Monday, December 19, 2011

Be the Ninja! The Nexus Core System RP Sim

Ninja Combat System is a complex MMORPG (Massive Multi Online Role Play Game) created especially for SL. It is located at NxCS (12, 120, 3159). The role-play is wildly popular, with over 4000 members. When I visited there recently, it was my first introduction to the world of Ninjas and role-playing games. I was fascinated by this detailed, creative world. Peaceful, beautiful music plays in the background, but danger lurks everywhere.

BioBlaze Payne and Silicon Plunket own NCS, and Numberofthebeast Angelus is the main Builder. Currently the role play area of Ninja Combat is set in Yōso no tochi, Land of the Elements. The site is expanding rapidly. Currently you can find a Village set within a volcano, waterfalls, meadows, and more. Outside of the role play area is a Mall, library, classrooms, and a combat practice area. If you are not familiar with MMORPG, there are classes, notecards, and friendly people who will help get you started. There is even a blog dedicated to Ninja Combat:

NCS can be enjoyed in many different ways. The premise of the game is built on a legend about three brothers who come from a distant world but then go their separate ways. The middle brother lived among nature, communing with the Forest and eventually the elements themselves. From the elements he gained longevity and prospered. His descendants became Yōso no rēsu, the Race of the Elements. Some of these people have the ability to control "Chi/Ki/Chakra" a spiritual energy that gives them power to protect or to destroy. This ability is so valuable that others will kill to have it.

In order to protect the children who are born with this power, the people joined together in clans and families to form Villages. The villages offer protection and employment for those with this miraculous ability. An individual Ninja can join a clan and take part in massive group events or go on individual quests and journeys. Elaborate histories of the groups and clans exist and drive the plot of this RPG. Each Ninja who joins the group brings his or her own story to the game, enriching and adding to the community. The Ninja advance through different levels and complete missions as they progress through life.

To play, you pick up the free game box on Marketplace. Inside the box you’ll find a HUD, weapons pouch, some clothing and both male and female shapes. The HUD is key to the game because it intertwines the RP with missions where you find and seek objects or engage in combat. Wear the HUD and go to the landing point listed above. Create your character by choosing a name, your abilities, symbols, village and clan. NCS guides you through the character building process. In addition to the HUD, notecards, signs and other tools are available to help you.

I decided to be a male Ninja. I wore the male student shape and put on the Nagushi uniform of Kunai Holster. NCS provided the Nagushi clan shinobi pants, wrist band, shingaurd boots, headset, and projectile pouch. It didn’t include a shirt, which isn’t a problem for a real male. In my case, I added the tunic from a male outfit available in the Linden Library.

Like any endeavor, the more thought you put into this, the better your outcome will be. But don’t let lack of experience stop you from trying this game. I was able to create a presentable character with minimal effort and no prior Ninja knowledge. Once I looked like a Ninja, I needed to gain some knowledge and experience.

In the library there are rows of books, some of which give out freebies and experience points. There are also classes, which BioBlaze Payne and others teach to newcomers. In addition to the library, a weapon practice area and other “safe” zones exist so you can learn Ninja skills without getting injured. For those who want to support the community with Lindens, there is also a way to purchase experience and other benefits. The purchases help the sim and the community, too.

But I wanted to jump into action. Ready or not, I teleported into the Village.

The Village is an impressive, multi-level structure constructed of dark, grey stone and linked by bridges. One of the bridges is featured as the cover art on the game box. A few private meeting rooms are tucked away behind the massive pillars. Fireplaces have been placed in the center of the room to offer warmth and light. The rooms are great places for small groups of Ninja to meet and plan their strategy. A hospital is located in the corner of one of the buildings, although it appeared a rock slide had damaged it.

The creative Builder of this world is Numberofthebeast Angelus. He took me on a tour of the Village, including some hidden and behind-the-scene areas. We started with a walk-through of the Village area, where we made a quick stop for Take-Out food. Angelus made the Chef, who is an NPC, a Non-Player Character. “The Chef,” Angelus said, “is my fav NPC to date.” In addition to cooking, the Chef gives out missions, such as sending a Ninja on a quest to find a needed ingredient. Angelus’ creativity and humor are found in the carry-out boxes, too. “Go Home Happy” is written on them.

New areas and creatures are continually being added to keep the game exciting and fun for the Ninja. From the Village we went to a hidden hot springs that is still being perfected. The giant Slug is slated to become a Mission Giver. Other creatures, like moles, leeches and ants, are in the works, too. But the human-looking NPCs were my favorites. The detail and diversity were amazing. Even more impressive is that they are only 1 prim each.

In addition to the NPCs, magical plants have been created at another hot springs. A new HUD is in the works that will involve a mining system. Different ores are being created, ranging from basic iron ore up to valuable diamonds. A new village that will be hidden in a forest is also planned, and Angelus will build living quarters for anyone who wants to live at NCS.

On another visit to NCS I met Vasari Nagushi, who is the Nagushi Sama of Noumugakure. He has been a member for three years. In addition to his duties as the Nagushi Sama and working security, he helps new people who want to get involved. His village has 21 people in it, but one of his goals is to increase that number. While we chatted, another Ninja, Isela Yuhara, joined us. She and Vasari Nagushi are members of the same clan, but reside in different villages.

But Ninja seek adventure, and it was time for me to return to find one. One of the first missions given a beginning Ninja is to kill the Lava bees that live in a giant bee hive. The bees are attacking the farmers and villagers and must be killed. As I stood there, debating whether I really wanted to get near the hive, encouraging messages came to me. One message said, “Lava Bees are attacking. This is a good chance for you to show us what you learned in School.” Another note encouraged me to “Go dwindle their numbers.”

I had to try to save the Village. With no experience and even less knowledge, I took on the hive. At the end of my fight, I received a message that said “You have Damaged yourself 8 time(s)” and another one that said “You have done a Direct hit 6 time(s)”. Not bad, I thought. But the best message was “You have done Double Damage 6 time(s)”. I saved the Village—at least for the moment. It was time for a reward. Time to shop.

I went shopping at the Gateway to Cosplay store, located in the mall area. Here I found a wide variety of clothes and outfits for both men and women. The women’s clothes included beautiful silks, fishnet stockings, boots, and hats. The men’s Shinigami Captain's Haori outfit was very dashing. On the other side of the Mall I found the Birth shop, where skins, eyes, and shapes are sold. The Mall is large, with lots of room available for more shops.

If you have ever wanted to explore the fascinating world of the Ninja, the NCS sim is a great place to start. With the HUD, notecards, posters, and classes to teach you the basics of this world, you can be a Ninja. You, too, can find adventure here.

Go defeat those Lava Bees!

Grey Lupindo

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winners Announced in UWA Open-Art Challenge

Any1 Gynoid, noted lately for her articles on the “Occupy” movement in Second Life, recently attended the University of Western Australia’s 3-D Open Art Challenge as they announced their winners this Sunday December 11th at 6 AM SL time. A total of 59 art exhibits were elgible for a 100,000 Linden prize, with 24 competing in a seperate non-scripted contest. In the “MachinimUWA 4: Art of the Artists” film contest, 83 machinimas were judged as well.

