Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Shifting Sands

I logged in the other day to pick up some notices and was alerted to a situation that was beginning to cause ripples amongst the Shires, and was asked my opinion on it. This was my response, on a notecard I wrote up and sent out to the groups of Raglan. It asks tinies to better 'police' themselves around the Raglan Shire sandbox - better know as the Silica Cubicle, or Silicube for short.

The Silicube Story
First, let's go BACK IN TIME...
*twinkly harp music*
A few years back, if you wanted to build things and learn about how Second Life worked and how you, as a resident, could help it grow, you'd find one of the numerous Linden sandboxes and go and torture prims in it all day long. You might start small, with a lampshade, then progress to a clickable lamp and then onto a clickable Eiffel Tower that fired fireworks out of the top of it. 
However, more often than not, your day would be constantly interrupted by others parking their jet fighters directly on top of your builds or introducing themselves with "hey bro i gona shoot u lol" and then trap you in a cage or attach a red cube to your head that did nothing but scream at you. Classy stuff.
So when Raglan appeared and started to attract many of the fabulous builders who still create here today, the idea was borne that they should have somewhere that they could build in peace, surrounded by like-minded people that they could share ideas with. Hence, a corner of Raglan Shire was cordoned off and became Raglan's very own sandbox: the Silicube.
*more twinkly harp music*
Back to the present!
The Silicube is one of the few constants in the Shire - it never changes; it's always that big square bit of land that doesn't move. That makes it a pretty good landmark to find and hang out in. But it also hasn't changed what it essentially is and what it was always intended to be: a place for builders.
Now, it would be misleading to say that that's all it's ever used for; we've sometimes used the space to hold one-off building events and it's the starting point for our amazing annual Mardi Gras parade. But that doesn't mean that it should be used as a race track or a party venue or a firing range ALL of the time, especially if someone is there trying to carefully figure out how to link two prims together. That stuff's important for anyone who wants to build anything - just ask anyone who ever goes to a Raglan U lesson.
So yes, you can use the Silicube to hang out in and chat with one another in or to show off your latest new favourite toy - but please be respectful of who else is around and what they're doing; they could be learning how to make your NEXT new favourite toy, and you're going to want them to get it right. 

The purpose of it was to illustrate to the residents that whilst the Silicube is a very convenient place to meet and hang out or rez items to show off, it's there for a specific purpose, should builders need an area to work in without fear of being griefed. I'm really proud of the fact that we have a publicly-accessible sandbox area; it reminds me very much of the one that used to be on Limbo in the Isle of Wyrms, a few years ago (if it still there; I must admit I have not ventured out that way for a while). That became my sandbox of choice, not only because it was large and had plenty of available space, but that it was populated by some incredibly talented people/dragons who had nothing but constructive ideas and suggestions to share. I probably learnt more in that sandbox in the few weeks that I could use it than I had in all the months I'd spent dodging missile silos or giant phalluses in Linden sandboxes.

So a situation that could've become bigger than it deserved to be was diffused pretty efficiently, but I'm more proud of the fact that a number of people chose to IM and congratulate me on writing it. Thanks tinies! Now, get back to building.

Monday, 22 October 2012


It's my rezday today!

Yes, six years ago something inspired me to Google the words 'second life' and go to the trouble of setting up an account. I only wish I could remember what that something was... Maybe then I'd have an idea what my goal was.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Political Horror

One of the most fun features of Shocktober, both to see and contribute to, is the annual Haunted Ride of Horrors. It's exactly what you'd expect: an automated 'ghost train'-style ride that takes you through a bunch of horror-themed rooms, each of which has been decorated by a specific individual or team of people. I've been lucky enough to have grabbed rooms each year, often without an idea of what to furnish it with, but that tends to depend on which room I get. For example, the first year I got the last room the ride went through and turned it into a death valley canyon, with a sign indicating that beyond it was a 4000m drop (the ride is placed up high to reduce lag); there wasn't, but I liked the idea of tinies considering bailing out of the car at the last moment to avoid it.

