Friday, March 30, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 15 and FINAL

131 - Watsoon Steampunk: "Ornate Walls and Ceiling" texture pack.  By now, we know about me and texture packs, don't we?  Expect some of these to be sprayed across a prim in Burroughs soon.

132 - Serenity Designs:  Prince Dakkar's Sky Retreat.  Skybox.  Decent enough, simple design, animated textures on the windows give it a seaborne feel.  It's nice, but my usual comments apply, about hubristically wanting to build my own homes instead of using wonderful things made by other people.

133 - Mays Curios & Dryad Designs: ridable Hippocampus and Oceanic Harp.  The Hippocampus comes in two versions, a rez-and-ride and a wearable one... unfortunately, neither one actually seems to work, they both throw a succession of script errors; the rezzable one doesn't move at all and the wearable only goes sideways.  The playable Oceanic Harp, though, works OK and looks nice.  So, a partial success there!

134 - Demonkitties: iBandit Mask (regular and pink versions). Disclaimer needed here, since Misseuro Chau, though not on my f-list, is partnered with someone who is. Anyway. This is a bit of fun, in its way.

The (pink) masked marauder

135 - Mountain Rose Village: the mega-mini-hunt here is threatening to become a tradition.  In order, we have Captain Nemo's: skybox, perfume bottle, desk furnishings, submarine with mine, bed, diving outfits, window furnishings, fireplace furnishings, message bottle and diving helmet.  And very nice they look too.  I only hope he doesn't want them all back at some point.  I saw his picture yesterday, remember, and he doesn't look a man to tangle with.  Seriously, though, if you collect all this lot, you will have the makings of a very nifty Nemo-styled home in SL!

136 - Hyborian Steam Platform: end of the Hunt!  And all the bonus gifties from merchants who have made bonus gifties (and not already included them in their main prize or mini-hunt stuff).  Harry Potter scarves from Dax Designs; another copy of Myrddin's bookcase (I think this must have been included before he made his stop into a mini-hunt!); animated-texture porthole from Dark Visions; colourful top from Gugu Dada; mesh Da Vinci flyer from Land of Nodd; sea mines from MadPea; Ned Land's Harpoon from Mountain Rose;  "Poseidon's gift" trident from Jinxed Toys; "Rainbow Pond" animated texture from SANNA; and a Steampunk Row Building from the Time Machine Shoppe.  Interesting and varied selection, well worth finishing the hunt for!

... and that's it.  That's yer lot.  Congratulations and thanks to all concerned, and roll on the next Hunt!
If you go Steam Hunting, you can dress as well as I do!

Little Glorfie wants a pony, and sweeties...

... because she is two years old today!

Actually, since SL years (and Internet years generally) are like dog years, that would make me the equivalent of fourteen, I guess.  Ditch the sweeties, I must start listening to music my parents don't like and moaning about how the world doesn't understand me, instead.

Anyway.  Last I heard, the average "lifespan" of an SL avatar was around ten months, so I thought I was doing pretty good to make it to one year... at the time, I felt I'd - to some extent - arrived in SL; I'd done a fair number of things - built a house, become part of the Oxbridge community, had inappropriate relationships (details not forthcoming, this is still Not That Sort of Blog), was renting a spot on one of the prime sims in Caledon...

Now, it seems, my involvement has deepened further; I'm engaged in a substantial building project, I've got my own little shop, I'm blogging about SL, and I'm in what feels like a very appropriate sort of relationship, with someone I like and admire and respect enormously, who happens also to be pretty darn sexy.  At this rate, by my third SL birthday, I should be living here full-time.

Considering that I arrived on the grid pretty much on a whim, it's kind of amazing I've lasted this long.  And I have, in fact, given a fair amount of thought to why I keep coming back here... graphics glitches, crashes, griefers, and idiocies of LL notwithstanding.

And I keep coming back to two things, the creative and the social aspects of SL.  First off, the building tools enable me to make cool stuff, and to go out exploring and see cool stuff other people have made.   But I could sit at home with Bryce and Terragen and POVRay and make cool stuff; the essential second component is being able to share the experience with others.  People are social creatures, after all, and the Internet in general has enabled people to come together, across the globe, in a way unparalleled in human experience - in fact, as a society, we are still working out the implications of all this!  SL is one tiny corner of the Internet, but it's one where creativity can flower in strange and fascinating ways.  I've been a part of that for two years, now... the chances are very good I will go on with it!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 14

Another bumper installment today... if I can manage to get through all of the Mountain Rose Village mini-hunt gifts, maybe (I say maybe) I can get all of this done before March 31st, thereby leaving at least a day or so for people to scramble around and scarf up the good bits.  Which would be a public service, of sorts!  Anyway, here we go.

111 - Glass Vistas: Steampunk Door.  Decorative door with optional frame.  Scripted to open and close, which is really all you could ask for in a door, isn't it?  There is geariness, all is well.

112 - Star*Crossed Weddings (TM): Steampunk Flower Arrangement.  And I have a wedding chapel, and a previous hunt yielded a wedding cake... is the Hunt trying to tell me something, I wonder?  Anyway.  Flowers and cogs, what better way to a steampunk girl's heart?

113 - S&S Clockworks: left-handed Alchemist Gauntlet, and Drakenfish submarine.  We have been doing well for submarines this hunt, for some unfathomable reason.  (Geddit?  Unfathomable?  See what I did there?)  Moving swiftly on... the submarine is sleek and brassy, with a nice cockpit design; the gauntlet is an interesting looking personal accessory, at any rate.

114 - Table Service:  "Treasures of the Sea" placemat.  Fine dining in SL is kind of a niche market... hats off to Mr. Szondi for exploring it!  And this seafood special placemat is kind of fun in its own right.

115 - Style by Kira:  "Christian" (male) and "Lulu" (female) skins in "Steampunk Bronze" look.  Not a half-bad looking skin, at that, and it seems to fit my face, which not every skin does... and, with tattoo makeup options, this could be quite a versatile prize!  Nice one.  (I didn't try on the male version, for reasons which should be pretty obvious.)

116 - Haven Township: mini-hunt with the organization and generosity typical of Lenny Kenyon and her people.  The haul includes a portrait of Jules Verne, a development kit for ray guns (very dear to my heart, naturally!), a Victorian house, and a shop (and an offer to set up as an affiliate of Haven Township.  Which is not to be sneezed at, come to think of it, the township has been home to some very creative people for quite a while now!)

117 - Underhill & Overdale: Magic Picture 1 - Taiyaki.  Animated aquarium picture, pretty.  Since my language education never got further east than Greece, I couldn't tell you what "Taiyaki" means, sorry!  Maybe it would explain why one fish appears to be chasing a bottle of pop.
Re-skinned and contemplating the Taiyaki picture

118 - Moonbeams: Steamhunt Lover's Table.  Personally, I think it ought to be a Lovers' Table, as you want at least two lovers for best effect.  Anyway.  Heart-shaped occasional table with transparent top featuring, you guessed it, gears.  And a baked shadow prim underneath it, which is nice, but I wonder how well these things will hold up, now that more and more people are running with actual shadows rendering in the viewer.  (Not that I am.  My graphics card would explode if I even thought about it.  But other people do.)

119 - Unzipped: Steampunk Engineer outfits, male and female.  The male version gets a "Captain's hat".  Hmph.  Glass ceiling, I reckon.  Anyway, they are very steampunky (not necessarily very Victorian, especially with that mini-skirt in the female version), and made with the meticulous attention to detail we have rather come to expect from Unzipped and SPN.  Good one, this.  Glass ceiling notwithstanding.
Steampunk Engineer outfit (stompy boots from a previous Hunt; glass ceiling not shown)

120 - Tamiron Forge:  "Nemo" male and female outfits.  Both of them long on fishnets and short on subtlety (not that either of those are bad things).  The male version has a better hat and much more complete coverage.  I might actually see if I could fiddle that one into something suitable for me to wear, since burlesque is not usually my style.  It would be worth the effort, I think.

121 - MadPea: Das Boot U-Boat skybox.  I think I remember this one from that time-travel game they did a while back.  It's very detailed, and worked very well as a set in their ongoing story.  It's a bit of a specialized use, though, to put 369 Land Impact to!  But it looks good.

122 - jeaniesing's things: Clocktopus.  Mechanical octopus, which comes when you call... well, when you click on it, at any rate.  And it's not awfully quick, but then what do you expect of an octopus on dry land?  Especially a metal one?  Anyway, it is cute and has tentacles, both big pluses with me.

123 - Elemental Jewelry: Steam 6 Watch.  Sculpty jewelry wristwatch, resizable, very steampunk looking.  Very well made, in fact.  Looks good.

