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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Designing Worlds’ recent show with our visit to the world of dinosaurs is now on the web!

Join us as we explore a world given over to these amazing creatures and talking to their creator, Wanders Nowhere, who gives us a tour of the landscape and of the fantastic avatars he has created – including a new range in mesh.

A primeval landscape

A primeval landscape

But the construction of these creatures isn’t the only remarkable thing about them – as we discovered when we explored the potential of the fantastic HUD that drives them.

One of the dinosaurs of Fort Nowhere

One of the dinosaurs of Fort Nowhere

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A primeval landscape

A primeval landscape

Join us at 2pm SLT today, Monday 2nd December, for Designing Worlds at our studio in Garden of Dreams as we set out to explore a primeval landscape and confront creatures from the far distant past.

Yes, today is our dinosaur show, and we will be exploring a world given over to these amazing creatures and talking to their creator, Wanders Nowhere, who gives us a tour of the landscape and of the fantastic avatars he has created – including a new range in mesh.

One of the dinosaurs of Fort Nowhere

One of the dinosaurs of Fort Nowhere

But the construction of these creatures isn’t the only remarkable thing about them – as we discovered when we explored the potential of the fantastic HUD that drives them.

So … do join us at 2pm as we visit Fort Nowhere and learn more about a very special corner of the Second Life grid. This is definitely one to share with the kids!

Another of the dinosaurs on Fort Nowhere

Another of the dinosaurs on Fort Nowhere

Or – if you can’t attend in person – tune in to the web at 2pm SLT on Monday for a special showing on Aview TV – or catch it later in the week on our shows page on the Treet.tv web site at http://treet.tv/shows/designingworlds – or on the Designing Worlds blog – our very own version of the iPlayer!

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Our fun trip to the wonderful world of Grendel’s is now available on the web – with a chance to see some of the beautiful environments and creatures that they have created.

Join us as Toady Nakamura, Flea Bussey and Cacia Escape talk to us about the store, the creatures, the games and the passion that make up Grendel’s as we capture a dragon egg and travel through a variety of awesome landscapes in our quest to find a place to plant it!

Grendel's

Grendel’s

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Today we are back to our regular time slot (we hope!) for the talks in the gorgeous Prim Perfect Pavilion.  The first is at 3pm, when Saffia Widdershins will be talking to Heavenly Villa & Bill Kaye of the Centre for Business Development to learn how this new organisation is planning to help merchants struggling with the Second Life Economy, and at 5pm, Cinder Vale will be talking to Cytherion Revnik of Bands of Cypher about the Yumis, a fascinating fantasy breedable pet.

Meet the Centre for Business Development

Meet the Centre for Business Development

The Centre for Business Development is a new group, formed by merchants and creators in Second Life who are looking for ways to businesses to come together was work coolectibvly and – it is hoped – with Linden Lab as well – to improve opportunity for all.  Heavenly and Bill will be talking about the problems the business sector is facing, ways of working together, and possible solutions.

Meet the Yumis!

Meet the Yumis!

Yumis from Bands of Cypher are one of the range of breedable pets in Second Life, but there is a very strong and special element of games and puzzle silving built into the cute little critturs.  You’ll get a chance to meet a yumi (as well as people behind the creation) and to learn all about this fascinating new pet.

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We have a full programme of talks coming up at the Expo – make sure that you don’t miss them! And please note that there have been a couple of recent changes … including one “back by popular demand”.

