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Archive for April, 2013

We have worked wonders today.We went through the seven million Linden barrier. Ten hours later, we went through the eight million barrier. As I write, we are less than 650,000 from something incredible: the all-time record for ANY fundraising event in SL history.This record is ours for the taking, and we intend to do just that. We’re already laying plans. Stay tuned.

We leave the smoking tunnels of Dragonspire behind us, and stumble from the choking fumes into the the fresh air of the Valley of Ishnar. Filling our lungs with the fresh air we slip quickly through the valley, we will not stop here now. Instead our sights are on something more refreshing, a sorely needed infusion of happiness. We step into Lumenaria.

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath - Photo by Beq Janus

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath – Photo by Beq Janus

The sky settles to a misty orange glow, that should tell you immediately thay Kayle Matzerath, of Garden of Dreams, is behind this fantasy city. Kayle has created a wonderful medieval fantasy city that tells its story without words. A grand castle looks over a tiered garden beyond which narrow cobbled streets wind around the castle walls. Bunting hangs between houses, the bridges carry bunches of bright balloons. The city is preparing a celebration and it is for us to live the tale.

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath - Photo by Beq Janus

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath – Photo by Beq Janus

In creating the models for the region Kayle has built everything from mesh, the trees and flowers have a cleverly hand drawn feel about them that lends itself perfectly to the fairytale setting. The delightful gardens, with butterflies lead up to the grandly spectacular castle in which you can imagine the beautiful fairytale princess marrying her prince charming, somehow I cannot shift the expectation that I will see the animated ogre, Shrek, walking the streets here alongside his wise-cracking donkey pal. Instead of course, we had our own Faireland hereoes, Kayle in elf form,  and his wise-cracking penguin pal…Alia.

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath - Photo by Beq Janus

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath – Photo by Beq Janus

The detail in the buildings, the lovingly crafted houses and shops, right down to the fruit stalls show the love and attention that Kayle has poured into this project. What is more, the detail and complexity of the scenes have been created with customary frugality, Kayle himself has observed that the entire region, including the vendors could be put into a homestead sim. Perhaps, those of us impatiently awaiting a new Dream Scene can look upon this and acknowledge that it was time well spent, and accept that Kayle most certainly has not been idle.

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath - Photo by Beq Janus

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath – Photo by Beq Janus

This is the perfect place to conclude our adventure, the heroes are welcomed home, a great party is being arranged….

What an amazing adventure this Faire has been, beyond the wonderous creations of sim builders, the broad array of goods and items that we’ve bought, we have helped not only break but smash all our targets and records setting a new bar to be aimed at for the future.

There is of course one more stop on our journey, The Valley of Ishnar, the region dedicated to a special story that has unfolded during the Faire and which will continue on for another few weeks. We will take a look at the Valley tomorrow but for now we’ll say goodbye to the Faire and carry our fond memories into the future with us.

The Faire is over…Until next year…

 

 

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Lumenaria, designed by Kayl;e Matzerath, photographed by Judith Lefevre

Lumenaria, designed by Kayl;e Matzerath, photographed by Judith Lefevre

Just a very swift blog post to bring you the all-important news … Fantasy Faire is open for an extra day – Tuesday 30th April.  So you have one last chance to do the first part of the Hunt (I blazed through it yesterday and – even though it was just the First Chapter – I grabbed some awesome prizes), to explore the amazing regions created by a plethora of imaginative designers and … oh yes, shopping.

The money raised is nudging its way closer to eight and a half million Linden dollars. Let’s push that amazing total higher, shall we?

Fairelands Junction - photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Fairelands Junction – photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

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We have worked wonders today.

We went through the seven million Linden barrier. Ten hours later, we went through the eight million barrier. As I write, we are less than 650,000 from something incredible: the all-time record for ANY fundraising event in SL history.

This record is ours for the taking, and we intend to do just that. We’re already laying plans.

Stay tuned – Zander Greene

If you were to fly into Dragon Spire you would find a rather desolate landscape, a flat almost formless landscape of molten stone shrouded in mist and smoke. At the back of the region lies a deeply shadowed cave.

The Dragonspire by Khyle Sion - photo by Beq Janus

The Dragonspire by Khyle Sion – photo by Beq Janus

As we approach the cave we find the source of the smoke and desolation. A mighty dragon lords over its domain its golden hoard sparking in the gloom, reflecting the light of the phosphorescent gems.

Dragonspire by Khyle Sion - photo by Beq Janus

Dragonspire by Khyle Sion – photo by Beq Janus

So where are the Faireland residents? The eager merchants rushing to trade their wares during the few short days that these lands are united?

Who could live in such desolate a land? To find the answers we must return to our path, for as we step from the alien world of Titans Hollow we find ourselves confronted by a wall of stone, a solitary passage leads us inwards. We are underground, enclosed in the tunnels carved from the very rocks on which the dragon vents his flames. With no light from the sun or moon above we are guided by the soft sheen of the crystals that erupt from the tunnel walls, and the subtle glow of subterranean plants, which, although a unique species could easily have been spawned from the alien flora of Titans hollow.