124 - Dark Vision: Captain Nemo Steampunk Gift Box.  Furniture, including a carpet, a map table and chair (clickable doohickeys in the table), and a picture of Captain Nemo.  He looks moody.  I suppose he was a moody sort of a character, really.  It's all good moody stuff, though.

125 - ORQUIDEA: Pocket Watch belt.  Comes in large (male) and small (female) sizes.  The small size goes around my hips OK, but then I have very narrow hips, especially by SL standards.  The watch is shiny, and tells the time, which you don't always see in SL watches - so many of them are just decorative.  Telling the time is a plus, I think.

126 - McMinnar's Oddments: Jellyfish Aquarium.  Big square tank with bubbling water and jellyfish in it.  The jellyfish don't seem to do anything.  But, then, what would I expect them to do?  Perform Hamlet?  Jellyfish couldn't do Hamlet, they'd never make the gravedigger scene convincing, on account of a jellyfish Yorick would have no skull.  And how would a jellyfish Ophelia drown herself?... All right, I'm just being silly now.

127 - NS6 Engine: Scientist's Office furniture set, and male and female Professor of Engineering outfits.  Ah, no glass ceiling here!  Furniture is suitably imposing, as befits a Professor of Engineering; the female's skirt is perhaps a little too short to be fully professorial.  (Though who says professors can't be sexy, anyway?  Certainly not me.)  Anyway, this is quality stuff.

128 - Bedizen: "Captured Aquamarine" jewelry set.  Aquamarines captured in a nest of wire... Some people might look at all this talk of capturing and leather thongs and draw the wrong conclusion.  Or maybe the right conclusion, I don't know.  Aquamarines are nice anyway.  Gentlemen's sizes are provided, which is good.

129 - Ky's Kreayshuns: Faerie in a Jar HUD.  Well, it's certainly different.  HUD attachment allows you to rez and derez (capture and release) a faerie follower thingy.  Fun if you like that sort of thing!  And why wouldn't you?
Professor of Engineering.  Note captive faerie guaranteeing a minimum attendance at lectures.

130 - The steam Rose:  "Wolfhound" airship.  This is a residential airship rather than a vehicle; it's a fair old size, and it looks pretty sweet, on the whole.  No-copy, but modifiable, so the wolfhound motifs are detachable.  Though I think they add character anyway, I don't mind them.
At the helm of the Wolfhound.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 13

I'm going to have to do bigger batches if I'm to finish this before the Hunt ends (and, if I don't, the last entries will just be a list of Stuff You Missed Out On, which is not fair, so I won't do that, or at least I'll try not to).   So here goes with a big batch today.

091 - [ContraptioN]: Maritime Division Jacket Set.  Nice piece of quasi-naval uniforming, with heavy-duty "ice" and lighter "ocean" looks.  Neat.  I need to find a pair of trousers to go with it, though, and possibly some more practical shoes.  I'm almost certain that Sir Ernest Shackleton never wore four-inch heels on the ice-covered deck of the "Endeavour".  Not in public at any rate.

092 - AdelleArts Manor Fashions: Steam Hunt 6 male and female outfits.  The gents get a red-coated military uniform, suitable for a county regiment, I think; the ladies get a day dress with a florid Victorian pattern.  Sound enough stuff, really.

093 - Top Katz:  male and female outfits, and a gear swing.  As in, a swing set where the seat is a big gear; looks cool but uncomfortable.  Obviously, since it has a gear, it is Steampunk.  The outfits are mostly red, Victorian, and pretty serviceable all told.  I like the gents' one, especially, it looks good
for lounging around pool halls in or something louche like that.
Last of the red hot swingers

094 - aQ creating lifestyles: Nemo Nav System.  Steampunky laptop (I know, I know, just work with me here, OK?) displaying the route of the Nautilus in 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea.  There is an easter egg of some kind, but I haven't found it yet.  Anyway, it's a bit of fun.

095 - Myrddin's Emporium.  This turned into a mini-hunt, with a final haul consisting of two versions of a "Nautilus" submarine, a gift-giving Time Lord's Hat, and a sculpted bookcase with opening doors.  In short, nice little bunch of prezzies.  Nice one Myrddin!
Touring in the Nautilus version 1

096 - Twisted Metal Industries: Twisted Metal Cargo Service.  Three-seater airship, if you don't mind sitting on a box marked "Explosives", and I don't.  Nice design and quite responsive to fly, I like this one.

097 - DyKe Industries: "Steam Rising" top hat.  Well, it's a top hat, it has tentacles, what more do you need?  I think the top hats are now well ahead of the tricornes in this hunt.  Though there is still time for the tricornes to stage a comeback.  Anyway.  Top hat.

098 - Park Place Home Decor: "Victorian Chinoiserie" furniture set.  Two chairs and a table with decorations.  Well made and nicely textured.  I must have room for this stuff somewhere, surely?

099 - Jolbey and Jasper: Tophat with goggles.  Obligatory disclaimer: Jasmin Jolbey has been on my friends list for a looooong time... and she has been making gothic and Victorian clothing and accessories for most of that time, and practice, talent, and attention to detail have paid off, here.  OK, it's another top hat, but it's a quality one, less extravagant and more practical than many of the others.

100 - Timeless Curiosities: Aether Heart. One of those accessories which opens up a window into your body, where you can see your heart (in this case) replaced by a metal spinny thing with electrical crackles.  Fun, in its way, but I suspect it might be aimed at gentlemen more than ladies, since it is really hard to adjust for my 1) comparatively slim shoulders and 2) bosoms.  I could see it fitting a normal male avi with no trouble, though.

101 - Crazy Cake Creations:  Submarine bear and sub-sea lab.  The bear is driving a small submarine, tows you behind it, and responds to chat.... the lab is a large and complicated coalesced object that I have not, in fact, had the nerve to rez, after my misadventures with the scriptorium table...  it looks good in the publicity photo, though!
Towed by the Submarine Bear

102 - Panda Panda: Steampunk hat.  Comes in biggie or tiny versions.  It's... I'm not sure if it counts as another topper or not.  It is huge, and pulsates, and has pressure gauges, and emits steam.  I'm afraid to argue with it.  If it wants to be called a top hat, I'm fine with that.

103 - Pestique: Bathing hut.  After all the giant towers and brass octopodes and massive mansions, this humble bathing hut comes as something of a relief.  It is a small and straightforward refuge where I can go to change my clothes, and as I try all these things on and my outfit becomes steadily more eccentric, I figure I can use one of those.
My outfit got steadily more absurd, I was glad of the changing room!

104 - Goddess Spirit: Orange Gear Zoom (large and small).  Decorative... thingy... with animated textures.  It is definitely a thingy.  And decorative.  And, because it has gears, Steampunk.  People who like this kind of thing will like this.  It's kind of fun to watch, anyway.

105 - SANNA - SCIENCE and ART: three animated texture sets, "Golden Orbit", "Fire Orbit", and (you guessed it) "Cogwheels".  Well, they are pretty, and I guess the cogwheels would come in handy if I ever want to suggest mechanical things going on inside one of my builds.  Which is not a half bad idea, really.

106 - Kabuki Creations:  Steam Clock.  We seem to be doing all right for clocks, too, on this hunt.  Except this is not actually a clock, it is a big thing with lots of spinning gears, and a set of poseballs included so you can make out with a willing partner among them.  Oh, well, if I am making out with a willing partner, I don't necessarily want to keep track of the time anyway.

107 - L + N signature Designs: Steampunk Motorcycle.  Includes both male and female versions, and a control HUD for the flight, jumps, and machinegun functions.  Yes, you did read that right.  L + N do not stint when it comes to vehicle designs.  I will have to be cautious, though, since the last time I
tried out one of their gadgets, I knocked Harpo Jedburgh through the floor of the Oxbridge sandbox.  But this looks like fun.  And the design is extravagantly gorgeous.

108 - Always Eclectic: Colorful Gears Brooch.  This one is exactly what it says on the tin; a brooch made of gears in different sizes and colours.  It's pretty.  (Yes, colours with a "U", I am British, dash it all.)

109 - Ankh-Morpork: and, as usual, Janeel Kharg has laid on a mini-hunt with a positive profusion, even a plethora, of gifts.  If you figure a plethora equals "five" anyway.  If you unpack all five of these, you will end up with quite a nice skybox or underwater style home, and plenty of suitable furniture for it, including an aquarium which I think is quite nifty, and lots of lamps and posters and stuff.  If you don't unpack them... well, then, you will have five unopened boxes in your inventory.  Whatever floats your boat; I don't judge.

