Thursday, June 30, 2011

ankles displayed, melodramatically laid

So, I found I still had a desire to see what was in the Carrot House, and, after much internal hemming and hawing, off I went.

(from the bizarre album)

And there it was, in all its immensity. When I ported to the center of the sim, things didn't even have to fully rez in before I knew where I was headed. It's monolithic. It's immense. It's beyond huge.

(from the bizarre album)

Thankfully, I don't get pregnant that easily.

(from the bizarre album)

The mariachi offerings still make me headtilt. I didn't realize there was a demand for mariachi performers in SL.

(from the bizarre album)

Apparently, only people with the most up-to-date equipment and fastest internet connections should adopt babies from her monolithic tower. That leaves out...most of the grid, actually.

(from the bizarre album)

Some of the precious treasures referenced above. While Miss Karu does state that any baby can be made neko, mermaid, vampire, undead or multi-hued at the touch of the HUD, she doesn't say that even with that level of customization, they all...pretty much...look like this.

(from the bizarre album)

And then the copyright infringement started! First with Shrek and Fiona (and it's a good thing, Jenia, you picked a Dreamworks project; Disney's lawyers tend towards the feral)...

(from the bizarre album)

...and then with wee li'l Na'vi bébés to boot. (But then, why am I surprised? It seems like a third of the grid, easy, wants to be Na'vi in every detail.)

Now, to her credit, she's been running this business for two years, apparently. And she's not new; she's been kicking around the grid since 2008. More to the point, she's fully committed to working with Mikela Isle's Estate Manager to relocate her--and that stunningly bright, overlarge tower (seven floors! not kidding!)--from Mikela's commercial, partially themed property to one of Solace's light-covenant parcels, where things like the Carrot Monolith won't necessarily stand out. So much.

I mean, it'll stand out. That thing is designed to stand out. Just...not as obviously on a light-covenant sims, where the rules are pretty relaxed about what can--and can't--sit on the sim.

I'll let you know where she moves.

In the meantime, from SL architecture to RL architecture, how does living in a fortress appeal? Apparently, to those Warsaw natives, it appeals just fine. Clean lines (though admittedly blocky construction) and lots of glass give an open-air feel when the house is open; but it closes up tight like a solid concrete brick when it's closed. Defensible? Absolutely. Pretty? In spots. But it's built so sturdily that even a tank would find it difficult to break in. Which may be the point, honestly...

And I am doing my best to angle for this mug set. The beauty of that one is they'd look just as good on a bookshelf, than as a mug set in the kitchen!

At least...until they're filled with beverages that should likely be kept farther away from the books...

Lastly, from the depths of the spam folder, I thought this was too amusing not to mention:

From: NENA (
To: prashantkpatel (
Date: Jun 22

I am someone's perfect girl.
I hoard books.
I read news all the time.
I subscribe to several magazines and newspapers, not because I have time to
read all of them, but because I like to think I do.
I'm a self-described coffee and cupcake addict.
I'm not an alcoholic, but I do love good beer, good wine and a good time.
I go to plays and musicals because I love them.
I dance because it's fun.
I sing because that's just what I do.
I kind of hate modern art (something my friends like to poke at when they
bring me to various museums).
I overanalyze Lost. I sing along to Glee. I wish I worked at the Buy More.
I'm a nerd, in the "Star Wars is awesome, Star Trek is too, and I think I'd
like Battlestar Galactica if I ever got around to watching it" way.
I Love Harry Potter. No, seriously. Love. Capital "L."
I'm probably the biggest sap you'll ever meet.
I find kids and babies adorable. I don't want my own any time soon, but I
do want them.
I like pretty things. Shoes. Photographs. Pieces of furniture.
I don't like cats because I'm allergic, but I can't wait for the day that I
can get a puppy.
I'm living the dream when it comes to my career, but even I know that
there's something more I need to strive for. I just have to figure out what
that is.
I love baseball and college football, but fair warning, I'm didn't grow up
on the East Coast, so I probably don't like your team(s).
I'm not hot. Pretty, sure. Cute, yes. Hot, not so much. And I'm OK with
My profile is [not included and pretty much unnecessary to mention]

I'm really not sure who this is supposed to be targeting, in all honesty, because the title of this 'dating' pitch?

submisive men seduce me

Ooookay then. So if your thing is geeky under-educated quirky pet-yearning sentimental cupcake-loving cute sports fans, wau, does NENA have your number. Write Jieff--er, I mean, NENA--today!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

your sadness it is quite lovely, but it's the sadness of a slave

IBM announces the next great advancement in memory storage; this could easily eclipse Flash drives in a few years, or at the least, make them radically less expensive.

