Monday, December 23, 2019
By Marcel Mosswood
In Second Life, just very few artists are lucky enough to have their own gallery to display their work. Many artists hitched a ride to the gallery to display their work. As artists, we are very grateful for the people who provide the free public gallery, both 3D and 2D galleries. And since the closing of LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts), more and more people have independently provided land for artists to exhibit.
Riannah Avora, the manager of UASL, explained about the group: “UASL is a relaxed group of artists of all kinds and others who support the arts in SL. Designed to be low pressure, easy-going and welcoming to everyone in the group. Its purpose is specifically to be pro-artist and support the artist in any way possible. We do have some land, not a lot, in which we build and exhibit art upon that has been donated to the group. UASL is for artists, by artists. We are a very pro-artist group.”
UASL has some programs, it’s not only a place to exhibit artworks. “We are not limited in the type of art. We try to accommodate everyone to be it 2D, 3D, or performing arts. As well, photography and machinima related activities are always welcome.”
Opening Saturday, November 30th at 1 p.m. SLT was the Artist In Winter event. There are exhibits to be viewed and interacted with as well as a particle performance by Particle Magic. UASL is in search of performers who wish to offer a performance to support the group.
On Facebook, UASL has a mentoring program that is being introduced. “I hope that it will enable artists to support each other and help less experienced artists gain confidence and exposure. I strongly believe in teaching what you know and learning what you don't know. Hopefully, possibly, adding a classroom for topic-based instruction and learning at some point in the near future,” Riannah explained.
UASL are present inworld: (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Castaway/192/193/47) as well as on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/748005775643542/? ref=bookmarks).
Monday, December 9, 2019
By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich)
The original Sonic’s New World (a Sonic The Hedgehog inspired sim) started back in the fall of 2009 and had a run of about two years. It returned in 2011 after an almost one year absence and ran for another two years before shutting down again. Those who were fans of SNW may be pleased to know that it’s back for version three and currently being built. What has been built so far has impressed me and being a Sega and video game fan in general, I had to interview Shadow (Shadow Hepzipig) and the builder/co-owner Konohatu Lahamaras Kalantu (kono.moonites) (known as Kono).
Cyfir: What inspired you to start the sim originally and how long have you been a Sonic/Shadow fan?
Shadow: I grew up playing the Sonic games from back in the days of the original Sega Genesis when I was a kid, so I have always been a fan of the characters. When I heard of Second Life and the different worlds available, my first stop was to find out if there was a Sonic themed sim, and it was in a Sim called SRPS - Sonic's Role Play Sim - run by ZoraSlade that I bought my first avatar Shadow the Hedgehog. It was also this sim and SCU - Sonic's Classic Universe- that I fell in love with the idea of opening my own sim and providing a place for others to call home.
This became the main concept behind SNW, but I had no idea how or even what I would build for our new home. One day I came across Kono Moonites as he was just relaxing in SCU and asked him if he knew how to build. Now I didn’t really know the guy mind you. To him, I was just another schmuck wearing a Shadow avatar that was wanting to get something from him. But he said that he did know how to build. My response was "Good. You're going to build me a Sonic sim." More than a little pushy I know, but it kicked off a friendship and partnership that has spanned the past ten years.
Kono: For me it was simply being asked. I was just a nobody with no skills but a want to build and the Sonic community had been very accepting of that. I actually wouldn't be as much of a fan if it wasn't for Metal Knuckles from Sonic R. I grew up with Sonic but something about Metal Knuckles' design really stuck with me so much. So I've made my own and to some extent became known for it.
Cyfir: For Kono, what got you started building?
Kono: Want. When getting into Second Life, I took notice of how most of the things I could buy or wear weren't always from one company or creator, but from many. And freebies were everywhere. If anyone could do it, why couldn't I? So I did.
For the sim, it was being asked, Shadow bought the first SNW and paid for it on his own. I couldn't let him down. Even if he did come out of nowhere and 'Tell' me I was doing it. You tell me how many people out there get the offer to just build a sim based around something they like with someone else who enjoys it footing the bill.
Cyfir: Also for Kono, what are your inspirations?
Kono: To make a community and perfect my skills. I love people. Time after time I have been given chances I didn't deserve. SNW is a perfect example.
Shadow was the inspiration. He wanted a home. A place to hang out with people who wanted to hang out and trusted a stranger enough to help him do it. We knew there would be problems, drama, trolls, but I think it's important to understand that me and shadow had NO standing in the community and no SL experience. We were nobodies who just wanted a place to belong. Seeing someone with a goal like that, I mean it sounds simple. Never is though and that inspired me to get it done.
Cyfir: Why did you decide to bring back the sim again?
But this time, I came back after nearly six years to the Sonic community, and found that it had fallen on hard times. The community had shrunken greatly. Instead of the several sims that I had left behind, there were only two left that had the main focus for Sonic, or three others that only had one or two builds themed for Sonic. ALL of them were labeled as Adult. SNW had always been a moderate sim, mainly because many guests would use foul or other inappropriate language that would not be reasonable for a G rating, myself being the main offender for the language part. But it was still somewhere that everyone could come and feel welcomed and safe. But there wasn't anywhere like that anymore.
I actually had gone to Pixel Hills, just to see what build they had for it when I ran into a few new friends; Rapptor and Matchada, that led me to the Chao Gardens that were there. And it was there that I found an old friend and former admin of the original SNW, Blueblur Chrome. Within minutes I found myself surrounded by ten or more old and new friends, all of us having an amazing time and it reminded me of the joy that we all shared back in the day, and it reignited that spark, that drive to create a place where we could all call home. It was time for SNW to return. My first move was to call Kono once more, and shared with him the feeling I had, being surrounded by our old friends and just joking and laughing all night. It was during that talk that I learned that Kono had been feeling the same, that it was time for us to return to the Sonic community, though I think he expected me to take some time to think on it. Instead, though, that night I purchased the sim, nearly giving Kono an aneurysm in the process as he rushed to log onto Second Life and start work on building us our new home again.
Cyfir: What have been the challenges of bringing it back now as opposed to originally starting it?
