Rez Magazine September 2009

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Trin & Voo Get Clued Up Voodoo Buwan: As long term readers to Rez will have no doubt picked up, Trin and I are both fans of games. From treasure hunting, to fishing, to immersive Madpea craziness and late night Slopoly sessions, we can often be found trying to beat each other at some contest or game of chance. In fact, even when we, and our respective partners, all met up at my house in real life recently, there was a time set aside for crashing out on my comfy sofa, and getting immersed in a board game. So, when Trin came to me telling me she’d discovered an SL version of Cluedo (or Clue, for our American readership), it seemed like giving it a road

test would be the perfect subject for this, our 100th article! Trinity Dechou: Yes that’s right dear readers we thought it would be wise to mark this milestone by joining collectively with our respective partners to solve the mystery surrounding the death of our very own Governor Linden. The Governor had been found in a bloody heap of death in his primworthy mansion.

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Clued Up! is the most recent release from Ember Games, coming in at a respectable 799$L and available from http://slurl.com/secondlife/ Umbridge/157/218/1001 Voodoo Buwan: And for what you pay, the set itself is lovely. Once the sculpty prims finally stopped being massive balls, we were treated to the sight of a very finely made table and chairs for up to 6 players to sit at, and a nicely made board in the centre. Trinity Dechou: The only real differences between Clued Up and Cluedo (Clue) are the fact that there are no appearances of Miss Scarlet or Colonel Mustard (such a shame really I’ve always suited red). The characters in the Second Life version of this game all come from inside the Lab, i.e. those Lindens with access to

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the Governor’s house and therefore those capable of committing such a bloody atrocity Voodoo Buwan: Likewise, the rooms have been renamed to suitably SL based locales, such as the Dance Club, the Hot Tub and the Casino Games Room; while the weapons are objects that would not be out of place littering a Linden’s personal castle (i.e. Pose Ball, Watermelon Gun, Bling Ring) Trinity Dechou: In the window of our Kernow office we all took our seats and prepared to discover whodunit. We were each issued with a HUD which acted as our in-world notepad. Voodoo Buwan: This leads me neatly on to my first criticism of the game. The HUD is lovely, don’t get me wrong, but as is not uncommon in this virtual world we live in, we were having a bit of a crashy night. And since this is not a game where someone can just drop out easily,


and everyone else carry on, the HUD does not deal particularly well with someone crashing once a game has been commenced. We suffered quite a few mis-starts, and on each occasion we all had to effectively bin our HUD’s, and let the game give us new ones, before we could recommence Trinity Dechou: However unlike most other games in Second Life when you do crash you aren’t automatically kicked out the game; the game suspends itself and waits for your crashee to return. Also, unless you happen to have the memory of an elephant you will need a good oldfashioned piece of paper and a pen as it is worthwhile to note suggestions made by your fellow suspects in order to more effectively cross off and highlight potential accusations. Voodoo Buwan: Yes, the HUD may be all well and good at marking off which cards you have, and which ones you get shown, but the fact that you can’t jot down a

little note that someone doesn’t have any of the cards involved in a certain suggestion does mean that it does pay to go a little Amish on the side Trinity Dechou: The table dished out cards to the contestants so our HUDs all automatically crossed off those cards we’d been given. From there the players take it in turns to head towards rooms, make suggestions about who committed the crime and with what implement. The table then asks the player to your left to confirm or deny any of these suggestions based on their cards. Should they have none, it continues to ask in an anti-clockwise direction until you have suspects, weapons and rooms crossed off on your HUD notepad.

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Voodoo Buwan: Of course, one of the chance elements is the fact that to make any kind of suggestion as to who might have dunnit, with what, etc, you need to get into a room, and your movement is all decreed by the roll of a dice. Now, granted, its been a while since I played Cluedo irl, but my god does it take a long time to get from one side of the board to another. Trinity Dechou: Yes and of course should you start to make headway down the huge primmy mansion halls and are then suspected of the murder back in the room you just broke free off you go shooting back to that room and prepare to make the epic journey all over again, and again and oh yes again.

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Voodoo Buwan: And then if someone accidentally ends their turn standing outside of the door you want to go out of, you can’t push past them, making you have to do massive detours. Trinity Dechou: As you play the game, and make suggestions you begin to cross things off your suspect list. You build towards the stage of accusation but of course in true cluedo fashion you may only make one accusation and should that be wrong your game is over although you do stay in place as your cards are needed for your fellow (non stupid) competitors to continue their investigations. Voodoo Buwan: However, here again I have a bit of a criticism. Maybe it was just the way we played at my house, but if you make a suggestion at the end, and now know whodunnit, I’ve always played that you can make an accusation straight away, and claim your victory! However, in this game, making that suggestion


ends your turn, meaning that if the next player has been paying attention, they can then make the accusation based on what you just said, and win the game. And thus, I bloody lost our first game! Trinity Dechou: However we did learn from this mistake and are aware that as your fellow players are watching your every move and ready to pounce on the victory, I decided to throw caution to the wind and accuse when I was sure in the next game. And thus, I bloody lost our second game!

Trinity Dechou: We quickly found that as we played the tension mounted, so much so that when the lovely ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ Aimee lost a game she had a small tantrum and performed a full scale artillery attack on the room. Voodoo Buwan: As is her way. Fortunately, Trin, Allanah and myself were all still sat at the table, and bravely weathered the ballistic storm. Trinity Dechou: In the true trying to beat each other fashion, Clued Up does indeed prove to be an excellent game, there is nothing better than saying to Voodoo ‘I beat you in a game and you are a murderer!’ Poor Governor Linden, bad Colonel Buwan.

Voodoo Buwan: Eventually, we got the hang of it a bit more, and actually this annoyance led to an extra depth to the game itself. Making suggestions that included at least on of the cards in your own hand, to try to lead the others down the wrong path, yet all the Voodoo Buwan: You’ll never take while, keeping a check on which me alive, coppers! cards you showed who, and thus who was aware of what you were figuring out. As we said before, it becomes nearly impossible to keep track of without a piece of paper in front of you in the real world, but becomes much more of a tactical brain ache, and more fun for it.

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On occasion it has been known for Second Life residents to be at a loss as to what to do that afternoon or evening with themselves in-world. Sometimes you can feel like you have seen it all and experienced everything Second Life has to offer you. Have you tried games in-world, and no I don’t mean the plethora of board game/ hud/ trivia games on offer in the shops, I mean actual interactive, use your mind games. If you’ve not, MadPea may very well save you from an evening unsure what to do next.

MadPea Productions create interactive games in Second Life and these aren’t your average game either. With well thought out and constructed story boards, scripted HUDs, clues, action, mystery and adventure these games have captivated a lot of residents already which has earned MadPea quite a following. Question is when will you join in? I managed to speak quickly to Kiana Writer, the founder of MadPea about the games and the concept behind MadPea Productions itself. Can you tell us what the main aim of MadPea Productions is? Our main goal is to create high quality and exciting content in Second Life. We like to push the limits of the engine and show people what is possible to do. We want to create a community around our games, so that the players are not alone, they can meet like-minded people or get the help if needed.

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What game development experience did you have before coming to Second Life? Hmm.. does it count that I created a Batman board game when I was little? ;) I honestly had none, I’m a real life writer. When I realized that my stories could involve into interactive games and people were enjoying them, I truly found my calling there. How does a game come together, how it is conceived and converted into an in-world entertainment zone? We are a bit chaotic here.. usually we start with my story and build the surroundings around it. Sometimes though, one of us creates an amazing build or we have a HUD idea we like to test and then make a storyline to fit that. Our games all include three main elements: it has to have an interesting story, that actually makes sense and is

not just a filler to show off some fantastic graphics (sadly I think a lot of games are like that.. :( ), it has to be interactive and it has to be built so that the player loses himself into the whole experience. Have you faced any complications when bringing a vision into Second Life? Not really, sometimes we have to make minor changes to the storyline to better fit the platform restrictions. We imagine and build in SL, so we are not facing the difficulties of trying to import the game from another platform to here. What sort of feedback have you received from the Second Life community? So far, the feedback has been really great and positive.

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spying on them then ;) ). What’s in the pipeline for MadPea? We have a big event coming on the 26th at our headquarters, where we are revealing some future plans. We have at least one bigger game coming out this summer. Right now, we’re all taking a little time off for holidays and for planning the next year. We have a large group called madpeas, that is really supportive to all members. We love to hear feedback of all kind so that we can improve. Sometimes people don’t understand that this is our hobby and that we are doing the games on our sparetime and for free, at times we are getting demands that are just impossible to meet. With thanks to Orange we have had the space to create on their islands. We are hoping to find more real life companies as sponsors to be able to test our ideas and bring out quality entertainment in Second Life. Sometimes sadly, the money is a huge restriction on what we can create. We have even had some of the Lindens playing our games (and of course we’ve been 12

Wether you’re a romantic helping to discover the ending in Firefly, or a would-be Ethan Hunt trying to finish Within, or even a top class sleuth trying to solve the mystery of the Swamp Hotel, if you’re the sort of person who enjoys thinking outside the box and solving mysteries then get along to MadPea, I guarantee you won’t regret it. MadPea Productions HQ *All images reposted with the kind permission of MadPea Productions*


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From Tiny Empires, Great Fun Grows by Voodoo Buwan Regular readers, or anyone who knows me, has probably figured out about me, I love a good game. Whether it’s board games, consoles, facebook apps, or anything else, I adore emersing myself in many forms of time wasting virtual adventures or contests. Bearing this in mind, it should come as little surprise to anyone that when, some time ago, a friend of mine in SL gave me a game HUD trial of a game called Tiny Empires, I became engrossed in it, and soon got my friends playing too, spending a good deal of my time inworld on the scroll in the corner of my secondlife screen, keeping an eye out for land for sale, any potential subjects I could try to recruit, or trying to solve the puzzles that would hopefully reward me with more gold, so I could increase my land holdings, and hopefully

move up to the next level in the monarchistic hierarchy. Tiny Empires is a medieval-themed game, the full version retailing inworld at L$799, with the aim being to get more and more land and gold, and recruit other sl residents to be your loyal subjects whose land then contributes to your own count, helping boost your way up the social ladder. Having spent so much time, and had so much fun, with the game, I decided to hunt the creator, Ultralite Soleil, to have a chat with him about how the game came about:

“Tiny Empires is a medievalthemed game”

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So, how long have you been in SL, and what originally drew you inworld? Let’s see, I started in August 2006 because I read about SL on some


techie website. Slashdot, perhaps. I didn’t care about the shopping or the so-called adult activities, but I was fascinated to learn that you could build and script things, and retain ownership rights. I used to play MUDs where you could create things, and the idea of SL reminded me of that.I made a few things in sandboxes but nothing too interesting :) So, how did Tiny Empires come into being? Well, I was looking for something to do, and I noticed that the games in SL at the time were mostly like checkers, or bingo. I sort of wanted a game that I could play with other people, but I didn’t want to have to be in the same sim with them. And I also have a background as a RL game developer (my former career). So I just started with a basic idea of a hierarchy game, and it sort of went from there. I got out of game development several years back, because it’s a ridiculously insane industry,

but the urge to make games is still strong. How much of the project was your own baby, and how much help did you have from others inworld with the development? Well, as my most loyal players would tell you, I’m a control freak :) I didn’t have any help :) So kept it all very much to your own vision? Yes. Well, in the earliest part of development, I knew I wanted a hierarchical game that 1) could be played anywhere, 2) took advantage of all the people in SL, and 3) was extremely simple to play. But the specifics of the game environment took a while to settle. Of course it was launched as a medieval, feudalism style game, but early on I considered making it

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a corporate management, ladderclimbing simulation :) I had just left a company in RL that was a bureaucratic nightmare on the order of Brazil, so perhaps it was the hatred of that seeping out :) (Brazil the movie, heh) How easy was getting word out in SL regarding the game, as it’s definitely one of those that benefits from having a lot of people playing?

at the same time :) But in those first few weeks I almost packed it in, thinking I’d try a different game approach. This was in July 2007, btw So perseverance and luck ruled the day? More the latter, I’d say :)

You mentioned about advertising Tiny Empires. How difficult was funding for this, bearing in mind It was quite tough, which is true for that, once you have the game, it’s any new product in SL. I advertised not exactly a money spinner in the same way games like Zyngo are? quite a bit, in-world and in the various websites. But after a few weeks there were just a few dozen Funding wasn’t really an issue. I spent only my spare time players. Then I think it reached developing it. And after launch, some kind of tipping point. The fishing community started to play, I deposited 10k lindens (I think) as my advertising budget. I don’t and that’s when it really took off. think I used it up before the game They’d fish, and play Tiny Empires finally took off. But personally, I don’t like games with subscription models, so I didn’t want to inflict that on my customers. Pay once, play forever. Of course, the addons aren’t free 16


:D Tiny Empires has one add-on, called Tiny Empires: Federation. It could be called an expansion pack. Basically it lets you do more things in the game. How much of a factor is financial success in your assessment of the success of Tiny Empires?

after a devastating galactic rebellion. It is a game similar in structure to Tiny Empires, but has quite a different feel, as its players will tell you. I’m currently working on an add-on to Tiny Empires 3000, as well as constant improvements to both TE and TE:Federation. And finally, do you have any advice you would give to developers thinking about following in your footsteps?

