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Archive for September, 2009

Orange Island Logo

Orange Island Logo

Like many of you, we have been saddened to learn of the clossure of Orange Island.  As the logo says, it was a Second life Community and, at a time when many other corporations were clinging to their tenet of “If you build it, they will come” despite overwhelming evidence that, actually ‘they’ wouldn’t bother, Orange was interested in reaching out, engaging with the community and involving them in projects.

Prim Perfect had the privilege of working on a couple – Media Week and a wonderful Fashion Photo Contest, the latter of which brought some of the most talented photographers in Second Life to work for us.

Orange Island Photo Contest

Orange Island Photo Contest

Now Orange Island is closing.  On the website they say:

Orange Island was an experimental project aimed at getting a better understanding of virtual worlds. We wanted to learn about users and their cultures, content creation and collaboration, and the challenges of immersive, real-time social environments. Two years later, it’s safe to say that together we really did more. You and us played, explored, talked and created, we shared our passions and made many meaningful encounters. Because, as you know so well, there is no such thing as virtual memories – only real experiences.

We hope you too are proud of what we achieved together. Thank you for creating Orange Island with us.

They will be holding our closing event on Tuesday 29th September, to share their  (and our) findings about virtual worlds… and beyond at 11 am SLT on Orange Island’s Lower Plaza Auditorium for a casual, open meeting with the team behind Orange Island and what they describe as “some insightful guests” – one of whom will be Saffia Widdershins of Prim Perfect.

To follow up on the event, Orange will also release a document that sums up some of their findings, which should be available on the Orange website during the first week of October. It should make fascinating reading.

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The Saltwater House

The Saltwater House - photo by Mr PJ Trenton

Join us today—Tuesday 1st September —for the viewing party for our show at 2pm SLT at our Designing Worlds studios on Northpoint.

This is the first show in our new season – and our first show where part of the broadcast comes from an Open Source grid. But it’s a rather unusual grid – it’s the ScienceSim, run by Intel, and our guest, Miss Shenlei Winkler, has been running some fascinating research there into the possibilities of building in virtual worlds constructed on the Second Life type platform.

What sort of experiments? Well … in our recent show featuring the talented team from The Loft – Colleen Desmoulins and Bethany Heart, we explored the new family home that they are creating together. At one point in the show we asked what we think of as the “money” question: “How many prims did you need to create this?”

The Loft team laughed. “If you need to ask that question,” they said, “you won’t be able to buy the house!”

So … prim-rich. But still … the region where they were building was richly and beautifully landscaped, and they had not one but three models of the house there. So … rich was probably around 3 – 4,000 prims.

Which means that, again and again, shortcuts must be found and compromises must be made. The wood board exterior walls are a texture on plain prims. So are the roof tiles – cunning shading gives the effect of 3D (and no-one does cunning shading better than The Loft). But … compromises. Making the best of limited resources.

But what if no compromises had to be made?

That was the challenge for Shenlei Winkler with her amazing Saltwater House on Chamomile in ScienceSim.

Forget about the 15,000 prim limit that *Second Life* imposes on a region. The work in Chamomile currently utilises over 130,000 prims … and it’s growing all the time!

If you look at the picture above … every board on those steps is a separate rpim board. And every step is secured in place by four nails – each consisting of two prims. You’ll see flower arrangements of over a thousand prims, and the jug below, containing separate cube of ice – and even prim pips in the lemon slices!

Lemon and Ice - in detail!

Lemon and Ice - in detail! - photo by Mr PJ Trenton

On the show, Shenlei will be joining us at the Designing Worlds studios on Northpoint to talk about her amazing work . As always, there’s a special gift for everyone who comes to the studio.

And as usual, there’s an exhibition to see in our Hall outside the studio – showing the work of designers who have featured in the series. And at the moment, you can still explore the remarkable Middle Passage Experience (as seen in our show on July 14th) outside the studio to the west.

The show starts at 2pm SLT, but you should be in our Northpoint studios by 1.30pm to make sure of getting a seat.

If you would like to read more about Shenlei and her work, there are two articles in the latest issue of Prim Perfect. The photos in this post were taken by Mr PJ Trenton.

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Step Up!

Step Up!

Step Up!

In the wake of the wholesale theft of sims and content over the weekend, like many people we wanted to do something about it – and also about all the other content theft that we have been fighting for so long – in the Content Creators Association and in magazines and on TV shows.