Date Time Interviewee Topic Interviewer
Thursday, December 6th 3pm Heavenly Villa & Honey Lusch Home & Garden Market Village Saffia Widdershins
Friday, December 7th Happy Hunting! taping
Saturday, December 8th 3pm Auryn Beorn Scripting & education in Second Life Cinders Vale
5pm Isla Gealach Cheeky Pea and The Nest Saffia Widdershins
Sunday, December 9th 3pm Cain Maven Meshing about in Second Life Saffia Widdershins
5pm Maxwell Graf, Charlotte Bartlett and Loz Hyde Mesh creations Saffia Widdershins
Monday, December 10th 3pm Judy Chestnut Dwarfin Cinders Vale
Tuesday, December 11th 3pm Froukje Hoorenbeek Dutchie and working with mesh Saffia Widdershins
Wednesday, December 12th 3pm Rosamoo Mendelsohn & Xia Nishi Hunting! Saffia Widdershins
5pm Jessii2009 Warrhol Nexgen Aviation & Tribute Cinders Vale
Thursday, December 13th 4pm Callie Cline Business in Second Life Saffia Widdershins
6pm DeeAnne Dufaux Builder’s Brewery and Park Place Cinders Vale
Friday, December 14th Happy Hunting! 3pm Happy Hunting! show (with an interview from the Expo, and the final episode in this season of The Blackened Mirror)
Saturday, December 15th 3pm Candy Cerveau and Malkavyn Eldritch Strangelings Cinders Vale
5pm Mal Burns & Tara Yeats TV in the Metaverse Saffia Widdershins
Sunday, December 16th 3pm Heavenly Villa & Bill Kaye Centre for Business Development Saffia Widdershins
5pm AGrid Aftermath/Cytherion Revnik Yumis and Games Cinders Vale
Monday, December 17th 3pm Honour Macmillan Blogging Second Life Saffia Widdershins
5pm Maxwell Graf, Kriss Lehrmann and Loz Hyde More about Mesh! Saffia Widdershins
Tuesday, December 18thSaffia 3pm Edward Pearse Christmas Traditions Saffia Widdershins
Wednesday, December 19th 3pm PARTY!!! DJ’d by Victor Mornington

Come along and learn more at 3pm and 5pm SLT! And we don’t think we are too hard to find …

Christmas Expo 2012, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Christmas Expo 2012, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

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Steamcat from Winterland

Steamcat from Winterland

Today’s jigsaw comes from the special and delightful Winterland created by KittyCatS, where KittyCatS owners are having a wintery competition to build the best winter cabin for KittyCats. You can tour them all and vote for your favourite!

Tara Yeats sent me today’s jigsaw photo of her own cabin (No. 13 if you’d like to see it fully!) which has a gorgeous steampunk theme – complete with the special steampunk cats that were KittyCats’ Relay for Life special cats this year.

KiyyCat cabins at Wwinterland

KiyyCat cabins at Winterland

Another great element at Winterland is the KittyCatsS Advent Calendar which is offering a great free gift every day – and if you’ve missed out on some, you can catch up in Winterland.

And to whet you appetite – here’s the jigsaw!

Click to Mix and Solve

Yara’s Steampunk Cat in Winterland

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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.

More LittyCatS cabins at Winterland.

More KittyCatS cabins at Winterland.

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Gos - the store

Gos – the store

Many readers of this column will know about Gos products – Gospel Voom is an awesome creator who focuses on high end, high quality items: shoes, sunglasses, coffee machines. It is – compared with some – a small product range, but so beautifully crafted (and scripted) that whenever a new product is released, there’s always a thunderous stampede to the store.

Gos has been on the Designing Worlds show several times, often talking about copyright and Intellectual Property issues, and he’s one of the people I wave to on Plurk (which I find more relaxed and chattier than Twitter – but I do tend to avoid the OMG -teh DRAMUR there).  So I would definitely count his as a Second Life friend – and I was horrified, a few weeks ago, to learn that his beloved cat Archie had been in a terrible accident.  Despite being hideously injured, Archie made his way home to Gos, trusting him to take care of him.  And that is, of course, what Gos did.

Archie Appeal - before and after the accident

Archie Appeal – before and after the accident

I had a cat who was in a similar accident, where she suffered a shattered jaw and lost the sight of one eye. But she made a full recovery and lived seven very happy years with me after that.  So I’ve been sharing that experience with Gos – but I’ve also been aware of the hideous vets’ bills he would be facing.