For me, I’m just blown away by how INTO it people are. That’s the biggest factor for me. There are websites about the game, entire Hmm, I’d say, start simple. Many sims devoted to the TE new games I see are theme. There have been complicated, overRL marriages between architected frameworks people who met through that are daunting to playing the game. For a new player. Make a some reason, it seems to basic, simple game, bring people together and then introduce into big families, which is complexities as the much more fulfilling to me than the player advances. One last thing: L$ it brings in. Tiny Empires is really a simple game, even for high level players. So, what should the residents of SL The thing that makes it complex be expecting from you next? Any (and interesting) is the people. So upcoming projects you can let us a game developer should keep in in on? mind the human element when designing social games. That’s it, Well, I recently (March 10) released really. Tiny Empires 3000, which is a sort of sequel to Tiny Empires. You play as a space-based merchant, 1000 years in the future, building your spacefleet, and cultivating colonies 17

“I’m just blown away by how INTO it people are”


Trescothick Aims To Please

by Voodoo Buwan

Faithful reader, if the name Aimee Trescothick seems familiar to you, it may be from the occasions during the past few Trin and Voo shows, when Trin’s partner takes it upon herself to blow us all up, or run us over with a tank. However, it’s become more and more noticeable that very many residents know our sweet little Aims for her superb and innovative programming work, which has been making quite the name for her. This past week, she has been getting so much attention, that we decided that an interview was in order, to get a better perspective on the divine Ms Trescothick, and her own particular Second Life Story.

down to an undisclosed location in deepest Kernow (or Cornwall for our non Cornish readership). Once there, Aimee and I also logged into SL, and sat down at the Rez office on the Kernow sim where she and Trin live, and had a chat:

However, Aimee is know for not being the biggest self publicist inworld, and is almost notoriously shy when talking about herself, so in a first for me, I traveled in the real world for the interview,

Aimee – I actually first heard of Second Life while researching a sleep disorder. I happened to read someone comparing it to Lucid Dreaming, as a place that you can shape to fit your imagination, a

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Voodoo – You’ve been a Second Life resident for almost four years now. What initially attracted you to SL?


description that intrigued me. I’d watched the field of virtual worlds develop with interest since I studied Computer Engineering in the early ‘90s, and tried various ones from time to time, but generally got bored once I’d seen everything and found nothing left to do. This sounded much more what I had been looking for, an actual world I could take a part in, rather than just another game. I have lost a lot more sleep to it ever since! Voodoo - When I first met you, I knew you as an artist and flag maker on Kiva, the Lava Pit sim. Since then, it seems you have experimented with quite a few interests in-world? Aimee – Around the same time I found Second Life I was made redundant from a job in research and development at a graphics card manufacturer. I enjoy experimenting and continually learning everything I can about the world around me, so finding myself without the creative outlet that my employment had provided, I was drawn into creating

and scripting within Second Life. Having found a warm welcome from the regulars at the Lava Pit, I tended to do my building while hanging out there. Those experiments, and the friendships forged at the old Lava Pit eventually brought me a real life career. Voodoo – Oh, yes, Kiva brought you into contact with Lord Leafblower, Founder of the Lava Pit club, and owner of Boxapixels? Aimee – Yes, he asked me initially to help building an in-world presence for a large communications company, and later to build a flag-ship store for his sideline, the Lava Inside brand of gadgets. Through doing that work I eventually joined Boxapixels as its virtual worlds specialist.

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Voodoo –You have gained quite a following for the Open Source work you have been doing on the Second Life viewer. How did you get involved in this? Aimee – I have? :) I got involved through curiosity mostly, I saw fixing bugs as an opportunity to learn about it, and see what made it tick under the surface. A big leap forward for me came with the introduction of the Space Navigator as a method of controlling my avatar in Second Life, that acted as a catalyst for me. It was great to suddenly be able to move so much more freely, anyone that hasn’t tried it is really missing out :) It was a big improvement, but I could still see limitations, where I knew it was capable of more. So I started creating a long list of JIRA entries on ways it could

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be made even better. Realizing that as it affected relatively few users, and at the time was probably a low priority within the Lab as they were making a concerted effort to improve client stability, I started working my way through fixing them myself. Voodoo – Since then, you have developed quite a few other changes or improvements for the Second Life viewers. What sorts of things that you have been working on have ended up on release? Aimee – Besides the Space Navigator improvements, mostly minor UI improvements and fixes, or things under the surface. Like turning off the mic automatically when ending voice IM calls, so you don’t broadcast your private conversations (or the sound of eating your lunch) to the world, and clean-up of the code that drives the minimap, to make it cleaner and more efficient, and to enable the community translators to translate text associated with it. I mostly try to pick up small tweaks, that will gradually add up to improve people’s every day


experience, in the hope that it will free up a little of the Lab’s resources, helping them to concentrate on the real game-changing stuff. Most of my recent Open Source work, is going into Linden Lab’s Snowglobe project, such as the increased zoom range of the mini-map there for example. I really just enjoy the chance to talk to and work along side some really talented people, both the other Open Source developers, and within the Lab, who I find I learn a lot from. The demos shown at SLCC gave just a little taster of some of the seriously awesome stuff the Lab are keeping up their sleeve right now, for Viewer 2.0 and beyond. I can’t wait to see what’s just around the corner. Voodoo – Most recently you’ve gained quite a lot of attention for your work with the new media plugins. Imagine me a drooling technophobic child, can you explain what this is? Aimee – Linden Lab announced at SLCC the release of the LLMedia Plug-in API, which is a way of allowing outside programmers to more easily extend the client,

intended mostly as a way to expand the types of media Second Life can handle beyond Quicktime videos and basic web pages. When I got my hands on the initial developer release of the Plug-in API viewer and the Linden test application for developing and debugging them, I made a quick video just of what could be done with the Linden supplied plug-ins, to show a couple of the other Open Source developers what I was seeing. Before I knew it, the video had been shared around much more widely than I anticipated, even finding its way onto New World Notes. It created quite a large positive reaction, and that spurred me on to see what I could do with it myself. Through my work at Boxapixels I regularly have clients asking for better collaboration facilities within

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the virtual world. So as a first attempt while learning the API, I decided to make something of a Frankstein style experiment, and over a weekend spliced in the VNC remote desktop sharing protocol. I then posted another video of it in action, just to demonstrate the potential of the new API, and the ease with which it makes it possible to develop these sorts of projects. the reaction to that was phenomenal. Voodoo – What kind of possibilities could this unlock for in-world residents?

support for those functions doesn’t appear to be available quite yet in the client itself. More useful examples would be collaborating on shared documents, live software demonstrations in-world, or remote assistance, enabling people providing in-world training to see “over the shoulder” of the people they are teaching. The sort of capabilities that are provided by web conferencing applications such as Cisco’s Webex, or AT&T Connect, but in the more flexible and inviting environment of the “I regularly virtual world.

have clients asking for better collaboration facilities within the virtual world”

Aimee – It makes it possible to view the desktop of another computer live on the surface of a prim in Second Life, the same way you would normally view a video stream. So as a fun example, I have a virtual replica Apple Mac on my Second Life desk, showing the display of my real one. In future it will also be possible to interact with it using your mouse and keyboard, it already works while running it in the Linden plug-in test software – as can be seen in my videos, but the 22

Voodoo – What kind of feedback have you received?

Aimee – I knew these facilities would be popular within the business and education communities, but as someone who generally avoids publicity and hides in the background, the amount of attention that it got has taken me a little by surprise! The messages of support and encouragement I have received have been fantastic, it felt a little like I’d unintentionally stumbled upon the Holy Grail. I have been told be several Lindens that the video has created quite a


buzz while being passed around within the Lab too, which is flattering, really though the part I played is quite minimal. I just provided the glue between the VNC software and the new Linden API which between them do the real work, without them this would have been much harder to achieve.

found there, as I believe there is much to be gained. I do have a number of ideas for other media plug-ins I will be playing with, but it will mostly be a matter of pushing boundaries, trying different things, and seeing what grows out of it all.

As a final lovely gift to our readers, Voodoo – Finally, can you give us a and to help further illustrate heads up on the sort of things you exactly what the VNC interface can are working on now, and what is do, Aimee also made for us this on the horizon for you? special new video for you to enjoy: Aimee – Well, for now, while this project is working already, there is still a fair amount of work to do to bring it up to stable production quality, ready for public consumption. So with the demand, I think I’d better finish it before I move on to anything else :) There are still other things I have in mind to further the joystick input support, and my other pet project the mini-map. As a registered Apple developer I have used Snow Leopard through the beta program for some time now, I would like to spend some time looking at improving the performance of the Second Life client using the new technologies

All photos and videos used with kind permission of Aimee Trescothick. All rights reserved.

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Faster Than the Speed of sLight In the real world, society breaks many of us. Companies eat up their ‘human resources’ as a means to make a profit. In a recent conversation with Peter Stindberg we discussed the idea that SL could in-fact be somewhat similar to this.

by Trinity Dechou

As bloggers will also agree, the need to write new articles, feature new designers and highlight the happenings in this world comes with its own stress and strain. Resident Choice blogger Prad Prathivi quickly became a victim of resident attention, forcing him to As shop owners will take a step back and focus admit, success is born on what he wanted to do, and blogging at this time from a drive to create wasn’t it. I’m sure many of us will and release new products. Even the best stores will continue to remember Prads writing abilities tick over as their releases diminish, and sarcasm, but eventually people but eventually new stock is the move on and find new sites to focus only thing that keeps people their attention on. returning and shopping. A virtual ‘target’ is placed on creations and the need to; constantly release products, speak to the group, offer support, advertise and market your brand can be just as harsh as any RL target driven work.

“society breaks many of us”

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With literally thousands of blogs all fighting for the attention of the reader, you must quickly grab a reader and stick to them like glue. Hoping they subscribe to your RSS feed, or at the very least come back and visit your site. The best (and arguably only) way to do this is provide them with the information they want to read. Updates, new articles, vast areas of coverage and insightful information are required to stand out from your other ‘competitors’. However of course insightful and researched information is something that does indeed take time, and time is something many of us has in short supply thanks to RL societies draining us too. Second Life is a fast paced world, in fact sometimes far too fast paced. If you can’t keep up with the flow then you’re quickly trodden on, walked over and all too soon forgotten. What can we do to stop this? Can we infact stop this or are we happy with our treatment of others and their treatment of us?

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Interviewing the Interviewers: Paisley Beebe

by Voodoo Buwan

Over my long and varying career many ways, a good interviewer. as an SL journalist, I think the one thing that I have become known The first on my list in the lovely for more than anything else, are and talented Paisley Beebe, who’s my interviews, especially with the show on SLCN, “Tonight Live with publication of my inworld book Paisley Beebe” is possibly one “Times of your (Second) Life”, and of the longest running and well the interviews I have established Second carried out here. Over “interviewers cope with Life based talkshows having to chat with around. She tends to time, being know for something like this the many and varied specialize in mostly makes you start to arts and culture in creatives, business wonder how other SL, a world she also people and movers and appears in with her inworld interviewers cope with having to performances as shakers in SL” chat with the many a jazz singer, but and varied creatives, has had everyone business people and movers from musicians, games creators, and shakers in SL. So, seeing as bloggers, Lindens and more, sitting there are so many talk shows and on her sofa, and opening up to her. interviewing journalists currently Despite the fact that I am on UK operating within our digital time, and she is based on the other universe, I decided to hunt down side of the planet in Australia, we some of the most interesting, and eventually managed to square our discuss their experiences, and give diaries, and sit down to have a chat you some insight into what it takes about her experiences: to make a good interview, and in 26


So, what initially brought you to SL?