Unfortunately, there's stupider tech news on the horizon; namely, from Capcom, which has managed to find a way to lose sales and kill interest in their products at the same time! How, you ask? Merely this: they've hard-coded the game saves for the newest edition of Resident Evil. To wit:
"In Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, all mission progress is saved directly to the Nintendo 3DS cartridge, where it cannot be reset," the statement continued. "The nature of the game invites high levels of replayability in order to improve mission scores. In addition, this feature does not remove any content available for users."
What does that translate to for game resellers? Though they say that's not what they're trying to prevent, it kills the secondary market.

But--and this is the part they didn't think through--it also kills the primary market.

Why? Say I'm stuck on one level. I need more experience, I need more time, I need a better gun--whatever. A great deal of the time I'll just stop playing that particular iteration and start a new game.

Except...I can't. I literally cannot start a new game. And, once I play that game start to finish? That's it, I can't ever play it again.

How high up in the stupidsphere is this idea? The Hubble telescope would be unable to make it out, that's how high up.

Think about this another way. Say this idea takes off. My loves and I buy a four-player game we want to try. But there's only three of us in the house. We've already opened the game, played a bit, got the feel of it enough to explain to people, and we're set to bring it over to my cousin's, abode, where she and her husband also have a game system, and we can just bring our controllers along and trade off groups.

We wouldn't be able to do that with this new system--our system would be the only system that could record the saved game!

Okay, fine, say we know this in advance: we don't open the game up until we hit my cousin's. At that point, it's now her copy of the game. Why? Because her game is now perma-saved to her system, and can't be transferred back to ours. More than that, those four players will now be the only four player names allowed until that game is finished. And, once that game is finished? Well, that's all for that, throw that disc away.

This is a blindingly stupid idea. I can't stress that enough. I can't count (and I mean that, I literally cannot name a number) the amount of times I've played Diablo II, and that system is barely playable these days under Windows XP, and I think not at all under Windows 7. (Though I may be wrong there, feel free to correct me.) Not only that, but Miss Neome has games from various console systems that we've found ways to bridge to the console systems we have, so we can keep playing them.

And you can't do that with Capcom's ridiculously coded scheme.

Pick your favorite game. Any game. (Barring Second Life; we're talking games with save points.) Would any game that you have ever played on PC, Mac or an external console be improved by never being able to save another game once played? This is not just me, this is really, really dumb. Forget the resale market, this kills initial sales. Because why would I want to buy a game that I can't play more than once? Ever?

Finally, more sadness from Mikela Isle:

(from the bizarre album)

I have no words. WHY does Mikela Isle attract these people? Who knows? It's called the "Carrot House". Of course it is. And it seems to sell...babies.


And mariachi clothing. But that doesn't matter, because this thing is pretty much the most vivid, the single largest, the single most APPALLING structure that has ever been seen in Mikela.

weirdness,wtf,virtual worlds,Solace Beach,tropical,build,art,Second Life

Hmm. Okay, maybe I'm wrong. But it's still overly huge, and overly bright, and way outside what's allowable in Mikela. It's got to go.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

not bloody cotton swabs and lies, stolen checks and empty eyes

Sometimes we look back, and see the world as it was through new and different eyes. Sometimes this gives us that gloss of nostalgia, and it's a bittersweet but enjoyable reflection.

Other times we wonder about M Linden's Twitter feed and we get unbearably depressed. Kingdon never, never, ever understood SL. At all. Saddest thing in the history of sad Linden things, and something that Second Life is still struggling with, months after he left.

In happier news--or at least weirder--a couple of folks have come out with a Minecraft hack that allows you to 'roll up' the world, aka Katamari Damacy. It's bizarre to watch.

In video game news, the Supreme Court, led by the landmark decision of Justice Scalia, voted against a California law that would require government-level restrictions on the sales of video games to minors. While I profoundly believe that some games should be restricted by ratings to exclude sales to people under certain ages--just as we do with movies--I am also profoundly against such restriction to be based around existing obscenity laws. And it turns out, Justice Scalia agrees with me. Yay!

Comics, Everybody! explains how the Green Lantern saga couldn't possibly be explained in one movie. I think that's my biggest complaint, honestly--that they not only tried, but that they then did such a bad job that there will never be another Green Lantern movie.

