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Archive for December, 2012

Palm arrangement from the Heart Garden Center

Palm arrangement

In launching today’s competition to redesign the graphic strap for Prim Perfect, that isn’t to say that all of the original element have dated (although the photographic techniques available and windlight settings have definitely improved).  One of the elements in the original graphic is the Heart sisters’ lovely palm trees – which I wrote about as part of a series of style icons back in 2007, and which you can still see all over Second Life (and, sadly, all over Open Sim too, as the Heart Garden Center has frequently been a victim of content theft). It’s this element that forms our jigsaw today.

The Szabo Horn clock too is still a great piece of design, although the days are long gone when it was seen as a badge of taste in the well-furnished Second life home – at least a badge of taste displayed by those who could afford to house a 64 prim clock!

The hammock by Baron Grayson (shown in my exotic Gothic tower and forming yesterday’s jigsaw) is another lovely piece of work and I also love my lily bowls from Furniture by Sofia … but, let’s face it, both furniture and photographic techniques have moved on considerably since the strap image was created.

So the time has most definitely come for a new strap graphic that reflects the beauty of Second Life in 2013, and the creativity of its designers.  But we shouldn’t forget the creative route we’ve taken over the years, especially with the 10th Birthday of Second life coming up this year.

I was looking today at Second Style magazine.  That played a great part in my original decisions in setting up and developing Prim Perfect – it was then, for me, the great model of Second life magazines.  The first issue I encountered was the February 2007 one, but it stretched back to April 2006. The last issue, No.44, came out in March 2011 but it’s some of the earlier issues that are especially fascinating to look at, like studying a 1950s or 1960s magazine and marvelling at the old styles. You can browse at will here.

But first, let’s do a jigsaw!

Click to Mix and Solve

Palm Arrangement from the Heart Garden Center, photographed in 2007

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

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If you look up at the top of this page, you’ll see the Prim Perfect strap – consisting of various element of Second life design.  It’s familiar, it’s pretty and it has a number of what were Second Life icons of design.

Unfortunately it’s also very, very old.

The time has most definitely come for a new strap graphic that reflects the beauty of Second Life in 2013, and the creativity of its designers.  But how shall we do this?

Well, we are going to run two competitions.

1) Design a new strap graphic for Prim Perfect – Prize: L$5,000
We are asking you to design a new strap graphic for use on our blog and publicity materials.  Images should be submitted as a png or a high res jpg, and should be sized 760 × 190 or, preferably, 1520 x 380.

The strap graphic should incorporate our new logo – but should also be adaptable to be used as a shorter graphic without the logo, similar to the way our current strap graphic works:

Old header with logo

can become:

Old header without logo

You can have different elements (the top logo manages to squeeze in nine different images) or maybe blow us away with a single stunning Look. The choice is yours.

Remember that you will need to use our new logo, which looks like this:

Prim Perfect new logo

Or, of course, in banner format:

Prim Perfect's new logo

We will feature all the entries that we love in the February issue of Prim Perfect – and announce the winner.

2) Show us the home and garden style icons of Second Life in 2013 – 5 prizes of L$1,000 for the best!
When the strap was created in 2007, many of the elements were selected as iconic. What would be similarly iconic in 2013? Send us an image of a design artefact that YOU believe is iconic in Second Life.  It could be a Botanical tree, or Dutchie’s mesh bed.  It could be the hanging plants from UrbanizeD or the Italianate villa from Maven Homes.  It could be as seasonal as a Patron Christmas tree. Whatever YOU think is a style icon of contemporary Second Life, send us a picture. Images should be submitted as a png or a high res jpg, and should be sized 512 x 512 or 1024 x 1024

Winning entries will appear in the February issue of Prim Perfect.

How to enter
Entries should be sent to primperfect@gmail.com by 12 midnight SLT on January 15th 2013.

Any questions about this should be sent to the same address.

Judges will be Saffia Widdershins, Winona Wiefel and Honour Macmillan – and people whose photographs have appeared in Prim Perfect can enter too!

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The 1920s Berlin Project is famous for its strict rules on period dress and realistic avatars. For some this is a major obstacle preventing them from visiting. Today, for one day only, The 1920s Berlin project will open its doors to all comers.

