Posted in Second Life

Second Life: My New Water Horse Shop – Featured in SL Video!

I meant to write about this earlier, but it just kept slipping my mind. I talked about how shop owners were testing the Animesh version of the Water Horses in a previous post, and how the sim was going to get a remake.

Well, the Animesh horses released live last weekend, and the Sim remake has also happened. The whole place looks great – major kudos to the Water Horse team for really refreshing the shopping experience! This means I have a new shop location there!

The move happened on a Friday/Saturday a few weeks back, and I was ready for it. I managed to get into the sim pretty quickly when it re-opened for shop owners to choose a spot, and I got a location that I’m quite happy with. It’s far better than the spot I used to have, which was on the backside in an area that folks didn’t travel as much.

Sales have been pretty steady since the Animesh version was released, but the truth is, I really need to sit down and work up some new coats. I have a whole line of Heavenly Bodies that I haven’t fully completed, for example! I have been touching up some of my existing coats – though they say the body textures for the bento should work for the Animesh exactly, I’ve found some issues around the base of the ears I’ve had to fix.

It seems word is getting out about the Water Horse Animesh release, because folks at Second Life put out an official blog post in the featured news about them, including an aesthetics video. I learned about this earlier this week from fellow SL equine artist, Claire at Lunistice, who alerted me to the fact that my shop was included in the official video that went along with the blog post (thank you!).

I went to watch, and sure enough, starting at about 0:21, a guy is standing in my shop, looking out the window. I think they were more attracted to the “Unicorn Xing” sign in my shop, because the video focuses on it for a moment… then pans away to a gal riding a unicorn. So having the sign there helped to mesh the concepts together.

Ironically, when I made the move to the new shop, I almost didn’t put this sign back in. I guess it was a good thing I did!

Anyhow, you can view the full video below:

Unexpected things like this are always neat!

I’d like to spend some more time in Second Life with all the events coming up in that world – Easter is a time for great egg hunts, the Fantasy Faire is in the works, and a Second Life birthday celebration will hit the grid this summer.

Due to some issues with my web host, I ended up shuttering the blog I was using primarily for Second Life stuff earlier this year, and moved the relevant content to this blog instead. So, if I write about the grid, it’ll end up on this blog from now on out.

Posted in Gaming, Second Life

Second Life: Animesh Water Horse Mounts

About a year ago, I returned to Second Life and marveled over the changes in technology – in the form of Bento avatars – that had taken place since last I visited the grid. I spent some time learning to build and design coats for the Water Horse Bento Riding Horses last year, and had a lot of fun with it!

You may not have noticed, but earlier this year, I consolidated a lot of my Second Life posts into this blog. I originally had a separate self-hosted blog for my stuff at Wren Works, but due to hosting issues, I closed that blog and moved relevant game-creative-type posts here.

Anyhow, back on topic. I’ve been a little quiet in Second Life lately, but I was still following the development of the newest technology – animesh. To put this simply, it’s giving a rigged mesh object the ability to animate, similar to an avatar. The tech behind this is a bit hard to explain, but you can read more about it if you’re interested here.

For a while, the Firestorm viewer only had animesh in beta, but has recently updated to push that live. So, my first ever exposure to animesh has been the Water Horse ridables. These have been on display at the Water Horse sim for a while, but were finally released for purchase and testing last night to the creators/vendors.

I waffled on whether I wanted to pick one up as they’re a bit more pricey than the original Bentos, but I’ve a bit of L$ stashed away due to coat sales, so I splurged. Keeping in mind these are all in beta testing, so far, it’s been a good experience and I’m happy I gave it a try – if nothing else, to test out my existing coats and confirm they work with the new horse.

First Impressions

Though I already have a Warmblood bento, I picked up the Warmblood animesh as well. I went back and forth on which one I wanted, but stuck with what I knew.

The horses look very similar to the Bento horses, and even use the same image maps for skinning, which is nice. Anytime you have backwards compatibility, it’s great. The one difference is that the mane for animesh is in two parts, so you’d have to update mane textures to ensure compatibility between the two.

The major difference is that the animesh horse is rezzable. You can drop it out on your land and allow it to wander around. Sit on it to ride it, like a vehicle. It takes up about 38 prims in all, and the rezzed version uses the same texture HUD as the ridable.