(Unless, you know, kids are involved.)

In scientific news, Markus Kayser has built two amazing devices, both designed to use what the harsh climes he's currently in have in abundance: namely, sun and sand. It's fascinating stuph, and, while purely in the realm of scientific possibility, I'm rather with the writer--who views them as "magical".

Meanwhile, God still pops up now and again with odd requests:

I love your supple back: emmmmm
I love your supple back: play tf2
I love your supple back: i wont stab you in the back
I love your supple back has changed their name to i want to stab you in the back.

Needless to say, I did not go play TF2.

pale under the blistering sky, white and red, black and blue (part III)

We finally have our first citizen arrested for owning papers with drawings on them. Does this seem like a sane reaction?

And this next link is VERY NSFW, but it will lead to the Great Wall of Vagina. Totally not making that up.

Finally, here's the last bit left of the Creature Feature Hunt. (For earlier coverage, track down part I and part II first.)

Actually, there was a bit of revisiting. I decided Filthy Things deserved another shot for their bonehead mistake. And IF you take the time to attach the skirt to its supposedly proper location--and take the time to adjust the panels, which are all over the place--then it's not a bad outfit, save for a bit of nipple revelation.

(from the fashion album)

(Am I becoming a prude? Honestly, even on SL, not EVERY single outfit needs to show off nipples!)

Also, Fawkes wanted me to revisit the Beautiful Dirty Rich outfit, so I'm doing my best to do that without throwing things. First off: I cannot wear the outfit as given, I just can't, so to compensate for pictures, I'm wearing an old Lovelace lingerie set (Augustine in Cinnamon) to compensate. I would NOTE, the red bits are the bra and thong included with the Augustine set, and are NOT included with the outfit from Beautiful Dirty Rich!

That having been said...Here's their 'Beautiful Creature' outfit:

(from the fashion album)

It comes with a tail...

(from the fashion album)

and what passes for hooves...

(from the fashion album)

and then the tank top and jeans.

(from the fashion album)

[11:56 PM] Emilly Orr: This seems to be the outfit
[11:57 PM] Emilly Orr: Pasties under a wifebeater tank, 'hip-hugger' jeans these are not, this cuts in significantly BELOW the hips

Pretty damned much. So far, just based on their name, 'Beautiful' it's not, 'Dirty' I'd agree with, and 'Rich'? Only if you're slumming and trying to look poor and underfed. And maybe have a burning desire to show everyone your hood piercing.

Because in those jeans? You could.

For the next two, the Lamp*Light offerings, I had to scurry off to my old Boneflower offerings, to find a reasonably skin-baring lingerie set that wasn't too revealing. Why?

Because this is Veronica:

(from the fashion album)

And this is "Franken Fran" (and yes, they do mean the character):

(from the fashion album)

What's the difference? The sutures on the face.

I am told (by their titles) that both full-body tattoos are "tentable". Good to know?

The Delectable Doll has a delectably ruffled patchwork number, in muted cool tones.

(from the fashion album)

This is fresh, clean, and still falls in the theme of the hunt. I like it, but more than that, it's adaptable. Skin with sutures, skin with a tan, you could still carry off these fun little frills.

Nevermore had, as their offering, a picnic front of a tiny drive-in movie a sparkly pink bubble.

(from the fashion album)

You can't tell it from this image, but the picnic table in the bubble floats.

No, I don't know either, but it's cute.

Black Cat Bones made outfits from Resident Evil--Jill Valentine and Carlos--and I was so disappointed I refused to take pictures.

(from the fashion album)

Favole offered two skins. The difference? Dead Set 2 has fangs. They're nicely done, to be fair, and I'm always happy to have more undead skins to lurch around in.

Malfean Visions offered up 173 prims of beaded choker:

(from the fashion album)

Well, choker and pendant. The neck's a little wide for my avatar, and I'm afraid of adjusting it, but I think it's modifiable.

(from the fashion album)

From Black Kettle came an experiment jar on a cord containing...something...

The Elegant Goth came up with a pet gravestone:

(from the fashion album)

It comes with the mound of earth, some dead flowering grasses, a gravestone for a departed feline, a curving dead tree, and--my favorite--a slightly agitated black spider.

Yes. The spider moves.

(from the fashion album)

And Cave Designs offered up a simply decorated small skybox, but it has one window. And because of how that window is textured, it really does seem as if one is looking down from a height onto dark midnight trees. Cleverly done.