110 - Arkigrafx: L'Ile Mysterieuse Lighthouse.  L'Ile pretty darn impressive actually.  Lighthouse building on a big sculpted rock. Big and pretty, but there seems to be some problem with the doors, which swing around in a most peculiar way - I suspect some problems with the rotation maths, somewhere!  Still, that's just a niggle, really.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 12

081 - nana saenz: Sir Watsoon Reading Closet.  Chair with surround, reading lights, piles of books, and somewhat daft sitting animation.  A bit of fun, I think!

082 - Rag Dollz:  "Steampunk Cabaret" (ladies) and "Ardent Admirer" (gents) outfits.  Typical of the high standards we've come to expect from Rag Dollz... the burlesque "Steampunk Cabaret" look is not one I see myself using often, though!  Only in (ahem) certain specialized circumstances, anyway.  The "Ardent Admirer" is actually pretty good, the gentlemen do well here.

083 - AIDORU: pince-nez and "Steam Swirls" necklace.  The necklace is nice, but I actually like the pince-nez more, they give me an agreeably bookish look, and if I ever want to play a sexy librarian, I can wear these and whip them off at the critical moment.  Fun.

084 - Builders' Brewery:  "Nautilus" watchtower.  An impressive looking building by the impressive builders.  And, of course, I am constructing a giant tower of my own, I don't need this one - charming and finely crafted though it is!

085 - Jabberwocky: tentacles!  A whole bunch of sculpt maps for tentacles!  As a breeder of tentacle monsters, I appreciate this sort of thing rather a lot.  Tentacles!  I am a happy Glorf with this lot.

(That lot bumped my inventory past the 50,000 mark.  I have been in SL nearly two years!  Clearly I do not have anything like enough shoes yet.)
Looking at a tentacle through my pince-nez.

086 - HUDSON's Clothing Co.: Octopus Jewel collection.  Octopus bracelet, necklace and shoulder pet... It is a very good hunt for tentacles!  These are cute, I like them.

087 -  Domicile: Isambard's Folly Tower and House.  Big and impressive, both of them.  And they have turning gears, so they are definitely Steampunk... They are big, well-textured, and generally impressive all around, actually.  Once again, it's almost a pity I have follies of my own to build.

088 - Madville Textures: stained glass (sea-themed) texture pack.  Well, Madville have been in Steam Hunts before now, and I have got a fair amount of mileage out of their texture sets, and I'm sure I'll get some out of this one too, they are good.

089 - Dragon Magick Wares:  Bathysphere Mansion. Compared to some, this one is actually quite small and cosy!  Decent quality build, though, and - once I'd read the instructions and found out how to open the door - I was impressed.  I think it says something about the ambitions of the merchants in this Hunt, though, that this quite spacious and elegant structure could be used as the garden shed for some of the other buildings....

090 - Aster's Builts: AM Phantasy Ivy Chapel.  Well, if I ever feel the urge to get married, at least I have the venue for it, now.  Another one that's a fair old size... and I could get a thrill just coming down that staircase.  Like being in a Morecombe and Wise show.  Hee.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 11

071 - zeitmesser Inc.: Coffee Maid.  It's a very straightforward and effective coffee maker, and after the first seventy hunt stops, you may feel you need a cup of coffee.  Heaven knows I did.

072 - PRIME: Under the Water mini skybox. I wondered about this one, but it only appears to be under the water, as its windows have animated textures of underwater scenes on the inside.  On the outside, they are transparent, thus enabling anyone to see into this spherical skybox with attached propeller.  Well, I suppose there's not enough room inside to get up to anything you wouldn't want people to see.

073 - TexWorks: set of steampunk rivetted metal walls textures.  Well, I use TexWorks stuff in building anyway, it is very likely I'm going to use these!

074 - EBDEsign: Captain Nemo's Praline Plate.  Dispenses edible chocolate octopuses... octopi... no, octopodes, I knew I would get there in the end.  Anyway.  It's different, that's for certain.

075 - imaginoirium: Library.  Two bookshelves, table and divan... I had the strangest feeling that these were going to be immediately useful for me, but the shelves are just too tall for the space I have available, dammit.  Still, this is a nice set, and I'm sure I will find a home for it sometime, somewhere.

076 - Designs by Sebastian: Steam Clock.  Desk clock with steam and turning gears; nicely detailed with lots of small but perfectly formed prims.  It's pretty and it tells the time, which is really all I could ask for in a clock.

077 - 22769 Casual Couture: "Vintage Thunder" outfit.  I'll spare you the "I'm tho thor I can hardly..." joke.  Anyway.  It's another in their range of superhero outfits reimagined for the 1940s.  For once, this one is more suitable for the gentlemen than the ladies - the chest discs do not play well with avatar physics. Also, I will have to find one of those pairs of big stompy boots to round off this outfit.  It looks silly with a pair of Wetherby's turquoise stilettoes.

078 - Tree House Treasures:  Under the Sea chair.  Furniture with tentacles!  Got to love it... this one is even more imposing than the Neptune's Gears chair, earlier.  (A picture of 077 and 078 is hereby appended.  Tali says it's "iconic", but there may be a better adjective.)

079 - Land of Nodd: Steampunk Tesla Guitar.  This one is pretty classy, as seriously deranged musical instruments go.  The lightning effects actually worked rather nicely with the "Vintage Thunder" outfit, although I did have to put Mjolnir down to play it.

080 - time machinery, steampunkery: boxed "Captain Nemo" underwater store or home.  Fair-sized domed structure with an underwater-y look and feel to it; pretty typical of ambiant Kukulcan's design style and attention to detail; nice enough, but likely to be one of those things I will never get round to using, I fear.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 10

061 - Hearth & Home: By Neptune's Gears! chair.  I didn't even know Neptune had gears, but I am not going to argue with a piece of furniture as imposing as this.  It has tridents and heraldic dolphins too.  Readers may know I am a sucker for heraldry.

062 - The Mad Hattery:  Tribute to Jules Verne hat.  If I lined up all the hats I have from the Mad Hattery, I would have... quite a long line of hats.  This is a sound example of the breed.  It has bubbles and tentacles, all is well. 

063  - Urban Forge Architecture: Architeuthis Mechanica.  Oh my.  A giant brass octopus for living in.  Stylish!  Huge, mind, but definitely stylish.  (The spelling of "Architeuthis" is inconsistent across the packaging, but they've got it right on the item itself, so full marks for that, too.)

064 - Texture Junction:  "Of Steam Nostalgia" texture pack.  Mixed bag of textures for use as, well, textures - some suitable for backgrounds, some with alpha transparency to be used as trim... I can find things to do with these, definitely.

065 - NeoVictoria Visitors' Center: four items from a mini-hunt, two table lamps (one with a "live" and one with a "dying" soul), a street lamp, and a 2012 calendar.  All quality stuff.  NeoVictoria is an impressively detailed RP/machinema setting with a steampunk theme, all very well done, and I only wish I could get over that info board at the Visitors' Center which talked about the "Sexual Morays" of the setting.  Watch out for those eels! - Yes, I know they meant "mores", and I know only a petty trivial mind could be sidetracked by what's obviously a minor spelling error.  Unfortunately, I have a petty trivial mind.  Morays.  Hee.

066 - Yellow Rose Designs:  Pipe Dreams Topiary.  Pot plant with turning gears, therefore definitely steampunk.  And a little bird that flaps its wings, too. Fun item!

067 - Hatpins: Steamy Bubbles top hat.  Another one to add to the collection.  Perfectly fine example of the breed... I think the tricornes, which were making a good showing earlier, are now outnumbered by the top hats.  So it goes.  This one has bubbles but no tentacles.  An earlier one had tentacles but no bubbles.  We are talking elegant variations upon a theme here, obviously.

068 - Crazy Amazons: very "mini" mini-hunt here yields a Steampunk House Boat and a Steampunk Lamp.  The lamp hangs from a ceiling fixture (cog-shaped and therefore Steampunk), the houseboat is more of a boat than a house, and a sound enough and decorative enough piece of kit.  Both of them OK things to have, really.

069 - Montagne Noir: Steam 6 Dining Set.  Montagne Noir is maybe better known for clothes, but I got a writing table from there when their furniture shop opened in Oxbridge Village, and I am quite satisfied with it!  The Steam 6 Dining Set seats four in quite resplendently coggy fashion.  It's not the heavy and realistic style I've come to expect from Montagne Noir; this one is light and fanciful and fun.  I like it.  And it is *totally* cogged up.

