Meet me at the Festival of Sin

Greed, Sloth, Lust…..Oh My.

If you have been missing me lately, I have been hanging out in the bad side of town at the “Festival of Sin“, a great new merchant event spearheaded by RubyStarlight Writer. The event features some great items from dozens and  dozens of Second Life’s best creators. It is a themed event, based on the 7 deadly sins. Come on kids, recite them with me: greed, lust, envy, sloth, vanity, gluttony and lust …I mean wrath. 

You’ll find just about everything there at the fistival. I personally loved the large selection of original poses created for the event but you’ll find  unique clothing, shoes, skins, etc. The entire theme is very interactive with regions for each “sin”. This is not for the faint of heart and you may want to stay out of the bathroom in the “lust” section. Then again, you might be one to hang out in there for a bit. We are not here to judge and …if you find a set of keys, those are mine damnit!.

The event planners are asking for minimal scripts in order to decrease lag. For me it was worth it to enjoy the immersive aspects of the event surroundings. You’ll want to hurry to check this out, because the event is underway now and ends March 3!

http://festivalofsin.wordpress.com/

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Diablo/138/119/72

Linden Labs to offer new pathfinding tool (Beware of zombies)

While they often seem to be incapable of managing somethng as as simple providing residents with a last names, every once in a while Linden Labs gets it right.

I am excited about a new development tool that LL will be bringing into Second Life. The pathfinding tool, will allow developers to create objects or characters that can follow, patrol, flee or otherwise interact with another object, including your avatar. Even better, it will be able to do it with only three lines of script. If you ventured the LL in-world  game, Linden Realms, you saw this effect in action as the “rock monsters” that would pursue an avatar that got to close or moved to slow.

I already see this being used to create even smarter zombies that will no doubt be chasing  me all over the place when I am simply wanting to find a good pair of shoes. If I go to the Moonletters sim, perhaps now those cars moving up and down the street will not be allowed to run over me. Then again, maybe they instructed to do just that.

The project is still in beta, but you can get a sneak peak at how it works in this video:

Read more about it here.

Exodus Viewer is making a big splash

The Exodus Viewer, initially a third party viewer geared towards combat, has recently begun to make a big splash with its latest release full of rich features and amazing graphics.

I am a bit of a viewer junkie. I am even crazy enough to occasionally take the Linden Labs beta releases of their official viewers out for a spin. This is always exciting! (I should note that the last few beta releases have actually been pretty swell.) Lately, I have found myself using the new Exodus Viewer almost exclusively. Taking off where the that latest official viewer leaves off, Exodus offers rich features, great graphics and FPS at or above my current LL viewer.

The viewer’s website describes Exodus as a “specialized third party viewer for gamers and visual artists.”  If you think about it, it only makes since that a viewer built by combat gamer would be fast and look good. I mean, you don’t want lag when someone is shooting at you, right?  Now, I am by no means a “gamer” so for me the real “cat’s pajamas” of this viewer are its artistic twists.The vewer has pulled out some of the more useful rendering tools and put them in their own small preference viewers which makes adjusting the  wind lights setting, shadow qualities and all sorts of little tweaks right at your fingertips. That is only scratching the surface of all the cool features Exodus offers. You can see a full list of the viewer’s features here:

http://exodusviewer.com/features.html

Until it ceased development, I was a huge fan Kirstins Viewer. This was largely due to the great graphics that it provided during photography. Exodus has been as good, if not better, since it has also given me some additional FPS. My computer was bought off the shelf almost 10 years ago, so I can safely say you don’t need some sort of fancy machine to run it. Machinima artist Pesto Portland made a great little tutorial for the viewer that I have included below. It focus a lot on the visual features, but I included it anyway because he has a really cool accent.

The official Exodus Viewer website can be found here:

http://exodusviewer.com/

Musical group ChouChou’s immersive sim returns to SL

With so many wonderful sims in Second Life falling to the wayside, it was great to see the return of the stunning region created by the group ChouChou. After being gone for a while, the group recently announced the return of the region, along with a new album!

Chouchou

Chouchou

Chouchou is a Japanese musical duo formed in SL that creates electronic ambient music and has also created some visually stunning regions in SL as a unique way to promote and present their music to the rest of us. The three regions are simple and contemplative, much like the groups music. To put it simple, they have figured out how to do more with less. Yet each region makes a huge impact as you explore all the group has created.

To get the full effect of the regions, you want to make sure you have some basic viewer settings in place before you go. Make sure you have your viewer set to play a land’s music and media and you need the latest Quicktime on your computer. You also want to be sure and have your sky set to “Use Region Settings”.  With these settings, the unique sky settings move from day to night (every four hours), bells chime on the hour and the waters around you glow in a variety of colors. If you really want to have some fun, pick up the free “Chouchou Cinematic HUD” and get a real cinematic experience  as you take in the music.

The first and main region, aptly named ChouChou, is a pale barren landscape. The horizon line between land and sky is almost non-existent.  As I walked along  the region the water around me slowly changed colors form yellows and blues, to pinks and lavenders. As I watched others, i noticed we were all just sort of standing still, in our own little spaces, taking it all in.

