Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Xymbers' Avatar Reviews: The DreamCrawler Dragon

By Xymbers Slade

Waltzing about the social islands one afternoon I ran into a mesh dragon that looked remarkably like a Seawolf, and I went "Oh, did Seawolf update their dragons to mesh?" -- well, they didn't; this dragon is by DreamCrawler, and at a hefty pricetag of $4700L (!), you're going to have to decide for yourself whether the price is worth the avatar. According to the 50-some positive reviews for the various breeds of this particular dragon (for each breed), I'd say the avatar creator is making quite a lot of $L.

This dragon follows the rest of the DreamCrawler line of avatars; you buy the dragon and get a few "soul gems" that determine its color (buying a dragon gets three gems, each with a different base texture that goes over the dragon mesh). You wear the dragon (itself a solid black blob until you pop in a soul gem), wear the variety of horns (several types) or ear fins (one type) you like, then wear a soul gem and boom, the dragon mesh is colored. This dragon currently has three styles: "Nocte" (mostly reds, oranges and blacks, making me think of volcanic dragons), "Voluptas" (Purples and blues that make me think ice or crystal), and "Marenostrum" (blues and whites mostly, ice drakes).

I grabbed myself a Nocte, popped in a soul gem and went to wander some sims. The animations on it are exceptionally well done and I got a lot of compliments on it. If anyone whined, it was about how the claws appeared "clipped" instead of full-on claws, but you can only do so much with mesh and that's just a minor thing. Flying is good, and every so often the animation has the dragon doing a little mid-air flip if you're hovering idle somewhere. The dragon does not come with a saddle but I think with a little bit of work one could be modified to work with the dragon. The breath weapon is customizable, with three different breaths (fire, frost, or poison gas), and the colors of the breath weapon are editable (one color for starting particles, one for ending particles).

It's not without its flaws. The hud has an expressions tab that has the names of the expressions in a tiny, almost unreadable font that almost requires the hud be resized, especially if someone has bad eyesight (on the plus side, my experience was that dreamcrawler avatar huds are slow to respond... not so with this one). When in flight, the head bobs and weaves, meaning you're not getting a direct line from your breath weapon, but a spray/blast all over the place like a firehose. There's no talkjaw, but this seems to be a theme with mesh objects, so I can let that slide. If you want more colors you have to buy more soul gems, and last I checked, extra color schemes were $999L each for a pack of 3. That's expensive when the easier way would be to add a colorchange hud like the mesh dinosaurs of Prehistorica... which would allow for individual customization of various parts of the dragon rather than just layering over one color scheme.

If anything, the real "flaw" is its price. I do not think any avatar with the current level of SL-tech is worth nearly $5000L. A well made dragon like the dragon from Spider Productions is half that (and has options for biped or quad when the Dreamcrawler is just a quad), and this DreamCrawler dragon certainly fits the definition of well-made. That's really the only reason (other than the "blurry" low rez hud, or at least it was blurry to me) that it gets Four Dragon Hoards out of five. If you can afford it, great, because you won't be unimpressed by it. If you can't afford it, there are cheaper just as good mesh dragons out there.

The Dreamcrawler dragon can be found on the Marketplace (here).

Friday, December 26, 2014

Interview With Lestat Zalivstok, Owner of the Winter Ice Rock Fest and Rebel Yells Concerts Sims

By Wesley Regenbogen

Wesley Regenbogen: Hello there Lestat
Lestat Zalivstok: Hello Wesley
Wesley Regenbogen: Who created the Winter Ice Rock Fest sim, more precisely the Rebel Yells Concerts sim?
Lestat Zalivstok: The sim has been created and decorated by myself and GuiltyAngel Rhapsody another owner, we are also owner of the Tribute band Rebel Yell Concerts, the N.1 Tribute band in SL with over 3000 members in group, and that's why the name of the sim is Rebel Yell Concerts.
Wesley Regenbogen: When was the sim created ?
Lestat Zalivstok: Me and GuiltyAngel are owners since a year and a half together with Monia63 Dirval.
Wesley Regenbogen: The place is Christmas themed. Who came up with the idea to create a Christmas themed sim anyway ?
 Lestat Zalivstok: This sim is a multi-event sim and (we will) change this environment following the major festivities. On Christmas is Christmas and winter themed, yes. The idea came to all of us owners so me Guilty and Monia.
Wesley Regenbogen: Did you also do all of the decorative things in the sim ?
Lestat Zalivstok: Yes myself and GG (Guilty) personally decorated the whole sim. Our goal was to have a photorealistic sim so we spent a lot to have the best trees the best looking ice textures the best houses and chalets etc. etc.
Wesley Regenbogen: Is the sim available all the time, or are there times when it's not available for Second Life Residents?
Lestat Zalivstok: All the time available and it appears on the SL Destination Guide
Wesley Regenbogen: Are there any other events taking place in the near future or what concerts are taking place in the upcoming weeks?