I went to a gig here and asked the performer how you did it. He got me to play at his venue with my husband one night and that was A magazine article on it talking it. I drew a small crowd. I picked up about musicians playing here a manager/publicist type person who hooked me up with lots of Ah, so you arrived inworld venue owners, and then I met with hopes of extending your performing into the virtual world? SLCN a few months later and stage managed an event for them. We then decided as we were both in Not really just curious about it. Australia we should work together Didn’t start playing in SL till 3 months was up. I use the computer on something they just started filming in SL and started a sort of a lot for my marketing of albums whats on show called That’s life. etc... So we thought a talk show might be good as I was in Radio in RL. We What inspired you to start planned it, I hired some people, performing? And did that come and off we went, just making it up before or after you began your as we went along. Still doing that. association with SLCN?

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No one else had done it. Cypress Rosewood had a podcast, a live one with an audience, and so did Flaming Moe. that was it, no TV at all. no one to learn from. Tonight Live is the longest running Virtual TV show and there are lots now. So, with your rl radio experience, you had some experience with conducting interviews?

has been a professional journalist all her life, so If I ever get stuck I ask her. She knows everyone over here in the buis, and knows what the process is in RL, and I’ve asked her advice on interviewing. She probably thinks Im stepping a bit on her turf but as I’m only a virtual interviewer she probably thinks its all a bit silly :)

On the subject of getting help from others, you mentioned you have some other people working with you on the show: Has it been hard finding the right team enjoy it, for such a project?

Only a little, I had done part of a radio course, a short one and been in Community radio for 3 years. Both as a Jazz “I Program presenter and a Morning show host finding out but the emphasis was on about peoples There is no set process. music really. I just happen Some were people passions” to be a chronic sticky recommended, some beak and nosy parker, just came up and and I tend to “interview” asked at the right time, people constantly at parties. I some approached SLCN and enjoy it, finding out about peoples we took them on. We are now passions their lives etc... It’s the attracting people who have a actress side of me also, where genuine background in digital I studied Characters and their communication or writing. To start motivations.... Method actress... I with it was anyone that wanted once spent about 5 years reading to give it a go. My first Director nothing but biographies, and I’m was a seasoned podcaster but I an avid watcher of Talk shows and think, now that the TV industry interview shows. I study them now in SL is gaining a small foothold, of course. Learning all that I can it’s attracting people with a more about good interview techniques professional background within a and interview subjects. My sister related field, which is good because 28


SLCN, who are about to re-brand OK, so on the subject of getting as Treet.Tv, and myself have a real an interesting and entertaining life contract, so this is well and interview, what would you say truly my RL career now. I’m actually makes a good interviewee, and legally obligated to continue it. So have you ever had to deal with a my choice of employees has to be difficult subject for interview? good choices and it’s very hard to judge that as it is in RL. My 2 major ahahah... It’s funny you know. I criteria for a good employee are have a family of awkward difficult tenacity and determinism. Oh and to talk to people, so it helps me a being organised. There are a few lot. I have a family of people with other criteria but when your hot high functioning Aspergers. You on the trail of a guest you have to learn how to talk to people. There be like a detective and not give are very few people I cannot talk up till you land them or to. In SL, on my show... exhausted every avenue “we deal of course I don’t think there without being a pest or has been anyone that with guests... stalking, and then the wasn’t..... ok there have who have had no follow up of the guest been maybe one or 2 experience with and you know why? getting them to give you the information you any interviews” They were people with need and getting them an agenda, professional prepared for the show PR people, who instead also takes a great deal of tenacity of “talking” to me kept spouting and determinism. We deal of course off their “advertising”. When I tried with guests most of the time who to cut through the bullshit, I kept have had no experience with any getting the pre-programmed interviews of any kind in SL or RL marketing speak. That was hard. perhaps an employment interview I interviewed a Rocket Scientist is the closest they have come, so we once who was really a bit shy, but I have to guide them quite a bit to knew from the Aspies in my family make it comfortable for them whilst once I got him on his favourite trying to get an interesting and subject......rockets, he was off like entertaining interview. one. I genuinely care about my guests. They are not just subjects for publicity to me. I have a 29


personal history of being like that It was in a way a job to “fall back on”. with people. I have had to learn I suspected that the music industry to stand back and let people do was not going to fully support me. things their own way. I’ve been a That even in SL, I’d need a 2nd job, sort of amateur mentor all my live. and I hoped that if I combined my Then I used to get so despondent love of radio and interviews with that people wouldn’t do what I occasionally singing in SL, the Talk thought they should to let their show would give me enough of talent shine. I feel with this show I a profile to get work as a singer. get to promote people in a good But what has happened is I fell in positive way, and hopefully help love with my 2nd job, and now its their talent to shine. I hope people my main job. I’m now more well sense that in my interest in them known for my Talk show than my and don’t fell its prying. singing, but that’s ok. It’s really just tuning “I used to get so I think that this job, as into the person, finding despondent that crazy as it seems, has a place where they more of a future. The people wouldn’ t do are comfortable and music industry in my what I thought they country is really going asking the right open ended questions. None should to let their through a bad slump, of them are kidnapped because of the economy talent shine” into coming on the etc... I can’t sustain it. show. I think my honest I’ve been retrenched curiosity and fascination with them recently there was a post on SL helps. I’ve seen other interviewers about the fact I’m using this show who look bored by their subjects as a vehicle to promote myself. and I think that doesn’t help at That the guests are just window all. Maybe I’m just new at this so dressing for my own ambitions. the novelty hasn’t worn off, but But my profile in SL, whatever you I’m 47 and the novelty of being want to call it, is part and parcel of interested in people hasn’t yet. The being on the Telly. You don’t have pay off for me is seeing people get one without the other, and I watch their message across to a wider the most successful Talk show audience or their talent seen by hosts in the world, and they all give a wider audience. Initially my something of themselves away in reasons for doing this were mixed. their interviews. It’s horrible unless 30


you are a political interviewer to Is there anyone in SL who you watch an interviewer hold back would love to be able to interview or just take in an interview and but have not been able to? not relate. Oprah, Ellen, Michael Parkinson... all have a public profile. No not really. Just the next It’s about establishing a reliable inspiration. I’m in the unique brand, something that people position of being able to interview relate to. Not just interviewing but anyone really. People refuse having a conversation with your because of shyness, language and guest. When I’m interviewing, I not wanting to use voice, and I always feel that I’m part of the of course only want enthusiastic conversation, even if I am only 20% people on the show. I find the of it. That’s what it is supposed to most wonderful subjects in the be. I tend to only talk a lot when I most low key and non-famous have something important to say. places. Everyone to me is on the I’m not good in social same level. What I’d like “When I’m situations, don’t like to do is interview a RL interviewing, I small talk, not good at it star, for totally selfish always feel that reasons. Just to say I’ve :) I tend to go from nice weather to tell me about I’m part of the done it and not fallen your childhood in about in a heap with nerves, conversation” 2 mins. People tell me and to have some RL the most extraordinary attention for the show. things. I guess you just have to be Bring the ratings up and just interested in people. You can’t fake because...it would be such a test of that. I used to be horribly shy at my skills. A real challenge. Can I cut parties. I’d either have a few drinks it with the Real Life Interviewers? and be the life of the party, a total Having said that I’m very aware clown or hide in a corner. I learnt to of my limitations. I’m not highly take interest in other people, then educated. I’m creative and if I I felt not so shy. I discovered a gold interview someone it will be on mine of stories of fascinating history a very casual basis and probably by doing this. I guess I learn about involve a very silly question or two. human nature and life through that. I appeal to the everyday person and that’s what I am I reckon. I won’t ever try to be cleverer than 31


I am or I will soundly slap myself for being a pretentious twat! I’m a performer first, always have been. Terrible show off. I’m the girl that did Teacher impressions at school for a laugh, entertained the school with my pretend TV productions, plays and dances “I will soundly to awful 1970’s slap myself music. I started for being a at 4 years old: can’t help myself, pretentious middle child twat!“ syndrome. Final two questions: Firstly, what advice would you give to anyone thinking about following in your footsteps? Paisley Beebe: Well.... know who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are. Get people around you who can fill in those gaps people who are good at things maybe your not so good at.... and....you have to have the ...here’s a quote: the hide of a buffalo the heart of a dove. You have to role with the punches. If you don’t love it, you won’t last. I think you have to be a little bit nuts. Actually, driven and hyperfocused. 32

Finally, what’s next for Paisley Beebe? Paisley Beebe: Well, I must do some more singing. It seems such a waste of all that training and experience not to do more and I do enjoy it when I do sing. Tonight Live is about to go high definition and I have to redesign the show a little around that. I also need to earn some money :) So this year is about finding finance to support the shows I already have, Fabulous Fashion and T.L. I have about 2 or 3 other ideas for shows and I would like to get them up and running but I need finance to do it. I’m already copping huge expenses running 2 shows. It might be a Govt grant or some sort of sponsor. Advertising on TV is very slow to take off here. We can certainly compete with the other media outlets, but we are newer than other “I have about 2 media outlets, or 3 other ideas so it takes a leap of faith... for shows and I do love the I would like to creative process of putting shows get them up and together. It’s running” so exciting for me and because we have now some great procedures set up for our existing productions its not


as hard as someone starting from scratch. I won’t host the shows, I have my show, one is enough but will set up other shows for other people. I guess we are just hoping that Virtual worlds become more mainstream and that this media is as popular as it should be within the virtual population. Well, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be with the enthusiasm and work you’re putting in. Best of luck, and thanks for taking time to talk to me

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“It was a fantasy of mine to become a DJ ever since I signed on to SL because music is a passion of mine,” says Mike Kesten, a DJ in SL after graduating from the Blue Moon DJ Training Academy. “I went to another so-called DJ school, but felt completely lost. I loved it here, so this was a dream come true.”

Morgath. She works closely with Kiara Lanzet, who focuses on the host/dancing side of the academy.

“We saw the need for professional training,” Morgath says. “Most of the schools here in SL simply are not equipped to provide good training. Many of us at the academy also are entertainers in real life, so we know Kesten now what it is like. We offer training does DJ work and hands-on experience, not just at least six videos or papers to go through.” days a week in SL and The academy has three floors of may consider classrooms and a mockup of a SL doing it in real life sometime in the future.

“The training I received here and what I do now has completely changed my SL life,” Kesten says. “I learned and now I can do what I love.” The Blue Moon DJ Training Academy is the brainchild of Kasha 34


club so students can get the feel for Bonetto says a great deal also has what it will be like when they start to do with stage presence. “You working. have to engage the crowd or it doesn’t matter how great you “Some clubs do their own training, sound.” but they don’t usually have a lot of time to do it,” Lanzet says. “We make The internship consists of training sure the students are well-trained at SL clubs. This gives students the here at the academy.” opportunity to work with different music genres, listeners and styles. DJ students go through two weeks Students start with one set per of training. The first week is in the evening and then more as they classroom, while progress. the second is an internship. Students who Classes range go through the from what it academy must means to be an pass a test at Internet DJ to the end of two voice and emote weeks to be training. certified as a graduate of the “I can teach academy. all day, but the student “I personally needs to be make sure dedicated to learning,” says Joslyn the student is certified before we Bonetto, an academy instructor. release them,” Morgath says. “Our “I help with voice control, explain reputation is very important to us, streams and software, musical so the students know right away genres and timing. I talk candidly they have to pass the test. The to the students about his or her academy is not a hobby for us, it’s voice. However, if a student is very our passion.” knowledgeable about the music, the student doesn’t have to speak.” The academy does not guarantee that students will find a job after 35


graduation. However, it does act as a placement agency and has recently hired India Cerise as a marketing instructor to help the students.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact one of them for more information.

