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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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 Gaming, Second Life

Second Life: Finding Gold at the Fantasy Faire (A RFL Event)

Second Life’s Fantasy Faire, a 10-day charity event to support Relay for Life, has been going full-swing since last week. Spanning 15 sims, each with its own theme, too many shops, and so much entertainment, there’s just a lot to see and do. You’ll find music, great avatars, writing discussions, role play – table top and virtual, both – and even a George R.R. Martin day.

As of this moment, the event has raised over $22,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society. This event will last until Sunday, so there’s still lots of time to explore and donate!

This is the 10th year of this annual event, but the first time I’ve actually attended. I was really blown away by the quality of everything I found there. Some of my favorite creators were supporting the event, and I even picked up this awesome Tiger Mod for my Bento Water Horse!

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One event that I was looking forward to was the annual quest. I’d heard about it, but didn’t know how it worked until it released on Sunday afternoon. I’d never gone on a quest in Second Life, so I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.

While there were a ton of prizes to win, I was really there for the experience first and foremost. I was quite delighted by the quality of this quest once we got into it.

To start, you did have to purchase a HUD, which directed you in every step of the way on the quest. There were two versions – one that included an outfit and one without. All proceeds from this sale were a donation for Relay for Life.

We started by meeting up with the fae dragon, Cheer… whom we actually got as a cute shoulder pet!

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From there, we got a well-written little quest line, with fully voice-acted cut scenes, and story that took us to each of the different sims to meet various NPCs and gain their wisdom. There was a pretty strong William Shakespeare vibe going on throughout the quest, so the ending of the story didn’t disappoint.

It was super helpful to have three of us – Amoon, Xaa, and myself – working on this together. That way, we could split up and better find the quest locations and NPCs. That’s probably the only way we finished it the first night. And because this was something happening in real time, we didn’t have any hints on how it worked (which was fun and sometimes frustrating).

I was really surprised at how much time and detail went into these quests. The HUD could actually house and serve up all the videos (hosted on Vimeo), or you could watch the cutscenes outside of SL from the video link that the quest gave you. This was nice for the moments when the lag was just too much.. or if you didn’t want to give SL media permissions.

The creativity that went into all of the different fantasy themes and sims was amazing to start with. But coupled with a search for NPCs and an actual quest, it was really enjoyable.

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There were a few small snags, as there tends to be in SL (or any game, for that matter). One of the sims was having technical difficulties, which made it nearly impossible to search for the NPC there. That’s been fixed as of yesterday, however, so hopefully those coming behind us will have an easier time there.

I haven’t sorted through all of the rewards I got (and man, were there a LOT of them in that pile of gold) just yet. However, I greatly appreciate all of the gifts, time and love that went into this quest line.

This was one of those times I’m glad I gave SL another chance. The residents there can really do great things… and for a good cause!