Friday, November 30, 2012

Resistance to Change

After completing an SL viewer upgrade so minor that The Lab didn't even mention it, I found that part of my workflow suddenly changed. After typing in my password I usually just tapped the Enter key on my keyboard and the log-in process started. Not since the upgrade. More than a few times now I've hit Enter and switched to another window to do something while logging in only to look a few moments later to see the static viewer screen as if I had done nothing. Once, I totally forgot I had even tried to log in at all. Almost immediately I thought about creating a JIRA for the issue but after remembering that I have NEVER had a successful JIRA and being distracted by some string, I thought "Well, it is a little change. I can get used to it. It's not like when they took away the slide out  panels that I really loved and had to take a long time to re-learn."

Yes, even I have a resistance to change, however I'm extremely happy to know that I can adopt, adapt, and improve, unlike so many that use computer technology. Take, for example, the recent upgrade from Apple iTunes 10 to version 11. Within minutes the Twittersphere was awash with tips to bring back "missing features" and not long after reviews were published with more tips and then even whole articles like "5 Tips to Make iTunes 11 Look Normal Again" from OSXDaily here.

Normal? What they should have titled the article is "5 Tips to Make iTunes 11 Look Like What You Got Used To Since the Last Change You Complained About." At least two of the tips (possibly three, but I don't have v10.x to check any more) were available options in past renditions of the popular software. Yet fanboys – fancy newspeak for curmudgeons – totally ignored the facts. This, too, happens with the Second Life viewers, official and otherwise.

It took me a couple weeks to become proficient with using the v2 interface when it was introduced but I swear it look less than 15 minutes after it was introduced for me to find someone vehemently against it in-world. The viewer had been out less than half a day. I deny that even software designers and professional reviewers could give  an application a thorough workout in such a short time.

And now that Third Party Viewer (TPV) developers have been incorporating v2 designs into their efforts (by force, admittedly) the hue and cry over the change is much quieter. Fanboys of the TPV products can still hurl invectives and demonstrate massive intolerance toward other products, but fortunately their numbers seem to be smaller now. As I listen in the Macintosh Users group chat, the sense of co-operation seems to have increased with fewer users being rude over viewer choices. I also encounter fewer people in Infohubs and help places spreading the vitriol once common. Maybe we are becoming less resistant to change?

I think it would best that when change occurs, we remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "Everybody is right from their own point of view, but it is not impossible that everyone is wrong."

And now for something completely different: A nude girl on a beach ...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hyper Mole [Updates]

Lighting a candle for Hyper Mole at the Bay City Community Center (SLurl).
Hyper Mole, a beloved and highly talented member of the Linden Department of Public Works, passed away today after losing a well-fought battle with cancer. The news has shaken a large part of our community, particularly those of us fortunate enough to enjoy her work in Bay City.

  • Hyper's MySL profile is here.
  • Hyper at Snapzilla here courtesy Marianne McCann
  • Marianne has a touching snapshot here along with many comments from the community.

According to Marianne in a post to the Bay City Alliance group, "Hyper was involved in several inworld build projects, and is known locally for work on the Bay City Community Center, the signage for the Bay City Fairgrounds, many of our prefabs, assistance on the Falmouth Hotel & Hairy Hippo Fun Land, and work on seasonal additions to Bay City."

I remember well my chat with Hyper back in July 2011 about her work with the infrastructure for the Second Life birthday sims. She was gracious with her time and generous with both advice and encouragement.

My sincere condolences to her family both inside Second Life and outside, as well.


Silent Mole left a touching tribute in Hairy Hippo Fun Land (SLurl) among other spots.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time for an Inventory Refresh

Over the last couple years, though without any regularity, The Lab has updated our Library inventories – the stuff every Resident gets for free – with some nice clothes and fancy avatars. When sculpted prims were introduced a special folder with demo textures and another with demo objects were added. But if you've looked elsewhere in the Library, you'll find objects that date back to the Second Life equivalent of antiquity.

The 16 LI bed (LI = Land Impact ... I need to get with the 21st Century and stop writing "prim count" ... read more here) in the picture was made by Alberto Linden back in October 2002. Don't look him up, He is long gone. Recently installed in our family apartment is an 18 LI sculpted bed that is far more attractive, but a version with the same animation engine as the new bed was available for as few as 9 LI and it looks a lot like this animation-less one.