In the UK, you see, if we are in a horrible road accident, the NHS will take care of us – and go on taking care of us for however long it takes – I’ve cause to know and bless that!  But vets’ bills are impressively large – vets invariably drive better cars than doctors.

So friends of Gos, aware of what he was facing, asked if we could help out.  And in the end, a small event was set up to race funds for one week, based in the Truth District.  Today is the last day – so do pop over if you get the chance; there’s some neat things on sale, with profits going to Archie’s vet bills.  So far, it’s raised 800,000 Lindens – it would be nice if we could make it over 1,000,000 by the end of today.

Archie Appeal in the Truth District

Archie Appeal in the Truth District

Now, as the fundraiser comes to an end, Gos is starting a project to pay it forward – to provide an opportunity for other pet owners in similar situations to have a chance to provide their pets with a similar level of care, through the wonderful PDSA (the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals), a UK-based charity devoted to caring for the sick and injured animals of people in need.

Let Gos explain further himself, as he does in his thank you letter:

Archie and I would like to thank everyone who’s contributed to this fundraiser. All week I have laughed with you, cried with you and shared stories of heart wrenching sadness together with others of unbridled joy. To feel so much empathy and to be the recipient of so much kindness has left me both bewildered, humbled and immensely grateful.

For those of you not aware of what befell my little beastie three weeks ago he was out late gamboling around ‘his’ neighbourhood when he was struck by a speeding car. The impact was so severe it shattered his jaw, fractured the hard palate in his mouth and left him blind in both eyes. But somehow he managed to get himself home to me. I will never forget the sight or the sound of my bloodied and broken moggy crying for help.

When my friends in Second Life heard of what had befallen my Archibald they rallied around and asked what they could do to help. Some asked if they could make a financial contribution to Archie’s vet bills, whilst others offered to make something to sell on his behalf. Out of this upwelling of support Caelan Hancroft brought us all together to form the Archie Appeal at the Truth District sim courtesy of Truth Hawks.

When this event was first proposed I was very uncomfortable with the idea of being the recipient of charity. I’m far happier putting in than taking out. My late father was a Director of a local sports charity so being dressed in a monkey suit and rattling my collection tin in smokey pubs was a large part of my childhood. But this time, right here and right now I was desperate to do all for my ‘boy’ and I can’t thank people enough for giving me the opportunity to do just that.

Archie on the mend!

Archie on the mend!

Since we opened on Saturday the 25th of September we have raised in excess of L$800,000. This money will go a long way in contributing to Archibald’s ongoing treatment. He’s going to need further operations to repair his fractured bones along with extensive dental work as the few teeth he has left are broken and there are a lot exposed roots to come out. He then needs a consultation with an Ophthalmologist so that I can have his eyesight fully assessed and if possible repaired.Â

But now that the week long fundraiser is coming to a close I want to take all this positive energy and goodwill towards Archie and to “pay it forward”. So from Monday 3rd September I am going to be raising money for the PDSA which stands for ‘The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals’ which is a UK based charity devoted to caring for the sick and injured animals of people in need. To avoid any confusion I will be removing all vendors and donation kiosks associated with the Archie Appeal and asking anyone who set one up on their own sim to do likewise. I have asked a very dear friend to help coordinate with the charity so that we can proceed with complete transparency and accountability and to ensure no conflicts of interest.

If you’d like more information or would like to get involved please contact me in-world or via my email: stephen.gospel@gmail.com

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The Breedables Hall of Fame

The Breedables Hall of Fame

Today we’re at the Home and Garden Expo again – but in a very special part of it!

The Breedables have been a phenomenally successful part of the Home and Garden Expo this year, and the Hall of Fame contains two special displays – one of the special unique animals that have been created as limited editions for Relay for Life, and the other of very special unique animals put up for auction.  The whole is housed in a quite magnificent wrought iron pavilion in high Victorian style, reminescent of the work of Joseph Paxton – although this inworld version was created by the brilliant Oriolus Oliva of Verdigris.