Lestat Zalivstok: We have concerts on monthly bases here brought by our company Rebel Yell Concerts, the latest ones was last Sunday Bonjovi and Iron Maiden tributes... We will have more shows on January, including one for the 3rd Rebel Yell birthday in the weekend 9/10/11, probably a Depeche Mode tribut, and more during that month not yet scheduled
Wesley Regenbogen: What makes your place special, what features does it have that no other places have?
Lestat Zalivstok: A very unique photorealistic look. It looks a real village, no fake textures or fake trees. The nature is 100% realistic and so is the rest of the landscape and buildings... Moreover it has basically almost all the winter sports available here, skating, sledding, etc. (We have) a real mountain built, or better say terraformed, by Guiltyangel Rhapsody, where you ski just like in real-life. And we are the one and only sim featuring a very good looking and realistic ski rail which brings you to the ski mountain.
The skating is very realistic too. You can skate using your own hud, or you can use one of the 4-tour on skates that makes you go around the huge skating rink in couple or single.

Wesley Regenbogen: Thank you for this short interview. I wish you the best of luck with the concerts and the sim in whole.
Lestat Zalivstok: Thanx a lot.

Wesley Regenbogen

Monday, December 15, 2014

Xymbers' Avatar Reviews

By Xymbers Slade

It's been a long time since I went avatar hunting (or really, anything hunting since there's really nothing in SL I need at this point), but I'd heard of two locations with mesh avatars that sounded popular, and so I decided I'd check them out. The first location is The 5th Wolf, a place with a couple of mesh avatars and some clothes for the (non-mesh) 1st Act werewolf avatar. 5th Wolf has two avatars, a wolf and a minotaur, so I bought them both (at $2000L a pop) and decided to have myself a look.

First, the Wolf. It comes with two types, "Beast" and "Normal", which don't seem to be different at all except one might be a little bit larger than the other and might be better working or something depending on the AO used. Said wolf does NOT come with its own animation override. It also puts you into a very wide stance when you first wear it, which made me go "???" and tilt my head for a minute or two. While it has no AO of its own, the notecard suggests the "Vista Animations Beast Ao-vo1" (L$ 399 according to the notecard). It is RARE that you don't see anyone include animations in their work these days, but according to Karolline Khandr, the creator, "I don't know anyone who does animations." We can only be good at what we know (smile). The other big negative to this wolf is that there is no talkjaw... the mouth doesn't move. They're working on it, from what I've been told.

On the good side, the mesh looks awesome. Probably one of the best meshes I've seen yet, very detailed without looking like someone just painted a picture onto and over a blob of a mesh and called it good. Still, the programming "feels clunky" when I move without an AO, and the HUD was a bit slow to respond in some places. To be honest, at 2000 $L, with no AO and a lack of a talkjaw, it does feel unfinished (or underfinished). So I can't give it the best rating. I want to give it 4 Dragon Hoards out of five... but I just can't. This one gets 3 Dragon Hoards out of five, and that's pushing it.

The other avatar is the "Ukko Minotaur." It comes with two different forms, one with hair and attachments, and one without. It also comes in two sizes (big and slightly less big). It took me a little bit to figure out, especially since the box I purchased was of an old version and it had yet to update. There's still no AO or talkjaw on this one, but it does have an option to remove the horns (especially since some of its costumes, sold separately, come with another set of horns). There's options for skin coloring (four different variables), horn coloring (three) and eye color (four) and here the effort shows; it's as if the creator learned from whatever mistakes or whatever they ran into when creating the wolf. I'm going to give the Ukko Minotaur a good 4 Dragon Hoards out of Five.

Finally we have the last of the avatars I'm reviewing today, the mesh KOT Centaur. I pulled out my dark elf shaman avatar, strapped her into the equine body, and...

First, there's a demo you can get. The demo disappears if taken outside the sim, and only shows the mesh color on one side of it while you're exploring the coats. After getting the real thing, I found the avatar itself has 16 coat options, from black to seal to palomino to Pinkie Pie Pink. The skins are bought with "tokens" you can buy on the marketplace, but I didn't see such option or thing there and could freely cycle through the coats at whim. So I do not know if this is an idea that was abandoned mid-stride, or if the HUD I have somehow has access to all of the skins. You begin with the "Seal" skin (a dark brown) and get one token to start (I bought a "Rocky Mountain Black" skin with it); extra tokens supposedly cost $350 on the marketplace.

The notecard suggests that you should "always detatch the av via the hud" or it causes AO conflicts. I've never heard or seen something like that happen and I didn't have it happen to me when I switched avatars and back, so that is a plus (or maybe I don't use enough AOs... heh). The one glaring problem I DID have is that the arms lock whenever you click on something, freezing in the point animation and requiring a detatchment of the equine body or even a relog to reset. And even then, the arms seem to be "locked" in place. If you type and have the typing animation on, the arms will freeze mid-type when you're done. I had an extra AO from elsewhere I could use to reset the arms' position, but your mileage will vary. Is it a good mesh with good movement animations and clopping sounds while you're moving? Yes. Is it worth $2000L with a glaring "bug" like the arms locking? No. Thus, four dragon Hoards out of Five.