By a single point, the winner of the Open Art Challenge was Misprint Thursday’s “Digital Glove.” Described in Prim Perfect as a “complex and thoughtful work,” one was asked to wear a HUD to get the full bennefit of this exhibit that was a combination of audio, motion pictures, and static objects. Taking a look at it, I personally do not know how to describe it other than I haven’t seen anything like it before. Misprint also tied for 5th Place in “Paranormal Frottage.”

"I am so honored to have two spots in the top 10 of the year...I am amazed at the potential of the medium and look forward to seeing it progress. I am very thankful for the work that Jay Jay, FreeWee and the judges put into this-it is no small task. We have a world of people and possibilities here and it continues to move me. So, thank you."

Those wanting to hear more from Misprint can do so at the Christmas Expo in the Silver Bells sim on Friday when she is interviewed.

Second place went to “In Dreams” by Blue Tsuki. This exhibition showed a sleeping area full of beds, but instead of sleepers, the beds had various objects on them. Of coming in second, Blue spoke, "Misprint is very desring, I don’t mind losing to her(smile). But then there were so many deserving that I am so surprised." Blue recieved 75,000 Lindens.

Third place was “The Chasm” by Oberon Onmura. This was a simple exhibit of two wedges back to back to each other with a small gap in between. On each of the peices lay an avatar, humanoid with a monocolor skin, it’s AO causing it to reach out to the other. For those going about the UVA exhibition and see two avatars on your radar next to one another, it might be this exhibit. I say might because avatars can crash. And sometimes they can fail to rezz, such as when I came across it. Oberon recieved 40,000 Lindens. As shown when Second Life Newser looked at his Burn2 exhibit, Oberon’s work sometimes involves the use of avatars as art.

Fourth place went to “Strange Plant: Ugliness and Beauty” by Claudia222 Jewel, whom recieved 30,000 Lindens as her prize. Tying for fifth were “Paranormal Frottage” by winner Misprint Thursday and “Excerpts from Realities” by Glyph Graves. Seventh place went to “Not Everything is Black & White” by Fushia Nightfire. Tying for eighth place were “Fantasia En La Sombra” by Romy Nayar and “It’s Raining in My Heart as It’s Raining in the Town” by Cherry Manga. Five exhibits tied for tenth place, “Harmonies in C Great” by Artistide Despres, “Three Little Turns and It Goes Away” by Josiane Sorciere, “The Dock Spirit” by Scottius Polke (designer of Lunamaruna), “Venustrap” by Claudia222Jewel, and “Shattered” by Ginger Also.

In the Non-Scripted competition, first place went to “Shattered” by Ginger Alsop, whom was awarded a 15,000 Linden prize. Second place was awarded to “You Can’t Touch Heaven” by Paleillusion Resident, who recieved 10,000 Lindens. Third place went to “99%” by Harter Fall, whom took home 5,000 Lindens. Harter spoke, "Receiving this award is such an amazing honor. I never thought I would win this prize, especially with such an political installation. I think even the rich ones of us understand they don´t belong to the 1%."

The Peoples’ Choice Award went to “Small Piece of Hell” by Rebeca Bashly, " I am very surprised and pleased. My goal is to make people happy with my pixels."

In the MachinimUWA 4 competition, the winner was “Welcome to the Other Side” by Tutsy Navarathna, “Many thanks to the organizers. UWA competitions are now setting the benchmarks for the creation of Visual 3D and Audio-Visual media in Virtual Worlds.
I am very proud to be part of this adventure! UWAMachinima IV is a great achievement in terms of the number of entrants and the high quality of the films being produced. In only three years or so, machinima filmmakers have emerged as an undisputed artistic force in Virtual Worlds...And this is just the beginning! Thank you, all.”

Tutsy recieved a 60,000 Linden prize. His machinima can be seen here (Not Safe For Work): . Second place went to “Artwashers” by Friday Siamendes, and third went to “Art of the Artists” by Fushia Nightfire. They recieved 40,000 and 30,000 Linden prizes respectively. The Special Award for Emotion went to “Yeah” by Hypatia Pickens, and the Special Award for Breaking the Barriers was awarded to “Transformation Virtual Art on the Brink” by L1aura Loire/ Dr. Lori Landay.

Lori spoke, “My film suggests that virtual art can be seen as a step towards what augmented reality might bring to art experience in the future, but as usual, I explore that idea playfully, with a wink at questions about how imagined, created, and actual realities intertwine, and what it might mean to break the barriers between them. It is a privilege to explore those connections with the artist communities of Second Life, especially as we've been brought together by the UWA.”

When awarded fifth place in the Non-Scripted competition for “Marionette,” Haveit Neox commented, "The UWA Art Challenge 2011 comes to an end, but it's left its imprint grid wide for the artists of SL. Jayjay conceived of the challenge, and against all odds in an otherwise scattered Second Life, he managed to nurture an expansive and stimulating place for artists to congregate, share their work, discover each other, and further their visibility in SL. An impossible task, unless you happen to be Jayjay. I am grateful for this award. My thanks to Jayjay, FreeWee, and all those who made the UWA Art Challenge a reality."

The exhibit can still be seen at UWA Winthrop (208, 128, 248)

Contributor: Any1 Gynoid

Sources: Prim Perfect, UWA Blog

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, December 5, 2011

Linden Realms Portal: Nysray

Premium members can experience Second Life in Linden Realms. You're supposed to be able to quest, conquer and gain Linden Dollars. When I teleported in my Phoenix white dress, I knew I should have changed into something more appropriate, but I was here already.

You begin on a black platform on top of a hill. A guide pole beams a green light to where you're supposed to begin. You touch down on land surrounded by hilly terrain in front of a strange looking object that looks like a fantasy or alien rock.

It says:
Shimmering Rift briefly emits a faint voice '... is anyone out there? I need your help...' Shimmering Rift emits a burst of static. Shimmering Rift crackles with electricity.

I'm thinking, back away. So I did. I clicked various parts of the Shimmering Rift structure and nothing happened. I even clicked the blue crystal on top of it. I got smart and looked under it. Finally a message:

Shimmering Rift says, “This portal will take you to Project LR, an enhanced SL experience. Walk inside, and the portal will teleport you to the island.”

So I walked into the rift and was teleported to the Summoning Circle. Everything was intensely green and surrounded by half orange/half green pods. Blue rectangles with colored ovals are right above you. If you click the question mark it will load a web page from Linden Realms. So I move out of the way in case another voyager drops down the portal. I waited patiently for the web page to load and I learn that's a hud above my head.

The web page says: “As part of the Linden Realms experience, a heads-up display (HUD) will be attached to you automatically. You won't be prompted to accept the attachment. Don't worry: while this is not standard behavior in the rest of Second Life, it is the way Linden Realms is designed to work.”

Trouble and danger brew around every corner. You can be "killed" in the game by one of the hazards (like a rock monster, toxic water, or a fireball). When this happens, you will be teleported to a “resurrection circle.” Unless I get off the ground, I’m a target. Since there’s no ability to fly, that option doesn’t exist.

If you can't fly then avoiding the stone path might be a good idea if they have some form of avatar trackers. I cautiously headed toward the workshop cottage.

