a race, people change their draw distance to 1024 meters. Of his fast car zipping around, "as you can imagine, have six racers go head to head, it can be quite the spectacle. It also gets pretty technical, the cars are entirely adjustable. ... I told my friend Kyosuke who built this track he probably built the longest race track on SL."

I would later meet up with the builder, Kyosuke Yexil. He told me the first track didn't take long to make, "Only took a few hours to build the base, then worked on and off on aligning the textures." Back in 2006, the course was simpler than it was now, "back then though, the engine was very different, it could only move in two dimensions." Of the recent tracks over the wall and ceiling, Skywind told me, "We actually build a new track all the time." Someone else told me they try to make the tracks fill as much of the racing area as they can, "every couple months we build a new one."

Skywing mentioned, there was just one slight problem, smaller participation lately, "the game kinda has fallen out of popularity. ... I've been trying to setup a tournament, but we don't have any racers. We have three people interested, that's it. It's like the game is at it's peak and we got nobody that wants to participate (chuckle)."

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7Zv5YENwsSs" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Before we parted ways, Skywind would send me a link to a Youtube of a race a few years ago.

Giving the vehicles and track a try myself, I found it quite a challenge. I turned off the music so I could hear the sound effects better, such as the whines of the engine and the rush of power boosts. I found AGRA to be a great and unique racing game in Second Life. Hopefully interest in the race course picks up soon.

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Topaz%20Oasis/104/218/2005

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Yinglet Avatar Release Party


By Bixyl Shuftan


Some might be surprised to learn that not all comics are in the newspaper's "funny pages" or in magazines. Some you can read online. Some are good enough to be in a real life newspaper with good art and clean humor, and some are done by beginners with not much of a plot. Occasionally, an online comic gets something based on it in Second Life. One example was "ZZ Studios" which was a tribute to Eric Schwartz's "Sabrina Online." Another was a rideable mount I once got that was based on those in Tiffany Ross's "Pure", although it could also be considered one of the "Shiave" of her "Cyantian Chronicles" which had more readers.

"Out of Placers" (http://www.valsalia.com/comic/prologue/01/), or "OOPs" as it's sometimes called for short, is a Fantasy webcomic by an artist known as Valsalia that began in April 2015 in which humans share their world with other intelligent races, including Yinglets. What is a Yinglet? Probably the simplest definition I've come across is "Like the kobolds of D&D, but more comical." They're small furry bipeds that average three to three and a half feet tall (add several inches if the ears are erect), thin arms and legs, large ears and eyes, and a snout with a large single tooth in the front. Although they can speak the same language as humans, the "shelltooth" usually results in a lisp. The majority aren't quite as intelligent as the average human, though there are some exceptions, and they tend to be easily amused and distracted. Most humans in the world see them as pests or amusing distractions themselves. They prefer shellfish for dinner, their large front tooth handy for opening clams and oysters, and are often seen at riverbanks and beaches scavenging for them and anything else that might catch their interest, getting the less than flattering nickname "scavs" from the humans. They have a different sleep cycle, while sleeping fewer hours a day overall will take naps about three to seven times in a 24 hour period.

In the story's world, they are the youngest of the races, having been first recorded by human history there only several generations ago. They also age faster, reaching physical maturity at three years and considered elderly at twenty-five. They also have a severe gender imbalance, with most populations having just one female for every several males (what some guys in real life complain is the ratio of those single and looking in the "Sexual Recession"). So usually females stay in their enclaves. Enclaves are typically led by the dominant female, the matriarch, with those in larger ones having the assistance of the several more competent males or patriarchs. Between their having fewer among their numbers who can think clearly for a while and their being around for only a short time, Yinglet enclaves are not as developed technologically or socially as human settlements. The most advanced ones do so by dealing with and learning from the humans, though this has led to questions by some that this is leading to a weakening of their more traditional ways, as well as some wondering if any human can truly be trusted as so many treat them like pests.