Climb a slender tower and you will find the second region, Islamey or “The Garden in The Sky”. It is a beautiful garden like setting that also serves as the groups live performance area. As I walked around and listened to the music, I was amazed at how the group had done so much with so little. I probably have skyboxes in my inventory that use more prims than these entire regions!

Memento Mori

Memento Mori

The last region, Memento Mori, is my favorite of the three! It is a giant cathedral in the clouds that is breathtaking in its dimensions. To enjoy its full impact, set your view distance to 512m. I have made a point to experience this place  at both night and day and both are equally stunning.

ChouChou has recorded their music and it is available on Itunes. It would be easy enough I think for the group to just plop in world and stream their music in a club or other static setting. Instead they have used all the tools that SL has at an artists disposal to create a visual experience that intertwines with their music

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Chouchou/180/163/21

Chouchou’s webite:

http://chouchouholic.blogspot.com/

Carnivale D’Lunatique @ New Babbage

When an event promises “Freaks, SIdeshows, Mayhem and Madness”, my only response is “where and when?”

Ringmaster Gadget Starsider

Such is the case with the New Babbage Carnivale D’Lunatique currently underway through the weekend in Second Life. This is the second year for the event and it has grown significantly. If you are an admirer of steampunk, this is a definite addition to your “to do” list this weekend. Personally, I love steampunk AND I love a good freak show …so it is a win-win for Karma. Steampunk attire is not a requirement, but New Babbage is a fantastic steampunk sim and it always fun to dress the part. It enhances the experience for you, as well as those around you.

The carnival features an open midway full of carnival games, spontaneous performances and rides. You may also come across a bearded lady or other oddities making there way throughout the location. Obviously, I will be hanging out near the tent that advertises “beer & ale”. The main events are held on the carnival’s main stage on Saturday, Feb 11, at 6 pm SLT, and on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 PM. (SLT) In a clever move, the main events will place the audience on 3 sims and the stage on a 4th to keep lag to a minumum.

So, if you are like me and you love a good freak show, stop by the  Carnivale D’Lunatique.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Wheatstone%20Waterways/217/198/106

Finally, a mesh product worth being excited about!

Of all the new mesh products to enter into the SL marketplace over the last few months, nothing has really impressed me as much as a simple pair of feet designed by Siddean Munro at Slink.
We all know how the standard avatar we are stuck with is cursed with little wedges where the feet where supposed to go. (It always seemed to me like they worked for weeks on creating the SL avatar and then got to the feet and looked at each other and said , “Whew! I am tired. How about we just stick some little wedges on the legs and call it a day?)
Even though I am huge fan of mesh and the many benefits it offers, I have felt that most of the avatar clothing and attachments I have seen produced had the stylish equivalent of wearing a plastic garbage bag. I put on a mesh outfit and look like I am wearing clothing made of paper mache.
That all changed when I found these great feet (feets?) at Slink. Let it be known right now that, as a girl who grew up in the hills of southern United States, I am not big on wearing shoes. Oh, I love shoes! I am a female after all. I just don’t bother to wear them all that much. (More than a few TP requests friends send me are followed by me asking “Do I need to put shoes on for this?”)
But hey, enough about me.
These feet look absolutely great and are far superior to most of the prim feet I have seen or tried on in Second Life. Prim feet were a definite step ahead of where we were, but they were a tad clunky. RIght? You were usually forced into some weird anklet set you had to wear to hide where the prim joined the avi, and the were not ferry flexible. They were more like feet shaped shoes.
These mesh feet become part of your body. They move as your body moves. Skin matching can be tricky, but the feet feature an ankle blending layer that makes the tone of the feet blend in perfectly with the tone of the rest of your body with only minimal effort. (One issue with any mesh avatar attachment is that it is not going to adjust to fit your body, you have to adjust your body to fit it. If you are like me and  you have a lot of time invested in your shape, this can be a  big negative, but slink provides the feet in four sizes so you can get a perfect match with only minor shape adjustment.)
The feet offer high detail from top to bottom,This design was really thought out well and it it truly shows once you find yourself wearing these cute feet.
You can find them on the SL marketplace, or check them out in world here:

Not Everything Is Plain … (even in your Second Life.)

I love when artists take on the basic environment in Second Life and convert it into something beautiful or thought provoking. Despite the increase in costs to do so, artists have a history of grabbing hold of the flat, bland look of SL and twisting it, massaging it and painting it into something truly unique.

One of the latest to do so is artist Fuschia Nightfire who has created a wonderful sim environment entitled “Not Everything Is Plain Black & White”. Nightfire has created an immersive, interactive environment using very simple shades of black and white. The main path takes you through elaborate, dazzling halls into to wide open vistas.I love when you can stray form a main path and still find  some unique settings, and this environment that  Nightfire has made has plenty to see. My favorite part of the visit was coming across beautiful “transparent” Zebras. I am always amazed how a certain environment in SL, when done well, can provoke a feeling to me in RL.  There are those moments when a place can actually make me “feel” cold or warm, or provoke optimism  or melancholy. I would say Nightfire’s creation has moments of all the above.

At the entrance area, Nightfire has taken the time to provide some wonderful free gifts that go along with the theme of her display, including skins, eye shades and a few clever outfits for both men and women. The Exhibition runs from 20th January until 20th February 2012.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/MetaLES/56/62/30