Next comes the message: 5:04] Tyrah: “I see you have found my island. I'm trying to build some flares to signal a rescue party. Can you help me?”

I sat at the table and started clicking bottles and books lying around. The goal is to find crystals. Scanning the area around me, I see a map on the table which is the exact image of the SL mini-map. Evidently, there are clues to where crystals can be found. They can also be the first places to avoid.

Above the small map is a larger more detailed illustration of "Suspected Crystal Concentrations.” Going there will surely lead to danger. There are eight at the base camp. When things started exploding, I knew I was in trouble. But it was in sound effect only, possibly the chemical concoction in the huge test tubes on one side of the building. I'll tell you I didn't like being alone here. Something in a cage was also not a good sign.

Into a cabin I move:

[5:20] Tyrah's Cabin: “Tyrah created this home when she was stranded on the island. She spent time here trying to find a way to get herself home.”

So this is Tyrah's cabin and I'm avoiding at all costs being too curious. I'm certainly not going to click on the small cage in her bedroom. From the drawings, I can see that she was trying to create flares with the crystals. I did notice a crystal changing form inside a contained area. I also avoided oval platforms with center dots.

A new clue:
5:25] Blue Crystal Collector: “This machine collects and processes blue crystals. To use it, stand on the target in front of the machine when you have blue crystals.”

I used the world map to click on teleport sites. Selecting the closest, I immediately read this:

5:28] Teleport completed from 5:28] You have been teleported by the object 'Death Volume' on the parcel 'Tyrah's Island'

Since I like my body the way it is, I decided the word "Death" was a clue for me to get out of there. Tell me if you get further.....

Netera Landar

Friday, November 18, 2011

More on the "1000 Avatar Project"

Gracie Kendal danced in paint speckled jeans and a comfy top surrounded by the towering 1000 Avatar exhibit. Her friends danced right along with her at a pre-release party for Volume 2 of her book.

Kendal's photography focused on the concept of online identity: what it means to present ourselves in a virtual manner, how we fashion our avatars and why.

It began with a Second Life group show held on Caerleon Island called "Ambiguity of Identity.” Back in 2010, several SL artists worked together on the project.

"So we were already having this conversation about identity in Second Life," said Kendal as we sat in a social area a day before the party. We were surrounded by the avatar pictures beyond what your camera could observe. One literally had to cam upward and around to see the entire exhibit. "I can't remember the exact moment or inspiration...most of my artistic work is spontaneous. But when I come up with these ideas, I just go with them immediately.”

"Second Life allows us to be what we are in the inside. We understand what it means to don a persona, an identity, a personality, a mask, an avatar and either be someone else, or explore another aspect of ourselves or find our true self. Avatars are amazing inventions," Kendal mentioned.

What began as a collection of one hundred portraits to illustrate the idea of online anonymity, evolved into a documentation of SL avatars. She began her project Oct. 23, 2010 and finished it Nov 2, 2011.

"The portraits record a moment in their lives of more than a thousand people who are, to me, fearless," she explains about her first book. "These people have put themselves out there into the brave new world of virtual environments as explorers searching for anything and everything. They are amazing, creative, soulful people who I am so honored to have in my project."

The project is immense. You have to see it to believe it. It's 2,438 prims, 100 x 100 meters across and 68 meters tall. Kendal knew what she wanted to do because her Masters Thesis show featured portraits done of herself as part of a transition for the project as "My Life as an Avatar." She had before and after portraits in real life where she stood in front of a gray background.

"Initially I set up a little platform above my studio and started Iming people from my friend's list," she said. "Within a week or so I had about 100 avis. Then I started putting out notices in the groups I am in, as well, asking friends to tell their friends. Then the installation got into the destination guide and I started getting IMs and emails asking to participate. It has been a steady stream of people ever since."

The project was mentioned in the Second Life group on Facebook and that has increased exhibit visitors. She had to take a break from shooting for awhile because of computer issues, but when she came back, she moved full steam ahead on finishing meeting her goal of 2000 avis. She just reached the goal last week.

What did she learn from the project? That would be how important this is to the history of Second Life.

"Especially because Second Life isn't the buildings, art or clothes, it’s the people who are here who make this world what it is," she told me. "I'm really honored that they would want to be part of this."

She thinks these avatars stand proud and represent so many more who covet their online identities.

"A big part is also anonymity," she mentioned. "So it’s stressing the idea that we can come here and be whoever we want." Asked if she sees a pattern emerge in avatar use she replied, "I noticed a lot more women or women avatars, definitely more human."

Kendal self published her book, “1000 Avatars” so she could have control over every aspect of it. She dedicated the first volume to a dear friend of hers, the late Delinda Dryssen. The 160-page softcover book was published May 31, 2011. It sells for $62.95. Email her to order it at

For more information, log on to

Netera Landar

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tamarillo Island Maze

You begin in a large open area with a few vendors selling various weapons programmed for use inside the Maze. There are things like swords and blade-arms (good against flesh, not so good against robots) and there are energy weapons (designed more for blasting 'bots instead of zombies. After buying the "reloader hud" for 50 $L, I decided on a "Blade Arm" (short range, high damage) and hopped down to go into the maze proper.

The maze is just that, a maze. From my perspective, the upper levels look like an industrial warehouse with various zombies flitting about; I can see a Doom-ish influence here. I hit mouselook and began slashing at the zombies, and as I did so, they fell apart and as I moved closer I found they're physical objects. Killing them released "gems" which I had to walk over to pick up and they were added to my "hud" for eventual purchase of improvements to my weapon. Along the way there were a few terminals with buttons on them you can click (I had a good laugh over one button labeled "not bound", meaning it did nothing) with some opening doors and others releasing more monsters which I had to kill.

One problem I had was constantly entering mouselook and leaving it to click on my reload hud to reload a freebie pistol that is available (I figure there's a way to fire without being in mouselook but at the moment it escapes me). Another problem I had was that since the objects are actually -physical-, a lot of them in the area will lag the sim down. There was one area with about 6 or 7 "zombies" all grouped together as a single cluster when it was meant for them to be separate, and that slowed the system to a crawl. I saw the cluster fall through the floor twice trying to orient itself or move while the sim was computing how best to approach me and attack. Movement slowed and rubber-banded me back and forth as the sim repeatedly tried to compensate for all of the movement, and fortunately I've played enough of these game types to know to move away or around as far as possible until the system "woke up" and everything flowed smoothly again. On top of that, the "gems" are physical too, and walking over them sometimes kicked them instead of added them to my hud... I had to walk over them repeatedly.

I didn't end up getting very far. On my furthest foray into the maze, I got caught in between prims in one of those tight spaces that makes SL think you're falling. Couldn't move or jump or even fly out... easy prey for the zombies.

I tracked down the owner of the Maze, Chainsword Audion, and asked him a few questions...

Xymbers Slade: How long has the Maze been active, and what is the main objective?

Chainsword Audion: It opened a few months back. Its objective is to bring some fast paced action adventure to Second Life. Dancey clubs, beaches and lag are something we already have enough of.

Xymbers Slade: What kinds of critters can be found in the maze? Any power ups, puzzles, etc?