In the online comic, the main character, Kassen Akoll, gets changed from human to Yinglet by some means he and those around him have yet to figure out. But now you can take on the look of these (usually) amusing fuzzballs here in Second Life. But on Saturday March 16, the residents of Second Life had the ability to take on the look of one as Montecito Bay hosted the release party of the Ynglet avatar, by Raphie Jular of Evil Turtle Productions. The avatar is bento rigged, and both male and female chests are included. Two colors are included, and the avatar has bento rigged mesh with bento rigged jaws, ears, tails, and fingers.

Sorry to all the newcomers who are just joining us and are probably wondering WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON! We're hosting the release of Evil Turtle Productions very own Yinglet avatar!

Do you like eating clams? Do you like talking like 'zhis'?! Do you enjoy being a short little cute ball of fluff who's always finding trouble around every corner! Then be sure to pick up this well created little avatar!

The event was held in the Avagora mall well above Montecito Bay, at it's disco dance floor set up in the middle of the place between shops. Dropping by early, some of the staff were already there, having gotten the avie a little early. But as the hour approached, more showed up. And the Yinglets looked pretty small next to the regular-sized furry folk, "normal sized avatars look like freakish giants now!" The maker of the avatar wasn't there at first, "Raphie (the creator) is having a nap because our time zone is crazy." Then he appeared, "Raphie's back (smile)." The avatar's maker waves, "Weh! Okay zhen, I'm a little less half-dead after nap. Hello all." Someone mused, "One of the best things about being a yinglet would be the naps." Raphie agreed, "Oh yes. Nap for an hour, can go ADHD for six again." "Then they can go 'eeeee' again."

It didn't take long for the place to fill up. And finally at 6PM SL time, "Hello everyone that's here so far! We're just now OFFICIALLY starting things off! Thank you all for showing up early to support the lovley Raphie Jular and their release of the Yinglet avatar!! If you take a look  to the right of the stage there's already a nice little board for you to purchase your own Evil Turtle Productions Yinglet!" Becky greeted, "Welcome everyone! Glad to see you! So the rules are as follows; if you want to join zhe raffle, ya must be here the WHOLE event, no join and run. That's the only rule! so click that raffle ball, floating above the dance floor when it opens!" "If y'all have friends who are fans of yinglets or looking for a really cool avatar, be sure to invite them along!  Raphie put their blood sweat and tears into this wonderful little thing, and I'd absolutely love to see it flourish! ...There's also an event currently on the board for 1,500L! ... The theme is 'Fantasy.' ... And you can 100% spend that on Yinglet and Yinglet accessories! ... But let's be serious, any money they get is going to clams more than likely!" Later in the event, it would get raised to 2069 Lindens.

A number got in character with the characteristic Yinglet lisp, "Zhing!" I'm hearing zhe musics." Becky Nosferatu, in one of the avatars was also giving out buckets of their favorite food, "Who wahts a bucket of claaams?! ... Seriously, who wants clams?" "All zhe clams." Apparently with not that many takers, yet, Becky went in character, "They're clams, so, I'm just gonna keep eating them." Ralphie laughed, "You're gonna get so high drunk," mentioning what happens when the often hungry Yinglets finally manage to stuff themselves on their prized food. "Come to Mont Bay and win lots of clams," someone mused. Becky responded, "I mean, we *are* on zhe bay. Zhey're fresh, okay! Caught zhem myself." Someone joked, "Hmmm...never zhought we'd find a way to 'clam' Becky up, but zhere you go (grin)." Eventually, more buckets were passed around, "Scav life." "*noms on clams*" "... Welcome to zhe Scav Life." "Yinglets' stilt legs and hand-like feet are for walking zhe beach, feeling for clams and oysters in zhe sand, and picking zhem out to eat." "It's not our faults are fur smell like low tide or swamps."

With the Yinglets just a few feet high, it was commented those used to being in very big avatars might find them disorienting, "You know, as disorienting as going from human to yinglet must have been for Kass, can you imagine a massive dragon getting Ying'd?" Jasmine Dawn commented, "Here's my take on the Ying, change to one, go home, can't reach 'nuffin."