070 - Royal Thai Gallery:  Mini Ganesh 3.  A small (hence the mini) painting of the Indian elephant god Ganesh, part of RTG's pretty extensive collection of ethnic art... hang on.  Where is the cog?  I don't see a cog!  Is it still steampunk if it doesn't have a cog?... OK, I'm just being silly, now, I'd better stop.  It's a nice picture, I don't see how a cog would improve it anyway.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Linden Lab delivers... directly

The latest Big Thing is the rollout of Direct Delivery, which is set to supersede the old Marketplace magic boxes - indeed, to supersede them entirely within the next couple of months.  Like a good little Resident, I have already got my free commemorative Linden Bear, which appears toasting marshmallows over a fire made of burning magic boxes.  (Some people - particularly, those whose business models involved renting out storage space for magic boxes - might consider that tactless.  Never mind.)

The whole Direct Delivery thing has been rolled out with the grace, clarity and efficiency we've come to expect of LL (the spec will be such-and-such!  It's too late to change now!  There are bugs!  We're changing the spec!  In response to user demand!  No, for technical reasons! No, because we always meant to do it this way!); however, on balance, it's a positive change in the operation of the Marketplace.  Magic boxes date from the days when Marketplace was the independent XStreet, before LL bought it out; they're a workable but untidy bridge between the outside web and the world of the grid, and it makes much more sense, really, to have the whole process handled internally.  There are teething troubles, of course.  There are always teething troubles.

However... are there wider implications?  It's one step further along the road of divorcing SL shopping from the inworld environment, and that is changing the character of the grid.  XStreet made it much easier to find specific things than looking through stores and shopping malls inworld, and LL's promotion of Marketplace as a tool has seen quite a number of stores moving content outworld; I can think of several who have much reduced their inworld holdings, and some who've moved their operations entirely onto Marketplace.

Now, you can argue that SL is not made any less beautiful by the disappearance of shopping malls... but there are implications.  For some of us, shopping is a social activity - we will happily wander around stores and call out to our friends to come and see something neat; with fewer stores, there are fewer chances to do that.  More importantly, though, people with inworld stores are paying LL (either directly, or through a landlord) for the prims they use.... Are LL shooting themselves in the foot by promoting a shopping model that directly affects their own revenue stream?  Possibly, possibly not; LL takes a cut of Marketplace transactions, and if those go up, that might offset their loss in revenue from sim rental.  But that still leaves one problem - with one fewer reason to own land, fewer people will bother.  So... will stores inworld be replaced by beautiful new builds, personal art projects and the like?  Or just by more swathes of abandoned land?

It's by no means an unimportant issue, this; it affects the nature of the land rental market, too.  Spaces which might be desirable, for a small-to-medium shop, aren't going to be nearly as appealling as a private home or an art build or a club.... A shift in land usage is already apparent, and streamlining the outworld buying process is only going to make the shift faster.  I really hope LL have thought through all the implications of their policies, here - and I wish I could feel more sanguine about that.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I was trying to make some sort of pun out of  "hubble bubble toil and trouble" for the title, there, but the quotation is inaccurate and anyway it seemed too much like hard work.

Never mind.  A recent article at New World News got me to thinking about infohubs again...  I used to be a regular infohub surfer, at the start of my SL career, and pretty much saw them all, and even wrote a little guide to them, with landmarks and illustrations and things.  And I have to say, the behaviour shown in the NWN article is, well, pretty standard, really.  Even mild compared to some of the things I've seen...

Now, the comments trail at the article makes the point that some people actually enjoy these places and get a kick out of that sort of drama... and, I suppose, that's fine; it takes all sorts to make a world, it would be a funny old world if we were all alike, and I am happy to coexist with that sort of person, always provided that the coexistence takes place at a minimum distance of a thousand meters.

The problem is, though, that people end up at infohubs without wanting to take part in the... ahem... infohub culture.  Indeed, if you're a new user, you can pretty much depend on being sent to an infohub at some point.  You will pick a destination that's not available, or you will click that "home" button before you have a home location set, or you may trigger a crazed security orb or a trigger-happy person on damage-enabled land, and pop! there you are, at a random infohub whose maturity level matches your highest maturity rating preference.   (This is "maturity level" on the LL scale, of course; the actual maturity displayed at most hubs is somewhere around the toddler-throwing-tantrums mark.)

And, frankly, if you are a person relatively new to SL, you could be forgiven, after ten minutes at a random infohub, for deciding you would rather take up a more wholesome hobby like German scat porn instead.

There are honourable exceptions - you are unlikely to experience difficulties at NCI Kuula, for example; the Shelter exercises a calming and civilizing influence on the Isabel infohub; there are even volunteers, sometimes, who will hang around hubs answering new people's questions in a calm and helpful manner.  (I still remember running into a pair of these at the Ferry Terminal in Barbarossa.  After I'd recovered from the initial shock, I dumped as much support material as I could on them, guides and notes and suchlike from my own career at Oxbridge.  I hope it helped.)   But... well, my initial experiences of hubs mostly involved nasty exclusive little cliques, griefers trying to fob off booby-trapped objects onto me (I took one package to a sandbox, once, and probed its contents carefully, and ye Gods!), a constant roaring wave of gesture spam, and, of course, the obligatory spamming vampires and other predators.  And infohubs are a big part of why I usually run with voice turned off, too.  The videos in the NWN article demonstrate why, all too ****ing well.  (I am not a bluenose, or easily shocked, but English has a rich supply of adjectives, so why use only that one?)

So... my experiences of the hubs were pretty much negative on the whole.  But I am pig-headed and obstinate, and I was determined to find something of value in this whole SL thing, and so I carried on regardless.  But, it occurs to me, someone less pig-headed than me might well log out and never log back in again, if given the treatment most new people get at the hubs... and, really, I cannot blame them.

It seems to me, really, that this is an issue LL needs to consider, if they're going to do something positive about user retention.  If people want to hang out at places like Waterhead or Ahern, fine, let 'em.  But if those places are going to retain the character they've got, well, LL would be well advised to stop sending people there at random.  Because a lot of folks are not going to like it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 9

051 - Daallinii's Creations: Steampunk Pavilion.  Elegant, attractive, well made, and I'm not going to use it (see "I build my own stuff", passim.)  Not a reflection on the creator, just a fact about my habits.

052 - Spyralle: Orrery Table.  Looks pretty.  As a table, works OK if you don't mind occasional round lumps on the surface... as an orrery, it's pretty much a bust, since said lumps are not arranged in any planet-representing kind of way.  Maybe it's a table you could put an orrery on.  That would make sense.

053 - Casuka: Pirate Hat.  Tricorne hat with feathers, skull-and-crossbones decoration, and navigational aids included (telescope, compass, map and dividers).  Tricornes seem to be "in", this hunt.  This is a sound example of the breed.

054 - Epic Toy Factory: "jug-o-nautalis" airship building plus five bonus gifts.  As ever, the Toymaker has done us proud; bonuses include a wearable cane and a nice necklace, a set of icy decorative columns, icy decorative lamps, and a distinctly non-icy dragon statue with a fire burning in him.  As for the airship, oh my, it is quite a sight.  (Here it is, over the tower in Burroughs.)

055 - The Pumpkin Head: Mean Octopus Necklace.  No word on whether this contrasts with a Nice Octopus, or with a Median or Modal Octopus; still, I seem to be doing well, this hunt, for having tentacled things nestling in my bosom.

056 - Destiny's Designs: "Askadellia's Golden Gown" and the more prosaically named "Steampunk Gentleman's Outfit".  They're both OK, I think, though DD are one of those places that actually do make gentlemen's clothing for gentlemen, and fitting the gents' outfit onto my non-gentlemanly frame is liable to be more trouble than it's worth.  I like the hat, though.

057 - emPathy: Steampunk Space Station.  Extremely large and pointy skybox.  I didn't really have time to explore it in detail... I was rather alarmed when it popped out of the rezzer, to be honest!

058 - Lilipily Spirit Jewellery: six-part mini-hunt here before the final gift becomes accessible.  Items include a Wind Chime (is shiny and goes tinkle); "The King's Family", an artwork by Lilipily's proprietor; a Golden Cane Palm in Stoneware Pot (ginormous pot plant); an Ancient Fluted Lounge (sofa); a Rain Rock (particle rain and sound effects); and the Wiccan Ritual Ground, which must be very nice if you are Wiccan and have the requisite 94 Land Impact spare to play with.  After all that, the actual gift - a fortune-telling wearable Cosmic Globe - is almost an anticlimax.

059 - Izo's: steam skybox.  Honesty compels me to admit that Izo Ryba is also on my friends' list - still, the skybox is simple (only 17 Land Impact), attractive and straightforward, I can probably actually use it!

060 - VM Detail and Design:  Scribes' table from the Chained Library.  Impressive looking thing, but it's a  no-copy coalesced object, so getting it in and out of inventory has proven to be a pain and a half....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 8

041 - Goddess Fantasies: four "steampunk rust" textures.  Fine enough in their way, but the no-transfer permissions make them of limited utility.  (It's not just that you can't transfer objects with these textures, you also can't download them for modifications, which, really, you want to do with textures from time to time if you are making anything nice.)

