hey! who moved the blog!?!

we did!  why? to have a ubercool 3D tag cloud dealio! (see we are pretty shallow)  :p

so go spam, err, i mean post some comments over there!

help us be the number one blog of the interwebz!

its a w00tfest!!!

its a w00tfest!!!

Stargates & sculpties isl

One of our residents is an active scripter and true community contributor.  He even had an exhibit in Burning Life this year.

Micheil Merlin in Burning Life

Micheil Merlin in Burning Life

Well Micheil is big into Stargates and we love them as a way to explore sl. He also does sculpties, another thing we admire, so we spoke with Micheil:

iliveisl: So tell us about stargates.

Micheil: There are many ways to explore SL, but one of the more interesting ways is to use the random dialing feature of OpenGate, the open Stargate Network. The Network is an open source project created by avatar Doran Zemlja, based on the Stargate movies and TV episodes.

Random locations may be dialed by visiting a gate and saying ‘/d random’ in chat. After the gate connects, a blue wormhole opens in the gate. Click on the wormhole and your SL map will open to the location of the dialed gate. Select teleport.

As long as the teleport location in the selected region has not been set otherwise, you should appear by the destination Stargate.

iliveisl: How many Stargates are isl?

Micheil: The number of active Stargates in this network varies, but is normally around 300. This provides many possible destinations in SL.

iliveisl: Where can we learn more?

Micheil: Information about the network, including source code and documentation, can be found at this link. A complete list of gate locations can be found at this link. Free Stargates may be obtained by teleporting to this link. A gate may also be purchased for $0 from XstreetSL.com.

Over time, the appearance of the gates has changed dramatically. Originally, the textures were fairly flat because the gate function was the primary focus of the development effort.

An important goal has always been to keep the prim count low. Currently the maximum is just 11 prims, which should allow nearly any land owner in SL to have their own Stargate without a large prim commitment.

One change that has been made to provide a more visually appealing gate while keeping the prim count low is the use of sculpty chevrons. Recently, the second iteration of sculpty chevrons have been completed and distributed with the gate.

This version of the sculpty chevron was created with the open source content creation suite, Blender 3D, a free version of which may be obtained from here.

One of Micheil's Stargates in Enerville

One of Micheil's Stargates in Enerville

iliveisl: Blender 3D is such a great program. We have seen some of your sculptie work and it’s pretty nice, but it looks scary to try. What would you advise?

Micheil: Blender is an extremely powerful program with an unfortunately steep learning curve. Thankfully, there are many tutorials available to assist you in learning how to use the various functions of Blender.

iliveisl: Yay for tutorials, so what would you recommend?

Micheil: In particular, the tutorials of Hussayn Salomon and Gaia Clary are extremely useful and refer specifically to creating sculpties for SL.

Also identified in the tutorials, Blender scripts by Domino Marama  can be used to create SL compatible objects that serve as a starting point for sculpty modeling.

Creating sculpties would be easier if they actually looked in SL the way they do while you are building them. Two things work against you. The first is that things just don’t always look in SL like they do outside of SL. That is one you just have to get used to and learn to work with.

The other difficulty is the way the SL viewer shifts the level of detail (LOD) in relation to object size and distance. You can build a fairly detailed sculpty model outside of SL and then have it pretty much fall apart on you when you stand three meters away from it in SL.

The key here is to not rely on the highest LOD. This version of the OpenGate chevron sculpty was created such that the first two LODs are about the same so the sculpty remains fairly stable as you move away from it.

iliveisl: Yikes! That is pretty techie sounding!

Micheil: Fortunately, Blender can help you with this, using its multires function. Multires (multiple resolution mesh) was developed for blender to allow easier manipulation of complex and detailed meshes by shifting to lower detail. It is useful for scuplties to let you preview what the sculpty will look like as the SL viewer shifts to lower LODs. Generally for sculpties you want to edit at the higher LOD (multires level 3) and just use multires to look at lower LODs. Editing at lower LODs can mess up your sculpty mesh. The scripts available from Domino Marama support the three standard LODs and you can shift between them as you edit your model, gaining a better understanding of how things might look once imported in to SL.

