Monday, December 14, 2015

Down South

By Kelly Bloodykitty

Welcome to the sim called, "Down South".  This lovely place is the new land of where I used to work which was the Horse Saloon. Even though I haven't been to this particular sim a lot of times, I find it still beautiful in a sense. This club is basically one that centers around country and is group owned by the staff of Down South. It is located in the region of Heracles and is a moderate sim. The reason why I'm doing an article on basically a revamped version of the Horse Saloon I work in is because I wanted to touch on the new land and give a lot of credit to my friend Cheene for showing me the ropes in hosting and for being apart of both teams!

Like it appears this is of course centered around country, and has a strong vibe, especially with the nature as well as the building, which of course is a barn. In front is the sign signaling as a sort of ad, and a tractor too. There's something going on with my mesh settings or whatever it's considered, so it doesn't appear until I get closer to it. The inside is very wonderful too and right now is decorated for the Christmas season but is still in the theme with the barn with some small animals and such. They have a stage for the DJ and hosts, as well as a bar to sit at. 

Overall I have to say I love this sim despite me only being at it once or twice for a visit. I suggest you go down to the location and come and dance and chat with anyone who may be there! When you are there be sure to give props to Cheene for being quite awesome and for being apart of the Down South staff. Besides that I hope to see you too if you come along because I may be working there as a host, especially if I don't have to resubmit an application, so make sure to say hi to me too!
Heracles (30,45,22)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Arcadia Asylum

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

In the article, "Saving Prims," we said, "... Arcadia Asylum, on the Mieville Pond sim.  Be prepared for an adventure there". A conscious effort was made, to keep that sim from taking over the article, because it was worthy of an article of it's own. Returning there, to take notes and pictures, we realized just how understated the line was. It's more than just "an adventure". This sim is a must see, Great Adventure and should be on everybody's to-do list. Aside from the 1,328 free items, there are several fun adventures, to be discovered there.

The landing point, for the sim, is a courtyard, in front of the Cog & Grog Freebie Center. On the other side of the courtyard, we find a teleporter that goes to the various areas on the sim. The areas include; Tropics, Steam Fair, Graveyard, Hobo Town, The Deeps, Space and The Library. Most of the areas can also be reached by walking, flying or just jumping into the water.

The Deep covers as much area as the surface sim and can be reached in three ways. Within the Cog & Grog, there is a stairway that leads under water. On the dock, next to the Chinese Junk, there is an entrance to Cap'n Nemo's Underwater Observatory, which uses tubes to connect to chambers beneath the surface. You can also just jump off any of the docks, to reach the sea floor. In the deep, you will find underwater habitats, plants, sea creatures. You can even get your own whale or even a kracken. One of the most interesting nautical items, the whirlpool, proved to be be a fun ride. I got one to take home, but, unless I terraform, won't get put out from my inventory any time soon. It has a lot of prims, but can be reduced by removing some of the items that circle the top.

 Taking the teleport to the Space area, we find spacesuits, spaceships, planets and asteroids. The most interesting "space" item is found at the courtyard of the sim landing. There, we find a giant cannon, which shoots a bullet shaped capsule to the moon. I had actually been back to this sim several times, before deciding to click on it and see what it does. Next thing you know, the camera switches to an exterior view of the projectile, with your av inside and stars zipping past. We end up on a lunar surface, staring at our crashed ship, with the earth in the distant background. Fortunately, there is a teleport, near by, to take us back down, but, as long as I'm on the moon, I look around for any other interesting things to explore. Sure enough, among the lifeless rocks there is one that has some color to it and there's a large hole at the base, with a churning mist within. Looking in, it seems to go down to a cavern with large gems on the walls. Naturally, Miss been there, done that, had to go into the cavern. All I will say is that, yes, there is an adventure and I went several times, to learn the way out of the conflict with the lunar inhabitants.

Now, safely back home, on my keyboard, I find myself wondering what other hidden adventures are yet to be had at Arcadia Asylum. You can be sure that this writer will return there many times, in the future. 
Hope we see you there,

Monday, November 23, 2015

The LEA 3 Entrance

By Gemma Cleanslate

You know that I visit the LEA sims often to check out the installations in each of the artist regions. Sunday I got a notice that Eupalinos Ugajin installed a bar near the entrance . Knowing his fun loving ways I went over to take a look. Though  looking like a normal drink serving one  it gives some interesting items when you click.  I say go see and collect. The ‘drinks’ are from friends of Eupalinos.  He also dropped some of his other pieces in the area that are interactive so click away. He always has fun items where ever he builds. I had fun opening the gifts and using them. 

