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CALLING ALL KID AVATARS, this is #FantasyFaireSL 2016

At fantasy Faire there is a role-play group for Kid Avatars called the Rickety Weasels and any kid avatars can join for free the gang to role-play the story as it unfolds over the coming week.

This year the group will be playing forgotten viking children who live unsupervised in the village fort of Echtra. We need players from all across the Child Avatar community to dress up as vikings and join us to uncover the mystery of the gloom.

“Travellers talk of village fort consumed by a gloom, where time there stands still bringing no rhyme of seasons. Tales speak of ghostly children that skitter amongst the long houses while the only spark of joy seems to erupt from the old Echtra Great Hall high up on hill. But there are clues to what has befallen the village and it’s people, all one must do is seek them out…”

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All through the Fantasy Faire week there will be role-play events to help the story evolve while helping raise funds for ‘relay for life’. Not only that but you can also take part in the Echtra Experience and uncover the secrets of the land while collecting items to add to your character.

To take part in the Fantasy Faire Rickety Weasels role-play week…

• Simply turn up at the Echtra Great hall RP Corner SLURL HERE!.

• Viking or Norse clothes are available to buy at Fantasy Faire or you can bring your own.

• There is also a Role-play starter pack that includes, gestures, Axe and Shield.

• There is an event board with times at the Great Hall to plan ahead your week of adventure!

• To take part in the Echtra experience simply click the Echtra Experience Board located at the entrances to the Echtra Region , the village square or in the great hall.

• Have fun and explore the rest of Fantasy Faire!

For more information check the Fantasy Faire Rickety Weazels page.

 

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The Role-play HQ at the Echtra Great Hall

 

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How i took my Retro Arcade Table from Virtual to Reality

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Around this time last year i was taking part in a school festival in Second Life. As part of that festival i made an Arcade cocktail Table based on a classic 1980s design.

I first sat in front of a cocktail arcade table back in the 80’s when i was about four or five years old. We were on holiday in Austria and i distinctly remember playing a fighter plane game (1942) while resting a glass of cola on the machine. The idea of games being placed inside a table blew my tiny mind.

Once i had finished building the virtual world version, i looked into wether i could get a real one made and found a little company in the UK that could do it. Ultimate Arcade Cabinets is a family run business that has been building quality arcade cabinets and tables since 2002.

I had for years entertained the idea of getting and arcade table as a sort of pat on the back achievement of being an adult, and decided if i was going to get one i might as well do it now before the Tories make everything worst.

Lokis Retro Arcade Table
by lokieliot
on Sketchfab

 

After showing Ultimate Arcade Cabinets a 3D Sketchfab of the table top design i wanted, they sent me template files and discussed button colour options. Just over a month later and it arrived on a big truck wrapped up securely. The family company were a joy to work with and care a lot about the machines they build.

It’s really hard to describe just how beautiful this arcade table is. Putting aside the fact it plays thousands of classic arcade games from the early 80’s to late 90’s, the machine just looks amazing. Granted you may have to be a retro geek of the 80’s and 90’s to really appreciate the casing, the glass, the chrome edging, neon blue lights that make you say ‘TRON’ with deep heart filled love.

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Ultimate Arcade Cabinets have built me a table that tingles with nostalgic elegance and is an instant talking point when visitors enter my studio. Older friends are taken back to their teens while my young nephew is blown away as i was by the concept of a table also being a giant iPad. It was amusing watching my nephew trying to select players by tapping the glass with the assumption it was a touch screen. Never thought i would have to teach someone how to use buttons and a joystick, crazy.

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Powering the arcade table is some form of PC which if you are a nerd like me, you can use to add more games and explore the wonderful world of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME).

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It did cost a lot to have this table made, but the amount of love thats gone into it makes it totally worth it and anyone who knows me says ‘That’s SO you’. It’s also the first time I’ve created something in the virtual world of Second Life and had it replicated in the real world so it’s also another connection to my VR persona.