Shadow: Surprisingly it hasn't been challenging to bring back SNW as it was when we first started. I still had the old group with still over one hundred members in it from the second iteration of the sim, so I was able to let everyone know that our home had come back the same night as I purchased the land.. much to Kono's dismay because he didn't have any builds barely started yet, but I just couldn't hold in my excitement in knowing that our home was here again. So I guess the biggest challenge was more for Kono feeling rushed in getting some of his old builds set up so that we had something here for people to visit.
Though this was par for the course. The first time we opened the sim I did the exact same thing, however Kono was not as skilled as he is with his builds today. Our first ever build was "Angel Island" which was supposed to be a floating island in the sky with a shrine that housed the seven chaos emeralds and the master emerald. Instead, we had several prim platforms with a pile of rocks to make a cave so we could set up a mall type area. The other challenge was learning on the fly how to deal with griefers and trolls. I remember that at one point a petition had actually been started on change.org, attempting to close SNW and remove me from Second Life entirely. This sort of set the precedence on just how we would handle such issues, because I signed that petition myself and told them "Good Luck." After that it became a game of almost cat and mouse. Griefers would come to try and crash our sim, so my admins and myself would notify the whole sim that the Griefer hunt was open, and end up crashing our sim ourselves with explosions and gunfire and Dragon Ball style attacks on them instead. Good times.
So it has definitely been easier this time than the original opening with one exception, the avatar limit of owning a homestead sim. The sim has been growing in popularity rapidly and I have seen more times than not where the region will be too full and others can not come visit. This has kick started a number of conversations amongst ourselves about moving to a full region. However, those can get pricey and we would not want to risk closing due to funding. So it is still a possibility that we may upgrade, but just not at this time.
Kono: People, like it or not throughout SNW's history the team-up works as such, Shadow takes the front of everything and I attempt to fix the fallout. What it lead to was leadership that was balanced out. Shadow wanted a stress free home and I wanted a happy community , but shadow was always shoot first ask questions later . I knew in the long run that it would eventually run everyone out and though I wanted to be left in the background to build I couldn't stand by and watch innocent people get banned or arguments be allowed to blow out of proportion over nothing.
Because of that undying need to help people and keep a happy home I became known to the sim members and now more then ever trying to find some time to build in peace, make textures in peace, and script. It's impossible but they are happy here. That speaks volumes for the sim.
Shadow: Now this has been one of the best attractions for the sim in the past. There will never be a "Final" build per say. The builds almost have a life of their own under Kono's eye, always evolving, growing, or being changed out for whatever new idea we have cooked up this time. The only reason the sim is still labeled as 'Under Construction' is because we have only been open for nearly a month now, and we haven't completed enough to feel that the builds can stay the way they are for the time being. However some of the features we will have is going to be a nice mall section on the ground floor build which Kono and Zenzen have modeled as a mixture of Marble Gardens and Emerald Coast from the games, as well as Blueblur's corner build of a level from Sonic Lost World. We will also be setting up a night club that will offer Live DJs to come and have a party, and we will be setting up a hub of sorts that will allow people to teleport through the sim via Second LifeExperience, as well as portals to the other sims that wish to be affiliated with us.
Kono: "Final?" (smile) What is final? The sim is a piece of art and I imagine it will continue to grow steadily for a long time to come. There is a lot to look forward to mainly all the changes. If I can manage the big plan is to make things a lot more interactive and make new builds whenever possible or recreate current ones if it fits.
I hope that what can be looked forward to is just more or [a] better path of what is already here; a happy community and a calm sim that feels like home.
Cyfir: Who else is involved in bringing back the sim?
Shadow: I have to say that the credit for inspiring me to reopen the sim would have to be Sonikku, Blueblur Chrome, Zetsae, and some new friends Rapptor and Matchada who showed me the Chao garden to spark my desire to bring the sim back.
For the actual development of the sim it has been Kono Moonites, Blueblur Chrome, Zenzen, and Wolfy Zemenis who have either brought back old builds or been working on new builds to give us the main foundation for our home once more.
Though he may deny it sometimes, it is myself and Kono though that are the owners of the sim. He mainly prefers to stay in the background as sort of the head builder, letting me take the credit for owning the sim instead so that way he can try building in peace, though that still doesn’t always work out for him.(laughter)
Kono: It's more a question as to who isn't? While yes that comes down to me and shadow paying for it, our friends and the community in it are what from day one got it off the ground.
Builders: Myself , ZenZen , Blueblur.chrome , Wolfie Zemenis.
Owner: Shadow, but cheesy as it might sound to some, the members, Sonikku, Zetsae, Sykes, Matchada, Rappy, Sen , Wendi , Razor [here at time of typing] are what help us feel like it is a home and them being here at the start and even before are the who and what that are involved in bringing it back.
Cyfir: For Kono, what is most rewarding about your builds?
Kono: Learning. This community has taught me everything I know or at the very least taught me the basics and then also beat me over the head about the details to do things right. A lot of people don't realize how relevant Second Life is to making an actual game, or learning animation. The reward is learning and getting to enjoy what I create, alone or with others.
Cyfir: Do you know when everything should be finished or are you just taking it one day at a time?
Shadow: Well, like I said, the sim will never truly be finished as we always seem to come up with new ideas for builds or ways to improve existing builds. But even with the current builds half finished, we opened our doors to everyone and anyone who wants to just come home, hang out, and feel a sense of safety and companionship that you would as if you and your best friends were just relaxing and gaming at home. As for the date for when we feel ready to remove the 'under construction' label from the name, well that one we are taking one day at a time until we can at least finish our landing hub, mall, and club.
Cyfir: Will there be any other Sega or other video game inspired features on the new sim?
Shadow: I can't say for absolutely certain on this one, but as the name implies, Sonic's New World will most likely remain true to the Sonic universe. However, we never know what the future may hold.
Kono: Yes and no. It really depends on the builds. It's a Sonic sim and I would like to keep it that way to an extent. I love mixing ideas and a personal long term goal of mine is to make Shibyua Terminal from JSRF with a sonic twist to it. We will have to see what happens . Luckily SEGA IPs all have a 'sega' style.