I love his artist statement “My work explores the relationship between postmodern discourse and skateboard ethics. With influences as diverse as Kafka and Joni Mitchell, new insights are synthesised from both simple and complex layers. Ever since I was a student I have been fascinated by the traditional understanding of the human condition. What starts out as triumph soon becomes corroded into a carnival of futility, leaving only a sense of unreality and the inevitability of a new reality. As shimmering forms become frozen through diligent and diverse practice, the viewer is left with an insight into the darkness of our world.” Food for thought. 
I took a picture of the entrance to the LEA welcome area that shows most of the regions that are complete and  are open for visiting and this is how it looks when you start from the entrance . I enjoy doing that because you can tp right from the posters for each sim by clicking to get the slurl. You can choose your site to visit.
Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, November 20, 2015

Saving Prims

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

In December, 2015, this writer will celebrate six years in Second Life. For much of that time, I have been an active member of the Sunweaver Community. Being an active member entails more than just showing up for all the social events. A good citizen receives much from being a member and, in return, gives back his services to the rest of the community. They do this by helping those in need, showing a positive and joyful attitude and enhancing the local economy, by renting homes and shops on the community's sims.

Aside from location, key factors for renting are how much will it cost and how many prims will be allowed in the rented area. Regardless of how many prims are allowed, by the time your home starts feeling like your personal piece of heaven on earth, you'll be wishing for a few dozen more prims. Over the years, I have found a number of ways to save prims, while still decorating to get my home to be an extension of my personality. I'd like to share some of what has been learned, in this article.

A good way to personalize your home is to add pictures on the walls. Pictures of your friends, adventures you have been on, things you have built and classic paintings you love can say a lot about the resident, but, at one or two prims each, will quickly eat up your prim allowance. One of the first ways to reduce the number of prims is to make a texture that contains multiple pictures, frames and the transparent space between them included. Doing this, you can cover an entire wall with pictures, using only one prim.

Nice furniture also takes up prims. Fortunately, many shops offer low or one prim furniture, complete with animations. One of my favorite vendors is "Primpossible" and they have a number of great items for furniture and landscaping.

More recently, I have discovered other ways to save prims on displayed pictures. While researching an article, about the Lionheart Community, I walked around all the sims, to take in the atmosphere, chat with the locals and do a bit of shopping. While on the Ahadi sim, I found a shop, called "The Frame House". They have a large assortment of ornate picture frames. Each frame costs L$200 and is only 2 prims. You can edit the contents of the frames to contain dozens of your own pictures and it will then display them, like a slide show. I bought one, then, and have yet to find any limit to the number of pictures that can be added. When I returned to the Frame House, to research this article, I decided they would be a good way to display some of the countless avatars and costumes in my inventory, so I bought another frame. The Frame House also has two photo back drops, for singles or couples. Each has many background photos and poses. I go back often, just to take more pictures.

There is another slide show, that I have, which serves the same purpose while adding a social gathering place. It's called, "Victorian Magic Lantern Show" and is 7 prims. It has a fancy projection screen, 6 benches (seats 12) and a steam powered slide projector. The best part is, this slide show is FREE. You can find it at the Marketplace at the AleyMart merchant. They have 1328 items and they're all FREE. If you want to see their products in world, head on over to  Arcadia Asylum, on the Mieville Pond sim. Be prepared for an adventure there. Everything is unique and interesting. Every time I visit there, I come home with a dozen new toys.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Brooklyn Bridge at LEA25

By Gemma Cleanslate

I think almost everyone in the world may have heard of the Brooklyn Bridge. If not, it is a very famous bridge that connects a Brooklyn, a borough of New York City, to Manhattan. It has a rich and interesting history.  It is always busy with foot traffic, taxis, cars, buses and other forms of transportation. People often try to sell it to an unsuspecting target. 
The Bridge has been beautifully recreated in Second Life, in LEA25. There is a lot going on over there that you should see and experience. It is the collaborative effort of a group of SL  artists and each has inserted their own pieces next to, or on the bridge and in the sky.  At the landing point you will find information cards with all the artists information. Misprint Thursday sent me  the artist’s names : Alpha Auer, Bibbe Oh, Maya Paris, Mikati Slade, Simotron Aquila, and of course Misprint herself. You can find out all about each one and their past art in the notecards.
“The Bridge is a mixed reality project which will happen in two phases.  The first phase of the project includes the installation of virtual art on the virtual Brooklyn Bridge. The second phase of the project includes mixing the images of the virtual view with the real images and views of the Brooklyn Bridge.” is the description of the project as a whole. 
It is all interactive so be sure as you cross the span you touch all that you see. Be careful though! I wondered why I  touched "OohBabyKittyCatYeah" as I dangled high above the span upside down! I will let you read about part 2 yourself.( I have to figure it all out) 

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, November 9, 2015

Garden of Dreams

By BloodyKitty Resident

Welcome everyone to this sim, which is called, "Garden of Dreams" or *GOD* for short. This land is owned by a group of the same name, and is located in the region of, Garden of Dreams, ironically. Now there isn't any specific event or true theme going on but it's simply a place to relax and enjoy the beautiful Fall scenery. Whether your alone or with friends there are special places to sit with and without animations, basically poseballs. My friend basically brought me here so kudos goes to them for showing me this beautiful place. 

From what it seems this sim is a good size and has a good amount to explore if you like taking slow walks along the trails and green grass to find new things you may of seen or may not of. Now while I haven't explored it all, I still recommend it as a hangout place for yourself or even bringing a few friends along who can appreciate scenery and relaxing music. The awesome thing I find is that in the description of the tp you can buy Skyboxes as well as shrubby like shrub, landscape, trees, flowers, and all kinds of architecture in general. While I haven't bought anything from Garden of Dreams due to me not needing it yet I still recommend looking at the items on sale as a gift for yourself or someone else.

