Thursday, January 14, 2010

life in the city can make you hungry, for things you can't even see

Snow in the Neath?

How does one manage a thing that is so patently not snow, and yet so resembles it? Does one leave it hygienically inside quotes? 'Snow'? Does one shrug and regard it as a blessing from the Bazaar? Does one lock ones doors and windows and hide quaking below stairs, while the servants build the fire high and stuff the window-cracks with rags?

I'm currently rather addicted to a little in-browser Twitter-spinoff game, called Fallen London. Imagine, if you will, a dark, dank world of eternal twilight, where the moon is the brightest thing, and the overarching sky possessed of only a bare smattering of stars...or are those green-bright pinpricks blinking?

Where spiders eat tears and eyes, where bats sulk, where cats speak horrifying secrets, where secrets themselves are currency. Living jewels, intoxicating blood honey, bees trapped in lanterns to provide light and black wax.

An amusing evening out involves alcohol and thuggery, games of sport feature needles, the constables are only slightly less corrupt than the rakehells and footpads they capture and cart off to gaol. The mushrooms are sentient. And dreams of fire haunt you, haunt you, haunt you...

It's a fascinating game, all the more so because it shares its tattersail splendor in such an understated way. One can go to the Night Bazaar and buy rats on strings, rusted gold, prisoners' honey, and souls. Invite friends over for tea and terror, or play them in the Game of Knife and Candle. A sweeping, darkened, fantastic world awaits, where living is only a breath away from dying, and death...well, really doesn't matter.

It presumes one owns a Twitter account, and apparently, Facebook features will be added in future; and, as it's still in beta, it glitches now and again and drops out for maintenance a fair amount. But for right now, I don't care. It's a lovely little pastiche to the darker side of Victorian dreaming, and I'm growing quite fond of it.

Earth Eternal is now in open beta, and MMORPG calls it derivative yet satisfying, while fully exploding the limitations of a browser-based game. It has full dimensional play in a browser setting, without a client to load. And it's free to play, yet has a cash shop if you feel like chipping in. Might be worth a try; they vote it seven points overall.

Scott Jennings comments on the labyrinthine and baffling relationship between Western MMOs and China--and it's a tale that does not untangle easily, if at all.

And Jon Wood comments on Star Trek Online, a game that--according to Winter Ventura--will cost between $150 and $300 for a yearly membership, once fully out of beta. I don't know if I'm addicted enough to the Star Trek universe to pay $25 for it per month; I might could be persuaded around the $8 per month mark, but those prices are only for the beta testers, I believe.

And those costs are in US dollars, people, not Lindens.

Play First Person Tetris. Oh, it's so not what you think.

On the heels of Tensai Hilra's discovery of a new clockwork automaton came this aberrant and creepy thing. If you're not enough of a Disney fan to recognize the song though the distortions the artist put it through, try this on for size.

Yes. Same song.

In a few days the transfer of Autogenic Alchemy's former flagship store will be done. While we did love our little store on the cobblestones--sometimes more than certain designers wanted--we are moving on to bigger and better things. It will be sad that we'll no longer have a part in the growth of the sim, but I for one am very proud of my founder's plaque, and was humbled to be included in the launch.

Please move all existing bookmarks to our Black Sands Beach location; or, conversely, we will be trying to put something up at No. 7 in Caledon Morgaine. In the meantime, please do help me in welcoming Miss Truly Magnifico to Caledon Penzance, and to No. 2 across from the Gaiety Theatre. She is a novice builder, but she is learning, and she wishes to try her hand at merchanting; do help her where you can!

In the meantime, we are finally getting around to the Edelweiss-sponsored CSR Winter Rally. We're going for a low number of prizes this year, so as you can see from this picture, I'm only carrying four cards:

Edelweiss,Second Life,CSR,Winter Choice Rally
(There's a card attached to my back you don't see in this photo.)

Edelweiss has recently updated their look by a significant amount. Everything is in aisles now, categorized fairly neatly, with room to grow. It's much easier to find things now. And the designer has launched her first ever line of male attire--which is, of course, a school uniform blazer set.

Second Life,Edelweiss,maid outfits,fashion,Winter Choice Rally
(Pretty maids all in a row.)

And ooh, the Marchen line of candy-colored maids, with the striped stockings? They're all L$100! I don't know how long they'll be L$100, but for right now, it's Edelweiss quality for an eighth of the price, in some cases. This is a deal that cannot be beat.

seaside,lighthouse,Second Life,virtual worlds,Winter Choice Rally

Meanwhile, over at Le Petit Prince, they've gone far into the sunken-things motif. Check out the ruins of the toppled lighthouse across from the store.

At S.I.C., they're offering a lovely Court suit:

SIC,sick,armor,Korea,Second Life,fashion,roleplay

and a Medical suit in white:

SIC,sick,armor,Korea,Second Life,fashion,roleplay

The Medical Suit is L$350 for the boots, headset, and the suit itself, and the Agent Court suit is L$500 for the full suit with coat, boots, headset, and a booster pistol equipped with the sim's combat system.

Both come with Winter Choice Rally cards.

At Mocha, the vista took my breath away:

atmosphere,Second Life,virtual worlds,beauty
(Dim sunlight filtered through clouds, while rain pounds the cobblestones.)

See what I mean? The sim is incredibly lag-ridden because of all the effects, but find a place to sit, bring a jacket, and listen to the rain and watch the lowering clouds behind the sun. They also have really amazing--technologically speaking, amazing--butterflies.

(For one, their butterflies aren't particles, they're sculpts. And their wings flap. YES, REALLY.)

Then we arrived at 109prims. Amazing place, takes forever to rez. Everything that isn't a sculpt glows; sometimes the glowing things are sculpts; and the entire place is trapped within a slowly turning megasphere.

Second Life,sculpts,steampunk,Winter Choice Rally
(The bound moon at 109prims.)

This took a while to rez in, but it was pretty in its own way. Glowing gold, with the dark iron bands holding it in place, from the upper rafter; as if a glowing piece of molten glass was slowly cooling in an iron cage.

circus,carousel,Second Life,Winter Choice Rally
(Riding the lacework carousel horses. There are lacework dolphins, too.)

The carousel takes an incredible amount of time--at least on my engine--to rez everything in, but once it does, while it is rather insanely bright once riding, it's very nearly worth it--there's a precious little waving-to-onlookers animation, and the carousel animals are intricately patterned.

(Now, I admit, in my mind the difference between carousels and merry-go-rounds are firm and fixed: carousels travel widdershins, merry-go-rounds do not. This being SL, this is called a carousel, yet travels clockwise, so what can we do? It's beautiful nonetheless.)

Finally--fear the Sabretooth moose! (Should I be watching for these things to appear in SL in a few months? Because I'd rather not see them or turtleducks, thank you very much.

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