The 21 LI Library Chair I'm sitting on in the picture can easily be replaced with a higher quality mesh version with a much, much lower Land Impact count. I'm sitting on the arm of the chair, by the way, because each prim is set to "Sit on Object" so a click anywhere has a 1-in-21 chance of working correctly. Blame Brent Linden because he is no longer with us so he can't respond.

Just a few more examples pictured: Coffee Table, Glass And Steel 9 LI;  Basic Chair 11 LI; Floor Lamp w/blue Shade 8LI; Kart 1.0 27 LI (and recently described as "dangerous" by a Linden in a builder group chat); Cabin 29 LI. The Library is filled with more like this, including the iconic 18 LI Parrot you might have seen at Welcome Island (some Welcome Islands have a newer, sculpted version).

Yes, a bit dizzying. But it gives me an idea ... if the avatars and clothes have been updated to attract new Residents, why not refresh the Library? Dump the older stuff into the retired items box The Lab already has in Stillman (SLurl) and give us new stuff. Goodness knows the LDPW Moles are exceptionally talented (not just the ones that are well-known under private names for their art and retail goods) could create some wonderful stuff, perhaps themed to the Linden Homes (Web). Or create sets for specific communities that might be associated with the type of avatar new users choose from at sign up. Vampires get vampire stuff, robots get .... No. Maybe that one isn't a good idea.

But a Library refresh is a good idea. Not only would we get new stuff but it would demonstrate The Lab's commitment to having a thriving Community.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Very Bay City Christmas

Bay City Annual Treelighting, Concert, and Fundraiser

Come to the Bay City Fairgrounds on Saturday, 8th December 2012 from 1-4 pm SLT for a tree lighting, skating party, silent auction, music event featuring GoSpeed Racer, Grace McDunnough, and Bluemonk Rau. All proceeds go to Child's Play Charity ( Child's Play is a 501c3 non profit organization that helps seriously ill children around the globe.

The event will be held at the Bay City Fairgrounds, in North Channel (SLurl).

Special items will be auctioned for charity, including a Special, one of a kind photograph by Whiskey Monday. Auction will start at 10:00 am SLT, 8th December and end at the conclusion of the event at 4 p.m. SLT.

We are still looking for good, unique, auction items. Please contact Marianne McCann or Ever Dreamscape for more information.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

And the next Premium Gift is ....

Since September of 2011, The Lab has been giving gifts to it's Premium account Residents. Intially, the gifts were to be doled out monthly but that quickly went from plan to poo right away. Eventually, several gifts were given out, including what I consider to be a gift, the opening of some Premium-only sims: The Wilderness Area (Web) and very quiet Sandboxes (Web). Here's a quick review of the physical gifts, though (in no particular order).

The most recent Premium gift was a very nice biplane. I wrote about it here. Also introduced at this time was a Premium Resident-access airport in Orville (SLurl)

The second Premium gift was a pretty nice sailboat. I know a few Residents that snoozed and missed out on getting their copy and now they can't have one. I first wrote about this gift here.

The first Premium gift was a very nice furniture set. While folks eagerly awaited to see what the October gift would be many argued about free advertising being given to the non-employee creators of the gifts. Since then all the gifts have been made by the very, very talented LDPW Moles. My first post on this gift is here. Most of the free avatars and clothes you'll find in your default Inventory were made by non-Lab employees, by the way, and are very good.

An extremely popular Premium gift was the Dune Buggy. I very briefly wrote about it here. This gift also came with the introduction of new Premium regions like Salt Gulch (SLurl) so owners could race their new vehicles. Interestingly, the gift kiosks in the themed regions distribute the most current gift, not the one associated with the region. If you want the Dune Buggy now, you are out of luck but you can rez anything here. I see lots of folks riding horses at times.

One of my favorite Premium gifts is the Railroad Handcar. As with some of the other gifts, special Premium access regions were introduced so Residents could play. Visit Saminekim (SLurl) for some fun if you have any train. I wrote about this gift here and here.
I suppose that you could also consider having a Linden Home as a gift. I mean, you can have up to 512m2 of land without paying tier costs or you can have the land with a home on it. That conserves the land's prim count for your furniture and whatnot. And having a cash stipend is something of a gift, too, plus Premium accounts have more support options and have a bit more pull if someone tries to remove you from Second Life.