Like I said before, this is one beautiful place to go if you want to escape the hassle of annoying people on voice chat, trolls, or even just everyone in general if you are going alone here. Now while I have nothing against people who are on voice chat, I find them to be annoying sometimes and it's very awkward when your typing and their using their mic. Besides all those small problems of my own you should come on down and take some time to lay in the grass!
Garden of Dreams (126/35/91)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Meshing Around in Second Life

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

It is my great pleasure, to be back writing about my adventures in Second Life. Being the "been there, done that" type, it was only a matter of time before I got back on the road again. Contemplating a good adventure to commence with, each idea seemed to be countered by, haven't you already "been there, done that".  Then, I remembered that I am in the middle of an adventure and dying to tell the world about it. This adventure involves MESH, but don't worry. You won't even need the latest viewer, to read about it.

This December will be my 6th anniversary in SL.  Somewhere in the middle, they began introducing mesh clothing and avatars.  As a clothing designer/vendor, I had become adept at making clothing for basic female avatars with add-on breasts (implants), so was in no hurry to go the mesh route, at least until they got all the bugs worked out. A trickle of mesh clothing did begin to find it's way into my inventory and, before long, became my preferred choice.
 I also have a whole collection of furry avatars,but when I searched the Market Place for something new, I kept seeing all these new mesh brands and they were cuter than dimples on a bunny rabbit. When the descision was made to get a mesh avatar, naturally, I wanted the brand that had the most available mods. The clear winner of that race was the "Kemono", by Utilizator. There are also many add-on parts, that add to the ways you can mod it. I have six heads for mine.
 When shopping for mesh clothes, I now ask, will it fit both my basic and mesh bodies, is it full perm, so I can sell or share my mods and is it so cool that everybody will like it.  Looking for the next clothing to make mods for, I decided to go to the source, Utilizator.
When the LM to their main store was clicked, a grand adventure began.  The landing spot puts one in a large, two story shopping mall, with 40-50 shops, centered around the Utilizator store. The mall is called "Annie May Haven" and all of the shops cater to Kemono and other popular anime avatars, like "Rainbow Bunny" and "BG Feline". Some of the shops were familiar, since I had bought from them at Marketplace.
As if having all those shops in one place wasn't enough of a great adventure, this mall has an additional feature, that makes it very usefull to anybody that is into these cute little avs.  At any given time you come, there will be a large gathering of cute avatars, between you and the main store. They're like walking store dummies, previewing the avs and clothing. Their social conversations, among themselves, sounds like a bunch of teen aged kids, but keep this in mind. If you want to learn something about computers or anime, ask a kid. I enjoyed talking with them and even invited one to my home, to see how civilized furries live.
Doing an inworld search for "mesh clothing" places we find 1178 selections. For "mesh anime clothing", 401. Researching this article, I spent an evening going to as many as possible and none could compare with Annie May's. I bought several outfits there, but I'm not asking you to buy anything. All I'm selling is a great adventure.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Kawaii Project

By BloodyKitty Resident

This cute shopping strip mall is called Kawaii Project. It is located in the region of Ploom and group owned by a group called, "The Kawaii Project - Staff." I have to give kudos to the creators of this sim because even though it's small it is still cute and pretty, which I believe they were going for, hence they 'Kawaii' in the name. While I haven't purchased anything here myself, yet; I plan to look again when I have some more lindens and maybe get one or two items. Speaking of the clothes, objects, and hairs, they seem to be very pretty and high quality. I suggest you check this place out and maybe you'll walk away with some lovely goodies.

There's nothing really negative from this sim in my eyes but I'd love if there were more shops to be honest. On the other hand I think it's perfectly fine with how it is and there's still pretty architecture as well as the things they have for sale in front of each building. One thing besides liking the whole, 'cute' vibe rather then sexy is that for me there's hardly and lag when walking around, but at the same time there hasn't been a lot of traffic for the two times I have come here. While that is said I don't believe the amount of people make up how good a sim is whether or not it's a shop or simply a place to see the sights and hear the sounds. 

Overall you should take a peek in this sim because I feel like it's well worth a few minutes due to the small area of the location. While people I believe tend to go for big shops that are like the size of shopping malls, some of us lazy folk want something that's quick, fast, and small really; or at least that's me. I hope you guys get some cool things and that it ends up being well worth your visit!
Ploom (65, 58, 2501)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Firebird

By Gemma Cleanslate

Sunday I was able to attend the premiere of The Firebird at the Royal Opera and Gardens. The performance by the Fantasy Dreams Dance Group set to the music of Igor Stravinsky was truly magical as advertised.  Andy Loon (Szerewp Loon), Ness and Ina Carpaccio did the choreography with Direction and Scenography by Ina Carpaccio. So much work goes into these performances as I have seen before. I saw Andy’s work in The little Prince some months ago. 