Since then we’ve talked – and have come up with the idea of the Step Up! campaign, a campaign centred on a special day of action that everyone can become involved with, and that can empower and inform people.

We are aiming for a day that draws together action, education and celebration. We want a focus that empowers people – and rather than dictates to people, allows them to express their own creatvity in a variety of ways.  It also draws attention to the strength of feeling that there is here on the grid.

2) We need to make people feel empowered by what they do. And, because we are hardly the most time-free people on the grid – we need something that they can largely organise themselves!

So these are our thoughts:

We are nominating a day as Step Up! Day – which will be November 5th – Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night in the UK.

Action:
a) On this day – no-one uploads textures to the grid. This should show the economic power of people acting together, without harming content creators.  We want Linden Lab to see the power of the feeling about the problem of content theft – and to discuss urgently strategies for tackling it.

b) As many people as possible  wear an orange ribbon as a sign of support for creators. And creators can design these – they can be lapel ribbons, they can be arm bands, they can be tee-shirts … the idea is to make the orange ribbon the theme of the day. And everyone who gets a free orange ribbon gets an information sheet – explaining what content theft is, what they can do about it etc. And they also get an information pack that they can give to their friends (which also contains an orange ribbon for their friends).

Why orange? It’s been used before, but has no overwhelming association (unlike pink or red ribbons). It’s a bright, noticeable colour. It suggests explosions and colour …

And it’s an opportunity for stores and content creators to become involved too.

Celebration:
The day ends with parties. Bonfire parties. That means that all around the grid, people have parties.

We’re not going to be trying to stage Big Events that maybe only 60 or 70 people can cram into. Instead we encourage every club to hold a Step Up! party. We encourage every musician to play Step Up! events. Everyone on the grid has a part to play. Everyone can take part.

Education:
This is going to come in several forms.

1) Info pack
These will be given out with orange ribbons in stores and at parties.

2) Media
Audio and Visual service ads. The Press. The Blogsphere – everyone can play there part in getting out the message that we have had enoufgh, and we have chosen to Step Up! against content theft.

3) Video
Short informational films – tutorials about content theft.

On the Designing Worlds shows we’ve talked again and again about the need for a social shift – so that people see content theft as socially and morally unacceptable. So … let’s go for it!

We have set up a special blog for this event (and you’ll find this post has been posted there as well) at http://stepupsl.wordpress.com/.  Watch that space for more details on how you can become involved, and how you can share with us your plans for Step Up! Day.

The concept originates with a small group – Angie Mornington, Gabrielle Riel, Gwen Carillon and Saffia Widdershins.  But more and more people are now becoming involved.  And you can too.

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Enough

Once in a while there comes a moment.  A defining moment.  A moment perhaps marked by a line in the sand.  A boundary that will not be crossed.

A moment where men and woman stand up and say, simply, “Enough.”

This is such a moment.

Today some of the most talented creators on the grid have had their entire sims stolen.   They include Rebel Hope and RH Engel, Susan Ramos and Nonna Hedges.

For years content creators have endured the steady drip, drip, drip of losing an item here and there.  A creation that may have taken days if not weeks of work suddenly appearing across the grid, priced cheaply (sometimes priced expensively) or given away for free.  Venial people without morality making small profits.  Stealing for the LOLZ or the small bits of cash.  Stealing because … hey, information should be free.  Stealing because it can be done, so why not do it?  Stealing because the creation of the tools for theft was an intellectual challenge to someone somewhere – although they, of course, are certainly not responsible for the pernicious uses their tools are put to, oh dear me, no.

Quite.  And so, in Robert Gittings’ words*, the mushroom cloud begins to grow.

What is the response?  The convolutions of the DCMA process (which, among other things, demands the sending of faxes … I suppose we should be grateful the information is not required inscribed on vellum).  After so long, a tentatively proposed Linden Lab road map for content management.  And then, against that, the bleats that information should be free … how DARE content creators actually expect to earn money, to earn a way of supporting their lives, their families by the producction of their hands, their brains, their imaginations?

The facile advice to those content creators who’ve suffered theft that they should just make something else, something newer.  So that it can happen again?  But creation is a well that never dries up, after all.  People never get so heartsick, so defeated, so burnt out that they lose the will to create and slip bitterly away.