But this post is about the physical gifts. Four of five have been about transportation. Do you think the next gift will be an automobile for the many Second Life roads? Maybe it will be a special mesh house for small plots of land. What do you think the next gift will be or what do you want to see? Feel free to leave a comment below and if I get enough, I might drop a line to some Moles I know.

Not a Second Life Resident? Click here to join. If anyone asks who referred you, tell 'em Uccello Poultry.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

I just finished reading Honour McMillan's fabulous blog post "On Mainland & Fences & Rusty Toilets in Second Life" about her visit to Tatty Soup (SLurl) and a rumination about land in Second Life. After seeing her pictures I thought the location would be perfect for a writing topic that came to me as I was drifting into a turkey coma yesterday. Basically, how important is hyperrealism to the suspension of .... no, wait. Let's save that for another day.

As I was composing the first picture that I needed to illustrate the topic I thought about the Region Default Windlight settings. Normally when I explore I keep the Region Default set so I can enjoy the area as the buildscaper intended. Tatty Soup is set to what appears to be a modification of "Alchemy Immortalis - Fog Lifting" Fixed sky option (I peeked in the Environment tab of the Region/Estate tools .. it comes installed on some Third Party Viewers or can be found with a bit of Googling). The effect of this pre-set is perfect here. Actually, it is perfect most places, but I like fog – just this morning in Real Life I was up early, glued to the window to watch the densest fog we've had in some time. But that's all aside at this point. Here's what the region looks like (maximum draw distance plus everything but Depth-of-Field active in the graphics settings):

At this point, I was ready to break down the tripod, pack up the ol' Tamrac camera bag, and head back to the Lydia Rose Memorial Park (SLurl) to grab the next shots I needed for my original idea. Then another idea hit me ... Moar Shadows!! The picture was a bit flat. Well, snow, fog, overcast, lack of greenery, etc. So I thought "Sunrise!" and started a whole series of pictures, totally shelving my original idea. So let's look at the same shot above but changing its character via some different pre-sets.

Midnight: In the Garden of Frost and Snow. Pretty much as you might imagine it would be, but no fog. No weather at all, actually, so it is rather dull if you ask me.

Sunrise: Here Comes The Sun. As you can see, East is behind me and slightly to the right of me. This is the standard sunrise, though the East Angle and the time of day can be changed in the Environment Editor. I like how the cabin catches some of the first rays of the sun. Looks cozy.

 Midday: Checking out life in the park (thanks, Yusuf). Crisp, clear, and I have my shadows. A careful photographer with time on her hands would watch a complete cloud cycle to pick the best sky/water reflections, but one cycle can take nearly an hour before it repeats.

Sunset: Hopin' to promote a dream somewhere along the way (thank you, Mike). I did watch the clouds for a bit here to catch the faint rainbow that sometimes appears (never noticed that we had those, did you?). Still a little warm, but the over all feeling is still chilly. And far different from the region default, you'd have to agree, but all within the bounds of "normal" weather.

And that's where Day Cycles come into play. Look for them in the Environment Editor. Unlike the usual Windlight pre-sets, Cycles work with the flow of time as Second Life skies regularly do, but have some color and weather effects.

This is the Default cycle, the one that is synchronized with the Mainland. Based on the coloration and the extent to which the sun's rays reach, it looks like the time is a few minutes past the 6:22AM time where default "Sunrise" is fixed. So in effect I was in Tatty Soup at about quarter till 7:00AM, I'd guess (I could have looked at the clock at the time, but I forgot and I'm writing this about an hour later, so close enough). The subsequent pictures were taken with different cycles no more than 10 minutes after this picture, so all are morning images.

The Dynamic cycle differs little from the Default cycle, but if you look closely (and your monitor allows) you can see there is a slight increase in color saturation. As clouds and sky can color the land and water, there may be some change due to wind shifts, as well. After this, things can become strange.

The Colder Tones cycle is dark this time of day and the sun is either in the West or that is a really bright moon. Not one of my more favored settings, I seldom use this cycle for pictures.

The Pirate's Dream cycle is very, very nice for this shot. It looks quite similar to Midday, but the contrast is amped up and the sky has a slightly violet hue and that, of course, colors the water and the shadows. There is also a bit more haze in the atmosphere and that picks up the same hue.