All the performers spend so much time in rehearsal. The Firebird herself (Ina Carpaccio)  was lovely in her dances. The story takes place before a evil looking castle in the background and is from an old Slavic fairy tale. There have been many interpretations of it in dance. The prince captures a feather from the Firebird and carries it with him. A bevy of princesses dance onto the stage and the prince is entranced by one lovely princess and dances with her until she disappears into the castle grounds. 

Menacing monsters appear from the woods to harass the prince and the Firebird returns and places a spell on the monsters while the Prince escapes. The lead monster ( Andy Loon) spars with the Firebird in a dance. The Lullaby dance of the Firebird vanquishes all the monsters and they fall to the ground. The prince returns with an enormous egg which upon breaking appears to release all from a spell. The evil looking castle disappears and is replaced by a lovely gleaming castle and all the princesses return including the one princess that the Prince was enraptured by and they join in a dance again with the Firebird hovering above . Well , that was my interpretation of it and I enjoyed it thoroughly. 

The Firebird will be repeated in December. Other performances at the Royal Opera will be September 27 - 1:30 pm slt - My Fair Lady, October 4 - 2 pm slt  - Sarah Brightman Tribute, October 11 - 2 pm slt - Circus by Fantasy Dreams, October 18 - 1 pm slt - Benno Sands & Cheerleaders TBA .
You are invited to join the group to stay informed of other performances to come. 

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Discussion About The Bright Canopy Viewer

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Saturday September 5, the creators of the Bright Canopy Viewer, designed to bring the Second Life experience to tablets and improve it on older computers like the defunct SL Go service, held a conference in Second Life to discuss recent events and developments. The sim was at an auditorium at a sim named after the product: Bright Canopy. Founder Bill Glover, known in Second Life as Chaos Priestman, did most of the speaking. Those with questions were asked to IM Jerri Glover, who was Bethsael Robbiani (Beth) inworld.

"Hello, and welcome," Chaos greeted the audience, "We're here today (to) talk about this last week and the future of Bright Canopy. We want to answer your questions, but we want to get to everyone, so if you have a question, please IM our Community Coordinator Bethsael Robbiani. We also have some questions sent in by email and we will be answering those too."

"Bright Canopy started a few months ago as a project to help people get the best out of Second Life and Open Sim without having to buy the latest hardware and eventually to be able to use mobile as well. We built a beta and it worked well and there was a lot of interest, so we moved on to pre launch and worked on billing and getting the last bugs ironed out. That also went well, and there was even more interest, so we planned a launch. We did the numbers and with the cost of goods on the back end we had a plan that we believed would break even and even make some money to fund new development and hiring support people."

Chaos described their business model was "Amazon Spot instance prices," and besides the costs of the instances, there was "the waste inherent in swapping people on and off those servers." And unfortunately, the price of the instances spiked starting in the first week of August, "What had been $0.12 was now over $1.00 and sometimes almost $8.00. This broke our business model, but it looked like a temporary spike. We decided to continue with the planned launch, We believed the prices would come back down. In the meantime, we moved to on-demand instances at $0.80 and that allowed us to continue. An $0.80 instance price meant we were losing money on every minute of user activity, but we hoped that usage would even out in such a way that we would lose money slowly enough to maintain our course until we could build out a solution that cost less on the back end. In the meantime we also hoped the spot prices would come back down and give us some relief."

 They launched on August 29, and realized things were not going as planned, "We had a good look at the usage with more people, and it became clear that we could not sustain the losses. Usage was just not the same as we had seen in Pre Release. We expected a difference, but we didn't expect such a huge difference. We agreed to pull the plug and rethink things. Now, as the dust has settled, prices have come back down in California and Virginia, but not in Ireland. And there's no guarantee they will remain low. Also, now that we've seen more of people's usage patterns we know that even the pre launch prices ... won't be profitable. At best we may break-even. It's probably a few months out before we could reduce cost enough (by splitting servers) to make it sustainable."

Chaos went on to say "This has never been about making alot of money. So far, no one but Amazon has made anything at all. Frame has offered a tremendous amount of support because they believe it’s important and could eventually be a sustainable business, and Jerri and I have volunteered our time and invested our savings. We did it because we believed it was important, and we still do." They were working with Frame witha proposal, which would help pay for expenses, "and hopefully for some of Frame's time."

For now, they would "have to back-off from 24/7 support to answers within 24 hours. I know there’s alot of disappointment, and we all share it. We want this to be easier for everyone, but for now, this is just a small flame that we will have to tend carefully if we want to keep it alive."

Chaos then opened the discussions to questions from the audience.

Several people asked, "Doesn't having more users make it cheaper for you?" Chaos answered, "I understand where this is coming from. We often see volume discounts when we buy things and in a sense it's true over the long term. But as I described, that's not the case right now. We actually lose a little money on each user until we have a less expensive way of sharing instances."

"Is there a business model in which a user could buy and pay up front for server time at particular times/days thus getting chaper access to the hardware?" Chaos answered, "That's an interesting idea. To make it work we would have to be able to get that time cheaper ourselves or utilize what we have more efficiently. We can look at that, but I'm not sure I see a way to do it off the top of my head. Thanks for that suggestion. Who was that from? ... Thanks, Lynxx."

