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Opinion: Acquisition of Xstreet SL and Onrez by Linden Lab A very controversial and hot topic at the moment is the Linden Lab acquisition of Xstreet SL and OnRez. Arguably I think that this manoeuvre by the owners of Second Life could prove to either be on of the best (or worst) things they have done.

by Trinity Dechou

OnRez users this move affects the majority of Second Life merchants and web shoppers.

All of the preceding information is fact. From here on in, the facts are mixed with my opinion, as a Second Life/ Xstreet SL/ OnRez shopper. One of the most common Apotheus Silverman the owner of complaints about this Xstreet SL, along with 8 members development is the stronghold of his staff, will be employed directly by Linden Lab to integrate monopoly situation that LL now appears to have. I don’t personally the Xstreet platform into Second subscribe to this opinion, as Life. On February 11th trading on Linden Lab did not have (until OnRez (originally developed and now) any web based merchant maintained by The Electric Sheep system in place. Encompassing Company) will cease and the site will close. All OnRez only merchants the largest sites under their wing are urged to create Xstreet accounts is a sound move by Linden Lab, to offer web based shopping asap to make the changeover as (which we know as a popular easy as possible. alternative method to teleporting With approximately 120,000 avatars and visiting shops). Indication stands that OnRez would be registered on Xstreet SL (formerly closing in February as The Electric SL Exchange) and an undisclosed (yet considered smaller) number of Sheep company continues to 5


withdraw it’s prescence in Second Life, therefore for the purposes of the monopoly analysis, OnRez should be therefore discounted. Alternatives are in place for those who don’t want to use the integrated machine that Linden Lab will no doubt build. On the shopping side, smaller popular sites like apez.biz should be able to capitalise on being a truly independent site. Predicting a new ‘all worlds’ merchant site isn’t too far fetched either, considering XStreet SL themselves investigated coverage of other worlds, and one would certainly think if there was a ‘good’ time to launch it, that time would be now. Lastly, the forums on Xstreet have quite an avid following, I would expect them to become a casualty of this buyout since their independence is lost, however sites like SLUniverse should bear witness to a rejuvenation of their forums.

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the economy of Second Life. If this conjecture is true, Linden Lab may have stepped in to stop this from happening. Xstreet SL, and OnRez were well known and respected institutions in-world, with good coverage on many sims with terminals, and box hosting sites popping up left, right and centre. One institution with more coverage than these two companies put together has to be of course Linden Lab. Once the initial furore has calmed, providing Linden Lab put the necessary resources behind Xstreet SL, this site with the in-world backup could increase users, items and ease of use immensely.

Talking about ease of use, I perceive the biggest advantage of this development as being the potential to streamline the systems. One problem many ‘high users’ had with this site was the time it took to list items online. With a Speculation surrounding Xstreet SL of late has been that the site Linden Lab incorporated Xstreet SL, was troubled. With falling sales merchants, may, find selling their and commissions the site was items get easier. Currently deliveries deemed, by many, to be in trouble. depend on the blackbox/dropbox Perhaps these rumours had more systems, which of course rely on weight than many of us thought. If the hosting sims of these boxes Xstreet SL had collapsed it would being online and responsive. With have caused a cataclysmic wave in the potential for streamlining and


direct inventory transfers the future of these sales is an interesting and greatly anticipated one. It’s also been cited on the SL Blog, that the potential for sharable wish lists and, I’m sure popular, scheduled deliveries are amongst some of the possibilities for future innovation.

~flirt~ fine jewellery, to give us his take on these events. (A merchant’s view: SLX, OnRez and the alternatives)

It would be business suicide for merchants listed on these sites to leave, therefore without a mass exodus; everyone will sit back and watch the developments unfold with great interest. One of the biggest areas to watch will be the future of Xstreet’s own Linden Currency Exchange, although Linden Lab promised nothing will happen to this until they watch the intricacies of this system in the coming months, I suspect this will be the biggest casualty of this buyout. This of course is my personal opinion about this matter, it is based from facts, but the opinions formed are mine. In a world where we all see different angles and perspectives I have invited Peter Stindberg, owner of Babel Translations (Second Life’s premier translation company), co-owner of GREENE Concept sculpt furniture and also the business analyst for 7


A merchant’s view: SLX, OnRez and the alternatives

by Peter Stindberg

In a world where we all see different angles and perspectives I have invited Peter Stindberg, owner of Babel Translations (Second Life’s premier translation company), coowner of GREENE Concept sculpt furniture and also the business analyst for ~flirt~ fine jewellery, to give us his take on these events. -- Trinity Dechou At the time of writing of this article, I have 150 items listed both on OnRez and XStreet SL, spread among 3 companies I own or am involved with. Those items generated a 5-digit revenue during the time they were listed and therefore selling on OnRez/SLX (as I still am 8

inclined to call them) is a not-tobe neglected part of my business endeavours. One of the businesses I am involved in does not offer transferable items, so we officially encourage users to use one of the web portals to gift someone with our creations.

Some merchants report that OnRez performed better for them, some merchants reported that XStreet SL provided better results - for my businesses both performed more or less the same.


Using OnRez and XStreet SL as a merchant One of the biggest problems using the web services however is creating the listings. Dropping the items into the dropboxes provided by both seems easy enough, but the task of making the product description and web listing is immense. I would not call either web backend ideal, but the OnRez backend is way more advanced compared to the SLX backend. With the OnRez backend, you can easily bulk-edit product listings and the use of AJAX technology allows for parallel image upload. The dropboxes themselves try to detect duplicates, which is meant well but if you offer two versions of a product with different permissions, you need to use two dropboxes - that took us some time and a support call to find out. The only real downside I found in the OnRez system was that offering an updated version of a product requires you to make a completely new product listing. Last but not least, OnRez did not charge commission from merchants, and

their advertising options were not only lower priced but also ran twice the time of the comparable Xstreet SL offerings. The Xstreet SL interface on the other hand looks a bit outdated. Bulk editing items is not really possible, but at least you can adust some parameters on an overview page. Managing large amounts of items was really a stressful task - the implementation of the “templates” a while ago was a little remedy. Still doing mass-listings on SLX requires some planning to make it halfway managable. Mass edits on SLX are a task you really don’t want to do... Updating an item on SLX wiht a newer version is pretty simple though, as you only need to select the new item from a drop down list in an existing listing.

“the biggest problems using web services is creating listings”

Both platforms miss a tool to cross reference listings (for example multiple pieces of a jewellery set) it’s a tedious process to first publish the individual listings, then copy all their listing URL’S, and then going back into the individual listings and add the cross references. 9


From a merchants point of view • Link the L$ balances in-world and my hope is that Linden Lab will on SLX incorporate the best features of both platforms, so that listing • Make uploaded textures on SLX items will be a less time and available in-world, and make inwork consuming process. From a world textures available for webshoppers perspective there is in based product listings on SLX fact not much difference between (yes, you can keep your 10 L$ fee the portals - OnRez looks nicer for that) but is rather slow, Xstreet SL looks more homegrown but has more • Maybe think of ways to tie merchants and the site is much classified listings into the process faster despite OnRez using Akamai global caching services. From a business person’s point of view I am not too happy about My wish list for Linden Lab would this turn of events. The reason be: behind this is most likely the wish of LL to control the largest 3rd party currency exchange and - as • Create powerful bulk-editing tools, so that listing and editing speculated in the SL Herald - to of multiple items gets easier offer inventory “transfer” options across several grids - which goes in fact hand in hand with the • Eliminate the need for users to sign up or verify with XStreet SL announced plans of XStreet SL mid • Improve the transaction download or... •

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... splice the XStreet SL transactions into the regular transaction history of SL


last year to expand into other grids as well. However, buying OnRez and SLX borders to a monopoly, and I firmly believe that monopolies are bad. So what are the alternatives?

The alternatives

very well known. However their web backend offers many useful First player that comes to mind features, for example maintaining is Apez.biz - a web portal you several virtual accounts (e.g. probably have never heard of, but “personal”, “business A”, “business which in fact is older than XStreet B”, “alt”) or the ability to send L$ SL (which started in December from your own account(s) to any 2005). Apez offers a wide range of avatar in world - a feature I had services and their website is quite missed dearly in the past. What confusing, but in fact the timing is even more important is that could not be better for them as I got via the apezAPI, a merchant can word from Apez that a relaunch is incorporate their own personalized imminent. webshop on their own website, and by this offer offline-selling Submitting items to Apez reminds right from the branded website. a little bit of submitting items to a HippoVend server. The backend I did not have many items listed on process could be streamlined a Apez, but those I had sold steadily. lot, but the technology is all there I shunned the work of listing 150 and in place. With over 15,000 items on a third portal, but this registered merchants Apez.biz is in work seems now to be much more fact about twice the size of OnRez, well invested. A merchant who but it seems their PR got neglected does not want to keep all their a bit in the past as they are not eggs in one basket is well advised 11


to take a closer look at Apez, and in fact, during the time I was writing this article the number of merchands on Apez.biz jumped by over 30.