The 5th Wolf and the Ukko Minotaur can be found at the Waterton Commerce sim (57,224,2300) and the KOT Stables can be found at the The Triquetra sim (223,103,23).

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Firestorm: A First Look at a Third-Party Viewer for Second Life

By Wesley Regenbogen
Many new users usually use the Second Life Viewer from Linden Lab after they signed up. I myself used it for many, many, many years used the standard Second Life Viewer from Linden Lab. But a few days ago, I downloaded and installed FireStorm Viewer. This is the most popular of the alternative, or third-party, viewers.
The installation process is painless (read : very easy) and the first time you run it, you get a login screen like you had with the Second Life Viewer, but there’s a difference, you can change the mode of FireStorm Viewer. You can go into : FireStorm, Phoenix, Viewer 3, Hybrid and Latency. I have only tested two modes: FireStorm and Phoenix mode. Both work smoothly.
The Standard Viewer uses the “Pie menu”, like it was used in older Second Life Viewers. Personally, I turned that option off, because I didn’t like the “Pie menu” that much. But you can leave it turned on, if you wish, of course. It’s a user preference thing, you know.
You can also choose other worlds to view as well : InWorldz and many others, which I don’t really know about. But we are on Second Life, so I suggest to leave it set for here. Once logged in into Second Life you will notice the HUD of the Viewer is totally different if you're used to the Linden Lab Second Life Viewer. But don’t panic or be afraid, you will get used to it sooner or later.
You will see buttons at the bottom of your screen, you can change them if you wish with things you use the most. At the left of those buttons, you will see a field to type in your text in Nearby Chat. But you can also click the text balloon icon and chat from there, it will open a small window called “Nearby Chat’.
So, you see FireStorm Viewer has much more ways to use different features.
At the left of your screen you will see an icon : if you click that it will open the “Destinations” windows where you can choose from the list to view other places.
As mentioned earlier, there are buttons at the bottom of the Viewer screen ( here’s a little explaination of the icons. I will only review the most used by most residents ) :
  • The “briefcase” icon, will open your inventory.
  • The “Search” icon, will open Second Life Search.
  • The “map” icon will give you a map according to where you are in Second Life now
  • The “minimap” icon, will show a minimap of the surrounding areas you are currently in.
  • The “People” icon, will allow you to view who of your friends is online and which residents are nearby and also you can access your groups here.
  • The “eye” icon, let’s you control the camera options and adjust the camera around your avatar.
  • The “microphone” icon, will let you speak with your microphone in-world.
  • The “headphones” icon, will let you hear voices nearby and let you morph your voice and things like that.
  • The “Facebook” icon, obviously let’s you share things on Facebook.

You are able to change the icons that you want to be placed at the bottom of the GUI.

In my personal opinion, this is much better than Linden Lab’s Second Life Viewer. More options, more privacy protection and more customizable.

More information about FireStorm Viewer can be found at :
If you decide to use this Viewer, have fun with it !
Wesley Regenbogen

Monday, November 24, 2014

Radegast Text-Based Viewer Opens SL to a New Community

From Mermaid Celene Highwater

 Do you still remember the day you joined Second Life? Do you remember how difficult it was to learn to dress your avatar and navigate? Or how about those wardrobe malfunctions? You know, the ones that left you stark naked in the middle of the dance floor with a big box in your hand? For sighted users, SL is a challenge to master and an ongoing learning experience. But what if you were a new user with disabilities using a screen-reader and a text-based viewer to navigate the world instead of your eyes?

Meet a new and growing community of blind and visually impaired SL users who, for the first time in history, have access to the world of virtual reality. For these users, playing games that were not totally text-based was an inconceivable prospect just a few short years ago. But now, thanks to a new text-based viewer called Radegast, they are blazing the trail for the blind community at large as they discover the wonders of virtual life.

During a recent interview, I asked Latif Khalifa, the creator of Radegast, what inspired him to create the program. “I was interested in understanding the network communications between Second Life client and server,” he explained. “So in 2006, a group of developers reverse engineered the SL protocol and a library was created that allowed 3rd party software to connect to SL for the first time. Prior to this, only the official Second Life client could be used for logging in. But this was just a software library, not something that a normal person could use,” he continues. “I was looking around to see if there was someone who had already used the library to create a user-friendly client. I found one called SLeek, but it was pretty buggy and limited. So I decided to rewrite it, add functionality, make it more user friendly. And that's how Radegast was born. This was in 2009.”

Since then, Radegast has undergone numerous updates and now has a user base of 20,000 users. And thanks to its simplistic interface-with text-based menus, inventory management, and a window that displays objects in atext-only list, that user base is increasingly including blind and visually impaired people interested in trying out Second Life.

“My intention with Radegast was to allow people to instant message with their SL friends when they could not use the full graphical viewer. For instance from work, or from computers that were not fast enough to run the full viewer,” Latif explained. “Later Mojito Sorbet who was in contact with some people at Virtual Ability alerted me of the fact that Radegast was screenreader friendly and that it is being used by the blind to login and enjoy Second Life.