"What has the reaction by Linden Lab been to Bright Canopy?" Chaos answered, "Linden Lab has been very supportive."

"Other services like Kitely have found ways to go to a monthly plan, can't you just do what they did?" Chaos respinded, "I want to explain, that running sims requires different sorts of servers. We use servers that have a GPU card, and special support for streaming. That's a relatively rare beast at the moment. But we expect to see other providers stepping up soon, and Amazon is likely to provide more, just based on the demand we've seen. No one has ever pulled this off. We're still hoping to be the first to make this work in a sustainable way."

Beth then spoke up, "We have several of a similar style, so I am going to paraphrase a bit. 'We have questions about the feasibility of using other servers or even our own servers to provide the service at a more affordable rate? Alternatives to the Spot instances and so on.' " Chaos spoke, "There aren't alot of providers what we need right now. There will be in 2016, I would expect. We could begin buying servers and configuring them and over the long term that might be less expensive, but it's a huge upfront capital cost.  We don't have funding for that, but it is a possibility."

"Is Linden Lab offering any support other than advertising the service?" Chaos answered, "They've been open to talk about other support. We haven't talked about anything specific."

"what server used SL GO ?" Chaos informed, "SLGo built out their own servers, originally for another purpose."

"What is the feasibility of a kickstarter for upfront costs for servers, or would it simply be too prohibitive?" Chaos responded, "That's  a topic that has come up a couple of times. It's not out of the question, but there's more than servers. We would want all of the platform that Frame provides, so it would be a discussion about setting up a self-hosted option with Frame I would think."

"Do we have an estimate on when we may be accepting new subscribers? Or are we in a holding/wait pattern." Chaos answered, "Yes, I'd say a holding pattern is the best way to put it. We mentioned that Monday would be the earliest we could come back up, but we are not ready to do that yet. We want to make sure when we do, we have something that will last."

"Also, asking for clarification from 'Other Support' from SL – are we talking financial support? Wouldn’t it be to their financial advantage to build the customer base or are they more into the new platform now?" Chaos spoke, "I can’t speak for Linden Lab. But I can say our core mission is to bring as many people to this and opensim worlds as we can."

"Does LL realize that services like this are the way forward not everyone can afford to upgrade on a regular basis . Soon they will have a platform that is unusable by the majority?" Chaos responded, "I can’t speak for LL, as I said. But I think everyone understands how important this service is. We just have to find a way to offer it that will stand on it’s own two feet."

That was the last of the questions. Several people in the audience thanked Chaos and Beth for their efforts, "We hope you get it there, you all seem like a passionate and great bunch of people, and it's a great idea." "Thanks for the info, good luck ..." "hank you for inviting us." Chaos told the crowd, "Thank you all for coming. ... We will continue to provide updates through our twitter @BrightCanopyApp and through the Bright Canopy group."

For more information, one can check the Bright Canopy Blog, which also published a transcript of the event.  Inara Pey, whom Chaos credited with helping him get the idea to create Bright Canopy, also wrote on the event. New World Notes brought up a Reddit thread which suggested a somewhat mixed reception to Bright Canopy, some users enjoying it, others feeling it could be better.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Reflect the Light

By Gemma Cleanslate

When I was visiting Art Farm at LEA, I noticed another region was opening, though maybe still being installed, So I went off to visit it on the next week. "Reflect the Light" is in LEA 18, and I loved it. 

Kiesta Aljon is a real-life photographer and has been making art in Second Life for three years and has created this for the region.  The entrance is through a long hallway with the message “I am not the light or the source of the light But I can reflect the light into the dark hearts of men.“ I then descended a ramp , passing figures that lit the way along a path of the dark Hearts of Man and the reasons .. loneliness and isolation, our personal prisons, loss of faith and hope- the dark night of the soul. 

I arrived at a circle where I picked up an information card that tells you background about the artist’s inspiration for the installation. Four doors that open to the parts of the exhibit, black , blue and red will lead to more levels , each lovelier than the other and then you realize how the dark hearts can become lighter. The black door gives you access to dancing within sparkling art and being part of the works. The blue takes you to beautiful moving art pieces and the third red door lands you at a gallery containing works or real life and Second Life art pieces on the walls. 

There is the last door which is a checkered door that swirls you into a checkered world. The walls and floor are checkered and there are checkered blocks and balls all around the floor that I found I could push.It was fun! Pushing the balls around the floor and away from the walls.  Some balls are floating off into the open sky above, perhaps released from their dark night . 

It is a exhibit you will want to experience so take a trip and reflect your light. One piece that I enjoyed most was the small globes at the entrance to each level on each  side of the door. From the entrance to the checkered room it is all an wonderful experience .You can also pick up a landmark for her sl gallery, Sacred Art and see other works .

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, August 21, 2015

The “Wingless” Free Avatars (2009)

The following first appeared in Second Life Newspaper in August 19, 2009

*  *  *  *  *

By Bixyl Shuftan

When I first came to SL, alongside the newbie human avatars as choices for one’s first look was one nonhuman, the old ringtail avatar Luskwood donated to Linden Labs. I did find a few free furred avatars in my newcomer period, but aside from the purple kitty avie, nothing seemed an improvement until I had the cash to buy a better avatar.

