Sunday, 23 October 2011

Five Years On

So this past weekend was my fifth rezday anniversary in Second Life.

Five years already? I feel like I've accomplished nothing.

But maybe because that's because when I close my SL viewer, I have very little to show for it of course; it's all there, on the Grid. But when I look back, I guess I've done quite a bit.

In those five years, I've owned land on the mainland and built a virtual zoo on it; bought half a private sim and transferred the zoo there, added a finely-detailed gothic vampire crypt and a island for tinies; upgraded that to a full sim and transferred the zoo there - then the biggest and most popular zoo on the grid - and built a forest designed for tinies; discovered Raglan Shire, went tiny permanently, moved there, set up a shop, had a SL-wedding...

Beyond that, I learned how to make machinima, which has been a great creative outlet; but most importantly, Second Life has allowed me to genuinely made a great number of friends, whose friendships extend well beyond the viewer. Without Second Life, my wife (whom I introduced to SL!) and I would not have had two of the guests we had at our RL wedding. Without it, we would likely have never traveled to Denmark to stay with one of those guests in return. Without it we wouldn't care for some people in almost every corner of the globe; I was genuinely terrified for the welfare of SL friends in Japan when their earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit; and I've shed real tears when told of the loss of SL-residents who I have never met, but shared an affinity with somewhere on the Grid.

I have long said that Second Life is the best and most advanced social networking tool available, and I still believe that. I don't care for the politicking; I don't really understand why some people feel they need to pick apart everything that Linden Lab does or says so fervently. Second Life connects more people from across the globe simultaneously than any other social network that I know of; I love being part of conversations between people in Australia, California, Holland and the UK all at once. I appreciate that some people invest huge amounts of their RL income into this virtual world and they want some good returns on that investment, and I have seen firsthand the Lab's level of service fall way short more than once. But it still doesn't change the fact that almost every day I fire up the viewer, log in and do something, whether it's to see the product of someone's imagination, hear a musical act I would otherwise never have heard before or talk to someone thousands of miles away and share a joke with them.

Here's to the next five!

Tiny MJ ala Karmagirl

Tiny MJ ala Karmagirl, originally uploaded by Teal Freenote.
It's Shocktober and it's time to partake in another annual tradition - the Thriller dance off!

Peaches Latrell made the amazing Thriller-zombie animations a few years ago and since then, each year, dozens of tinies have come together at a predetermined time to dance in perfect synch to the spookiest pop tune of all time! Amongst the zombies, skeletons, vampires and mummies, here's Karmagirl Avro leading the way as MJ!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Keeba Tammas

Keeba Tammas, originally uploaded by Chaffro!.
As part of the Shocktober festivities, Keeba showed up caged and bound Hannibal Lecter-style - but still managed to pull off an amazing vocal performance!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Through The Lens

Snapshot of Through The Lens Of Dreams, taken by Pyewacket Bellman
Although the surreal majesty of Alien Isles has now departed the Grid, the brilliant creative minds of those behind it - Madcow Cosmos and Lorin Tone - have found a new sim upon which to collaborate and unleash their own unique brand of fairytale-esque craftsmanship.

Through The Lens Of Dreams is the name of their new art installation across the sim of Art Screamer. It's a rich assortment of Madcow's trademark wide-eyed monsters and toothy beings scored by a cacophony of Lorin's chirps and whistles, and again represents just how limitless Second Life can be for an imaginative soul. Arriving at a small floating platform and dropping down onto a cushion suspended in the mouths of giant caterpillars is just the first step you'll take on the incredible adventure that awaits: you'll find the vast grassy banks littered with a sprinkling of tiny blue flowers, through which hordes of cute cycloptic critters amble; the trees laugh from under their giant leafy hats as you wander past, each given their own distinct look and sound; the sky is filled with oversized insects and airborne pieces of fruit; giant bamboo-framed bikes ferry about miniature potted gardens.

Look up, down and all around to see this amazing work
Much of Madcow's work before now was through the careful assembly of cleverly shaped and lovingly textured basic prims but with his extensive use of sculpty prims on this build, his imagination has really run amok. Lorin and Madcow describe it as "an exploration of the transformative nature of dreams, where each new setting may emerge from the last and seems continuous while we're experiencing them." Whilst some dreamscapes tend to be more ethereal and less hallucinatory, this is akin to running through the set of an Aardman animation movie directed by Tim Burton. You can even take away one of Madcow's avatars as a souvenir.

The brains behind the operation
There are some slight issues; I'm not the only person to have gone over there and found a problem with sounds; not necessarily the sounds within the build but system sounds too, which after a while can become a little grating. Madcow and Lorin are both aware of it and they are looking to get the problems resolved, but they believe it's a server side issue. However, turn your volume and your draw distances down and it's a truly wonderful build, well worth visiting and exploring as soon as you can. I would imagine that, very much like a dream, it won't be around for long and when it's gone, will be hard to reimagine.

Reach Art Screamer at the following SLURL:

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Where Dat?

Hello reader! I am still here, but on a kind of enforced-hiatus from Second Life exploring: I've been moving house in First Life - sheesh, not nearly as easy as right-click, Take - and was without internet access for about 16 days and now really just without the energy to do very much. But that will change over the next few weeks I'm sure.

However, after missing 95% of the recent Medieval Festival, I did find the time to pop over to the Shire and set up my room for this year's Shocktober Haunted Ride Of Horrors ride. Shocktober is the name the Raglan folk have given to the month of October, feeling that one day for Halloween wasn't nearly enough and dedicating a whole spooky month to it. It's all looking good, and I'm looking forward to seeing it all in action.