“We teach DJs, hostesses, dancers or anyone else how to market and promote themselves,” Cerise says. “We have three levels starting with image and business development, branding strategy and professionalism. The next levels include video portfolio development and group or oneon-one coaching.”

For Mike Kesten, the academy’s help and that desire to learn has enabled him to fulfill his fantasy of becoming a very busy DJ in SL.

Morgath and Lanzet say there are minimum computer requirements that are needed by the students. 36

“But the biggest requirement is the desire to learn,” Lanzet says.


Trinity Pictorials

Taken on the new League island, outside the mainstore. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Duende/154/130/39 Taken at an AM Radio build http://slurl.com/secondlife/IDIA%20Laboratories/128/128/0

Images taken by Trinity Dechou: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trinitydechou/ 37


The Full Spectrum of Music

by Voodoo Buwan

One of the constant challenges voiced by anyone within the Secondlife music community is the concept of getting the word out. With the grid being such a large place, and so many things going on at any one time, actually getting a following, or even getting anyone to turn up to your event, is a long and difficult slog, with predominantly word of mouth being the main way to get publicity. Yet, of course, this does mean that you run the risk that, no matter how much you play, it may

end up feeling that you are playing your gigs to the same small group of friends, night after night. Fortunately, there are people trying to wave the banner of live music in SL, and one such man is Fox Reisch, the owner and operator of Indiespectrum Radio a website and online radio station playing exclusively original music by SL artists. I met up with him, to find out a little more about how this project came about, why he does it, and what it could do for the talented musicians inworld. How long has Indiespectrum been operating? Since November 2007

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And what was the inspiration behind starting it? I wanted to help a musician friend promote her music here. Figured in RL they use radio so I would start a SL artist’s radio station. Was it at all difficult getting going at the start?

legal station in SL. All the artists sign an on-line agreement that they personally own the music and give me permission to play it. All indendant artists’ original music. No covers! Under the creative commons act the record companies really cannot bother me. Also they cannot bother any virtual businesses that play it.

So, once you’ve got the station, Figuring out how to stream was Ok and the music to play, how did but setting up the web page to take you spread the word? Do you requests was hard. Getting music have any idea how many people turned out to be hard work too. listen? I knew a few musicians that sent music but everyone else I have to I just tell people about it and the chase after. They are on my Artists’ word spreads. Also I give out free Links page in the order they signed radios here. and on Xstreet. I had on. Was there any problems with the issues of copyright, since I know how sensative artists, especially those inworld, can be about such things? Well I probably have the only

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31,000 tune ins last month and over 100,000 hits to the web page. The station is also listed on iTunes under the eclectic genre. The problem is that word spreads fast in the live music community but it has been hard to get outside to the rest of the people in SL. I was in SL amost a year before I found out about live music here! So, there’s a challenge in getting the word out inworld, let alone getting recognition of inworld talent out in the real world? It seems impossible to tell all of SL about live music. I need help. I pretty much do everything myself. It would be great if my free radios were out as freebies at the high traffic shopping places in SL and they played SL my station not out of SL copyrighted web stations. 40

Apart from landowners using your stream, if someone wanted to help, what could they do? Anyone with any SL business can expose people to the great talent here in SL by playing my station. They can put out my free IndieSpectrum Radio radios vendor too. Also have now playing signs for them, like the one above my head or with hover text. Are there any challenges with funding an operation like this, or does it all come out of your pocket? I do it just for fun as I love the music here and make many good friends. It is not a business but I do get some donations. I would like to have some volunteer helpers too. Publicity and to run live music fund raisers shows at my venue. I think most people running venues and supporting live music here are not making money but some


do consider them businesses. So I have a listener supported station but mostly I support it and am a listener. Finally, with all the music by SL musicians you must listen too, who are the acts that you would personally recommend as must see performers, for someone interested in hunting out the best that the scene has to offer? Well I don’t think I should say. But I do enjoy all of the music no matter how good or bad. Listen to the station, you choose. Very diplomatic of you. I play all of the music I get. If an artist sends 1 song it gets played much more than each of the songs from an artist that sends me dozens. The artists that send alot of songs do get played more. I try to be fair to everyone. Don’t think there is any bad music on the station, there is a huge varity. Over 130 artists and over 1000 original songs. Everything from classical flute to hip hop. The full “spectrum”.

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Tourism in a Virtual World

by Trinity Dechou

It can be said that a world like Second Life depends on several key factors; stability and a stable economy are of course key. The Second Life economy will be driven by market factors such as in-world spending, investment in land, and user accounts. New users are a key driving force for Linden Lab and whilst that has received mostly negative feedback from the community about the prioritisation of new members over long standing stability issues, it is clear that new residents are essential to the world’s future. Their ‘new’ money will be the difference that keeps us all in-world or all of us signing up for WoW accounts. 42

In parallel, it’s an argument by many that real world economies depend, heavily on tourists. A controversial but weighted argument that those lovely happysnappy photographing tourists that put strain on our transport networks and hold us up on the street when we’re in a hurry are in fact crucial to the area we live and work in. Tourism provides investment and opportunities in areas, and for many parts of the world, that rely heavily on it. Of course this is not everyone’s opinion, many believe the weight of tourists on an area change it and create social and cultural damage in some of the worst cases. As someone who works in the tourism industry in the real world in


a popular tourist destination called Scotland, it’s pretty easy to see which side of the fence I will sit on when it comes to the ‘to tourist, or not to tourist’ debate. I personally believe there are correlations between the need for tourists and the need for new residents. Allow me, if you will to explain. Tourists arrive in your home town/city with their freshly exchanged currencies, eager and willing to spend this leisure time, and their budget in the shops and stores in the area. This tourist ‘dollar’ helps to fund more jobs, brand growth, training, development, new concepts, and new outlets and of course pay your councils/ governments more taxes. Residents arrive into Second Life, with big eyes preparing to take it all in. Over time, perhaps, even spending money, developing skills, growing a brand, increasing productivity and opening their own store.

It is with this thought in my mind; I feel I must ponder why more RL tourist organisations aren’t open and accessible to Second Life. Oh of course don’t mistake me, some are here, notably Dublin in SL but where are the rest? Since it’s generally thought that holidays are no longer a luxury, but in actual fact a necessity wouldn’t it be wise for these tourist destinations around the globe to ‘sell’ themselves to you their potential tourists? I think the answer lies in one of two reasons; budgets and bureaucracy. For a long time Second Life has fought a rather ‘seedy’ and pornographic stereotype. Since most tourist organisations in the real world are funded by governments and are ultimately answerable to you their tax payer, there is an unwillingness to venture into the digital world. These organisations, in my experience, are often driven by older, aged, non technicalfriendly men and women who 43


are wary of being associated with anything that may damage their image. Let’s face it; on the whole in the real world, Second Life doesn’t have a good image, largely thanks to the editors of newspapers and producers of news shows. The other very real issue, especially in today’s world, is the questions of budgets. As I mentioned above these organisations are often funded by the tax payer and as such must be able to attribute some income, or at least return, from a virtual world spend. How exactly can you measure how successful your digital Visit Wherever is? Well surely that’s similar to the attribution of how successful an advertising campaign is? Surely Second Life is advertising. With this advertising thought in mind I conducted some research using Real Life media and an example of a Tourist 44

Region pertaining to Scotland.

*indication of costs and numbers specific to Scotland Obviously it does go without saying that an island in Second Life won’t get 80,000 visitors per day, but it’s also obvious to say that not all of the 34,000 people who saw the tv ad daily actually watched it and were not making a cup of coffee. Similarly one could argue that the ‘advert’ of Second Life wasn’t sat on someone’s lap staring them in the face as it would had it been a newspaper advertisement. However it’s also tangible that the Second Life map could be aligned with circulation of a newspaper. There is


no accessible way to measure how many people could visit a sim in a day, also with potential login screen advertising the message could be placed in-front of everyone logging in at that given time. On the surface of these indicated figures it certainly seems that Second Life is an attractive advertising entity however we’ve all seen corporate companies come and go again, there must be a reason for this. Virtual Worlds however, do have distinct advantages over the older forms of advertising media, namely the ability to create replicas for tourist attractions and even accommodation establishments. As technology advances more tourists will plan holidays not only on a flashy website but the ability to experience the destination in a 3D format even before any plane tickets are bought. So if and/or when will the Tourist organisations around the world see the potential of Second Life as a genuine global advertising platform for their destinations and if so, will they stay in the long term?

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SecondLife Essentials for..... Film Buffs by Voodoo Buwan If you’re house is fast becoming taken over by your DVD collection, imdb.com is one of your most used bookmarks, and you spend those rare nights away from SL down at the local multiplex, you may be wondering if there are places in Secondlife where you can explore and embrace your love of celluloid within the virtual landscape. If so, you aren’t alone, as I also was wondering something similar, but of course, anyone who has put the words “movie” or “film” into the SL search engine will know that this is a recipe for a long and painful search through advert after advert for porno theatres, porn

filled inworld television, or randy webcam girls at reasonable prices. So, fear not, I have attempted to save you the effort and possible blindness that such a search can bring, by tirelessly scouring the grid to find some of the best places in SL to visit if you consider yourself a bit of a cinema aficionado. There are various movie theatres in SL, where you and your friends can go and catch a film together, and many of them cost you absolutely nothing. One particular sim, the suitably movie inspired named Amity Island, actually has

Aminty Island

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two. The Second Cinema Movie Theatre is a traditional cinema with one screen but plenty of seating, showing a variety of largely horror films (on the two occasions I popped by, they were showing “Scream” and “Interview with a vampire”). However, if you would prefer to enjoy a more open air movie experience with a charming retro feel they also have a superb

the more art house end of the spectrum, you might want to check out the small yet modern cinema that the BBC Film Network have set up on the depo sim, playing some superb documentaries. On show when I popped over for a look was “I Expect Jean Feels The Same” an interesting and touching story about two WW2 war widows, and the love and losses that they

Depo Sim

Drive in Movie Theatre next door, showing films like “The Goonies”, which you can view while sitting in one of the stylish American automobiles they have put out for the enjoyment of patrons. Once you’ve seen one of the films on offer, you can also head down to the beach to enjoy the little tribute to the film Jaws, from which the sim gets it’s name. If your film tastes extend to 48

have experienced. Definitely more thought provoking than your average popcorn fodder. Another small but perfectly formed moviehouse can be found on the Desperation Kelly sim, at the Redrum Public House and Cinema. Upon my visit, they were showing the frankly legendary “Full Metal Jacket”, and if you piece together the clues from their film choice, and the name of the Pub, then you


also the 80’s Cafe from Back to the can probably figure out some of the other film related delights to be Future 2, but in addition to being able to have a look around these, found nearby. If you go exploring,

Desperation Kelly Sim

you may well discover a door to the Kubrick Rooms, a tribute to the much missed director, with lovingly detailed recreations of the sets like the war room from one of my favourite films, Dr Strangelove, along with the bathroom from The Shining, and a Moloko bar from A Clockwork Orange. You can even enjoy a documentary about the man himself, inside the room detailed after the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Once you have experienced these delights, you can also find some superb recreations of the shack from Evil Dead, and

you can also buy copies of them for your very own, to place on your own land, if you so wish. For more items of purchasable film related goodness, you can do a lot worse than visiting the Paper Street Soap Company. Ah ha, I hear you cry, I know what this will look like then. And while you would be right that the signature pink soap from the Fight Club posters does feature heavily, and you can buy a fine recreation of the house on Paper Street, the actual main store building actually owes

Paper Street Soap Company

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more to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, although put through something of a grime filter,

and producing soap instead of chocolate, in appearance at least. Other prefab buildings for sale, that should interest any film fan, include the desert church from Kill Bill, Sweeney Todd’s barber shop, the Quickstop store from Clerks, and a smashed up version of the Mooby’s fastfood restaurant from Clerks 2. There are also some nicely crafted film inspired outfits on offer, which you can wear while you pop to the neighboring sim, to

Hollywood Sim

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check out some of these buildings out on display, so you can have a look around before you buy.