Cyfir: Will there be events?
Shadow: Yes. Our main event will likely be once we finish our club for live DJ shows. Our main DJ so far is Raiyn Delwood with her Manic Monday radio show making its comeback. We have yet to look into other DJs yet until we get the club closer to completion and set up our server to allow music to be played in-world.
Kono: YES! I hope. I want to plan some but the main things for now will be the DJ club and maybe some hidden item scavenger hunt type things. The way things are right now . We need to get a bigger sim to do events. I would have never dreamed SNW would become so popular that at least four times a week if not once a day maybe the sim becomes full.
Cyfir: What else can people look forward to on the sim when they visit it now and in the future?
Shadow: At this level of completion, what people can expect is to be able to call this sim home. Having good company, good friends, and be able to relax in safety. We have no tolerance with griefers and trolls and deal with them as they come. As long as those who come and respect the sim's M rating and treat others with respect, then we are more than happy to welcome anyone home. They don't have to be a Sonic character to come. Just be themselves as long as its M-rated.
In the future they can expect ease of access to the different builds with a teleport system thanks to the Second Life Experience. A mall with cheap rental spaces, a club with live DJs almost weekly, and still a fun place to call home.
Kono: Bigger sim? More builds? Sweet Rave Party!?!? Who knows! Hopefully now and always what they can look forward to is a home . A place where people come to actually have fun and get along. Look, real life sucks that's why we're all here. Come in and chill out and relax while you're here.
Or you can look forward to being the center of attention in one of our sim wide troll hunts if you decide being a decent person is just too hard. What a fun past time.
We'll be here a good while, so let’s take the future as it comes to us.
I honestly believe that Second Life needs more experiences like this sim to provide users with things to do. At the risk of sounding corny, it’s creative experiences like these that really show off the art of what’s possible in Second Life while providing a social setting that can foster friendships that help everyone grow.
Landmark to SNW: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bandits%20Beach/103/89/24
Friday, December 6, 2019
By Bixyl Shuftan
"The NuYu Modtactular event is a mod-exclusive gacha event!" Becky told me when asked to describe it,"It's main goal is to help people find one-of-a kind, unique and new mods! Hence the awesome auctions and all the exclusives we have." When asked how long it took to organize, she answered it was about three months, "It was pretty back-to-back for most of the staff coming up with ideas, took us a good half a month to come up with the name. The auctions were purely Mag's idea and we ran with it!"
There were almost two dozen booths on the boardwalk, eighteen tents and several smaller stalls, each representing a vendor. "The center tents, near us here, are the premium vendors," Becky explained, "The booths here in the center, these four? They're the sponsors. They were randomly picked. The different sizes were how many prims were distributed to each, with the sponsors getting Entertainment events."
Magpie chuckled, "Well the folks that couldn't show up, we decorated with various furniture. But one of them we went crazy with. That's our crazy corner I guess. Everyone needs a crazy corner. Don't, look too deep into it. Me and Brae don't even know if Becky's seen it yet." Becky gave a snicker, "Yeah, a few had to back out last minute. Some are still empty and were planning to make it. They ended up having family emergencies and such. Hopefully we'll see them soon."
My next question was about the auctions. Becky answered, "They're still taking bids, and will be all month. Mags can tell you more." Magpie responded, "Getting the script made by our scripter was terrifying but he worked damn well. I don't know JACK about scripts, so Becky and Trevor helped me a lot through the process of getting the script to do what we needed it to do. I love that it ended up working to where customers could bid on a mod they wanted, it'd instantly take their Linden, and if they got outbid, it'd be refunded back. Anyone had the choice of making an auction mod, but in the end we ended up with the five current ones you see at the front. It's only day three, and every single mod has had at least one bid. They all worked SUPER hard on their auction mods and I'm extremely proud how successful it's been. The auction was something I wanted us to do because it was basically like selling off a character. A new look that would never be sold again, not even as a recolor. It's like getting a custom from a modder, but it's already done. Some of them even gave their Auction mods a cute name and personality in their ad images and information."
This being December, Becky reminded, "We have a lot of Christmas themed mods to this event too." Magpie stated, "... all the gacha machines at NuYu are at or below 100 Lindens." Becky then directed out attention to a nearby boat, "I should add, the events are also going to be in one new location. On the yacht! We're treating all our sponsors to an awesome boat party. (smile) Whiiich that reminds me, we'll have to move some of the hardware around to the boat. Heh."
Before we parted ways, Becky stated, "This is going on all month and we hope people will enjoy it enough that they come back next year! Or maybe for even a summer time event. We haven't decided that yet."
The event goes on to Tuesday December 31st.
Montecito Bay (31/128/26)
Friday, November 22, 2019
By Marcel Mosswood
Chilbo is one of the oldest places in Second Life and was the place where I first interact with other Second Life residents in 2010. In the past, Chilbo was dedicated as a place for educators in real life to own a house in Second Life for their avatars. This time, educators in Second Life are still trying to maintain the uniqueness of Chilbo so that the educational atmosphere in this sim can still be felt.
Earlier this year I returned to Chilbo and managed to get a land that has a good position and hilly landscape, it is on the edge of the main road that connects the sims. I build an art gallery there to display and sell my and my son's paintings (my real-life son). I named this gallery "Marcel and Sebastian's Art Gallery" (visit: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Chilbo/239/205/109).
|The cozy place of Marcel & Sebastian's Art Gallery|
Shortly afterward I heard that there were some lands leased around my gallery. I decided to rent one of the lands that I found interesting to build a public gallery. I worked with a friend, Avianty, to help me with the administration in this gallery. The use of the gallery that I named Art2048 is free, we only rely on donations and every Linden we have to pay land rent.
We are happy to help 2D artists in Second Life to introduce their work through the Art2048 (visit: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Madhupak/152/131/65), especially artists who are just exploring Second Life to introduce their paintings, drawings, and photographs to the world. I know how hard it is to sell artworks, I've experienced it. That’s why I like to help the new artists in Second Life.
Here in the Art2048 new artist can exhibit their artworks for four months for free! That’s why I mention that this is the most wonderful time of the year when the artist helps each other.