After creating the sculpty you will want to place a surface texture on it. The OpenGate chevron sculpties require a custom surface texture to allow for some styling, in particular the appearance of the chevron lights. This surface texture could be very tricky to create by hand. Again, blender can help and Hussayn’s and Gaia’s tutorials will lead you through the process.

You will likely go through lots of trial and error in creating interesting scuplties. This version of the chevron sculpty started life as a cylinder (created with Domino’s scripts) and went through three major revisions (almost start-over revisions) and several minor ones. As you work with them, you learn better how to place vertices to gain the most detail both in the shape of the sculpty and the sharpness of the surface texture that you eventually may place on top of the sculpty.

iliveisl: Sounds like lot more than just making a nice mesh in Blender.

Micheil: Yes, the shape of the sculpty is one thing. But, if you need detail in the surface texture, you have to keep enough vertices close enough together to give you that detail. Otherwise, you could end up with a nice sculpty shape, but with big blurry splotches on it where you expected a nice detailed texture.

iliveisl: Nice job talking to us about Stargates and sculpties. Any last advice for us?

Micheil: It has taken me a lot of time and effort to learn how to manipulate Blender functionality to create sculpties that work well in SL. I am grateful for the tireless and freely-given work of Doran Zemlja on the OpenGate Network, and the detailed and useful Blender tutorials by people like Hussayn Salomon and Gaia Clary along with the Blender scripts from Domino Marama. People such as these are what make SL the interesting and creative place that it is.

iliveisl: It’s a thrill having you in Enerville (slurl) on the iliveisl estate and thank you for educating us on this.  It’s pretty interesting and a great example of the creativity you have.

w00t, our favourite day of the year is here

=D   \o/  thanks Poledra B. for the message on the forums!

that was wonderful!  *blows out candles*

=D

=D

dancing goats?

moreLunarLounge_009, originally uploaded by iliveisl

wow, sl is many things . . . but dancing goats on the dance floor? what will those deviants think up next? (shhh, don’t tell anyone I am a tiny furry beaver) =D

anyway, the lunar lounge continues to be developed for anyone’s use, a pretty fancy dance floor is part of it now, just need some more obnoxious rotating lights!

give it up (way up) :p

lunarLounge_006, originally uploaded by iliveisl

w00t! as soon as we figure out some dance scripts and public music, we will be set

just another spot to hang out in the iliveisl estate > Energy Hacker Lunar Lounge

and get the KoRn version of Word Up on dizzler

Yo’, pretty ladies around the world
Got a weird thing to show you, so tell all the boys and girls
Tell your brother, your sister and your mamma too
‘Cause we’re about to throw down and you know just what to do

Wave your hands in the air like you don’t care
Glide by the people as they start to look and stare
Do your dance, do your dance, do your dance quick mama
Come on, baby, tell me what’s the word

Word up, everybody say
When you hear the call you’ve got to get it under way
Word up, it’s the code word
No matter where you say it you know that you’ll be heard

Now all you sucker deejays who think you’re fly
There’s got to be a reason and we know the reason why
You try to put on those heirs and you act real cool
But you got to realize that you’re acting like fools

Give us music we can use it, we need to dance
We don’t have the time for psychological romance
No romance, no romance, no romance for me mama
Come on, baby, tell me what’s the word

Word up, everybody say
When you hear the call you’ve got to get it under way, ooh

more virtual meetings

a short interview on a conference is here and it’s a good quick read on the sl blog.  there are challenges to having these inworld, but it’s inevitable that sl will become used more and more for this.  IBM has OpenSim tied into their instant messaging (sametime3D) and once people see it, they will want more like it

