Posted in building, SL11B, travel

I admit it.

I’m snooping at SL11B. My build is done, I’ve got time to kill, so I’m sneaking a look around the grounds.

But it’s not enough that I’m snooping, oh no.

I’m also taking notes.

I’m Landmarking those builds that I especially like, that I want to visit again, that I want to show my friends when the gates open on June 22nd. I’m compiling a list of them. I’m thinking of calling the list the Green Guide, kind of as a homage to (or else outright theft from) Crap Mariner’s map that he published last year of SL10B. Builds he didn’t like were red. Builds that were good-but-not-great were yellow. But the ones that he really liked, he marked as green on his map. This will be a list of what I would mark as green on my map, if I felt like making a map. And I don’t.

Your build might be in the Green Guide. Or it may not. It may not have a hope in hell of making the Green Guide.

I can tell you why a build did not make the Green Guide:

  • I simply haven’t seen it yet.
  • It wasn’t started, or else not close enough to completion, at the time I snooped the parcel.
  • I couldn’t find my way into your giant box of nothing.
  • I found myself asking, “What’s the point of this?” and not seeing anything that could answer.
  • It was an obvious advertisement.
  • It was a tacky build. I know tacky’s in the eye of the beholder, but this is my list, so guess whose eye is doing the beholding.
  • It had a giant, long stairway or ramp… that led to nothing. Or else, led to something that could just as easily have been on the ground.
  • It used a bunch of Aley’s freebies and wasn’t a build made by Aley.
  • It had a list of instructions longer than my arm, just so I could see the build.
  • It didn’t function the way it was supposed to.

Now I’m not going to publish a Red Guide, I’ll leave that up to the evil robot. I’m also not going to leak the Green Guide until Opening Day (the 22nd). From now until then, I’ll keep snooping, keep landmarking, and keep compiling. Good luck.

Posted in day-to-day, entertainment, events, list, sl10b, travel

A Recipe for Awesome Sauce (and for Weak Sauce)

So this isn’t the first time I’ve done this, but once again I’m finding myself pondering what makes some exhibits at SL10B amazeballs and what makes others… less so. I first mentioned some things back at SL8B and I think some of the ingredients for awesome sauce remain timeless. Others, I’ve only considered recently.

Now, keep in mind, I’m no expert. I’ve only exhibited once and I’m hardly an authority. But, I know what I like, and I know how to be an observant visitor. So take from this what you want.

Ingredients for awesome sauce include:

  • Being open and inviting from more than one side. I’m really good at finding precisely the wrong entrance to an exhibit and blundering in, and I can’t be the only one (can I?). If the exhibit really can/should only be entered from one point, it should be clear and easy to find from the other sides too.
  • Giving the avatar something to do. Be it a ride, a game, a hunt, or even just a place to sit and relax, I for one like having something to do when I visit an exhibit. Mind, that’s not the same as having to work for it. I don’t want to have to go through a maze if all I want is to pop in and get some pictures. There’s a fine line between encouraging participation and railroading. And by the way, is it me, or are there way fewer of these this year?
  • Beauty or awesomeness clearly visible at a distance. It’s not enough to be seen at a distance. There are countless (as Crap calls them) middle-finger towers that you can see at a distance easily. But that’s not enough. It’s the difference between “WHOA what’s that over there?! I must go see!” and “EW, what the hell is that over there? I must avoid!”.
  • Loading quickly. Awesome builds use fewer textures, smaller textures, and otherwise uses textures in a smart way so that they don’t take all afternoon to load.
  • Looking fresh, new, and innovative. That doesn’t necessarily mean looking modern. For example, a medieval village square that uses mesh is going to look better and load faster than one that’s still rezzing because it’s all sculpts. It may use newer scripts for firelight effects or sounds or in how it gives out information. Awesome builds wow the visitor by using things in new ways.
  • Good freebies. Freebies at all are not a requisite for an awesome build, in my opinion; but if you’re going to have them, make them good ones. Something that took some time and effort. Hell, at at least one exhibit, freebies are the whole point and so the build is loaded with amazing stuff to take home.
  • FUN!
  • What more can I say? If it’s dull, why bother?

