Monday, March 14, 2011
Dragon Avatar Review
My first stop on my list was the Isle of Wyrms. It's a big place, very mountainous, with a giant cathedral where the dragons are sold.
The first thing I noticed about the Isle of Wyrm dragons is that they are ornate. Very reminiscent of Eastern dragons. They're also very static. The last time I had one of these, there were no or very few flexiprims. With all the dragons that are out there with flexis for the wings, this could be a point that hurts them just a little bit. They're very customizable, with dozens of scale textures/colors to choose from (per dragon), and they also have a Bast and an Anubis dragon which is something I haven't seen others try to recreate.
The second thing that I noticed is that the dragons seem to be in a "limited edition" or limited hatching (there were only 3 fire dragons left when I dropped by, for example). I am not a part of the Isle of Wyrms groups so I don't know if it's a RP reason behind the limited hatchings or not, so you will have to visit and see for yourself.
The third thing I noticed is that they are *pricey*. Adults cost 3500 L. That's the most expensive dragon I've seen on the grid so far. Is the price too high? I don't know, I don't build so have no "effort-to-cost" appreciation.
RATING: 2 Dragon Hoards out of 5. I'm biased, they're just not my style and I personally think they're too expensive for their appearance. Your milage may vary. If they weren't popular to begin with, however, they would have disappeared from the grid entirely due to lack of business. So clearly the Isle of Wyrms is doing something right.
Next Stop: Grendel's Children.
If you haven't heard of Grendel's, find it in Search. Now. They've been around a long time and at least to me, have become a synonym for quality content, variety of all kinds of avatars and inexpensive pricing.
There are two varieties of their dragons. Their originals ... *does a double take* Oh hey, they're 0 $L now. I remember when they were 500. Anyway, their originals are larger than a normal avatar and are very very well done, with flexi-tails, extra purchasable breath weapons (15 $L, last I checked) and excellent scale detail.
Their most recent versions are more sculpty, more flexi, more detailed, and less expensive than others, costing about 500 $L. They have them in Plains, Canyon, Forest and Ravine dragon varieties.
They have a lot of other types of dragons (eastern chinese dragon avatars spring to mind) and a few two-legged varieties as well.
RATING: 4 Hoards out of 5. Good variety and very low pricing make it the perfect spot for those of you who want dragons but are on a budget.
Next, it was off to Kinzart Kreations.
They have four varieties: Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern. They're not quads, they're anthropomorphic. So if you're looking for the four-legged kind, look elsewhere. Variety is large and prices are good (1000 to 1500), and the style is a bit unusual. The Northern Dragons look a little bit like a winged lion with horns (lack of better words, it's in a good way), the Eastern variety have a definite chinese feel to them, while the Southern ones look like something reminding me of Bahamut (and it would not surprise me if that was the inspiration).
The avatars come in decorative boxes, which is a nice touch. I had several eggs in my hoard on my home sim for the longest time, having bought almost every variety of two different varieties (at least until the next shiny thing came along).
RATING: 3.5 Hoards out of 5. The effort shows and it's a nice choice if you want an unusual style in your dragon.
After that, it was time for a quick trip to the Spider Productions vendor in the Northstar Mall.
They're a maker of anthro dragons as well (no quads here) but the textures are very very good and the animation of flight is one of the better ones I have seen on SL. They too have their dragon boxes as collectable decorative eggs, and on top of that, their dragons are rideable in the same way a normal four-legged dragon is, which is unusual. I haven't seen many anthropomorphic dragons that have a saddle option.
They are EXPENSIVE : 2800 $L for either gender (each sold separately). However, this time I will say the work shows and this is a reasonable price for such a dragon (I would have charged maybe 2000, but I'm not the creator so what do I know). The hands are posable, the wings and eyes are recolorable, and they advertise a "hud packed with tons of features but only one script" --- I have three of these dragons, and I can vouch that this is a non-laggy dragon. :)
RATING: 4 Hoards out of 5. They could use more scale colors (even though they have about a dozen), and they should probably put both genders in one box, in my opinion. Their female dragon is a bit "blocky" in the chest, but I guess that's what one gets when one is effectively having a scale-armor bra stuck to your chest (grin).
Final stop, the Seawolves.
