Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Magic of Oz and the frustration of mesh

Last night I visited an adorable little sim called the Magic of Oz. The sim is composed of all mesh objects and is also the Second Life home to the soon to be released Strangelings breedable pets game for iOS and Web. It’s a great place to explore and take pictures and definitely worth a visit.

Magic of Oz-Dorothy's house

Now, I love me some mesh, I really do. Some of the most impressive and beautiful places I have visited in Second Life have been mainly made up of mesh objects. It seems like it’s been ages since I have worn sculpted clothing pieces and my sculpted hair is gradually getting pulled out of my inventory less and less. I even deleted a ton of old clothing I never wear anymore because compared to the more realistic mesh clothing, I grab the mesh pieces first. Now that I have got over having to change my avatar shape to fit mesh clothing, I love it!

But…sometimes I also hate it too and it’s not about fitting my avatar shape to mesh clothing.

Magic of Oz-Yellow brick road

I don’t often think of this, but as I was skipping down the yellow brick road, my thoughts turned to “will I ever be able to create objects that stand up to stuff like this?”  As more creators turn to mesh, are the days of creating entirely within Second Life using simple prims gone? I have never considered myself a builder, but I have dabbled with prims before to make simple objects for myself. I have also had some success with sculpted prim builders packages to piece together my own little works of “art” and even creating my own objects in Blender and importing them to Second Life. My building skills are not extremely basic, I would say they are moderate so I should be able to make something nice, right? But when it comes to mesh, I look around at all these fabulous and realistic looking buildings, trees, clothing, etc…and I feel incredibly discouraged and I think “why bother?”

Magic of Oz-Witches Castle

Now to be fair, I have not dabbled in building anything in a long time, so maybe I don’t know what I am talking about. I have not looked that deeply into mesh creation because honestly, it just seems out of reach for someone like me, who has moderate building skills and not a lot of time and not to mention the blood, sweat and tears to devote to learning mesh. One of the things I loved about Second Life when I first started was that creating something beautiful inworld seemed completely attainable for most everyone who wanted to pursue that.

Magic of Oz-Staircase

From where I stand, it seems that the gap between the creators/artists and consumers of Second Life has widened considerably since the introduction of mesh. The odds of someone like me making it across the gap and into that Emerald City of Second Life artists and creators are about as likely as me creating a work of art in the real world and having an exhibition at the national art gallery.

Yeah, when pigs grow mesh wings and fly.

Magic of Oz-Emerald City

Visit the Magic of Oz in Second Life

Seven SL facts about me

I’m a little late to the party, but I finally got a chance to put together my list of seven SL facts about me. Berry started this blog meme and it’s been fun reading what everyone has to share. So here’s mine, and if you haven’t done so already, head on over to Berry’s post and do your own You don’t need a blog to do this. You can share on Flickr, Facebook or whatever social media platform suits you.

1. This seems to be a common thread throughout a lot of the lists I have read so far: This is not my first avatar. I don’t think I have ever really mentioned that to anyone before. I created my first avatar back in 2008. I stuck around for a few weeks before I logged out one day and just forgot about it. My life was kind of a mess back then and I didn’t have the focus, energy and patience to learn SL. In early 2009, I was sitting on the subway on my way to a job I hated when I happened to pick up a discarded PC Gaming magazine on the seat beside me. There was an article about SL in it. I don’t remember what the article said, but I do remember the screen shots of Lost Gardens of Apollo and Japan Tempura which called to me in some strange way. That evening, I got home to log back on my first avatar I had created months earlier and I couldn’t even remember the name I chose. No bother, I just created a new one and as the old saying goes, the rest is history. I don’t even really consider that first avatar much at all in my SL history since I didn’t do much other than flounder around the Isabel info hud.

2. You might hate me for this next one…I hate getting tagged for blog memes. I’m waiting for you all to hate me now but let me explain: I specifically hate getting randomly tagged for memes like blog coffee dates and other things like that because it has happened many times on my other non-SL blog. When I ask questions about how it works, I never get an answer but I keep getting tagged! I don’t actually hate blog memes, in fact I enjoy ones such as this one where it is an open invitation to participate with no pressure like I’m gonna break the chain mail that has gone around the world a thousand times if I don’t participate. That sounds so dumb, but there it is.