But maybe competition might arise from a sector that is on nobodies radar - from one of the large vending system manufacturers in SL. I recently spent a lot of time adopting the HippoVend system Some number from UK based Hippo crunching on the Technologies. The official merchant process of filling the directories of XStreet SL vendors and managing and OnRez - courtesy product listings on a of Rika Watanabe web backend is very - provides some similar to the process astonishing results. In required for the web public, it is always speculated that portals. Since Hippo Technologies SLX is much larger than OnRez. system is used by a large number And with 16,683 merchants of merchants in SL, an open web featuring 705,252 products frontend offering the items of - an average of 42 products countless HippoVend systems per merchant - this is truly an would start with a massive impressive size. In contrast, OnRez number of objects. Andy Enfield features 8,718 merchants with was kind enough to answer to 337,427 products and an average this suggestion on my behalf, of 39 products per merchant - so but - for now - his answer is little more or less exactly half the size in encouraging: merchants and products, but the merchants on OnRez seem to be “The purchase by Linden Labs of more the “power merchants”. The both OnRez and XStreetSL leaves a picture gets complete if you look huge gap for a potential competitor at Apez.biz, which features 15,934 to come into the market. Web stores merchants - almost as much as SLX are something I’ve stayed away from, has - but only lists about 100,000 not wanting the headache of dealing products, equalling a meager 6 with running the financial services products per merchant. required, but it’ll be interesting to see if some new company emerges into the potential gap. Collaboration 12

“competition might arise from a sector”


may be the way to go --- it might be interesting to see what would happen if a new web store partnered with an existing vendor maker (either Hippo (one of the Grid’s most popular) or any other) to marry inworld and offworld merchant services.” Tapping into the thousands of merchants and the millions of products being offered in Hippo vendors should be an attractive asset. I really look forward if this open invitation by Hippo Technologies gets taken up by someone.

Conclusion So what is the bottom line? For the time being, I think it wll be business as usual. Most serious merchants are represented on XStreet SL anyways - so nothing changes for them unless Linden Lab changes the way in which XStreet SL works drastically. And I doubt they will. Currency traders, for which SLX was an “insider’s tip” in the past, will focus on other 3rd party exchanges trying to get a better deal there. The Electric Sheep Company who operated OnRez was rumoured to abandon SL for quite some time. Of the merchants who were on OnRez

but not on SLX, a portion will transfer, and another portion will use the opportunity to stop web sales altogether. For shoppers, not much will change - there might be slight improvements down the road like syncing the user databases so you automatically have an account on XStreet. For merchants, most likely all will stay the same, but there iies potential for improvement. For market sanity however I hope a new competitor will arise, and my money is on Apez.biz. And therefore my encouragement goes to the readers - merchants and shoppers alike - to sign up with Apez since a market (any market) needs competition.

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Hobos: A Year in the (Second) Life by Voodoo Buwan Just over a year ago, when we set up Rez Magazine, Trin and I had a vision of what we wanted the site and mag to be, and I personally had some fairly definite goals with the standards of my writing. Amongst those goals was the fact that I wanted to make sure that I was out on the grid, interviewing some of the most interesting, influential and intriguing residents out there. With my first article for Rez, I definitely managed that when I interviewed the much loved king of the Secondlife Hobos Group, Orhalla Zander. Well, seeing that we have just celebrated our 1st birthday, I decided what better way to mark this, than to catch up with Orhalla (or Oz to his friends, of 14

which there are many), to have a chat with him about what the past year has brought to him and the Hobos, including their move to the new Hobo Island, how (and if ) the grid changes have impacted them and ultimately to see what a difference a year makes: Voodoo Buwan: Ok, so generally how has the last year been for you and the Hobos?


Orhalla Zander: Well, the Hobos have expanded. We originated from Calleta’s Hobo Railroad Info Hub. The group grew rather large and though various efforts I found and gone through several supporters for a Hobo Island.

Voodoo Buwan: Fear of the unfamiliar?

Orhalla Zander: Yes, they were afraid that our mild dystopia would be too much away from their norm for a new user to take in. They felt it should be a paradise that they Voodoo Buwan: So, expanding log into after a long day of work. all the time then. What were the Fortunately, some people enjoy reasons for this need for more dystopias. There’s the Wastelands, land? New Babbages, and several cyber punk cities that are far more Orhalla Zander: More elbow room dystrophic than our island. We and well deserved abilities. A group are finding clever ways to make it of 1,000 members need some colorful, graffiti murals, whimsical breathing space. We wanted a larger jokes like writing on the bathroom area to welcome new people into wall that says, “For a Good Time Second Life. We joined the RHN, Call *insert LL # here.” Resident Help Network for SL, so we tried to join another orientation Voodoo Buwan: Nice. Now, as we development program called the all know, a year is a very long time NUE, New User Experience. Also, in SL. Have any of the big changes at this time our free ride with our such as age verification or the new island was running near an end recent openspace crisis impacted with MillionsOfUs, so I was looking on you or your group? for alternative means to get the Island paid for. Despite a wonderful Orhalla Zander: Nope. list of all the the concepts and implements we placed on our new Voodoo Buwan: Ok then, on a Island to enhance the NUE, the different subject, the hobo group Lindens simply turned us down seems very driven by sharing, because they wanted a place that with members giving out free looked like an island resort or examples of their work. There’s a castle. Apparently, there’s not a been a lot written by some sl enough of that in sl already. bloggers saying that freebies 15


are damaging to the sl economy. become complacent? What is your feeling on this issue? Orhalla Zander: That’s not our goal, just a side effect of being friendly Orhalla Zander: A pretty good laugh, I don’t think it affects the sl builders that share. economy on a large scale. We are Voodoo Buwan: True. So, that a very opensource group, but it’s was the year that was. To quote not like our freebies have made the occasionally sighted Linden SLOFT sell any less or land rentals Quiz: Would you say your inworld go down. If anything any of the good stuff we put out there should experience has been better or worse in the last year? inspire sellers to put more effort Orhalla Zander: Takes a moment to into their work that they actually sell. Making freebies is also a good reflect.... It’s always gotten better on this bumpy gravel road. way for one to get their name out there. Arcardia Asylum is a Voodoo Buwan: Well, that’s good wonderful example. to hear. Any plans for the future of Voodoo Buwan: So, it’s more of a the might Hobo Empire that you’re way for new designers to get their able to share with us? name out there, and a challenge Orhalla Zander: Well, as I said, to existing designers not to luckily some people like our “dystopia” or an Island. Rezzable is going to fund our Hobo Island in exchange for us doing what we do, being a very welcoming group whom will be greeting newbies on Rezzable’s 16


behalf. My whole vision that I’ve shared with my group is to make our Island a very welcoming place with newbies that will get exposed to new ways of welcoming people. A more social, interactive, and explorative way. Voodoo Buwan: But there’s no danger Hobo Island will become “Pay to Visit” like some of the Rezzable attractions? Orhalla Zander: Rezzable and I sat down and discussed mutual terms. We don’t want to be pay to visit, nor do we want any stores on our island. Events where things are sold is quite alright and we’ll also carry out our plan to make Hobo Island one of the first islands that will be completely full mod and originally created. I still get a kick out of thinking about the fact.... we’re SecondLife Hobos.... one large company sponsoring us after another. Literally, if they weren’t hobos before they are definitely tramps now. Voodoo Buwan: Well, sounds really promising then. I’ll look forward to seeing more, and maybe even doing this again. Thanks for taking the time to bring us up to date. 17


We all need to have a few Linden dollars in our SL life. Without them, the creative residents of this artistic haven, would be unable to or possibly less inspired to design and produce the incredible array of fashion, furniture, vehicles, games, entire sims, that make the majority of residents, keep entering that log in password. If your new to this strange and alluring world, looking to progress your avatar and lose that freebie fashion attire (although there are many wonderful freebies out there), or whatever it is you want to buy on SL, there are loads of different money making activities to be had. Of course I would say that probably buying your lindens is the easiest option and to be fair they are very cheap, 18

1000 lindens costing around £2.40 ($4), but I was a newbie once and was wary of putting my card details online, or sharing my information with someone calling themselves a Linden, and was in fact a cheap skate to start with, although I blame my Scottish heritage for that:D Camping…..ah the sweet memories. Probably the most boring and mind numbing experience I have ever had the misfortune to try. You can plonk your avatar on a bench and basically sit there…….and sit


there…….and Aaaaarrrrgh!, sit there, and after an hour you may just have the enthusiasm to take your 8 lindens (earning 2 lindens for every 15 mins) and head over to the Yard Sale to grab that bargain! If having your av sitting all day bores you, then there are dance pads, although there’s something very wrong and embarrassing about being chatted up while your both doing the Chicken dance. I should really include Zyngo in this list since I am myself an addict of this “while away the time” game and have won many a linden on it. Of course you could “Just get a job” or get creative and build and sell your fine artistic ideas. There are many many ways to earn your living in SL.

It occurred to me recently that I’ve never actually come across a busker on Second Life. I’m sure there are some, but they are obviously few and far between and this got me wondering how much a busker could actually make using their singing and musical talents, turning up here and there, putting down their tip jar if the sim allows and just singing and playing his/her heart out? Now I have a love/hate relationship with my RL guitar, I love it and it hates me, but I know enough chords to strum a tune together so decided to give it a wee shot. Firstly I needed a guitar and managed to pick up a lovely Martin D35 acoustic guitar from Nortique Musical Instruments, found a cool guitar case tip jar Now I am a music lover and it wasn’t and was set for the life of an SL long before I had my first taste of Busker. Where to busk was my what SL had to offer and attended next dilemma and decided that if my first live music event. I stood mesmerised by the very talented and amazing Djai Skjellerup singing songs he had himself written, he sang from his soul with a passion that touched my heart and I have somewhat become enthralled by the endless musical talent accessible in SL. 19


anyone would accept me it would be the Hobos and off I teleported to The Hobo Island Sandbox. There were about three avatars in all, standing around building and creating.

lindens (still trying to convince myself he actually liked my songs and didn’t tip just to get rid of me).