Little Mos Eisley

It would be remiss of me to talk about films and Secondlife without talking about the large community of Star Wars fans, who have decided against playing one of the other Star Wars themed online games, preferring rather to make their own roleplaying areas in SL, and becoming a Jedi or Sith inworld. One of the best places to go to dip your toe into this galaxy not so far far away, is Little Mos Eisley, a


highly detailed slice of the planet Tatooine. If you decide that you’d rather not get involved in the lightsaber battling, and rather just look around the Catina, or marvel at the creatures, buildings and vehicles littering the sim (including a gorgeous Millennium Falcon), you can get a free visitors tag at the arrival point, and walk without fear of attack. And finally, how could I look at the perfect places for a film buff to look at without suggesting a visit to the Hollywood Sim. This is a beautifully glamorous place, complete with it’s own walk of fame, and Hollywood sign for you to gawp at, and if you’re lucky you may even be able to catch a show at the sims very own Hollywood Bowl venue. Sounds like a potentially perfect end to any movie fans day in the world of SL.

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SL Essentials for..... Weapons Enthusiasts

by Trinity Dechou

Considered by some to be an essential for personal security, and by others as a hard-edged fashion statement, very few people can claim weapons evoke no emotion, even if they aren’t a hardened Role Player or fashionista. Simple truth is in this your second existence a large proportion of us own at least one weapon for whatever reason. Role Players must be armed suitably to handle any situation they face and likewise many fashion icons have toyed with the use of weapons, especially guns. “Girls with Guns” have quite an avid following, in both lives, by both sexes. In this my essential list of some of the superior weapon manufacturers in Second Life, I will cover places to purchase your firearms or if you have a penchant for steel, a fine blade. 52

First on my tour is Breach. Breach is a popular creator of replica firearms for your virtual life. A small, yet succinct range of guns await you here all meticulously created with the vision to improve combat in Second Life. From the timeless classics of the 1911s and Eagles through the heavier powered Sawedoff Shotguns, Submachine Uziels, M5’s and MP7’s to the precision of the sniper rifle; Breach have it well covered, and their popular following is proof of the fact. Breach’s mission statement claims “…on par with normal first person shooters. We concentrate on


“look and feel” and customisation instead of providing a hundred different types of bullets.” Heading over from Breach, also on Overdrive Island, you arrive at the doors of C-Tech. With a small selection of guns, only 4 in-fact, C-Tech provides an AK47, Pulse Rifle, Mach 10 and quite possibly my favourite Second Life handgun the MK4 (Redemption Pistols). What C-Tech lacks in number it more than makes up in attention to detail and as well as this small range of weaponry, you can also purchase full body armour and aircraft that wouldn’t look out of place in the popular Wipeout games.

store it’s plainly obvious you are at a fully-fledged military outfitter and in fact the store takes the form of an outpost in style. Various vendors await your arrival which are helpfully split into easy to use categories where you can select between the pistols, machine guns, assault weapons and snipers. Black Ops has the biggest selection of guns of the three places I visited on this tour. Ranging from standard issue Beretta M9’s to RPG-7 Rocket Launchers. Other vendors are in place offering armour and uniforms including replica armed forces uniforms. One major advantage which Black Ops has over the other stores featured is that it has it’s own firing range. You are welcome to go to the

Leaving the two shops on Overdrive Island behind the next essential choice for a Second Life arsenal would be Black Ops. Upon arrival at the Black Ops main

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range and test your weapons out, and 6 diverse Katanas on offer, at provided you can abide by the few Mushashi you won’t be stuck for rules they have in place. choice. As well as the high quality of these blades they also have If firepower isn’t for you and you arguably the best packaging I’ve wish to recreate some epic moves ever seen. Each blade opening in with the shiniest and sharpest it’s own unique way which is quite blades you can find you mustn’t compelling. I have recorded a short miss out on Samurai Island – video of the Sizuka naru Shi Blades, which I own; you must see it to House of Blade Mall. believe it!

A vast array of shops awaits you here in a beautifully created, themed sim. From blades to Kimonos and other outfits this sim has it all. As well as a shopping destination and a visual delight, this island also has a growing and popular community complete with combat areas. Contained within one of the larger structures here are a few blade specialists. On my list for here is Musashi Blades. I am the proud owner of some blades from Mushashi and can report the quality of these weapons is unmistakable. With various outfits 54

Leaving Samurai Island behind I pop over to Hanzo Blades. Hanzo is a sizeably growing popular collection of Samurai outfits and armour. Coupled with the work from DirtyLynx, Hanzo offers eleven blades currently and numerous outfits and armour parts. Interestingly Hanzo also offers a full permission Katana, complete with scripts, for you to create your own custom blade. Most certainly


not a shop to be missed if you seek Samurai.

but this vendor location is a very good place to start your search for any Second Life weaponry. TalTECH also have firing ranges available to be used and even bought. So if you find your addiction to weapons in Second Life grows you can furnish your own land with an arena.

So, if you seek some protection, or accessories for your virtual life The last place on my little whirlwind the places above are essentials not to be missed on your mission. tour is TalTECH Weapons. TalTECH Your mission (should you chose to is a massive vendor location for accept it) is to use the list above to pretty much any weapon you can find in Second Life. There are quite match yourself with your perfect Second Life weapon. literally hundreds of vendors on location here. Featuring the likes of *** Please bear in mind that Omega Concern, aubreTEC, Galiko weapons support different systems and some of those featured in my list above. Personally I prefer visiting for combat. Please be aware and check these details prior to any the main stores where you can obtain more information generally, purchases.

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SL Essentials for..... Comic Fanboys

by Voodoo Buwan

The subject of Superhero Comics and MMO’s is currently big news, with comic fans eagerly awaiting the upcoming release of DC Universe Online and the recent announcement that Marvel are planning to try again to get a some multiplayer online goodness flowing, now that they have struck up a new partnership with games company Gazillion. With all of this in mind, I decided to have a search around the grid to find the must see places that any wanabee superhero really should check out. There are several superhero roleplay areas in SL, but one of the most popular and most established is Gotham City, a condensed 56

version of the crime riddled home of everyone’s favourite dark knight, Batman. The sim features many of the landmarks you would expect, from a suitably creepy Arkham Asylum, to the impressive Wayne Tower. The roleplay is very loose, with not much in the way of structured story, with the sim more dedicated to action and combat, utilising the DCS2 Combat system. So, if you’re looking for a ruck, you can throw on your tights, and head on over.


For those who prefer their Superheroes a little more cosmic, you can check out Beta Quadrant, a Green Lantern themed RP sim. With some truly stellar builds, the sim is constructed over several levels, with giant power batteries,

Guardian’s council, and also some battle spaces, with automated laser firing robots for you to duke it out with. While there, you can apply to join the GL Core, a fan group that has grown to also live up to their namesakes, patrolling SL, fighting crimes like griefing, helping noobs in need of guidance, and even raising money for charity. You can applications to join up at the Beta Quadrant sim itself. Marvel based roleplaying areas are unfortunately a little more hard to come by, although currently

under construction is an area titled X-Men Armageddon Aftermath. This place promises to be very much concentrating on story lead rp, themed within a world when the evil mutant Apocalypse has taken over, and Professor X is gathering together the scattered mutants, to fight back. Many of the roles of the established characters have already been taken, but contact Niklaus Cuttita if you wish to get involved, being in mind that they only want people who can fight and RP, and they can then organise a role for you, either of an existing Marvel Character, or one of your own creation. For those looking to do a little shopping, the mall at Aftermath 2 has got a lot on offer, with branches of some of SL’s most

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love of caped crusaders, while still keeping and element of fun and cuteness to your look, you are gonna LOVE these Tiny ChibiBat and ChibiCat avatars available from United Dealerz

reputed superhero costume makers, and hero themed gadget creators (I found some particularly good Green Lantern rings there which can shoot, sheild, and create coloured objects, and with the current war of light going on in the comics, you can find the Sinestro, Star Sapphire, Red, Blue, Orange and Violet rings on offer). Once you have shopped til you drop, you can then check out the builds of the Daily Planet building or the Hall of Justice, or maybe cause mischief by shooting down some of the sci-fi flying cars zooming around. Of course, if you want to show your

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Of course, you might be looking to fill some gaps in your collection, but can’t tear yourself away from the fun you’re having inworld long enough to get down the comic shop. In

which case, fear not as the BBR Comic Shop has come to your aid, touting themselves as “the 1st fully functioning comic shop in Second Life.” You can order your comics from the store by clicking the book you want, which will then take you to their website, and they will then ship your titles to your RL door. Just another reason to never leave the house then!


And finally, I would be remiss to do any piece for comic fans without mentioning the comic writer who got me into SL in the first place, all that time ago. Warren Ellis, writer on Transmetropolitan, Planetary, Astonishing X-Men, Anna Mercury, Freakangels and many more titles besides, has been known to spend a fair amount of time in SL,

even writing about the subject for the Reuters website. Inworld he goes under the name Integral Danton, and has a home base in the Wastelands. If you are a fan, you can also join his inworld group, the Army of Filth to keep up to date on the latest news on the Internet Jesus, and also to pick up some very

cool Warren Ellis themed freebies from time to time. Excelsior! (sorry, always wanted to say that)

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Second Life Essentials for Homemakers

by Trinity Dechou

You’ve been in Second Life a while now, you’ve decided to take the plunge and find yourself a home. You’ve bought your land, or found a lovely rental island and paid the tier. You’ve decided you want to be careful of any DIY accidents and splinters ruin your hands so you’re going to buy your Second Life home, but wait… where to go? Welcome to my personal Second Life essentials for home makers; a small, yet succinct list of my personal recommendations from the filled world of the prefab home. [ba] barnesworth anubis Tastefully nestled into a hillside on the Demersal sim is [ba] (barnesworth anubis) without 60

doubt one of the best known names in the world of Second Life prefabrications. With a vast array of residential prefabs and a small, yet growing number of commercial builds, ba offers its visitors good quality in a vast array of styles at reasonable prices.

The shop displays show images and information about the individual prefabs as well as a quick and easy option to teleport to the display in-world, where you can wander through the potential house of your


details thoroughly before parting with your hard earned Lindens.

dreams and all without an estate agent chirping it’s features in your ear. Various sizes, costs and prims await you at ba, all explained on the easy to understand vendors. The majority of houses are priced in the 1,000$L - 1,500$L price bracket, some indeed much lower, and similarly a few more expensive. Most of the builds come with copy/mod permissions and an easy to use rezzer for initial placement. Also, most have window tinting and lockable doors etc, although you should always check

I took a peek at The Howe Efficiency Home which is one of my favourite ba houses. It makes for an excellent starter home. At only 750$L and 88prims it’s perfectly suited for smaller plots. Trompe Loeil Connected on the same cluster of sims as ba stands Trompe Loeil.

This outfitter isn’t just a prefab maker, they also have some landscaping products for sale. Predominant however, of course, are the prefabs on offer here. Trompe Loeil offers a smaller collection to the likes of ba, however the quality is outstanding. Indeed some prefabs incorporate 61


sculpted prims for maximum prim efficiency and style. The arrival shop features vendors with easy to use teleport to display functions similar to the neighbours at ba. The styles on offer in this smaller selection are quite unique. You can have a sculpt hobbit home, popular with Lord of The Rings fans or you could chose to live in a rustic Silkhouse. With the varying styles, varying prims and prices follow suit.

your average Second Life prefab. Priced at 12,500$L and engulfing 751 prims this gigantuan building won’t suit all. I however have been in love with this building since the first time I ever saw it and had to feature it here.

Scarlet Creative

Without doubt The Hobbiton home is not only a fantastic quirky house, but also quite an achievement with the plentiful use of sculpts. Priced competitively at 2,000$L and featuring 351 prims the house speaks for itself. If however you have no delusions of hobbit-ism then perhaps the The Arc - Luxury Lodge is for you. Make no mistakes this isn’t 62

If however you’re the kind of person who enjoys clean lines, with white minimalistic qualities then you should venture no further than ScarletCreative. With a substantial collection of homes most RL architects would be proud of, the


minimalist look is one which suits many. There are various sizes, prim counts and price costs at ScarletCreative so really you would need to venture around this sim to find the build to suit you, and your needs. However as this is a beautifully constructed region, wandering around isn’t a hard task.

I’m choosing to feature the Grand Urban Beach House from ScarletCreative. Weighing in with 480 prims and costing just under 14,990$L this is one of the more luxurious homes featured here.