 Later, I heard the newbie ringtail had been done away with as an option. So where could a newcomer go to get a furred av, particularly one with a quality look?

It was about that time I found out an answer: the Wingless Avatar package, a collection of quality avatars once sold, now free for the asking.

The Wingless Avatar package is a gift to the residents of SL from the avatar designer Wingless Emoto. He once sold his avatars through a retailer, but a dispute occurred and the business partnership dissolved. Unfortunately for Wingless, the contract signed stated he could not sell the avatars in the deals w ith him through anyone else. So Wingless decided to make them freely available, people able to grab a package at locations, or transferable from person to person. Some carry them not to wear, but to pass to newcomers to SL or those around for a while curious about furry avatars or wanting a different look. Some locations have individual Wingless avatars up for sale for 10L. But this is against the wishes of Wingless.

And the package has an impressive variety of avatars. There are many varieties of both wolf and fox-type avatars, cannids being a popular furred av in SL. There are also a few hyena and horse avs in the package. Rezzing the box on a sandbox and unpacking it, one gets a folder filled with each avatar, boxed. One has to rezz and unpack each avatar.

The avs come in both male and female skins. Highly modifiable, each av offers a choice of either plantigrade (walk on the heel like a normal human foot) or digitgrade (walk on the ball on the foot) lower legs. The latter looks more exotic, though someti ¥mes one can see the shadow of the invisiprims, and long pants worn end up looking cut off with a ring of fabric around the ankles. There is an option for small or large hands/paws. For the wolf avs, A Customization HUD gives you the option of showing canine teeth or not, and choosing the color of eyes, paws, claws, and the inside of ears. Another HUD, “Control,” allows for options for twitching ears, wagging tails, blinking eyes, and blushing.

It should be noted one doesn’t *have* to wear the whole avatar. I have seen some kitsune-style nekos who told me their ears and tails came from Wingless avatar parts. As there are several styles of hair that come with the av, this means a few
free hairpieces. A good place to look if you need one in a hurry upon getting a av with no hair.

The Wingless Avatar Package can be found in some freebie locations, though in any place in SL with some furs, it shouldn’t take long to find someone who has it and get a copy.

A truly great package of free avatars.

* * * * *

Six years later, the Wingless avatars are still around. Despite that they're free, they're not worn as often as before. It seems most residents who prefer a nonhuman look whom get a set of them replace them with a more recent avatar as soon as they have the Lindens. There are also other avatars available as freebies, either legitimately such as the AX avatars at Northstar, or copied without their creators' permission and made available as free packages, such as Avenity.  Still, the avatar does have it's place in Second Life. It comes in a variety of colors that remain unmatched by some other lines of avatar. Plus with some clubs having script limits, some residents will find their favorite avatars will have problems getting them in. But with it's smaller number of scripts, the Wingless will have less trouble doing so. And if one runs across a resident interested in a nonhuman look but doesn't know where to go, one can just hand over a package of Wingless avatars.

*Addition* With the InWorldz grid becoming increasingly popular, a collection of Wingless Avatars was imported there as well. So now the avatars are available now in two grids. 

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Art Farm

By Gemma Cleanslate

When I stopped by the LEA welcome center to see if anything new was going on I found a billboard for the ‘Art Farm.’ The name was intriguing so I hopped over to the region to see what it is. I found the sim divided into four areas with eclectic installations in each. I was happy to run into an artist working on her gallery, Elle Thorkveld. She filled me in on what she was doing and gave me information to help me understand the concept of the region. This is a coop art project involving all the group members of the Vaneeessa Blaylock group, (anyone can join) VB Friends. I would call it a work in progress for sure . It will be evolving and changing all the time for the next 6 weeks.

 There are four “lands” in which to play, they say. 

“MUGA - Medici University Gallery of Art - Exhibits & Classes. There are some galleries there to visit with many lovely pieces of art to view. I spent some time going through them . Director - Myra Wildmist and Jade Ravenheart (Cynn Blackrain)

WARD81 -WARD 81 is the studio space for artists with places to hang out / documentary photo Director - Oona Nostra (msbluerasp)

BABEL INFCALYPSE -Babel is the sandbox for all the artists to use and create. Director- Neeva Torok

LOW FIDELITY - Low Fidelity is for machinima and virtual performance art. Director - Newton (Lex Perdide)

Ward81 is a tribute to Mary EllenMark who passed away in the spring. and the artists are invited to live or hang out there and create as they wish. You will find tower in Babel and if you are into machinima, or art performances, you might like this area Low Fidelity. In Muga if you like to teach or learn go there. Stop and try the tai chi while you are roaming... very relaxing. For me, it brought back memories of my early days in Second Life when I went to do it at  Hosoi and Apollo. Sigh. I stood and watched Gwynie Beaumont (Gwynach) work for a while with her sculptures in front of her gallery. 

