Monday, March 25, 2019
By Bixyl Shuftan
Some might be surprised to learn that not all comics are in the newspaper's "funny pages" or in magazines. Some you can read online. Some are good enough to be in a real life newspaper with good art and clean humor, and some are done by beginners with not much of a plot. Occasionally, an online comic gets something based on it in Second Life. One example was "ZZ Studios" which was a tribute to Eric Schwartz's "Sabrina Online." Another was a rideable mount I once got that was based on those in Tiffany Ross's "Pure", although it could also be considered one of the "Shiave" of her "Cyantian Chronicles" which had more readers.
"Out of Placers" (http://www.valsalia.com/comic/prologue/01/), or "OOPs" as it's sometimes called for short, is a Fantasy webcomic by an artist known as Valsalia that began in April 2015 in which humans share their world with other intelligent races, including Yinglets. What is a Yinglet? Probably the simplest definition I've come across is "Like the kobolds of D&D, but more comical." They're small furry bipeds that average three to three and a half feet tall (add several inches if the ears are erect), thin arms and legs, large ears and eyes, and a snout with a large single tooth in the front. Although they can speak the same language as humans, the "shelltooth" usually results in a lisp. The majority aren't quite as intelligent as the average human, though there are some exceptions, and they tend to be easily amused and distracted. Most humans in the world see them as pests or amusing distractions themselves. They prefer shellfish for dinner, their large front tooth handy for opening clams and oysters, and are often seen at riverbanks and beaches scavenging for them and anything else that might catch their interest, getting the less than flattering nickname "scavs" from the humans. They have a different sleep cycle, while sleeping fewer hours a day overall will take naps about three to seven times in a 24 hour period.
release party of the Ynglet avatar, by Raphie Jular of Evil Turtle Productions. The avatar is bento rigged, and both male and female chests are included. Two colors are included, and the avatar has bento rigged mesh with bento rigged jaws, ears, tails, and fingers.
Sorry to all the newcomers who are just joining us and are probably wondering WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON! We're hosting the release of Evil Turtle Productions very own Yinglet avatar!
Do you like eating clams? Do you like talking like 'zhis'?! Do you enjoy being a short little cute ball of fluff who's always finding trouble around every corner! Then be sure to pick up this well created little avatar!
It didn't take long for the place to fill up. And finally at 6PM SL time, "Hello everyone that's here so far! We're just now OFFICIALLY starting things off! Thank you all for showing up early to support the lovley Raphie Jular and their release of the Yinglet avatar!! If you take a look to the right of the stage there's already a nice little board for you to purchase your own Evil Turtle Productions Yinglet!" Becky greeted, "Welcome everyone! Glad to see you! So the rules are as follows; if you want to join zhe raffle, ya must be here the WHOLE event, no join and run. That's the only rule! so click that raffle ball, floating above the dance floor when it opens!" "If y'all have friends who are fans of yinglets or looking for a really cool avatar, be sure to invite them along! Raphie put their blood sweat and tears into this wonderful little thing, and I'd absolutely love to see it flourish! ...There's also an event currently on the board for 1,500L! ... The theme is 'Fantasy.' ... And you can 100% spend that on Yinglet and Yinglet accessories! ... But let's be serious, any money they get is going to clams more than likely!" Later in the event, it would get raised to 2069 Lindens.
Magpie Hyena (VesperBloodwing Parx) had a gift for people attending the party, skins to change the appearance of the Yinglet avie a little, "Raph, I have three skins I can do for this av. I don't have time to set up for selling so, I was thinking about just giving them away." Raphie agreed, "Sure thing Magpie."
Another mused, "Dancing chickenlegs even." Becky commented, "Chicken legged, but far to small to eat! You won't get any meat off these bones." She herself later got hungry, "Be right back, I need another taco." This being the favorite food of the Crux avatars that Montecito Bay is fond of, someone commented,"Seriously, you're going to cruxify your Yinglet at this rate, Becky." Emorald surprised Becky by popping a taco into her mouth, "Ack! Hey! I had zhree dammit!" Emo chuckled, "Eat a fourth one!" Eventually, someone asked, "Becky can I haz some clamz?" Someone responded, "I don't think Becky wants to share her clams, or her tacos."