Or so we are supposed to believe.

And now an action so outrageous, so appalling, so egregious that it must sure mark a turning point.  For if not, why pretend there is a will to support content creators at all?

Whole sims have been copied.  The content ripped and stripped and scattered across the grid.

Five years of work, lost.  Families’ income, stolen.

This must be it. This must be the moment when enough is … enough.  When Linden Lab, the behemoth itself, focuses its attention – its core attention – on protecting the people who have made, are making and who will make Second Life the leading virtual world.  When a team from the Lab sits down with  content creators and as a matter of urgency devises and puts in place a strategy that will end this for once and for all.

That strategy may be painful in some aspects.  It will, very obviously, not please everyone.  And it will equally clearly not cover every aspect of eventuality.

But a start must be made now.

One way could be a symbolic protest.  No sales for twenty-four hours.  No uploads.  Content creators standing together and saying, “Enough.”

But another is saying here – “Meet us.  Come and talk here on the blogs.  Come and talk to us in world.  We need to make this right.  We need to sort this – now.”

~~~~~~~

* Robert Gittings’ poem – The Fox

Further Reading:
Rebel Hope’s Plurk – http://www.plurk.com/p/1zwuku
Shopping Cart Disco – http://shoppingcartdisco.com/?p=4734

Other blogs:
Content Theft and You in the SL Community
Andrew Sempere’s personal weblog – Reflections on SLCC Part II

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Prim Perfect Issue 20: cover

Prim Perfect Issue 20: cover

A very special issue of Prim Perfect for Fall (or Autumn – for the Europeans among us!) features an exciting and vivid region for Sim of the Month – and we also have our first ever article on an Open Grid development – our Reader’s Home of the Month – an amazing creation on the Science Sim!

In the Northern hemisphere, the days are drawing in – longer nights and colder weather. Trees are beginning to take on rich autumnal shades as the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” is with us once more. And at Prim Perfect, we’ve decided to explore a region that draws its inspiration from an area that is, for many people, synonymous with the beauties of – as they would say – Fall: the Islands of New England.

Prim Perfect Issue 20: Inside pages

Prim Perfect Issue 20: Inside pages

Many themed regional areas in Second Life have a community, but the Islands of New England go further – it could truthfully be said to have a strong and vibrant community who play an important part in the sailing, art, and music worlds, as well as offering great commercial and residential areas. And this month, Prim Perfect has explored all of these elements of the New England estate – and more!

Qwis Greenwood provides a vivid introduction to one of her favourite areas in the Second Life world and meets Gayle Cabaret, the Estate Manager – while Jvstin Tomorrow does a round up of fascinating places to visit in the region. Isle Lunasea and Raven Haalan have explored the music of the area for us, while Annechen Lowey delves into the art community that is encouraged there. Scotti Lyle takes a boat trip to discover the famous lighthouses, and, in a new feature, Viv Trafalgar eavesdrops on JJ Drinkwater and Kghia Gehardie of the Alexandrian Libraries as they take a stroll through the New England woods and reflect on the literature of the region.

Prim Perfect Issue 20: Inside pages

Prim Perfect Issue 20: Inside pages

Our Designer of the Month is the very talented Rayvn Hynes of MudHoney. Ceejay Writer meets her, and discusses her work – and then takes a look at the beautiful coastal home in New England that she created for us – furnished with all Rayvn’s style – and a wealth of her elegant and comfortable poses.

Prim Perfect Issue 20: Inside page

Prim Perfect Issue 20: Inside page

Then we take a trip out of the Second Life world and into the Open Grid environment to the Science Sim to discover a fascinating exploration into the possibilities of Virtual World technology. How rich in decoration can an area be? That’s what Shenlei Flasheart was asked to discover – and the result is both beautiful and awesome! Read all about it as our Reader’s Home of the Month article.

We also have the second part of our exciting new series on Modular Building, written by Lumiere Noir, the man behind the fantastic learning tool The Ivory Tower Library of Primitives, an article that should inspire new builders – and also teach some older ones a few new tricks!

Keeping our autumnal theme, Nika Dreamscape visits the Heart Garden Centre to find out how the Heart sisters – Lilith and Dolly – are preparing for autumn (and their exciting task of changing the Islands of New England to their autumnal shades) while Moodyloner Korobase addresses the season in our fun quiz – and also spares a thought for those in the Southern Hemisphere too! And Qwis Greenwood has some Advice for newcomers on how you can give your home a flavour of autumn.