This creative activity rose out of a past work that I somehow missed. I spent some time talking to another artist that I had met in the past at Burn2, Veyot.  She explained it all to me and told me that it came from the Medici University ,  . This was new to me also , which appears to be an online university for arts and more. Edie1943 made the proposal to Medici University to use the region for this purpose. I found the proposal on the website and you can read it all there.  It all looks like so much fun and sharing for anyone who joins the group. If I could  build I might be tempted . If you can , why not try it all out and see what LEA provides for creative residents. “Come Play!" they say and mean it !Myra Wildmist was also very helpful in sorting me out with the directors names and checking my backstory. Check it out! 

I took a tour of the whole four areas on my segway to see what is there now. Veyot told me that some artists would be creating items short term during the whole exhibit so I plan to go visit often during the next six weeks to see the changes.  is a starting point near the galleries. a good place to begin your tour.

Gemma Cleanslate 

Edit: we goofed and accidentally titled it "Ant Farm" at first. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Review of PaleoQuest

By Gemma Cleanslate

 The evil Dr Talpa is on the move again to destroy the grid and Magellan Linden needs our help. That is the billing for the new inworld game called "Paleoquest." I enjoyed the Magellan quest a few years ago,  the Linden Realms, the Cornfield, earlier inworld games that I still visit occasionally so was quite interested in trying this one. 

The entrance is at the Portal Park 1 where I ran into a few friends immediately as I landed. Kiera Linden was coming to try it and Marianne McCann and Uccie Poultry, both of whom were there yesterday already. The entrance path, lined with prehistoric ferns and other lush foliage leads to a tall golden entrance where my window donned a hud I and teleported to the visitor center. As I approached I was graced with the voice of Magellan welcoming me with a thank you for coming. There is a background video to bring you up to date on why you are here and a tutorial video for help, and an information card to pick up. And then, you climb the stairs to catch the monorail that circles the entire region with stops at the each quest location. If I waited to write this until I did the whole sim you might never hear from me again! 

Be prepared! There is danger everywhere you go from the volcanoes, falls off the mountain, holes in the rope bridges, and from above the flying dinosaur who is protecting her nests in one of which sits the prize. Any one of the obstacles can kill you! Along the way I collected dinosaur eggs that were added to my hud. None of this is easy and I died and resurrected six times and lost all my eggs !!! 
I am sitting at the resurrection platform now to tell you my story.  I thought it would be better if I told you all this now so you can begin your quest if you like! So many dangers and I have so much to do!!! if you see me along the way say hello! I was going to stop there but after I sat for a while I went to bring back the prize and made it. I entered the pyramid, made my way through the dangers and returned the prize to the rightful owner !! I have no eggs but can go back for more later. 

Now I am off to the monorail to get to the second quest which I understand involves toxic water and other goodies .  All these collections involve prizes and Lindens at the payout stations at the visitor center so it is not just for nothing! Read the notecard . 

 I will let you know if I ever complete the game or perhaps if some part of it is so interesting I need to tell you more. Beware!

Gemma Cleanslate

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Two New LEA Exhibitions

By Gemma Cleanslate

Two new exciting installations at the Linden Endowment of the Arts sims.( LEA) drew me over to the region.I was so busy at the Relay last weekend I did not have much time to visit but made time this week to get to both and the time was well worth it. 
Cica Ghost has been doing her magic in Second Life since 2010 and is a real life artist from Serbia.I love her art and have wandered through her works at many galleries and previous ones at LEA. 

This one is once again lovely and fun. The land area is worth exploring to see the delightful pieces set among the trees and under a lovely sky, all near the shore of the ocean. But in one area you will find a group of “heads” gazing upward to the sky. They are dreamers. To visit their dreams click a head ( not all of them are dreaming )  and you will be transported into their private dreams and become a part of them by interacting. Roam each area to discover what the dreamer is trying to enjoy. I found some of Cica’s cute representations that I have experienced before but all this is new.  Each one is different and enjoyable. It take more than one trip to experience it fully. Don’t miss it!
 My next visit was to  the installation  of ‘The Egg’ "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs" = "you can't can't create (or reproduce) without breaking eggs" (either a "great egg" of creation, or to fertilize eggs) -Inara said is the land description. Livio Korobase is the creator of this fascinating exhibit and I think he is still working and adding bits and pieces.

Wander under the scaffolding,visiting the many separate islands here to see pieces on each. There is so much to see do. There are familiar scenes here that need to be coordinated in our minds . Climb the scaffolding and take a look down from above. I enjoyed just walking along the scaffold paths and viewing the islands from a distance. Finally, I entered The Egg itself to realize that all here came from the glowing center.  I remember his other exhibits here that I liked so much too. Again this is not a place to come when you have 5 minutes. It requires time to see and interact with all the parts but don’t miss it!
Both installations will stay in the LEA regions for several months. If you would like to keep up with what is going on these regions visit the website and see how it all works.The regions are always changing throughout the year with new and old Second Life artists building and installing installations . There are other regions under construction and I will be visiting them as time passes. To find out more information visit this  welcome area here .
Gemma Cleanslate 

