Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interview: Kaikou Splash

Kaikou Splash
One of the great draws of Second Life is people. No wonder The Lab is trying to MyFace-ify Our World into a social Web experience. What many social Web venues miss, though, is the simple conversation, two or more people just talking. The other day I was chatting with my friend Kaikou Splash, owner of Splash Aquatics (SLurl) about his latest treasure hunt with a mesh alligator prize (as seen on the LKC blog here) and he told me that his next mesh project would be an Orca (AKA Killer Whale) to add to his shop's large selection of swimming critters. You've probably seen orcas elsewhere in Second Life, but you've not seen one like this.

Swimming with the new Splash orca! Like the new mesh dolphin in the background, avatars can ride the critter in various modes, or by themselves the critters will explore the waters in an area you define. They even have special, optional behaviors for when avatars are in the water.

At one point the idea of an interview with Kaikou for my blog got bounced around so others could join our conversation, in a fashion.

Uccello Poultry: The new orca is fabulous. Someone jumped on it right away and started riding it as soon as I put it out. Is that a feature folks ask for often?

Kaikou Splash: thank you :) I've tried to strike a balance with prim count and detail and give it some character too.. I don't get asked for much really but then I have to be honest.. not many people talk to me :[

Uccello: People really should talk to you. I've enjoyed our conversations.

Kaikou: ;) I just wanted to give them as many features as I could and it's ace fun!

Kaikou: aww me too uccie! you're awesome!

Uccello: It's a great feature, and I saw that your new mesh dolphins have that, too. But is the orca the first time you've made one?

Kaikou: yeah, the new dolphins have loads of features too.. and yes it is the first time I've ever made a killer whale! I've been in second life now for more than six years and when I arrived there was a legacy of very good killer whales still around. I didn't think I could do better until mesh came along - it's given me the freedom to build the dolphin and orca models with the kind of detail I really wanted.

Uccello: You've come out with quite a few mesh products, some never seen before in your shop, like the Alligators, but some are like existing products. Are you replacing "older" items with Mesh or will they exist together?

Kaikou: the new gators are a bit like the orca, in so far as I always wanted to make them but didn't see how with the tools around at the time. other mesh products like the swan and piranha are definitely replacing older products - the old swan was 13 prims or something.. the new one is 1! I have no idea what made me make a platypus though! :]

Uccello: LOL. I have the old swan and my brother bought the new one. Quite a difference in prim count, for sure. Would you be telling a secret if you let me know what you might have planned to release next?

Kaikou: Good question! well once I have the new Orca's up for sale, it's anyone's guess! I quite fancy making a new fishing game to rival all my previous games, but I'm so into mesh at the moment, I keep finding myself loading up blender and tinkering! Perhaps your readers would have a good suggestion for what I should make next?

Uccello: I'll ask them what they might like to see, of course :)

The shop features a delightfully scenic area where you can try the unique fishing game and compete to win prizes.
Uccello: Your fishing game is a classic and I see it in many places across Second Life. In fact, it's hard to find a well-decorated place that /doesn't/ have something from your shop. Have the Lindens recognized this legacy you are leaving?

Kaikou: I don't know really! I hope so but I get so much from the creation process, I don't really think about whether or not I'm leaving a legacy. I do love running into my products when I'm exploring though! Those linden folks are quite nice to me, so I must be doing something right ;]

Sneaking through the "moon pool" on the roof, near a vehicle display, one can dive into the huge aquarium and swim with the fishes! Landlubbers can access via the shop a tunnel that lets them stay dry as they enjoy the multitude of creatures in a very realistic setting. Like many parts of Splash Aquatics, the aquarium is informational as well as beautiful.

By the way, that's me in one of the several SCUBA sets available in the shop, though you don't need one to dive in.

Uccello: What I had in mind, specifically, was the phenominal aquarium you have at your shop. I can tell it is a work of love and not just a marketing gimmick. Its one of the first things I saw in SL after I hit the main grid. There don't seem to be many major aquariums like yours in Our World. If you were to ever need to leave SL, I'd have to talk to the Lindens to preserve it.

Kaikou: aaah Deep Sea is very much a labour of love! *immediately sits up* this is a subject very close to my heart, being a diver and aquatic conservationist in my part time in rl. When I first started Splash Aquatics I simply wanted to set up an aquarium shop, but as my land and product range grew the natural progression was into sea creatures.. Those sea-life centres are my favourite places to visit in the whole world. I must've heard "wow this is just like my local sea-life centre" a million times! it's ace! :]

Uccello: Its very impressive, as was all the hard work you put into the now late Dive World sims. I'd dive there almost daily. Do you think that something that spectacular might be built again, perhaps as an educational tool?

Kaikou: I'd love to build my own sim one day, for Splash Aquatics. I'd go absolutely mad with dive sites, no doubt about it! I'm not sure if we'll ever see those big corporate sims any more, which is such a shame. The Dive World sims I worked on for PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and the Cocos Island sims were amazingly good fun to build and gave people such a wonderful underwater experience.

Uccello: If someone wanted to hire you to complete their seascapes (or any bodies of water), are you available?

Kaikou: of course :) I can hold my breath for hours..

Uccello: LOL

Uccello: Someone at Dive World told me that at the time you had just done your first RL dives. Is that true? Do you get much diving in of late?

Kaikou: yes that's right. I got into diving whilst working for PADI and I'm so pleased I did. I got my PADI Rescue Diver last year and am going for my Divemaster this year. It's been a bit cold to dive recently but I'm off this weekend with a buddy to dive in a quarry with tanks and helicopters in! so cool..

Kaikou: it's really helped me make more realistic seascapes too, and of course, helped me improve the realism of my scuba gear.

Uccello: Thats awesome. One of the items on my 'bucket list' is do dive some. But speaking of "the end" ... RL needs me, so any parting thoughts?

Kaikou: Thanks so much for talking to me! If there's one thing I want people to get about me, is that I do this for the love of it! I'm always happy to chat and help people out.. Second Life has had it's ups and downs but if we all make a little time for other people I'm sure it'll be here for years to come.. and so will I (despite the age of my avatar!) ;]

Uccello: Thank you, Kaikou, for your time today and for all the wonder you bring to Second Life.

Walking through Splash Aquatics, you often forget that you are in a shop. Everythign is so beautiful; Its like a tourist attraction. In the top right you can see a glimpse of the new picnic area. Interesting and informative movies are also available in a cozy theater or you can just explore the grounds, gathering ideas for your own landscaping projects.
Splash Aquatics is a wonderful gem in Our World and Splash Kaikou is a wonderful gem of a person. I highly encourage you to become better acquainted with both.

Would you like your own FREE Splash Aquatics orca? Drop me a note card in-world with your name, the time you are contacting me, and the date and I'll send one to you ... well, the first TEN people only. Sorry, but quick is good! Many thanks to Kaikou for his generosity!!


Christian Welles said...

I believe the SLURL you included for Splash's shop is wrong.. When I arrived there I was completely surprised at what that place was :P

Uccello Poultry said...

OOOPS! Thanks. I'm correcting the post with