To be honest, I did not think of this when originally starting Radegast, but I was delighted to hear that the project had this nice side effect. Mojito had the idea to make the speech plugin, and even though she never used the programming language Radegast was written in, she managed to write it. She also wrote the interface for SL Voice and contributed greatly to improving the usability of Radegast for the blind.”

The first confirmed blind user of this new program was me. I had tried to join SL several years before via an experimental website called Text-SL. By the time I found it it was no longer functional and I gave up in despair. I quickly realized that the world of virtual reality, like all the other interactive games online that I wanted to participate in, was inaccessible to me because there was no text to accompany the graphical interfaces. So I went back to text-based online games and kept on dreaming of the day when technology would progress enough to allow me access.

Two years later I was sitting at my computer feeling sorry for myself and wishing with all my heart that Second Life was accessible when a family member decided to take matters into his own hands. He logged into Second Life. After asking around inworld, he found his way to Virtual Ability Sanctuary. And as the old saying goes: the rest is history.

 I downloaded a copy of Radegast and started learning how to use it with no clue how accessible it was and with no instruction manual to guide me. What I did have was a supportive community of SL users who were determined to help me try. One of these users was Roxie Marten, who became my mentor and learned Radegast right alongside me. “Honestly when I trained you I was flying by the seat of my pants. I had used Radegast to run a bot to tend bar for me,” she said during an interview. The bot she is referring to goes by the name of Tik Tok. Using two computer monitors, one displaying Radegast and the other Firestorm, Roxie simulated actions using Tik Tok and then relayed how she performed those actions to me. I was then able to replicate what she’d done using Radegast and thus the learning via trial and error began. If what we did sounds complicated, that’s because it was. When Roxie wasn’t working with me,

I spent hours using trial and error to learn to navigate Second Life and interact with people and objects. My motivation to keep going was seeing all that SL had to offer, and the new window of opportunity that would open up when I would discover something new. I found the virtual world an inspiring place where a destination was just a teleport away and friends were easy to find thanks to Virtual Ability.

Roxie said it well in her interview: “We help each other; that is the spirit of Virtual Ability. We are a collection of disabilities: blind, deaf, paraplegics,quadriplegics, amputees, wounded warriors. We all come together to help each other. We are a community of disabled people who work for each other.”

Launched in 2007 by Second Life resident Gentle Heron, Virtual Ability is a virtual community of support for those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities and their family/caregivers. The mission of VAI as it is called in Second Life, is to enable those with disabilities to thrive and interact within a virtual world.

 “I came into SL with some friends who were looking, as I was, for a way to still socialize and be active, despite our level of disability. As we became more disabled, we were less and less able to get out of our homes and do the things we used to enjoy doing. I looked in SL for a cross-disability peer support group, and did not find one. From there, Virtual Ability just grew.”

The community, which now has nearly one thousand members in Second Life alone, is a thriving hub of activity with weekly events, classes and support groups. The members who make up the community each have their own unique stories, and thanks to Virtual Ability’s commitment to helping them, they are able to do things they couldn’t imagine doing in real life. For example, someone with developmental disabilities who can’t function easily or safely in the greater SL world can function in Virtual Ability. They can have a home of their own and even drive a car.

This had a profound impact on me when I started thinking about Second Life as a whole and the benefits it could have on those with not only mental limitations or paralysis, but those with visual disabilities. So I committed to learning everything I could about Radegast with the hope of launching a program for those screen-reader users.

In May of 2013, we launched an ambitious project to create the first user guide for the viewer, compiling all we had learned and sharpening new skills along the way. After seven months this guide was completed and has now been incorporated into the viewer as the official help guide.

Unfortunately, just before the completion of this article, I received word that due to illness, LatifKhalifa will no longer be able to continue his work on the project. And since Radegast requires updating and improvement to keep up with the changes made to Second Life, we are not sure where the viewer will go from here. Our hope is that as a community of twenty thousand users, we can find coders and people that are passionate about Radegast enough to dedicate some time to keeping this project alive.

To learn more about Virtual Ability go to their official website: .

To check out and obtain a copy of Radegast visit:

Mermaid Celene

Friday, November 21, 2014

"The Chaos" at LEA21

 Giovanna Cerise has an exquisite installation in LEA19. I was able to attend the opening Thursday after a wait because the region was full! A collection of artists and friends came to see the creation. Of the work Giovanna says, “The Chaos, in the primitive sense of the Greek term, is the immensity not measurable and unlimited of the primitive space (and so the blend and the disorder and the fortuity) in which the Kosmos originates, that is the beautiful, good and rational order of the world, which always comes from a messy background. The Chaos is not definitely passed by the construction of an intelligible world and of the shapes, but it still continues to be as the foundation on which also the Kosmos stand.” 

In order to see all the aspects one touches the compass and you will be teleported to various vantage points. The installation is large in concept as well as execution and lovely to view. It is recommended to set your windlight to midnight, or sunset. Try both for the variation. I watched the fleeing men and wondered why. Was the shattering orb the sun? Still pondering over the pieces.

