Thursday, 30 June 2011

Extra Terrestrial

As the end of the month draws closer, I'm reminded that one of my favourite sims will soon be gone from the Grid.

Among the hullabaloo of the closing of The Lost Gardens Of Apollo - which is also sad, I did visit there on many an occasion in my first twelve months in-world - here's a gentle reminder that Judi Newall and Lorin Tone's Alien Isles homestead Unknowable will soon be confined to the Second Life history books too.

I love Alien Isles; it's like Svarga on LSD. Designed and put together by a number of brilliant people - many of whom I feel blessed to have made the acquaintance of over the years - it's everything a sim should be for me: big, bold and colourful; unlike anything you've seen before or likely to see again; demands exploration both above and below the waterline, but most of all represents perfectly the creativity and grandeur that can be achieved when several like-minded people come together and want to share their imagination with others. The prime contributor to the construction it seems was Madcow Cosmos, whose extra-terrestrial flora bursts up through the seas to create an incredible series of interactive platforms. Madcow's creations have also extended to the 7Seas fishing crate on the Tron-esque fishing dock; many a tiny has sat with me trying to catch the amazing range of aquatic-themed shoulder pets, rods and avatars that the AI team offered.

Saffia Widdershins has a piece on the Isles' closing, but really the best thing to do is find an hour in your day to go and explore this most wonderful sim while you still can.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Linden Lab seeks company spokesperson

Tate Runino's reporting that the Lab are recruiting, for a job that probably ranks up there with 'Environmental Spokesperson for BP'.

I think the best person for this job should go under the name of Mouthpiece Linden, wear a slightly rusted, occasionally-sparking Robot avatar and have a Twitter account that every other day posts a Tweet written entirely in Binary code. It's the safest way to keep throwing the residents off and stopping them from getting too irate with a real person with genuine human feelings and emotions.

But good luck to whoever gets it. Ideally, the best person for the role should be someone who understands the back-end systems and can properly and respectfully communicate any problems in layman's terms to residents - yeah I know, it's an oxymoron.

Linden Lab seeks company spokesperson

The Poultry Report: New "Linden" Avatars

Uccello Poultry has written a small feature on a host of new Library avatars that the Lab have dropped into folks' inventories. They look pretty cool! Loco Pocos creator Damien Fate has reportedly had a hand in making one or two of them, which is nice to see; Damien's a great content creator and the Loco Pocos Island sim was a masterpiece that wasn't around nearly long enough for people to enjoy and appreciate.

It's also quite refreshing to see the Lab give new residents a non-human choice of starting av too and allow people to embrace and explore the more whimsical aspect of Second Life. Here's Uccello's report, with pictures!

The Poultry Report: New "Linden" Avatars

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Songbird Sings

Songbird Sings, originally uploaded by Chaffro!.

Raglan Shire's own Songbird Sorbet took to the SL8B Main Stage on Friday 24th June, to perform an hour long set. I believe the avatar count at the stages reached 105 at one point, many of which were Shire tinies!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Rodvik Linden visits SL8B Mainstage

Pyewacket, Toady and I met a Linden Spaceship tonight at SL8B. Name looks familiar from somewhere...

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Ringmaster, originally uploaded by Chaffro!.

Here I am, in attire usually reserved for Shocktoberfest, when I dress a spooky Ringmaster; the SL8B circus plot is a good enough excuse for me to wear it now though!

Monday, 20 June 2011


So the Lab's SL8B will open to the general public from 10am SL time on Monday 20th June, and if you give yourself a couple of hours to take a wander around the sims given over to it, you'll be in for a treat.

I did just that this past Sunday afternoon, guided in part by the SL8B MegaHunt by Octoberville which is great for encouraging you to look around more than a single plot of interest and actually cross sim boundaries and loved seeing what others had created. Now, I'm sure some more rampant, more politicised and more critical SL-bloggers will spend much of the next two weeks finding whatever fault they can with the concept and/or the execution of the event, but if you look at it for what it actually is - a celebration not just of the platforms' longevity but also the diversity that the residents bring to it - you'll find yourself treated to a wealth of creativity and talent. Sure, some builds are less polished than others, but what they lack in fine detail they more than make up for in fun, which for me is what SL is all about.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the theme of this year's event is 'The Magic of SL'; for the Raglan Shire plot I took a more literal interpretation of the theme and helped set up a fun little circus-cum-carnival style plot replete with things to sit on and jump on. It's all been very well received by the visitors it's had so far (limited at time of writing to fellow exhibitors) and having had a look around, I've seen many others have chosen to do something similar; but I've been occasionally reading some of the official SL8B blog and was blown away this post especially about how magical SL has been to another resident in a completely different way.