Finally, while I'm standing in utter screaming annoyance at not being able to find the last two stores, this happened in the last sim:

[05:20 PM] LEE777 Falconer: boo
[05:20 PM] Emilly Orr: Yes?
[05:20 PM] LEE777 Falconer: prepare too get stomped
[05:20 PM] LEE777 Falconer:

At which point he flew upwards in a blue streak of fire--presumably "too stomp" me, and I went the hell home.

That about sums it up. Goddamn number people, anyway.

So, overall, am I glad I went on the hunt? Not really. But, that having been said, I'm happy for the pet gravestone, the skybox, and a few of the outfits. Just don't get your hopes up, and maybe just hit the stores that sound interesting, because it's absolutely not going to be a hunt you can follow, start to finish.

(Mostly for this series of shots, I wore PASH's 'Madame Grumpy' skin in Night; the 'Unbound' eyes from ReTox, and Discord Designs' 'Ariadne' hair in Hot Pink. Everything else was found on the hunt, save for bits of lingerie here and there to sub in for outfit flaws.)

(from loss)

And yes, you bastard, I miss you. I still think I'm not doing you or me any favors by breaking up with you, on the one hand, but still spending time with you on the other. I think I'm making it harder on both of us, and I think you're helping make it harder on both of us.

That being said...yeah, I still like you. And I like spending time with you. I wouldn't miss you otherwise. It would be more difficult--in the short term--for us to spend less time together. Would it be better for both of us in the long term?

Unfortunately, I still don't know. Which means...I'm still here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

pale under the blistering sky, white and red, black and blue (part II)

More from the Dead Dolls' Creature Feature Hunt, from part I earlier.

We start off with a two-fer:

(from the fashion album)

First, BAIT's "Limbo" eyes (there are also three other styles, not shown), with Beautiful Dirty Rich's outfit (shown from the shoulders up, because I can't show it below the shoulders). The eyes are okay (I like "Limbo" the best of all of them), but nothing we haven't seen before, and I guess Beautiful Dirty Rich are designing for the same crowd Trapt are, which means there's two stores I never have to go into again. Maybe I'm being overly picky these days, but if I wanted to show off naked breasts and lady bits, I'd still be dancing, not walking around in street clothes.

How'ver, for the breakdown, the outfit includes the hair (with that improbable crown), jeans that are cut so low on the hips you can pick out pubic grooming details, a nipple-revealing tank, and several different varieties of cuffs for wrists and jean hems.

Next up, Infected Angels' overly-magenta "Zombie Queen" dress:

(from the fashion album)

The dress is okay, though that shade of magenta's been overused for several years, but I hate the shoes. Not only are they derivative and pretty much the black texture used that came with that sculpt box, but they've got globs of unknown flesh on the heels. What are they supposed to be, eyes? Tumors? What? It's unattractive on an average shoe, and really, if you're going for shock value? At least make sure the shoes aren't dull.

Souzou Eien, unfortunately, chose to give out a gift that they'd made for the Woeful Wednesday list. I'm not going to show it off, I'm just registering disappointment. I suppose it's great if you missed that particular sale, but...hell, they didn't even bother to change the name of the offering, because it still says Woeful Wednesday Special!

Esther Jen made shoes with cute little heart-skull bows on the back:

(from the fashion album)

Again, they're just cute, not stellar, and sadly they merge the worst of both worlds by having an alpha layer (yay) paired with invisiprims (seriously?). One or the other needs to go; having both is overkill, and poorly planned overkill at that.

REPULSE made a "Zombie Bite" face tattoo:

(from the fashion album)

As with everything he makes, it is detailed, very well-made, and disturbing. I can definitely see putting this into play in October.

(Also, just to note: that's Fawkes Allen in the background. Please, do bug Fawkes to release that avatar. It's nearly fully transparent, and excellently crafted, and deserves to be up for grabs.)

Meanwhile, the Dollhouse put out a bloodspattered tattered dress, complete with syringes that stab the wearer in the back:

(from the fashion album)

This is the front, and this:

(from the fashion album)

is the back, with the sculpted syringes.

Not shown: the buckled, bloodstained posture collar. It's a little finicky for adjusting, but well-made, and the whole outfit is very well done, and--for bloodstains and tatters--beautiful.

Filthy Things had an outfit named 'Zombie Attire', but I'm not showing it, because she didn't bother to adjust the skirt! It attaches to the right hand by default!

