Friday, June 22, 2012

Going About the SL9B

This week has been a busy one for me. Events in real-life have taken up much of my time. But I still have a little time to check out the Second Life Ninth Birthday area. On Wednesday June 20th, I took a look at a few exhibits around.

Earlier on Sunday June 17, I had a look at the Jamboree sim. Going about on the 20th, I heard about the Burn2 group having an exhibit there, and it was set on fire every sunset. So when I heard it had been set ablaze, I headed over.

Burn Temple: Greetings, (name). The Temple burns each Linden night shortly after sunset, approximately 11:30, 3:30 and 7:30 a.m. or P.M. [SLT].  The temple reappears in daylight. Please take a gift. Listen to the stream.  Let the temple sing to you.

Two gifts were available for visitors. Crap Mariner, as the "Prim Reaper" was there, "I hope you had insurance," lighting his cigar with the flames. One unusual feature was the temple didn't play music at random. but gave each avatar "his own" song and played it.

To my surprise, among the green and yellow dots on my radar, there was a blue one. And soon the others saw him too, "Ohhh, a Linden." And a Tommy Linden walked over, "What is going on here?" Toady Nakamura answered, "This is the burning temple. It incinerated each 'Linden' night, and then vanishes 'til sunrise, when it reappears. We are trying to light the world on fire for SL10B." Tommy Linden looked around, "Interesting! It is very nicely done! ... So every person that enters here gets their own song? That is a very nice touch!"

I asked Tommy Linden, "How are things at the SL9B?" "Things are great!" he answered, "I am enjoying checking everything out when I have time." "Did you have anything to say to the readers?" "Um, nope, just that everything I have seen so far has been so beautiful! Everyone did such a great job on their builds!" "Any builds that stood out in particular?" "All of them, I couldn't really pick one over the other, each one is unique in its own way and worth seeing."

Later on, the Burn exhibit was mentioned in SL9B group chat, and when it was mentioned Tommy Linden was there, one girl blurted, "Oh, emm, gee! He is hot!" She then paused, followed by, "Did I say that?" and clapped her hands over her mouth.

Looks like despite the bad press the Lindens have gotten, at least one is still getting complements.

Following the Burn2 exhibit, I saw Gemma Cleanslate by the Second Life Children (SL Kids) exhibit. She had been very busy as a volunteer, and was relieved someone else was writing something about the Birthday during the festivities. Our attention was drawn to the cardboard "transmorgifier" left by the SL Kids, which offered to turn anyone going in into a kid avatar. So Gemma tried it out ...

And she ended up changed to "Young Duckie." She had a good laugh over it, "WaaHaHAhahAHA! AhhhhHAhahhAHhahHAH! haha!"

After a few minutes to relax as a kid, it was back to virtual reality, and she had to go back to her Greeter duties. And I headed to the Auditorium in the northeast corner of the SL9B region in Negen.

 At the Auditorium at 12 Noon on Wednesday, Qarl Fizz, the former Qarl Linden was taking questions about his Mesh Deformer and mesh in general, as well as other subjects, from Saffis Widdershins and the audience.

Asked about "Kickstarter" style fundraisers to get cash infusions for projects (one that made the news earlier was "Jazz Paws" from Raglan Shire), Qarl stated he liked the concept, but "I feel there'll be blowback when projects start to fail." Talking about his working with Linden Lab as an independent, he told that he just couldn't get them to do certain things. He did like working with Third Party viewers as they were more willing to experiment with new techniques. Still, "I could kind of understand why Linden Labs was reluctant … every time they changed something, there was a 50-50 chance people would get upset." He commented they might feel a little scared and intimidated by the community of residents, "outnumbered and they have more money."

"Second Life isn't Linden Lab at all," Qarl commented, "It's us. If they shut down tomorrow, we'd move somewhere else."

Of Qarl's simple wooden puppet appearance, someone in the audience asked if people offered him textures. He laughed, and answered it's happened a couple times.

Asked about his future, Qarl answered he was looking for something else to "catch my fashion." In the meantime, he was giving classes.

The SL9B continues on to Sunday evening to the late night fireworks. On Monday, there will be no more events. But the exhibits will be up for a few more days for those whom were held up by real-life events earlier, or residents who find the lag from so many avatars to be just too much.

For more information check the SL9B blog: 

See more pictures at the SL9B Flickr page: 

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Places Seen at SL9B Press Day

During Press Day, I had a chance to take a short guided tour of some of the exhibits of the Second Life Ninth Birthday area. So I joined up with a group that included Saffia Widdershins of Prim Perfect/Designing Worlds, and Ginette Pinazzo, noted for organizing the Zindra Expo, whom publishes the Zindra news blog.