I'm wondering if we can just assume that Torley Linden is responsible for the Psycho Strobe! cycle? I can hear the meeting now ... "What's wrong with pink and green? The Residents love it. They love ME! They'd want a pink and green cycle. What? Oh, well. Orange clouds and deep purple-blue skies. Go Broncos *sheesh*"

The Tropicalia Cycle sometimes works in tropical locations, but not often, and it certainly doesn't work here. The contrast is just too harsh. Notice the azure/topaz water, though. Cycles change how water looks as much as fixed presets do, but and the way the sun's coloring and general coloring is set gives the default water this more tropical look. You can always use different water pre-sets to change any cycle effect.

The Weird-O Cycle is just that ... weird. It always strikes me as some post-apocolyptic, radiation-enhanced thing. That's about all I can say about this one.

I've made some fixed Windlight pre-sets for places I frequent and for various photographs but sometimes I'll slip out the Dynamic Cycle just to be different. So even if you have a hyperrealistic setting like Tatty Soup, you can easily suspend ... oh, that topic again. Maybe in another post. Now go explore!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Project Coming Soon!

Uccello hasn't been posting much here lately so I've staged a coup and taken over her blog (at least until she notices) so I can tell everyone about more of my explorations. Since the Isle of Lesbos closed I've had a hard time finding a job as a Junior Assistant Gardner (3rd Grade) so I've had plenty of time to roam Our World.

An interesting place I ran across today while following some railroad tracks is called Project Coming Soon! in the Owens Beach region (SLurl). What makes it of note is not the complete lack of beach or anyone named Owen (they might have been away), but rather there is construction litter that bears marks characteristic of Squishy Mole of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW). Based on the dust I examined the materials have been here a while so that puts the "Soon" in the parcel name in some doubt. Rome wasn't built in a day, and all, I guess.

The land has all the basics you'd find at a Second Life construction site. If there's a builder in SL that doesn't have Carl Metropolitan's basic grid then there's a builder I haven't met. You'd think that the Moles might have something more sophisticated like with frickin' lasers or something. I knicked a laser-based orientation gadget from Uccello once. Maybe I should send a copy to Squishy to make this site look a bit sexier (the lasers merely look good ... Uccie often builds stuff with little real value).

Hard to tell what these components will form. They look more like raw materials that need to be shaped or otherwise transformed before being used. I don't see a CNC machine (Web) around to do the work so I'm guessing that Squishy will resort to old-fashion prim torturing (Web). You'd think that The Lab would have cutting edge options such as a Maker Bot device (Web) for custom crafting. I think the Moles are worth the expense.

What, Ho! A mine of some sorts? And next to a railroad spur. Me thinks someone has been ore-ing around. Like the construction area, this seems to be old and not used recently. Someone should tell Michael Linden that security could be better here.

I magicked a torch and started my descent. Right away I could tell that this is a very old prim mine, probably unused since the ANWR prim-drilling rig went into operation (Web). Still, with modern techniques prime prims like these could be mined for a profit when the economy improves.

Often, mined prims show a variety that prims from a drill field don't. It's almost like barn wood. There's an sense of heritage when using mined prims, even the cubical ones, that make prims from drilling seem rather artificial. I prefer the more organic nature of mined prims when making landscaping items.

After a few hours of going down, down, down into the tunnel I finally found the terminus. An old mine car sits, rusting and lonely. It's hard to imagine early builders bringing up one prim at a time. No wonder there was a prim tax of in the early days of Our World (Web). This had to be an expensive undertaking back in the day. This deep one is likely to find Heritage prims, the cream of the crop when it comes to prim quality. I could almost smell the potential once I got past the smell of decaying critters.

Without tools and what little that pixy magic could do to help, I did no more than look over the mine car. There was no way I'd be able to use it to get back up to the surface. Good thing pixies fly.

Being crushed under the weight of earth above since an era long time out of mind can do amazing things to a prim. When this baby was first formed it was probably cubical like fresh prims, but the combination of pressure and time makes a prim do strange things. I can imagine that given enough time this prim would eventually become a rhombicosidodecahedron.

The journey back up the mine seemed to take much longer than the journey down. Maybe I shouldn't have spent so much time looking at the amazing prims further down the shaft. At this point I was getting very hungry and berating myself for not bringing a snack. It never occurred to me that I could have eaten the camera-wielding butterfly following me this whole time and taken my own pictures.