Botha Architects may very well suit your needs. Scattered across 2 sims the architecture here at Botha covers a plethora of styles. Similarly to ScarletCreative, Botha doesn’t have a store with all the build offerings laid out, so you will need to hot foot it along the pathways and explore these sims yourself. In true architectural fashion, you couldn’t describe these houses as low prim. If however prims are not an issue for you, then these meticulously designed homes are filled with many prims furthering the attention to detail. In fact many of the houses come with in built water features or fireplaces. Featured in the image are two very different styled buildings on offer at Botha. The Treehouse on

BOTHA ARCHITECTS You’ve decided to embrace your inner architect however you’re not one for the clean, white line, minimalist look of ScarletCreative.

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the left, complete with 323 prims, and priced respectably at 3,999$L offers home makers another path to take on their search for the ideal home. Meanwhile the house on the right, with a staggering 1,106 prims and priced at a modest 11,000$L is certainly an investment in your future home. Skye Castles “An Englishman’s home is his castle” - it must be true then that said Englishman shopped at Alex Bader’s, Skye Castles.

have a piece of tangible history in this fast paced virtual world. In my personal opinion Skye Castles are the finest castles in Second Life. Upon arrival at Skye you will be presented with a notecard containing the landmarks to all the build and accessories on offer here. It would be well advised that you store this notecard as it will make exploration of this place a lot easier. With a growing number of castles, and pavilions, tower houses and even a bridge it’s no wonder that Skye Castles stretch over a number of sims. From the dark depths of Skye Gothic Castle through the Skye Deco Castle and into the Skye Steampunk Castle the collection here can only be described as eclectic.

Nipping on the heels of 1,000 prims stands the Skye Faery Castle and at As quoted in Skye Castles creator, a cost of 15,000$L it is a substantial Alex Bader’s profile - “Skye Castles - expense but then it IS a castle! One the finest castles in all SL? Only you major advantage of the Faery Castle can decide”. I must admit that true is the selection of accessories you to my Scottish Heritage I have seen can purchase to decorate it. From the Faery Watchtower, to the Faery quite a vast number of Castles in Second Life. People clambering to Bed and even a Faery Bridge which 64


all go hand in hand to compliment this building on arrival at your home.

Anubis or Trompe Loeil so what now? Well perhaps you’re someone who wants a little funk in their modern living. If that’s the case then go along to Hydro Homes.

Even the relatively dormant steampunk in me is aroused by the Steampunk Castle here. Also costing 15,000$L and charging off with You’ll arrive in a clean functional store with vendor images and all 842 precious prims this building the information you’ll need about prim counts and costs. I find the layout at Hydro very helpful, the builds themselves are split into categories dependent on the size of parcel they require. Starting at 499$L for 512 sqm homes increasing to a maximum 1,999$L for 2048 sqm builds you’ll find uses the best of it’s included scripts the houses here all priced very reasonably. to create a quirky steampunk experience. Panel opening doors Venturing towards the daylight and a rotating sphere system driving outer cogs which all go you will be presented with 3 levels to rise too and take advantage of hand in hand to make more than the temp rezzing platforms to view just a home it’s an experience! Hydro Homes Ok so you’ve looked at my recommendations and decided you don’t want to live your Second Life in a castle, or clean minimalist home. You haven’t found anything at Barnesworth

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That completes my tour of some of the best Prefab makers in Second Life at the moment. The Second Life prefab world is a humongous world, the market is flooded with options The Enigma is a clear for you when you purchase your virtual home. It pays to spend time representation of what you investigating the options open to can expect at Hydro Homes. A curvaceous building with plenty of you before making your decision. interesting features which will help Hopefully as I believe these establishments stand out from the to set your home out from some of the other prefabs available inothers, this list will give you a good place to start. world today. In the largest size category this build utilises 307 prims and will cost you 1,999$L, well spent in my opinion. your potential homes. With clear instructions you can see which platform is in use or free and up, up and away you go.

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Second Life Essentials for Gardeners by Trinity Dechou Presumably you’ve followed my advice and had the builders in laying your newly acquired house. Either that or you ignored my Essential List for Second Life prefabrications and found your very own place. Either way you’ll have further tasks ahead of you. One of those tasks is gardening. Yes that’s right readers it’s time to don those cardigans and slippers and make your parents proud, it’s gardening time! It’s true to say that even the most magnificent houses and buildings in Second Life would look naked without some attention to the foliage surrounding them. In order to stop your prized possession looking bare and satisfy yourself that the mortgage is indeed worth it, you should take time, and care to plant your virtual home with the flowers, shrubs and trees that suit it best.

Welcome once more to a Second Life Essential list, this time for the practicing gardeners out there among you all. It’s of course wise to point out that there are vast garden centers and options for foliage in Second Life, I couldn’t possibly cover them all so I will try my best to offer my personal favourites in order to give you a start! Heart Without doubt Dolly & Lilith Heart’s Garden Centre is a onestop shop for the majority of your gardening need. Low prim, high quality plants are on offer on the 6 sims that make the Heart empire. Starting on a mainland sim it’s unmistakable the growth Heart has had since it’s inception in 2006. One you learn the plants on offer at this immense garden centre 67


also vendor walls in place where you can see the offerings in the categories of landscape architecture, rock formations, tropicals, flowers, marshland and trees in one complete place. Fairly new to the offerings at Heart are the Meadow Patches; you’ll begin to notice Heart plants all over the grid. Clearly a popular expanses of flowers helping you solution to your gardening needs. cover a larger area with these richly textured plants and all relatively low Whether you’re looking for Tropical prim. Also if you’re not sure about which plants should go together plants to feature in your idyllic beach home, or marshland plants or not, Heart has some offerings of to feature in your very own forest, complete layouts saving you the trouble of placing the prims etc. The Heart won’t let you down. With prices at Heart are also competitive, Topiaries and Arboretums you allowing you to give your Second can add further depth to your landscaped home. Heart is mostly Life home a true living, breathing feel. made of prim plants, there are a few sculpt options here however but the majority of plants and trees Botanical are textured prims. If you have wandered the pathways at Heart and not found what you’re You can purchase plants in many ways at Heart. You can chose to walk along the classically laid out garden centre and purchase plants individually or you can also purchase sets with an additional discount if you’re looking for more than one or two plants. There are 68


looking for, or perhaps you want some sculpts to aid you in adding depth to your gardening in Second Life, then Botanical at Straylight might be the very place for you. Another truly popular location favored by many sim owners, the trees especially are among some of the most realistic you can purchase in Second Life. The area at Botanical is somewhat different to Hearts manicured walkways, and owner Kriss Lehmann chooses to go down the location, location, location theme. You can see all trees and plants in-situ in this beautifully crafted sim. Also there is a central area with all the packs and options laid out for those who want to browse a store rather than a sim. Botanical does offer a smaller collection of flowers than Heart, favoring more sculpt trees and further landscaping concepts. The sculpt walkways and water on offer at Botanical will help you to recreate mulch walkways and flowing streams on your sim while the particle effects of the Will-o-Wisp and Butterfly emitters will help to add some fantasy to

your creations. In addition you can purchase wonderful firefly emitters, light beams, rainbow beams and sound effects depending on the area you’re creating. New Trails Following on from the sculpt goodness of Botanical the next logical step for gardeners would be New Trails. Situated on another lovingly crafted, landscaped sim, the products on offer here are equal in quality to Heart and Botanical.

Taking a walk towards the shop area through ruined pillars you walk among the trees which help show you one of the reasons I really love New Trails, the textures, especially on the trees feature a wonderful fantasy-esque feel with almost glittering leaves. You can

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bear witness to another favourite product of mine and that’s the light beams. Of course Botanical also features light beams and rainbow beams which move in time with the SL sky, but the menu-driven beams on offer at New Trails offers great diversity in colour and length, adding great depth to the lit areas in your virtual garden.

If you fancy something a little on the quirkier side of realistic garden accessories, then there are a few small places which have some The shop at New Trails is tastefully specialized trees and such. Akeyo located in a greenhouse building is one such place. They only in-fact and offers you many options when feature one garden piece and it’s purchasing your plants, even a the topiaries pictured below. They copyable version for those of you are simply brilliant, and I personally with bigger parcels to cover. The love them. You’ll also see them majority of the stock here is a featured in many sims who chose to little more on the fantasy edge of be a little less mainstream with their foliage than reality, however there planting. are still options for those of you who prefer realism over fantasy. Of course another very popular You can even buy Bonsai trees at location is Happy Mood. A New Trails and they do look fantastic! Relatively new additions to new trails are the wonderful 1 prim sculpt flowers. Still a small range of those, they will help you cover a larger area if prims are at a minimum. 70


wondrous feel good sim, which features some of the most adorable bunnies in Second Life, also has a small yet succinct selection of garden essentials including the gorgeous clock tree which I’m sure will make a fantastic addition if the theme of your house suits it! If water plays a key point in your landscaping, you might want to check out the options available at Artis Natur brought to you by the Adam & Eve creators Sachi Vixen and Damen Gorilla. There

are multiple textured styles for waterfalls and streams at Artis, along with low prim sculpt trees (which you can touch to change the seasons) and wildflower beds with particle emitters for butterflies and bugs. No matter what your garden theme is, you’ll be sure to find

something suitable in Second Life, the places mentioned above should hopefully aid you to make a start on your quest to become the next great landscaper. Finally an impassioned plea. It’s very easy to be tempted by textures and full perm sculpt maps the gardening markets appear filled with of late. While these do help in many cases keep costs to a minimum it is also true that many are also lower quality than you’ll buy in these Second Life garden zones. While it is true that unplanted lands look barren, it is also true that low quality sculpts/ textures won’t help you achieve an atmosphere. Your home, your store, your chill out zone should leave its visitors with an emotion. If it’s dark and grungy or a fantasy realm or even a lush woodland forest it all leaves your guests with an emotion, please make sure the lasting memory or your land isn’t of low quality.

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Voodoo’s SL6B Do’s and Don’ts

by Voodoo Buwan

Well, Second Life celebrates another birthday, and we all trekked out to show off our latest creations to the virtual world. And once again, there have been some truly superb exhibits, showing the very best on offer inworld, and there have been... some less impressive stands on show. So, once again, I would like to present to you all, my personal Do’s and Don’ts of SL6B. Don’t give visitors a migraine When I flew past Marmottina Taurog’s Green and Wild Design stand, I immediately gagged at the technicolour swirling see through boxes, with a mesh of glowing chaos within. I then thought, “No, give it a chance, it might be much better inside”. It wasn’t. I’m now wearing sunglasses. 72

DO work with the theme - A lot of people have been very annoyed with the enforced theme of “The Future” that was imposed on us by our rulers up in Linden Land, but many of the exhibitors, rather than bitching and moaning, have made a


real effort to do something with the theme. Juliete3d Quinzet’s decision to steer away from the usual box building acting as her gallery, but rather having a shuttle pod being smashed by a meteor, spilling her artwork down onto the ground, was inspired and a delight.

Don’t forget to add some content - The CoExist exhibit by Claari Shepherd is an impressive monolithic building, with an intriguing logo on top. And inside, absolutely nothing. I am totally none the wiser, and to be honest, if you can’t be bothered to make the effort, I can’t be bothered to care.

Do pay attention to detail - And to be honest, when it comes to detail, you never need to look much further than AM Radio, and his playful futurist nod, still entrenched in his retro style, delights almost as much as his perfect and intricately put together builds. Just stunning. Don’t turn the festival into an adfarm - Sioban McMahon - West of Ireland and Project Children: Yes I know you’re not on the main

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walkway and yes it might all be in aid of a good cause, but the is NEVER an excuse for a giant rotating cube billboard. NEVER. Okay? Do take us into your world Yes, I know I have mentioned Skills Hak and her fantastic work at Insilico in the past, and yes it probably is easier to put on an impressive futuristic

And finally, a very special final Don’t....