042 - Holly's Fashions: Steamy Mermaid outfit.  No, not that sort of steamy!  Indeed, this is quite modest, for a mermaid.  I guess it's more or less unisex, though it is described as a mermaid....  I had to dig out an AO for it, but meh, it's not like mermaid AOs are hard to find.

043 - Dax Designs: "Silver Lion" (male and female versions).  Dark grey outfit with silver embroidery, might look vaguely military in a hussar-ish sort of a way.  A little unusual - not your average SL streetwalker-wear, certainly.

044 - Deep Blue Sea: clockwork bonsai tree.  Or bonsai clockwork tree, I forget which way round it goes.  Anyway.  It is small and decorative, it has a texture change menu, it drops temp-rez gears from time to time.  It is low-prim and silly, I like it.

045 - Amaranthus: Compass Rose pocket watch.  Right and left hand versions.  Handsome enough looking thing, tells you the time when you click it (in a slightly odd format, I didn't realise at first what "9:1:11" was, but never mind). Looks good, anyway.

046 - Snowpaws: "Echo" outfit.  Snowpaws do quality women's clothing, no question of that, and this is quality, no question of that either.  It's not quite my style, but that's my problem, not the outfit's.  Either I missed something here, though, or the gentlemen are going to look a little unusual in this one.

047 - Griss' General store: blue fantasy lamp.  Simple and rather attractive table lamp with a fancy coloured glass shade, touch to turn the light on or off, quite simple and pretty, really!  I can think of somewhere I might put this.

048 - L. Bean's Furniture and Curiosities: Undathasi Fish Flinger.  I'm guessing this one is more Curiosity than Furniture, although who am I to judge?  It's a gun, basically - you wear it, go into mouselook, and click, and then it throws a fish.  What a silly idea!  Not in the least like my eminently practical Elephant Gun.... I like it.  If you want to fling fish, fling fish with an L. Bean Fish Flinger.  And try saying that ten times fast without losing your dentures.

049 - Dark N Crazy: D'n'C Candleholder.  I'm not sure "candleholder" is an entirely adequate term for what's actually a fairly substantial set of sculpted furniture.  Not that I am complaining, far from it, this is very nice.  (Oh, I see what's happened - the set is a coalesced object, and it appears in inventory with the name of just one of the objects in the set.  Which would be the candleholder.  But if you are expecting to rez this and get just a candleholder to put on a table or something, you may be surprised.  Pleasantly surprised, but still surprised.  I appear to be trapped in parentheses again, I really should stop that.)

050 - ezura Xue: "Cassandra" overalls and unisex bronze top hat.  I have a couple of outfits from ezura, but most of their stuff falls into the "nice, but not my style" category, for me.  I think this is one of those - there's nothing wrong with it, it is a quality item, but it's just not me.  The hat has
cogs on it, and is therefore Steampunk.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 7

I will have to do more of the boxes in one go, or this will take forever (or past the 31st of March, anyway).  So...

031 - Amulet:  Peace Island.  Sculpted flying or floating island with a round sort of gazebo on it, fits on a 12x12 lot, pretty nice.  Has one cog in the middle of the floor.  Steampunk!  Sculpts and textures are good quality, as one might rather expect from Amulet.

032 Cosmic Steam Designs: unisex quasi-naval outfit, includes peaked cap and big stompy boots.

033 Cedar Bay Home Furnishings:  Captain Nemo's Pipe Organ.  Hold on, didn't we already have a pipe organ, earlier?  Well, at least it seems I will never run short on pipe organs.  Every home should have one... or two... or more.

034 - Ms. B. Designs: Steam Chariot.  Prop (non-functional) vehicle with pose balls, also in a wearable version should you not happen to have 99 Land Impact spare... Looks good enough, but surely there must be room for some optimization on that build?  Use some sculpts, and you could probably get it down to 31 prims or less, and make it an actual working vehicle.

035 - sRL Leatherwerx: art nouveau display tables; sculpts in various forms, pretty elegant for the most part (a bit angular if you cam right up close, but that's the limitations of sculpties generally, no reflection on SRL there!)  I can find a home for these, no problem.

036 - Julia Collection: His and Hers Victorian Parasols.  Nicely sculpted, authentic looking, the female version basically differs in having decorative bows... I'm not sure how much use they might be on Captain Nemo's submarine, but what the heck, they look good.

037 - Brain Circuit Inc: "Sea Voyager" male and female outfits.  Bronzy and browny and sort of pirate-y, I reckon these are pretty good, actually.  Fiddling around switching outfits, I wound up wearing this with the stompy boots from 032, and they actually go pretty well together.  Includes a telescope and an eyepatch so you can pretend to be Lord Nelson, should such be your whim.

038 - K. R. Engineering: Senet Board Game.  I have no idea what an ancient Egyptian board game has to do with Captain Nemo, but I am not complaining, this looks like a piece of well-scripted fun.

039 - Black Karbon: Antelope.  Well, part of an antelope.  Specifically, the head, mounted as a hunting trophy above a fireplace.  It's nice, if you like that kind of thing, and I'm sure hunting trophies have their place in a steampunk home.  I can't help but whistle the Gnu song as I look at it, though.  The antelope head is detachable (that is, the whole prize is a coalesced object, and the fireplace and the trophy are separate.)

040 - Sparkworks: Kraken's Revenge.  Tentacular avatar!  I love it already.  Become an octopus piloting a human-sized mecha. What fun!  The hollow torso incorporates a pipe organ... because, as we have already established, you can never have enough pipe organs.

Still a-building

The next floor of the tower is going on, shown here against either a dawn or sunset sky, I don't know which, I only just logged on.  (Switches back to SL - oh, it's sunset.  Stars are coming out and stuff.)

A chap rather hearteningly wandered through the other day and stopped to do a photoshoot inside the cage of the mighty Actaeon Crystal (that blue thing in the middle).  It is nice to see people noticing this thing, and even approving of its aesthetics a bit.  Mind you, the tower is currently some 63 meters tall, people bloomin' well should notice it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 6

... is it six?  I think I've lost count already.


026 - Rozamyndi's: Victorian style outfit.  Black and white, lacy, cute.

027 - USC Texture Tomb: Steam Portholes texture pack.  Well, I have about umpteen thousand USC texture packs already, and the *reason* I have them is, they're good quality and I find uses for them!  So I will likely find a use for these, too.

028 - Fort Weka:Steampunk sub-house.  Underwater dwelling, with Mr. Weka's typical fine work and attention to detail.  It is a shame to commit this one to the huge pile of "houses I have that I will never use"... trouble is, I build myself, so I tend not to use buildings!

029 - Rainy Fey Creations:  Hippocampus Tricorne hat and jewelry.  Obligatory disclaimer: Nyree Rain of Rainy Fey is a personal friend... still, even were she not, I think I would still like this spiffily nautical hat and understated but elegant necklace and earrings.  Nice.

030 - Camilla's: "Cora" (ladies) and "Captain Nemo" (gents) outfits... for once, the gents seem to win out, here, as the "Cora" blue and white dress is nice, but not as impressive as the "Captain Nemo" uniform.  Very military.  Well, paramilitary, I suppose.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Home Sweet Linden Home?

My friend and fellow blogger webspelunker Ghostraven tells some more tales of exploring his neighbourhood.

Now, I too have a Linden Home - I keep it up, partly out of nostalgia, even though I now have much more space to play with on other sims.  And, really, I have found much the same sort of thing he has, with a crowded neighbourhood full of cookie-cutter identical homes, and largely empty of people.

Linden Homes are a bennie advertised as an enticement for people to sign up for Premium accounts;  I have to say, though, that it was by no means the largest factor in my decision to start paying money for SL.  Going Premium entitles you to own a 512 square meter plot of Mainland; you can go forth and buy a 512 off someone (much easier now it is simpler to buy abandoned land), or you can put in a claim for a Linden Home, picking from a list of predesigned buildings in one of four styles.
The main advantage of a Linden Home, really, is that it is effectively double-prim land - the prefab house does not count against your prim allocation on the parcel, so you have a full 117 prims to play with, which - if you are me - you burn through pretty quickly, buying furniture and playing with builds.
The main disadvantage of a Linden Home - apart from those times when LL do an update without figuring how it will affect people, and suddenly you find out you can't open your own front door* -
is the extremely restrictive covenant.  Basically, this was set up to prevent some of the abuses and exploitation that came with the old First Land programme.  So, if you have a Linden Home, you can't ruin your neighbour's property by turning it into an eyesore, or running an obnoxious business (or, indeed, any sort of business).  You can't eat up sim resources by running a nightclub, or using temp-rezzers, you can't even change the form of the home except for a few cosmetic options. 
In fact, you can't do a whole heck of a lot with a Linden Home, and that, really, is the problem.