Back outside the mine and it was clear how long I had been down in the hole. The sun had set and I was glad I had my jacket against the chill. A quick flight back to near by Bay City for some food then a quick nap before more exploring. Unless Uccie catches me, maybe I can post something here again tomorrow.

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Editor's Note: Maybe I should give Zyx publishing rights on this blog. Currently only I can press that button. Thanks for the story, wee pixy, and feel free to submit another at any time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Not Posting Every Day

Thinking about blogging.
Sometimes I feel bad about not posting something here every day. When I had a personal blog (or contributed to other blogs in a similar vein) I even set up assignments to make sure I blogged every 24 hours ... Song of The Day, Word of the Day, LOLcat of the Day, etc. After reading the Oatmeal comic today, I don't feel so bad about not posting with diurnal regularity. Check it out here (NSFW and a wee time consuming, but worth it).

New Premium Gift! [Update]

The Premium Sandboxes also have Premium Airports like Limia (SLurl) and feature Mole Gas for your birds. 
The Lab has a new premium gift out today, a Lindy Premium Airplane v1.04, and you can grab it at any Premium gift spot such as the one in Sandbox Mirificatio (SLurl). The plane features seven texture schemes, 10 animations (mostly hanging off the wings), and customizable controls, all available via menus when you click the plane. Use the Help option in the menu for a note card explaining everything and a list of places to rez your new toy so you can go flying. This is just a quick post for now. I'll write more about this cool gift as soon as I get back  .....

Update 01:38pm SLT

Looks like there is a new Premium airport! Check out Orville (SLurl) with your new plane. More updates to follow.

Update 03:48pm SLT

My first full flight in The Crate. I left from the Bay City Municipal Airport (SLurl) because no matter which direction I went, I wasn't able to exit the Premium regions to visit Mainland if I left from Orville. I noticed a few issues such as dramatic altitude drops upon region changes and as often as not direction changes, too. There seems to be no way to maintain consistent altitude in any case. Constant vigilance in the cockpit is required as it seems the SL winds will buffet the plane and force X,Y,Z direction changes. Combine that with controls that are far too delicate at the standard (Advanced) setting and the plane is a bit tricky to control. Beginner mode can be set to make this a wee bit easier, even in mid-flight. I'm working on figuring out the throttle, but I was able to determine that when you are taxiing that take off happens at 40% throttle whether you hit the flaps or not. Most notably, there is not food or drink service.

Happy Skies, y'all!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Yet Sad: A Touch of Ireland

How did I not know about A Touch of Ireland (SLurl) before yesterday when I got the news that it was closing and was having a massive sale? Admittedly it looks familiar and I think I saw one of the Oktoberfest dresses on the SL Marketplace (SLM) when shopping a couple months ago, but I don't think I've been here ere now. Yes, the sale makes me happy yet I'm sad that the shop is going away. Take a look at some pix of the amazing clothes and product shots in the shop.

Tons of holiday costumes, many with special skins or accessories, like these for Día de los Muertos. If there's a national holiday somewhere, I bet you can find a costume for it in this shop.

I bought these devil and angel costumes for only L$50 each, normally L$375 apiece, wings, horns, halo, and skins included. Most items look to have the same markdown. And aren't these pictures stunning? Each product prim is like a work of art. I also bought a Wizard of Oz Scarecrow Girl costume at a huge discount (Web).

I bet pictures like these could be sold as art either in Second Life or on Web sites that feature art.

Squeeeee! I'm so not femme enough to pull this off so I only looked. Despite the gown being just L$50, the matching jewelry pack to the right was L$200 – a fair price or a steal combined.

Of course A Touch of Ireland has Irish clothes! I don't remember if I bought this one or not because I was just clicking and paying, clicking and paying until my L$500-something purse was nearly empty. I bought one item for just L$1!
I hope that AliciaKay Kilara can bring her shop back in-world sometime but until then you should stock up now, ladies, as the shop is going away on the 16th!!. Only a few items will be available on the SLM (Web) at full-price. Guys, too, should stop in as there are many outfits for the gents.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Floaty-ness in SL

A Mainland Girl is what I am and that won't be changing soon, I bet. It's the diversity and the asynchronous clashes of creativity with supposed normality. You can find private estates with a medieval castle in one corner and a giant mech robot straight out of magna on the opposite side but this is rare. Most of these regions are homogenous of theme and intent, often tropical or otherwise natural paradises and just as often fantasy environments but all resonating with harmony.