If you are interested in joining Art2048, please contact me (Marcel Mosswood) or Avianty Resident.
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
By Bixyl Shuftan
Earlier, the Newser reported on a Halloween party held at the steampunk-themed community of Caledon. For fans of the area and people who missed on the event or are looking for more fun there, or are just looking around for more spooky fun, there's more fun and games to be found there.
Cynthia Farshore's Caledon Downs has a few games that residents looking for spook-tacular fun. One is a Skull hunt courtesy of Shockwave Yareach. To start, look for one of three large "giver skulls" that will hnd you instructions, as well as a basket. "There are nineskulls hidden about, here and there. When you find one, simply touch it (note: you must be within 20m). The picture of a skull will appear in your basket, showing how many you have found. Try to find all nine skulls and put their souls to rest. But don't think this too easy. Not to give anything away right now, but keep in mind as you search that the dead are not resting right now. Just keep that thought in mind."
The skulls could be "in any public building, gun placement, tower, runway, hanger... If you don't have to cam to go there, it can be there." They will not be underwater, inside vehicles, in trees, or private homes.
To the east, there's a shooting gallery. To play, press the sign to get the spider gun in your inventory, then click on it and select "add." You then press the green button to start a round, shooting spiders at the various monsters and ghosts. When you're done, your score is displayed.
To the south of Caledon Downs is Caledon SouthEnd. Here, you'll find a spooky amusement park in three parts. There are a number of rides to go on, notably four rides through haunts. The "Orphan Asylum" ride was busted, but the other three were working. Probably the scariest of these was a demonic-themed one which the maker felt they needed to add a disclaimer on.
There were also games to play, such as a "wack-a-mole" type game with witches popping out of nine pumpkins. There was another shooting gallery game, in which one was to shoot the zombies while avoiding hitting the human. In another shooting game, one shoots at witches, ghosts, black cats, etc. while avoiding hitting the pumpkin, "we need it for the pie." For those wanting a break from the spooky, there are regular rides such as a ferris wheel.
The main parcel of the carnival is at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Caledon%20SouthEnd/129/41/23
Caledon is a big place, so there's likely to be a Halloween attraction I missed. But the ones I found are worth stopping by to look.
Thursday, October 24, 2019
By Bixyl Shuftan
1-quarter sim... Three stories high... Featuring Hidden Traps and Live Adversaries! All-Fur Radio Media in association with Club EFS present you... The Wolf Ridge Asylum! Come to Geerkil Land at Club EFS for the Halloween Fright of your un-life! Join the party at the club, and then dare the horrors of the Asylum Labrinth! Win prizes and have fun, now until the lights go out on the 31rst!... And be prepared to make the Ultimate Sacrifice!
As an extra incentive to brave this nightmare, there's a scavenger hunt with prizes. Scattered around the Asylum are dozens of raccoons (a scavenger hunt for scavengers?). There are sixty raccoons, fifty regular and ten golden. If you manage to find all fifty of the gray critters, you get a 3000 Linden prize. If you find all of the golden raccoons, you get 5000 Lindens. If you find all five dozen of the regular critters *and* the golden ones, you get a whopping 10,000 Linden dollar prize. At the time of the interview, Tod told me so far no one had been able to collect enough raccoons to get the top prizes.
There is no fee to enter the manor to make a try for the prize, "It's all free." They do accept donations. Besides Tod, others on the team included Kate (Katelynni Resident), Correzz Resident, and MetalWolf Nootan. JB Raccoon came up with the original concept of Wolf Ridge Asylum.
"Be warned of the Wolfridge Asylum!! The nightmare begins as you walk in the front doors! No! It's the very grounds itself! Oh, gods. Guns don't work for long! Blades only hamper them!! Light only keeps them at bay! Nothing you carry in there will save you!! The way the Asylum sucks you back and forth in time, forces you relive any tiny mistake you make; to re-live the pains again and again again!! One inmate told me that if you stay too long?... You may just become one of its residents yourself, becoming the very things that chase, punish and torment!! I've seen it myself!! It's all worst on the Pumpkin Month!!! Then, it becomes three times its former power, and it's only growing year by year! There's no end to the pain, suffering and torment!! The Asylum is pure evil! Please!! Please, don't go in! You'll be lost forever!! Forever!! FOREVER!!!"
Both the story and announcements warned, "Be prepared to make the Ultimate Sacrifice!" So what is the "Ultimate Sacrifice?" That's something you may have to find out for yourself.
The Wolf Ridge Asylum is located at Geerkil Land (165/122/2251), and is open Thursday to Sunday from 9PM to 2AM SL time, with the last day open being Halloween, in which it will be open a little longer for people to finish.
Can *you* rescue all of those poor innocent raccoons from the nightmarish horror and walk away with the prize that has eluded everyone else?
Note: The notecard I was given told me the times open were from 5PM to 10PM SL time, though I was told differently. Also, I had been told All Fur Radio had been a co-sponsor of the event. I was later contacted by someone saying they were providing the music, but that was all.
Friday, September 20, 2019
By Bixyl Shuftan
had it's second episode, airing at 3PM SL time. The guest for this episode was Reed Linden, the Product Manager.
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(Click here if the video fails to play)
Xiola and Strawberry admitted to Reed, whom stood out in his tiny penguin avatar, that he had been asked to appear as their guest at the last minute. But he didn't mind, especially as he was number one, "Am I the first one? Oh wow! That feels amazing." Reed told that he had been with the lab for "a little less than nine years." He started in frontline support, "so some of your viewers may have talked to me before." After three years, he was moved to the engineering team. Soon after, Grumpity Linden decided he would make a good product manager "so here we are."
Reed described himself as having seen Second Life from a few different angles. Of who knows the most about SL, he felt it's the users. Among the Lindens, he thought it's the frontline support team.
"The path I've taken is uniquely responsible for ... I have a very user focused perspective. Of his favorite thing about working on SL? He answered, "It's got to be the community, hands down." He enjoys stories about how Second Life brings people together, "Every week we hear a story about people that for whatever reason weren't able to make connections in their real life, but on Second Life they can. ... every time I hear stories about that, it makes my heart grow."