Friday, July 3, 2015

HuMaNoiD Resurrection

By Gemma Cleanslate
There once was a region that was owned by Dirk Talamesca. Dirk passed away in March of 2014 and the sim was closed . It was a loss not only of the sim. Wendy Xeno had placed her popular installation, HuMaNoiDs, there. Now she has resurrected many of the sim artifacts and scenes in Lea6 that will be open until the end of July.
I have memories of going through the doors and experiencing the fun in the old sim and was happy to see the doors when I arrived. Each door is a transport to a scene but I love the ground level as much as going through the doors so I enjoyed those areas first. I sat and played the cello by the doors and then wandered around the tiny isles .I saw some new additions and missed some that were there before but the Owl was there sitting on his log and next to him the Great Blue Heron. I took a ride on the swing, and climbed into the boat to relax . It was poignant to recall my last visit to HuMaNoiD with my partner. 
Many memories flooded my mind as I wandered. There were empty picture frames leaning against several art pieces on one isle.I wonder of those empty frames would hold photos of rhe parts that are gone.  On another I found a camp with a fire and comfortable lounges . A quaint camping tent with vases and relaxing pillows graced the next isle. The trees and foliage look almost ethereal in the foggy light. The waters between the islands glistened and rippled as I crossed them. Huge surreal insects with gossamer wings stood on long legs in the waters and I sat on one to become part of it.  There were many others visiting while I was there . Etched in the waters by the doors there is the saying “We never touch anyone so lightly that we do not leave a trace.” More memories ....
I opened the doors one by one and visited the scenes on the other side. Each venue is delightful. I will let you see for yourself.   I recommend visiting with a friend or your honey to take part in the interactive  parts of the installation , on the ground and in the lovely scenes. It was a pleasure to revisit HuMaNoiD and I thanks Wendy Xeno for resurrecting it for all or us to experience once again and for those who never has the pleasure before. I will go back to see the lovely sights and experience it once again.  
Here is the entrance near the doors.
Gemma Cleanslate 

*Edited July 4*

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Girls Who Can’t Do Math – Relay Wizards for Spunky Speed Build

By DrFran Babcock

The excellent residents at Builders Brewery have been generous in offering their sim so that the Relay Wizards for Spunky could hold a week of events to raise money for the American Cancer Society. We have a silent auction, a few dances, and the week will culminate in a huge dance that really going to be a pajama party.

Anhayla Lycia is our master builder and a veteran of numerous Speed Builds. She and I set out to create a Speed Build for our week of events. The event was held on Wednesday, June 24, 2015.

What Is Speed Build?

You have missed out on one of the best uses of Second Life if you have never attended or competed in a Speed Build. Contestant arrange themselves on prim platforms and as the event starts they are given a theme. The build begins, and goes on for a specified time after which the builds are judged (usually by the audience), and prizes are awarded based on the votes. Different contests have different rules, but the format is generally the same.

For our Speed Build we decided that all prims had to be original and that sadly no mesh could be used because it could not be created on the spot. We did allow sculpts provided they were created by the person competing.

Our Math

Anhayla and I are creatives, which often, but not always, implies less skill with numbers. We decided on very generous prizes for the winners of the contest: 2000L for the winner, 1000L for second place, and 500L for third place, for a total of 3500L in prizes. We each contributed that money.

Our plan was to have contestants “buy” a build platform from a Relay for Life vendor in order to participate in the Speed Build. By this time you are starting to see the potential for problems, which is that we would have to have a lot of entries to break even. To make a profit, even more entries would be required.

The Event

On the evening of the event we had already spammed Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google+, the Builders Brewery, Relay for Life Volunteers, and Thinkerer Melvilles entertainment groups.  At the start of the contest we had six very enthusiastic builders, and a large audience of residents in the seats usually used by the Show and Tell event (Sundays at 1PM SL).

In my opinion, building events such as classes and contests, showcase on the best features of Second Life—you can build and build and create here, and your results are immediately visible and usable. Prims may be old technology, but they are still a wonder.

The theme for the builders was: The Future is Now. You may know that this is the same as the theme of the 2015 Relay for Life in Second Life. Anhayla told the builders they had 50 minutes to build, and we began the competition.

The audience seemed to be delighted with the activity and cheered on their favorite builders. When time was up the audience walked around the builds and noted their favorites. They instant messaged their choices to Anhayla who tallied them up, and the winners were announced:

First Prize: Trixie Seomun for her steampunk gears turning the globe

Second Prize: Toxic Darkmatter for her computer with a hand coming out of it.
Third Prize: Anthony (ADudeNamed Anthony)

The other contestants in the contest were cuddly waffle (Barry’s Coffee Shop), A Rose by another name (bellarosamaria) for her sky balloon, and Thickbrick Sleaford (Futuristic skyscraper).  

The Results

Thanks to ADudeNamed Anthony for donating his winnings back to the Relay For Life team kiosk. Aside from that, we lost money on this event. However, it was the most fun I have had in SL in a long time, and Blue Myanamoto (another Relay Wizards for Spunky team member) and I are considering asking Builders Brewery if we can turn this into a regular event. Speed Builds are fun.

Please see the photos for the work of these accomplished builders. Bellarosamaria showed up almost an hour early, and although a newer builder, she gave it her all.

Thanks to Builders Brewery for allowing us to use their land.

Thanks, Doc

DrFran Babcock