This is going to be split into three parts, so I'll get to the third part later tonight. In the meantime, this will be linked with part I and part III when I get everything published.

pale under the blistering sky, white and red, black and blue (part I)

Yeah, I think we all get the point now, thanks. What bugs me about the 'enhanced Jew' presentation of Magneto is not the Jewish angle. Presenting characters with religions, faiths, beliefs, outlooks, even skin and hair tones outside of what is considered "the norm" is a good thing, and should be highly encouraged. (DC's recent treatment of Sharif, the nearly-was Muslim superhero--I'm looking at you.) In fact, in the recent film X-Men: First Class, I couldn't have asked for a better treatment of Magneto's childhood, and embittered teen and early adult years.

However. There comes a point at which it's just needless character reinforcement. The fact that Magneto is of any faith doesn't need to be mentioned nearly every panel--it would be like Superman announcing he's an alien every time someone new saw him.

Oh, wait.

Sent over from a friend, so no idea beyond the avatar's name or when it was sent:
Omega Garnet: Yanno Alexis, it would be nice to have a script made, just for hunts.. I noticed alot of hunters take other prims that belong for other hunts....even though they aren't participating in that hunt..
Okay, hold the hell up here. You're a merchant, and you've got hunters coming to your store for the End of Summer Sharkbait hunt, for which you have lovingly hidden the little shark fin with its adorable little lag-inducing particle blood droplets, and you are complaining that people are staying in your store long enough to pick up the hunt object for the Summer's Turn at the Beach Hunt, for which you have lovingly hidden the little starfish with the prim googly eyes?

Have you lost your mind, Omega?

I ask this in all seriousness. You may, in fact, need medication. Because if you think this through for one single minute, you will see several things:

* First, that avatar is in your store long enough to find more than one item;
* Second, that avatar is in your store looking around in general, which may lead to sales of items in your store;
* Third, that avatar is now motivated to spend time in other stores, on ANOTHER hunt entirely, which will also benefit you for supporting that other hunt, as well;
* and fourth, that avatar may then tell their friends, if they like the item made for either hunt, and those friends might come back and spend Lindens in your store.

Maybe you're just not that bright, Omega. If so, continue to protest this. I'm sure all the stores who've closed on SL at this point due to lack of sales might even agree with you.

So, I want to talk about the Creature Feature hunt a bit. I was going to wait until the hunt was over, but I thought maybe--just maybe--someone felt up to dealing with the hair-tearing frustration of this misbegotten thing enough to want to get some of the prizes, so...yeah. Here you go, your less-than-positive hunt review.

First, you will need this: it's a not-really organized list of stores participating, and it will be a godsend when you can't find something somewhere or other.

Which is going to happen a LOT, I'm not kidding--there's easily a dozen stores that have dropped out of this hunt along the way. Some look like they never joined the hunt; some have the hunt sign out, but not the gift; and in a few cases, the store itself is gone, and only bare sim earth remains.

Second--and this irritated me nearly beyond words--apparently the merchants in the hunt were given no clear guidelines as to what to do. About half the hunt items come in a single bone box to your Objects folder. The rest come in as a folder. So half your time on this hunt is going to be find hunt gift, port home, unpack, delete bone, open folder, find landmark...port to next location...find hunt gift, port home, unpack, delete bone, open folder, find landmark, port to next hunt location... Repeat, rinse, burn. This isn't an occurence that happens every so often, it's nearly every other object that comes in like this.

While--living as we do in the age post-Twisted hunt--we expect decoys and glib little stupidities as a matter of course, thankfully, there was only one merchant who felt she had to go all out with the decoys. Irksome was that she felt she had to put all the decoys in the same place as the goddamn prize:

(from the fashion album)

See what I mean? There's just no call for that.

Now, the good things. Surprisingly, there are a few. First up, RokumeikaN's "Haku Princess" outfit:

(from the fashion album)

It didn't come with stockings, or shoes, so I didn't show them; it does come with a ruffled headband, but that I didn't show, either. Regardless, this is a frothy, ribboned, purely Gothic lolita outfit, and while I'm not overly pleased with the back-and-front bustle draping, with the right shape (aka, not the one I'm wearing), this could be a sweetly dark outfit.

This is Sassy's 'Dead Doll' dress:

(from the fashion album)

It has a sculpted skirt, which doesn't make me inclined to favor it, but the color's lovely, and the sleeves are nicely done. Also comes with arm bows (shown) and collar bow (not shown).