Now, I mentioned, you gotta sift through a good bit of rough before finding the diamonds. Here, in my opinion, are the things to avoid when making an exhibit.

  • Nothing but an advertisement for your thing. It’s a fine line between telling people about your community/club/shop/what have you, and advertising it. Between “in case you were curious about us…” and “HAY LOOK AT ME!”. You can have an exhibit about your thing in a way that doesn’t feel like advertising (Bay City comes to mind as an example) but it’s tricky. Make it about celebrating the birthday/being in theme FIRST, then worry about letting people know who you are LAST (if at all).
  • Ugly textures. This is subjective, I’ll concede, but weaksauce exhibits were tacky in their use of textures. More than one had a blurry, poorly-tiled outer space-ish texture that looked like it was a last minute thought. If you really can’t let a certain texture go, at least tile it evenly and use some shading.
  • A Big Box of Boring. Crap hated the middle finger towers; I hate the big ugly fill-the-parcel-with-a-giant-box structure. It’s unwelcoming, it’s ugly, it make terrible use of the space, and it’s usually covered with an ugly texture (see previous) or else plain black. I think people use these because they want you to experience their exhibit, and only theirs, without any of the other ones in the background. But I’m of the opinion that it’s an expo and you’re supposed to see lots of exhibits at any given time. Dishonorable mention goes to enclosed spheres or hemispheres; they’re even worse use of volume.
  • Falling back on the past. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m a big proponent of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Also, given the theme of SL10B, there will be retrospectives. That’s not what I’m talking about here, however. I’m talking about making your build look like it was made in 2006, with clunky prims, bad texturing, obsolete scripts… really I’m just repeating what I said earlier. In addition to this, however, I was disappointed at seeing some builds that just did the same thing they did last year and/or the year before. They didn’t stretch forth to try something new.
  • A Subscribe-o-matic. Not only do those things use notecards– the lowest form of communication in Second Life– but they suck. I wish I could be more eloquent when I say how deeply they suck. They scream “advertisement”, they turn your exhibit into a recruiting tool, they’re a bitch to unsubscribe from, in short they’re horrible.
Posted in building, events, I wrote this, list, party, rant, travel

SL8B: The Awesome and the Lame

"Dancers" at the Royal Court of Prussia Build at SL8B.
I’ve been in SL just over 3 years now, and this years SL8B was the first SL Birthday I’ve ever attended. I actually sent my “niece” Petal to check it out, since she’s usually the avatar I log on when there’s exploring to be done.

Two builds really stood out as superior, in my opinion: The Royal Court of Prussia, and the 1920 Berlin Project. Looking back and trying to deconstruct why I liked them so much, and why some others (for which I had higher hopes) were disappointing to me, some common ideas came to mind.

