The Drax Files

Well-known machinima creator and virtual worlds enthusiast Draxtor Despres participated in the 5th New Media Film Festival with the second episode of his acclaimed series “The Drax Files: World Makers”, which I had covered back in March 2013. The episode’s subject was the 1920s Berlin Project and Jo Yardley, who created it as her personal labour of love.

Draxtor’s coverage of the 1920s Berlin Project featured a free-flowing interview with Jo; his approach eschews the typical interviewer-led “standard”. He happily takes the back seat, giving the floor to the interviewee. So, in this award-winning episode, Jo shares with us how she chose to experience Second Life, what her project is all about and how it evolved, and how SL mixes with her RL in Amsterdam.

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cropped-draxfiles_logofinal_1-1As I mentioned earlier, the ninth installment of The Drax Files Radio Hour podcast aired on Friday and its main topic was the launch of the public beta of SL Go, a cloud streaming service developed by OnLive for access to Second Life on the go. Please note that I didn’t use the term “viewer”, but opted for the term “service” instead; although it does employ a (nearly full-featured) viewer, it uses the Software as a Service (SaaS) model that has become quite popular in the corporate world lately.

SL Go is, as mentioned a few lines above, cloud-based. It runs on a remote, high-performance server and streams the result to the user’s client – computer, television set (via the mini-console provided with OnLive’s Online Games System), or tablet or other mobile device that has a screen of adequate size, providing the best graphics one could expect from Second Life – regardless of the hardware available locally. Right now, the mobile viewer is available only for Android, but an iOS version is in the works. For a thorough review of the service, you’d do well to go to Inara Pey’s blog.

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cropped-draxfiles_logofinal_1-1Yesterday (March 7th, 2014), the 9th episode of The Drax Files Radio Hour podcast was aired. For those who are not familiar with it, it’s a podcast run by renowned machinima creator Draxtor Despres and Jo Yardley (of the 1920s Berlin project) that focuses on virtual worlds and Second Life, draws heavily on the community for input, feedback and topics and is targeted at the community. You can listen to the show here – and I highly recommend that you do.

This week’s main topic is, expectably, the launch of the public beta of SL Go, featuring interviews with OnLive’s Nate Barsetti and Dennis Harper. These interviews are crucial in helping people understand the purpose, scope and usefulness of this new service, and I believe they should help put a number of misconceptions to rest, including misconceptions regarding the usage model and payment structure, which are both under review, since the service is, as noted earlier, in public beta. If you want some concise reviews/beta tests of SL Go and opinions on it, I recommend the ones by Inara Pey and Strawberry Singh, as well as Iris Ophelia‘s commentary.

I hope to be able to review this installment soon – I regret having been unable to cover previous episodes, what with RL obligations being what they are. In the meantime, though, be sure to listen to the podcast!

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Mona

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-rT

To say I lcropped-draxfiles_logofinal_1-1ike Draxtor Despres‘ video series “The Drax Files: World Makers” would be an understatement. His work on the series has been excellent and I’ve tried, within the constraints imposed on me by my RL, to cover it as much as possible. There are, of course, certain episodes I’ve missed; some because RL has been extremely hectic lately and I never got around to watching them (to be honest, there’s been very little blogging activity here in the past few weeks), and some because I had doubts regarding my own suitability to cover them, as well as what the message I would end up sending to the readers (especially regarding very sensitive matters that are far beyond my own area of knowledge in RL) would be.

Taking the lead from The Drax Files series of videos, the machinima creator has moved to the creation of a series of radio-like broadcasts, titled The Drax Files Radio Hour, hosted by him and Jo Yardley who runs the 1920s Berlin project. The show is all about the community of Second Life; it is driven by it and the community is its target group. The show offers commentary and also features interviews with people relevant to various topics.

The show is not about investigative journalism, as Drax himself quickly admits in the beginning of the second instalment. It serves as a way to extend the discussion of topics related to Second Life outside its confines; beyond blogs, beyond social networks, beyond forums and, to be honest, beyond the drama that is all too often present there. Now, podcasts about virtual worlds are not new at all, so no prizes won for novelty here. Still, Draxtor is a very friendly host who succeeds in getting people to speak about various topics, and the interplay between him and Jo further relaxes the show’s atmosphere.

One of the things Drax succeeded in with The Drax Files was to portray Second Life in a positive manner, in spite of all the bad rap it has been getting ever since… Quite possibly, ever since its launch; at least, already after I had first joined it in September 2006 with my first account, controversies, gossip, drama and scandalmongering have been the order of the day, and that’s without taking into account all the instances in which the Press gave both Linden Lab and Second Life a serious beating for various reasons. In The Drax Files, Drax focused on the positive side of Second Life, aptly demonstrating that it really is not a pastime for losers at all.

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Before the digital age, I used to run around with a big VHS camera on my shoulder; for simple interviews in the city I already needed a second person for sound, and then the cutting afterwards… It was terrible! I have a lot of footage, but I never finished a movie.” These are the words with which machinima creator Ole Etzel opens his interview with Draxtor Despres for the twelfth episode of the acclaimed series The Drax Files. The rest, of course, is history. He got sucked into the virtual world of Second Life and became yet another dweeb with no life. Right? Not at all. He got married (who’d suspect that SL users have a personal life in RL?) and became an independent machinima film maker.

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