Wednesday, July 28, 2010

34 of 52 - Winterfell to get a live music stage!

A music-loving avatar just waiting for some live action

Serra Anansi has recently reorganized a few sims in the beautiful Winterfell estate (where I currently live). Now she has found room for a live music stage! And there is a competition for building it too. I think it's a great boon for the estate to have such a gathering point - in reality people are seldom "at home" in sl, so meeting neighboors are not too common.

Winterfell Building Contest

Are you up for a unique challenge? We are looking for a unique mix of steampunk, goth, and elven to be the stage and focal point of Winterfells newest addition; “Anodyne Garden - Winterfells Live Music Venue”. If you think you have a great idea for this unusual and fun stage, send us an entry! If your design catches our eye and fulfills the following criteria you will be awarded L$5000.

- Stage must be 15 meters wide by 7 to 8 meters deep
- Stage may be up to 150 prims
- No seating is required in the build
- Scripts are acceptable if kept to a minimum
- Coordinate with the existing build (textures and sculpts available upon request)
- Accentuate and highlight the view of the water way behind the stage
- Meld the unique styles of Steampunk. Goth (not vampire) and Elven in a pleasing way

Other Details:
- Entries must be sent to Serra Anansi by midnight August 3rd SLT.
- Designers may enter up to three designs
- Check out the location: SLURL
- L$5000 will only be rewarded if we receive a usable design (a winner is not guaranteed)
- Winner will be announced on August 4th
- Winning design must be presented (copy and mod) by 6th of August for instillation.

Thanks for your interest and have fun!
Miss Serra of Winterfell

Friday, July 23, 2010

In memory of Shamen Galleries

Rune Shamen and Cierra Loxely buildt and ran the Shamen Galleries. They always strived to attract the most amazing artists, but not only that: Using themes, they managed to make exhibits where the works of different artists buildt each other up. I will never forget the Religous themes exhibit for instance:

Now the gallery is no more. Cierra told me the reasons behind the closing, so I know this is not a bitter ending. No complaints about the lab, the lack of visitors or griefers. They have had a great time running the place and working with the amazing artists in SL.

Will I miss the place? That's for sure. But on these occations, it's important to focus on the positive. This couple has spent countless hours giving us amazing art experiences. I am grateful for that, not taking it for granted. Other projects and activites are lining up, and I know it's exciting and important stuff they will fill their lives with.

"Everything that has a beginning, has an end". Now, Cierra and Rune are cleaning the slate a bit, making room for new beginnings. And who knows, some time in the future one of those may bless us in SL again.

So thanks for all you gave us, and best of luck with all your plans!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thread Softly on my SL Dreams

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

--- William Butler Yeats

Julianna Jonstone has a great exhibition in the Palais Orleans Studio. Dreams, one of the pictures in the exhibit, has this beautiful poem of Yeats written in the background, in a print hardly readable. But that only made the discovery more joyful.

Dreams and Offering (not shown here because I won't scare off any nipple-sensitive americans, peace be with you all) is now on my wall because in combination they managed to make me understand AND feel how a loving bsdm relationship in SL could be.

It's true in any relationship that sometimes we do not tread softly, even if we really want to. But in SL, where a lot of the nuances in communication is lost because of the text-only medium, it's even easier to trample other's dreams with muddy boots. I find this poem a good reminder to be careful.

Go see this exhibit if the thought of some pencil-draw nude woman's breast don't make you uneasy. If it does, then I pity you; you should probably not read this blog but be content with Linden Lab's official sites, like SL7B.

Monday, July 19, 2010

33 of 52 - MOTD recommend estate rentals - Is it Philip back on the helm?

For a long time, the Message Of ToDay has advertised for premium membership and Linden Homes. Suddenly, there is a change: Linden Lab actually recommends their major customers (estate owners) instead of their own underbidding offers.

If this is a management decision made by the new (old :-) ) powers that be in the lab, its a small but noteworthy step in the right direction. Because the one thing that keep people in SL more than any other factor is when they get involved in a community. And most successful communities are buildt around dedicated estate owners (like Sierra Anansi in Winterfell). They add the value needed for the SL product to be a success.

Think of SL as a tree: The roots are the technology, the trunk is the products that LL makes money on: Island rental, mainland tier, etc. But a beautiful tree needs lots of branches of various size and form, to support bird nests, tree houses and autumn leaves. In the periods of growth, these where provided by us, the residents.