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pocket Metaverse

By Wesley Regenbogen

Communicating with your Second Life friends inworld is easy enough when you are at your computer or laptop. But what about when you're not logged in Second Life and not at your computer/laptop, and you want to send an IM to a friend who is in-world?
Don’t worry, there is an iPhone app for that.
Pocket Metaverse is a cool app that lets you login into your Second Life account. The free version's features are limited, but you're able to use it to get in touch with your friends. You can see who’s online and send IMs to them. There is even a minimap to see where you are in Second Life. You can also view Second Life residents' profiles.
The Pro version of the app gives more options such as allowing you to open notecards and access groups and stuff.

Although you can receive and see pictures and send snapshots you've taken earlier, you can't directly see what's around your avatar, there is no 3D world view on this app. For that, you'd have to get SL GO, but that needs at least a tablet, and costs a monthly fee. Pocket Metaverse has no monthly fee.

I have yet to try out the Pro version of Pocket Metaverse, but I probably will after using the Free one for a while.
So, if you are looking for an app to get you connected with your Second Life friends on your iPhone and iPad, Pocket Metaverse might be the app you are looking for. I suggest everyone with an iPhone or IPad  check it out. Enjoy the app and chat with your Second Life friends.
More information about this app can be found at :
Wesley Regenbogen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Club Bed

By Wesley Regenbogen

Club Bed calls itself a “Dutch Hangout” and the club is placed on what looks like a large bed. That explains the unusual name of this club.
The club was created in September 2014 by Deborah8 Cortes and Magdalena1 Kira. Magdalena also has the job of decorating the club, doing a very nice job of it. The setting of actually a large bed, is quite unusual, but that makes it different from other clubs I have wrote about in the past..
The club warmly welcomes anyone that enters. They have a friendly staff and is a great “Dutch Hangout.” And they have great DJs that play in their club seven days a week. They also have a romantic garden and a wedding place too. Avatars can give their rezzday party and other events for free.
The club has theme evenings sometimes as well. I was there at one of those theme evenings, the subject was “Indian evening.” There were a lot of avatars, ( 10 or 11) at the evening and they had good fun at this event.
Future themes include: movie, adventure, pirate, Indian, Halloween, Christmas, Eastern, summer, winter, all Dutch themes, and more. Too many to list here, in fact.

In my personal this is one of the best clubs I've encountered so far. The fact that the club is set on a large bed, makes it an amazing gem that I found in Second Life. I haven’t found anything like it elsewhere.

Readers can find more information about this club in Second Life Search, and in the club itself. They communicate their events and other information through their Facebook page ( ) , their group ( and group chat ) and SL Nederland. On their Facebook page,  you can find videos taken from within the Second Life environment.

The team of Club Bed consists of following members :
Owners : Deborah8 Cortes and Magdalena1 Kira
Builder : Bjoet Wonder
Managers : Rosita Balan  and Scilla Capra

Dutch DJ’s that play in the club: DJ Brenda Bates, DJ Black, DJ Silver, DJ Han Fallen, DJ Diablo, and DJ Threes.

CLUB BED can be found at Olympus Island.

*Addition* The Newser was later informed one party had a total of 32 avatars present. Plus of the staff, Bjoet Wonder does the bed decoration "and cleans the bed too." 

*Addition* the location of the club has changed, now at Stormy End (75/119/1001 )

Wesley Regenbogen  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Commentary: Silver Fire - My Virtual Horse in Second Life

By Wesley Regenbogen

A short time ago, I wrote about Hope Driftwood’s Ranch and Dreamscape Ranch, where they raise virtual horses. I mentioned they offered me one of their pets, but I hadn't made up my mind whether to raise it or not. So for a time, it remained not yet born, stored in the bundle of hay that appears when breedable pet horses in Second Life reproduce.
I’m glad to report that I made up my mind and let the colt be born. I have a virtual horse now. He is a male gender Amaretto virtual horse, who’s name is “Silver Fire.” Hope Driftwood helped me setting it up and I now rent a box to put the horse as well.
These are the stats of Silver Fire at the moment of writing this article ( it might have changed after the article has been published ) :
Silver Fire
Version 5.0
Age 2
Gender male
Nourishment 0%
Energy 84%
Happiness 87%
Fervor 0%
Coat: Silver Mecklenburger
Eye: Fire Element
Mane: Long
Tail: Long
Coat Gleam High
Hair Gleam High
Coat Luster Low
Coat Gloom
Hair Gloom
Coat Opal
Hair Opal
Hoof Kiwi
Ear Style Half Droop Left
Wing: Wild Turkey
It’s getting used to having a virtual horse,  but it’s cool. I can recommend that everyone in Second Life get one! In my personal opinion, this is the coolest thing around here.
As I’m now settled, I got a virtual home, I have a career here that I like -  being a virtual journalist for the SL Newser, and I got myself a virtual horse. I think this is the best thing that ever happened to me in Second Life. I just now need to see to it that I can pay all of those things, of course. So please suggest to me new places, people, and events to write about.
Nevertheless, it’s a awesome thing to have once you get the hang of it. It’s nice to have a virtual horse. Everyone can do it, so if you want one, talk to Hope Driftwood or Chris Dreamscape and buy one. For information about how to set it up, you can talk to them as well, they will help you getting it set up and will support you when you are unsure about things.
Happy virtual horsing.