The Best Builds…

  • Were visually appealing at a distance.They’d have something in their architecture that looked tasteful yet attractive, and rezzed quickly so I wasn’t looking at a giant “ball” where a sculpt had yet to rez in. A well-built and well-textured area was a real joy to look at without being an eyesore (more on that in a bit). They may have used animation or particles, or just interesting items, or a combination of the above, to get attention.
  • Were approachable from more than one side. Multiple points of entry and exit made the exhibits more interesting from more spots, so that no matter which way I was coming from, I could see and easily get into the exhibit.
  • Immediately answered the question of “what am I looking at?” They put their exhibit name in the parcel name, and put some description in the Parcel description. There was some simple-to-read, quick-rezzing signage with more information, but no more information than neccessary.
  • Immediately made the visitor feel welcome, and like a part of the exhibit. The hands-down winner at this (of what I’ve seen so far) was the 1920 Berlin Project build. They’re a historical RP sim, and their build had people there in costumes interacting and welcoming people and offering them drinks and a place to sit. Everyone who walked in, be they a 21st-Century fashionista, an anthropomorphic horse, a neko, or a nine-year-old elf girl, got a warm welcome and as a result they’d often stay and visit a while.
  • Made excellent use of the space they’re given. 1024 square meters may not seem like a lot, but in the hands of a skilled builder, that space came to life in fascinating ways. I’ll mention the 1920 Berlin build once more: their space contained a pub, an inn room, an art gallery, a bit of street with an antique parked car, and a working movie theater, all with plenty of headroom and without a feeling of being crowded.
  • Gave the visitor something to do. It may have been a dance ball, or a maze, or a ride, or a hunt, or even karaoke; but all the best builds had something fun for visitors to do.
  • Had awesome freebies. Lots of unbelievably cool free things. OMG. I thought I’d never leave Bear Island, for example. I especially liked how the 1920 Berlin Project put their freebies on the least visually appealing side of the exhibit, against a wall. The Royal Court of Prussia put theirs inside their palace.
  • Immediately answered the question of “How is this magic?” The theme of this year’s celebration, of course, is The Magic of Second Life. And the very best exhibits made that theme clear without question. They would either transport the visitor to another time and/or place, do unexpected things to make you think, “I’ve never done that before!” or otherwise made the jaw drop.

Lame Builds…

  • Were obvious advertisements and little more. They only related themselves to the theme by sticking “magic” in the name, but not explaining what was really enchanting about it. And along with that, the only freebies (if any) offered were a t-shirt with their logo on it. Weaksauce.
  • Left me wondering what’s going on here. They didn’t fill in their parcel name, didn’t put in any description, and/or had so much signage in trendy (i.e.: hard-to-read) fonts that they’d take forever to rez and were near impossible (and not interesting enough) to read.
  • Didn’t get the memo of how tacky “Glow” can be. Some builds were a treat for the eyes; others were a shrieking assault on them. I won’t say all builds using “glow” were tacky; I will say that almost all tacky builds used “glow”. The same can be said for particle overkill as well.
  • Made me have to work for it. Walk around this huge blank wall. Now flip eight pages to finally open the only entrance into the build. When it’s open, jump (not walk, but but jump) through it. And you better do it quick, or it’ll close and you’ll have to start all over. Now say some things on one channel to make something that doesn’t work happen. Try it again. And again. Oh, there we go. You’ll want to be in Mouselook. Now say something on another channel to make something else that doesn’t work happen. By the way, you’ll want to make sure you use Viewer 2 so you can see the cool media on the prim effect. Don’t have it? Here, watch this preloader for 10 minutes and see if anything happens. Also, make sure you set your viewer to “midnight”, your draw distance is set to 8,000,000, your Particles are set to as many as your graphics card can handle, your sounds are on, your stream is on, your media player is on, your voice is on, and anything else you can find to crank to its limit is on. Now, sit in this rotating chair. Now, I’m not going to tell you what you have to do. You have to figure it out by clicking on random shit. Now push this button. Now do it again. And again. You can’t go out that way. Or that way. And you can’t see which way you came in. FUCK THIS I’M RELOGGING.

So there you have it. What did you think of the builds at SL8B, and what were your favorites?

Posted in child avatars, cuteness, I wrote this, in character, Petal on the Road, photos, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, travel, updates

Recovering: Petal on the Road, Day 8

It’s time to check in with our intrepid young adventurers, Petal and Joline, as they explore the roads of Sansara on their bikes. No flying, no TPing unless stuck, photographing and blogging as they go.

When last we left off, Joline had gotten a bad cold while they were staying in the Chamonix City sims, so they stayed a while longer while Joline recouperated. Petal’s mom Clover shipped some of her famous chicken soup to the Chamonix City Post Office. And sure enough, Joline was feeling better after a good, warm night’s sleep.

In the Warming Hut by the fishing pond, we sat by the fire and planned out our route. We got out our maps and our phones and decided we'd go back out of Chamonix City, pick up our bikes where we left them at Off Sides, then get back on the main road in Braggiani. From there, we'd follow the Amundsen Road, which went south and looped back up north on the other side of the mountain.