Mainland is birth, entropy, and rebirth all roiling in chaos. I really do love it. I love living behind a gas station and being able to see a crashed retro-future rocketship a short walk away from the house. This doesn't mean that I understand it all or enjoy every aspect. A completely full-bright shopping mall and hotel? Giant flaming teddy bears? Well, to each their own and there's plenty of land that one can move to if they don't like their neighbors. But I get really confused as to why folks sometimes build the way they do. Take this floaty house in Davenport (SLurl), for example.

Frankly, the giant Metropolis robot sitting in a Buddah pose near by makes far more sense than does just plopping down a platform in mid-air a meter above the nearest ground then building a house rather than working with the land form you have. Yes, I  understand that many on mainland may not terraform or can't do so to the extent they wish, but at this point it just might be a better choice to simply move the whole shebang up a thousand or so meters and have a sky box.

Choice. That's what it comes down to in the end. Mainland is about choice. It is your land and as long as you follow the Community Standards (Web) and the Terms of Service (Web), you can do as you please. So you'll see lovely builds not possible in Real Life, meticulous re-creations of Real Life, and things that don't make any sense at all. Like this bit of floaty-ness.

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On a related note, please visit Honor McMillan's blog and read today's post "Avatars and Avatar Police in Second Life." She explores this same choice theme but with avatars.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Garden Game [UPDATE]

Much to my surprise I was given an invite to do something as a Second Life blogger. Fashion designers almost never send samples and major events tend to ignore me yet a folder with information for The Garden Game (SLurl) popped up so I had to look inside to see if it was a mistake.

Whether it was or not, I don't know, but I was given a chance to preview one of the most lush gardens in all Second Life and it actually is a HUD-based exploration and puzzle-sovling game.
The Garden Game is a clue-based puzzle that incorporates gathering, exploration, and logic. Your goal is to seek the seven Guardians and their Artifacts to collect clues and solve the current puzzle round by discovering which Guardian committed which Sin and what Penance they suffered for their actions.
Admittedly, experienced builders and explorers-in-the-know will recognize almost all of the elements used in landscaping as being from familiar sources, but the vision behind the design and the skill in the layout make the region seem to be endless. I flew up to get a bird's-eye view and looked at a map in the press kit and couldn't believe what I just walked through was just one region. Truly gorgeous.

And it really is a game. You can try a demo HUD at the entrance and then pay L$299 for the full HUD should you get hooked. This is a genius move as too many games make you commit before even exploring. There is no set lore to the game but it is instead loosely held together with a simple story.
The Garden is a mysterious respite full of whispers and secrets. Within its boundaries stand seven lost spirits, once charged with protecting and tending The Garden itself. Each of these fallen spirits committed a sin of betrayal against that they were bound to serve and each was sentenced to a penance for their transgression.  By discovering their fates, you can help lead the spirit Guardians toward peace and Forgiveness.
Speaking to a scarecrow (okay, clicking it) yielded a clue I could use to click various elements in the HUD to track my progress. It reminded me of the board game Clue (Web).
The Watcher:: My sin was not Pride or Wrath and my penance was not Pain of the Flesh. I know that the guardian whose sin was Lust suffered Weight of the World.
Not being much of a gamer I found myself concentrating on the landscape during this first trip but I was intrigued enough to want to visit again and soon, especially with my wife for the game can be solo or multi-player, either in partnership or in opposition. While I was confused at first, game play became much clearer once I watched the video tutorial (YouTube).

I can see myself getting lost in this landscape quite often and it may run the risk being run-over by non-players during the preview weekend. Afterward I suspect it will be open only to players, but I can't confirm that. Of course, the game can be played over and over as there are limitless variations. Once you gather clues, figure out which spirit committed which sin and which penance is required of them, you can offer forgiveness to only one. To help the other spirits you must play again. The clues and various artifacts to same will require new searches and new applications of logic.

The Garden Game's creator team consists of Grace McDunnogh, Trav Rexen, and Salome Strangelove. Whichever one is responsible for the haunting melody that occasionally pops up should be congratulated. Not many games use sound at all so this was a joyful surprise.

I had one problem, however. When I hid the HUD so I could better enjoy the views the button to again reveal the HUD was invisible and off-screen. I had to edit another HUD and zoom to see the game HUD and then bring it back. This happend with the demo unit and one given to me in the press kit so I don't know if the full piece have the same issue or not.