Everyone by now has had to have seen one. You know, the sim-sized reptilians stomping about or flying through the skies (and when I say sim-big, I mean they are huge, approximately 30 meters long and ten high for their Ancient size). They have juvenile and adult varieties too, which are Big and then Really Big, but I think it is the Ancient ones that they are known for the most. The price is good for all the work, too... about 2400 $L.
These gigantic behemoths are not for the lesser of heart (or lesser of computers --- if you have a slow computer, the ancient ones are not for you). If you are looking for something to sit around in and people watch, though (and be seen from two sims away if you have draw distance maxxed), this is your dragon.
In my opinion, their hud can only be described as a work of art. You drop new textures into its inventory and can then use those to style almost any part of the dragon. It already comes with a lot of options; the fact that the hud is so easy to use after adding your own is what I enjoy the most.
There are two types of breath weapons (fire and ice); click and fire a ball, hold and breathe a stream. They also come with a biped version (standard avatar size) of the same dragon, which is just as easily customizable as the quad version.
RATING: 5 Hoards out of 5. The only downer is that if you don't have a high-powered computer and you get an Ancient, your computer will scream, cry and melt (and probably make other low powered computers cry, as well).
So there you have it, a look at just a few dragon makers of SL.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Steam4: The Grid-wide Steampunk Hunt
The Hunt started with a pre-hunt party on the night of February 28. I missed the party but came in world about two hours before the Hunt began. The excitement and anticipation in the Group chat was unmistakable as experienced hunters talked about the great prizes and fun of past Steampunk hunts. Well before midnight some hunters were roaming around Mieville, hoping it would open early. I was too sleepy to stay, but I returned the next day. And the day after that. In fact, I’ve been doing a little hunting almost every day since Steam4 started.
There are over 190 merchants participating in the grid-wide event and countless hunters. I chatted with one, resident Nagash Demina, at The Naughty Victorian. Like myself and many others, Nagash was hunting in Steampunk attire. Although I usually avoid creatures with eight legs, I found Nagash to be a friendly and experienced Steampunk Hunter. “It's getting larger and larger every year,” Nagash said about Steam4, “and that's a good thing. The few times I've gotten stuck, the group is always helpful.”
For those of you new to hunts, the Steam4 event is a good one to learn on. At the beginning site, join the group for free. Wear the necklace and arm band, which will help in finding the small gear that marks the prize. The first shop’s landmark will be given out there, too. When you find a prize, it will also include a landmark to the next shop. You can go through the shops in that order or you can find a list of all the participating shops at the webpage, http://steamthehunt.blogspot.
The list is also helpful if you can’t find the gear in a store. You can skip on to a different store and come back later to find the stubborn one. Alternatively, you can ask someone in the chat for a hint or a TP to their location and pick up the hunt from there. Circling back is a technique I like to use in Hunts.
The prizes are all high quality and exclusive to the Hunt. I’ve found great items, including a plane, a Steampunk Hat from Destiny Designs, and a Steampunk Victorian lamp from Alkahest that I placed on my dock. Their web page shows a preview of some of the prizes, which include jewelry, boots, an observatory, and furniture.
Friday, March 4, 2011
5th Avenue Fashion at Wetherby’s
I will tell you a secret. To each member of the Wetherby group she gives a free outfit every day ! She also places shoes and jewelry at a ridiculous price of about 20L to match. Not only that, contrary to most creators she loves us to pick up a second free outfit that day to pass along to someone as a gift. She dotes on her “lovelies, my dears“ as she calls us and is always ready to help with any problem. If she is not around there is usually a staff member who can assist. There are three floors of outfits. The third floor is a sale room where the prices are marked down from the already low original price. She did not forget the men and has some great shirts and ties and other outfits on the second floor where you will also find a lingerie section. If you know someone who needs it there is a maternity shop too. See why I love it?? Visit and join the group.
Before you leave take a walk around the sim to see the other shops with wonderful offerings and MM boards , and perhaps you will find a freebie here and there and many Midnight Mania boards to slap. To get there take this ride: http://slurl.com/secondlife/
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Fear Lurks Redzone Menace
Once upon a time, a man invented a Toilet HUD. Flush! Gulp! LOL And invented the so-called "EVIL" - "DIABOLICAL" and EXTREMELY OVER-RATED SL security device RedZone.