The reason I was sorta iffy on animesh is because I really like that Bento can be worn directly out of your inventory, since it’s part of your avatar. I didn’t want an object I had to rez (which means you have to have rez rights at your location), and the issue of losing vehicles as you cross sim lines and stuff like that.

However, I was pleased to discover that while animesh is rezzable it’s also directly wearable on the avatar! So, just like a Bento attachment, you can right-click and Add the horse to your avatar. This means that you aren’t force to rez the horse to ride it, it can all be done from the inventory.

Not only that, but you can make copies, place some on your land, and then use one from riding in your inventory to your heart’s content. So it’s a lovely object for your stables as well as avatar attachment. It really serves two purposes!

Rezzed animesh horse, and the same horse attached to my avatar (different coat).

As far as things go in Second Life, this is a pretty novel idea. The horses look and animate nicely. The only thing I did notice is that when riding, it seems to have less stability than the Bento horse did. That’s due to the nature of vehicles in Second Life… I see a lot more drift and effects of lag on the animesh horse. I’m not sure there’s much that can be done for this, or if it’s a product of beta and will improve. Update: Yep, they sent out a new version of the animesh horse with bug fixes and this one seems to move much more smoothly. I still think the Bento is slightly more responsive, but this is better!

The other thing I noticed was that the animesh horse comes all in one piece.

The Bento horse included a body and separate objects for tail and saddle and mane, etc. This made it somewhat confusing since you had to attach a whole folder of objects to your avatar in the right places for it to work. The animesh horse is one object, right-click, Add and done.

What I’m not sure about is how this effects customization. Because the Bento horse came in pieces, you could do things like switch out tails and manes easily. I’m not sure how that, and attaching accessories, work on the animesh horse just yet. There might be a perfectly easy way, though. I’ll have to look into it. They sent out a notecard tonight about this very thing — there is a way to remove pieces attached to the horse and replace them, but it seems rather complex.

Overall, it’s a nice quality horse with a lot of good features. I’ll be testing out my existing coats and updating my sales displays once I’ve confirmed they all work fine. I also have some other coats I need to work on eventually, as I’ve left a certain line of products go unfinished over the past year.

Overall, the animesh Water Horse should spark a renewed interest in the horses overall. I’m totally on board with that!

Posted in Second Life

SL15B Celebration – Happy 15th Birthday Second Life!

Yesterday marked the beginning of Second Life’s 15 Birthday Celebration. You’ll find sim after sim of amazing builds, colorful crystals, free goodies, and lots of music. The Posse and I headed out to see what we could see and take part in the hunt across the sims. Even after spending several hours exploring, I feel like I’ve hardly scratched the surface of this event.

You can find a lot of history of SL, from Bear Island (with over 170 collectible Linden Bears) to talks and displays (some with a hint of humor).

Some of the displays were incredibly original. All of them were super colorful as well.

Here, Amoon and I find bubble sitters among the crystals…

We spent a lot of time being amazed by the media-art creation of Thoth Jantzen. This was some of the most incredible work… I wish I had a landmark to share because everyone needs to see this stuff. I did a search for his name and could see that he’s been featured quite often in previous celebrations.

Certainly look for his display. It’s a don’t miss! Screenshots can’t do it justice. And it was really cool to be able to talk to the creator while we were visiting.

There were pretty incredible music venues, too…

Like a huge area with crystal chandeliers everywhere…

And this place with an absolutely HUGE animated snake coiled around it. Very cool!

If you just want some free gifts, they’ve set up gift tables in the Spectacular sim.

Posted in Second Life

All Work and No Play…

I’ve been working on a new series of themed horse coats that I’m looking forward to releasing for the upcoming Water Horse Creator Fair, which is supposed to be coming sometime in August. I haven’t heard any more information about it other than that. So, as soon as I know, I’ll let you know!

I’ve also took time off to relax after working on so many coats for the Uni release. This includes wandering around the grid and gaming with the Posse.

I’m an avid follower of the blog Inara Pey, and love all the great locations highlighted there. I know if I visit those places, I’ll usually find a good time. I tend to drag the Posse along with me, and we get into all sorts of trouble… 😉

Cape Florida

The first on my visit list was Cape Florida. With the warm weather setting in, I could really use a nice sandy beach right now. This sim had plenty of that.