Thank you Ultimate Arcade Cabinets for helping make my Virtual Arcade Table a Reality 🙂

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Waking from the Sansar Dream

Wondered how i would start this blog post. ‘Screw Project Sansar’ was one idea, ‘To hell with VR’ was another. Instead i’ve decided to just scribble down what comes into my head.

Learning that Linden Lab had no current plans to support the Mac platform with Project Sansar until they ‘figure out how to deliver for Mac, for Mac OS’ flicked a switch in my head, the same switch that that was flicked when Oculus dropped support for the mac platform. Its the switch that tries to prevent me from waisting any more time on something i’m never going to use.

I’ve been playing Star Wars Battlefront a lot since i got the game for PS4 last christmas. Im almost at level 50 which means ill have access to every upgrade there is in the game. In a way thats how it feels to be a content creator in Second Life, i’ve reached the highest level of whats possible in Second Life and am struggling to get any more out of it. Project Sansar was in a way a level up extension allowing SL creators use of modern creation techniques that simply can’t be achieved on SL’s dated code.

Left: PBR Substance Painter – Right: Secondlife

So what, I’m sure us creators who have been using the mac platform since before Steve Jobs returned will just move on to paying for windows right? or as one Project Sansar dev said ‘Bootcamp?’ … or we could just not bother with Sansar and stick with what we know, after all, a lot of the creative industry is mac based, someones bound to come along eventually and make a smart choice?

As i awake from the daydream of VR i remember how i once browsed the apple website and accidentally stumbled across a promotion for a creative 3d world called Second Life. Ten years later and I’m still using the same virtual world and as Linden Lab implement all the wizardry for levelling up to Windows Project Sansar, Second Life is starting to feel like a retirement home where a dedicated few Lindens are working hard to make users feel comfortable for the stagnant next few years until death.

Actually, the dedicated few Lindens are working very hard to gaffa-tape features into SL that should have been there years ago. So now that I’m not blinded by the new shiny Sansar and VR i can see that i actually still have some levels to gain in Second Life.

Content: While we can’t create anything that looks as awesome as newer platforms due to rendering engines, creators are still able to knock out some great looking stuff.

Games & Experiences: Linden Lab released XP tools last year (or did they?), ok so many don’t know about it and many don’t know how to get XP keys but they are going to slowly become more and more important in SL over the next year.

Bento: That new billion boned avatar skeleton they’ve introduced to SL. I guess now ill have plenty of time to try and work out how to rig and what ever hands, facial expressions tails and other wriggly bits. I did work on an avatar for High Fidelity that used Shape Keys for expressions a method that was added to Sketchfab but ultimately not used for Second Life of course.

Events: Fantasy Faire is just around the corner and its going to be Epic. I should be very grateful that I’m given the chance to build a whole region, not only do i get to indulge my creative energies, but it’ll help towards raising funds for Cancer Research.

I can start lobbying again for those things i wish linden lab would upgrade or add to SL…

• The action key thats stuck in the crappy Oculus viewer: really could do with this for my bashing game.

• Overhaul of the SL groups: probably impossible as this is one of the oldest things in SL thats buried under everything.

• The ability to resize ALL the ui windows.

• Better Marketplace Shop fronts with categories and featured items: If the marketplace is so important to SL, why does it still look like it was designed in 2007?

• Dark Theme for SL Webpages: Yes i know I’m the only one who uses SL feed which is still listed as a new feature by the Lab.

It feels good to be focused on SL again, but i can’t shake that sinking feeling.

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Shameless Blogpost about my NEW inworld store

I set up my first clothes store in a pirate region called Tortuga (long gone now). That was before the concept of an online Market store. In those days we opened stores in which ever places were popular with your inner niche.

Now of course the simplicity of browsing items on a web page is preferable to many than logging in and looking around an inworld store, but i find there are still many who would prefer a good browsing experience in VR. Wether because they want to see items in virtual persona or because they would like to see what else is available sometimes you can’t beat a good inworld shopping experience.