Chainsword Audion: New enemies and content are being added to the maze every so often. As of now you will encounter many kinds of zombies and robots. Puzzles yes; powerups: besides the weapon and hud everything you need is right here. #chestpat

Xymbers Slade: Any tips for survival in the maze?

Chainsword Audion: Bring friends. Do not let things get near you. Try to be fully reloaded at all times. Stuff like that.

Xymbers Slade: How long did it take to build this whole thing up?

Chainsword Audion: The maze has been something I have been working on since early 08. Created a total of 7 times and destroyed 6 times.

Xymbers Slade: I noticed a lot of the "monsters" are physical objects. Has that been a problem, since many physical objects interacting at once lag the sim down?

Chainsword Audion: This is unfortunately a part of Second Life. With careful managing of script resources though, this can be minimized.

Xymbers Slade: Is there anything you wanted to have the maze do/have, but could not thanks to the way SL works?

Chainsword Audion: Bigger battles. I would love to have large scale battles in the maze where you must hold off hundreds of enemies coming from all sides. This, however, is just not something that can happen with the amount of processing power Linden Labs chooses to allocate to a homestead or even fullsize sim for that matter. Would gladly be willing to shell out some cash to cover a hardware upgrade fee, however, that is not an option offered.

Xymbers Slade: What kind of improvements are you planning on making for the Maze in the future, or are you going to let the work stand for itself?

Chainsword Audion: I have several ideas for improving the hud and adding a possible armor feature. As for sure things though you can expect to see extensions to the bottom of the maze as well as new enemies and weapons. (only a little under 50% of the maze is actually finished)

Xymbers Slade: Any parting shots for those who want to make something similar? Pitfalls to avoid, words of wisdom, etc?

Chainsword Audion: Something similar? Don't make something similar. Make something that no one has ever seen before.

The Maze can be found at Tamarillo Island (238 239 1170). I'm going to give the Maze 3 Dragon Hoards out of five. The effort shows, but the SL physics take away from the overall effect and shoot 'em ups like this aren't my thing. Still, the pricing of the weapons is right (gotta support the sim somehow) and it's a nice thing to visit and try out if you're into this sort of thing.

Xymbers Slade

Friday, November 4, 2011

Meeroo Auctions

Having immersed myself into the Meeroos, I decided to head out and head for the Meeroo sim itself and check out the Meeroo Auctions they were having over there. I was surprised that such an auction house existed, but I probably shouldn't have been - I tell others "if it exists in real-life it exists in SL" all the time. I went over expecting to see a lot of shops and hear barkers giving prices for Meeroos, and I was not disappointed.

The sim is one big Meeroo store, with almost all traits, breeds, and varieties represented. I saw several places that had a lot of "rare coats" and a lot of "random nest givers" that promised good breeding lines and rare, normally-expensive 'roos at much cheaper prices... if you got lucky. Of course, seeing so many "rare coats" in one place kind of dumbed them down for me, I saw one pen filled with blue-coated meeroos that were supposed to be "very rare." Naturally, the more common the meeroo, rare coat or not, the less it would potentially be "worth."

In one corner of the sim, Auctioneer Emra Jantzen was calling out various meeroos and their bloodlines, sounding much like an overexcited infomercial. I mean that in a good way, because she had a LOT of interest and a lot of people clustered around the platform, all of them making various bids on the various meeroos presented before them. I caught up with her after her shift and asked her a few questions on the whole thing.

Xymbers Slade: How long have you been "hawking the 'roos"? Can you give a little bit of history behind the auctioneering here?

Emra Jantzen: I have been calling Meeroo auctions since late July, but Meeroo Market opened in late August. Daemon actually had a market on the sim but no auction area until August, when he decided to cash in on the growing trend of auctioning meeroos.

Xymbers Slade: Was it hard getting started? Did you just set up one day with a handful of nests and start calling them out?

Emra Jantzen: I actually started out as just a customer, new to meeroos, watching the auctions. I've been a DJ in SL for years and thought, how hard could this be? I didn't really think it through. It's a lot of work. I started at another auction house and was hooked at my first auction when I managed to sell a loch for 75000$L.

Xymbers Slade: How can you tell if a particular meeroo is very valuable, or is it just "the more traits the better"?

Emra Jantzen: It follows a simple supply and demand theory. The less there are of a coat the more valuable it is. If a rare coat has traits, that just ups the value more. If you come to one of my auctions you can hear me preach this, the more traits on a coat as possible. If a roo has just a coat the value will go down. If a roo has a rare coat with 3 good traits, its going to hold its value.

Xymbers Slade: How difficult would you say is it to get the particular traits? Is it luck, skill, patience or all three?

Emra Jantzen: Patience and skill with a dash of luck. If you know what you want and can wait it out you can get it. Knowing what is in the background of your roos genetics is key. I personally have managed to create a very reliable long mane line from two chest fluff off springs. It just took me awhile.

Xymbers Slade: How much would you say a Tribal with clear eyes, short tail, and short upturned ears would be (as that's the one I think I want the most)?

Emra Jantzen: A roo is only worth as much as someone will pay. That being said, I have seen tribals with no traits being sold for anywhere between 125k to 150k. The traits would add a significant amount to the price.

Xymbers Slade: Does it surprise you how much some of these meeroos go for? I was hearing bids of 4000, which is almost $20 USD, for 13 linked prims. (smile)

Emra Jantzen: Yes it does. You came on a bad night, we have sold roos for more then 150,000Ls here, and I have seen them priced for much more in markets. I always told myself I would never pay more then 5000 for a roo. I bought my first jubilee for 25,000. I think it gets kind of addicting at the auctions and before you know it you are bidding right along with everyone else.

Xymbers Slade: I heard the most one went for was $350,000L. What is the most you've sold a meeroo for, and where does the money all go?

Emra Jantzen: I don't have all of the high end roos that a lot have. I refused to invest in them for a long time and so I have fallen behind. The best one I sold was a Chest fluff back when they were selling for 16,000. I can't say where everyone else's money but mine actually goes to my RL. Being a single mother, the money from my auctions has really saved me a number of times. I actually paid my electric bill and rent last month with Roo money. I also pay my tier in world and pay for food for my roos. My tips last week will buy my kids Christmas presents when it gets in my bank.

Xymbers Slade: Finally, what do you think the chances are of a 'roo having "all" special traits (a hair trait, eye, rare coat... everything)... has it happened? What kind of price would it fetch?

Emra Jantzen: I have never seen a roo that had it all, but I personally know a few breeders who are trying. One in particular has come close, and you can sometimes see the results of her breeding in our auctions. We call them Callista Roos. I can only imagine how high they would go for when someone does manage to get all the traits in one roo.

Now, I've come close in my own meeroo breeding. I've gotten a couple of "short shorts" as they're termed, meeroos with the traits of "Short Tail" and "Short Upright Ears" (there are five possible "trait" slots, one for head shape, tail curl, clear eyes, ear shape, and coat). While I don't think I'll be putting them on the auction house (I want to see if I can get anything good out of my 'roos first), this is a good example of SL helping support people in real-life and what SL could be for everyone if done RIGHT. While I couldn't last more than ten minutes listening to someone bark out the virtues of something, I'm still giving the Meeroo Auction House five Dragon Hoards out of five. It can be found at Meeroo (218, 223, 25) so if you're looking for a possible bargain on the 'roo craze, that is a good place to check out and shop.