The contest was won by Iexo Bethune!.
With the party over, people began heading out. "Have a wonderful evening everyone! Thank you Raphie for letting us host your wonderful avatar!" "Yall be safe and good. Don't OD on clams!" Someone responded, "Awwwww! OD'ing on clamz iz de fun part!" Some would say they'd return, "I'll have to come back here, this place is HUGE." Raphie commented, "I will tell (Valsalia) zhe tale of zhe SL Ying takeover, Zhe mighty tale! ...Zhank you all for coming!"
I had been told that in the rush to get the avatar finished by the release party, there were a few bugs in it. But the only person concerned about it at the party seemed to be Raphie himself. They should be ironed out and those who already having brought the avatar getting updates in a week or two. It was also commented that the avatar might have a lasting effect on Montecito Bay, remarking things were crazy enough with the Crux avatars, but with Crux *and* Yinglets, things would be truly insane.
Addition: Some time later, Valsalia would message me, "... just gave the article a read. I was really surprised by how much customization has already gone into these, like the bucket-o-clams object (smile). That was a really solid article, and did a great job of both explaining the creature concept and the SL implementation of them. The way people describe these little things is always both fun and valuable for me to read, as it gives me a more solid understanding of the way people are perceiving these little things, and what aspects about them stand out to people the most"
Monday, March 18, 2019
Environmental Art Delivers a Sobering Message at Ecoscape
by Klaus Bereznyak
EcoScape opened March the 3rd in a dedicated setting at Asmita Duryanjaya's InterstellART sim. Environmental Art installations from 8 Second-Life artists treat a variety of issues from the threat of biosphere collapse to human survival strategies in a polluted future scenario. The exhibits are impactful and informative and well worth experiencing up close.
One of the contributing artists, Elle Thorkveld explained to me how she'd been inspired with the seed of an idea while participating in an online class in Environmental Humanities. She highlighted a rare interview with the artist Gustav Metzger in AnOther magazine which talked of a need for artists to speak up about the issues the earth is facing.
"I mentioned an environmental art exhibit as a possibility for a different venue to Asmita Duranjaya. She liked the idea and offered to host it at her interstellART sim. I would like to credit Asmita for all the great work she has done refining the concept, curating, organizing and creating installations herself for the exhibit. I have done much less in comparison.
Beyond the initial idea and some support, my contributions have been limited to creating an installation."
In spite of it being a difficult topic and far from cheerful, the project has been well received. It attracted a full sim for the opening event, and the level of interest has been encouraging.
The exhibits are stationed in a desert environment. Visitors can use teleport stations to get around or walk over the dunes on foot. There is information available in notecards at each station as well as in a dedicated information area, where a book about the show and some comfy chairs are free to pick up and take home.
Asmita, in a notecard, outlines the overarching intent of the exhibition:
"As artists we can neither influence necessary political decisions (except of voting for the parties and politicians, who care), nor reverse some negative developments of the industrial growth.
But we can warn, issue a statement beside trying our best in personal life to behave ecologically responsible."
I asked Elle what she thought artists can do about environmental problems:
"I think that they can raise awareness of the problems through presenting aspects in their work. Artists have the freedom to look at issues in imaginative ways which I think can raise the public's consciousness of issues. They might even offer new solutions."
Some of the stations make use of the virtual environment to immerse the viewer in alternative visions of the future.
June Clavenham's "Overpopulation" features a city burned out and ruined, embedded with interactive media stations and leading to a brightly painted garden that could represent a better future.
Our choice is also emphasised in Duna Gant's "You Decide" and Alosio Congrejo's "To Be or Not to Be."
The diversity of approaches artists have taken to the subject is worth appreciating, both in their choice of issues and the techniques used to create their installations.