"Hi Bixyl," Ginette greeted me, "Welcome to the Lotus Lounge." Saffia offered me a press pack, and I took note of my surroundings. We were inside a huge flower blossom, in the northwest part of the birthday area, in the "9" that was in both the DreamSeeker SL9B Iwa, and Dziewiec sims (check the map Here). The Lounge itself would host some live music events the following day.

From there we traveled to DreamSeeker SL9B Devet  where the west half of the Welcome hub was, the east on the Nove sim. There, I found a HUD that could teleport me to each sim at the SL9B region, often at specific parts of a sim (north, south, east, west). Thinkerer Melville wrote of the HUB structure (the black cylinder), "The Hub offers you landmarks to remote destinations affiliated with SL9B.   Stand on the inner part and see the entire set. Each destination shows as a sign above a black walkway (but only if you are close to the central hub.  Look for a landmark button on the walkway."

 Next was the Lake Stage in Frolic, which Saffia told me, "this stage is completely mesh." Unfortunately as the picture to the left shows, my Singularity viewer wasn't able to process the graphics. The picture above is courtesy of Daniel Voyager. Frolic is one of two water sims at the SL9B area. Ginette told, "and of course, being stage, plenty of events here." "The schedule is now appearing on the blog," Saffia added, "Thanks to Crap (Mariner)."

Next was the Egyptian Stage at Shindig, the other sim in the Egyptian area being Kittycats SL9B Partytime to the south. Ginette told, "now this is a great area, and it also will be an area where the Treasure Hunt events will start from. Of course, there is a stage and events here." David Abbot commented, "I've spent a lot of the last week here - it's amazing. ... The hunt is set up to run over a week - with one clue being released per day. They'll be posted on the blog and a notecard version will be available at the Happy Hunting stand. It's set up as a diary, written by a 1920s explorer who... well, he gets a little confused by the sound system for starters..."

Lastly, the group headed to Jamboree, which Ginette called, "just one of countless areas in SL9B that is filled with very well done exhibits." We appeared next to the Virtual Ability exhibit.

 A little further away in Jamboree was the Second Life Kids plot, which was made up of an avatar-sized jungle gym.

And the exhibit from the Phoenix Viewer team. The main feature was of course an animated phoenix which moved it's head around and flapped it's wings a bit. There was seating there, which gave the impression of discussions to be held there later.

Ginette's final words before we parted were full of praise, "This is a potential turning point, in my mind anyway, for Secoond Life, if the residents do it right. And I really feel they will."

Callie Cline of KittyCats commented, "it's been exciting!!! To see the community charge full ahead and pull this off, with no drama that I've seen, really great support, enthusiasm, and a 'can do' attitude has been so great to witness. I'm floored by the amazing pool of resources, talent, patience that the community has."

For more information, check the SL9B blog:  For more pictures, check the Flickr:

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, June 8, 2012

Jeddin's Underground City

Last month, Second Life Newser was informed about a build that was created by a science-fiction writer, Dana Paxson, whom is known in Second Life as Jeddin Laval. From outside at a distance, it looks like a gazebo next to a tower on a hill with some larger white and glass towers in the distance. A closer look reveals some doorways, which lead into an underground complex, Jeddin's Underground City. A smaller building next to the city entrance has an introduction for visitors to read.

A notecard given described some of what his place was about. In 1995, Dana Paxson wrote a novel he titled "Descending Road," a number of stories about an underground city on the Earth colony world of Tarnus. The story takes place ten thousand years after it's settlement, which takes place "after 20,000 years of difficult evolution beyond our present time." The main story is about a man named Andrew as he grows up on the world, in a tale that "is painful, lonely, brutal, passionate, courageous, and wildly varied."

Contacting Jeddin, he teleported me to inside his virtual city, "We're standing on the floor of a City access well, called an 'aswal' in the stories. There are several floors above us." Describing this setting of his Descending Road  novel, clickable items often give links to a webpage, a notecard describing the object, or animated something, "I always encourage touch to explore here."

Talking more about the novel his build is based on, "The story is a large-scale struggle among human factions, andros, and aliens to take control of the planet. The planet, Tarnus, was colonized by humans about 10 millennia before the time of the story. The aliens played a role in attempting to destroy humanity long before, and try again. There are several parallel stories in the work.  The main line centers around Andrew, a human caught up in a poverty-stricken life, who finds his way to a rebel faction. And of course he runs into terrible trouble from almost every side."

Jeddin noted the changing light in the city, "The overhead lighting here changes color and intensity as the Second Life day advances. That echoes the story setting, which is far underground, doing the same thing. … the underground city tracks the aboveground day." He also pointed out some groups of vines hanging from the ceiling, "Those hangings are plants designed to provide enriched air in the deep city." To get between levels without flying up and down the central shaft, there were various disks on the floors, "These floor circles are 'Eleporters' to take us between levels. … I play with words.  A lot." Another notable spot in the city is the memorial wall, or "Memwall, where the dead are remembered. … If you touch a few of the graffiti … you'll get a page offered of the scene in which a person died." In another spot, "there's a commemoration of a terrible scene. A detachment of corpo soldiers toches a home, killing two old women. But an alien revives one of the corpses and speaks to the soldiers  via the body. The alien condemns the whole human race for its crimes against itself."

