Thursday, July 30, 2009

Giant Chessboard

My latest build for the Isle of Lesbos, a giant chess board dance club. There is a "flaw" that I'm waiting for more folks to notice, added to see how many folks play the game. Pretty much just one person found it so far. I have a full-perm chess set I might cannibalize to make this playable. With or without that, I wonder if it is sale-able.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Product Review: (mirada)smartCAM

Fate picked me to beta test a wonderful new product, the (mirada)smartCAM. Specifically, it was Damien Fate, the maker (and ebil genius behind great things like Loco Pocos). Why me? It pays to be quick. And to beg. Not sure cuteness was a factor. But I got to play for a few days and I love it.

In the picture above you'll see a HUD in the upper right. It controls a camera that you rez from your inventory. For one function, simply cam to the view you want, press a HUD button to memorize it, and do that up to 6 more times. Then whenever you want, you can have your camera go back to each of those presets quickly and easily. The inset shows three of the views I had from where I was standing as shown in the bigger picture. I was watching my Shilo (such a sweetie), then watching what she was building, and keeping an eye on the Lucky Board in one of my shops (SLurl). The Big Pic was a fourth preset, but I arranged things so you could see there orb-camera in the view. Normally it trails behind your camera's focus point, usually behind you unless you alt-mouse a new view.

Which is part of the other function of the gadget: Follow Cam. Of sorts. You can give a special HUD to anyone else and their view will synchronize with yours with the press of a button. Imagine shopping and being able to show someone across the store what you found. Of course, scripts must be enabled and you need rez rights, but you get the idea. This made me think of all those school trips where the teacher used a laser pointer to show everyone where we should work. In SL® folks often use their "edit" beam to point, but that isn't always effective. With the synchronized views an instructor has better assurance the students are watching. This would also be great for group builds and machinima projects. For the latter, the HUD can display framing guides.

The potential uses are many and varied. One of my concerns was security. There is a function to make the camera invisible, great if multiple people are using the system for a machinima project, but that gives it the potential to be a spy device. At my suggestion Damien added hovertext on the camera so anyone seeing it would know who the operator is without needing to "inspect" it but that hides when the camera does. The preset views function gives it great utility for security officers, though, so I guess there is a balance. You are limited only by your draw distance (if your graphics are set to High, many prims and avatars won't be visible past 128m even though you can have the preset across a whole region) and your cleverness.

A very good manual is included and covers many of the details I didn't mention here. You can also read an overview on the Loco Pocos blog or simply buy one and play with it yourself. It's a hoot to use and very useful.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


In no fashion could I ever call myself coordinated or athletic so I find myself attacking sport in Second Life® with much gusto but little grace. This applies doubly so to Grungeboarding at Grendels (SLurl). Check out this video ...

My experience was nothing like what these virtual athletes (AKA "showoffs") exhibit. I was at my peak in touching the necessary prim to buy equipment for L$0 to try grungeboarding myself. After that every action was a disaster. But I had fun anyway and zoomed through the tunnels suspended some 3000m above the Avarian sims several times. A HUD for tricks accompanies a special AO and the board in the free startup kit, not that I was able to use it much. All my coordination was used to steer myself in the right direction. Clicking on the HUD to flip, roll, spin and generally look cool was out of the question.

I wasn't even cool enough to appear in the pictures I took, the best of which shows this avie gloating as she contemplates another run. All that being said, I'm sure I'll return time and again so maybe I'll improve. After all, if I can type, I must have some ability to use two hands for different tasks at the same time. As I crash into one wall after another, I'll keep telling myself that "pain is fleeting; chicks dig scars; glory lasts forever" and having fun anyway.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where in the world is ...

As I look back I see my last post on this blog was about three weeks ago, quite some time in the fast-paced world of blogging. While I can "blame" my First Life for consuming much of my time, quite a few things have been going on in my Second Life, too, and I should have been blogging about those.

The biggest of these has been the total reboot of the club venue at the Isle of Lesbos (SLurl - women only). Earlier this year, the Isle Manager, Threshin Barnett, had come up with the idea of a versatile space some 500m above the Isle where clubs of different themes could be rezzed based on the event theme: Sci-Fi, Western, Jazz, Grunge, etc., to reduce lag and to have larger clubs. Planet Lesbos (Web) was one of these builds. For a variety of reasons it was decided to move this space to ground level, replacing the Sunrise Dock, the basic gathering area and club. That meant that all of the clubs in the sky had to be redesigned and re-constructed. Right now I'm working an a dark, Ridley Scott-ish space station to replace Planet Lesbos after completing a giant snow globe to replace the Winter club, a rebuild of the Pride Club, and a near complete reworking of Faces, one of my favorite clubs (see below).

As you can see, it is based on my SL6B Exhibit (Flickr), which was based on the original Faces club. I'll try to get pictures of the other new clubs posted here soon and on Flickr.

I've also taken time to do a lot of exploring when not building, spending a fair bit of the time on a great "planetoid" called Mos Ainsley (SLurl), a region built by the Linden Moles for no reason I can discern other than fun. I blogged a bit about it for the Lucky Kitty Crew (Web), focusing on the free space suit and overalls on site. But whether as my Pocos mouse avie (at left) or in other forms, I had a lot of fun driving the surface buggy that can be rezzed, finding alien artifacts, trying to find a way to completely seal the base, or even flying the shuttle around the sim and onward to the mainland.

Much of my recreation has been scuba diving, though. The sport has long been a favorite of mine in SL so I was delighted when I first found Dive World (SLurl) nearly two years ago. Recently they've expanded to four regions from one and have changed the basic land settings so really deep dives are possible. As before, most of it looks to be built by my friend and neighbor Kaikou Splash (SLurl to his shop) and it is all excellent. The remodeling is proceeding such that the flora and fauna appear to be reaching out to claim the new landscape. Following the growth is a great way to relax or explore in earnest.

Recently I took my Shilo there and during a dive we spotted a mermaid (and a merman!) so we quickly changed to become part of the wildlife. On another outing with my Angela, Kaikou joined us in his hermit crab avie, I switched to my nautilus avie and we floated around cracking wise and just having a great time. On a visit with both Angela and Shilo we flew the hang gliders, surfed some gnarly waves, swam, and even snuck in a little diving. Can you tell I love this place?

You can follow me on Plurk (click here) for more frequent updates about my whereabouts and doabouts, but I'll try to blog more. Unless I'm diving!