I thanked him rather enthusiastically and with a new found confidence headed off to my I was actually petrified since I am next pitch in Central Park. I was a very mediocre on guitar and my little disappointed to find out that voice is less than mediocre, but I it wasn’t actually based on the real decided if I was going to write this Central Park as I had been planning article I should at least have the to do a whole repertoire of songs by guts to be a part of it. So guitar Phoebe Buffay from Friends, which in hand, strumming animation both suit my guitar playing and my on, tip jar rezzed, I clicked voice voice. Sadly there was no-one about and started singing and playing and was just about to take back my the Streets of London, which I tip case, when I noticed someone thought was quite apt for the place lurking about, obviously intrigued I was currently at. Within about 3 at what I was up to. Soon found out seconds a very scary gesture of it was the owner of the Sim, JadzOr “I will KILL you” could be heard Conover. Got ready to be sent echoing around me, geez knew straight home and banned with no I was bad, but give a gal a break. chance of showing off my Pheobe I carried on regardless, sang a skills, but to my delight he seemed few other little ditties and could not believe, when the same person who I thought was out to get me actually turned out to be a lovely guy and tipped me 20 20


quite keen to have a wee listen. My Smelly Cat tune went down pretty well I thought and he had invited a friend of his to eavesdrop by phone to my obviously delightful, enchanting tones. Did the Grandma song, Cow in the Meadow (my personal favourite) and the Shower Song. It wasn’t long before another of his friend’s teleported in, which hilariously was a cat avatar named Ed Bumstead. I of course did an encore and readily dedicated my Smelly Cat song to him and between them they tipped a nice 300 lindens.

http://slmc.myfastforum.org/ about2137.html where Djai is eagerly awaiting to hear from you to take part in a very special Christmas event, which is a collaborative recording project, although he does stress “no comb and papers please”, so sadly that leaves me out.

So all in all, I earned an impressive 320 lindens within approximately 50 minutes of busking. Not bad me thinks considering the quality of play on offer. So, from this I have proved that it could very well be an SL Busker’s life. So if you feel that you may have what it takes to whip out your instrument and give it some and I’m speaking about artistic talent here, give it a try, who knows, you may even get some recognition and move on to the big time and I will be standing at your gig, secretly wishing it was me. If you already feel that you are ready for the stages of SL, then check out this link 21


Listen to this Crap by Trinity Dechou In a quandary what to give this Christmas? Without doubt gift vouchers are as popular now as they have ever been. However as the times have changed, so have our vouchers. No longer are you given a giftcard to buy your own hideous woolen jumper, but you are given a giftcard to purchase the latest and greatest tunes. The two major players in the internet shopping world are of course iTunes and Amazon. Both companies of course offer gift vouchers and allow shoppers to buy the music from their vast catalogues; these catalogues 22

include some of the SecondLife resident musicians. Crap Mariner, a keen supporter of live music in Second Life and regular voucher shopper has created two locations in-world for the

promotion of music purchases and support for SL musicians. Crap offers us a project focusing on the wonderful and talented SecondLife musicians as well as a new and inspiring way to support them. I managed to catch up with Crap and ask him how this project came about initially and how residents and musicians can get involved.


Trinity Dechou: Tell us a little That’s the heart of this project - if about Tunes inSL, what set the ball you get gift cards, how do you rolling? use them to support live music in SL? Everything comes back to Crap Mariner: Last year at SLCC that statement. Anything that 2007, the musicians, deejays, gets in the way of that or adds venue owners, and Lindens were unnecessary bells or whistles or at the business track arguing over drama - slice it off and get back to shortcomings in the platform and the heart of the project. business model, but not coming up with many solutions that resulted in So I had these gift cards, but who “a rising tide lifts all boats.” can I use them on? I already had the albums by Cylindrian (Grace I took a lot of notes, studied things Buford), Kaklick (Bryan Baker), and for a while, asked a few music Louis Volare (Louis Landon) - who performers and promoters in RL, else was in iTunes that I could buy and let it stew for music from? “I got a few iTunes gift a while as I hosted live musicians in cards... I wanted to use I posted a call for my own venue. names and links on them to support live While I was saying “I my blog, and I got musicians in SL.” support live music a great response. I in SL” I constantly picked up Tallguy asked myself “What Kidd (Dale Marsh), can I do to support it more?” EvaMoon Ember (Eva Moon) and a few others. When the holidays rolled around, I got a few iTunes gift cards. Instead People who read my blog let me of wasting them on ungrateful know they used their own iTunes overhyped tabloid trash like gift cards to buy SL music, so I Madonna and Britney Spears and know this was something that rappers who shoot at each other might work if there was more lead while shooting up the charts, I time. wanted to use them to support live musicians in SL. As November rolled around, I wrote up a quick notecard, a few 23


blog posts, and spammed my friends lists on various networks.

cards are the heart of the project - getting people to use whatever cards or credits they get to support live music in SL.

Keep it simple - one prim per album, link off to the download/ review site on iTunes or Amazon. The industry standard for gift cards, Nothing fancy that can break or go community, reviews/ratings, and a wrong. simple storefront is iTunes, Amazon in second place and coming up Trinity Dechou: How do people quickly. If someone wants to make purchase their music through a CD Baby catalog site and build, SecondLife? more power to them. I’ll help promote and link them as best I Crap Mariner: There’s a few incan. world systems like TRAX and SecondTunes, and God bless Trinity Dechou: What sort of them for coming up with elegant feedback have you had, both from solutions to allow in-world shoppers and artists? purchases, but they don’t have as wide a footprint as the big Crap Mariner: The response so players like iTunes and Amazon. far has been overwhelming They also don’t have the userbase, performers volunteering to join communities, or review/ratings in, music fans wanting to see their systems that can possibly lead to favorite performers listed, people wider exposure of these talented saying that they’re having to cut people in RL. back on holiday expenses with the recession so they’re looking Most musicians use CDBaby.com for inexpensive gifts like music, to get their music out there. It’s suggestions on how to improve quick, easy, and they give a good the galleries and the website... Vint commission compared to iTunes or Falken made an awesome poster, Amazon. They’ll also burn copies Hulaboom Voom offered up space of the music and ship them for live for the Amazon side of the project, performers in their RL gigs. venue owners and friends offering up space to put up the posters. But no gift cards yet. And the gift 24


Yeah, I started it off as iTunes inSL Project, but since last year, Amazon’s built up their site and service quickly, and they also have made a better effort to offer DRMfree music than Apple has. Quite a few musicians who aren’t listed in either iTunes or Amazon have told me they’re going to make it a priority to get listed very soon - they’ve been meaning to get that done, just haven’t had the time or motivation. Well, HOWDY BE! GOOD OL’ MOTIVATION KNOCKIN AT YER DOOR! HOOHAH! Heh. Someone suggested that I put out a Subscribeomatic to avoid using up a group slot and make it easier to get the word out, so I set one out there. Quite a few people have

signed up for it, and they’re going to be entered into a giveaway of at least 12 iTunes/Amazon gift cards. I also got an unexpected bonus from work for an article I wrote, so if things work out I may toss in a few 2GB Shuffles or an iPod Touch. Another suggestion was to make a website to catalog the music and archive a few helpful hints/ announcements. So I repurposed http://riaa.isfullofcrap.com/ to handle the catalog, rigged up a Movable Type template, added Vint’s awesome art as a banner, and collected up a few tips on getting listed on iTunes and Amazon - that kind of thing. This way, if the grid’s down or you know someone in RL who ought to try

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out these people’s tunes, just point them there. We’ll see how this makes an impact on album sales when the holidays arrive and people start using those gift cards they get. If it’s a useful resource beyond the holidays to everyone, then it’s going to stay and grow.

the Edloe clocktower gallery so you can keep up with announcements of new performers, where the project is heading, any surprise promotions that iTunes or Amazon are having that will make it easier for people to get credits on their systems, etc and so forth.

Trinity Dechou: How can people Trinity Dechou: How do artists get get involved through using their involved in the project? clubs/ galleries etc? Crap Mariner: Get listed on iTunes Crap Mariner: Come by the Edloe and/or Amazon and toss me a clocktower and click the main notecard with a fullposter - it will give you a permissions texture of “If it’s a useful full-permissions copy of your album cover as the poster that you can resource beyond well as where I can find display at your venue. your music. If you want the holidays ... it’s to kill three birds with going to stay and Join the one stone, you can get subscribeomatic in the grow” listed in CDBaby and Edloe clocktower gallery they have a method of so you can get new getting your tracks up to iTunes or versions of the poster, learn of new Amazon through them. (I haven’t performers, keep up with the stuff been through the process, so I that iTunes or Amazon is doing for don’t know how many Advils of a the holidays, and get entered in the headache it is.) gift giveaways. I’ve posted links on how to get listed on those systems on the blog sidebar: http://riaa. isfullofcrap.com/ Also, join the subscribeomatic in 26

If you want the subscribeomatic at your venue, just drop me a line via IM and we’ll figure out what we need to do permissions-wise to have that dropped into place. All I need to do is be able to rez and not


have the thing return.

of you reporters are just a bunch of worthless sex-seeking perverts If you’re a blogger, podcaster, or SL trying to cover your asses when journalist - plug the living daylights your editors catch you poseballing out of this thing, guys. Get the word with a half-llama stripper. “Um... out. Even if it’s something as simple I was just doing research for this as just copy-pasting the notecard story about how SL is just a bunch with a link to the blog. I know that of sex and weirdos!” Yeah, right. We everyone (but me) is busy for the believe you. NOT. holidays, so whatever y’all can do to get the word out without losing That’s right, Guardian, BBC, and too much sleep is appreciated The Register. I’m calling your punk (those sugarplums won’t dream of asses out. themselves dancing, you know) Both images taken from Crap If you don’t see your favorite Mariners Flickr stream with his kind performer listed in the gallery and permission. Logo image created by you know they have an album Vint Falken. out on iTunes or Amazon (or even CDBaby), *politely* offer them More information and some a copy of the notecard so they valuable tips can be found on: know this is available. They may not be able to get listed in time for http://riaa.isfullofcrap.com/ Christmas, but I have a feeling that this gallery is going to be around The flickr pool for this project can much longer than that. be seen on : http://flickr.com/ groups/963660@N21/ Finally, if you’re a RL journalist, quit chasing down the sex angle of SL iTunes Gallery: http://slurl.com/ for a few seconds and drop me a secondlife/Edloe/128/111/81 line. I’ll show you how SL can bring people together, inspire, entertain, Amazon Gallery: http://slurl.com/ and make a difference. And, yes, secondlife/Selby/151/213/53 this project has a lot to do with that. Otherwise, well, I guess I’m right when it comes to thinking all 27