There’s some great trails and scenic areas to explore. Nice place for horseback riding as it’s all pretty open and easy to navigate. There’s also lots of places to just relax and unwind.

The place has a free swimming HUD and an area of the ocean to swim around in. There’s also free swimming tubes and even working showers to clean off after a dip in the salty water.

There are lots of locations to visit, such as a lighthouse, garden and a beached ship… and some artifacts with some interesting interactions…

The crowning highlight of the visit, though, was when we discovered the interactable volleyball game. Though it doesn’t keep any sort of score, you can actually send the ball back and forth over the net, which was enough to keep us hooked.

Seeing that this is SL and precision tends to be a challenge, this was not an easy game to learn at first. It helped to learn how to turn on always-run. And for the others, going into mouselook was an improvement (not so much for me, though).

We also learned that Amoon is a beast at SL volleyball and could take on four of us without breaking a sweat. 😀

Devin’s Eye

Devin’s Eye is another explorable sim that has a nice series of biomes, from mountains to forest to swamp to ocean shore. There’s a second level to this sim in the sky, which I didn’t have a chance to explore yet, since there was a lot to enjoy on the ground sim already.

While exploration is the key here, there are a lot of interactable things to discover. We had a lot of fun messing around with the bungee jump and zip line in the upper area of the sim. There’s also a rezzable for windsurfing, though there’s not a ton of water (and you have to watch for ban lines in a section of the sim that eats the board every time you come too near).

My favorite part was discovering the bubble rezzers. This created a bubble you could ride in — it was very relaxing and a fun way to view the island. It would float on its own if you let it… or you could gently direct it where you wanted it to go.

I wish I’d taken more shots of this place — the above picture should give you an idea of how lovely it’s decorated. I’ll probably come back to finish exploring the rest of it sometime, though! Maybe I’ll do a longer post then! 🙂

Dragon Nest, Boardgame Beach

The Dragon Nest has become the Posse’s new favorite hangout lately. It’s a low-lag board game sim with a nice use of decoration and space. It has a wide selection of games, including some of our favorites – Pentad & Greedy Greedy. We also find the Cards Against Humanity pretty hilarious.

The more time we’ve spent here, the more we enjoy it. So, it tends to get invaded nightly by foxes, Muso Mice, minkies and the like. Hope the other patrons don’t mind. 🙂

Mouse cuddles!
Posted in Second Life

Bidding Farewell to the SL Fantasy Faire

Can you tell who’s the avatars in the picture above and who are the NPC tinies? 🙂

Though the Fantasy Faire event in Second Life was extended an extra week, I’d still not seen all of what I wanted to see of it. So, yesterday, the Posse and I decided to head over to do a final round of exploration.

When you think of Fantasy Faire, you probably think of majestic builds like this.

That’s not how it happened for us. Nope.

One of the free gifts presented to everyone who attended was cute little Minkie avatars. We’d all picked one up and they’re supposed to look like this:

Well, minus the roller skates. We picked those up along the way.

When Syn went to put her Minkie on, instead of replacing her outfit, she added it to it. This left her in a state of disarray — a Minkie wearing a crushed Relay Stock T-shirt, mesh shoes and her flexi hair.

We helped her remove the other objects, but the hair was a hit! We saw that and told her she needed to keep it! She did.

This led to us playing around and customizing our Minkies. Everything from hair to hats to wings. It was a pleasant sort of accident!

With the four of us heading through Tiny Town, me on my white tiger just for kicks, we actually got a lot of “Oh, how cute!” comments from other avatars. We even had one journalist who followed us just to take a picture.

The hilarious thing is that we’re normally not into the tiny or cute avatars. But it was all for good fun, so we just let it go. We riverdanced on grapes and found free roller skates (the best). We also had accidents with the waffle making machine.

Syn learned what happens if you try to use the sit interaction on a waffle as a Minkie.

Anyhow, I did get to explore some of the sims I didn’t get to see a lot of yesterday. I’m sad that the Fantasy Faire is going away — seems like so much work for so little time open! I’m glad it was extended to allow us a chance to explore some more. I’ll certainly be more involved with it next year now that I kinda know what to expect.

Posted in Gaming, Second Life

SL Stories: Close Encounters of the Dragon Kind

Pictured above: Someone’s awesome dragon avatar flying above Erstwhile at the Second Life Fantasy Faire.