When making walkways, Don’t forget that the actual point of them is to be able to WALK on them - Yes, they look very pretty, and in keeping with the cyberpunk motif, but when you’re constantly ranting about getting stuck, trying to jump onto or off the exhibit, when your sims are all set blasted thing, and generally finding squarely in the future, but just look that they are hindering your ability at it. Look at it, and be in awe. to get around, then you have a recipe for Walkway FAIL. Don’t make your exhibit look like See you next year! a 5 year olds scribbled all over it - Right, don’t get me wrong, I am actually a fan of Treet TV, and I know what the designer was TRYING to do, with the multicoloured cables, but honestly, it didn’t work, looks a complete mess, and I was more than a little disappointed. Massive shame. 74


Rez Magazine @ SL6B Both Images Taken by Trinity Dechou

Prad Prathivi’s Main Stage @ SL6B

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18 & Life by Trinity Dechou With over 3 million accounts, Teen Second Life is in place for the younger people (13-17) in our world to enjoy the possibilities of another world. A safe environment where only teenagers, Linden and approved adults may enter the Teen Grid (TG) is a growing community of our young adults and future Main Grid (MG) residents.

forthcoming move to the Main Grid. A hot and controversial topic at the moment is the merging of the two

On the brink of his eighteenth birthday I caught up with Teen SL Community manager, Daniel Voyager to asking him his thoughts about Teen Grid and his hopes and fears about his

grids, I also took this opportunity to ask Daniel his thoughts, and gauge feedback from others about the proposed merge. How long have you been playing Teen SL? I’ve been playing Teen Second Life, since 31st of October 2006. For the first 2 months, I did not play much, but then in early 2007 to present, i’ve been playing alot. I’ve had

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2 amazing rezz day anniversarys so far in Teen SL, which was 2 big milestones for me. The first rez day (31st October 2007) was excellent because my friend was a DJ in TSL so we had a big party underground, Blue Linden and Claudia Linden attended. The second rez day (31st October 2008), was full of parties. Here are some snapshots of my rez days

As you prepare to move to the main grid what are you looking forward to the most? Well, I’m looking forward to a new exciting adventure, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to explore the all famous and interesting landmarks on the main grid, which i’m looking

What appeals to you most about TG? I love that the Teen Grid is a friendly 3D environment to be part of. I like the way people help each other in Teen Second Life to build, script, texture and mentor each other. There are some great places in Teen Second Life and some really historic locations worth visiting which keeps TSL active, I think. The education in Teen Second Life has really improved since beta stages of TG because of growth and opportunities this provides teens to learn and share ideas. Educators can benefit from this because this would leverage the power of new digital online media to engage students and provide opportunities that might otherwise not exist if there were no virtual worlds.

forward to at the moment to do. I’m looking foward to see what opportunities and possibilities there are over there, as well as content creations because I love seeing interesting builds and being inspired by that :). I can’t wait to join the new resident experience help programs/groups on the main grid because I like mentoring new residents and I love giving out helpful knowlege to others on the Teen Grid. Finally, I’m looking forward to meeting new people (friends) in the adult

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world and socializing with them. WoooT. :) Is there anything you are worried about?

I will miss TSL Linden Lab office hours because they are so much fun to go to, because the community and Lindens discuss really interesting topics. I will also miss mentoring and greeting new people at the Welcome Areas and new resident TG areas. The last thing I will miss would be not be able to upload any more TSL snapshots of my travels in the community onto my TSL flickr stream, keeping people informed on what’s on. I have taken more than 6,000 TSL snapshots since early 2007 and I hope I have inspired people to carry on when I transfer.

I’m mostly worried about about leaving Teen Grid because I fear that the TG community will fall apart once I leave and it will be be hard for TG to pick up again, because i’ve helped the community in so many ways possible. I’m in the process on selecting residents that can take over and make TSL sucessful I hope. I’m also worried about what kind of adult content/mature/bad content there might be lying about on the main grid. Except from that There is speculation at the i’m good. moment the two grids may soon be merged, what are your What will you miss from Teen SL? thoughts on this? Firstly, I will miss all my TSL friends because they have been so helpful to me over the past 2 years in TG and I know that they will miss me badly, :(. I will miss helping people to build, script, learn the basics and knowlege of TSL. I will miss helping out with management for groups and land across TG. Because I won’t be able to send group notices out to let people know the very latest news and helpful tips anymore. 78

At this stage, I think the grids will be merged next year or by the very latest 2010/11. I think Linden Lab wants a grid merge to happen...why?.. because on July 3rd 2008, M Linden came to TSL to for the 5th birthday celebrations event saying this; “there have been alot of conversation about the topic about grid merge” and there


have been alot complex issues to consider first before merging the grids”. M Linden also said “We are working on it.”, “And our goal is to better incorporate teens in a much broader way in the future”. This month Blue Linden said this at a recent TSL Office Hour saying “in the past year teens have given LL tons of great feedback on the idea of grid merge”, “it’s come in handy....we’ve gone over all of it here at the Lab and some of the idea are perfect” and finally “it’s just a difficult process and we’ll have to take the time to do it right”.

the issue. In total, 100 residents undertook the survey and here are the results; 85% of residents want the grids to merge compared to 19% saying No it should not be merged. Teen Grid residents have now set up a group called “Grid Merge” in TSL, with over 400 members in the group and it’s growing each day. There is another group set up in TSL against “Grid Merge” too. Finally, Linden Lab have been thinking also about a “All Areas Area” in TSL or something on them lines, nothing yet has been announced about that. We will have to see if Linden Lab goes ahead on this idea or not. You can check out Daniel’s TSL Blog on his blog.

I hope to interview Daniel again in the course of 2009 and find out how has move to the main grid has gone, and I recently created a survey using if his hopes and fears have been SurveyMonkey in TSL called “Should realised. TG be merged with MG”, the survey was created for both MG and TG residents to have their say about

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18 & Life: Part II by Trinity Dechou “With over 3 million accounts, Teen Second Life is in place for the younger people (13-17) in our world to enjoy the possibilities of another world. A safe environment where only teenagers, Linden and approved adults may enter the Teen Grid (TG) is a growing community of our young adults and future Main Grid (MG) residents.” Some of you may remember I spoke to Daniel Voyager on the brink of his eighteenth birthday as he prepared to transfer from Teen SL and into the main Second Life grid. At the time Daniel was hopeful and excited about the adventure that he was about to embark on and little melancholy

about leaving his teen friends behind. Also at the time there was a lot of discussion about the potential merging of the two grids which of course I asked Daniel about. At the time he said he believed they would be merged and indicated he felt this would be a good move. I took the opportunity 10 months after his birthday to catch up with Daniel to see his his hopes had been realised and if he still felt the same about the possible grid merge. When we last spoke you were preparing to move from TeenSL to the main grid can you tell us a little about the process involved for that to happen? I can’t believe it’s been 8 and a half months since I transferred from the Teen Grid. The process involved in transferring from TeenSL to the main grid went smoothly and

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I managed to send my support ticket way in advance before my 18th birthday to be transferred on time. I created a TG transfer status updates page and posts on my blog to countdown the remaining days left in TSL. I spent the last few days doing a final tour of TeenSL and saying my final goodbyes which was very emotional to do. I remember sending my support ticket with my ID on the 11th of December 2008 and then got a reply back from Linden Lab the next day saying my ticket was assigned to the appropriate queue. I checked my ticket early on my birthday and it said “Happy Birthday! I have set the process to transfer you from Teen Second Life to Second Life to run on your next login. Please contact us if there is any difficulty with the transfer. Chiyo Linden!” I couldn’t wait any longer so I closed down my windows and started

Second Life straight away. I few minutes later I arrived on the Main Grid, afterwards was teleported

over to the TG Transfer Station along with tons of other cool places to meet new friends, SL Mentors and catch up with former TG friends. I was then flooded with IMs (50+), birthday gifts, cakes, notecards, landmarks and SL guides all day long. In the evening many residents set up massive birthday parties just for me and I enjoyed every second of it all. Today I’m known very well on the Main Grid and many do think I’m a celebrity. haha :) Do you feel there is any way the transition process could be improved? Yes. The TG Transfer Station located in Baffin needs to be the home location when teens transfer because recent former teen grid residents are saying they have been put in Welcome Areas around the grid. The TG Transfer Station needs to have information kioks and build to be switched on because it’s not at the moment for some reason. The TG Transfer Station needs to host parties for new teens transferring turning 18 which would be great to see happen. The Teen Grid transfer groups could become more active by having weekly group notices on 81


new transfers, upcoming parties and more. What do you miss from Teen SL?

which I’ve never been in before. I have enjoyed visiting Showcase places in Second Life and I have enjoyed attending great events in I miss being around my TG Second Life over the course of this friends, blogging about activities year. I’ve been working on exciting happening in TeenSL, exploring, projects in Second Life and being building, uploading snapshots able to do things I couldn’t do back to Flickr and not being able to on the TG. I have enjoyed attending help out TG educational projects office hours because every week anymore. I miss sending out group there is always something cool notices to educational, news happening. Mentoring on the Main groups and friend groups to let Grid has been awesome helping everyone know of interesting TG new residents out at infohubs, events and upcoming things in welcome areas, help islands and the community. One of things I sharing knowlege with them. will miss more than anything is mentoring new teens to the TG Has there been anything that’s community because I loved doing disappointed you? that. Today I still keep in contact though email and messenger Not that I know of because the services because I wouldn’t want experience so far has been great. to destory the relationships we had. What sort of reception have you received from the main grid You said you were looking residents? forward to the new exciting adventure that awaited you in I have received a happy, fun, relaxed Second Life, has it been such an adventure? Yes, it has been a exciting new adventure on the Main Grid so far because I’ve been to hundreds of great places in Second Life. It’s been great exploring a new grid 82


reception from main grid residents since I’ve been on the Main Grid. When I arrived I was so happy to meet so many cool people and friends. Many friends took me on a tour around the Main Grid on my first week showing me what’s what which was great. Others sent me birthday treats, christmas gifts and Following your Main Grid IMs to make sure I was doing alright experiences do you think TeenSL and the main grid should be in the new big adult world. merged? Being new into the main grid, but not new to the interface do you believe there is any way the main grid could be improved following your experiences in TeenSL?

No. I think both grids should remain separate and Linden Lab should spend more attention on TeenSL issues. I changed my mind earlier this year after being I believe there are ways for the main featured on a metanomics show about the future of both grids. If grid to be improved for former tg residents by having regions set up the grids were merged together it would cause alot of serious for former tg residents to meet up problems and it wouldn’t be right and have fun in. Having enough information about the main grid is at all because it’s a bad idea. There will be tons of lawsuits by residents important for former tg residents because many don’t know where to taking action against LL, residents start when they arrive on the main quitting and the TSL community will fall apart straight away. But grid. This could be done through whatever happens in the coming the TG transfer groups already set months or years I hope Linden Lab up ensuring that teens have the best experience possible when they are making the right decision. arrive. Be inspired! Have fun!