Xymbers Slade

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Path

I missed the opening of The Path last weekend but went over there as soon as I could. As a curator of the Linden Endownment for the Arts, Bryn Oh, along with seven collaborators have put together the elaborate story of The Inventor. Some of the artists are known to me and others are new, but there so much talent in one place.

It is hard to decipher the real meaning of the story , its beginning and its end. The underlying basis for the exhibit is the surrealist “exquisite Corpse.” Each creator adds to the words, picture, or in this case, entire story of the Inventor. There are wispy hints of other stories we know. I have been through it three times now and each time my view has changed as I encountered more intricate discoveries and meaning in the scenes as I moved along. Each station is amazing in its diverse addition to the prior part of the story.

Bryn said of the exhibit,”I really think this may be something people talk about for a long time. I personally couldn't pick my favorite scene as each excelled in some area or another. And that to me is a very good sign.“

I did have a favorite. I found the scene of the windows fascinating and spent time peering into each one. Each part of the story was been assigned randomly to each collaborator and each developed their own interpretation so when you reach the end you may feel the need to begin again as I did. The dimensions of the parts really needs to be studied for their many secrets. The third time I went I took someone with me to help find the hidden points I had missed and I am so glad I did! My own mental ending is not a happy one for the Inventor.

To insure not being lost, take along the teleport list that you can find before you enter the journey. On my first visit I used it many times but was able to find the way more easily in my other visits. This is a journey not to be rushed so plan to spend time there, or plan to return often. You should listen as well as look.

Bryn Oh says, “I would like to thank all the artists involved for working so hard on this project and in such a professional manner. They created a truly brilliant experience for me and hopefully for all the guests as well.” Here are the names of all the collaborators: Bryn Oh, Colin Fizgig, Marcus Inkpen, Desdemona Enfield / Douglas Story, Maya Paris, Claudia222 Jewell. Scottius Polke, Rose Borchovski.

Begin your journey here:

Gemma Cleanslate

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Virtual Museum of Architecture - Fall Build-Off

The Virtual Museum of Architecture (VMA) held its annual Fall Build-off on Builder’s Brewery, located at Builders Resource (111, 30, 22). Djinn Dasmijn was the Build-Off Coordinator. The theme was Art Deco, a style developed in the 1920’s and 30’s. During a whirlwind 48 hours, competitors designed, built, textured, and tweaked their creations. The aim of the competition was to see who could create the most functional and appealing Art Deco commercial building. There were two categories: Novice and Pro, for residents who had previously sold builds. When the building ended on Sunday, SL residents voted for their favorites.

Djinn Dasmijn stated, “I am impressed with the quality of builds our competitors come up with at each build-off.” There are two large competitions held each year, with a different theme each time. This was the first time the Art Deco theme had been used. Dasmijn said a small contest was held to select the best Art Deco trophy. Because the Build-Offs are so popular, Dasmijn may be adding smaller events throughout the year.

There were 21 competitors this year, 10 in the Pro category and 11 in the Novice. The variety and quality were amazing. Among the builds were restaurants, department stores, a theater, and even a dolphin sanctuary. Some of the builders created notecards about their inspiration or method of creating the piece, which I found very interesting. Camden McAndrews, for example, first built a 1:32 scale model of his structure.

One competitor, Darkforest Dean, took time out to talk about his build and allowed me to photograph him. He placed a radio that he had made inside his structure, and the radio served as the inspiration for his build. Another builder, Levi Ewing, built a tall, luxurious “Flag Ship” store to symbolize the richness of the 1920s and capture the mood of the carefree lifestyle people were experiencing then.

Morgan India created “The Hindenburg Club”, a sky harbor/bus station redesigned into a “high-class speakeasy”. India’s entertaining notecard explained the problems faced by executives of Dirigible-Omnibus Harbor, Inc. that resulted in this structure. India’s real inspiration for the build was a hangar at Lambert Field and by Art Deco icons, such as the Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA [1931], the Musical Hall in Kansas City [1932], and the Gold Ballroom of the Overlook Hotel.

A very unique design was the Mariposa Dolphin Sanctuary, built by Enoch Kips. This two-story structure had a second floor observation walk where you could watch the two rescued dolphins swim. Movies were well-represented in the competition, too. A great corner theater was built by Deo, while Simi Firehawk’s stucco, glass and gold structure included Casablanca posters and pictures of movie stars inside.

The end of the competition was celebrated by a dance DJ’d by Etoile in the exhibitor’s area. The Winners were announced at an Awards Gala on Monday, October 24th, from 7:00–9:00 PM SLT, on the competition sim.

The winners of VMA's Fall Build-off 2011 are:

Novice Category:

1st place: Jolie Serendipity, 2nd place: Arteer Oliva, 3rd place: 2Rottin Dean

Pro Category:

Tied for 1st place: Terra Tepper and Marcan Aridian , 2nd place: Hideo Inaka, 3rd place: Granelda Oh

People's Choice Awards:

Novice: Camden McAndrews, Professional: Granelda Oh

Grey Lupindo

Friday, October 21, 2011

Meeroo Madness

I normally hate breedables in SL. They're clumsily-animated given the restraints in SL, they're expensive, they eat up a lot of prims, they have more hovertext over them than are words in the English language, they are usually actual physical objects (making them lag even more when there are dozens standing around), and so on. But, curious, when I noticed a Meeroo shop behind my cave a few days ago, I went to investigate.

With lots of different "nests" to choose from, I first looked at the ones in the pen in the middle. The Meeroos look like what I considered to be a cross between a squirrel and a rodent, and were just moving around, as they were programmed to do. Every so often they'd take a nibble at their food bowl (which I learned has a finite supply of food, so you have to keep buying more), sometimes they'd dig up treasures (worth points to their owner), and every now and again they would ask to be cuddled (which you do by a HUD). I decided to wander a couple of the Meeroo-related sims looking for more information, and on visiting to the Roo and Muffin sims (where the main store and some shops are), I asked a few people "What's the appeal of these things?"