This year I had to settle for one of the smaller, more central rooms. That's fine with me, but meant that I had to think of an idea that was fairly minimal but high impact, so the riders of the carts would be able to get the idea of what I was trying to convey; but of course, it's also got to be something quite horrible! It is a Halloween-themed ride after all! A lot of tinies plump for the traditional-style Halloween decor of blood pouring from the walls, giant spider webs dangling from dusty bookcases and ferocious tentacles shooting up from sewage, so I'm always challenging myself to come up with something radically different from the others.

And it seemed to me that one of the things that has got a lot of people frothing this year has been politics - specifically American politics, but only because UK politicians have been riding the 'feelgood factor' of the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics and therefore have either been able to bury bad news or have been too busy attending street parties to do any real work. Anyway, I digress. I figured a political-themed room would be exactly the thing someone would not want to see and have thrust in their face - just like a giant spider or severed head on a spike.

More maniacal than Jason and Freddy!
And here it is! A quite sparsely decorated room, featuring only (in terms of prims, at least) a copy of me as some sort of lunatic politician (are there any other sort?) at a podium, surrounded by select buzz slogans - my campaign slogan being "I have only my best interests at heart!" Of course these slogans add to the horror, by demanding that we do away with the things that make up the essence of tinydom.

My research consisted of me asking in Friends of Raglan Shire group chat, "what could you never give up as a tiny? What are the things that make us tiny?" and then set about destroying my respondent's hopes and desires in bold banners.
Consider these DONE! Mwuahahaha!
I'd recommend going to visit the ride at any time during October, if only to marvel at the exterior; it's a quite wonderful build. But I'd love for you to try the ride itself and take in the ghastly greatness that my fellow tinies have created. It's really quite brilliant and is about as close as we ever come to capturing the lightning in a bottle on this sort of small scale that is the brilliance of the Raglan Artisans. I'm always honoured to be amongst their ranks.

Here's your SLURL! http://slurl.com/secondlife/Heron%20Shire/91/75/4002

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Dark Bun Rises

So it's Shocktober around the Shires. Yes, rather than limit Halloween-style havoc and ghoulish going's-on to just one night or weekend, Raglan tends to devote the entire 10th month to dressing up and scaring the bejeezus out of each other. Here's my outfit!

"I am Raglan Shire's reckoning!"
Yes, of course, I'm Bane, the villain from the Batman comics and this year's Summer blockbuster smash The Dark Knight Rises - which, despite having taking millions at the box office, no-one around Raglan seems to have seen, as I keep being mistaken for Hannibal Lecter or Jason from Friday the 13th!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Nin's Memorial

Nin's Memorial, originally uploaded by Caleb Kit.
From Nin's profile:

Hey =^.^=

*This iz a great world....
*So many wonderful freinds...
*So many lovely places to explore...
*So much fun ....
*Tiny Life iz da bestest ㋡

*Waves and howlzzzz*

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Farvel Nin

Nin's Farewell by Izo Ryba
If anyone was still in any doubt as to the power of the community that Second Life offers - and after this year's SL9B, that must be very few - then take a look at the above picture; it's a snap of just some of the 60 people crammed onto Athen Shire to celebrate the life and contribution to the Raglan Shire family of Nin Maximus, a Danish resident who passed away in real life last week. The tribute was lead by Raglan magistrate Zayn Till and featured the reading of several poems written by friends and neighbours of Nin's. I'm sure I wasn't the only one there who shed tears.

Not pictured though are the dozens of others who couldn't access the sim because it was maxed out. Now, I don't know of any other social network in existence that would elicit such a strong emotional reaction from so many people from across the globe coming together to honour the passing of a friend they may have only ever met online. Second Life is special.

Goodbye Nin. You will be missed by many.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Nin Maximus

Nin Maximus by karmagirl Avro
Absolutely heartbroken to hear of the passing of Nin Maximus, a tiny of the Raglan community. She had suffered with cancer.