Almost three years ago i rebuilt my inworld store. I placed it far above the clouds and split it into three layers hoping to give shop visitors a nice calm non laggy experience. In the end though i built a shop that was quite possibly to hard to find what you were looking for and also hard for me to update items. I never thought how long it would take to line up tshirts across a curved wall #FacePalm.

On my own shopping travels i have visited some crazy stores. One’s that stick to very contemporary and realistic approaches to stores where you walk around just as you would a normal store. But there are merchants that i have seen present their stores with an inspiring simplicity, shopping spaces where the items on offer speak for themselves in a backdrop of minimalism.

The New Loki Inworld Store

So when it came to finally updating my main inworld store i decided to adopt this idea of simplicity. My new store is basically just a large black box with everything on the same floor, from Clothing, to games and gadgets, prefab cabins and furniture. I used more old stool prisms than i have mesh in the construction of the store and while I’m offering more to sell in the store, its actually taking up a third less land impact than before.

I tried to lay everything out in a simple way hoping that shoppers can navigate and find items of interest a lot easier now.

Supporting The Mesh Avatars

The opening of my new Inworld store also saw me adding support for the two most popular mesh child avatars Super Mesh Bros and Toddleedoos. This was after i did a survey last year asking what users would like to see me add features for. I stopped making Adult male and female sized clothes and spent rigged my clothing to support SMB and Toddleedoos along with my Loki Avatar.

More than just Clothing

The new store also highlights my fun and games stuff. The Battle Baloons system has its own area as does the Escapades Instants Vehicles. There is also an area displaying my cabins and furniture.

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What is the Spirit of Second Life?

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How much of what we are accustomed to in Second Life will port across to Project Sansar? There seems no shortage of debate about what Second Life features will be possible in Sansar. CEO Ebbe of Linden lab famously said something along the lines of ‘Project Sansar will be in the spirit of Second Life’. But what is the spirit of Second Life?

At the last Lab Chat CEO Ebbe said that there would be no inworld Primatives (prims) building toolset in Project Sansar and other stuff i have read give a picture of Spaces/Experiences where the creators will have ultimate god powers dictating your appearance and what you can do. Does this sound like the open world freedom we have in Second Life?

I spend a lot of time each week returning random prims left behind by Newb users visiting my island. “Why not switch on ‘no Build’  or ‘Auto Return’ i hear you say?  Well i’ve always felt this went against the principles of Second Life, i mean isn’t Second Life supposed to be a platform for freedom to experience and democratised content creation like Draxtor fervently celebrates with his videos?

The things i find being left behind by users are often just plywood boxes or the occasional table. Does anyone really still build with prims, or have they moved to making mesh, or worst, given up all together, discouraged by the growing number of complex low land impact mesh they have no idea how to make. The marketplace is a great resource for buying items, many people use it more than going to an inworld store these days. I bought my new Drax Cap from marketplace, I’m not even aware of wether it’s available to buy inworld.

I love seeing whats left behind by users though, it’s like seeing the footprints of adventurers on the island but It’s sometimes a lot of work maintaining the freedom of the island. Occasionally i have cabin renters complaining that they are fed up with others that can just stroll into their place and sleep in their bed. So i understand why most places in Second Life are locked down preventing people from building freely or rezzing stuff. It’s probably a combination of fear and laziness. Fear of having to deal with things being messed up and laziness to have to clean up others mess?

The junk yard on Escapades is a specific place for people to practice building, but usually ends up a mountain of prims.

The junk yard on Escapades is a specific place for people to practice building, but usually ends up a mountain of prims.

So i’m starting to wonder, when i sit down and look at how Second Life is actually working these days. No one really uses prims to build big content, only skilled or amateur 3D Artists are creating the content, most people buy items on the marketplace and most places on the destination guide are locked down preventing the rezzing of items. Is this the real spirit of Second life, and is this what will be refined and used as the basis for Project Sansar?

I still believe in the old open world of Second Life and still encourage my friends to build (it’s actually really hard to motivate people), But if Project Sansar turns out to be less open due to how we the Second Life community have ended up using SL, I actually don’t have a problem with that, but for those who still see Second Life through old school eyes might find Sansar an eye opening experience.