I didn't get many answers, until I ran into "The Spookster" and we had a brief discussion:

Xymbers Slade: What's the appeal of these meeroo things?
The Spookster: What's the appeal of being dressed up as a poorly done imitation of bowser?
The Spookster: There are people in this world that can't have pets. Can't have children... can't leave their homes.
The Spookster: Things like this comfort them
Xymbers Slade: Ok, that quote I'm saving. You have a good point.
The Spookster: It's a beautifully built interactive virtual pet that offers companionship, atmosphere and joy to those that can't have it in other parts of their lives.
Xymbers Slade: After looking at things I admit I caved. I bought eight. And apparently one of them is going to be "giant".
The Spookster: I have rage issues IRL. I've been sent to see a therapist. I actually showed her Meeroos and told her how calming they were for me, she said they were a positive idea.
Xymbers Slade: No kidding? Wow.
The Spookster: yes, there are some that are expensive.
The Spookster: But I can sit around with all of my meeroos, working on what I do... and the noises, the friends I've made with them.
The Spookster: It's just a really positive world for me.
Xymbers Slade: I just started. Bought eight, dumped them in my skybox where I do fortune tellings and stuff
The Spookster: -chuckles-
Xymbers Slade: Now I just need to wait for them to grow up and get into 100% comfort or something
The Spookster: I've been at it for about 15 weeks now.
The Spookster: Petting them will raise comfort
The Spookster: If they go without food, it'll drop.
Xymbers Slade: Do you think they could be a real-life business? Like selling rares enough to actually afford real-life bills?
The Spookster: There's no special requirements for breeding other than compatibility.
The Spookster: I've sold two meeroos for 20k each.
Xymbers Slade: o.O
The Spookster: but keeping up on top of the rares is hard.
The Spookster: I had a tiger ear and long mane.. back when it was one of 12 on the grid
The Spookster: Someone wanted it so badly.. and honestly, I couldn't pass up the money. (I run an SL business and needed it for rent)
Xymbers Slade: I just have common ones... gael and the wine-something skin
[The Spookster: Winecoats.
The Spookster: I have about 50 roos, but only because I can't bring myself to release them! (big grin)
Xymbers Slade: Heh. Any real rare ones?
The Spookster: Emperor, Koi, Nile, All traits.
Xymbers Slade: I'm assuming they won't come out of ones I currently have...
The Spookster: Feline, Canine, Curled, V.short, Notched, Tiger, Button, Fluff and Chest, Long Mane.
The Spookster: Did you get starter nests from the Meeroo's mainstore?
The Spookster: Or did you buy them from random people?
Xymbers Slade: No, from my friend's store. I just grabbed eight at random.
The Spookster: Well
Xymbers Slade: But they were common ones
The Spookster: Here's the thing. No meeroo is common. They may LOOK it, but Meeroos are built around the concept of Mendelian Genetics. There could be KOI in any of those bloodlines, but you won't get a Koi until you find another with the gene. Make sense?
Xymbers Slade: A little, yeah. I know the concept but I've never wrapped my head around it.
The Spookster: taking you back to the sanctuary
The Spookster: so I can show you my lunatic roos?

She took me back to her skybox where quite a few Meeroos were wandering about. I must be jaded; the first thing I thought was "the prim count must be astronomical." We talked for a bit more and I went back to one of the mainstores, where I brought up the fact I was just starting. Someone out of the blue gave me four nests, saying "Good luck with them! x3" I guess nests are common enough that they can just be handed out if you run into the right people.

I finally decided they were cute enough, and bought three houses (250L each), 3 food bowls (1600L apiece but it lasts for a while), and a total of nineteen Meeroos (between 200L and 500L apiece; individual Meeroo sellers may vary). There are other "add ons" one can buy for their Meeroos, such as a "Meeroo translator" and an "auto-petter"... THEN I had to get individual *batteries* for the petter! The people who made these things must be making a tidy profit! The translator makes them say funny phrases on occasion (which you can add to; one of mine is "Occupy Wall Street? How about I occupy your hands instead... CUDDLE ME!") and the Auto-Petter "pets" your Meeroos at set intervals to raise "regard" (which is like improving odds that when breeding you get a rare coat or trait). Now I have quite the menagerie running around my home land in a skybox, but it was at a cost --- I had to get rid of my 125-prim stargates to make room. At 13 prims each, they DO add up!

What surprises me is the sheer cost of some of these "rare" Meeroos. One of them down in the store I got my original set was $16,000L (about $64 in real dollars), about the price of one month's rent on my land. I asked several people how much some of the rarest went and they said about 150K $L to 350K $L --- in real dollars, that could go half way to paying my bills! I could see how this could become a big business or profitable side venture if done -right-... although my landlady suggested to me that the market was bloated right now because more rare coats are showing up.

The Meeroos take 5 days of real time to mature and then they enter breeding cycles that rise and fall based on their "personality". So in order to get them to breed, they not only have to be in season, they have to have compatable personalities. Their breeding longevity is limited; after sixty real-time days, they become "elderly" and unable to breed.

350,000 $L though... damn, I must be in the wrong business.

Finally, on return to the Meeroo sims I learned that "Generation 2" or something similiar is about to be released... the "dark meeroos", though I think I'll just stick with the ones I have now, both due to prim limits on my land and especially since upon telling some people I am new to the whole thing, they kept giving me "good offspring" for breeding. They gave me a "Koi" coat and an "Emperor" coat (both male, so no intermixing there); I had to buy a FOURTH house and many weeks worth of "berries" for them to eat. Did I say menagerie? I meant infestation. I meant to have 8, I ended up with 27.

You can find all things Meeroo at the Roo sim (Roo, 68,44,21), at Muffins of Doom (Muffins, 76,130,22), at Mo's Meeroo Home of the Free (Purity, 49, 221,24), and there is a small shop at Sunweaver Air (143, 140, 25),and as a self-plug my own set of pens is at Sunweaver Air : Sunweaver Air (182, 100, 1252). There must be far more places than the ones I've listed; those are just the ones I've been to.

I'm going to give this whole thing 4 Dragon Hoards out of Five. It's unusual enough to keep someone's interest, the variety of combinations is a strong selling point (nevermind the six figure value!) although in most of these stores, the nests you can buy have hovertext over them --- to the point where if you go to the stores, you can't see one individual Meeroo's traits due to the ocean of hovertext from the others.

Xymbers Slade

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Nine Circles of Hell

Seeing what I thought to be an interesting location in the Destinations list on login, I headed over to the Lea Full Sim Art Series at Lea6 (124,164,625) to find Rebeca Bashly's take on the Nine Circles of Hell. All nine are represented, from the frigid land of the 9th circle (for those who commit treason) to the wearing of lead-lined cloaks and people walking backwards with their heads turned around (the Hell reserved for fraudsters and the like). On seeing the sign overhead before the entrance, I went in with high hopes figuring it was going to be something very much worth talking about.

In the first circle (Limbo), it's decked out as a large castle with ghostly forms sitting around, as if waiting to be redeemed. Ascending to the middle of the castle, the teleport up there dropped me down to the second level, the eternal hurricane of Lust (where those who let lust guide them are supposedly eternally blown about on an ill wind). After watching the ghostly faces within the hurricane spin for a minute or two, the next teleport led to the circle of Gluttony awaited. There, an "icy rain" fell on the souls of the damned, fored to live in disgusting slush of some kind for all eternity. From there it is a descent into Greed, showing souls pushing giant boulders back and forth with their chests.

After a visit to the land of the greedy, it was off to the fifth circle (Anger) where sculptures of large groups of people eternally fighting on the surface of the River Styx were displayed in a massed jumble of bodies trying to tear each other apart (an article in Wikipedia I looked up remarked that the souls are "locked in" to their level, forever stuck in the mindset of the "theme" the circle is supposed to revolve around). After that it was off on a trip to the City of Dis, the sixth circle (the circle of Heresy). Guarded by what appeared to be three gorgons or medusae at the front, the entire "city" was a bunch of flaming holes with bodies in them.