The 1920s Berlin project recreates a Berlin from 1929, the last days of the Weimar heyday, depicting the tensions of a city and a country living in the shadow of the great war, political and social change and heading rapidly towards the unseen spectre of Nazi rule. The fastidious defence of its covenant is what allows it to keep that atmosphere, but as a result many Second Lifers who choose to only ever take non-human form or otherwise do not wish to alter their avatars, are unable to visit. Well today is your chance.

Frau Jo Yardley of The 1920s Berlin Project announced the following

As you of course know, Berlin has a dress code, we ask visitors to look realistic and authentic for the theme of our sim.
But a few days in the year we decide to relax these rules to give new people a chance to explore our sim even if they don’t feel like dressing up or changing their avatar.

On Relaxed Rules Day we will NOT be asking people to dress in the 1920s style and we will be welcoming unrealistic looking avatars such as furries, tinies, etc.
The only rules we will be enforcing are that we will not accept public nudity or Nazi related behaviour and dress.
Of course anyone bothering or harassing people will also be send home.

This may be a good day to show Berlin to your friends who have not been here before and may feel a bit intimidated by our rules or roleplay.

For this special day we’re also asking some of our tenants to open their front doors to the general public!
So you can have a look and see how people in our sim live!

For our tenants this is also a special day.
It can be a lot of fun to ‘let your hair down’ in this city and go a bit crazy.
We will allow flying on this day so you can see the city from a whole new angle, but you are will also not be locked up for doing things that are unrealistic or unauthentic.

As soon as Happy Hour is over we have a little surprise in store and something very weird will happen in the city…
If you already know what…. don’t spoil the surprise for others ;)

See you on the 30th!

Jo Yardley
The naughty niece of Hans Brinker….

The ‘1920s Berlin Project’ is part of the virtual online world called ‘Second Life’.
You can visit this city by following this link;
slurl.com/secondlife/1920s%20Berlin/236/232/751

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A Blast from the Past

A Blast from the Past

Today’s jigsaw is a blast from the past.

It was taken in March 2007 and shows me lying on a Relic hammock, designed by Baron Grayson, in my first home, a richly textured castle tower created by Kelindra Talamasca. I have Mystikal hair in ringlets that looked like painted woodshavings (and I adored), and a pale, pale skin from Starley Thereian.

It’s an image you should all be familiar with – it forms the first part of the Prim Perfect picture strap (look up at the top of the page). It’s one we’ve had since the very beginning but not for much longer – and you’ll find out more about that on the blog today.

But for now – we have a jigsaw! And just when you thought things were getting easier … we have a cruel crazy puzzle!

Click to Mix and Solve

A Blast from the Past

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

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Sadly, with the end of Season 1, the time has come to bring the inworld games for The Blackened Mirror to an end.

The games that run purely on the web will continue, but we will be ending the games that are played on the Second Life grid at midnight on December 31st 2012. Announcing this now will give you the opportunity to play any of the games that you might have missed.

Why are you closing the inworld games?
Region and parcel owners have been very generous both in donating gifts and in hosting our prims for the games. But they need the freedom and flexibility to change their areas, which could invalidate or even remove clues in the games. If we are doing this for one area, it seemed right to do it for all, so that there should be no confusion.

Why are you keeping the web games open?
Although the first season of The Blackened Mirror is now over, the episodes continue to be available through The Blackened Mirror and Happy Hunting websites, and through The Blackened Mirror page at Treet TV and The Blackened Mirror You Tube site. So it’s possible that even at a period when we are not launching regular new episodes, people might be coming to the show for the first time and – if they are – we want them to learn that The Blackened Mirror is more than a TV show (and more than a game). We hope that keeping the web games open will give people who discover the show the fun of also discovering the challenges!

Meeting a Seeker of Truth

Meeting a Seeker of Truth

We’ll be republishing details of all the web games shortly. But for now … make sure you get the last of the information about The Blackened Mirror inworld games in our Fun Noir section!

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View from my window

View from my window

I’ve recently relocated my home in Second Life.  I say “relocated” rather than moved, as what I’ve effectively done is move from a long comparatively narrow plot (with extra bits and pieces of prim farms) to a broader plot on the other side of the road where I can put out my new home, Eliza Wierwight’s gorgeous Patron house.  At the moment, some of its more tropical features look a little bizarre in the snow that has fallen on Avalon (the garden is particularly chilly), but I’m looking forward to seeing its appearance once the snow has melted!

Even so, the view through my long picture windows is a lovely one as I look over a wonderfully snowy park, with a golden tree (also from Eliza and a sleigh bench seat by Cherelle Capra that I bought at the Together for Sway event (don’t forget to go and lend your support!).