Melodie Heart has collaborated with Erico Lecker in creating "Armageddon in the Biosphere" to highlight the frightening consequences of the destruction of insect life through pollution, habitat changes, overuse of pesticides, and global warming.
It must have been challenging for artists to zoom in from all the possible environmental issues they could underline.
Elle Thorkveld's contribution, "No Ark in Sight", calls our attention to rising oceal levels and the plight of polar bears with imagery that melts together arctic scenes and open ocean, demonstrating the transition. She explained why she chose the bears:
"I like bears in general and I think polar bears, being so specifically adapted to an environment that is being dramatically impacted by climate change are sort of a canary in the coal mine for all animals and the mass extinction going on. They are beautiful animals, it is very sad."
The beauty of trees and the artists' evident love for them is poignantly presented by Lalie Sorbet on an island with cutout organic forms and by Asmita Duryanjaya in her tree-hugging trail.
Asmita's trail invites the visitor to ponder a series of quotes in a short pilgrimage and homage to trees, then to go and hug a tree in RL.
Overlooking the exhibit, Asmita has also composited an inspiring build with a focus on survival strategies, using mesh creations by Silas Merlin. It asks what kinds of alternative technologies humans might need to survive after a catastrophe.
All the contributring artists have more permanent exhibiting areas on the main part of the InterstellART sim, which can be reached by teleport from the landing area.
This exhibition is a bold foray into the ways virtual art can be used to inform, confront and offer some answers while emphasizing the worrying state of the planet. The challenge of using a virtual world to create a uniquely immersive branch of environmental art has been creatively entertained by the participants, and Asmita has done a great work in initiating and assembling the experience for Second life avatars. The exhibit remains open for visiting, and it has only been possible to mention a few of the details.
It seems fitting to end with an afterthought that Elle Thorkveld offered in our discussion:
"We have a focus on finding new life in the solar system, as a great search, yet we are participating in mass extinction of thousands of living species right here on our own planet. It is ironic and rather sad, we humans are strange creatures. I think simply shifting our attitudes towards other species, to respect them and see that they too have a right to exist, live and raise their families, to be treated with kindness, would help greatly. As Asmita said in her installation, Hug a tree."
Gustav Metzger: "We Must Become Idealists or Die" - http://www.anothermag.com/design-living/8123/gustav-metzger-we-must-become-idealists-or-die
About the Environmental Art Movement - https://www.theartstory.org/movement-environmental-art.htm
Thursday, March 14, 2019
By Bixyl Shuftan
112/116/1738). You'll have to walk to it as teleporting to the Gacha Guild, you'll end up at the entry area.
Like other gacha avatars, some varieties are less common than others. The common ones are the "Natural," "Thawny," "Spotted," and "Noir." Uncommon are the "Piebald" and "Runic." There are two rare ones with pronounced horns. The most rare is the "Koi," which is fishtailed. The vouchers can be traded, and the rare and ultrarare ones can fetch some good money (or you could give one to a noodle fan among your circle of friends and make them really happy).
Even if you're not a dragon fan, you'll probably think of the noodle dragon as cute and adorable. While not quite as small as most tiny avatars and much larger than a petite, it's still small. It's natural expression is to smile. It makes cute noises, especially when getting belly rubs, and it's various animations add to it's cuteness.
Moving around is much like a regular avatar, though you're usually on all fours. There is a HUD that allows you to look asleep, mad, sad, etc. There are also nine body animations, such as sitting down, rubbing a whisker, rolled over on the back, hugging, dancing on the ground, dancing on the back legs. One animation has the noodle dragon offering an egg (the Koi offers caviar). If touched, the person touching gets a copy of the egg. It can be hatched into a pet dragon that can be held. I read there is a swimming HUD, but haven't tried it out yet.
The avatar is Bento, so some older viewers may not be able to see it properly. The other problem is that to some, gachas can be quite addictive. "Betcha can't stop at just one," one might say. And indeed many can't. So watch your spending.
While nothing is certain, it's a good bet the Chibi Noodle Dragons will have a following for some time to come.