Dragonspire by Khyle Sion - photo by Beq Janus

Dragonspire by Khyle Sion – photo by Beq Janus

The Dragonspire is the creation of Kyhle Sion, its winding tunnels lovingly crafted in Mesh units and then joined together to form one of the most impressive mazes of tunnels that the grid has ever seen. As you head deeper  and deeper into the tunnels, be careful nto to ignore the signs that will guide you safely to the stores if that is what you wish. But if you have the time, turn down that tunnel the slides off to the right, plunging down into the depths.

Dragonspire by Khyle Sion - photo by Beq Janus

Dragonspire by Khyle Sion – photo by Beq Janus

To be lost in these tunnels is both disorienting and claustrophobic. The smog of dragon breath permeates the tunnels and it is easy to wander for 15 minutes only to find you are back where you began. Having recently read Tolkien’s The Hobbit to my young daughters (no movies for them, cruel mother am I) I cannot help but conjure up the imagery of Bilbo and the dwarves entering the tunnels of the misty mountain. Where there was outright beauty and craftsmanship in all of the builds we have seen , epitomised perhaps by the gorgeous deep hues of the Tiffany lanterns of Titans Hollow, Khyle has brought technical mastery of the tunnels and woven it together to form a glorious maze that would grace any adventurers fantasy.

But we are lost, wandering through smoke filled tunnels, the sound of dripping water our only companion, how will we find our way out? When all hope begins to fade we hear a ringing that echoes through the tunnels. Dwarves, mining the tunnels no doubt. We run towards the sounds and hopes rise as the sounds grow louder until finally we round a corner and see ahead of us a not the ringing hammers of the dwarves, but the ringing tills of countless merchants enjoying the Faire in the way they know best.

Dragonspire by Khyle Sion - photo by Beq Janus

Dragonspire by Khyle Sion – photo by Beq Janus

We have found our way back to the one true path that will lead us on through the Fairelands and soon we emerge from the tunnels into the fresh air once again.

We are leaving maze-like tunnels of The Dragonspire now and logically we should progress now to the neighbouring Faireland region, the Valley of Ishnar.  But we shall not, instead our next stop will be the Final of the “regular” Faireland regions, Lumenaria. Why are we skipping past the Valley? You will have to wait and find out.

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Fairelands Junction - photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Fairelands Junction – photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Join us at 2pm SLT today, Monday 29th April, for the start of an exciting new season for the opening episode of Designing Worlds at our studio in Garden of Dreams.

Fairelands Junction - photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Fairelands Junction – photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

We’ll be visiting the amazing Fantasy Faire (a visit filmed before the Faire actually opened) and talking to Zander Greene and Elicio Ember (the creator of the amazing Tiitans’ Hollow as we explore some of the fascinating regions in the quiet days before they filled with eager visitors, and learn about the work and ideas that led to their creation.

Titans' Hollow - photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Titans’ Hollow – photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

And we’ll be learning something about the Hunt too. Remember – although the first part finishes with the Faire, you’ll be able to carry on with the second part of the Hunt from May 1st – May 19th.

So – come and join us at 2pm.

The Valley of Ish'Nar - where the second part of the Hunt occurs - photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

The Valley of Ish’Nar – where the second part of the Hunt occurs – photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Or – if you can’t attend in person – tune in at 2pm SLT on Monday for the live show on http://treet.tv/live – or catch it later in the week on our shows page on the Treet.tv web site at http://treet.tv/shows/designingworlds – our very own version of the iPlayer!

There’s also a special short story competition sponsored by Prim Perfect and the Fantasy Faire team – you can find out all the details here.

Magnificat -  photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Magnificat – photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

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There’s good and bad news from people who are looking to raise money for virtual-world related projects through Kickstarter-style projects.

Bobbekins eBook

Firstly, the good news is that the Wall Street Journal has picked up on Tony Dyson and Chantal Harvey’s project, the new range of eBooks for Children, the BobbeKins – which I wrote about here: Supporting BobbekinWorld – a new case use for Second Life.

The article focuses on Tony’s server choice and while it’s a great plug for the product too, it’s a real shame there’s no link to Netdreamer Publications (see? that’s how you do it, WSJ!) or to the Indiegogo initiative to raise funds.  I’m all for built in redundancy, me (as regular readers may have noticed) but hopefully the article will lead to people following through to find out more.

At the time of writing, they have raised $744 of the $15000 they are hoping for, with 48 days left.  You can see more – including a great video – on the Indiegogo page. And here’s wishing them every luck with it!

Another initiative is coming to its end, and, sadly, seems unlikely to raise its funding – a real shame, I think, as it’s an interesting project.  Well, it inspired me to relaunch The Quest for the Golden Prim, and Darren Greene, who is behind it, has been of great help to us in thinking through the technical side.