Nin was a tiny wolf. She and her partner Korben had been around for a while and wow, she was cool; when we weren't having a themed month, she would often dress in punk clothing accentuated by her tiny nose-ring bling and long black eyelashes; she often had a cool hairstyle or wore cool hats; and, best of all, occasionally wore a cigarette hanging nonchalantly from her tiny lips. She was stylish, seemingly effortlessly so. Among such a vibrant and diverse group of artists as Raglan has, she always stood out. She wasn't on a great deal, but when she was, I'd more often than not bump into her and we'd share some words and a giggle.

And she was a friend. She would always encourage me to do more, to make more, to create more. She complimented me on my machinima, and would tell me what she liked about each. It wasn't just small talk - she cared, or at the very least gave me that impression - and that care was reciprocated. Whenever we lose anyone, we always feel as though we've lost a little part of the care given to us - and every little piece matters. I will miss her for that. And my love goes out to Korben.

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. Nin, you will not be forgotten.

A tributary blog post is up at the Raglan Shire blog.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Isles Away

After just under a year's reprieve, MarillaAnne and Mitchmeister Slade have finally made the decision to close their Adelebsen Isle sim. I'd already mentioned that the sim came very close to disappearing towards the end of last year due to their increasingly difficult financial situation but found a sponsor to help them out. However, Marilla has had an 'awakening' of sorts and in a very insightful blog post has revealed the reasons behind her latest decision.

I've really enjoyed being a vendor on Adelebsen. It's such a beautiful build and was well supported by the Tiny community she gave shop space too; but I completely understand Marilla's decision after having read her post. I wonder how many other sim managers or owners may have (of have had) a similar change of heart for the same reasons.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Here's a fabulous picture of the rather fabulous tiny-centric build put up for the SL Relay For Life event.

I was very honoured to be asked to contribute to the development of this build, but disappointed that my contribution extended to little more than six cubes.

The biggest problem was that when I finally got access to the sims, the build was about 90% completed; when something is that far advanced and you can see how someone else's vision has come together and where's it's going, one isn't really in a position to change it or significantly contribute. I know my six prims were used though and I guess every prim counts in the end!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Raiders Of The Lost Prim

Action Lara!, originally uploaded by Chaffro!.

I don't often make stuff for girls. It's not a deliberate choice, I've just never been much good at knowing what girls want or need (strictly in terms of Second Life clothing, of course)! Sure, I've made some dresses but they've bordered on the wild and wacky rather than the elegant. I have always tried to cater to female customers - if an outfit isn't unisex, I'll include something for one gender or the other - but there is very little in my inventory that I've made specifically for girls.

Well, that changed this week! After the positive feedback I got from my Judge Dredd outfit, I figured I'd try and create something in a similar sci-fi/action/fantasy vein, but primarily for ladies. Several female tiny residents did buy the Dredd outfit - and there are a number of female Judges in the Dredd continuity - but even when creating it, I was still very much in the mindset of making something to feed my fanboy self.

So here it is - a tiny's Lara Croft outfit! I've included the ribbed blue cotton top, the khaki shorts, the pair of handguns and a backpack, whilst my good friend Pan very kindly built an amazing long braided hairdo to finish it off! I'll introduce it to my permanent range after the weekend, but until then (Friday to Sunday) it'll be my contribution to the Tiny Swagtastic Weekend offer that we have at Raglan each week, where merchants offer an item for just $50L!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Shadows In The Sun!

SL9B, originally uploaded by Wildstar Beaumont.

Here's proof from Wildstar Beaumont that our sundial really did work at SL9B! Beautiful capture and such an effective use of shadows!

Fourth Of July

Bree Himmel is dressed to patriotically party!
Happy 4th of July to my friends in the United States! Have a good day, whatever you're up to.
Stay well, stay safe, stay awesome.

Saturday, 30 June 2012


Judges, originally uploaded by Chaffro!.

Misa Delight has written up a quite lovely review of my Judge Dredd outfit over at the Tiny Shoppers blog. She threw a load of pictures up on her Flickr stream too of us doing the Judge thing around the Grid!

Monday, 25 June 2012

SL9B Opening - Saffia & Tinies!

So SL9B gets torn down this week! If you haven't been over yet reader, I suggest you do so before 11.59pm on the 27th! If you can't, feast your eyes on the wonder that it was in this amazing Flickr picture pool.