In the stories, the city has both human residents, and bioandroids. Jeddin took me to where the "andros," as they were called, are created: large tubelike vats, big enough for a human-sized avatar to enter and slide down, "The embryos are inserted at the top, and grown through several floors of fluid until they emerge fully-grown and trained at the bottom. Several of the story characters, including one named Jeddin, are andros." Some information on the wall nearby explained more about the andros, "ere you get some writeup on andro capabilities, and an exhibit regarding their five-octave visual capacity. Andros can see from IR to UV, and have many color names for colors in each range."

Jeddin went on to say in the stories, the main character "Andrew is assaulted by a powerful industrialist named Arlen, founder and owner of ArCorp, the company that built the andro vats where we're now standing." The businessman suspects Andrew is somehow mixed up with the aliens plotting against the humans. Before leaving, Jeddin showed me the control panel for the vat valves, "A visitor here can let a friend drop down through a vat and come out at the bottom. The one inside a vat can also open and close valves by touching them.  The valves are the pale blue-green floor circles."

One place we went to was Caladrina's Restaurant, which in the stories is where a number of scenes took place. In one, "A girl writes silent messages to her father in salt she spills on a table in the back. … The girl is Lejina, and her story is called 'Lejina's Change' or 'Lejina's Song'." In one of his secondary stories, "One guy trashes the place with a beam weapon. The trasher is in one of the secondary stories - his name is Tomas, and the story is 'Pyro'. …Pyro is a drug. … So much of what I write has some resonance with SF I've read long before."

Jeddin showed me other rooms, some showing the architecture of the city through diagrams and holograms, both 2D and 3D. Another showed a room with a simple but challenging game where one tries to move all the pieces from one pole to another, one at a time, until they're all on the other side. One of the last rooms Jeddin showed me displayed Tarnus from space, along with it's larger moon Lulith. There was also a small model of the colony ship that had settled the world long before the plot of the novel takes place. On the wall is a poem, written by one of the settlers:

They clapped us in the chains of sleep,
and drove us frae the Sun,
The bitter chills of blackest space
near killed us every one.
But now we've got a new world's light,
nae mair to gang awa,
We'll walk again the hills and dales
of Caledonia.

Jeddin had first come to Second Life five years ago, through a real life friend of his, "Daaneth Kivioq got me a place to start, and that was when I started building. He and I go back to the 1980s. He and I ran D&D campaigns together. One of mine was set in, an underground city. That was the seed for the fiction, which was the seed for this place. Our D&D campaign lasted over ten years. When we finished, I was starting to write science-fiction. That's when I started writing the City as it is here."

Jeddin explained his build had gotten some attention outside of Second Life, "This place has been shown as stills and a video in art shows at two colleges. University of Michigan Alumni Shows, and SUNY Empire State College shows too."

Jeddin's Underground City is at the Palm Breezes sim. His website suggested "if you want to start exploring on the surface level, use the City Surface Link" at (100, 98, 46). But if you want to start at the city's lowest level, go to  (130, 117, 25).

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, June 1, 2012

UWA's Winthrop Hall is Back

There is a marvelous re-creation of Winthrop Hall at the University of Western Australia resurrected from 2009 that you may like to visit if you missed it. The UWA is the virtual presence of the university located in Crawley, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. 

Jayjay Zifanwe (Jay Jay Jegathesan) is  leader of the UWA virtual presence in Second Life. Of the re-creation he says, “FreeWee Ling, the UWA Curator of Virtual Arts has done a remarkable job in bringing this space to life. I graduated in Winthrop Hall, as did many thousands throughout UWA's 100 year history. This brings full circle the efforts to recreate Winthrop Hall in Second life. The facade and atrium were created by Dr Chris Thorne & David Gaze in 2009, and in May 2012, thanks to FreeWee Ling, the full creation is realized!“ 

The entrance is on the ground at .

The facade of the building is on the ground and to visit the interior click the cone inside the entrance  and it will take you to the interior where you can view the magnificent organ. To read more about the building and see photos of the real Hall you may like to visit the website

While I was visiting the building  Jay Jay told me of the UWA  machinima challenge that is going on now.  The theme is 'Seek Wisdom'. Sponsored by UWA, AviewTV, Philip Vought, Freemason Magic, Virtlantis & the Tornado Gallery the prize pool is sits at L$725,000 (approx USD 3,200). You can read more about the challange and the rules on their  website above, under the topic ‘Seek Wisdom’

Gemma Cleanslate