Wesley Regenbogen 

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Taxy! to the Zircus"

By Fritter Enzyme and Gemma Cleanslate

Take a Taxy ride into the land of the surreal at Taxy to the Zercus.  An art sim that taunts you with its interactive pieces making you part of the art.  Surreal with a scoop of Dadaism.  Start with your camera in tight.  You will begin inside a small build, touch the running faucet to get wings, of a sort. Wear them.   You will spin when you fly, or run, arms extended when walking.

You are there to be part of the show.  Shape shifting cubes are your teleporters to the areas of the work.  A game board with activities to partake in.  A cannon, with which you can try to shoot yourself through a cow.  Hat and Taxy, a tricky tea pot that can bring you to the Taxy, returning you to the start, or dropping you to different fun fanciful areas.  Sit fast, were you better find something to sit on, fast or fall.

If asked ‘Kou?’ when you click on items, chose it, you will dance with the objects and merge with the art.  And TV.  There you lock your camera on a television with a white pail of paint and a brush in it while boxes bounce around in a circle of windows surrounding you.  The music is interesting so have on.

"Taxy! to the Zircus"  by Eupalinos Ugajin is fun to return to and find all the things to do.  Look for the things to click on, or sit on.  When you fall to the reflective bottom, a very special area, there are two things down there.  One brings you back up.  Look for the other and sit on it.  It will link you to many other cool sites.

My avatar did get deformed on my first visit to the sit fast location.  It did not after that.  I could not find what did that to me, but if you have that problem, in Firestorm go to avatar health and click undeform my avatar.

Fritter Enzyme

*  *  *  *  *   *  *  *  *  *   *  *  *  *  *  

Eupalinos Ugajin is at it again! Those who are familiar with his art will understand. He is known for creating fun interactive art using his own pieces as well as other artists . In Taxy all the piece are his. The whole installations are usually large in scope and invite the visitors to touch everything and become part of his art. His new installation titled “Taxy! to the Zircus” in MetaLES does just that . 

When you arrive at the entrance you are invited to pick up a  pair of “wings” to move about the space. Fly off and hover in the air and tickle the moving pieces to find those that will make you a part of them and enjoy the ride,  sometimes upside down or in other precarious positions. There are several platforms where you will find TPs to other platforms if you like. 
Watch the cannon! It will shoot you out into the air but you can get back in easily . Eupalinos told me one can control the angle and aim for the empty part of the cow in the air but I did not do well at that.  If you fall into the water as I did after that venture, several times,  there is a shield to prevent you from sinking and it is easy to just fly up back into the installation. 
It is loads of fun and the area is filled with interesting pieces of art to appreciate , some old favorites and some new . I loved the steampunk style bicycle that is part of a pinwheel! Have fun!
Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Performances at Club Image

 By Grey Lupindo

Last week my neighbor Celtic Infinity invited me to attend a dance performance at Club Image, located at Club IMAGE, Laem Singh (198, 29, 2021).    The Sunday morning performances, which are held every week, are suitable for all residents.   The dancers and audience are predominately Japanese, but there were other nationalities represented, too.  Performances start at 7am SLT.

        On the Sunday that I attended, Daylight Savings time had just gone into effect within most of the U.S., but not in Japan.   The time change caught a few people off guard.   In addition to the time issue, SL was having a few technical issues.   But even with these difficulties, the performance was amazing.

       As curtain time drew nearer, Misse Tigerpaw (misse.tigerpaw) greeted everyone and explained about the time issue.   She has been a resident since December, 2007.  Misse is one of the Image dancers and was to be the featured performer in the second act that morning.   She reminded everyone to have a seat and make sure their music was turned on.
         The show began with two dancers, a particle light show, and a lively mix of music.   The first song was “Call Me".  The performance was great, with a snappy beat, high energy dancing, and lots of particles.  The songs that followed were varied and well known. 
        The transition to the second act began with a storyboard of “Little Red Riding Hood” that included pictures of Misse Tigerpaw in costume.   The background music included Sarah Vaughan’s “A Lover's Concerto”, Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E”, and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”.    Then the London Philharmonic Orchestra began playing “Enchanted Forest” as Misse Tigerpaw began her performance.   She performed a stunning and beautiful ballet as Little Red Riding Hood.   There was fire and ice, a blood moon rising, and even some wolves.    
           After her performance, due to technical difficulties, the order and scheduling of the Image Dancers was changed.  Diawa Bellic was the next dancer.  She has been a resident since 2008. Her talent and professionalism was awesome and overcame the minor technical difficulties SL threw at her. 
      The final act was a group performance of six Image Dancers, including Terri Wardell, Misse Tigerpaw, and Diawa Bellic.  Unfortunately I was unable to confirm the names of the other three dancers.   Their performance, set on a busy urban street, was fun and energetic.     
      Nearly 40 residents watched and cheered the performance.   At the end the performers exited the stage and received more congratulations as those who attended left the theatre.  
       The Image Dancers put on a great show that I heartily recommend.  If you go, plan to arrive early so you can get a good seat.   There is no change for the performance.  However, pictures of the dancers are on the wall and serve as a tip jar for anyone who wishes to donate.    Don’t worry if you don’t know Japanese or have a translator.  Celtic gave me a translator so I could understand the chat better, but I didn’t need it for the show.   Music and dancing are universal.  