How did this man succeed in pissing off most everyone in Second Life?... his RedZone customers? ROTF LMAO... privacy activists? Linden Labs? and even ordinary SL citizens?
Here's how: RedZone (RZ) is a crappy product... overpriced... and WAY OVER-SOLD.... RZ pretends to be a revolutionary SL land security system, that claims to detect so-called Alternative Avatars (Alts).
It doesn't really. It's a kluge. By deliberately invading people's privacy, RedZone supposedly collects Internet addresses from SL viewers via music and media connections. But due to network address translation, that Internet address could be shared by a million ISP customers! DUH! Not Alts dummy... same ISP!!! Hello AOL! You got mail! lol
Not only that, Toilet HUD genius pulled his marketing right out of Saddam Hussein's playbook... claiming to be dangerous.... wildly fabricating sales figures... pretending to have sold over 20,000 RZs... 6000 in fact on a day when nobody shopped at his store! Except a happy camper on Deluxe Toilet (comes with free HUD) lol... See http://no2redzone.wordpress.com/
And we are led to believe that Toilet HUD guy has collected 5 million Internet addresses! OMG! I didn't know AOL had that many! lol
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Scylla Rhiadra for her thoroughly researched exposes on RedZone.
To protect ourselves, disable your SL media and music streams (Ctrl P Audio&Video tab), and wear this HUD called GreenZone. Buy for free. See "How to Play SL Music Outside SL" below.
In Picture 2, you see GreenZone doing it's job: ALARM! Means RZ haunts this dreadful place. I got RZ alarms at Bad Girls, RAWR store, and the RP sim Radiant Gardens. Places we should all avoid like the plague. I can imagine if your SL business is an a**hole magnet, and your customers are SL a**holes, you might feel a need for a hoax like RZ. You deserve each other! Enjoy! lol
I went to two dozen popular places in SL, music clubs, stores, lots of places... Guess what? No RedZone!!! Any place that uses RZ sucks! Hands down! Boycott their businesses! Join the SL group Green Zone Users for more info.
BUT DUDE! RZ is a bummer! What you really need is THRONE! YEAH! Picture 3 shows Lord Ivan the Terrible THRONE! YEAH! It's like Toilet HUD Revenge! You ride on the backs of Philip Linden slaves and go round vaporizing and ejecting mere mortals! Bwuwahahahah!
Throne and other disgusting inventions of an infantile mind... Ring of Burning Death, Very Paranoid Bug Detector, and our favorite "As Seen On TV" product, the Deluxe Toilet HUD (Picture 1). Lure in unsuspecting SL campers with offers of money... then make rude noises and orbit their butts! Dude! We could have fun ALL day long! NOT!
This article is satire. Orbiting and ejecting are extremely violent acts. Fine for video games if you please. But SL is not a game. Bada bing. Read: SecondLife is Not a Game!»
Also, help fight RedZone and other privacy invading products by voting for this JIRA: https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-24746?
HOW TO PLAY SL MUSIC OUTSIDE SL
LISTEN on iTUNES, REAL-PLAYER, Windows-Media-Player, or WINAMP - SL music programs are based upon Internet streams...
In Viewer 2, (a) Ctrl-Alt-D to open Advanced Menu, (b) If you are in Viewer 2.4 or later... Advanced > Show Debug Options, then in the box type adminmenu, set the radio button to True and OK (c) Advanced > Show Develop Menu and (d) Develop > Show Admin Menu. Then do World > Place Profile > About Land... Select-Copy the music URL off the Sound Tab... and paste it into your favorite media player (outside SL on your PC).
In Viewer 1 (or Phoenix & 3rd Party Viewers), click on the Region Name in the menubar (top of client)... Media tab... sometimes you will see Music URL there... IF NOT, Ctrl-Alt-D to open Advanced/Admin menus, then Advanced Menu > View Admin Options (or Ctrl Alt V), now click on the region name (top menu bar) then go to Audio (or old Media) Tab. Select and copy the "Music URL".
Paste the Music URL into you PC media player. Shortcut Ctrl U for iTunes and Real Player (CMD U on Mac)... then click in the text box and Ctrl V to paste (CMD V on Mac).
P.S. This video is impossibly funny sendup of RedZone... Ummm LOTS OF F WORDS... Caution! If you want a great laugh you have to watch it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqW0A0PLhQ0
(Originally posted on CNN)