Walking along the rows, I was irresitibly reminded of visits to the Royal Show, which was for a long time England’s premier agricultural show, with wonderful displays of prize-winning animals. This inworld version is well worth a visit even if you are not a breedables fan, just to see the magnificent work that is being carried out by the designers (and I suspect many of you might weaken … as I did with the KittyCats last year).

The Breedables Hall of Fame at the Home and Garden Expo

The Breedables Hall of Fame at the Home and Garden Expo

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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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Prim Perfect are hosting a series of regular talks and discussions at the SL Christmas Expo.

Today at 3pm in the Prim Perfect Pavilion on Frosty, Saffia Widdershins will be in conversation with Callie Cline, brand consultant, model, (95 in Maxim’s Hot Hundred 2007), owner of caLLie cLine, tOmbOy, ::home::, nEkOtUrE … and now coOwner of KittyCats!

Christmas Expo Talk: Callie Cline

Christmas Expo Talk: Callie Cline

Callie has had an amazing Second Life career, crossing over into real life.  Saffia will be talking to her about entrepresneurship and about branding … and, you know, we might get around to ahhhing over the latest KittyCatS! too.

Callie will be talking about all this and more to Saffia Widdershins at 3pm today.

Come along and learn more!

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In 2008, Philip Linden, at a meeting with significant Second Life content creators in San Franscisco said: “As goes Grendel’s, so goes the Grid.”

Well, as of today, half of Grendel’s has gone – and the reason they are citing is the lack of support that they have received from Linden Lab.

What does that say about the grid?

Inside Grendel's Children store

Inside Grendel's Children store

So what is Grendel’s?
Grendels’ Children is one of the most fascinating places on the grid.  They make avatars … and what amazing avatars!  They range from robots to lions to dragons to koi carp to trees that turn into walking dryads at a tap on a HUD, exotic animals of enormous beauty, mystical creatures as beautiful and as strange as the imagination can create them – and they are, above all, the most enormous fun.

You can get a taste of it on this Designing Worlds programme where we visited Grendel’s or from this beautiful machinima, The Wizard and Ozimal by Pyewacket Bellman.

Being an Ungal in Avaria

Being an Ungal in Avaria

There are two key points about Grendel’s.  Firstly, they make high quality avatars, complete with excellent HUDSs, at incredibly low cost. I bought a set of ten giant dragonflies in a range of lovely colours, which I can fly around in, stretching and flapping beautiful gossamer wings … for only 25 Lindens.  Many of their best-known avatars retail at under 100 Lindens.  They are interested in volume, and selling a large number of avatars to a large number of people but, essentially, they never compromise on quality.

The second point is that they have always offered fun.  The main store is on Avaria Tor, but there were three other sims: Avaria (the original sim), Avaria Kro and Avaria Sav.  These three offered games and places to roam in whatever avatar form you wished.  Grendel’s have also offered a range of fascinating games, ranging from the most amazing interstellar grungeboard track (you can see it here in another Pyewacket machinima) to complex games that offered you mysteries to solve and rewards to gain as you explored strange lost temples in the desert or odd rock formations housing unexpected geysers or, indeed, whatever the Grendel’s team decided would be wicked cool and great fun.

Surfing Space with Grendel's Children!

Surfing Space with Grendel's Children!

And in this way, this brilliant team has been exploring some of the real possibilities for game creation in virtual worlds, while supplying some of the most exciting and original content (and most reasonably priced) on the grid.

And they offer more too – with things like the weekly Show and Tell on Avaria Sav organised by Barney Boomslang and Florenze Kerensky, where some of the greatest creatives in Second Life come and display their most recent creations to be discussed, critiqued and frequently oooohhhed over by their fellows.