Now go visit or check out some tips for game play.

  • Upon entering the region you'll be offered a demo HUD and a note card that is will worth reading. It has a picture of artifacts important to game play if you miss the "physical" examples in the playing area.
  • Pay attention to the clues each spirt give you. They not only give information about themselves but they dish on the sins of the other spirits. Clearly a very dysfunctional family in this garden.
  • Don't click on anything unless you are within 10 meters of it as you may not "hear" the information the item imparts in main chat.
  • Your mouse pointer will turn into a hand for any item that is clickable, but not all items are worth clicking on. I can think of some candles that I found that proved to be very obstinate so I left them alone.
  • The female forest spirt appears to be wise but may not be of any help at all.
  • Keep an eye open for the randomly appearing artifacts.

The biggest tip is Relax! It's for fun even if you don't compete for scores, bragging rights, and whatever wagers you can make. It's a frickin' garden so enjoy it!!

I completed a game and it turns out that the whole thing is not a complicated as it initially seemed to be, but as I mentioned, I'm not a gamer. I play solitaire on my iPad and desktop (Web).

The Naiad is easy to not find so be sure to poke in the bushes.

Take advantage of the tally function of the HUD. Once you know the two important bits about each spirit, "x" out the unimportant ones. That will make it easier to see what you don't know.

Visit each spirit a few times, but you can't just keep clicking on them. Once they talk to you go find another and work your way around.

Additional resources:

The Garden Game Website
Honour McMillan's blog post about her visit

Note: All pictures taken with Lighting and Shadows enabled with region Windlight defaults.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MyWeek on MySL

If you haven't been following my past week on MySL then you've missed a fairly busy time. Here's a sampler from the snapshots section:

In my travels I re-found some places I had forgotten about, like the Bay of Space Pigs (SLurl) and picked up some freebies like this snapshot HUD. The Moles of the LDPW often display a wickedly sharp sense of humor in their builds making each visit a treat.

After The Lab finished rolling out Havok updates to all the regions it was safe to use mesh vehicles at sim border crossings again so I leaped in the Black Chicken and flew around the Coastal Waterway (Web) until I hit a ban line which disintigrated my chopper and dropped me in the water. Thank goodness this kitty can swim and has a day-glo flight suit for the Search And Rescue teams to spot.

On Election Day in the USA I visited an unofficial Obama 2012 campaign headquarters and took several snaps with owl buddy Daniel Voyager. Can't see it in this picture, but I'm wearing my Flufee for President hoodie. Later, Daniel searched for a Romney HQ but couldn't find anything. It's not like four years ago when lots of politicians had a presence in Second Life, official or otherwise.

The day before the US elections I ran amuck in some UK sims to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day (Web) and took a few snaps. There didn't seem to be much of a party for the remembrance anywhere and I actually met folks who thought I was just an Occupier (Web). My, how folks forget their traditions.

Despite Halloween having passed, I hit up Grendel's Children (Web) to search for pumpkins with avatar prizes inside. One of my favorites of the couple dozen I got is a pair of giant spiders. Amazingly textured, artfully sculpted, and brilliantly scripted, these critters can actually build webs and use them! Here I'm setting up house on the sign at one of Robin Sojourner's shops (SLurl) in Bay City.

A couple times during the week I attended the burning of the little Man at Burning Man's Inner Child Camp. Marianne McCann (far right) streamed some great tunes while a big crowd of people danced, watched the Man burn, and generally had a great time. Of course, Mari set off fireworks. The girl likes fire.

The week saw a couple visits to the Mad Pea Carneval (WebSLurl), a fantastic build that must be experienced. There are so many talented artists that use Second Life as a medium that it's hard to understand why the platform, at least by general consensus, seems to be floundering.

On my first visit to Mad Pea I picked up a stalker, one Tem Haalan, who has a fabulous avatar that fits the Carneval so beautifully. Tem inspired me to spend several hundred L$ on new boots, leather pants, and other sundries to make a similar avatar which in the end I (A) forgot to photograph and (B) realized was nearly a clone of my Zyx Resident alt character. DOH!

So that's a sample of my week in MySL. How was yours? What? You don't use it? Shame on you! A premium account is not needed, its fun, and you can meet new people like Tem (he watched my MySL feed before we met, hence the stalkerness).