I thought it was a really great event, one of the best ever birthday events that truly captured all that is good about Second Life and the creative possibilities it presents.

Maybe it was the lack of involvement of the Lindens (and the lack of red-tape and political correctness that follows them), maybe it was the theme that united all of these different communities, maybe it was the incredible psychedelic 8-bit themed main-stage...or maybe that it was packed full of tinies from the very start?

I'm going with that last one.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Raglan Shire SL9B

Raglan Shire SL9B, originally uploaded by Caleb Kit.

Our sundial atop the largest shroom at SL9B. I'm gonna miss this build when we take it down in the next week.

I've already decided I'm going to try and 'replant' the poetry shroom circle; I can accomodate most of them on my home plot on Raglan Commons, and I might sneak a few more around some of the other sims. The poems are so good, and truly capture the spirit of Raglan's community and creativity.

SL9B Main Stage

SL9B Main Stage, originally uploaded by Winter Jefferson.

Beautiful picture of the beautiful Lotus Stage at SL9B!

Saturday, 23 June 2012


Judgment is coming!

So after having seen the Judge Dredd trailer released this week, I realised that there hadn't been a Dredd outfit made for tinies. So today I fixed that! This is the culmination of a day's work. I'll have it boxed up and on sale over the course of the following week, all being well. 

Might even throw it our for Tiny Swagtastic Weekend as an introductory offer!

A few more pictures from a quick wander around the amazing INSILICO are here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Shroom With A View

SL9B has begun!

Yes, despite Linden Lab's attempt to ensure another one of its big community events didn't happen, the residents have successfully risen to the challenge and have made this year's event their own; in truth, the Lab suggested a 'community' theme should be handled by the community, so less attempted sabotage by the Lindens and more just general laziness on their part.

The annual birthday celebration kicked off at 11am SLT yesterday (Monday), and after Saffia's impassioned opening speech, the tinies were representin' in force with at least a dozen riverdancers making a whole lotta noise!

Our plot is on Jamboree, one of 20 sims given over to this year's event, and in some cases with up to 36 plots on each sim, that's a whole lot of exploring to be done! In keeping with the feel of Raglan as a whole, the Shire SL9B plot is made up of overgrown natural elements - primarily three giant mushrooms, upon which we (myself, Etheria Parrott and Panacea Pangaea) have put out different creative elements from the community. I won't give too much away in that hope that you, reader, get the opportunity to go and visit the plot and play around at it!

The info hut and the community picture display.
The mushroom-head picnic tables.
On the smallest shroom sits three picnic tables (with waffles), where we invite tinies to gather and chat; a ladder above that is our Poetry Slam shroom, where a small circle of mushrooms each hold a poem written by a different member of our community; and an Anywhere Door journey above that is our sundial of events.
The Poetry Slam shroom circle: when clicked, a shroom reads the poem contained within it.
As I said in my previous blog entry, it felt imperative to me that as many tinies from Raglan contributed to the build as we could involve. Although we were limited by the small amount of people who were allowed access to the sims in the building stage, we put out a plea to the group to contribute pictures, poems and free gifts, and it didn't go unheard - we were sent dozens of pictures and a good number of poems.

The Event Sundial: when touched, the dial turns to a specific month with details about that months event.

We've already had a number of other SL9B participants come around and compliment us on our build, which is incredibly kind and generous, especially for a build that developed organically - my only idea when we got our plot was 'it should be on platforms'. I love seeing builds you can interact with and explore, and given that each plot covers a relatively small ground area, the best way to develop that interaction was to go high.

I'm exceptionally pleased with how the build has turned out, and that really is a testament to the community; my own contribution to the development of the build was very minimal - I rezzed a couple of things, sent out a couple of notices asking for stuff - so it really has been the generosity of others that has injected the plot with life. It's fun, colourful, cute and different - exactly how life as a tiny can be! Visit it at this SLURL!

Polly Ellsmere (left) and Bree Himmel explore the plot.