LL, bless them for trying, did define the four different themes for the Homes, in the hope that they would attract people with particular interests - so, my friend web might be surrounded by fellow Japanophiles, while I could sit in my fantasy-themed home and talk to the hobbits, people in the Tahoe theme areas could go hunting and shooting and fishing together, and the suburbanites of Meadowbrook could do... whatever appeals to people who live in a place like that.

Which is all well and good, except... there's nothing to do
There is no commercial development allowed in Linden Homes.  So, no clubs, no shops, no educational areas**, no nothing.   Never mind, we can divert ourselves by looking at all the weird and wonderful builds people come up with! - oh, wait, I was forgetting, you can't modify the Linden Homes, so no interesting builds.  (Web and I both suffer especially in that respect, since the Japanese and the fantasy themes have only four types of houses each.  So buildings start repeating each other with deadly regularity every couple of dozen meters.)
And, for greater efficiency no doubt, the Linden Homes are packed together just about as densely as the servers will stand.  So, no open spaces of any note, nowhere that might serve as a gathering spot - well, that's not strictly true.  Each theme - not each region, or even each continent, each theme - has an infohub devoted to it.  It's used to show off the builds, and to provide some bits of entertainment (except for Meadowbrook, because I think it would be some sort of crime if anything interesting ever happened in a Meadowbrook-themed area).  In some cases, the Linden Moles have clearly had some fun - not just in the infohubs, too, try checking out the bottom of an Elderglen lake sometime - but it's not enough, not nearly enough.

The fact is, there is just not enough reason to be in a Linden Homes region.  Not while there is an entire grid out there full of people to meet and things to see.  Tour one of the infohubs, and you will see all there is to see about that particular themed region, and very probably you will have met all the people you're likely to see from day to day around your home - which is to say, no one.

With no focus for a community, no scope to exercise creativity, the Linden Homes continents are, at best, retreats - places you can go to unpack boxes and generally not be bothered by other people.  And - for me at least - community and creativity are at the heart of the SL experience.

I have fond memories of my little Wizard's Castle in Elderglen - it was my first secure foothold in SL, it was the place I took friends to entertain, it still is a nice little backwater to return to when the hurly-burly of SL gets me frazzled.  But, at the end of the day, it is no place actually to lead a full and satisfying SL.  And, in that respect at least, the Linden Homes have to be rated as something of a failure.

*The update was an anti-griefing measure preventing scripts on an object owned by someone else from operating on your parcel without your permission - the problem being that your Linden Home is technically owned by someone else and has its root off your parcel, so until that one was fixed, the scripts in the home didn't work.

**The matter of how LL treated its educational customers is a matter for a whole 'nother rant, probably.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The tower, redux

The tower in Caledon Burroughs is still growing... it has now acquired a mystical power crystal and a whole host of dubious electrical systems.

You can play with the generator assemblies and turn the coloured lights on and off.

Note, towards the bottom right, that rectangular brassy thing.  This is a lift that goes up and down between the two platforms, and is my second experiment (and first successful experiment) with the new keyframed motion system.  My first experiment was present on the sim very briefly, before shooting off towards Caledon Mayfair and subsequently hurtling off the grid.  So it goes.  The lift is more reliable, anyway.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 5

021 - Bloodsmore Inc.: "Cthulhu Belle" slippers and "Ricker" shoes.  The slippers are for the ladies, or at least those ladies who want to walk around with a Cthulhu head on each foot (and who doesn't); the shoes are rather basic looking buckled jobs for the men.  I think the ladies win out here!

022 - Ghostraven's Steampunk & Pirates: a mini-hunt here yields a fancy steampunk diving helmet, an underwater room with rez-faux packaging, and a mini-sub; quite a nice little haul all told, and more than one person has commented how nice it is that the helmet (which sheds a fine underwatery greenish light) can be used for the last stage of the mini-hunt.  Nice stuff.

The "Mermaid" sub and subsea chamber shown in Caledon Burroughs

023 - Snow Bound: gear choker and trident.  Decorative and, err, practical, considering that the "Bound" part of the shop's name is, err, umm, appropriate.  Just considered as decorative items, they're quite nice.  (Both are provided in unscripted versions, if you're not into, err, umm - nope, this is still Not That Sort of Blog.)

024 - Dark N Crazy Old Brewery Clockhaven: Nemo's Ghost-Organ.  An organ, every steampunk villain should have one - this one comes complete with fog, weird sounds, and particle ghosts streaming from the pipes.  And it speaks German while it's loading up the sound effects.  Fun.  Not remotely subtle, but fun.

025 - Steampunk Emporium: Steampunk Egg - Tiger.  Decorative vase with a tiger's eye motif and a swirly smoke effect from the top.  Looks cool enough, as a decorative item.  I could see it standing in the corner of a cigar divan or an opium den or something.  How do I know so much about decorating opium dens?  Let's change the subject.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 4

016 - Sinful Temptations Boutique:Cotton Candy
Machine.  It is cute!  It is pink!  It gives you
cotton candy!  It is hopelessly out of place in the
wistful romantic ruins of East Burroughs!  It is going
back into inventory before Tali sees it here!
017 - Axo's: Le Poulpe Colossal (+ two framed
pictures). Eh bien, c'est un poulpe, n'est-ce pas?  Et
c'est colossal, je crois.  Le poulpe colossal se
trouve sur une horloge, c'est malin, ça. Si on a
besoin d'une horloge avec un dessein d'un poulpe
colossal, on peut aller à Axo's pour l'obtenir - What?
 Oh, it's a clock with that woodcut of a giant octopus
on the face.  It's nice.  Picture of Jules Verne
thrown in, if old French guys with beards turn you on.
018 - Serenity Fashion: "Elizabeth Blue" outfit.
Simple, low-cut, Victorian style dress, blue with a
white front panel and some gold trim, looks pretty
nice on me.  Not sure how it would look on the
gentlemen, but there we are.
019 - Bondar-Foehammer Aerosteam Co.: Mini-Aurora
airship.  Ah, this is why we do Steam Hunts!  It
flies, and has exciting electrical crackles just below
that highly inflammable  hydrogen filled gas bag.  It
has, in short, much to commend it to my sensibilities.
The Mini-Aurora comes in to land on the tower's generator deck
020 - Build better at Happy Hippo: Nemo's Aeroship mK.
xvII.  Ah, this is... whoah, deja vu, trippy.  Anyway.
 A larger, more conventionally designed airship; still
with crackly electrical effects, but less likely to
explode.  I thought it was Robur who had the aeroship,
though?  Nemo was a submarines kind of guy.  Anyway. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Construction continues

... so, not a lot of posting here - remiss of me, I know, but I have time to talk about building or to actually do some, and I know which I'd rather.

Anyway.  Bits of tower in Burroughs continue to go up, and there is now a stairway between water level and the first platform.  I can negotiate it with reasonable safety, so someone with a working laptop and a decent connection should have no trouble.

Admittedly, some visitors might have more trouble with that stairway.

(I'm sure Callie is perplexed by all the goings-on, bless her.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 3

More booty from the Steam Hunt, which I completed today...

011 - Raven's Heart: sculpted steampunk raven.  It flies around an invisible prim, you can wear it on your head, if you want to make it look like a small brass raven is circling around you, this is just the ticket.  It's a fairly classy little brass raven at that.
012 - Roawenwood: steam aquarium.  Globe with fishes, supported by a tendrilly bronze sculpted stand; comes with one of those rez-faux package thingies that I never quite see the point of, but never mind.  Looks nice enough.
013 - Whims and Wishes: "Nautilus" and "Kalamari" (M and F) necklaces.  They differ, on casual inspection, only in size; sculpted necklaces with a nautilus (the sea creature, not the submarine) pendant.  If you've always wanted a tentacled creature nestling in your bosom - and who hasn't? - here you are.
014 - Zoe's Garden: steam birdhouse.  Brassy birdhouse, with much coggery, bird noises, and even a not-visibly-steaming bird... could be  a coal tit, but I'm not sure, my steam ornithology isn't up to much.
015 - A & S Visions: "Aftershok" steam boots.  Big stompy boots!  Again.  Comes with a digi-foot version, which I haven't tried, since I only have human-style feet.  Still, big stompy boots, always good for stomping in.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The best laid plans...

... of mice and men, yadda yadda.   The typist has picked up food poisoning, the silly moo.  So, today SL activities take a ... back seat ... to thoroughly unwholesome RL ones.