Then the lab tried to make branches of its own: Bay City, Nautilus, Linden Homes. To a variety of degrees, these are new products that underbids competitors, because they are sold to end-users at tier levels lower than what estate owners are offered. But as all other LL mainland, they lack the day-to-day care of the land that only estate owners can provide.

When the lab starts to compete with their own major customers, forcing people out of the marked, they are essentially sawing off the branches they are sitting on, because an SL with just mainland would soon be deserted.

So, Philip, a small cheer from me for this move!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

32 of 52 - On the move

Lately, I have felt a little lost, living alone in a skybox above some crappy mainland. Some new neighboor at the place where I kept my shop and skybox home also started to pollute the area with tasteless particle effects LOL. So, I decided it was time to move again. Somehow, I keep dropping by the Winterfell estate, so when a search showed a free parcel there, I took the leap and started to move. Rezzing the skybox was rather painless, but moving all the artwork took a bit of time, jumping back and forth to get a few and putting them up on the wall at the same place. Cat and Fuschia in particular have made works that are not grouped, so moving them took a little careful prim manipulation.

Down on the ground it is beautiful green, with a wood and a seafront. My closest neighboor, Princess Ivory, has a cute little castle on the ground, and even has a nice blog! Hope to get to meet her some day:-)

For now, this means tirering down a bit in in SL, but since it's summer and lots of other stuff to do anyway that's OK. Not sure what to make on the ground yet, but I guess some idea will pop up soon enough!

Friday, July 2, 2010

31 of 52 - Movies and Virtual Worlds

Wonder what Edward will do when I take his seat? /me needs a silver chained garlic

Sitting in the dark theatre the other night, watching vampires and werewolves tearing each other apart for the sake of pure drama (a girl, a boy going steady with the girl, another boy in love with the girl, and the widow of a boy killed by the boy going steady with the girl because he tried to kill the girl, and a boy in love with the widow who is just using him to get revenge on the first boy and the girl, LOL sounds like first-class SL drama to me), I began to think of the similarities between going to a movie and logging into SL.

Both experiences are trying to create an effect of immersion. Watching Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight series, it's easy to find yourselves in the head of Edward or Bella or Jacob (depending on your orientation I guess). You see what they see, experience the situations like they do, and don't know much more of what is happening outside of their fields of vision. The only thing lacking in the experience is the actual physical contact: The feel of the cold winter night, the heat of another persons skin close to you in a sleeping bag, the softness of the tender kisses in the fields of flowers.

I discovered that the feeling was not that different from the feeling of being inside the head of my avatar, watching events unfolding in front of me. I see what he sees, experiences situations like he does, and don't know much of what is happening outside his field of vision. The only thing lacking in the experience is the actual physical contact: The feel of sand between my toes, the heat of the sun as it rises from the sea, the softness of the tender kisses in the fields of flowers :-)

Yes, unlike SL, a movie has a script. But when you view a movie, you don't know. You just observe the actors following it. Just as you observe other avatars interacting with yours; they have motives and emotions that may not be scripted, but are just as unknown to you as the future actions of Bella and Charlie.

The real difference is of cource that you are not merely a spectator. You are an actor, equal in importance to the other persons on the screen. But unlike an actor, you have no script to support you.

Some would say that being immersed in SL is not an act. It's just living out your life in a different setting. But I would say that almost everyone I meet has some kind of filter between their avatars and their real self: They don't reveal their name, where they live, their phone number or RL email address. Some change gender and almost everyone is thinner and more muscular and good-looking than irl. Lots of people use SL as an escape from their lives and therefore really wants those filters. Just as we use movies as an escape from reality: For a short 2 hours we live in the woods around Fork or walk the purple forests of Pandora.

After the Avatar movie launch, there where several reports of depressive symptoms in people having seen the move: They becamse so owerwhelmed by the beauty of the Na'vi's world that they had a hard time leaving it. Some times, when I have to click the X and close down that field of flowers, I feel like that. There have been times when I could not manage to log in, just because I knew how the end of the session would feel.

But I guess I won't miss Breaking Dawn when it opens, just because it's a bit sad when it ends. So that's more of my virtual worlds attitude at the moment: Live the day!

In addition, there are the times you just use the viewer as a tool - creating environments, scripting, taking photos. To compare that to the movie world, its more like being a director or a camera man on the set - I guess they don't immerse themselves in the movie like the audience do at the end. Just as when I poor concrete into the feet of my oil rig in RG (LOL), the viewer is more of a tool like GIMP and avimator.

But now it's a nice summer day, so I will leave the computer in the trunk and get some real sand and sun and people close.