There'll be the critics, of course; an office-type build about the joys of LSL won't be to everyone's taste but for some, it's exactly what they're looking for. And I am pretty sure that the harshest critics will be the ones who have teleported in, flown across two sim boundaries, have racked up no more than twenty minutes of searching and declared it a waste of time. These types of events may only offer up a very small cross section and highly condensed picture of what's out there on the Grid but it does serve to remind me that whatever one may read or hear about 'the state of Second Life' by some of those who feel they are more qualified to write about your experience than I am, that SL is actually very well populated by a large number of very passionate and creative people who want to encourage other residents to explore and discover all that if offers. That discovery doesn't take much to do and you come away from it - or at least I did - feeling that Second Life is a platform that is still very much loved by its users and on a daily basis brings at least a touch of magic to someone's life.


Ride, originally uploaded by Aime Takaaki.

I love this picture! Aime does it again!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Popcorn Art

I've been involved in not one, but TWO SL8B plots this year. I took the reins for building not only the Shire plot, but also got to build a plot with my pal Pyewacket to promote our Virtual Popcorn blog!

For me, tinydom is one of the most magical things I get to see in SL each day; the idea that these biped critters can make all these wonderful things and reside in a landscape of pure whimsy is something that never fails to raise a smile and I love the reaction that my tiny movies have especially to non-tiny residents. So it's this route that Pye and I have chosen to go down: showing off how much fun the magic of tinydom in SL is, rather than what we have set out to do with our blog, trying to bring some of the less-seen machinima to the masses (all six followers so far!).

I have a problem with plots with buildings on them; I'm not for a moment suggesting it's wrong, but for me, walls suggest 'KEEP OUT' rather than 'Come In', so I decided the best way to showcase them in this kind of set-up was to build a drive-in cinema, rather than a walled theatre. We've got a big movie screen set up at one end and several amazing 1-prim 'Toadsters' (named by and after their creator Toady Nakamura of Grendel's Children) parked up in front of it. The cars mostly accommodate tinies, but there is a car for the longer-legged resident to sit in. Pye has compiled a playlist of about 20 tiny machinima films that a viewer can sit and watch and hopefully see the magical lives we see every day!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Monday, 13 June 2011

And Cut!

I hosted our second Raglan Film Festival last night! We had 10 new tiny-centric machinima on show, and with over 40 tinies in attendance, it was another typically raucous occasion! You can see the films in question in this thread at the Raglan Shire forums.

Unlike most other machinima events, the RFF is more of a celebration of tinydom and the fun of the community than a contest between film-makers. In fact, my real motivation behind it is to show others how achievable it is to make machinima, in the hope that others give it a go.

The only real criteria for film-makers is that their film must include at least one tiny but because of the lack of limitations, it means that we always end up with a real mixed bag of film styles and lengths. Some people prefer to have hordes of extras in their films whilst others prefer to have just themselves or perhaps one or two others. Because of Raglan’s constantly changing environment with each new event, costumes and sets are virtually built for a film-maker to just grab a camera application and shoot!

It was a shame that there was no real support from the wider machinima community though. I’d been given – and utilised - a number of platforms to promote the event and I’d given away notecards to dozens of people, but even those most enthusiastic about it initially didn’t even find the time to show up for the event, let alone film anything. That’s fine; their loss, in my opinion. However, there was one person in attendance who’s been to a number of machinima events and festivals and was kind enough to tell me that they thought that the RFF was one of the best they’d been to. I put that down less to my hosting and organising skills and more to the audience, for whom the night was really for. In any walk of life, over time you can become complacent to the wonder and the joy of what’s immediately in front of you; sometimes putting it on film makes you see it from a different perspective and reminds you how awesome a community you inhabit!

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Circus Rolls Into Town

Goodness, it's been a month since I last blogged? Sorry - that's just me being a lazybones!

I've been busy in-world though, especially over the past week: it's SL8B time! Second Life celebrates its 8th birthday soon and as usual, I determined that as one of the leading tiny communities on the grid that Raglan should have a presence here again this year.

This year's theme is 'The Magic of SL': now, almost everything that tinies do is magical in one way or another, so adding to that, we've decided to roll a little circus onto our plot at the sim Electrify. We have a HUGE merry-go-round made by the supremely-talented Marion Questi and Martini Discovolante; we have a tightrope; we have balancing acts; we have balloons, caravans, trees, tents - we even have bouncy pie trampolines! We've already had a number of visitors come and play and that's just fellow exhibitors! The sims officially open to the public on June 20th, so I hope that you, dear reader, make some time to come and see what we've cobbled together!

Then, you can come and visit the SECOND plot I'm working on, with Pyewacket to promote our Virtual Popcorn machinima review blog! More on that once I stop being distracted by having to pet Meeroos. Sigh.