Well, Christmas is coming, and the goose is... well, the goose is hoping that the cost of food continues to rise. You see, it’s fast becoming a tradition for me that once a year, I come up with my Christmas gift guide, spotlighting some truly superb consumables you can find inworld, that could well be the perfect pressie for one of your many second life pals. However, when approaching this years price guide, I was aware of two things. Firstly, with the papers and newsmedia shouting and screaming that we are all descending into the abyss of recession hell, the idea that I show you all the sparkly high cost treasures inworld seems a little, well, irresponsible’s a strong word, but you get my point. The second thing relates to a story of a friend from not long ago, who had a stand at an sl trade show, and 28

wanted to give away a promotional gift. She got a lot of flack, since this “gift” was set for sale at 1$L. Her reason for the price was that, as she apparently said, that if you offer a freebie, that everyone will think it isn’t very good. So, with these two factors in mind, I present to you the 2008 Christmas gift guide, with every item being an example of cool design, funky ideas, and would bring a smile to anyone who received it. Oh, and every one is free! At the time of writing this, I decided to source my gift suggestions using the second life shopping website, OnRez, due to the fact that at the time, it allowed you to purchase Freebie items, and have them delivered to someone else as a gift. Since that time, as many of you will know. both Onrez and it’s main competitor XStreetSL have


been purchased by Linden Labs, and OnRez was almost immediately closed down. This means that, if you’re looking for these items on XStreetSL, then you might have to be more careful about the transferable status of the item, or even ask your intended recipient to go to the site, and collect the item you intend for them. While this is a pain, the following items still demonstrate that you don’t have to fork out pocketfuls of cash in order to find a quality item for your nearest and dearest.

steam powered mad scientist. With precise and minute detail, the high prim nature of this piece may be described as unnecessary, maybe because of the addition of an arm and nose bridge to make the monocle a kind of half spectacle, but whether unnecessary or not, it’s certainly appreciated. For the Wannabe Rockstar: The Xcentric Rock Stage by

For the Steampunk Aristocrat:

The RCR Unnecessarily high prim monocle by Spindle Vlodovic This gorgeously crafted eyepiece has fantastic high tech looks, but still has the quaint Victoriana styling that would not look out of place gracing the face of any

Jamiecat Janus This item screamed out of for included, for although it’s described as “Freeshit”, it is in fact 228 of pure rawk joy. Torn straight out of the filthy dive of your dreams, you can now drop this grunged up stage onto your land, and kick out the jams to your heart’s content. The stage comes complete with mics, a drumkit, monitors, a wall of amps for you to 29


throw your guitar at, and a ton of spotlights hanging above it all. LET THERE BE ROCK! For the Tiny on the move:

Tiny Skateboard by Nanjido Oh 2008 has been the year that the Tiny revolution has really taken over SL, meaning that chances are that you may well have a cute vertically challenged buddy, with a stocking that needs filling. And what better than this funky skateboard, stylishly produced, for them for zoom about on. Good looking and containing the needed animation to make you look like a pro skater, this allows you to thrash in the cutest way possible! For the Glamourpuss: 2007 BijouxOr Design Freebie Jewel set by Alienbear Gupte This well created and beautiful set 30

of jewelery, complete with necklace, earrings, and navel ring, manages to be stylish with a splash of sparkle, but since it’s bling can be turned off, you can avoid being hunted down by the “blingtard police”. The detail in these items means that they will add that little extra glamour to any outfit. For the Artist:

(Shiny Things) Freebie Painter Shoes by Fallingwater Cellardoor Is your best friend one of the many artists filling the galleries of SL with their creations? Then why not get them a pair of shoes that


reflect the number of hours they spend tirelessly working on pieces of beauty and meaning. Splattered with virtual paint, these comfy looking slip-ons have a sense of Bohemia and childlike enthusiasm to express yourself that should bring a smile to any inworld Pollock.

only their prestigious inner circle are allowed access, so why not give them this cute little attachment that puts just such a barrier around themselves, to show everyone that only a select few get access to a person of such stature.

And finally, if your friend is one of For the SL socialite who doesn’t those people that just loves this want to be bothered by just anyone: time of year, and would be happy with anything Christmassy, you Miss Gadgets Personal NoEntry by can’t got far wrong with the Giant Maeva Anatine Sculpty CHRISTMAS CUPCAKE with 2 animated poses by Minke Bailey, but act fast, as this item is only available for this Christmas period. So there you have it. A selection of high quality and creative items to regale your buddies with, and none of them costing a single Linden Dollar. I guess there’s still an argument to be made for the best things in life being free. Happy Do you know one of the many Holidays! divas, the kind of person seen at all the very best and high class parties, with a friend’s list containing anyone who’s anyone in SL? Why not give them a little personal space, since they will no doubt be besieged by hapless newbies trying to make a name for themselves amongst the glam and gorgeous. You can bet their land is surrounded by a security barrier, showing that 31


Trin & Voo Discus Grid Merge

Voodoo Buwan: Time in Secondlife can be charted on a scale of landmark changes that rock the grid. From the ban on gambling to age verification to the clampdown on in-world banking, these are the things that send shockwaves through our virtual world, and if the hysteria is to be believed, threaten to almost end Secondlife. The latest of these spawns from an announcement by Phillip Rosedale that there is a dedicated plan within Linden Labs to do away with the Second Life Teen Grid, and cast the doors of main Secondlife open for our teenage brethren 32

to come and join us. Trin and I have decided that this is a suitably dangerous topic that we should cast our knowledgeable eyes over this, and consider what the impact of this imminent change could well be. Trinity Dechou: Well of course this is a concept that many people have mused over for a while, and has been mentioned in passing by M Linden himself. The interview with Philip on Metanomics did of course send a rather large ripple of fear through the residents of Second Life and many issues, observations and foreseeable problems have been sited. I think


firstly this would be the affect of having minors in a world dominated by mature adult content.

female statue with nipples was too racy to be placed on a PG sim?

Voodoo Buwan: That was the situation where at one of SL’s biggest annual art events, one sculptors’ piece was in threat of being removed from the festival, as it featured a topless lady, and the feeling from the Lindens was that a

Trinity Dechou: LL enforce exceptionally strict background checks on adults merging into TeenSL as it stands, I wonder what has changed within Linden Lab to drop those floodgates and bring teens into Second Life, when as

Trinity Dechou: Yes and of course, Voodoo Buwan: Well, exactly. I’ve in its usual nature art raises such an recently been having a look around interesting and fraught topic. As an the grid to find film related sims, art gallery owner what is acceptable and if you’ve ever tried to do a for me to show in a PG sim and classified search for “movies” then what isn’t. It’s very much down to you will know that there is a great personal preference in relation to deal that is not suitable for minors art. We all have differing views and in this world of ours. And for those as art gallery owners (for example) that think that filtering out mature there is a minefield of a topic. What content will save you from finding about other residents and business listings for voice escorts popping owners? up in front of you, then you would find that you are quite mistaken. Voodoo Buwan: Well, I think one larger point on that whole scandal, Trinity Dechou: Well I think this whole and I think it’s a big point when issue raises a couple of important it comes to the proposed merge, questions, the first of course being is that actually the main reason what is exactly mature? In a world people were so shocked by LL’s where LL allow a massive amount decision to enforce rules about of free reign no one will step up and what is and isn’t acceptable in a define what is PG and what is Mature. PG sim, is that only ever do seem I’m sure many of us remember such to enforce these rules at such high issues as the ‘nipplegate’ fiasco at profile events, such as Burning Life Burning Life 2007 for example. or the SL Birthday Celebrations.

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you’ve said they seem blatantly Trinity Dechou: Exactly, but it comes uninterested in policing everyday life across that sometimes Lindens for us all. don’t appear to realise what is in our world. For example one of the Voodoo Buwan: Well, the initial most highly controversial RP setups principle, as it was put across within SL is age play and mixing an seems sound. Phil was talking age play environment with adults about the fact that there are playing children and children coming so many great educational across as adults is quite frankly, an opportunities in SecondLife, but exceptionally worrying thought. As as the system currently stands, a things stand in the SL we all know teacher and their students would and love, there are some things not be able to be on the same that no minor (and many adults) grid, enjoying it. Now, I’m a great should not see but can be found believer in “thou shalt not think as a neighbour to the sweetest, that every single man over 30 educationally friendly establishment who talks to a kid is a pedophile, you will find. some people are just nice” (to quote Scroobius Pip), but for some Voodoo Buwan: I suppose one of years now the main grid has been the biggest worries seems to be an adults only zone, and as with that Linden Labs will just shut down almost any adult’s only social space the Teen Grid, open the gates, and on the net, people have used this, say come on in to the kids. And not exclusively, but definitely to as you say, even if precautions a great extent, to explore and are taken to make sure that, for experiment with their sexuality, example, a teen can only step onto and basically bonk their virtual a PG sim, the way that the grids little bums off. Just because Phil have been organised means that has a love of the educational uses some PG sims on the mainland are of SL, and delights in exploring surrounded by Mature sims, so that these personally, does not mean as soon as the SL teen learns how that the whore houses, strip clubs to cam into the sim next door, they and porno theatres disappear. may well get entirely the wrong kind of education. On top of this, we can step back to our point about the fact that 34