He described much of his work as a focus on web projects. Of what he called the the web profile "experiment," he stated it would "go away. and we shall no longer speak of it." He stated there would be a return to "old school" viewer profiles and "update them completely." He stated there would soon be further. changes to Marketplace, but wouldn't give any estimates of when they would be in effect due to the team working on profiles, destination guide, and events in the last couple months. He did discuss the recent release of a Marketplace feature, Shop Managers, which "allows you as a store owner to nominate other residents to be managers for your store," different abilities and manage them "basically allows you to have assistants." One upcoming feature was the Gifts Received Page, "something that people have been asking for for I think, forever." There would also be purchase notifications, specifically for store owners. This feature would be one they could opt-in or not, as owners of larger stores could be spammed with notifications. They would also be overhauling Marketplace for mobile use.
Other things discussed included the Last Names issue, which was "still in the works." Land pricing was also discussed, Reed feeling further reductions anytime soon were unlikely. Someone on the Youtube live comments asked if it would be possible for the viewer to have pop-out panels. Reed answered he wasn't sure how feesable it was, but it was worth pursuing a JIRA on if it hadn't been already. In the Youtube comments feed, Inara Pey answered that a third-party viewer had tried it, "It is *not* easy to achieve." Reed also stated the Lab was considering a level above Premium that would come with more benefits.
The Linden homes were brought up, Reed saying, "the response to the new Linden Homes has been absolutely just overwhelming and wonderful." There was some talk about the Bellisserian community, with some residents roleplaying certain community roles down to someone collecting the trash.
Of the recently released Bakes on Mesh, Reed stated he was, "super encouraged from the engagement we've been getting from the community ... already seeing a lot of mesh jumping." He was hearing about products in development, or already out and "excited about the flexibility this is going to give our residents." He felt content that was sitting around in inventories unused for years would soon be able to find new life, "our hope is that this will allow people to start making much more lightweight content ... in terms of graphic resources that are required to display it." He was looking forward to having his penguin avatar updated with BoM.
When talking to new people in real life, his "icebreaker" is that he works for Linden Lab, "The stories you can tell about working here, particularly in some of the fields that are closer to the residents themselves are just as wonderful and amusing." Of his real-life hobbies, Reed enjoys "miniature painting," or painting D&D figures and diorama.
No date has been set yet for the next "Lab Gab." Episodes have been on Wednesdays "every two weeks or so." So the next may be on September 25 at soonest.
Monday, September 2, 2019
By Bixyl Shuftan
The cliff before you is about 100 meters high. While walking that distance horizontally is no problem, climbing here is something else. It's suggested that you check the routes on the picture provided, though not necessary as I was able to go up a path that was labeled for abseiling down, just slowly. Climbing is best up vertical parts of the cliff. If you encounter an obstacle such as an overhanging section of rock, as you can't climb upside down you'll have to go sideways until you can go around it.
Some routes are to head back down. There are a few points on the cliff with a pile of rope. Click on them, and your avatar will abseil downward to the ground below. There are also a couple points in which your avatar will do a little tightrope walking. Also at one ledge on the cliff is a small tend your character can step inside and rest.
The rock climbing system and the cliff area were created by Yasmin (YouAintSeenMe Resident), with some sections originally made by Funatik Resident. The notecard stated there were a few other cliff areas the HUD is good for climbing, but this is the tallest one.
Hat Tip: Inara Pey
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
By Marcel Mosswood
The effort to return LEA to its function as a means for artists in SL has shown good development. Linden Lab (LL) has responded to the email sent by Tansee. I interviewed Riannah and Tansee about this effort.
“We are processing the feedback that we have received from everyone," Riannah explained about the work they have done so far, "We have put together in words how the new committee structure should be, regarding how many committee members and tenure. We looked very closely at the notecards we received and what the majority of the people think would be an ideal committee. We do have enough volunteers for the new committee but anyone can still volunteer. We also are looking at implementing a 'watchdog' group to guarantee transparency with the committee.”
Q: About the new committee structure, can you be more detail about that?
“We are looking at having five committee members each with a two-year tenure," Riannah told, "We are working on details of how the committee members will be appointed. We're thinking a voting system so that everyone has a voice.”
Q: The watchdog, who will be in that position? And how they will work?
“We have not discussed that yet. But they will be LEA members," Riannah said, " They will review the committee meetings notes and ensure the accuracy of what took place during the meetings. Such things as decisions made regarding grants and other things that affect everyone at LEA.”
Q: This is a good idea about the watchdog. How you can guarantee the transparency of watchdog performance?
“After the watchdog group has verified the accuracy, the information will be public," Riannah continued, "Anyone can read what transpired. And hopefully, easily understand why decisions were made. The watchdog will consist of more than one person.”
Riannah went on, “The current committee issues stem from not having anyone perform any checks and balances, to make sure the rules regarding the committee are adhered to. Because things like what we are facing now, just should not happen. They could have been avoided. Tansee and I are working very hard to ensure the continuance of LEA... but in the way, it was intended.”
Q: Does the previous LEA committee doesn’t have the watchdog?
“That is the difference," Riannah answered, "Tansee nor I have to be on the committee, that is not the plan. I will be if needed. But always, the priority is LEA itself. We are looking at resumes of potential committee members, and we have a variety of experiences involved. From technical to artist experiences. That will be required for the direction of LEA.”
“We continue to receive a lot of support. And it's very encouraging. We can not express enough how much we appreciate it. One thing we have heard a lot: people feel they are cut out of the process like they don't matter and that the administration of LEA is done in secrecy. That will no longer happen, the favoritism will stop!”
Q: Some people see that the LEA committee is exclusive, not transparent, is this what you want to improve on?
Riannah explained, “Absolutely! We want to provide as much transparency as possible. Everyone matters. Everyone has a voice. Everyone is treated equally and with respect.
Tansee added some explanations, “We are still in the infancy stage of putting all the ideas into place and as we progress it will all become more refined and include everyone's ideas. And I also reconfiguring the placement of 29 sims to include some of the new ideas and suggestions we have gotten from the group. Together WE can make a change!”