So here’s the jigsaw, sharing that view with you!

Click to Mix and Solve

View from my Window

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

Read Full Post »

The Seraph Club in Seraph City

The Seraph Club in Seraph City

At the end of season party for The Blackened Mirror, we held draws for all special games that we have been running throughout Season 1. The prize for each of these games is a chance to appear as a character in the world of The Blackened Mirror, not on the show, but referenced in The Blackened Mirror materials!

We will not reveal answers here, as people will still be able to play the games on the web!

The questions (and winners) were as follows:

From Episode 1 – the A Day in the Life of Harland Quinn game
As part of the clue in the diner (where we showed a copy of The Daily Prim newspaper, with its racing news), we asked:
What links Quinn’s bet with a Broadway musical?

The very first person to get this right won the chance to appear in The Blackened Mirror world. This was Kyle Beckett, who chose to become a good character and a reporter on The Daily Prim newspaper.
But we continued the game till the end of the season, and the winner was:
Chris Collins

Harland Quinn - Private Investigator

Harland Quinn – Private Investigator

From Episode 2: Secrets from Quinn’s past
This game was first launched at the HP Lovecraft Festival in Second Life, where a special playbill was located. It was subsequently included as part of the jigsaw game associated with Episode 3. We asked:
Tell us the connection between the poster, the newspaper report and a famous Hollywood film about the world of theater …
No-one has been able to answer this question correctly!

From Episode 4: Death in Velvet Game
In this game, readers (and later listeners) were able to find the first three parts of Death in Velvet, a special Harland Quinn short story written by David Abbot, the author of The Blackened Mirror. They then had to tell us who the murderer was (and how they dunnit too!).
The winner was:
Orpheus Angkam

From Episode 4: The Link between the Seekers of Truth and a famous 1930s novel (and film)
This game asked players to find outwhat linked Episode 1.4 of The Blackened Mirror with a famous novel of the 1930s, made into a very famous film, by the author of Goodbye Mr Chips and Random Harvest.
The winner was:
Garnet Psaltery

From Episode 5: The Police Report game
This was part of an inworld game that asked people to trace copies of the police report that revealed what had been happening in Seraph City while Quinn had disappeared after the Unpleasantness at the Java Jive. One of the places people visited on the Hunt (or through the inworld quiz) was a rather exclusive apartment block, which had a doorman … and we asked:
Why is the name Carlton Garfield a very appropriate one for a doorman?
The winner was:
Maeve Everest

Quinn and Co face a mystery

Quinn and Co face a mystery

Congratulations to all our prize winners!

We will be contacting Chris, Orpheus, Garnet and Maeve shortly to find out whether they want to be good or bad characters and how they can best be incorporated into the world of The Blackened Mirror!

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The Bridge to Chamonix City

The Bridge to Chamonix City

I found myself taking a look at Chamonix City, the six sims supplied to the Global Online Hockey Association (GOHA) as part of a post I am currently planning. While there, I wanted to take a picture. MMy computer is a very good one, with a pretty good graphics card, but oit struggles with fancy settings, and I usually crash if I try tweaking the draw distance, and certainly if I add anything fancy like shadows.

So I thought I’d experiment with the new Firestorm Photo Tools. And, low and behold, it let me whack up the draw distance and play with shadows, depth of field and windlight to my heart’s content. Whether it was a fluke of whether Firestorm can deliover better graphics through its own tools, only time wil;l tell.

For today, enjoy the jigsaw!

Click to Mix and Solve

The Bridge to Chamonix City

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

Read Full Post »

I’ve now got the results of the poll I set up recently and they are very interesting – and in some ways reassuring for Linden Lab.  But they also highlight what are people’s serious concerns.  I print the full data at the bottom of this post, below my thoughts on this.

Methodology
I had 246 responses, which isn’t bad for a representative selection – the average UK opinion poll is about 1,500 surveyed for 67 million, so we’re doing rather well. However, balanced against that we have to take into consideration that this was a self-selected poll, in that people had to be sufficiently interested in Second Life to be reading this blog or another that recommended the survey – which suggests a relatively high level of engagement.  There’s also the possibility that individuals could have ‘gamed’ the poll by multiple submissions – however, this does not seem to be the case from the pattern of data I received.