3. I have never had a job in SL. I have no ambitions, no goals, no aspirations for virtual world greatness. I’m your classic under-achiever in the virtual word. But lately I have been feeling like I need to step out of my comfort zone and try some new things, so maybe I will get a SL job. Does anyone have any job leads?

4. I have never been partnered in SL. Well, there was that one time I partnered my alt just for the hell of it but I fly solo in SL, I’m a lone wolf, so I dumped my alt. I think “partner” can mean a lot of things in SL, not just a romantic partner. I have one long time friend who I suppose could be considered a partner like person in my virtual life, but I hesitate to call us partners because people tend to make wrong assumptions like I am deceiving my rl husband and I am lacking in dignity and moral character. This is not at all true. I know a lot of people don’t understand this. All I can say is that you can never really know for sure what goes on between two people and that’s all I have to say about that.

5. I’m kind of OCD about my inventory. I hardly ever let it go over 30,000 items and I have been known to delete entire folders of stuff in one click. But I never miss the stuff I delete so this works for me.

6. My contacts list is huge, yet there are maybe two or three people that I i.m on a regular basis, when they are around. I hardly ever i.m anyone else because most people I know have some kind of purpose in SL like creating art, hosting events, or doing something important, and I’m afraid that I will disturb them. Unlike me, who is usually just wandering aimlessly, so feel free to ping me anytime!

7. I’m in love with my avatar. I love dressing her up, changing her hair and watching her dance. I tried to make her look just like me, but with better boobs and a great ass. Well, okay I guess she doesn’t look like me that much, but at least I got the glasses and the freckles right.

P.S – Actually, my real life freckles are way better.

profile pic-nerd glasses

Memories of being a noob

A few days ago I was contacted by an old friend, who actually was my very first friend in SL. It kind of blows my mind that it was four years ago that we first met. I never, ever thought in a million years that I would be around this crazy virtual world that long.

I remember very clearly that first day I created my account and logged in. It took me forever to come up with an avatar name and even longer to choose my last name. I ended up with such a plain and normal sounding name because I’m a dud and I couldn’t even think of a cool first name to use. So I ended up being Carrie because I was frustrated with my lack of creative avatar name ideas and when I happened to look up from my laptop, Sex and the City was on my tv screen, so Carrie I became. That’s so dumb because if there was any character on that show that I could relate to, it would be Miranda.

Oh well, I might have a boring avatar name but my real name is kind of unusual so I guess that makes up for that.

I have no idea what the point of this post is…

Oh right, I was taking a trip down memory lane about my old SL friend. If it wasn’t for her reaching out to me way back then to offer a noob some help, I am certain that I would have quit SL right then and there.

Now here we are, years later, reminiscing about the days when we used to go freebie shopping for blingey things at Spidey’s and it took me several frustrating hours and a very patient new friend to figure out how to NOT wear a box on my head.

Oh to be a fresh, young avatar again. Damn I miss those days. If I had the chance to do it all over again I would do it in a heartbeat and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.…

On second thought, I would still do it all over again, but I could do without the freebie bling and boxes on my head part. 🙂

Noob, freebie fashion circa March 2009.

Noob, freebie fashion circa March 2009.

Ballet Pixelle and first impressions of Second Life from a dry witted ten year old

So last night I attended a very prestigious event in Second Life, an original production of “En Passant” by the Second Life Dance Company, Ballet Pixelle. I was pretty excited for this event as I have never been to a ballet in Second Life, or in First Life for that matter.

I think I almost felt that little flutter of excitement from my days as a noob as I was sitting and flipping through the handy little Playbill HUD waiting for the show to begin.