This is why I don't shop at Trapt:

(from the fashion album)

Trust me, you don't want to see the back, and I think we're all glad I found the thong for the women's version, because before that, I was just planning to show the back. I couldn't have shown the front without changing the blog rating.

Next up, the "Gothic Doll RED" outfit from !!*Fatal/VIRUS* (yes, that's really their name):

(from the fashion album)

It's nothing spectacular, but it does come complete with combat boots.

(from the fashion album)

And here it is, shown with Sweet n' Tart's Zombie Dolly skin. Which I was very excited about getting...until I saw it on.

Pinkmare's came up with a near winner:

(from the fashion album)

The dress is fun, flirty, and the textures are decent. How'ver, I'm not sure I understand the nails through the hands and stomach, and the head cage.

Aliza Karu (AngelsDemon) made bone shoes; they were inventive and really creatively done, but lacked the leg bone to offset the alpha layering:

(from the fashion album)

I can't go on record as saying they were good, or even wearable, if part of the effect is missing from the gift package. You're seeing the part that had a leg, not the other side where the calf had been mostly replaced not by prim bone attachments, but solely by a black leg sleeve.

Squeek! came up with a pair of prim 'creature' wings which were okay:

(from the fashion album)

Sangre Noir did a 'suspendered circus kilt' which is likely a better idea for men than women. The long kilt length sweeps the floor beautifully, but there's not so much a top (this shot was taken after scrambling for the first sort-of-matched tone I could find, which happened to be the top to Pixeldoll's Fiore dress in black):

(from the fashion album)

Jenna's Whimsey came up with a lovely darkened silver dress:

(from the fashion album)

Bliensen & Maitai came up with a 'Happy ever after' skulled necklace:

(from the fashion album)

and it manages to be both elegant and costume jewelry in the same piece.

ImmateriA came up with a dress inspired by Serket.

(from the fashion album)

It's very nicely made, but the question of where one would wear it arises...

And obviously, I'm leaving out a lot. I'm trying to be as charitable as I can, but so much of this, while not outright useless, just...wasn't that interesting.

(This will be continued in part II.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I got wiring loose inside my head, I got books that I never ever read

What's the line between supporting a friend and aiding and abetting a crime in progress? Police and prosecutors in Ogden, Utah are going to have to decide that very thing after a tense, sixteen-hour overnight standoff which saw, bafflingly enough, the kidnapper in a hostage crisis update his status several times on Facebook.

Facebook is evil. This is just more proof.

In medical technology, Tokyo researchers have discovered a way to hack body parts--their prototype, unnervingly titled "PossessedHand", is shown here with an accompanying disturbing video. Still, could it one day help stroke victims, or those who can't walk, to regain mobility and limb movement? The researchers think that's a strong possibility...possessed or not.

Meanwhile, more hacking of personal information--this time, CitiBank was hacked, and the perpetrators made off with more than 360,000 credit card numbers (CitiBank admits not knowing how many more numbers were discovered, due to a huge gap in their, I hesitate to name it so, "security").

And back to SL, with this lovely quote:
"Why is Duran Duran opening a virtual club in Second Life? Is Duran Duran even still a group? Is Second Life even still a thing that people do? Is there a vast crossover demographic of Duran Duran fans who enjoy virtual sandbox realms? Is this going to lead to a rash of overly-sexualized "Hungry Like The Wolf"-themed avatars?"

In the meantime, a little video action:

Soup Radio at SL8B from Raul Crimson on Vimeo.

This is Soup Radio's "exhibit" (and I use the word loosely) for SL8B. I haven't said much about the celebration, because outside of a scant handful of really stunning exhibits (like, maybe, four), everyone turned in...well. Is there a more polite word than "crap"?

And this one, from Soup Radio, is pretty much the typification of the level of crap builds people were offered at SL8B. If Second Life has been around eight years, and the highest aspiration people can think to bring to the table is a cheesy pair of open lips screaming "ART ART ART" and "DEBATE DEBATE DEBATE" into disembodied cheesy ears, while four copybotted statues of Philip Linden hold up a sepia-toned earth globe...well, no, that actually pretty accurately represents the state of things on SL right now.

Great job, Soup Radio. You've shown exactly why so many avatars and businesses are turning their backs on SL, never to return. Go you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

you can't get your arms around everybody, you cannot carry the doom

Pursuant to the entry on Curious Kitties a couple of days ago, Morbidia Marchant sent an IM my way:
[14:18] Morbidia Marchant: Hello, this is Curious Kitties support.