Grey Lupindo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The New Raawr Fox Avatar

By Grease Coakes

In today's world of Second Life people like you and me always want to try a new look whether a new furry avatar or set of clothes. For the humans maybe a new human skin or shopping trip.

One of the things I do when I log on is look through my notices. I scan through them fast but I did happen to notice was that Furnication at have a new fox avatar release party recently. So I figured it couldn't hurt I had some Linden to blow to try out a new look. I check out the Raawr site I found on search. The LM is

I let the store rez which didn't take that long before going about. I looked through the fox vendor and decided on a black color. The price is 900L which wasn't so bad. I went to the ark sandbox to try it out and the first thing I see when I put on the shape is that I look very skinny with the male shape. Remember when the Aventity foxes came out years ago and it seemed every fox fan was wearing them? They were really skinny, so male wearers of that avatar had to add a lot of body mass to look not feminine. This avatar from Rawrr has a much skinnier male shape. Even when I added more muscle I still looked unhealthily skinny. Skinny is fine Aventity foxes looked good and were the fad years ago when they first came out for a fair price. But they also came with a read me to let you know how to use your avatar. When I look through the recent section of my inventory I see no such read me for the Rawwr avatar. 

When I load up the HUD for the avatar I see a jumble that's not exactly clear. Granted I like the PG-13 artwork that you see on the hud however I would prefer a read me and a HUD that's easier to understand over nice artwork. To be fair clickies are already installed on the ears and tail so that saves time of having to look through my inventory for me to install. But the HUD isn't clear when I see numbers and symbols? What do the numbers 1 through 4 mean? I had to spin the hud around to find eye color. When I clicked the symbols, turns out it changes the iris of your eyes. Neat effect, but when I look at ears and hands I'm not sure what they do.

Granted the avatar does look good, although the ears don't show up when I put on my fave hat I bought from a Native American vendor. Heartspeaker Lorefield himself said I look good with it on. 900 Linden is a fair price. Toshuki avatars are the same price. However for a majority of avatars that I purchased there was always a "read me" notecard so if I got lost on what this does or how do I change the eye color.

And the HUD is a jumble. It seemed rushed as if the creator wanted to rush it out without beta testing to make it user friendly. I clicked things on the hud and it took a few times to get it to click. I did look through the box again and there were adult add ons for your avatar. That's a nice touch. I'd have to say like Aventity foxes it might have been geared to the ladies crowd, and this avatar seems that way too. I don't like the "Straving Marvin" look, so I find a sturdier fox shape. I think the creator had a femboy look in mind when she made it. I looked on my tail and saw the creator was Flower Leleu.

I think if the HUD was easier to use and there was a read me explaining what everything does I'd have a better feel for this avatar. I didn't like the male shape either. But graphically it does look good. And looking at my screen I do see my tail wagging by itself and it came with clickies. I think if the creator took more time with the HUD and took the time write a "read me," I could have a much easier time working this out.

Flower you did do a good job creating your avatar. However I think the male shape is way too skinny and I wish the HUD was easier to understand. Other than that, if you like tinkering with a hud and heart eyes this might be the avatar for you.

Also now that I think of it, this might be a good avatar for the fairer sex. When I saw a box for the adult add ons, I did see lot of them for vixens. Since I'm male I didn't try that stuff out.

I have mixed feelings about the Raawr fox. I'd give it a B-. I wish I understood the inner workings, but it does come with nice features. And I would recommend using a different male shape.

Bottom image credit: 

Grease Coakes

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bryn Oh And More at the LEA

 By Gemma Cleanslate

I have been a fan of Bryn Oh for many years in Second Life. Her art is always a delight to visit  and often become part of it by interaction. Bryn is a real life artist living in Toronto Canada, whose landscapes are known over many countries and exhibited in many museums and galleries.  She has been doing various forms in exhibits that are extensive filling a sim from top to bottom and border to border and very interactive for the visitors. Some of my favorite exhibits include the "Rabbbicorn" story and "Anna’s Many Murders." 
Right now she has an installation titled  Retrospective in LEA 9.This goes back to here original art done in 2007and shows work to 2014.It is a wonderful perspective of how her art has progressed over the years.It is almost overwhelming in its scope. As you move through the site you will click on posters that lead you to  her machinima . Her artistry is in many media. The entire region is full of exhibit examples from each year. Just follow the signs. It will be open through December.
Another lovely exhibit not to be missed has opened in LEA6. It is art of real-life and Second Life photographs, and a poetry exhibit. Again the artist is a real life artist, Eliza Cabassoun, who says of her pieces, “Everyone has a place where they found their soul. This is where I found mine.  I found mine in a cabin by a lake where the fog rises in the morning into the mountains like a warm blanket.This lake is where I followed my soul to realize I have two gifts--writing and photography--and a part of my soul will always be here.” 
There is a convenient TP to get you to the gallery and Poetry Garden.  Walk around her lake to view some art  and some of her sculpture .
Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, September 29, 2014