alcohol, smoking, crude humor, sexual content, gambling and language (which are apparent in the vast majority of sims in Second Life) all contribute to a high age rating for a game. If Second Life as it stands right now cannot be granted a Teen rating and it is something that Linden Lab still want to pursue then realistically we’re brought back to the ineptitude to police our world. As sim owners we are not here to police ourselves and our sims, we are not here to decide what is mature and what isn’t, right down to things like having voice enabled and Trinity Dechou: Which brings in even streams playing potentially another very interesting thought risqué music. We are also not in I looked into while doing a bit of place to be parents for the teens research into this discussion. The invited into Second Life because Entertainment Software Rating Board of a tunnel vision goal to educate (ESRB) is in place to rate many of the whilst ignoring the rest of the world games we, and our children play. that would need restrained and/ or Similar to television shows, games policed. can also have ratings, will we in the future see Linden Lab apply for a Voodoo Buwan: I think one thing rating under this scheme and if so that has become painfully evident, what will it be given? Under ERSB and my recent article about there are a few ratings including Teen, inworld gambling highlighted this, Mature and Adults Only. Games like is that Linden Labs is, let’s face Doom fall into Mature and of course facts, a software company. The controversially many Grand Theft Lindens are pretty much without Auto games fell into Adult Only. The exception, either programmers, guidelines in place give ideas for how developers, or Public Relations or ratings are applied. Themes such as Customer Services representatives. animated blood, violence, simulated They are neither lawyers or even on PG sims, there might well be things that are not suitable. I recently, while again researching a story, ended up on the sim for US television company Cinemax. They were promoting a new show, which is shown as part of their after dark lineup, and you can view the first episode on a big screen in the middle of the town square. About 3 minutes into this episode, there is a soft-core scene of a couple making love on a piano, where the woman is visibly naked. I then spotted that this was in fact a PG sim.

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policemen, and therefore do not have the manpower, skill sets or possibly even inclination to patrol such a vast space that the Secondlife grid has become, investigating what someone may or may not have put on their land, or what they are saying, doing or watching inworld. Which again leads us back to how they are going to deal with the integration of underage residents into what has become a largely adult orientated society.

unverified people out of sexually explicit areas. The reason it hasn’t taken off is that most of these sexually explicit areas, for example places like webcam island, are in actuality businesses, and it doesn’t really make massive sense for businesses to actively try to cut down the amount of people entering, especially when so many people didn’t want to age verify for logical reasons such as US companies having such a lousy track record for keeping personal information securely. And, as we’ve discussed, even if now Linden Labs said that if your area is sex related, you MUST make the land age verified, we still end up with the issues of (a) what would be deemed as explicit and therefore age verification necessary, and (b) would anyone even notice if somewhere that was specifically designed as a sex area wasn’t using the system, since no one appears to be patrolling the grid to enforce these rules?

Trinity Dechou: We’ve all been made aware of age verification and of course this is a subject I have also covered in a previous Rez article. Age verification was the hip new thing that would clean our world up, it however seems to have died a death and hasn’t been implemented to the extent that Linden Lab made us believe it would. Will now be the time for LL to panic and hit the big red ‘verify’ button in a hope that it cures these woes. Of course verification is certainly far from a perfect strong defense for these issues. Trinity Dechou: With this proposal being such an obvious minefield with Voodoo Buwan: Well, this is the points we have already discussed, the thing. Age verification was why do we actually think Linden Lab introduced as something that decided this would be a good move in land owners could turn on to the first place? restrict access of users, and keep 36


Voodoo Buwan: Well, the educational justification alone doesn’t hold enough water to balance out this, and Linden Labs simply cannot have been naive enough to not have seen at least some of the potential issues above. Some people have been suggesting that with the current global economic crisis, that the grid merger would have two advantages for LL. One being that the cost of maintaining two grids is simply not cost effective, and that this would allow them to lower their costs, protecting LL as a company in this time of recession. The other is that the influx of teens to the main grid would be an added source of revenue to the main grid economy, meaning that any downturn in inworld spending in the main grid, caused by residents having to tighten their belts, could be cushioned by kids with plenty of disposable income to fritter away. Trinity Dechou: It is suggested by many that many children have more disposable ‘incomes’ than adults in fact and that this can, as Voodoo suggests, boost the economy. Many TSL residents are known in TSL as excellent content creators and can also therefore boost the ranges of products/ services on offer in our

Main Grid. Another potential reason for Linden Labs decision could be related to the RL news media networks we all love to hate when it comes to SL. According to many in these networks SL is filled with lunatics and pedophiles. Perhaps this move on Linden Labs behalf is, at least in part, an act to ‘clean up their image’ in the face of RL adversity. However if this is the case, then as above we’ve shown it could catastrophically backfire on them. One main reaction which has been apparent is many adults saying that teens are already in the main grid and that in fact many teens are actually more adult than many adults here. I must say that saying ‘they’re already here’ is a frankly weak arguement. Because these children have broken the rules already it does is not acceptable to lay down and say, “oh fine then”. It is not acceptable as an arguement to say that children in many cases are more mature than many adults here. There will remain at risk children and these are the children that should be protected, however who will be responsible to protect them? I am not a parent in RL and I certainly don’t want to become one in SL.

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Voodoo Buwan: I suppose the point with that is that, since the kids are here, at least if we make it official, then it can be more regulated. But then, that assumes that someone will be regulating, and apart from age verification, how will you really be able to discriminate between the teens who say they are teens, and those who still choose to be seen as adults. It’s a fairly unique problem to sl really, as the other games you mentioned earlier with their ratings have the regulation all at point of sale. If a 14 year old gets onto Call of Duty on XBox Live, it’s because a retailer sold it for them when they shouldn’t have, or because an adult bought it for them when they shouldn’t. Microsoft and Activision don’t have to regulate this, because the regulation is done at the store level. Since SL is free to enter via online registration, it has left itself open to these kinds of headaches. Trinity Dechou: As we have seen from the past, Linden Lab make a stance, take an angle and follow it through. This merge WILL come to Second Life, we do not know exactly when, but we know it is no longer an ‘if’ situation. The changes that should be adhered to for this to be 38

effective would completely change our Second Life; Your World Your Imagination would become Your World, Our Governance. Voodoo Buwan: Or alternatively, if Linden Labs mismanage this and don’t regulate the merger properly, they potentially put us all on a road that could mean that simply by being second life users we could be branded as corrupters of the innocent, or worse, and Second life would end either by a government stepping in to force it’s closure, or due to the fact that residents would leave in droves, fearing that they could end up on a register. This has been a highly controversial decision by Linden Lab, Voodoo & I have outlined our fears for this change to Second Life. We would invite you, if you feel so inclined, to leave comments with your worries and observations, and if you feel strongly enough, please remember to voice your concerns to a Linden Labs representative. At this point, it can’t hurt.


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Since opening it’s doors in June 2007, SLink has grown to occupy it’s own sim, providing a one-stop shop for the fashionable avatar. Creator Siddean Munro has turned her hand to all aspects of avatar accessorising, from skins, shapes, hair and eyes to clothing, shoes and jewelry. With formal training in sculpture, her primwork is superb, and when paired with rich, hand-drawn textures, creates a selection of high quality products ranging from casual, through formal, and now even fetishwear. Perhaps most interest has been generated by the three recent skin releases - Isabelle,

Bijou and Asian-inspired Miyu with favourable reviews thronging the fashion feeds. A long time gamer, Australian Siddean first learned of Second Life back in 2003 when her brother told her about a new game in which real life money could be made. She created an account and logged in, experienced a lot of lag and watched her avatar disappear off into the ocean. “I decided it wasn’t for me. The character creation thing was very cool to me though, but I couldn’t make a really nice looking character, and that was a big turn off.” Another visit in early 2005 again failed to convince. “I really think I still didn’t see the point of it. I was playing EverQuest every night for hours at a time, and was heavily involved in my guild and raiding, and SL seemed the exact opposite to what I was looking for in a virtual world.” However, Siddean began to dabble in character art for EQ and other games. “When I finally created Siddean, I had been developing my digital art 41


skills for [a year], and my focus had changed. I wanted to learn how to create for SL. I’d been seeing a lot of media hype about it and I wanted to see if I could do it. SL really is the perfect mix of game and art, but I do miss gaming. I think I’ve grown past spending hours logged in to grind exp and make virtual gold though.” So Siddean Munro was born, primarily as an artist, but also as a businesswoman.

Rezzed in mid-April, Siddean opened SLink just two months later. “I was pretty dedicated. I read a heck of a lot of tutorials in that time. I played around with prims and started learning how 42

to make skins, since I didn’t have the money to buy one, nor the faintest idea of even where to buy one. Once I figured out the steps of skin-making, I started on hair. I had a particular style in mind for this lady, and I couldn’t find it anywhere, so decided to make it. My first attempts were woeful!! I should thank [blogger] Amelia Book, she had a few things to say about my textures - liked the style, hated the textures, so I went back to the drawing board.” Her inspiration comes from many sources. “It’s partly about doing what I can’t find [in SL], partly about recreating something I’ve seen in RL with my own twist to it, and partly about wanting to create my own designs. I love to look through the fashion magazines, and even the tabloids, to see what people are wearing. I really admire Angelina Jolie not only because she’s beautiful and talented. I think she’s brave to take on the family she has, even with her status in life, and she has a great sense of style. Not many women look as good as she did eight months preggers


with twins! I also admire my sister. She knows what to wear to suit her shape, and she always looks polished and groomed.” Another style icon is Victoria Beckham. SLink’s unique heelless latex boots were created after seeing the pop star turned designer wearing a similar design.