My weekend was made up of a combination of mutliplayer Stardew Valley with my sister and time spent at events in Second Life. We attended Relay Stock and said farewell to the Fantasy Faire with a final round of exploration.

I also spent time working on new content for my Water Horse shop. And that’s where this story comes from.

I still feel a little bad about not having “exciting” new content to post here like I have in the past. There just isn’t much to write about when it comes to multiplayer Stardew (aside from the fact it continues to be fun) and making horse content in SL.

So I’ve decided that whenever something funny that warrants a story happens in SL, I’ll work on writing it up here. Kinda like Tales from the Duty Finder… just SL instead. So, here’s my first SL Story.

Being the Dragon

One amazing aspect of Second Life (once you get past the learning curve) is that you can be just about anything you can imagine. The new bento mesh avatars make this a million times better. I’ve talked about how great they are for people avatars and for riding horses. But they can also take the form of infinite other things.

Like this amazing dragon avatar. I actually own this, but haven’t spent time customizing mine yet or writing about it.

_Dragon_Pictures__Dragonfire
Image credit: Second Life Marketplace

And yes, the avatar can breathe fire (and other elements). It’s great fun!

When Dragons Attack

It was Saturday afternoon and the Posse was away. So I was at my home, the Riverwalk Mountain View, working on my newest Water Horse coats. When I’m painting horses, I need to see as much of the coat as I can, so I make the tack and the person part of my avatar invisible. This leaves just the horse… and almost makes it look like I have a horse-only avatar. Like this:

Snapshot_416

So, I was just minding my own business at home, when suddenly, a dragon (the avatar I posted above) swooped down out of the sky. I knew this was just a person wearing a dragon avatar, and I was looking like a horse… but I did what any self-preserving horse would do when a dragon appears.

I ran.

The dragon chased me.

I live next to the Riverwalk Park, the Renaissance Fair area to be precise, which affords a lot of open area to romp around in. I wish I’d taken pictures of it, but at the time, the only thing I could think of was to playfully run away from the dragon.

I hid in water, he found me. He chased me all over the sim. It was great fun.

Then, I turned around and transformed into my own copy of the dragon avatar.

I don’t think he expected that. But he had a very good response to it. He transformed into something much more massive.

Snapshot_389

Yes, and for scale, he’s far bigger than the buildings – almost as large as the windmill!

I laughed and gave up, telling him there was no way for me to outdo that. He laughed, too – the first spoken interaction I had from him, showing he was indeed being friendly. I decided to pull out my tiny corgi avatar.

He turned into a raptor. We had another little chase around until we finally ended up laughing and talking.

Snapshot_390

He asked if I lived here, and I showed him my place. I asked if he usually swoops down on horses as a dragon. He told me that he had a tower nearby and that he’d seen me from the top of it (he also told me later he doesn’t go around watching people usually… I guess my horse just caught his eye).

So, we traveled back to his tower and he showed me around. We climbed it, and sure enough, I could see my plot from the top.

We spent a little time talking, and it turns out he lives in Puerto Rico. He’s been away from SL due to the state of things in his country, and is only just returning. We discussed how things are recovering after the hurricane, and how they’re taking precautions for this upcoming hurricane season. It was a pleasant and eye-opening exchange, actually.

Eventually, the Posse came around, so I said goodbye to my new neighbor. But this just shows how if you go with the flow, random can be good fun in Second Life.

Posted in Second Life

Relay Stock: Fun, Music, & Tie Dye to Support Relay for Life

Today is the final day of the fundraising event, Relay Stock (click for teleport), put on by the Relay Rockers. If the name didn’t tip you off, it’s a Woodstock tribute done to benefit the Relay for Life. There’s been lots of music, dancing, rain and mud up by the main stage. Today will feature a few hours of live music, which I’m looking forward to attending.

I was pleased to discover my AO, which allows me to invite people to dance and animates their avatars, synced the dancers up as well. Posse friends are getting down!

Aside from just the main stage, there’s lots of camps and vans and fun places to visit across the sim. You can donate to the cause, shop for fundraising items or just take a break and relax some.

Oh, and while you’re there, take a moment to donate to the Bid the Lindens Bald event. Again, all for a great cause.

Also, great fundraising t-shirts. 🙂