*Photographs all used from Daniel’s Flickr stream with his kind permission, more images can be seen here. For more information on Daniel check out.*

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A short history of copying

by Peter Stindberg

Copying is a fact. Copying has happened over the millenia. The first cavemen copied fire from lava flows or burning trees. Cultural advancements were based on copying. Things like a number system and written language got copied. Copying helped win wars. Copying helps fighting AIDS in Africa. Copying comes with a whole variety of names like “learning” or “inspiration”. Babies copy their parent’s behaviour when growing up. Copying is deeply ingrained in the human nature. I am not saying copying is right. People spend a lot of time and effort into creating things for commercial gain. Those people have all the rights to be extremely pissed if someone copies them and threatens their business model. Again it is not as black and white as it seems, when it 84

comes to cases were the copy is superior to the original, or where the original is so simple that it could be considered as public domain, but that is a different blog post altogether. Someone whose fruits of labor get copied should have a way to seek compensation, and most countries have legislation in place where this can be achieved. The machinery grinds a bit when it becomes international or when different standards come into play, but basically it works. Exact digital copies change the game Admittedly, the digital technology we have since the Seventies/ Eighties makes copying extremely easy. While copying a painting by a Dutch Master took the contemporaries an equal, if not longer amount of time and work, copying a DVD in 2009 is a matter


of 30 minutes instead of the 15 months the movie making needed, not to mention the cost. If you look at copying as an arms race, the side of the copiers has quite an advantage nowadays.

world but also in Second Life. What Diesel or Armani or Calvin Klein or Gucci show on the catwalks in Milan and Paris will flood the trash boutiques on High Street all over the world a few months later as copies “inspired by...”. The large The answer to this is Digital labels are definitely not thrilled Rights Management - DRM. It’s about that, but do they call for the technological answer to the “Design Rights Management”? Do technological reality of exact digital they ask that at airports or railway copies. But DRM is nothing more stations or in police controls, than an illusion of security. DRM women get stripped who wear puts up a huge smokescreen and copied dresses? No. Do they repeats the mantra “You are safe, demand show trials where women you are safe” over and over. It’s who bought copycatted dresses the 21st Centuries equivalent of get charged for thousand times dried frog pills and love potions. If the worth of the dress? No! They digital content is to be consumed do two things: by humans apart from being encoded digitally it needs to be 1. From the commercial side decoded again. And the decoding they make their initial, innovative process can be reverse engineered, releases incredibly expensive. and sooner or later will be reverse This enables the folks who can engineered. So while DRM does afford them to feel part of a rich not discourage the determined, it elite, as well as as cover the design does however annoy the compliant and production cost plus a hefty customers by limiting their margin. experience. Or they may take the approach of going for the masses, showing What is the best protection? their new creations on the catwalk only to sell it by the millions What is your best protection against themselves as long as they have being copied? Innovation! Let’s take the head start. the fashion industry - a prime target of copying not only in the atomic 85


2. While the copycats pick up on the new releases and the sales of the old collection starts to dwindle, they are already busy making the next collection, working on new designs, only to surprise the fashion world with their new creations in Milan or Paris again. They either sell few for high prices, or many for low prices, they collect their margin, eventually they get copied but by then they have their next collection in the works already. Lather, rinse, repeat. From the atomic to the virtual world Let’s finally come to Second Life, a world with a DRM system weaved into the very fabric of the system. The DRM system was certainly part of the success of SL, since for a while it gave content creators security and a commercial model that allowed them to receive economic gain for their work. I do not blame anybody for believing this system was foolproof. Not everybody is technically interested, and the advocates of DRM never stop claiming that DRM is safe and the answer to all problems. However it was only a matter of time until the inherent 86

vulnerabilities got exploited. Intercepting the the OpenGL protocol to retrieve textures was the first step, working on the viewer protocol to retrieve prim parameters and other attributes only the second step. Rika Watanabe made a short but drastic summary what can be copied and what can not be copied. It should be mandatory to read for every content creator. Was it foreseeable that copying happened? Yes. Could it have been prevented? No. The way Second Life works is that your viewer gets a kind of blueprint, and recreates what your avatar sees locally on your computer. And for that, all parameters and all textures need to be transferred to you. The only way to prevent this would be if the Second Life servers would transfer only frames of a kind of movie to you - every action would happen inside the server. And this is simply not feasible. Accepting copying as inevitable is one thing. Making it too easy is another thing. Burglary is as inevitable, but you don’t leave your door open to make it easier for the thief. So when earlier this week UK-based metaverse development


company Rezzable announced the release of BuilderBot, a tool that could copy a whole sim regardless who owns the items on it, emotions ran high. Rezzable back paddled two days later, announcing it will keep the source code of the program under tabs and implement DRM conformity. The discussion is the same since over a year ago the tool “Second Inventory” was released. In its first versions, “Second Inventory” did not bother as well who the creator of items was. Quickly, the author was convinced to include DRM checks as well.

Getting copied sucks. Getting copied hurts. Getting copied wants you make to drop everything and go lick your wounds. But it is a fact, and throwing technology at the problem will not prevent it from happening, but make life more difficult for the legitimate users. If you got copied, by all means, report the person and seek legal action if possible. But stop asking for a technical solution, because there can’t be a technical solution!

Copybotters don’t innovate! Copybotters can only feed on what actually exists. Beat them As of today, copying of all content with what you can best: create! from Second Life (with few Create amazing content for exception - see Rika’s article linked Second Life! Refine your skills. above) is possible for everyone. Don’t waste energy on worrying However, special technical about being copied. Use the understanding is required not many energy to innovate. Be ahead of people possess. Tools like “Second the copybotters. Don’t focus on Inventory”, export features like people who don’t buy in your shop included in the Gemini Viewer or anyways (those who buy copied BuilderBot, aimed for the masses, content), focus on the people who limit copyable content to content are willing to spend money! Don’t you created yourself or where you let the copybotters win. Show have full modify rights for. And I them you are better, faster, more think this is good as it is. You can’t innovative. prevent the determined from copying, but that does not mean to Stop worrying now. Start creating make the technology available to now! all. 87


A Walk Through the Garden of Ryker by Trinity Dechou One of the most valuable resources available to you in Second Life is the people who surround you. A community, always willing to help and offer a guiding hand. Ryker Beck is one avatar who has first hand experience of this resource. A talented, and respected artist, Ryker is also a jewelry creator who recently released the first of an anticipated new line of Second Life skins. A featured (SL & RL) Avatrait artist who has had feedback on her photography through her Second Life journey. Ryker has recently used the very popular outlets of Flickr and Plurk to her benefit as she created Eden, her first skin. I managed to grab Ryker for a chat in her busy schedule to discuss her progression in Second Life and how valuable the other residents of Second Life have been to her advance into the skin making world. 88

How, when and why did Ryker first come to Second Life? I originally began playing Second Life around November 2006. Ryker was born on February 22, 2007 (after I decided I really hated my


initial SL name). I began playing the game when a real life friend mentioned it to me in passing. It got what I can only assume as the usual answer of, “What’s that?” That led to Googling, Googling led to account creation and well... you know the drill. :P I had no idea the amount of content creation and artistic possibility that was in store when I first rezzed onto the grid. Now, I’m glad to be able to look back and see the things I’ve done, how the metaverse has changed, and how much more evolved everything and everyone has become. Can you tell us a little about your Second Life achievements? My achievements, hahaha. Hmm. Let’s see. Well, I am first and foremost an artist and photographer, having started photography in SL in April 2007. I’ve been featured in Vain Inc Magazine as artist of the month, took third place in the Stiletto Moody photography contest, had a very successful exhibition at the Avatrait Gallery, was a participating artist at the real life exhibition “Renascimento Virtual” at the National Museum of Anthropology in Florence Italy, and have had pieces published in a real life book,

“Avatrait: From Second Life to Florence”, among other mentions and achievements. I began crafting jewelry in January 2008, and launched my first store on January 1st (formerly known as Beck’s Fine Jewelry). Eventually, real life took over a bit, and I stopped releasing new products for several months until October 2008 brought the Jewelry Exhibition. It was then that I really kicked back into high gear, and created 10 all-new pieces of jewelry, and a one-of-a-kind set for the silent auction at the expo. It was at the expo that the brand “Genesis” was truly born. I followed, with great excitement on Plurk as you shared the concept, and initial drawing of Eden, your first Second Life skin, can you tell us a little about the process that brought us, Eden? Eden was a two year dream in the making. Ever since first rezzing on the grid, it was my ultimate ambition to make skins. I always thought that when I did, I could finally say, “Veni, vidi, vici,” and be truly happy with where I had landed in my content creation ambitions. I can’t even explain

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the excitement when I finally found the inspiration to sit down and start creating my first skin. Long, long days of hard work

and burying myself in Photoshop and neglecting pretty much anything and everything. It was a single-minded, bee-lined track to the finish marker. The name Eden came from the theme I am maintaining with Genesis. Eden sort of just... “fit” as the first name for a skin from my brand, however it didn’t hit me until about a week before release that that’s what she just had to be named. How valuable was the feedback from Plurk and Flickr to your process with the skin model? Oh, the feedback from Plurk 90

especially was invaluable. I was able to get a substantial pool of beta testers, honest and on the spot feedback, and a plethora of pictures of people wearing the skin so that I could see it on other shapes and pinpoint trouble spots. I received around 30 notecards of feedback and photos, many with very useful tips and pointers of what could be better and what was fantastic about the skin. It was from that giant pool of feedback that I made enhancements and adjustments to the beta skin, and thus Eden was born. She was in no way a single-minded project, and despite having made her, I can’t take complete credit for her final state. There are opinions from about 50 total people resting on that skin. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. What’s the future for Ryker Beck’s skins? I am currently working on a new skin, Candace. She is a much more detailed, very catwalk-y skin that I aim to market more at the glamour model industry than I did with Eden, which was a much softer,


girly skin. Candace is currently in the beta testing stages and should be released, hopefully, in early to mid May. I already have a plan for a third skin which will also be in the works soon, along with ideas that have been bounced off of me by my lovely and talented sister, Vernice Burks, to make a child skin. And of course, a male skin is in the future too.

For any would-be skin creators out there, can you share any tips you learned along the way? Don’t rush it. Go with your gut. Get feedback! It is the best tool in your arsenal. Invest in a good resource photo website meant for skin creation and 3d texturing work, unless you intend to fully hand draw your skins (or in my case, do both). And above all, find your niche... the quality that will set you apart from the rest. Never stop learning, always keep growing, and never give up. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Victory belongs to the most persevering.” *All images reposted with the kind permission of Ryker Beck*

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Second Life Career: Fashion Blogger by Trinity Dechou There is only a relatively small select group of people who have actually made a career from Second Life. That is either people who work in Second Life or those content creators fortunate enough to bring some very real profits from their given venture which, in turn, make a difference to their real life. All things considered, generally speaking, when we think of a Second Life career it’s usually a job that we love and therefore that we dedicate time too. Wether it be a career in virtual journalism or torturing prims into whatever you’ve decided to make that day, it’s safe 92

to say that very few people make any money from their Second Life career. Undoubtedly the virtual world of fashion is a highly demanding fast-paced one. Couture comes in and out of fashion in Second Life as quickly as it does in real life, of course the real difference is that for many of us Second Life fashions are


much more affordable than those of the real world. There is a plethora of fashion orientated blogs and magazines in second life and for many of the top bloggers/ writers they can hold the key to a product, or brands visibility and success rate. With that in mind I set out to speak to one of the biggest and best known fashion bloggers, Ana Lutetia about her career as a model, and blogger, including the highs and lows which come from her chosen career path. What made you want to be a Second Life model? I don’t remember when or how it started. It just did. I remember deciding that I wanted to be a model inSL and I started looking

for agencies and opportunities. Nowadays, I am more a (fashion) blogger and a magazine writer than a model. My RL European work schedule is not compatible with the majority of SL events. When did you realise that you were a well known model/ blogger? I don’t consider myself a wellknown model. I realised I was a well-known fashion blogger when people would IM me around SL saying that they love my blog. Nowadays, I must be one of the oldest fashion bloggers around. What, if any, have been the experiences of this ‘fame’ (good and bad)? In the catwalk, I was always surprised to see people knowing my name and it still amazes me to get feedback of people saying that they know my work (mostly about my work as a blogger). The good part is making friends. Some people that

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follow my work contact me and we start talking and became friends. I love blogging. I am a addict blogger and if it wasn’t for my blog I wouldn’t log as often as I do. It’s weird to get random friendship offers and random offers from people... The bad part is the jealousy involved that results in nasty anonymous comments in my blog and in some SCD SL Secrets. I call it jealousy because I can’t think of a better word and because there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to have any issue with me mostly because I don’t get out much and don’t socialize. (I simply can’t find time to do it all.) So the majority of

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people don’t know me in a personal basis and only know me through my blog. Some people don’t realise the hours of work involved for being a fashion blogger and mainting a website updated daily. There are only a few bloggers that keep their blogs updated daily... On occasion, I feel the fashion blogging pressure and that makes me very anxious. A lot of people send me gifts as well as review copy items and I simply don’t have the time to blog it all even though I wish I had but it’s impossible. I am only one person and it takes me around two hours (sometimes more) to make a simple post. And... the time I have to be inSL daily is only between two or three hours.


Are there any trends in the fashion world you personally like/dislike? Personally, I don’t like the new freebie and hunts trend. I believe that a lot of designers feel an obligation to release freebies and to participate in hunts. What about the hours spent by designers creating an item? The sense of entitlement of freebies is bad too. Do you have any suggestions for budding fashion stars that are starting out now? Nowadays there are two many fashion bloggers and models and I encourage people to learn another skill like building, texturing or scripting because the fashion world can be overwelming and people will need a break from it. *All images reposted with the kind permission of Ana Lutetia* More information about Ana Lutetia can be found on http://analutetia.com

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