The teleport at the back led to the 7th circle of Hell, where those who subscribed to violence in life were punished. Met at the entrance by the Minotaur (guardian of the level), this one to me was the most defined, with three very visible "circles" within. The first showed the outer ring where centaurs shot at sinners immersed in a river of blood and fire; the inner circle showed the "wood of the suicides" being beset upon by the harpies, and the center showing the blasphemers being stuck up to their heads with fiery flakes raining down on them. Once I went to the teleport at the other end of the rings, it was off to the 8th circle of Hell, the Malebolgia.

The Malebolgia was full of many little "mini islands", each showing souls suffering in one way or another (one group in lead-lined cloaks, another group wandering eternally with their heads turned all the way around so they could not see where they were going). This is the home of those who were frauds in life, unable now to see the truth and how to redeem themselves. Finally it was off to the bottom level, an icy wasteland with the devil himself at the center, with wings flapping. Lots of faces frozen into the ice here, with no escape (literally, I had to teleport home to get out of the sim).

It's all in all a very nice piece of artwork and the effort really shows, but what seemed to be lacking here was interactability. There was nothing to click, other than the teleports from one circle to another... no signs revealing information about the various levels or punishments (or various "lyrics" from the Divine comedy), no ability to *be* one of the souls and float around in the river on the 7th circle and experience it... nothing at all. That kind of dumbed down the whole experience. That is why I'm giving the whole place a guarded three Dragon Hoards out of five. It's a nice place to visit, see, and interpret for yourself, but there's no replay value, at least not to me.

Lea6 (124,164,625)

Xymbers Slade

From the LEA Full Sim Art Series, "Nightmares," directed by Urban Steampunk, "Not every dream is a good dream and sometimes nightmares can be significantly far more than just bad dreams...."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Burn2 - The Temple

The first time I saw it I gasped. I had zoomed in on a build to look at a section. I backed off to look at the whole and was awestruck! It was so beautiful, amazing and enticing. Only then did I realize it was part of The Temple! Surrounded by the evening stars, the curves, arches, crystal windows and spires reaching up took me out into the universe. Parts seemed familiar. When I learned the creator's name I realized why. Damanious Theta is a well known builder and artist in SL. I have some of his jewelry in which I can see some of the same curves and flourishes It is quite remarkable.

I asked Damanios about his intended effect. His response was “The theme of Burning Man is Rites of Passage, so I wanted to make something which changes from dark to light, which is why the bottom is dark (unenlighted) and the top is light/white (enlighted) and the shapes are trying to reflect this dichotomy between 'uninitiated/unenlighted' (the bottom shapes with the tentacle like things etc. more or less representing the 'natural/prehistoric/unenlighted part'" He also told me in his humble way, "I'm mostly more down to earth, just some shapes I liked, combined." I smiled.

In the deserts of Nevada at the real Burning Man there is a temple too. The day after the Burning of the man, they burn the temple. People come there to the temple to leave notes, or remembrances of loved ones. At the SL Playa one can leave notes in the fire at the center. In real life as the temple burns the notes are read aloud and here too they will be read as this temple burns. It is difficult to think of this spectacular structure being built to burn at the end of this festival. But, that is the point of it all. It is transitory except in memory. I hope you will be able to make it over to the temple before it is ashes. It is one of those SL structures that you will miss when it is not there.

The burn will take place on Sunday. Luckily you will have three chances to see it burn, as with The Man on Saturday. This is so planned to accommodate the world time zones You can see both schedules here .

Click here and it will take you right to the entrance of The Temple:

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reader Submitted: A Few Notes on Mesh

10 Gooson sent Second Life Newser a few notes about her experience with Mesh, "I've tried to explain what meshes are, what is still unknown, the in's and out's for 'almost-noobs' to explain some more about meshes."

*Addition* 10's original article had been delayed, so she sent over an updated one which reflected her more recent experiences.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* There are prims, sculpted prims and mesh-prims, well known as the avatars as we all are inworld. yes, an avatar is called a mesh. A 1 non-linked object that can move, you can bump into and walk over! that has flexible (mesh)clothes and can be textured with a Template or officially called uv-Map.

* Till this summer the avatars are the only existing Meshes in SL, but that has changed forever! by the implementation of meshes in SL.

* A mesh is a 3D object that can not be created or build in SL itself like ordinary prim builds as we're all used to.

* Like Sculpted prims they need to be created outside SL with 3D-software programs. Unlike sculpties, meshes can move with the avatar's body if they are 'rigged' (= attached to) properly to the bone-structure of an avatar. So 'flexible clothes' is possible, because they are made out of meshes instead of sculpties, which can not be made flexible or attached to a bone-structure of avatars.

* Mesh objects/3D-objects can be of any kind, a complete house or castle, avatars in any shape you can think of, trees, you name it. You can walk through them, on top of them etc, what can not be done by sculpted objects. (Sculpted prims are impossible to walk on or through if not made phantom guided by invisible helping prims, can not be made flexible, even if attached.)

* Mesh objects can be downloaded from the internet and be uploaded in SL gridwide. This will cause lots of copyright infrignements. Real life 3D designers will feel the effect of ignorant SL-residents who upload these mesh-3D-objects they've found on the internet, without paying any respect to license-agreements etcetera!!!

* Meshes can only be textured by using the UV-maps or Templates made available by the designer of the meshes and are not easy (impossible) to texture without any knowledge of graphic programs.

* Till now (end of september 2011) meshes imported to SL for the use of avatar-attachement (clothes and accessories) can not be resized and have to be sold in a few default sizes as Small, Medium, Large and extra Large. An extra big bum will be impossible to use with a mesh-skirt worn!! So for mesh-clothes residents will need to resize their shape and not much residents will be willing to. Their biggest complaint about meshes so far!!!!

* The forout spoken advantage of meshes primcount is unsure and still a big mystery (time of writing end of june 2011) while LL has tried to bring the implementation of meshes as being a prim count advantage. As a sculpted prim object, the shape can be 2 prims, imported as mesh-prim it can be 4, 6, 8 or 2 prims as well, even less as just 1 mesh object having a Prim Equivalent of 1!! So the only advantage till now is the incredible Level of Details for every 1 prim Mesh Object and for each 1 prim Mesh Object 8 texture faces. (A default prim Box has 6 texture-faces)
If a mesh-object is resized as a huge prim, it will be multiplied in primcount and still the primcount calculation isn't sure. If you add a script, the prim count will go up!! To script and or animate a mesh object, it is best to delink the scripted(mesh) prim and add it separately and use it as unlinked (coalesced) object. What will be difficult for mesh-clothes (again) and for the average user of SecondLife.

* Upload existing meshes not specifically build for SL means the following; LOD factor (Level Of Detail) needs to be adapted for the use in SL. The creator of the mesh needs to have adapted his mesh for the use in SL, this means the creator has to create 3 or 4 different meshes to establish 1 good mesh object inworld. From every distance such good meshes will be loaded properly by SL itself. If not, the object will look terrible from a small distance even if the standard LOD-factor is set to 4 or higher in your viewer's preferences. This is NOT known by the average user of meshes, creators of meshes or people who upload good looking meshes not specifically made for the use in SL. Only the 'happy' few are aware of this fact and it takes a lot of time and skills to create meshes with the good LOD-factors for the use in SL.