Sorry to disturb you but I came across your blog on the VIP program & thought you might like some information on it. I've sent a notecard since it won't all fit in IM. The name of the notecard is "Curious Kitties VIP"

Its a lot of information to read so if your not interested in the details you don't have to read it. =^.^=
Generally, anything that SL actually delivers to me, I am willing to read. I understand her reticence, but I was looking forward to learning more about the program.

This was the text of the notecard:
Hello, this is Curious Kitties support. Sorry for the intrusion but I came across your blog & thought you might be interested in the details.

The main reason for the VIP program is to fund creating new items, since the earthquakes here (Japan) the value of money has dropped & there are many damages among radiation & power outages that heavily interfere with the future of Curious Kitties staying in Second Life.

The Curious Kitties VIP program is currently generally unadvertised since it is in beta & can't handle so many orders for the time being. In the future there will be an official release announcement when a large number of members can be serviced.

Most of the current packs [are] just for L$. For the moment this is just a test for a few days.
We're going for an automatic delivery service in the future. (Thats whats being tested now)

The system was usually handled from this website:
Theres also been a small banner on the sites sidebar ( for about 3 months.

Right now by purchasing any pack you get an invite in to the program
which is currently handled by a group, but will likely branch out in to a larger webpage program in the distant future.

With the current offers the program can be joined from $10.
Each month theres new VIP only items.

Starting next month a point gacha system where members can get even more VIP only & Curious Kitties regular items for free.

If you have any questions about the VIP program or Curious Kitties in general please don't hesitate to contact me at any time.
I'll try my best to help. (On a side note there isn't any native English staff so the program description is sometimes a more difficult one to understand.)

I hope this has been of use & again sorry to bother you. =^.^=
Okay, so I did some further investigation. Let's break this down.

(rom the fashion album)

Now, you may not be able to make it out in the image above, but the larger image should show it clearly enough: this is a straight-up direct screen capture for the $10 box, that purports to give L$2600 and a VIP group invite. The cost? L$900,000.00.

Currently, L$2600 is going through LindeX at a cost of L$10.40. To get L$900,000.00? You'd need to pay out L$3600.00. That's a loss of L$897,400, or $3589.60, to buy the $10 offering.

(from the fashion album)

The next level up purports to give out slightly over $20 in Lindens, plus that VIP group invite. The cost for that one? L$900,000.00.

(from the fashion album)

Not to be outdone, the final box offering, marked $80, is also going for L$900,000.00.

Okay, but Morbidia mentioned this is an unadvertised test program, just to see if things transfer via their scripted system. I get that, they're not intending to sell for the prices do come up in Lindens, these are set to sell.

I went to check the Limited Edition avatar packs, and found something else odd:

(from the fashion album)

This is the sale box for the Angry Strawberry avatar. I now have a much better idea of what comes with it, besides the group invite--but when clicked, it's set to sell for L$5000.00. Which works out to $20.

For a box marked $10 and a VIP group invite.

Now, to be fair, while the box is marked at half the price of the actual offering, for that price you get eight variant skins, the dress, the eyes, the hair, and the HUD to change it to other colors.

On the Marketplace (and this one's just pulled at random, really), the Althovyan Elf Avatar comes with skin, hair, eyes, outfit, ears, and earring-changing HUD for the prim elf ears (if not more than that, that goes unmentioned on the Marketplace), and retails for L$3000.00. So L$5000.00 is not all that high considering her normally high prices.

Is it a dodge? No, I don't think it is. How'ver, I do think this 'testing center', or whatever it is, should not offer actual items for sale until the prices being asked match the items being given...

Serenity Semple points me towards the NWN coverage of the Lost Gardens of Apollo closing. And yeah, that one's going to hurt. If you've never seen it, try to make time to check it truly is one of the magical spaces on the grid. And soon to be there no longer.

And Miss LillyBeth of Textures-R-Us has some new information on an old controversy; I'm willing to trust her in this, it seems to fit with what's been observed. It's also notable that as of this writing, Vryl Valkyrie only has textures and .raw files on offer on the Marketplace. Conversely, Abel Dreamscape still has the Troubled Bridge out for L$500--as well as many other builders' packs and completed builds. I'd say Dreamscape won that particular battle--I just don't know why Valkyrie made it one in the first place.

one light burns in a window, it guides all the shadows below

Most of the time these days, I've been entirely too tied up in parcel management, but on occasion, I've been trying to push past my strange little bubble-space and wander around the grid. On one of the wandering trips, I found a store giving away sheep.