{Siddean herself created the merfolk statue that is the centrepiece to her store} The design process tends to be an ongoing one. “Often it’s something I’ve sketched out or spent a lot of time thinking about whilst doing

other things. If I am washing dishes, chances are I will be thinking about what I am going to create next and designing it in my head. I tried that formal designers sketch thing but it’s not me, so I have done sketches that never evolved into designs. Mostly I will think ‘Slink needs a...’ or ‘I want to try my hand at...’ and go from there.” This explains the huge variety of different products available at SLink, as Siddean experiments with different techniques just as she does with her RL art. “The art in my little gallery is watercolour and ink, and the portraits are graphite and charcoal. Most of the other work up in the store is digital. I like to dabble in as many mediums as I can, I love going to art stores and drooling over cool pencils and I own a million sketchbooks!” One of her latest projects is learning to create animations. “Poses are something I can do, and will add in the future. I am 43


learning animation at the moment, and hopefully will be able to add some nice animations and AO’s to my collection. I have searched and searched for the right AO. My problem with a lot of animated poses is that they are too busy! I am looking at my avvie 99% of the time and I can’t see her if she’s bouncing around. So yes, nice animated poses that don’t move around a lot, that’s what I want!”

Currently on leave from her management day job in technical support, Siddean is focused on her art skills and portfolio. Speaking of the future for SLink, Siddean says, 44

“I never thought I would get to this point in little over a year. I hope just to keep growing and keep up with it. I’d like to move to a higher prim piece of land and expand my store, but I’m not ready to do that yet. In my RL, I’ve taken on a little bit of work in character modelling so I will be able to apply those skills to SL. I am learning so much that I can bring back here. SL has really shown me a very clear idea of what I want to do in my RL career. I’ve totally changed my focus in the last 18 months. I have a little voice in the back of my head steering me in future career directions. One is modeller/texture artist/animator, and the other is fashion designer which has been something I’ve always wanted to do, though I think I will have more success in the former. Fashion designer might just be my SL career.”


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The Happy Tale of Grim Bros by Voodoo Buwan As anyone who knows me, or has even bumped into me wandering around the grid, will be able to tell you, I like my fashions a little bit on the quirky side. From the pulsating heart on my sleeve to the voodoo doll on my belt or even the myriad textured tentacles that often protude from my back, if I can find something a little bit unusual and twisted to wear, then I am a happy Voodoo. Therefore, you can understand why, when glancing through the Second Life Flickr Pool, and saw the pictures from one designer, who is making dresses made from fingers, rifles and syringes, and spinal attachments that give the look of exposed wiring sticking out of you, I needed to pop along and have a look. The shop in question is 46

Grim Bros and the designs there are uniquely unusual, but created with an attention to detail that really grabs your eye. As I wondered around the shop, I became nervous as to exactly how much money this little trip was going to set me back, but was pleasently surprised that the prices are very reasonable, meaning that there are now quite a few peices created by designer and owner Cutea Benelli in my inventory. Another happy hapenstance was the fact that Ms Benelli coincidentally turned up while I was browsing the store, so I made the most of the oppotunity, and sat her down for a quick chat:


Voodoo Buwan: So, how did Grim Bros come into existance? Cutea Benelli: Umm.... it actually started with a horror shoppe called Low Prim & Grim. It was a b-movie thing, but by definition simple, very low prim stuff. Grim Bros more or less was a spin-off of that, the first items very bloody. So about a year ago, we bought the plot and i started to build.

Cutea Benelli: I don’t know, they just happen really. I talk to somebody and they use a phrase and poof there is a picture in my head of a hat that has that name, stuff like that. Voodoo Buwan: Making a name for yourself in SL can be very difficult. Are you using any methods to try to get yourself out there?

Voodoo Buwan: So, as your Cutea Benelli: Not much apart from building skills increased, so did the the obvious, such as classified etc. I company? am a lazy marketer in sl:) Cutea Benelli: Well I still consider myself a beginner in terms of building. So much to learn. Actually i built a building far too big for the stuff i had and I don’t like building architecture. So i decided to instead fill the building with wares:) The company still is rather small compared to most serious designers out there.

Voodoo Buwan: So, hoping that having good products will be enough to get customers in? Cutea Benelli: Works for me. I think for now, word of mouth is the biggest marketing asset in sl. I do sponsor events occasionally and

Voodoo Buwan: A lot of your merchandise is very detailed and unusual in it’s styling. Where do you get your inspirations from? 47


there will be a shakespeare play soon, the costumes of which will mostly be by me. A steampunk rendition of “the tempest”, with the avatar repertory theatre.

perhaps. It would be hard to comply with everybody else’s standards, but as i said, i haven’t had many complaints about concepts yet. I did get rid of the che shirt at some point but just because it seemed so redundant.

Voodoo Buwan: How has the consumer reaction to your items been? With items like the syringe Voodoo Buwan: What’s next for spine there could be adverse you and Grim Bros then? reactions from people who might see it as condoning drug use? Cutea Benelli: i don’t know. i just created my first full-fledged avatar, Cutea Benelli: So far I haven’t and also there were quite a few experienced any serious bashing. cyberpunk designs in the last few No wait, there once was a woman weeks, so who knows. i don’t plan:) announcing a boycot I will go where my mind “It would be hard takes me. for my store because i was ...ummm.... to comply with glorifying communism, Voodoo Buwan: And everybody else’s as i had a che guevara is there any advice standards” shirt there. She never you would give to any saw the flea market would be designers out soviet hat i guess. But anyway she there? was throwing a tantrum as if i had a Stalin altar Cutea Benelli: i am tempted to say “don’t listen to other designers’ Voodoo Buwan: Do you bear advice” except there are a lot of these criticisms in mind when practical things to consider :) I think designing, or is it more important the most important bit, at least for to be true to your creative vision? me, is to create stuff i enjoy myself. One of the reasons i hardly ever Cutea Benelli: well i stick to my do custom builds. I have more fun own ideas, i suppose, but i don’t building if i love the idea:) see a lot of designs that i would consider offensive. Provocative, 48


Voodoo Buwan: And is there anything else you wanted to add?

Voodoo Buwan: So, you’ve got your fingers in a few pies then?

Cutea Benelli: Perhaps I could just mention that people should visit the Bogon Flux, the bastard lovechild of blotto Epsilon and myself. It is a house that builds itself and destroys itself again. It was created for burning life but has found a permanent home in China. There is a video about it, created by Mescaline Tammas, and it even made it on www.boingboing.net :)

Cutea Benelli: Well yes, I’m insatiable;) As i said, i go where my mind takes me.

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Baked Avatar Anyone? by Trinity Dechou downloads from the server the separate layers, in case a baked texture is not available (this is why editing appearance can help you bake for other residents). Obviously downloading the unbaked layer textures, which are rarely used, is a demanding resource hog. However Nyx and BigPapi Linden are implementing changes to address this. In the future, hoped for release in RC 1.23, when you change your Currently the clothes we wear are outfit, your client will bake one complete version of that entire baked together and uploaded as six textures (head, eyes, hair, upper outfit (including skin) which viewers body, lower body, and skirt) to the will download only instead of that and the individual layers, as it does servers, from where our friends and fellow residents download them to render our appearance. As well as this being done, a failsafe has been in place, which also

Undoubtedly one of the most common complaints on the Second Life JIRA is the ability to have a separate body art/ tattoo layer. Of course this is not the only JIRA request regarding clothing layers on avatars. However, recently at Nyx Linden’s office hour, information was released that could dramatically change the way we wear our clothes.

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now.

Content theft is one of the biggest problems facing Second Life. With Not only will this improve the the current system, all layers being speed at which you download downloaded as well, it opens the clothing textures, as layers won’t doors to special clients built to be downloaded as well, it will also steal textures. Once these changes open the door for major future have been implemented single developments. You will be in control layer textures of other avatars will of how your avatar looks and in the not be sent to the viewer, therefore future you will potentially be able to clothing content theft will be wear anything you want in a tiered made harder. manner. At the moment, if you wear tattoo’s on your ‘under’ layers you In an environment where Linden can’t wear actual underwear. Once Lab are often brought into the baking developments have question over the grids stability been implemented and completed and ongoing improvements, these with a rollover period for older developments (which should clients, you should be able to wear start rolling into place soon) will clothes anywhere, even if you wish, effectively kill two birds with one wear your underwear outside your stone. pants. Nyx also announced that as part of these changes, Linden Lab will also look at having a 4th channel in the baked textures, allowing for alpha masking (also another common JIRA request), meaning parts of your avatar will be able to be hidden. This development will hopefully stop transparency issues on many attachments, for instance sculpt shoes and prim avatars, providing you can remove the invisi-prims they currently use. 51


Tinies With Attitude!

by Voodoo Buwan

Anyone who has seen me wandering around the grid, either hanging out or searching for my next story, will know that if there is one thing I don’t really try to achieve with my “look”, it’s cuteness. However, with the current love affair that SL is having with the Tiny avatar, I, like everyone else, want to get involved, especially with all the great things and adventures that are available within the tiny community (much like the Loco Poco’s treasure hunt that we explored recently). So I decided I would go on a bit of a shopping spree, to see if I could find myself a tiny avatar that was not quite so, well, cute. A badass Tiny, if you will.

The first thing that caught my 52

eye was Tedwood Portsmouth’s “Death of Tinies costume” (200$L). However, while this neat little outfit, with it’s Terry Pratchet inspired name, has a superb gothic charm, and would make the perfect Halloween costume for any Tiny, it still requires wearing a frankly adorable animal avatar underneath, thus making it not exactly what I’m looking for.

I decided to move away from the gothic, and try out something a little more funky and futuristic. After much searching, I found the “Tiny Kabuki Robot” by AKIBE Sixgallery(300$L). This highly detailed avatar combines intricate traditional Japanese patterns and costume, with funky neon robotic styling. However, maybe it’s the fact that it’s samurai blade is purely


decorative, or perhaps it was the quirky cartoon blinking eyes, but when I took the avatar down to the neon city of Insilico, I felt that, although it looked fantastic, it was hardly intimidating and wasn’t really making anyone take me very seriously.