Perceptions of the land market in Second Life
We asked a series of questions (1 – 3) about people’s perceptions of the land market, and these were perhaps the most interesting.

When asked what people thought are the major factors causing the decline of private landholding in Second Life (i.e. the 11% drop in the number of private islands identified by Tyce Shepherd), three main factors were identified (and, as people were allowed to select more than one response here, percentages come out totalling more than 100%).  The overwhelming factor identified was the high cost of tier (84%). However, 66% also identified the economic situation in the real world. The third factor identified (41%) was the dominance of the marketplace making holding land less viable.  This is something I’ve discussed on this blog before – and it’s interesting to see that this is a widely held perception.  Interestingly, although only 16% perceived that a cause for decline was a move to other forms of social gaming, some opf the ‘other’ answers indicated a move to other grids as a possible reason for decline.  27% thought a sense that Second Life is outdated could be a reason for the decline but, interestingly, this is not supported by later questions about Linden Lab innovations on the grid.

The question as to what single factor would make people more inclined to buy or rent land in Second Life was the most unambiguous of all.  70% said that lower tier would make them more inclined to buy or rent land. In addition, of the other 30%, a full 29% cited lowered tier as a significant factor in inclining them to buy or rent land.

In other words, 99% of respondents said that lower tier was a significant or the most significant factor in inclining them to buy or rent land in Second Life.

I have to admit, that level of unanimity rather startled me.

The other leading factors that people thought would make a significant factor in their decision to buy or rent land were improvements to the grid (47%), greater communication with the Lab (31%), and support for educational or non-profit enterprises (24%). The introduction of new features such as Pathfinding tools seemed to excite little enthusiasm.

Land ownership: Current, past and types of land
One thing that is clear (and perhaps not surprising, given the points made above) is that a high proportion of people responding are land owners/renters. 87% either own, rent or both own and rent currently.  Even that high figure, however, hows a decline from the past where 94% either owned, rented or both owned and rented. That small decline is more interesting when we examine how each category has changed.  In the past, 45% owned and rented land. That figure has now declined to 20%. However, there has been an increase in people who own land from 23% to 32%, while the rental market has shown a similar increase from 26% to 35%.

When it comes to types of land held, the highest proportion was parcels on private estates (42%), followed by owned parcels on mainland (33% – which would, of course, include the free land or Linden home that comes with premium membership). Larger land parcels seemed less popular – only 19% owned or rented a homestead; 23% owned or rented a full region (which would include commercial regions that house stores) and 14% owned or rented more than one full region. This question allowed people to specify all their types of land, so the percentages can to more than 100% – I myself have a Linden Home and rent several parcels on private estates, for example.

Land owning intentions: the future
The question about land holdings for those with larger holdings is slightly problematic.  Question 9 was, in fact, aimed at land barons and others who own or rent more than one region. Although only 25 people had indicated this type of land holding in Question 8, a total of 136 answered the question.  This may well be held to invalidate this question.  However, its findings were in line with other questions about land holding intentions: 31% expected to be holding about the same amount of land; 19% expected their holdings to be smaller and only 4% expected them to be larger.  This is a pattern of muted stability tending towards slow decline – it’s what Tyce Shepherd’s figures have been suggesting.

Looking at people’s expectations overall, in Question 7, the trend still seems to be stability – with 35% expecting to hold their current land by the end of 2013.  However, there is a sizeable body of people who expect to have less land or no land – 22%.  In addition, a full 30% are not sure (with 17% of those expecting to still hold some land – although not necessarily their current holdings). Only 6% expect to probably hold more land.  This again reflects the pattern of what I’m calling muted stability, tending towards slow decline.

Future intentions of patterns of land ownership are also interesting.  A full 57% either have no intention or are not sure about buying or renting in the next year. Of those that do intend to acquire land, the largest number (24%) intend to rent – which suggests that there is still potential for a land market.

Here are the full figures. Feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

 


 

1) What do you think are the major factors causing the decline of private landholding in Second Life?
People could select more than one checkbox on this question, so percentages add up to more than 100%.

Chart 1

Chart 1

The economic situation in the real world 162 66%
A sense that Second Life is outdated 67 27%
A move to other forms of social gaming – e.g. Facebook, phone apps 40 16%
The high cost of tier in Second Life 206 84%
The dominance of the Marketplace making holding land less viable 99 41%
Other 51 21%

 

2) What single factor would make you more inclined to buy or rent land in Second Life?