* The problem is and will be the coming months, is that, even in the Beta grid, nothing is sure, no conclusions can be drawn and it is all 'wishful thinking' for LL, skilled designers, business owners and residents who hope for good improvements...

*****Current experience:
Mesh-clothes are a huge disappointment for most creators and users! The resize-issue is an important part of the disappointment.

Big mesh-objects as rocks, caves, complete islands, trees etc have a prim-count problem. Even when the mesh is 'low-poly' (less tris as they call it) LL has decided to keep this stupid bug-like mistake and gives such bigger objects a primcount of a few hundred!!! or more. So the advantage of walking on or in such bigger builds without helping prims being 1 mesh object is gone and a huge disappointment for landscapers (ask Luna Bliss or Lilith Heart, Jubjub Forder). They look smashing but unable to use!!

So what's left?? Normal mesh-avatar-attatchements that don't need to move with the body of avatars, for example belts, helmets, armory, bags, etc etc. They behave the same as sculpted attachments, but again; much more room for details in the shapes themselves AND the multiplied texture-face-space meshes have compared to sculpties that have only 1 texture-face!!

For us, my hubby, it means we focus on furniture. Already awesome sculpted furniture, mesh furniture is 'fantastic', very very very good in quality and my experience; much more easy to texture because of the extended texture faces per mesh-part of a build!
I'll send you some of our own.

Only the SL-viewer 3.0 and higher and the Phoenix-Beta viewer Firestorm V3 are supporting meshes. (last is extremely slow)
That means the 90% of SL-residents who use Phoenix or other third party viewers don't even see meshes as they are. Here some examples:

(pick taken with SL Viewer 1.23)

(pick taken with SL Viewer 3.0.3)

Well known is; Phoenix is working hard to support meshes, i assume (dangerous) that other viewers do the same.

The crow is a sculpted avatar, the cat is Sparky-me AND a mesh avatar!

*All stated above is written by mesh-noob herself, involved by an average 3D designer who is trying to involve himself into mesh-for-SL-use for 2 years. That the SL-mesh-forum is filled with questions, complaints, frustrations and unanswered questions will be confirmed if you visit all SL-mesh information sites available. It is all very technical, but even for the designers themselves no clarity is given or available.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Steelhead Participates in the Hunt Steam 5

The steampunk hunt, Steam 5, began September 1 and continues throughout the month. It has with over 200 residents officially signed up to participate. Since the Hunt is free and doesn’t require any special gear to play, there are probably more residents who are hunting informally. Approximately 190 stores are participating.

Since I had recently visited Steelhead and liked it, I decided to visit the shops that are located there. The first shop I went to was Peterman Ltd Dry Goods, located at Steelhead (88, 214, 25). Peterman’s are “purveyors of 19th century clothing, hats, and objects d'art.” Like all great general stores, they carry a little bit of everything. In this case that includes oil paintings by Pacific Northwest artists, Victorian, Edwardian, Western, and of course Steampunk clothing and items. This cog was easy to find, and the gift was a unique outfit.

Next I strolled around Port Harbor to find Cedar Bay Home Furnishings. This store is located at Steelhead Harborside (159, 15, 25). Many of the stores in the Hunt, especially the larger ones, leave a hint near the sign. The hint at Cedar Bay was great. It read, “Avast ye scurvy dogs! Hoist th' mizzen, fire th' guns an' prepare for plunder!” As you can see in the picture, the clue was as good as a treasure map. The treasure at Cedar Bay is a tea set that tells fortunes. I hope it predicts that I’ll find all the hidden cogs.

The third shop on Steelhead that I visited was Luminous Designs. This shop advertises that it carries “clothing for the elegant brat.” The store, located at Steelhead Shanghai (68, 13, 56) is a tall cylinder shaped building. An easy-to-use teleport system zips you quickly from area to area, or you can use the ladders to go at a more leisurely pace. Luminous Designs (LD) carries everything from elegant evening gowns to historically accurate outfits. This cog was harder to find, but probably because I was window shopping as much as hunting. They gave out both a men’s gift and one for women. Foxettes, I decided, were allowed one of each. I can’t wait to wear them.

The last two shops were smaller, but they gave out very unique prizes. Froobert’s Furthest West is the smallest of the participating Steelhead stores. It is located at Froobert's Furthest West , Steelhead Shanghai (153, 32, 49). Their gift included AOs for both gents and ladies, a pose stand and more. St Helens Dry Goods, located at Steelhead St Helens (73, 146, 39), gave out a revolving dance gear.

If you are a Steampunk fan or like the challenge of a hunt, Steam 5 is a great way to visit new sites and have fun in Second Life.

Grey Lupindo

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Designing Worlds Leaves Northpoint

The unique DRUM troupe performed before an emotional crowd of Designing Worlds’ staff and followers on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 2PM SL. The gathering was a celebration of one of's most popular SL television shows moving their studios to a new location after three years at Northpoint. Designing Worlds is a show about designers and builders in virtual world.

Among the celebrants were Elrik Merlin, Saffia Widdershins, co-hosts of Designing Worlds, Texas Timtam, management and Angie Mornington, executive producer at They shared memories and texted how much they were going to miss the place. SL productions are a labor of love and that was clearly evident in the remarks voiced in the crowd.

But this isn't the end. It's a new beginning. The team has to do things a bit differently but will carry on doing what they do best: entertaining, education and having fun at the same time.

While DRUM was still performing, I interviewed Elrik to learn about Designing Worlds’ future. I'd attended a session during SL8's birthday party and admired the show and Elrik's hosting abilities.

"Well, the sim goes tomorrow (Sept. 4)," he explained. "The new season starts Sept. 19, all being well. We have our own production team now and we supply the show complete to Treet. They will basically handle the broadcasting and distribution, so we are now an independent production company essentially and we provide a program to network."

Elrik said the shows will go out on the Treet network at 2PM SLT on Mondays, as before, and they will have viewing parties at the new headquarters. The shows just won't be live.

"The fact it isn't live means that the audience will not have to wait around while we fix a problem or deal with something unexpected," he said. "The more difficult bit is that I have to edit up the show and prepare the master for Treet."

But, no problem. Elrik says he's pretty quick at editing. All the shows will continue to do their own production, which he says several were already doing. He added that Treet will be able to develop other aspects of the distribution and archiving system, which they were eager to do for a long time.

Designing Worlds has a production team of 2-3 camera staff per show. Elrik's camera work will cover the interview aspects and provide him with a continuous bed for each scene that he can drop the other camera work on top of.

Dressed in an elegant violet gown, Saffia Widdershins danced throughout the program.

She told me that they were celebrating Northpoint and the great time they've had here and to pay tribute to the builders.

"A lot of people helped to make Northpoint special for us," said Saffia. "Jeremy Ryan
built the studio; Dellybean North did the cafe and the seating and Anhayla Lycia did the landscaping. There were different builds at different times. For example, there was the
Fab Fashion show and the Tonight Live studio."

Saffia said they are planning on having a new studio, which will be discussed later. There should be a sneak preview for the opening show on Sept. 19.

At 4 PM SL, Funkyfreddy Republic took the stage entertaining all with his unique style.

Netera Landar