Thursday, July 25, 2019
By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich Resident)
Rand Lupindo (Randermander) is known as a talented avatar creator and a role play community owner within Second Life that has been around for the past ten years. I had a chance to interview him about the history of their sim as well as their next avatar release and future plans.
Cyfir: How did Timber Wilds Industries start?
Rand: Timber Wilds started as a small, casual, wolfpack-themed roleplaying destination in 2009. Myself and a couple friends; Rabid Ghost and Jackal Avril, had met earlier in 2009 while roleplaying as wolves on the Lion King themed "Lost Pridelands" sim. We initially rented a small Homestead region (basically a lighter, less powerful sim that can handle fewer people, but is cheaper than a full region), and had a blast landscaping forests and mountains and caves and swamps and all manner of natural perils for Wolves to play around in. But $100 a month for a hobby is a lot, especially as I was a student at the time. So, I thought, if I could make some kind of quadruped wolf avatar to synergize with our wolf roleplay area, it might help pay the bills and keep the sim running. It took a few months but in August 2009 I released the first Timber Wilds Industries Wolf Avatar, and everything exploded.
It sold way better than I was expecting or hoping, but quickly got into controversy. Another avatar company, which I won't name, thought I had "copied them" and made some pretty public accusations of theft. I had certainly been inspired by the idea of their previous Wolf avatar, which was a quadruped body with its own Animation Overrider and a wide assortment of active poses and action animations as well as a marking customization HUD. I was pretty naive at the time and could have made more effort to distinguish my avatar from their wolf, but what they seemed to be claiming was that I had somehow stolen their actual animation files or something, which is bogus of course. I hand animated everything, sometimes taking ideas for what kind of movement to animate from existing avatars (such as the left or right step to shift weight during an idle pose), but come on, you can't copyright "A wolf stepping left".
The accusing company published a whole youtube video lining up my avatar next to theirs to supposedly prove their case. It wasn't very convincing, because it seemed to drive more skeptical customers to buy my avatar than the few of their loyal fans who came to make trouble. A few vendor malls wouldn't rent space to me as a result of the connections of the accusing company, but I don't think that it significantly held back interest in TWI avatars.
I didn't do anything to fight back, hoping the situation would eventually blow over, and it seems to have done so. The company seems to have left Second Life at some point over the intervening years. I hope that I didn't cause them to leave. I really wish we could have just coexisted. Other companies have made competing avatars to mine, some with features that could have been references to mine and attempts to "one up" my avatars, and I never flipped out about it. That's how the market works. If someone else makes a better avatar than mine, the customers get a better avatar and I get fresh ideas of how to improve.
I feel like the whole ordeal taught me that it's really shooting yourself in the foot to get overly litigious and try to dominate a market through fear rather than simply making better products. Especially in artistic fields, where the quality of products is often subjective, and there will always be a segment of the population that prefers one or another for seemingly random reasons. No competing avatar is going to knock out 100% of your sales.
Cyfir: For those not in the know, what is TWI and the sim all about? What does it offer?
Rand: Timber Wilds is a place where you can be a wolf, or a fox, lion, eagle or a bear! And soon, a deer! Basically for people who love the idea of being wild animals (called Ferals on Second Life and in the wider furry/animal fandom). Become one, get accessories and skins to make yourself unique, and meet & chat with other ferals who have done the same.
The avatars are I think the central inspiration, namely the TWI Timber Wolf, Red Fox, and Lion made by me, and the BRD-MRT Eagle and Bear made by long time sim staffer Raven Seraph. The sim is primarily the mall for these avatars and third party accessories for them, but we also have a pretty popular but laid back sandbox/hangout area, and an expansive roleplaying/exploring area.
The mall has, in addition to the main avatar vendors, about 45 third party vendors selling all sorts of skins, wearables, animations, sounds, and other accessories for TWI and BRDMRT avatars (and some others, but we try to enforce at least majority TWI/BRDMRT).
The roleplaying area is in my humble opinion one of the prettiest areas on Second Life, landscaped mostly by BRD-MRT creator Raven Seraph. It's got ice caves, glowy caves, scary caves, mountains to climb, hidden secrets to find, beautiful vistas and cozy coves. Our policy on roleplaying is to be less restrictive. We don't require any HUD or meter or anything, instead focusing on text roleplay or allowing guests to roll with whatever system they prefer. The area does have a fantasy backstory, and a free custom-built optional HUD with utility functions like dice, titler, Out of Character/Away from Keyboard indicators and some TWI avatar-compatible animations.
Cyfir: What were the challenges of starting a business and community in Second Life and what advice can you give to anyone looking to do so?
Rand: It's really easy to set up a business in Second Life, which is why I think almost everyone I've met who uses the software for very long ends up getting curious about creating content and selling it. It's a very simple process to set up a vendor in-world, and free software (Blender for modeling/animation, GIMP for texturing, Audacity for sound effects) and training/tutorials (via youtube) exist for almost all types of content creation. To become a large or successful business in SL requires a bit more time and effort, but is still very accessible to even a solo creator. You really only need a good idea, and time. My advice would be to spend some time exploring, and enjoying, the world of Second Life for a while in order to get a feel for what kinds of items are in demand or popular. Whatever cool stuff you find and enjoy using, you can learn to make yourself and maybe even make a unique improved version.
Communities are often related to products; since it costs money to maintain a region/space, it can be smart to have some kind of product line in development to help pay your sim fees. If the products synergize with your community theme (like clothes/fashion accessories for a club, or animal avatars for a wild animal roleplaying sim), it makes all the more sense as those interested in your products will probably become interested in the community and vice versa.
Cyfir: In a recent article I did on Albright, she mentioned that TWI would be releasing a feral deer avatar in the near future. Can you tell us more about that and is there an estimated release date yet?
Rand: It's true. I am making a deer avatar. I am hoping to have it done sometime in the next month or two but I can't put a hard date on it yet. I'm very slow with avatar work, I think partly because I have high expectations and I insist on continually re-doing things until they are as good as possible. I take inspiration from Blizzard Entertainment, which would usually release their games later than initially planned, but only because they always took all the time they needed to get everything perfect, never rushing unfinished work to release because they had set a deadline.