Splintered Rock

Splintered Rock

He has been raising funds for his own webcomic, Splintered Rock, and using Kickstarter to raise £350 (US$545 approx) to enable him to work on a second chapter, as I wrote about here: Be part of the adventure of Splintered Rock.  So far, it’s raised £170 (Around $264) so, with two days to go, he still needs to raise just over half.

I hope he makes it. I’d love to find out What Happens Next in his story!

At some point, I’m going to look at these kind of projects in some detail, perhaps a Prim Perfect article.  What do people think?  What’s been their experience?

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The Dragon Spire

The Dragon Spire

Designing Worlds returns tonight, with the first of two shows from the Fantasy Faire.  More on that shortly – but for now, let’s pay a visit to a region of the Faire that was stunningly bold in conception, but very hard to photograph. It was one of two areas (the other was Evensong Woods) where, I felt, the atmosphere you got from being there was really, really hard to convey in a photograph. For both, “You really had to be there” to appreciate them. And if you were in either, your likely response was … “Oh, this is cool!”

The Dragon Spire was constructed as a series of caves.  As such, it could be a little hard to navigate (and helpful arrows appeared on the floor rather rapidly). If you took a wrong turn, you were led deeper and deeper into the labyrinth. If you took the right (as in correct) path, you found yourself exploring some amazing shops – and all within this quite stunning (and quickly rezzed) sculpted cave environment.

Caves, of course, are an archetypal fantasy environment – and a favoured landscape for roleplayers everywhere – not for nothing is the Big Daddy called Dungeons and Dragons.  But caves are incredibly hard to pull off in Second Life – I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as well done as it is here. So kudos to Khyle Sion, the designer.

Let’s do a jigsaw.

Click to Mix and Solve

Inside the caverns of The Dragon Spire

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

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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I, and the American Cancer Society appreciate everyone who has donated their time, talent, and Lindens throughout all the years, and this year is no exception.  This year, I have seen some of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in Second Life.  I have heard from countless others who share the same sense of wonder and amazement.  In fact, I can quote one friend who said, “I’ve never seen anything like this in Second Life.”  And that’s from someone who is in Second Life every day, and has been for many years.
– Jeffrey Montegut, aka Stingray9798 Raymaker, American Cancer Society

We step across the threshold of two Fairelands once again, this time leaving the icy forest floor of Evensong Woods behind we step into an altogether more alien place. We have entered Titans Hollow, created by veteran Faire builder and creator of the alien and mystical, Elicio Ember.

Titans' Hollow By Elicio Ember - Photo By Beq Janus

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember – Photo By Beq Janus

We enter from the forest floor to be greeted by a vast metallic stairway that rises to a platform out of sight. Beyond giant glass lanterns hang suspended on gigantic chains that are anchored into mysterious flooating rocks. A soft warmth of pink unearthly light permeates through the light mist. We ascend the steps…

Titans' Hollow By Elicio Ember - Photo By Beq Janus

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember – Photo By Beq Janus

Below us lise a colourful swamp, dominated by alien plant life that is not entirely safe to be near, as Elicio himself discovered when they attempted to devour him during a Jail and Bail session. Each floating lantern, evoking thoughts of middle eastern charm and Art Nouveau elegance, houses a store or feature but getting to them requires an act of faith. In a peculiar parallel to the preceding Faireland region we find ourselves epxloring a multi-tiered land, yet the safety and solidity embodied by the sturdy wooden platforms and short vistas that rarely saw you looking down to the ground  could not be further from  experience in Titans Hollow.

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember - Photo By Beq Janus

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember – Photo By Beq Janus

Transparent  walkways carry you from store to store and level to level the only hint to their existence lies in the solid brass retainers and the subtle blue haze that emanates from the edges. It is very much an act of faith as you step out onto the air with meat-eating plants waiting hungrily below.

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember - Photo By Beq Janus

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember – Photo By Beq Janus

Elicio’s creations embody so much of what is great about the Faire. Pure creative genius, drawing inspiration from our own history giving them an immediacy, a familiarity that is then placed at odds with the extra-terrestrial environment in which it is placed. Last year we saw the amazing Ruins of Nu Orne, inspired by the historic temple complexes of asia, this year an altogether different theme yet linked by a staple of Elicio’s design the bold coloration and etheral glow of his wonderful plant-life.

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember - Photo By Beq Janus

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember – Photo By Beq Janus

 

 

Glowing Plants: Natural Lighting with no Electricity

Yet there may be trouble ahead, perhaps in a world first I stumbled upon a recent case of Real Life emulating Second Life. A project on crowd funding website, Kickstarter proposes the following:-

Create GLOWING PLANTS using synthetic biology and Genome Compiler’s software – the first step in creating sustainable natural lighting

We know Elicio did it first though.

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember - Photo By Beq Janus

Titans Hollow By Elicio Ember – Photo By Beq Janus

It is time now to hasten onwards to out next Faireland destination  leaving the man-eating, bio-luminescent flora and hanging lanterns of  opalescent glass behind; we now head underground into the caves and tunnels of Dragonspire. See you there.

 

 

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