I’ll be blunt: The majority of the media coverage of Second Life has been sub-par for far too long. It’s been a combination of an overhyping and dismissal as a “failed project” rollercoaster, and gossipy sensationalism focusing on the virtual world’s sexual aspect in a scandal-mongering manner. Another problem with much of the coverage SL has seen in its eleven years of existence is the attitude of many journalists / pundits: they don’t let facts get in the way of their story.

Marlon McDonald

Marlon McDonald, prolific contributor for Moviepilot.com, wrote yet another scandal-mongering article on sex in Second Life.

One would probably expect something better after all these years. But, sadly, cut-throat clickbait competition for notoriety and / or ad-generated revenue makes the gossipy, sensationalist, scandal-mongering, stereotype-milking approach every bit as attractive for web-based outlets and columnists as it’s ever been for their “old media” counterparts. So, I’m not surprised to see the same old stories get regurgitated ad nauseam by pundits new and “established”. A recent example of such a pundit is Mr. Marlon McDonald, prolific contributor to Moviepilot.com. In his quest for page views and notoriety which will get him featured on the website’s homepage in his chosen category, he wrote yet another article in which he presented Second Life as little more than a cesspool of debauchery, pornography, virtual prostitution etc. Inara Pey proceeded to write a very nice rebuttal to Mr. McDonald’s article, and I highly recommend that you share it with others. She also blogged about her rebuttal here.

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Let’s dwell on this post’s title a little. If I choose to believe that X is Y’s alt, then there’s nothing that will change my mind. How many times have we encountered situations where we’ve been accused of being someone else’s alt? How many times have we introduced friends to others, only to see our friends be wrongly accused of being our alts and be given a terrible time – with all the consequences that follow from this? I’m sure you’ve all been in situations like this. And, sadly, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

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Ne Me Quitte Pas

Ne Me Quitte Pas. Please click on the image for the full-size version.

Last Friday, I was invited to preview Canary “Becky” Beck’s exhibition of self-portraits titled Ne Me Quitte Pas, which opens on Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 12PM SLT and will be hosted in the attic space of the Arts & Culture Community (A&CC) until January 10th, 2015. To get to the exhibit, you will need to enter the gallery after you arrive and go all the way upstairs.

Canary Beck is no stranger to the artistic circles of Second Life, most notably because of her activity with the Basilique Performing Arts Company and their (until now) magnum opus, Paradise Lost in Second Life. This time, she debuts as an in-world photographer, with a collection of twenty intimate and very powerful self-portraits tied to lyrics from Jacques Brel’s 1959 hit Ne Me Quitte Pas (Do Not Leave Me), which has been covered numerous times in various languages; English speakers are likely to be more familiar with its adaptation titled If You Go Away, with lyrics by Rod McKuen; personally, I find the English lyrics lack the emotional impact of Brel’s poetry, which I can only describe as an exercise in despair.

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Today was the third time I visited ALEGRIA Studio‘s dream-like and captivating exhibit “The Sea of Cubic Dreams” at LEA25 with the intention to take photos and write about it. The impetus for this came from the snapshots my friend Trinity Yazimoto shared on her SL feed, and from Honour McMillan’s recent post. I still have no information on their upcoming “Theater Night’s Dream” project, so I suppose they’re still working on it.

The great blood read Dream Mask at the Sea of Cubic Dreams. Please click on the image for a larger version. The full-size version can be found here.

The great blood red Dream Mask at the Sea of Cubic Dreams. Please click on the image for a larger version. The full-size version can be found here.

There have been changes, though. In previous incarnations (photos and coverage of which you can see on my blog and on my Flickr photostream), the Sea of Cubic Dreams was bathed in colours of blue and turquoise, immersed in a bright-shining night that made it a serene place to wander in. Now, the dominant colour is blood red; I’m not sure if there’s a symbolism behind it. Also, several additions have been made. But I suppose I’d better let the pictures speak for themselves.

The Sea of Cubic Dreams

The Sea of Cubic Dreams. Please click on the image for a larger version. The full-size version can be found here.

It’s still a gorgeous exhibit, which I highly recommend to anyone. As I had already written, there’s a fun little interactive element. I’m looking forward to seeing what else the ALEGRIA Studio’s people will come up with as they keep working on it, and I can only encourage you to watch this space. Also, do have a look at their SL Marketplace store, because they also make some very interesting fashion accessories.

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-GP

A little over a month ago, I wrote about how various animations don’t play well when we wear high heels: The default avatar’s feet end up looking like our ankles were broken. This behaviour is observed both when we’re using the default avatar’s feet and when we’re using rigged mesh feet and / or footwear.

Back then, I theorised that this has to do with the way the “foot shaper” is created by the system, i.e., when the “foot shaper” is created, what’s performed is not a downwards (i.e. around the transverse axis of the avatar) rotation of  the ankle, but a stretch of the foot. So, to the system, your avatar still has its feet lying flat, which in turn allows it to take these unrealistic angles.

foot-shaper-ankle-downwards

As you can see, the ankle was not rotated to create the foot shaper for the high-heeled foot in the “relaxed” position (in the background). Instead, the foot was simply stretched downwards, while the articulation remained flat. Please click on the image for the full-size version.

Of course, animation and pose makers generally can’t be bothered to provide versions of their animations for avatars that are wearing high heels and for barefoot avatars; they just make all their poses and animations using a barefoot avatar model and get done with it, leaving the user to sort out the mess by themselves. And sort it out they did, usually by hiding the default avatar’s feet inside unrigged (prim-based, sculpted or mesh) shoes or feet / shoes combinations, or by employing special, localised animation overriders which locked the ankles in place.

foot-bent-badly-backwards

And here, you see the “broken ankle” effect with the Slink Mid feet on. The same problem plagues all rigged mesh feet, regardless of designer, and is also evident in rigged mesh bodies that have integral feet. Please click the picture for the full-size version.

The advent of rigged mesh, however, brought the problem back into prominence, causing people several headaches. One workaround is to rig the shoes differently, so that they’ll effectively ignore the ankle joint. But what happens if the shoe is an add-on for a set of rigged mesh feet? In that case, things are a bit different: the localised animation override method emerges as the preferred one.

One such localised animation overrider is the “Slink Ankle Lock”, which is offered free by Siddean Munro at her mainstore. You can find it above the feet vendors – unfortunately, it’s not available on the SL marketplace. Now, how does it work? You just add it to your outfit and it takes care of the rest. It’s a transparent attachment, which contains the animation override script and a high-priority animation that locks the ankles in place.

The Slink Ankle Lock

The Slink Ankle Lock offers a workaround to the “broken ankles” problem. Being effectively an animation overrider, it’s compatible with all rigged mesh footwear and feet. You can get it for free at the Slink mainstore. As always, please click on the image for the full-size version.

Now, you’ll ask… Will it work with my fitted mesh body that’s not made by Slink? Will it work with my rigged mesh feet that aren’t made by Slink? Yes, it will. And it also works with the default feet as well It’s just a very simple animation overrider, after all; no HUDs or controls to think about. The only downside is that you can’t bend your ankles forward (like we do when we crouch in RL), but I’m afraid this is a compromise we’ll have to put up with. Let’s hope LL will get the avatar skeleton right in their next-generation platform.

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-GJ