Meh.  Is there some sort of improved RL viewer I can get?  I think the one I have is bugged.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Construction has begun

I did threaten some pics of the tower in Burroughs under construction... At the moment, it is just a platform supported by four (admittedly, fairly complicated) legs.  Here's how it started out...
And, with a bit more elaboration to hide the joints between those arches and those legs, and the metal mesh platform on top, it currently looks more like this:-
If the landscape behind looks strangely bleak and empty, it's because my lousy computer obliges me to run, most of the time, at a minimum draw distance.... It's only on those rare occasions when I turn it up that I really realize how busy Caledon is.  I tend to think of Burroughs as somewhere isolate, remote; in fact, with Morgaine to the north, the Cay to the south and Mayfair to the east, it's more like a sort of small lake in the middle of a substantial city. 

Building the tower, of course, pretty much obliges me to turn my draw distance up... which means I will have to forgo luxuries such as moving around while I'm working on it.  Oh, well. 

(And, yes, I am dressed for Mainland adventuring in both those shots.  Never mind!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Seconds out, round two!

To be fair to the viewer, it is trying gamely, following my challenge of yesterday.  My paltry few new landmarks burgeoned rapidly, during my last session, with each one being copied no less than five times.

I've done a cache clear and clean reinstall, so we'll have to see what difference that makes.  

I am not letting it get me down - the end of the Steam Hunt is now in sight, and I have finally started construction work on my Tower of Science and Sorcery in Caledon Burroughs.  It is rising out of the Firth of Caledon, causing some perplexity to Callie, the Caledonian Sea Monster, who swings by that location every quarter of an hour or so.  (Meanwhile, my partner in crime sex building continues to place hauntingly beautiful romantic ruins about the islands of Burroughs.  It's a good thing one of us has class.)

There may be photographs and such, later on, as things start to take shape.  Or the viewer may murder me in my sleep.  Could go either way really.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

No Direction Home

Following my previous post, my viewer has officially declared war on me, by first (apparently) duplicating the entire contents of my landmarks folder, and then, once I had painstakingly de-duplicated, informing me, "Aha!  I didn't really duplicate them after all!  You have just erased all your landmarks, ho ho ho!"

Maybe the viewer expects me to crumble under this devastating onslaught, but it's not actually as big a blow as you might think, given that all my landmarks are 1) places I go regularly, so easily recoverable from my teleport history, or 2) places where I buy stuff, so I can get LMs from my shopping folders, or 3) places that can easily enough be found in Search, so I can recover them that way, or 4) places that actually don't exist any more, so really I should have purged them anyway. 

Besides, I have been in SL nearly two years now, I was due a good inventory-related catastrophe.  And, really, deleting 500+ landmarks has resulted in a 1% slimming of my bloated inventory, so it's all to the good when you look at it.

So... not a knockout blow, viewer.  Try harder next time.

Quit fiddling with my preferences!

For the past month or so, I've been under the impression that there was a bug in the latest V3 development viewer that stopped texture animations being displayed on my graphics setup.

Turns out, there isn't - or there is, sort of, but it's not that.  At some point, the checkbox that controls whether or not I see texture animations got flipped.  When I flipped it back, things returned to business as usual. 

I am tempted to say "D'oh. Dumb Glorf," and move on, as I so often have to do, but I didn't uncheck that item.  Nor did I uncheck another one, the one that puts your favourites up as options for your logon location.  But it still got unchecked, and I had to go in and re-set it.

Well, there's only two of us in this relationship, between me and my viewer's settings.  And I didn't change them, so the viewer must have done it by itself.  So, dear viewer, quit it.  I have those boxes checked for a reason, and if you fiddle with them, I will be cross.  And yes, I have been seeing Singularity behind your back, so you just watch your step.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Glorf by any Other Name

Revisiting the topic addressed in this post in the light of Rodvik Linden's very disappointing response on the subject.  (Bad Rodvik!  No plaudits-from-obscure-SL-blogger-nobody's-ever-heard-of!)

There has been a lot of heat already shed on the question of names, and I doubt I shall be able to shed any more light, but here goes.  It seems to me that the problem is reducible to a couple of bullet points:-
  • New users want to be able to have a user name that looks like a real human name.
  • Right now, they can't do that.
There has been much shouting about the (frankly dubious) merits of both the new Display Names and the old pick-a-last-name-from-the-list system, and really, one could address the central issue without either.  I'm sure nobody wants to get rid of Display Names (although, as I said last time, they really are a hopeless compromise that pleases nobody much), and as for the list system, it just takes time and effort from someone at Linden Lab who could probably be more usefully employed fixing the damn bugs already.

Rodvik's last pronouncements on the matter contained, to my mind, a germ of common sense, in that he suggested being able to use some special characters, like dashes and underscores, in a new user name.  Being able to be jack-bloggs instead of jackbloggs12345 would, at least, be a tiny step forward.  Presumably, some client-side validation is going to be needed to make sure people don't call themselves "--------" or something.  Or maybe not, what do I know?

The more-or-less obvious solution, it seems to me, would be to allow periods in the name - remember, when the Great Change In Naming occurred, all existing avatar names were converted to the unitary format, only with a period to indicate where the first name left off and the last name began.  I am "Glorf" to some and "Miss Bulmer" to others, but to the servers I am simply "glorf.bulmer".  A bit of software finagling allows that to appear as "Glorf Bulmer", on my nametag and where scripts call for two-part names.

I don't pretend to be privy to the internal workings of the SL software, but I don't see any reason why, in principle, if "glorf.bulmer" is a workable name, I shouldn't be allowed to sign up as "glorftwo.electricboogaloo" tomorrow.  (I mean, apart from obvious ones involving good taste.)  I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this - in fact, I'm told the whole idea has been explicitly disallowed already, and why, I cannot for the life of me imagine.

But, then, I don't understand the reasoning behind the single-part names in the first place - the back-end changes must have been a chore to do, and I can't think of anybody on the user side of things who actually wanted this change.  It would make sense if, as with (say) Dungeons and Dragons Online, you had a login identifier you came in with, and then picked which character/identity you wanted to appear with inworld.  But SL doesn't work like this, and there are no signs that it ever will.

It is always a bad idea to impute motives to people you don't know, but I wonder if the whole Display Names thing isn't somebody's pet idea, and they are plugging it, and shooting down any suggestions of viable alternatives, in the hope that eventually the user base will get tired and give up and go along with it.  If so, bad idea.  As I pointed out last time, the reason why Display Names haven't taken the world by storm is not because SL users are reactionary and afraid of change; it's because Display Names are an inadequate compromise attempt to meet two different demands.  Ploughing on down the "get everyone to use Display Names" path, therefore, is a Bad Move.  The Lab has reversed itself and backed away from Bad Moves before now, and I hope they will have the wisdom to do so again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bringing home the bacon, part 2

A couple more items unpacked from the Steam Hunt.
  • 008 Mimsy  Manor - "Tabletop Theatre - Lobster Quadrille".  A bit of fun; a dollhouse-sized stage with animated dancing lobsters.  Animated dancing lobsters get my vote every time.  Cute.  Lightweight, but cute.
  • 009 Unrepentant - "Unleash the Kraken!" - top hat with tentacles grappling a sailing ship.  People may know about my predilection for tentacles, so I cannot but look upon this one kindly.  Still, after all these hunts, I have so many extravagantly decorated top hats.  But this is a good 'un.
  • 010 Gugu Dada - "Tigress" lipstick and "Steampunk" tattoo.  I always wonder what Gugu Dada - a store which specialises in tattoo makeup - will bring to themed hunts like this, but they do make the effort, every time.  The lipstick is nice, but not really my colour - I suppose I have some outfits it would go with, but generally I prefer cooler tones.  As for the tattoo - well, I mentioned before that all you need to do to make something "steampunk" is stick a cog on it.  (Or so some would have it.)  And now I can stick a cog on myself.  I'm steampunk.  Perfect.
There will be more.  I intend to get up to at least the half way point today, God, Lindens and crashes permitting.

Monday, March 5, 2012

That'sh another fine mesh you've gotten me into

This is a close-up of a part-mesh outfit by one of SL's best known fashion designers, who (for the purposes of this post) had better remain anonymous.

You will notice that there is a marked gap between where my actual bum leaves off, and the mesh pants begin.

This is using the smallest available size.  If I trade up to the largest pair, there is room to slip a young telephone directory or a Stephen King novel down the seat of those pants.