Games with Grendel's Children

Games with Grendel's Children

But as of today, Avaria Kro and Avaria Sav have been sold.  There’s no longer room for the interstellar grungeboard track, so it has been dismantled.  The Show and Tells have been moved to Avaria, which will be the new workshop for Grendel’s, but much of the exploration, the gaming, the beauty and the sheer fun has been lost.

Being a dragonfly in Avaria

Being a dragonfly in Avaria

And this isn’t for economic reasons – Grendel’s is still on the grid.  It is down simply and completely to a failure by Linden Lab to give Grendel’s the support they needed – the support that they hoped went along with the $14,400 they were paying annually for server space.

“I can get spam from Cafe Press, but no answers from Linden Lab,” says Flea Bussy, the leader janitor of Grendel’s (and owner of the Avarian sims) wearily.  There is no response to his tickets, and having been told “we’ll call you back” by concierge, there are no replies.  “They don’t care.”

After years of patience with Linden Lab, Flea is disappointed in the failure of the Lab to support what is a thriving business in one of the most important areas of the grid – the development of amazing content.

The land sales have gone through swiftly. As Toady Nakamura, Flea’s co-janitor, says wryly, “You wanna sell a sim, the sim brokers will call you right away, they will email you right away. Not like Lindens.”

Being a snow leopard in Avaria

Being a snow leopard in Avaria

In the last few month, we have seen Rodvik Linden, active on Twitter, responding personally when problems have arisen – such as the problem when the Elves seemed likely to lose some of their sims because of billing problems (with the Lab struggling to accept European payments, rather than the Elves failing to pay), and there have been other interventions by him as well.  But a company like Linden Lab should not be dependent on resolving problems by attracting the CEO’s attention on Twitter.

And, to put it simply, that is usually only a temporary bandaid anyway.

“We took this problem all the way to the CEO,” says Toady, “and it was fixed for 3 days. Then it broke again. We can’t keep going to the top for routine things like ‘we cannot move in our sim’.”

Like many people, the team at Grendel’s have respect for Rod Humble and what he is trying to do.

“I think Mr. Rodvik Linden is great, but I think he has a large pile of Inertial Lindens that will not move underneath him,” says Toady. ” Like old time clipper ships, good captain, shanghai’d crew … ship sinks.”

Being a vulture in Avaria Tor

Being a vulture in Avaria Tor

Is the ship sinking?  If Philip Linden was right, back in 2008, then perhaps it is time to check the bulkheads – and make damn sure that the people detailed to watch out for icebergs aren’t sleeping on the job any more.

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We’ve all seen (or perhaps some of us own, though this writer will not confess one way or the other *cough*) those adorable, breedable pets. Cats, dogs, meeros, goodness knows what else. And they’re all so cute and cuddly when they are wee, but let’s fast-forward a few months. Now your itty bitty kitty is a big fat cat, glowering at you as she sits next to that food dish – it’s empty again! And she’s eating for two! Or is it six? And you swear you just got back from the food store yesterday… or did you? It’s all a blur! A big, fuzzy, snuggly, adorable blur!

But wait… there’s something new. They’re cute, they’ll make you smile, they’re animated and will definitely add personality to your home. Well, you might want to keep them in the yard, but you get the point.

First, let’s meet The Wandering Duck! I have one myself, and it’s wandering around inside Cafe Curiousity in New Toulouse. Being a Curious Goods and Oddities store, it somehow seems right to have a duck waddling about in the back of the shop. I love him. I think I will name him Chuck.

And if that isn’t enough cute for you…. ta-da, The Walking Chipmunk! I just met this industrious creature yesterday, and I have to say I was impressed. In fact I was bowled over. Literally. He’s a Chipmunk on a Mission, and you’d best get out of his way. (Caution: Chipmunks in the Viewer are larger than they appear.)

But really, posters just don’t do these critters justice. Bounce over to Gumi’s Flower Shop, and see their antics for yourself. That SLurl puts you right in the middle of the fun. Go on now, it’s time to meet the next generation of Second Life animals – You’ll want to be the first on your sim to show these critters off!

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