Magpie Hyena (VesperBloodwing Parx) had a gift for people attending the party, skins to change the appearance of the Yinglet avie a little, "Raph, I have three skins I can do for this av. I don't have time to set up for selling so, I was thinking about just giving them away." Raphie agreed, "Sure thing Magpie."

Some had a little trouble with dancing. Raphie admitting, "To be honest, Yinglet's won't dance better zhan zhis." Someone else joked, "Friendly warning: Swinging Yings does not mean to zrow zem, as light as zey are. Ying not meant to fly."

Another mused, "Dancing chickenlegs even." Becky commented, "Chicken legged, but far to small to eat! You won't get any meat off these bones." She herself later got hungry, "Be right back, I need another taco." This being the favorite food of the Crux avatars that Montecito Bay is fond of, someone commented,"Seriously, you're going to cruxify your Yinglet at this rate, Becky." Emorald surprised Becky by popping a taco into her mouth, "Ack! Hey! I had zhree dammit!" Emo chuckled, "Eat a fourth one!" Eventually, someone asked, "Becky can I haz some clamz?" Someone responded, "I don't think Becky wants to share her clams, or her tacos."

It didn't take long for a lot of the people there to buy and wear the avatar, "Jesus. The Yinglet group really grew!" "Oh my God the yinglets dancing at the front of the dancefloor are *adorable*!" Raphie grinned, "Thank you, enjoy being a birdrat." Someone pretended to be upset, "How dare you call me a birdrat!  I'm a ratbird!" A third mused, "Anozher birdrat for ze birdrat collection yes." Someone joked about a scene with these and another avatar that was selling well, the Chibi Noodle Dragon, "Imagine a Yinglet sled driven by four Noodles. That is a sugar shock." "I saw ***** and was all 'what is zhat big dragon-cat-zhing?  Oh, is a noodle!'" "Suddenly, for some reason, I'm imagining a Yinglet riding a Chocobo."

Raphie continued to get praise, "Thank you for making them a real thing " "Gotta spread Val's awesome creation!" Raphie responded. "SL real at least! Though I still want a plushie Yinglet at some point." "Oh my God, I want a Yinglet plushie too." Raphie responded, "I believe a plushie skin for the Ying is already in-concept." Someone grinned, "Just barely released and already getting modded." Apparently some had already made adjustments to their Ynglets, Magpie saying, "I am so shocked that there are so many modded yinglets in existence before this avatar even happened. I am sure these yinglet avs will do well." Someone commented, "I've been in a Yinglet avatar for about an hour and I already managed to sell ad space on zhirty percent of my body like a race car!"

Besides myself, a number from the Sunweaver community dropped by Montecito Bay for the party. This included Jasmine, Gil Ottared, Alleara Snoodle, and a few others. Gil mused of the numbers, "Just wait until we get our enclave togezher and start laying eggs."

The contest was won by Iexo Bethune!.

With the party over, people began heading out. "Have a wonderful evening everyone! Thank you Raphie for letting us host your wonderful avatar!" "Yall be safe and good. Don't OD on clams!" Someone responded, "Awwwww! OD'ing on clamz iz de fun part!" Some would say they'd return, "I'll have to come back here, this place is HUGE." Raphie commented, "I will tell (Valsalia) zhe tale of zhe SL Ying takeover, Zhe mighty tale! ...Zhank you all for coming!"

I had been told that in the rush to get the avatar finished by the release party, there were a few bugs in it. But the only person concerned about it at the party seemed to be Raphie himself. They should be ironed out and those who already having brought the avatar getting updates in a week or two. It was also commented that the avatar might have a lasting effect on Montecito Bay, remarking things were crazy enough with the Crux avatars, but with Crux *and* Yinglets, things would be truly insane.

Bixyl Shuftan

Addition: Some time later, Valsalia would message me, "... just gave the article a read. I was really surprised by how much customization has already gone into these, like the bucket-o-clams object (smile). That was a really solid article, and did a great job of both explaining the creature concept and the SL implementation of them. The way people describe these little things is always both fun and valuable for me to read, as it gives me a more solid understanding of the way people are perceiving these little things, and what aspects about them stand out to people the most"