This month, our Pathfinders have been mentored by Fatima Ur of Antique Artistry and Incanus Merlin of Incwell Textures, who have provided invaluable advice on the art of selling – and have also been interviewed by Viv Trafalgar.

Coughran Mayo reports from a fascinating initiative to support a Second Life nonprofit that took place at the Second Life Community Convention, while Gwen Carillon brings us the latest Content Creators news.

And our team of talented photographers – including PJ Trenton, Twisted Lemon and Delphina Audina – bring you some of the most gorgeous design eye candy in *Second Life*!

All this – with News from the Grid … and more!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So how can I get Prim Perfect?
If you prefer to read the magazine online but not inworld, there are choices. Firstly, there’s the wonderful Calaméo system, which allows you to moves smoothly through the pages, giving you the feeling of reading a real magazine. You’ll find Issue 20 here – and please do leave a comment!

But, if you like to download your magazines to read as you commute to work, or in the bath, or wherever, you can also obtain a standard pdf for downloading and printing.

It is also available through XStreet (just search on the site for Prim Perfect). This will deliver you a copy in the form of a Thinc book that you can rez and read inworld.

Prim Perfect Issue 20: Inside pages

Prim Perfect Issue 20: Inside pages

We also have subscribe-o-matic kiosks throughout Second Life (these are taking over from our older vendors) – so you can just click to subscribe.  You’ll be sent a copy of the latest issue, and then you’ll receive your issues regularly!

Another inworld option is to buy from our inworld vendors (located at various stores). Sometimes we have had problems with these, but you can help! If you see a vendor still selling an earlier issue, contact primperfect@gmail.com, and we’ll send someone to update it.

Or you can have it delivered to you each month as a Thinc Book, by joining the Prim Perfect Readers group inworld. It costs nothing to join and, apart from delivering the magazine each month, we won’t overload you with chat or messages!

In addition to delivering the Thinc Book version of the magazine, you’ll also get a link to the online Calaméo version of the magazine, so you’ll be able to access that too.

How to Join Prim Perfect Readers

  • Inworld, open Search.
  • Search Groups for Prim Perfect Readers.
  • Click to join

So … enjoy! And let us know what you think of our new edition!

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Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata Lupino is one of those creators who deserves to be better known.  Her product range is limited – but exquisite.  She produces hand textured and hand-painted flowers, some of the loveliest in Second Life, which she sells from a small garden centre in Darkwood Gardens in DarkWood.

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

I first came across Lunata’s work when we were shooting the Christmas episode of Designing Worlds (or Meta Makeover, as it was then).  Our location was Summer Gildea’s home in Caledon Cay, because  she had decorated her home for Christmas in amazingly rich Victorian style.  While we were filming, I noticed that she had the most spectacular garlands over her windows, richly and beautifully textured, and another, with hanging Christmas cards, over the fireplaces – and I asked where she got them.  She explained about Lunata and Darkwood Gardens and warned that they were not exactly cheap to buy … but really, I think one should be prepared to pay a decent price for the sheer amount of detailed, intricate work that goes into her textures.

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata comes from Berlin – which means that some of her products are labelled in German – the garlands, for example, have the names Kartenkette (christmas cards garland) and Mistelgirlande (mistletoe garland).  In real life, she is a screendesigner, and says that her reason for being in Second Life is “for painting textures (gardening + tapisserie)”.  She says her creations  require experience, endless patience and lots of real life-time.  Consequently those textures are  highly detailed and sharp without  having  halos.

These go beyond simple plants, I think.  They’re works of art.

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I entered Prims 4 U on a hunt for something.  I found it, but in the process I also ended up leaving with a huge grin on my face. It all started with this seasonal welcome mat – made of pure rubber!  With a push the doormat bounces anyone who happens to step on it.  It caught me completely flatfooted, but I laughed with glee once I realized what happened.

This shop, owned by Sharayah Munro and Gadget Loon, is home to an assortment of fun and quirky designs.  Can any child really take a nap in the hammock with this silly yellow celebrity grinning at you?!

And then there was this striking red and white hatted fellow, his engine chugging around the centre of the store.  The colour and the whimsy I found here at Prims 4 U was an excellent contrast to a dreary rainy day in my first life.

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