Blackadder, winner of the match that night, spotted me, and said “Check out the lil luchador! How Cute!”. Failed again, I guess.

Back searching again, I decided that if anyone could make a tiny avatar with attitude, it would be a brand called “Fucker Family”. “Skeleton Maybe what I needed was Boy” by Karshr Demonia(150$L) something with more muscle. More mixes urban street style along macho. So what could be better with a dark supernatural monster than a tiny wrestler! “Mary’s Tiny ;; charm. An undead dude with punk Fukumen” by makitan Kidd(110$L) sensibilities. You can even buy a matched the bill superbly, turning rock and roll guitar or bass, that me into a mini-luchador totally plays a kickass riff when you type. ready to mix it up with any other What could be more badass than Lycra clad warriors. I felt the need that! I was all happy to call it a day to try this out, so I headed down there, and say that I had found the to Second Life Championship avatar I’d been looking for, but it Wrestling’s Ambrodome Arena, just so happened that I had bought where there happened to be a a gift for someone that I couldn’t match on. I hung out amongst the transfer. I called the creator over audience and the other wrestlers, to my land, and was discussing thinking, “Well, Rey Mysterio can the problem, and once I’d finally be short and a champion?”. But the come to an agreement with her, nail was hammered into my badass as a parting comment, she turned to me, and said “btw, your avatar is wrassler image when Katheryn 53


very cute”. ARGH! So, I decided, I needed something that could never be called cute. Something that, regardless of size, would strike fear into the heart of any avatar. I needed to get

properly scary. And then I found it: “Evil Clown Tiny Avatar” by Jenne Dibou’s Mechanical Toy Factory(490$L) is NOT cute. From it’s automaton metal skin, to the burning red eyes and little razor sharp teeth, and the fact that it is an evil clown, it has everything you need to intimidate any avatar you bump into. Pleased that I had finally found something that no-one could call cute, I 54

started showing off my find to my friends. And they all agreed that it was indeed a completely uncute tiny. They also agreed that unless I changed out of the avatar, they might feel the need to run away screaming.

So, in conclusion, it is possible to find a tiny avatar that is not cute. However, whether it is possible to find such an avatar, without your friends hiding behind sofas and pretending not to be around when you call, is quite another matter. I guess there are worse things than being cute.


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Pimp my prims

by Trinity Dechou

For those of us with motor oil in our systems instead of standard blood, Second Life is a wondrous place to discover the petrol head in us all. The array of bikes and cars in Second Life is of course staggering, but from my own personal preference (and collection) AM Pro Rides has got to be pole position for the top detailed, true to life representation of vehicles in this virtual world. With each new release, Abacus Mimistrobell (CEO of AM Pro) seems to slipstream into the creation of these vehicles. One of the latest releases is the 1964 AM Pro Impala which amassed over 220 hours of garage floor work and is arguably one of the most talked about cars in SL. Standing with 688 prims, it’s certainly no lightweight, but upon closer inspection you see just where these prims went, and more importantly why they 56

went there. I managed to grab a very busy Abacus Mimistrobell to discuss his business and his passion for racing in SL. Trinity Dechou: Did you have any 3D modeling experience before you joined SL? Abacus Mimistrobell: Nope none actually went to school for ecommerce business. Trinity Dechou: Have you experience in RL of cars and if so how has it helped you in SL?


Abacus Mimistrobell: Well since I was eight years old up until I was about 18 I worked in my fathers automotive shop where we specialized in technical diagnostic equipment and tuning high performance cars. Trinity Dechou: The cars you make in SL are RL cars, can you tell me how you get the information Abacus Mimistrobell: In order to build the ones I have I get as many pics as I can of the RL models and for all the little tidbits I cant see I assume based on my automotive history, so more or less build with no blue prints just assumed dimensions, based off images. Trinity Dechou: You are heavily involved in racing in SL; can you tell me a bit about that? Abacus Mimistrobell: Since the time I was only a few months in SL I noticed there were some racing leagues beginning to form and decided to join a team. After going through a 3 month season I had already begun to build my automotive company so generally

going into the next season, it was a no brainier to get myself my own team. Trinity Dechou: Where do you usually race? Abacus Mimistrobell: I race in a league called RaceSL, which is in my personal experience SL’s premier race league. We do rotating seasons of moto style races ... to formula one style races to make for a more individual team event type of racing. The formula one-style races work, as a manufactures series in the way that each team is given certain specifications and guidelines in building their own F1 model which are then retrofitted with the same 57


opened your sim, so business is going well? Did you expect it too? Abacus Mimistrobell: Business is definitely better hen it ever has been but I have also been preparing for a very large new release of vehicles that have yet to be announced … but always with the dawn of new releases comes the prospect of new market growth and saturation. With that come new customers, so I am always scripts. It has been a passion of looking ahead for expansion. The mine since I got into it as it give production side of these kinds of me an escape form building all vehicles with the kinds of marketing the time and at the same time initiatives I pursue are definitely a allows me to sink my teeth into huge undertaking so it boils down all aspects of SL’s ever expanding auto industry. We have 4 dedicated to quality over quantity for my company. sims that host our tracks, which are all track, no buildings or laggy shops with vendors. The series also Trinity Dechou: Do you have any allows me to pay drivers and gain building contributors? greater talent, which in turn allows me to seek sponsors that I wish to Abacus Mimistrobell: In the past my cars were solely “built and promote. I personally have been working with the creator Les white produced” by myself ... I have always hired out the work of scripting to figure out new ways to make animating and particles to other the series that much more rich more seasoned professionals for in its context by adding depth of the fact that I know to produce business. the best possible product I can’t always assume myself the best Trinity Dechou: You recently in every category but recently I 58


have come to enlist the skills of 2 extremely talented sculptors in order to expand the range of cars possible to my line as most forms of cars and bikes are not possible with prims alone. Even in doing this I have still stayed true to myself and not made only sculpted cars but a combination of sculpt and high prim that I truly believe still defines my creations as supremely detailed. With that said, my passion for the building and business sides of this endeavor have not much faltered ... I still do at least 50% of the building myself… now that I’ve become more proficient in texturing I also do more of that and a few other things ... even though the production and back end of the business side of things will always be undertaken by myself. So its a lot of work to produce exactly what I want but at the end of the day I’m very proud of the work my “team” accomplishes and the fact that they

have piece of mind knowing that every thing they help me do they receive full accreditation on… as well as knowing my customers are always taken care of personally. Trinity Dechou: Any clues as to future releases? Abacus Mimistrobell: As to future releases there are many! I’ve yet to officially release which ones I’m doing b/c as I’ve learned so far that until its about to hit the show room floor keep your mouth shut especially if things about it are up in the air. For example, the build of my last car the 1964 AM Pro Impala was done in only about a week so as a teaser I put it in my showroom so people would see it. Well, my scripter Les White and I went off on a bit of a tangent to make it so totally rich with content including 120 hours of scripting 20 hours of build revising and another 80 hours of custom animating done by bits and bobs designer Yawneeb Grommet … that the car took 4 months to release. So long story short I was getting around 5 -10 IM’s a day about the release of this car for about 3 straight months. 59


Box Office Dreams and the Virtual Curriculum

by Voodoo Buwan

Tomorrow, November 24th 2008, marks the beginning of the week long film festival, Admit One, which brings together audiences in Second Life and Real Life, to experience some promising short films by up and coming film-makers, hungry for their big break. What make this even more interesting is that this is a project of the Mexican university, Universidad Anahuac Cancun (http://www.anahuaccancun. edu.mx), with the films provided by students, and the event itself completely organised by pupils on the Mass Media course there, all under the watchful eye of Mildred Milev, teacher at the university, educating students in uses of technology, and in this case, Secondlife. I managed to get some time with 60

Mildred, not only to talk about the festival, but also to putting SL on the curriculum: Voodoo Buwan: So, How did the Admit One festival come about? Mildred Milev: Well, it’s the final project of the class I give at the university. The class is about subjects related with Information Era and new technologies so students learn what’s new and how to use the new tools online. It’s not only about tools, we also bring theories and based on them we develop online strategies. So, this


festival is the final test Voodoo Buwan: Are the films made by the students too? Mildred Milev: Yes. All the short films are made by students of Mass Media career, obviously developed in other classes. Voodoo Buwan: And the festival occurs in RL as well as SL?

film-makers don’t manage to make their avie, we will give them support in RL to be around in SL. Voodoo Buwan: So, as well as organising events like this, you generally use SL as a teaching tool on your course? Mildred Milev: every semester that i give this class, we use SL as a tool. Voodoo Buwan: And how do the students react to SL when they first experience it?

Mildred Milev: Yes, the whole festival embraces a lot of different skills and knowledge the students have got through this “every semester Mildred Milev: They get years at the university. excited about it, because ... we use SL as a its a fun way to get along It involves 3d building, marketing, publicity, with all theory stuff. tool” new technologies, movie I believe that if you only making theory and making events learn theories but you never get (public relations). The event then them into practice, that knowledge has to be made simultaneously is meant to be forgotten and not RL and SL to show their skills to useful. Some of them also, had manage all that never heard about virtual worlds and they are all OMG! Is that Voodoo Buwan: So, will the filmpossible? Is that real? makers be coming inworld as well as their work? Voodoo Buwan: So, as a teacher in new technologies, and someone Mildred Milev: Well not all are in this who studies the cutting edge class, at least not this semester, so of media and communication I’m trying to, yes. At the RL event technology, do you feel that SL is we will have computers projecting being everything it could be, or inworld event, so, if some of the do you foresee more applications 61


for virtual worlds as we go forward?

themselves. If SL goes up or down, its also users. As a new tech tool, virtual worlds must change, quick, every second, but it’s on the mix the Mildred Milev: The wonderful users give to the tools provided and thing about SL is the amount of possibilities you have as a user. It’s how much users involves with the curious u say that because, most technology that will make it grow of the new technologies have lots of uses. The gadgets, they are Voodoo Buwan: Unless it’s new and get updates all the time, Linden Labs? A lot of people keep complaining that their but the thing is that the user is administration curbs inworld always behind technology. They dont really know its potential and freedoms more and more. Do usually, users are buying stuff just you feel the freedoms given still outweigh the rules in place because its glam or cool or nice. inworld? Technology gives status. So, my point here is that SL is a tool, an amazing one, that also allows the Mildred Milev: Yes, as long as they still let us do our own creations, user to do whatever. If SL keeps living or dies depends of the users but is obvious to have limits

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somewhere. Even here, we are a mirror of RL, and people need rules, its a common cultural thing, human nature

Voodoo Buwan: So, Do you think that in the future there could even be completely inworld universities?