Cyfir: Are there any other projects in the works that you are able to talk about?
Rand: We have a few other avatars of different species in production, as well as some animesh experiments in the works!
Cyfir: What do you enjoy most about being part of the Second Life community and is there anything else that you would like to bring up about the sim or store?
You can check out the TWI store here: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/32831 and their sim here:
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
By Marcel Mosswood
LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) is a place that is the hope of almost all artists in Second Life because LEA can provide a full sim for artists to create freely! However, Linden Lab will close the LEA in August. Some avatars reacted, they decided to act so that the LEA could be returned to Second Life artists. Two resident, Tansee and Riannah Avora started a movement to return LEA for the artists.
Who are Tansee and Riannah Avora? How did they connect to LEA?
“I joined LEA seven years ago and can contribute my artistic, creative and personal growth as a direct result of my building trials and errors at the sandbox. From that point, I have been fortunate to be awarded both AIR and Core Grants which has enabled me to keep growing and learning. Along with the Grants I have been able to hold several art exhibitions, events, and educational displays. For me the experience has been priceless and continues,” said Tansee.
Different from Tansee, here is what Riannah said, “I came to LEA November 2018, so I have not been here that long. I had never heard of LEA before, as is the case for most people. Someone found me playing with light and shadows in a public sandbox and suggested that I come to LEA. Since I started Second Life, I have loved to build and create things... and I'm not the only one. When I came to LEA, it was like I found my "home" of sorts. I felt accepted. I am fairly shy about my work. I never really wanted it to be so public. However, others at LEA have been very encouraging. Bringing me out of my "shell" so to speak. I just got my first land grant at LEA... and it will be cut short because of the closing. But nonetheless, I will give it all that I have to give.”
Group joiner and notecard dropper at LEA Sandbox (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA5/215/149/21)
Well, we feel sad about the LEA closing, what do you think about this?
“Sad, very sad. It doesn't surprise me because LEA has been going on for so long and I fully understand that people get tired and need a break. Being in Second Life for nearly nine years now, I've seen places come and go. But if something can be done to save it, I'm all for it. Creating things, (objects, scripts, textures, and particles) is very therapeutic. And the atmosphere in LEA is very calming and people can do their work without fear of being ridiculed,” said Rainnah.
“It was not a complete surprise to me when I heard the news, and like so many others I felt a deep loss. In my heart, I knew that I would only have myself to blame if I did not take proactive steps to see that this would not happen. With the help of fellow LEA supporter Riannah Avora, the Group was formed,” according to Tansee.
Why do you think that LEA should not be closed?
“LEA plays a huge importance in the development of Virtual Art and creativity in SL as well as provides education on many levels. It provides positive social interactions with other like-minded online individuals. Those new to Second Life can come to see and learn the endless possibilities of creating in a virtual world. Friendships have been formed as well as the sharing of skills,” said Tansee.
And according to Riannah: “It provides a vital area and environment that enables people to express themselves via the things that they create, much like real life. There is no other place like LEA. Period. I know so many people who would love to learn, but they have no idea where to start. There are places to help you learn some of it... but they are not like LEA. No one really judges you here. They just want you to succeed in whatever it is you are creating. It's really a great "family" of sorts. And there's always something different to learn from looking at each other's work. No one can be great at everything that they want to do. But with the help of LEA, you can consult with others, learn, and figure it out. That's what LEA is about.
What are your ideas to persuade LL to turn LEA back for the artists?
For this question, Tansee decided to include her ideas along with all the others who are sending her notecards. “We're not exactly sure what it will take, to be honest. We are gathering ideas from our fellow artists. It's not just us, Tansee and me, in this. And we have gotten a very good response so far from other people in LEA. LEA is alive. LEA provides so many things that help people in so many ways, in Second Life and real life. There are opportunities that, without LEA, most people would never get to enjoy and experience. It's freedom. It's like the chains have been undone by being a part of LEA. And with LEA, there's nothing that we can't do!” said Riannah.
She continued, “The world is going to the 3D, VR, concepts of doing things. It would be an advantage if Second Life could say, "We helped". SL has always been great in showing support for many different causes. Their ability to support other real life organizations is amazing. Like with the Fantasy Faire... that totally rocked! Our cause might not be as obvious as some might think. But the people who make great builds, like at the Fantasy Faire, need and deserve a place to be. Most of us work and play here without any expectations on what we create. And a lot of our own money goes into what we build. Not to mention the time involved. We just need a bit of help with the "place" part. SL is great because of the people in it. And LEA is no exception to that. We create things that make SL better for everyone.”
You only have less than two weeks to gather ideas and coordinate with Linden Lab about the return of the LEA, is this enough time for you? How will you work to make it happen?
Tansee answered, “As we know viral can happen in an instant. I hope that anyone who has "positive" input will pass it on to other like-minded LEA supporters. So that we can compile a variety of suggestions. Spread the Word! Join the inworld group to stay informed. URL: secondlife:///app/group/4fec0f5b-ae2d-8cff-3b38-b8763bf2ca68/about
“It will just have to be enough time. We can only do what we can do. And if you don't try, you will never know. We can do a lot of things here, but we have yet to be able to control time. However, you never know when that might happen! There are some really great creators here, never underestimate them,” said Riannah positively.
Many people think that your efforts will be in vain, how do you deal with this?
“That is a great question. I respect and appreciate everyone's point of view and opinion however and I am determined to have a solid focus on taking swift "positive" action. (I can not use that word enough) to the best of my abilities. It is easy to be a critic. My real life background is in business and along with that management and problem-solving. I love the quote by Eldridge Cleaver and have used it many times with others: "You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem." I invite all critics to share specific suggestions to be a part of the solution,” said Tansee.
“That may be true, having a reason not to do something is easy. But I have never been one to back down from a challenge though. People can say "that can't be done" or "that is too much work"... eh... It's not that I disbelieve them, it's just that I'm a firm believer in "you can do anything you put your mind to.'' To not try at all, is certain failure. To have tried and failed, well, I will take my experience from trying and learn from it. Failure is a part of learning. I'm not afraid of it,” said Riannah.