Speaking as an SL fashionista of sorts: we really need that parametric mesh deformer tool.  As I was saying only last night, I refuse to panel-beat myself into a new shape every time I change outfits.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bringing home the bacon

I did have time to scan the first few items from the ongoing Steam Hunt 6, and even record a few of my impressions.  Gifties examined thus far:-
  • 001 Hunt start location at Mieville - mini-hunt here for ten segments of 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea.  It says something about my gift for obsessive completism that I religiously dug out all ten segments even though I have already transcribed this book onto notecard myself.
  • 002 ~Lantian~ "20k" necklace (small and large sizes, suitable for ladies and gents).  Tasteful little necklace with a bronze-y, globe-y pendant, quite restrained by the standards of Lantian necklaces!  The globe opens on touch to a blue glowy thing.  Pretty.
  • 003 Pop Tart & Urban Assault - big unisex stompy boots with a nautical motif.  Always room in my inventory for big stompy boots!  They will need a bit of adjusting for fit, but so many boots do.  (I'm not sure why.  A lot of them show bits of my calf sticking through the boot on the inside leg, and I don't have particularly big calves.  I do have long, slender legs, too long for the alpha layers supplied with the boots to cover everything.  Never rely just on alpha layers for fitting, that's what I say.)
  • 004 !! Never Ever ! - globe of the world.  Nice map; sculpty frame looks a little rough-hewn and chunky, but overall a good low-impact decorative item.
  • 005 Morigi Steam - Morigi Kraken touring submarine.  Seats nine and has decorative tentacles; straightforward in operation.  I have more than one of Miss Morigi's submarines in inventory already, and they do not disappoint.
  • 006 Dragons' Designs - two outfits, suitable for ladies and gents.  The ladies' outfit is a neat enough Victorian circus or burlesque thing; it's nicely enough done - I don't know when I will ever find the urge to wear it or an appropriate event to wear it at, but it's nice, and it's there if I need it.
  • 007 GUHL - photo lamp.  Not the first photo lamp I have found on hunts at GUHL.  It's, well, it's a photo lamp.  Neatly enough made... nothing particularly steampunk about it, to my possibly untutored eye.  Doesn't "steampunk" usually mean "we stuck a gratuitous brass cog on it somewhere"?  Anyway, GUHL didn't.  Never mind.
At this point, other duties claimed me, and I stopped opening boxes.  There may be future installments of this.  Consider yourselves warned.

Why the Unwonted Silence?

Not much in the way of posting, yesterday, because I was being interviewed by webspelunker Ghostraven - the results can be found on his blog here , if you're interested.  Webspelunker is one of those people who actively go out into SL and seek out new experiences, and so his blog is a source of much interest to more stay-at-home types like me - honestly, there are days when I never venture out of Caledon.  (To those who say, "But why would you want to venture out of Caledon?" .... umm, I'll get back to you on that one.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

What's been going on

I said I'd been busy, right?  Since the various i's have been dotted and t's crossed, statuses assigned and groups created and parcels divided, and (mostly importantly) the first tranche of Lindens paid to the Guvnah, I may as well come clean; the lovely and talented Tali Rosca and I have taken on one half of the Caledon Burroughs sim.  It's only half of a half of a homestead, but it's still the largest slice of SL I've had my teeth into (is that a mixed metaphor?  I don't care), and I am excited about the prospects.

We will, of course, be developing Burroughs in consultation with its current Duchess, my dear friend Turley Hallenbook, and our general aim is to make it a sort of steampunk beauty build, not a commercial enterprise.  So, we are both thinking about our own ideas of the steampunk aesthetic.  Tali is talking about building romantic landscapes, with reference to the art of Caspar David Friedrichs, and I am designing an enormous tower full of sparking generators and tentacle monsters.  There's room for both, that's the fun of it.  Working with Tali, I suspect, is going to be enormous fun.

(Assuming SL cooperates... I logged back in today and found myself wearing a sort of combination of the last two outfits I had on last night.  And, indeed, my discussions with Tali on the future of the sim were thrown rather off track, last night, when she experienced a distinctly embarrassing bake failure while trying to change outfits.  Details will not be forthcoming, because this is still Not That Sort Of Blog.  Somebody, though, needs to feed the hamsters that power SL's asset server, I think.)

(And now I shall shake off these parentheses and retire to SL, to import some sculpted structural members and otherwise prepare for Massive Constructions.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A-hunting we will go

Although SL has turned a bit crazy for me all of a sudden, I am still going to find time this month to tackle Steam Hunt 6.

Hunting - for the roughly 0% of the readership not already aware of this - is the SL pastime of looking for freebie items concealed in a themed item somewhere in a participating merchant's store.  The Steampunk-themed Steam Hunts have been going for a while now, under the organisational aegis of the Mayor of Mieville, Perryn Peterson, whose organisational aegis has proven to be a pretty darn good aegis to be under.  The same organisation begat the Silk Road Hunts, themed around the historical trade routes between Europe and Asia; last year, when the Renaissance Hunt was introduced, the three were rolled together under the general Historical Hunts banner.

So far I've done Steam 3, 4 and 5, Silk Road 1 and 2, Renaissance Hunt 1, and a stack of non- or semi-related hunts large and small.  And, consequently, my inventory is bursting at the seams.  Well, never mind, one can never have too many shoes, right?  Anyway, hunting, as a pastime, has much to commend it - especially, I think, to people new to SL.  You get free stuff, some of it very nice (that black trouser suit with the embroidered waistcoat I was wearing a couple of posts ago?  A favourite of mine, and a Steam Hunt 3 giftie from Ezura); you get to see a lot of new places on the grid, some of them spectacular (some of the Hunt merchants pride themselves on putting on a show for visitors); and you get to stretch those basic SL skills such as navigating with landmarks, moving your camera around to search for things, and complaining in group chat about how unfair it all is.  And, of course, the merchants get publicity for their stores and their goods (and visitors inworld, which is important, what with the Marketplace sucking customers away from commercial sims).  So, everyone's a winner, except possibly Perryn and his team, going prematurely grey from worrying over the organization of it all.

Anyway.  Since I can legitimately claim to be something of a Hunt veteran by now, I'd offer some advice to beginning hunters, at the start of their career of glomming nice freebies from talented designers:-
  • Travel light.  Do the old script-tease, don't wear complicated outfits and lots of scripted stuff.  You will be TPing around a lot of sims, some of them dealing with unusually high volumes of traffic, some of them stuffed to the gills with complex vendors and other heavily scripted items.  Wearing bucketloads of resizable hair and recolourable shoes and whatnot will slow you down as well as everybody else.  Keep it simple.
  • Be patient.  The reason why Perryn has all those grey hairs is because things never go quite according to plan; participating merchants can be scuppered by RL, or by the capricious whims of our Linden gods; there will be delays, and spots on the Hunt may need to be skipped entirely.  When it happens, take a deep breath, stay calm, and carry on.  The hunt's organisers and the inworld hunt groups will be able to tell you where to go next, which stores aren't ready yet, and so forth.  In a similar vein -
  • Be polite.  I guess there are several headings under this one.  Firstly, remember when you're visiting some place, you are a guest in someone's home, and should behave like a respectful guest.  So, at the very least, respect the Community Standards, and check (and comply with) the specific rules of a sim.  Next, if there is any sort of problem, try to make your response to it polite and constructive; bear in mind that, at the end of the day, these merchants are giving you free stuff that they have worked hard to create - complaining if it's not nice enough, or wasn't easy enough to find, is something of a faux pas, I feel.  Finally, bear in mind that most of the fun of the Hunt is in the actual hunting - so don't blurt out the location of a hunt item in local or group chat!  A few extra clues to the bewildered are always welcome, but don't give the game away.
  • Take a break now and again.  Really, concentration fatigue can set in, and you can reach a point where you can't spot the hunt item if it is ten feet tall and right in front of you.  (This has literally happened to me on one occasion!)  If you feel your attention flagging, go do something else for a while.  Build, or chat, or dance, or even go and do some of that RL thing that some people apparently go for.  Come back when you're feeling refreshed.
  • Finally, at least think about looking round the shops and spending some money while you're hunting!  While some of the merchants may be doing this just for love, they all need to pay their tier, and every sale helps.  Make it worth their while to get into the Hunts, and we will all be happily hunting for many years to come.
(Edited to add:  the Steam Hunt starts here:

And the well-dressed hunter, this season, is wearing this:
Yes, prim hair and prim shoes, also my facelight and a low-weight AO, because you will take those only when you prise them from my cold dead attachment points - other than that, no scripted accessories, and the only prim wearable is the bracelet, which is specifically used for this hunt - it incorporates a miniature of the Hunt item, so that sculpty is always pre-rezzed for you when you arrive at a new sim.  Making these has become something of a tradition on the Historical Hunts - another way in which their organization stands out; thanks to Wyvern Dryke, who made this one and provided it to the group.)