Voodoo Buwan: So, you can see SL being something that is taught, and in fact used to teach, well into the future?

Mildred Milev: Well there are online universities already, and the big difference from a real one is the interaction, which is provided on virtual worlds. The thing here Mildred Milev: Totally, for many is that the world recognizes and give the credibility for someone disciplines and areas. Last year, that studies inworld. Somehow, there was an event at Trent University (UK) sim and they had real life on those kind of subjects a nutrition center, DJ center, etc. has a lot more weight. So maybe, Lots of law trials are that will be possible, practiced here inworld. but I guess if more “The wonderful SL gives us, teachers, RL universities dare thing about SL an alternative, kind to have an inworld is the amount of department that of a real laboratory. For example, with this possibilities you have it would be more event, students know possible. as a user” the local market and know how to do a Voodoo Buwan: Well, good job there, but inworld, I, as I’d like to wish you all the best a teacher, and them, as students, with the festival, and your future have the opportunity to work on classes. new markets., from UK-Europe and Mildred Milev: Thanks a lot, USA-Latin American. International Voodoo, well we will be waiting for markets are not always handy for you on Monday :) university students projects, and also for the film-makers it’s nice that not only their family and friends look at their work.

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New ideas can sometimes feel like they are hard to find in SL. Maybe it’s that I’m not the wide eyed noob who once signed up with a sense of wonderment to this virtual existence, but more likely it’s caused by repetition breeding contempt. No sooner am I amazed by a sim that feels like I’ve stepped straight into Blade Runner, than I find that over the next two weeks, I find that I can’t move for places doing the same thing. And Linden Labs don’t help matters. “No, we don’t want well built distopian refuges as welcome areas! What 64

we need are Castles! And Beach huts! Cos we there’s hardly ANY of them, are there?” So, when you find someone with a new idea, it’s always worth looking into. A hobo friend of mine hooked me up with a SL content creator by the name of zeegan Inshan, who is putting together Raven City, a new kind of Roleplay sim. Built as a


sprawling and varied city, complete with suburbs, docks, shops, and a bank; this sim designed to host the struggle between various crime gangs, and of course a police force trying to thwart their exploits. What make this sim different to many other roleplay sims is that there is actual money, well Lindens, that are being stolen and fought over as part of the roleplay here. In fact, the cities bank can be robbed for a haul of 5000L$. To try and find out some more about this place, and how this new type of roleplay is meant to work, I met up with Zeegan, and his SL daughter, Cindy Malibu:

this year. I started by looking for a job...got one in a club, manager it was called spells night club.... it was next door to a GOR rp half sim. The relationship turned sour... I got into gor, and a relationship with this lady, sl relationship...and we adopted Cindy....

Cindy Malibu: But my dad is the best

zeegan Inshan: Yes, totally that. Not just the place, but what the place offers, and its limits as far as mafia and organised crime/government/ business/law rp goes. Things like the robbable bank, offering a max

Cindy Malibu: They had a child. I was small.

zeegan Inshan: And me and Cindy jumped ship. We decided to invest in nech business and create custom concepts being allied with some rp mobs we found that there was no RP city for organised crime, Voodoo Buwan: OK, so what was like something that don’t exist, the inspiration behind the creation but is in demand. the only thing of Raven City? stopping the rush of demand is the fact of its non existence yet. Cindy Malibu: My dad we decided that.. Within our group type.. we would create a place.. zeegan Inshan: Well... The real star that ppl could come and live in...rp here that without whom it couldn’t in...that fit there sl life style happen at all is my daughter here, Cindy. She’s the quiet key behind it Voodoo Buwan: So, there was a all gap in the market, so to speak?

zeegan Inshan: She’s basically the owner of raven, me being the creator. Its a family business. I’m kinda new to SL. I found it in Feb of

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of 5000l$ to the robbers. Voodoo Buwan: So, people can actually earn real Lindens for rping here? zeegan Inshan: Very much so, like rl, u can work for l$ or u can be a criminal, have wars with other gangs, fight for business, protection rackets, extortion, run a club and hold lots of power, good or bad. You can grow to be THE boss of the city or full citizens can run for mayor of the city. Voodoo Buwan: How will that work? Will you not get residents just coming in to get the money, rather than rp?

then sell burger meat, buns, etc. The lease holder buys the stock at whole sale prices and sells to a 300% profit. This is mixed rp with what we have named ‘HANDS ON RP’. A mix of rping and actual interaction. Voodoo Buwan: And then gangsters will try to rip off the businesses? zeegan Inshan: Yes...but the city police work just like a mob, takin businesses back under the cities control

“city police work just like a mob, takin businesses back under the cities control”

Voodoo Buwan: One question to do with this example. Who buys the burgers, and why?

zeegan Inshan: Ok.. good question.... The guy that lease the business...he has paid a small lease of a business... the stock that he must sell for his profit... is like the testament to him network... what I mean is that small business in the Voodoo Buwan: Yes rp acts as his own hang out, and he works with the community to bring zeegan Inshan: They are both rp them in to his store. Oh… I forgot to businesses... You come to the bank, tell u what it was about the burgers pay a small lease, monthly, you and all the food in the city. Ok, if a then buy stock from the dock. The gang want to make it there hang dock buys stock from our vendors, out our food scripts to them, and 66 zeegan Inshan: The key thing here is you have to spend to make. Nothing for free like in rl, but processes will produce profits. E.g... Did u see the Wendy burger and the docks?


protect the business, then they will be the burger buyers... the burgers are like tipping the guy in a club and he has to get as many tips as he can. There is city help: ads, billboards, things like that

buy. The mafia kit has a mix of all kits like a hit man kit, robbery kit... along with the gang system. Mafia bosses buy this kit and add there gang to it. They are added to there system so businesses can be taken over in there gangs name. Voodoo Buwan: So, there’s a lot Same with the police, owned by of money flying around, and the chief, and they will re-take obviously with the gangsters businesses and territory in the trying to rip off your bank, and the name of the RCPD. cost of the sim in the first place, is the cost of this project not a Voodoo Buwan: Moving away concern? from the financial side, a lot of crime based sims, such as Cindy Malibu: We have home and the crack den, have a lot of stores for rent controversy with things like human trafficking, rape and zeegan Inshan: Our mall, homes, other such sexual crimes being apartments are all for rent. These roleplayed. Do you have a policy even 1/2 full will pay the tier for on this sort of behaviour? the sim alone...on top of this... to become a full citizen means you zeegan Inshan: we do not condone need to buy a licence to shoot and it what so ever. We go as far as drive... this is done buy buyin into allowing pimping/prostitution rp, the land group. As a ‘full citizen’ now as a business/crime rp sim, but u can rezz objects/shoot/drive. Also we have strict laws/rp rules and to rob the bank u have to buy the sim rules. They work to ensure the robbery kit. Inside is all u need to safety and enjoyment of all raven pull off one robbery and also mess city’s rping communities and a NO one up. So if u imagine, a robbery TOLERANCE action is inplace for costs u almost 1000k to pull off. So those that want to mess it up for in a successful robbery, u make a all. profit, not a killing, and one person can’t get 5000k alone. For every crime role, there is a kit you must 67


Voodoo Buwan: Many of the mafia groups in SL seem to have differing attitudes towards what constitutes roleplay, and what is greifing? Have you had any problems with this?

the best of luck, and to be honest, I think they’ll need it. On paper, the infrastructure of this entire setup seems to make sense, but the number of people required to make it truly work, will probably kill almost anyone who attempts to get zeegan Inshan: I allied myself to the city under the sheer weight with the more classic mobs.. The of lag. And I remain unconvinced Corleone mob...and the Irish that anyone will eagerly be wanting Syndicate. These guys are known to roleplay as the owner of a burger to many for mixed reasons, but bar, in the hope that gangsters one thing that has remained, and will hang there, and maybe buy still makes them the bench mark a few burgers to say “Thanks for for rping mafia in SL, and that’s being here”, giving you a meagre their boss, zito, and the personality few Lindens for the time and effort and aura he casts over SL. This you’re putting in. Although, It’s guy don’t use griefing to get ppl. always possible I might be proved Words work like weapons. Other wrong. mobs can’t wait to crash our sim, but that’s easy to defend. Trouble is And there might be why people easy to spot stick to the tried and tested formulas, rather than trying to come Voodoo Buwan: Well, thank you up with something truly different for taking the time to speak to and the added risk that comes with me, and best of luck with Raven it. But to be honest, if my cinema City. choice was another bloody remake of, or sequel to, a film that was Many of my articles would finish made over 20 years ago; or a film at this point, but I feel that that has a clever and innovative would leave this particular one inspiration, but that might have incomplete. You see, it would be some clumsy execution... I know remis of me to leave this with the which one I would choose. And at idea that this is a surefire winner. the very least, Raven City is a truly At the end of the interview, I gorgeous city and well worth a look wished zeegan and his daughter around. But maybe do it now. 68


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Rez Magazine March 2009