OpenSim uses the same viewer, so anyone in it has the same tools that we do isl.  the look is exactly the same, so once you start seeing more people having meetings in it, you’ll start to see more recorded meeting on YouTube.  once it’s out there on the interwebz more, the demand for similar style meetings will start to climb

over at subQuark, they want to partner with us on a new “corporate” venture and use our experience in virtual land to form a corporate offering for land.  many peeps can’t justify $295 a month for an entire sim, so subQ may be on to a niche market (btw, subQ is a partner in iliveisl, but a very silent one!)  =p

making some corporate sims (not part of the iliveisl estate) that guarantee only corporate use might work.  offering a quarter sim for $95 a month and built like we do could be attractive to some corporate users.  still working out details such as having some public land and all that stuff

a sad goodbye from a Mentor that did a lot more than just help n00bs

Lindall was a Mentor that loved SL so much, just Google her name and you will see how much of an evangelist for SL she was.  almost any business knows the value of happy customers and the amount of word-of-mouth they generate.  those kind of customers are absolute gold.  they respect and rejoice in having customers that so love their product.  most companies spend huge amounts to advertise, like Macy’s spends 50% of their budget for advertising.  Linden Lab has troves of people like us and Lindall that create a positive buzz in the interwebs

while we may not agree with all she says, she has a viewpoint that not many are priviledged to have.  she has spent many hours helping n00bs and spreading the word in the bloggosphere on how valuable Second Life is, her  thoughts are just as valid as anyone else’s, and it is always good to understand all sides of as much as we can

Voltaire: I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

i emailed Lindall to get her permission to share this and she agreed.  so here is her goodbye note to the Mentors, it’s a huge loss

>>>>

I’m leaving the Mentors, and this list.

It’s a very sad day for me.  I have always been so proud of being an SL Mentor, and spent many, many hours helping newcomers both in world and on the SL website forums.

But I’ve lost heart, after I read LL’s announcement on the blog today of upcoming policy changes in regards to adult content.

In my view, adult content is the one entertainment left in SL that has a chance of keeping the virtual economy afloat.  Sex…the preparation for it, anticipation of it, consummation of it…is the driving engine that underpins things like the avatar appearance industry, the housing industry, the club scene (not just strip clubs, but sedate places like ballrooms, too).  By stifling the creation and marketing of adult content, LL is about to deal SL its final blow.

And, in its usual ham-handed fashion, LL has announced a series of lofty, fine-sounding goals, with absolutely no idea of how to actually implement them.  The hints that blog and forum posts have given us so far indicate that their half-formed plans will cause massive disruption to the mainland, untold pain for thousands of individual businesses, and (I predict) a further precipitous decline in land prices.

Frankly, I don’t think SL can survive, this time…and I don’t propose to spend my remaining months in SL cheerfully telling newbies how to open their inventories.  Just the thought of it gives me an empty feeling of futility.

Why bother, when this will all soon be gone?

Besides that, I no longer want to have an official affiliation, even as a volunteer, with a group of people who are so utterly stupid, careless, and shortsighted.

For those who think I’m wrong, consider this:  LL says “many people” have complained of adult content offending them and detracting from their SL experience.  But how many is “many”?  Count the number of PG sims and compare them to the number of Mature sims.  This is a rough indication of what percentage of SL cares enough about avoiding adult content to do something about it.  What’s the figure, Mark?  Blue?  Anyone?  Surely LL knows what portion of the grid is PG.  I’ll bet anything in my inventory that it’s far from a majority.

More likely, some other visiting executive twitted M Linden in the washroom. “How does it feel to be the head of the largest cartoon porn company on the Web?  Har har har.”

And so, farewell.  After I hand in my resignation, I’ll be taking steps to tier down.  When my membership comes due, I’ll downgrade to Basic.  At the very least, we are in for some very rough times ahead.  I’m not investing a dime more in SL than I absolutely have to (a girl has to buy shoes once in a while!) until the dust settles.  I sincerely hope that it’s ONLY rough times.  In my opinion, though, when the dust settles, it will be on SL’s grave.

Sincerely,
Lindal Kidd


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