As you may already know, my family is almost always around when I am logged in SL. At this point, they rarely stop to look at what I am doing when I am logged in because SL is just “something that Mom does.” But this time my ten-year old daughter glanced over my shoulder and took a look at the dance stage being rendered on my screen. When I told her that I was waiting for a ballet production to begin, she pulled up a chair beside me and sat down to watch.

Ballet Pixelle

The production did not disappoint and it was delightful to watch. My apologies for the poor quality of my photos here. I had my graphics set to low , so some of the textures are blurry in my pics. They definitely do not do “En Passant” or the Ballet Pixelle justice. You simply will have to go see this for yourself. The next performance takes place on Wednesday, March 6th at 2pm SLT and again on Sunday, March 10th at 5pm SLT. The show runs on those days and times through the end of March, I believe. You can find more info about En Passant here.

Ballet Pixelle_003

My daughter watched all three acts of the ballet with me and I explained to her about the production, the avatars from all over the world, and the special and unique animations for the dances. We smiled and marvelled at the music, costumes, stage set and the very precise ballet animations that each dancer was using. At the end I commented “Pretty cool huh?”. She responded “Yeah, pretty cool…and kinda weird”, with gleaming and curious eyes glued to the screen.

Heh. I find that funny because a little over four years ago when I first started out in Second Life, “pretty cool and kinda weird” were my first impressions too. And look how far that took me…

Ballet Pixelle_005

Isle of Dee and commitment issues in Second Life

It’s a good thing that I have a leisurely SLife with few commitments. Wait, I meant no commitments, because it takes me days to fully explore one place and take pictures. Really, it does.

Not continuous days, obviously. But between logging in, searching for places to explore on Flickr, and Koinup, clearing group notices, answering an i.m here and there, getting side tracked by a live music event, friends in need of something and oh yeah, my life…before I know it, it’s been three days since I first tp’d to the spot that I wanted to explore and take pictures of.

Isle of Dee 1

I finally found some time today to thoroughly explore another very cool role play sim that I found via Facebook. (add me if you want!)

Isle of Dee 2

Isle of Dee is another medieval role play sim that is quite impressive to explore. The role play takes place in the Tudor era, somewhere between 1500 and 1600AD. Legend has it that the Isle of Dee is said to be located somewhere in the Celtic Sea, but its exact location is a mystery.

I did not cross paths with many inhabitants in this mystical place, but I did learn of legends of human inhabitants and mystical creatures alike who call this isle home.

Isle of Dee 3

When you arrive, you will need a few moments to let everything rez and make your way to the role play entry area. Of course, I put on my medieval peasant dress first, picked up the visitors tag and lifebuoy and entered the door. I was wondering what the lifebuoy was for.

I was pretty impressed with the entry to the role play area. You arrive on the isle by shipwreck which you will be informed of in local chat. I think it was probably the most interesting way to be welcomed to a roleplay sim. It was pretty cool and the story was very inviting to jump in and role play your character.

Isle of Dee 4

I took some of these pics using the region windlight settings, but I can never leave things alone and decided to play around with some of my own settings for these photos.

Isle of Dee 5

There wasn’t too much activity occurring on the sim, but I was told by one of the role players that Isle of Dee was mostly active during European hours. I was also told that they would love to have more North American players get involved in the ongoing story of Dee, so spread the word!

Another thing that I thought was pretty cool was that as you are walking through the sim, you are given random notecards with prompts for story lines for your character. One notecard I received, which was called a RP blessing said:

“Your character got something into their eye.

Symptoms are: character can’t open that eye, it hurts and the eye is tearing over – help is required”

Isle of Dee 6

I thought that was kind of neat and another very inviting little touch to get players into the mood of the role play. Even for an eternal explorer like me, it was quite encouraging and almost made me want to put down my travel bags and jump in on the action and make Isle of Dee my home…almost.

But I’m a heart breaker and given my time constraints, itchy feet and eternal restlessness, I must leave the role play up to those who have far less commitment issues than I do, and continue on with my travels. Believe me, things are much better for everyone this way. No one gets hurt and everyone gets to have their fun. 😉

Visit Isle of Dee (moderate) in Second Life.

Check out the Isle of Dee website for further information.