What's New at the LEA

By Gemma Cleanslate

The  Linden Endowment of the Arts  have granted their regions to the artists for the next three months. Most builds are almost ready and you can actually get to visit some now. Bixyl did write about  Pinwheels LEA 26 a few weeks back (link). I took a look at several and recommend visiting them all.  

One that I loved was the region called Black Elk. It is a tribute to the lovely prophetic words of Black Elk, a native American medicine man or shamen. It is a beautiful display on LEA1. You will see his words in the air amid horses and other symbols of the spirit of nature.  Livio Oak Korobase (Livio Korobase) is the creator in this region. Above in the air is a stunning collection of symbols in a hovering tiny planet like build overseen by flying doves. Sit and enjoy.

On LEA16 Dave Searby Mason had created a three level interactive experience you don’t want to miss. Use the notecard you will find there to help you enjoy each level to the fullest. The ground level is restful. The tp at the entrance will take you up to the sound spheres where headphones will enhance the visit. Wander and listen. Another tp will take you to the third level of which David says, "is also designed to walk through like the spheres but here the visual aim is different.  I wanted to create a ghostly feel to add another dimension to the sounds."  It is an experience not to be missed. 

Another that I enjoyed very much is LEA 10, La Palma Sculpture Garden by Peli Dieterle, still a work in progress. There are lovely sculpts in the area near the water now. However the setting is so restful I brought out my horse and took a long ride up the winding road to the top and back down again. The build around the interesting sculptures is delightful. Take a tp over there. While you are at the welcome area cam out and take a look at the pieces of art that are in the sky.

This is just a sample of the regions you can visit. There are other TPs from the welcome area to take and you can save the LM to come back many times over. Some of the regions will be holding events at various times during their stay and there is a calendar on the website .I will do another article on more of the exhibits. There are many! You can start at the Welcome area . Here you will find posters for the various regions with their teleport slurl by clicking on the poster. This will take you to the sim.  Connect to the blog or website from the welcome area poster that lists it. 

Gemma Cleanslate

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Prehistorica: The Dawn Kingdoms

By Xymbers Slade

While wandering about the other day, I managed to spot someone in a tiny velociraptor avatar that looked incredibly well done. I got a landmark from them and immediately headed over to a place known as "Prehistorica, The Dawn Kingdoms."

I'm glad I did. I haven't been impressed by what goes on in SL in a long long long time, which is why I haven't written much for the Newser. However, here at The Dawn Kingdoms, I can honestly say I'm impressed by what I have found. You begin in front of the store, where there are tons of avatars to choose from, both sculpt and mesh. All of the classic favorites, from the triceratops, tyrannosaurus rex, stegosaurus, Pteranadon, and the ankylosaurus (my personal favorite) are available at about $2000L each. I did not look at the sculpts, but I only assume they're cheaper and are earlier versions of the meshes.

Behind you there's a portal to a few prehistoric-themed areas (jungle, beach, pond and some petrasaur cliffs, which I did not go exploring to on account of heavy lag). It might be slower on older machines because there's a LOT of stuff to load (it was very laggy for me, but it can't be avoided with the amount of detail that's down there, plus I have my settings on high, which adds to the problem). Deciding to splurge on myself I picked up an Ankylosaur and a Tyrannosaur.

Both avs I picked up come with three separate folders, and you -have- to put the folders on in order or there will be errors (according to the notecard)... you can't just throw everything into one folder and put it on all at once. The AO that comes with the avatar is very detailed and colorful, and best of all it seems to be -intuitive-, meaning that for those of us who never bother reading the notecard (such as myself) it's easy to figure out. There are about 16 different default skins, with room for four more custom, and 20 eye colors/four claw/four tooth skins. There are about 24 different gestures (six sounds, six combat, six poses, six "life" gestures, such as eating and drinking).

The "Extras" folder they come with adds some decorations (like a watering hole or some eggs) though I don't know why the folder would include some "gift vendors" scripted to ask you for permission to your $L account. That's my only bone to pick with the whole thing.

I'm giving the place five Dragon Hoards out of five without hesitation (even in the face of the "gift vendors", even though the T-Rex sounds make me think of the old movie "Jurassic Park" (what would I know, we don't know what they sounded like, after all). The avatars are well done for the price, the animation is great and they're cheaper than some of the other meshes I have seen. Having an intuitive HUD really helps.

The Dawn Kingdoms can be found at Fort Nowhere (130,127,1101).

Xymbers Slade

(For Becky Shamen's article on Prehistoria, Click Here