Has Linden Lab reacted with this plan?
“I don't really know, actually. We are to meet with Patch Linden and Derrick Linden to present our case after they have read over ideas and comments that we collect from our fellow members of LEA. We feel there is a good chance we can reach an agreement. We have to start somewhere, and this is as good of a place as any. We'll go wherever the path takes us. Sometimes just starting somewhere is the answer,” said Riannah.
According to Tansee, “At the present moment, the group was formed to find like-minded positive people who are willing to share specific suggestions. Riannah and I are accepting those in Notecard format and will be credited and presented to Lindens in two weeks. My greatest hope is that they will give us a big thumbs up so that we can move to the next level of Keeping LEA Inworld!”
Do you get help from other avatars to make this happen?
“I have developed a friendship with another avid LEA supporter and Second Life creator Riannah Avora and it was a natural collaboration to work on this as a TEAM effort as we both love LEA and its future. Many who have joined the group and are offering some fantastic input already on many levels. Keep them coming!” said Tansee.
“Yes! We do! There are some truly awesome people in Second Life. Chelo, Rory, Earthling, and Roxy just to name a few people.
This is uncharted territory for us all. Even folks that can't help with the technical inner workings of things are doing a lot to help just by their support and encouragement. But we do need more support! So everyone should contact us that wants to be a part of it.”
“Ending this interview with a bit of philosophy that I live by:
"I'm fearless at times because the only alternative is to be terrified."
"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." ~Walter Bagehot
"Kindness is more persuasive than force." ~Aesop,” said Riannah closing the interview section.
Monday, July 15, 2019
By Marcel Mosswood
Today Kultivate Magazine celebrates the Kultivate 4th Annual Anniversary by holding an art exhibition. The art exhibition involves 25 artists on 2D art and two artists on 3D art.
Half of the Water Haven sim is decorated in a steampunk theme for this art exhibition. The artists are also given the freedom to decorate their own exhibition booth measuring 20x20 m. With this freedom, artists develop their creativity in decorating their booths.
List of artists:
Fluer Heartsdale Chun
At the 4th Annual Anniversary, Kultivate Magazine holds various events every day for 7 days with live music and giveaway.
You can win a prize too! The following is a list of events:
Sunday, July 14, 2019:
- 1 pm slt – Exhibition Opens
- 1pm slt to 2pm slt – live performer Lark Bowen
- 2pm to 3pm slt – live performer Melenda Baptiste
Monday, July 15, 2019:
- 4pm slt to 5pm slt – live performer Dimivan Ludwig
Tuesday, July 16, 2019:
- 4pm to 5pm slt – live performer Mavenn
Wednesday, July 17, 2019:
- 4pm to 5pm slt – live performer Wolfie Starfire
Thursday, July 18, 2019:
- 4pm to 5pm slt – live performer TBD
Friday, July 19, 2019:
- 4pm to 5pm slt – live performer Erika Ordinary
Saturday, July 20, 2019:
- 1pm to 2pm slt – Close party
List of Giveaways (throughout the week, you must be present at events to win and enter the raffle board, only one item can be won per person)
2 LumiPros, Serenade Photo Studio Pro, Tillie’s Pose Stand, 5,000L’s, Fotoscope FotoFrame Publisher, “Beachyhead House” 100% original mesh Version 1.1 from DAD Designs, and the Camden Photo Studio from Maven Homes.
Here is the LM: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Water%20Haven/141/129/22
Editor's Note: Neoma Vasilia was going to be in the event, but had to drop out.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
By Cyfir (cyfiremmerich Resident)
Sovereign Wolf, owner of Cerberus, is an accomplished mesh and avatar creator who is working on bringing the original Crux avatar to a more modern shine. I recently had a chance to interview her and ask questions regarding this and more.
Cyfir: What got you started in 3D work and avatar making?
C: What have been your inspirations when it comes to your work?
SW: I used to be a huge Sonic nerd and I'm a huge Disney nerd too. Anything animated, 3d or traditional. Huge nerd for it and now here we are! Some of my in-world influences are Curious, KZK, and Mutation Industries. Just to name a few!
C: What got you interested in redoing the crux in modern mesh and bento?
SW: I loved my MI fox and MI crux, (I still have my original crux somewhere in the depths of my inventory, ha). I just felt like the following the crux had would appreciate a modernization, as I felt I would, too! I would have never stopped wearing mine if it had been updated to bento. The crux has influenced so many people. This is much more of a passion project for me. It's very nostalgic!
C: What have been the challenges of recreating the crux to "modern" standards?
SW: Definitely the facial structure; the brows and lids mainly. A lot of stylization of the original crux was sort of due to the limitations of sculpts at the time. And so trying to find a middle ground that doesn't change the look too much has been a bit of a task!
C: What does the original creator of the crux think?
SW: She told me, quote, "I think that if the folks who liked the sculpted version just want a mesh update without heavy design modifications that would be pretty ideal!"
C: Can you tell us what features will be included in the new crux?
C: Some original crux modders rely on sales from different color mods. Will there be a color palette chooser baked in to the avatar?
SW: I will only be covering the colors originally released. I will include shading PSDs with the avatar, as well as UV maps and everything else anyone will need to work on the av and modify it! There will also be an applier system! I will be splitting the original colorations into 3 packs of 6 (There's 18 original crux).
C: Is there a general release date window yet?
SW: Afraid not. This is in the pretty early stages. Avatar development usually takes me anywhere from 3-4 months (and I'm about 2-3 weeks in). I might decide to give it more time to add all the details and options I want to add in.
C: Is there anything else you would like to add about the new crux or your store in general?
SW: Yes. Please, all you die-hard crux fans out there, keep in mind that this remake will in no way stop you from enjoying the original. I know I'm not Malluch, but, I assure you that I too am a fan and I will do everything that I can to pay homage to this influential avatar! I am going to handle it with as much care as I can possibly give!
It seems that the new Crux avatar is in good hands. Those who have wanted to see a new version of the Crux will have to wait a bit longer, but it should be well worth the wait!