I should really start thinking about SL10B. Or would it be SLXB?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Growing Shrooms

Hello reader! Apologies for my distinct lack of updates on the Second Life front of late - truth be told, it's simply because of my complete lack of activity in-world. My time spent in SL has greatly diminished of late, not through a lack of interest, but simply because RL demands it.

That being said, someone reminded me a couple of weeks ago that it was SLxB time again and inquired as to whether the Shire would be having a presence there again. Seeing that the theme of this year's SL9B event is 'community', I felt it was imperative that we would; after all, it has been said a number of times in the past that the Shire community is one of the strongest and largest on the Grid.

So I'm here at Jamboree, slowly putting the plot build together with the help of my trusted friends Etheria Parrott and Panacea Pangaea, who between them could build, texture and code almost anything. The above picture is just a teaser of what our plot consist of, but I think it fits perfectly with the natural feel of our home sims and offers a good general picture of what our community has to offer all year round. It's an incredibly difficult thing to bottle, as by its very nature 'community' is only really defined by the people who take part in the events, but I'm trying to involve as many tinies as I can by asking for snapshots of tiny life. We'll have a method of hearing poems written by Copper Mistral's Poetry Slam group too.

And as an amazing unplanned bonus, our plot neighbours the plot for in-world percussion group DRUM!

SL9B opens to the general populace on June 18th. More information can be found on the official blog.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Kickin' It

A few weeks ago, Zayn Till (he of the ownership of the Shires) and Wynx Whiplash (she of the creator of the tiny avatars) launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund their efforts to try and transpose the characters of Second Life into a first-world Raglan Shire project, and with a week to go, not only have supporters helped them reach their target amount of $8,500, they've taken it past $10,000!

This is a great result for the Jazz Paws team, and I truly hope their efforts pay off, as their vision far exceeds the desire to see these characters in a media away from a digital one. I hope they both utilise the talents of Shire residents at some point too! The community didn't get to where it was simply of the position of prims, but the people behind the avatars!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Goodbye Tiggs!

Tiggs Linden by Marianne McCann

Some slightly sad news to report: Tiggs Linden, one of the very few (if not only) full-time tiny Lindens is to leave Linden Lab on March 9th.

Tiggs has been working out of the Boston office of the Lab for a number of years but has decided that now is the time to move on to pastures new. "This was my choice. I still believe in Second Life and I think it is a viable, healthy place to be," Tiggs told the Friends of Raglan Shire group. He's off to work for Turbine, developers of some other popular MMO games including Lord Of The Rings Online.

Tiggs will undoubtedly be sorely missed by many around the Grid, but by none more so than those in the Friends of Raglan Shire group. As part of that group, Tiggs would often allow residents to throw questions his way about how things worked (or didn't) or why things happened (or didn't) and would very happily and succinctly answer and offer explanations. It was great to see a Linden interacting first-hand with residents, many of whom had probably never heard from a Linden before, let alone have seen or stood alongside one of them at the many Raglan events that Tiggs would come alone to see.

Tiggs has promised to stay in Second Life though - "I'm just leaving the Lab, not Second Life" - and stay as a tiny too. He also suggested (tongue-in-cheek) that he may teach a class or two at Raglan U, the Shire's in-world learning facility. From FoRS group chat:

[12:51] Toady Nakamura: and imagine the scripting classes you could teach at Raglan U
[12:51] Tiggs Linden: i do know a tad about scripting
[12:51] Morton Wheels: cool :-)
[12:51] mouseplay Resident: loll scripting classses?
[12:51] Toady Nakamura: I knows
[12:51] One Rhiadra: ooo scriptings
[12:52] Morganne Darkstone: oooo...wuld love t'learn lots about scripting...
[12:52] Tiggs Linden: "how to bring a region down"

Thanks for being such a wonderful source of help and support, Tiggs and we all wish you well in Middle-Earth!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Hello dear reader, hope you had a good Christmas holiday period and fabulous New Year break. As soon as I do something noteworthy in Second Life, I'll be sure to tell you about it! The cold chill of RL keeps my brain's creativity levels somewhere in line with the mercury in the thermometer. I'll do something soon, I'm sure.

For now, stay safe, stay warm, stay awesome.