Chart 2

Chart 2

Lower tier 173 70%
New features (such as the Pathfinding tools) introduced by the Lab 1 0%
Improvements to the existing grid (e.g. lag; group chat) 14 6%
Greater communication with the Lab 6 2%
Support for commercial enterprises 4 2%
Support for educational or non-profit enterprises 19 8%
Support for game creators and managers within Second Life 4 2%
Other 25 10%

 

3) In addition to your previous answer, what OTHER factors would make you more inclined to buy or rent land in Second Life?
People could select more than one checkbox on this question, so percentages add up to more than 100%.

Chart 3

Chart 3

Lower tier 66 29%
New features (such as the Pathfinding tools) introduced by the Lab 30 13%
Improvements to the existing grid (e.g. lag; group chat) 106 47%
Greater communication with the Lab 71 31%
Support for commercial enterprises 30 13%
Support for educational or non-profit enterprises 54 24%
Support for game creators and managers within Second Life 30 13%
Other 22 10%

 

4) Do you currently own or rent land in Second Life?

Chart 4

Chart 4

Own 78 32%
Rent 87 35%
Own and rent 48 20%
Neither 25 10%

 

5) Have you owned or rented in the past?

Chart 5

Chart 5

Own 56 23%
Rent 63 26%
Own and rent 111 45%
Neither 4 2%

 

6) Do you plan to buy or rent land in the next year?

Chart 6

Chart 6

Buy 11 4%
Rent 60 24%
Buy and rent 14 6%
Buy OR rent 11 4%
Not Sure 64 26%
No 77 31%

 

7) If you buy or rent land, do you expect to still hold land (not necessarily your current land) at the end of 2013?

Chart 7

Chart 7

Still hold current land 86 35%
Probably have more land 15 6%
Probably have less land 31 13%
Not sure – but will still have some land 42 17%
Not sure 33 13%
I probably won’t have land by the end of this year 9 4%
I definitely won’t have land by the end of this year 12 5%

 

8) If you have land, what sort of land do you have?
People could select more than one checkbox on this question, so percentages add up to more than 100%.

Chart 8

Chart 8

Mainland (owned) 62 33%
Mainland (rented from a landlord) 10 5%
Homestead – owned 12 6%
Homestead – rented 25 13%
Parcel on a private estate 79 42%
Full region – rented 17 9%
Full regiuon – owned 26 14%
More than one region – rented 3 2%
More than one region – owned 22 12%

 

9) If you own or rent more than one region, do you expect your landholdings to be larger or smaller by the end of 2013?

Chart 9

Chart 9

Larger 10 4%
Smaller 46 19%
About the same 76 31%

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Tree in Wishing Well

Tree in Wishing Well

The day after Christmas – called Boxing Day in the UK – is traditionally a day for country pursuits over here.  The Boxing Meet, for example, is a huge tradition – the hounds and the hunt in distinctive dress gather outside a country pub before moving off for the hunt itself. People turn up to see the spectacle and many will then attempt to follow the hunt on foot.

Many people (myself definitely included) are happier to contemplate the sight now that the actual killing of animals has been removed from the equation. I was never of the school that believed fox hunting was an acceptable way of controlling foxes or culling deer herds; it seemed ludicrous to me that having forty or fifty people mounted on expensive horses, led by a pack of expensively bred and maintained hounds charging across the countryside in pursuit of a terrified animal running for its life and facing an incredibly grisly death could be seen as more cost effective than a farmer or a gamekeeper with a rifle. And the continuing popularity of hunts that offer thrilling (if slightly more predictable) rides is a counter to the argument that ending the hunting of live animals would be a huge financial blow to people in rural areas who depend on the hunt as a source of income.

Indeed, my suspicion is that rather more people who can afford to would want to hunt once they know that they are not going to be seen as bloodthirsty yahoos. And people can still follow the hunts. Even the hunt sabs can still be involved – making sure that the hunts stay within the law. Win win, I’d say.

Anyway, even if you don’t go hunting, many people will take the opportunity to walk off Christmas Day with a long stroll in the winter countryside.  And we would hope that it would look something like today’s jigsaw – another image from Honour Macmillan’s excellent blog – Honour’s Post Menopausal View (of Second Life) – this time sharing her  Seasonal Wishes from Second Life. Enjoy!

Click to Mix and Solve

Tree at Wishing Well, photograph by Honour Macmillan

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

Read Full Post »

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