(from the shopping album)

It took two days and several hours, but I finally won a black sheep from the multitude of lucky boards! It's animated, and scripted--you can make it move, and name it--and...well. Yeah. That's about it.

Black sheep. To carry around.

)from the shopping album)

Another carryable is this lesser panda, or red panda. It doesn't move, but it is cute.

(from the shopping album)

This holdable giraffe also does not move, but it does come with a separate packing crate, with another giraffe in it, for display.

(from the shopping album)

I didn't even realize until after I'd taken this, black mynah bird against dark hair might not show up. I tweaked the brightness a bit, but mostly, that just washed things out. This seems to be the only shoulder pet offering.

(from the shopping album)

They're calling this the 'Bambi deer'; I call it a holiday raindeer stuffed toy, and it's also immobile. Cute, though.

(from the shopping album)

And this is the white sheep variant, also with moving head and ears. I think the black sheep's cuter.

They have other animals--they have an entire wall of lucky boards, all near the door, and there are frequent wildcards--but this gives you a good example of what Stray Pig does as a store. For actual purchase, they also have furnishings and more stray carryable animal variants. Try your hand if these shots have intrigued you; I know I was happy to get my black sheep, but I still have no idea what I'm going to do with it.

Other than carry it around while it looks faintly baffled by the proceedings.

Meanwhile, City of Heroes is currently working out the parameters to go free to play. It's not open now, and they still have kinks to work out, but they're currently overhauling the Veteran Rewards system, adding a new server, rebranding, and adding a micro-transaction-based cash shop.

But they're doing it a little bit differently. There will be three 'tiers' of access to the revised game. Among those benefits will be:
Play for Free:

* eight different archetypes
* expansion packs purchasable
* level 50 cap (no Incarnate Shard access past 50)
* 100+ power sets available to mix and match
* restricted to First Ward zones (City of Heroes/City of Villains, no Praetorian access)
* First Ward special missions purchasable
* no access to In-game Mall
* no SuperGroup access
* chat on Local and Team chat only
* two character slots
* use of Auction House limited
* no free Paragon Points for use in the cash shop
* Forum access Read only

Premium Play:

* eight different archetypes, plus any "special" archetypes old players returning may have unlocked earlier, like the War Shade
* expansion packs purchasable
* level 50 cap (no Incarnate Shard access past 50)
* 100+ power sets available to mix and match
* restricted to First Ward zones (City of Heroes/City of Villains, no Praetorian access)
* First Ward special missions purchasable
* In-game Mall accessible
* can join SuperGroups
* chat restricted to Local, Team, and Whispers (aka Tells, and why yes, I hate that term, but I try to grit my teeth and not go postal when it comes up)
* no free Paragon Points for use in the cash shop
* use of Auction House limited
* two character slots, plus any that were previously unlocked through missions or purchased
* use of Auction House limited
* no free Paragon Points for use in the cash shop
* Forum access Read only

VIP Players:

* 14 character slots
* level 50 cap (with access to Incarnate Shards and specialty missions to amp past 50)
* 150+ power sets available to mix and match
* expansion packs included
* all zones included, as well as all missions in those zones
* can join or form SuperGroups
* can chat in all channels, plus form exclusive ones
* In-game Mall access included
* use of Auction House unlimited, can Buy/Sell/Store up to the max for that character's level
* 12 character slots per server, plus any that were unlocked through special missions or directly purchased
* 400 free Paragon Points per month to use in the cash shop
* can read or write in the Forums
Essentially, since I'm already a subcriber, nothing overly changes for me, save I get some spendable points in the new Cash Shop. How'ver, should I ever default for any reason on my subscription price, the outcome seems to be favorable: while I would lose some access, I would retain any character slots I'd already unlocked, and be able to pick from my characters remaining for which eight I wished to retain. It could be worse.

However, none of it's set in stone just yet. They're still revising, and while they're rebranding as of yesterday, there may be changes to come.

Of course, many existing subscribers are already waving "THE END IS NIGH" signs, and that wave of protest has made them promise to open a VIP-only server. Amusingly, the comments seem to be mostly contemptuous of the rising tide of leeches, spammers and clueless newbs who will flock to the once-gated shores of the game.

For me personally, while I dread ANY rise in spamming, we already HAD leeches and idiots in the game, so I don't think it's going to change as much as people think it will. But it'll be interesting to watch nonetheless.