Continue reading “Recovering: Petal on the Road, Day 8”

Posted in child avatars, day-to-day, GOHA, Petal on the Road, photos, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, sports, travel, updates

Petal’s New Gig: Petal On the Road, Day 7 part 2

It’s been a busy adventure for Petal and her new BFF Joline. They’ve been riding along the roads in Sansara on their bikes, making discoveries and blogging about what they see. When last we left the intrepid nine-year-old and her BFF, they had discovered Chamonix City. Joline fell ill with a bad cold, and so she and Petal decided to stay put until she felt better. As Joline got some rest and plenty of fluids, Petal (in her restlessness) went out and about in Chamonix City to see what she could see. It’s a short update, since they’re staying put for now.

I don't know if you know it, but I LOVE hockey. And my new favorite team is the Mustangs. Because, hello, horse for a mascot!

There's almost always hockey games going on around here, like this one at Brooks Arena between the Ice Lords and Polar Bears. Later on, there was an announcement for a Mustangs game at Jericho Hill arena and I HAD to go! They had a free shuttle and everything!

(Because the games at Jericho Hill arena are at a private estate sim and not along the roadway, the sim(s) visited will not count toward her road trip. This is just an added side adventure.)

There were some girls down by the ice, cheering. And I saw, sitting nearby, one of the for real Puckettes! So I said it was nice of her to let the kids cheer, and she said, "You can too if you want!" And I was like, "No way!" And she was like, "Yes way!" So I went downstairs to the stand and joined them!

“Come on all you hockey fans! Get on up and rock those stands!”

“Go red! *clap clap* Go black! *clap clap* Come on Mustangs, let’s attack!”

Well, the Mustangs didn't win 😦 but coach was so impressed, she made me an OFFICIAL Junior Puckette!! Joline's gonna be soooo jealous!

Join us next time, when we see how Joline is doing…

Go on to Day 8!

Posted in child avatars, cuteness, in character, Petal on the Road, photos, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, sports, travel, updates, vacation, work in progress

The Best Day Ever: Petal On the Road: Day 7, Part 1

Time to spill the beans: Petal made a BFF on Night 6! Say hello to Joline, age 11. Joline is now a Junior Doe Cadet, like Petal, and they’ve begun to continue their Mainland road adventure together. They packed up all their gear and departed from the Hanson Infohub together. Let’s see where the road takes them as we start Petal’s seventh day on the road!

Sim 75: Eldora

Joline and I rode north, through Arosa Village (and the sims of Boreal and Kendall). We took a left, and headed west.

Continue reading “The Best Day Ever: Petal On the Road: Day 7, Part 1”

Posted in child avatars, I wrote this, in character, Petal on the Road, photos, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, travel, updates, vacation, work in progress

Warmth Amid the Cold: Petal On the Road, Day 6

Yes, once again, it’s time to check in with our intrepid nine-year-old explorer, Petal, as she makes her way along the Mainland roads on her bike. When last we left off, Petal had left her bike in Belmondo, got carried away in a sleigh ride to Moritz, climbed a mountain, and snowboarded all the way to the Infohub in Anzere. Let’s see if she can find her way back to the road and her bike.

Deep in the mountains, in the Snowlands, is the Anzere Infohub. I had hot cocoa and a good night's rest, but now it was time to get back to Belmondo and my bike. I hoped it wasn't towed while I was away, because with only a couple Ls to my name, I'll have a hard time getting a new one!

Continue reading “Warmth Amid the Cold: Petal On the Road, Day 6”

Posted in child avatars, day-to-day, in character, Petal on the Road, photos, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, travel, updates, vacation, work in progress

Sleighbells and Yak Butter: Petal on the Road, Day 5

One Kid, One Bike, and Hundreds of Sims: it’s day 5 of Petal’s bicycle trip along the roads of the Mainland continent of Sansara. When we last left off, our intrepid nine-year-old explorer had made camp at the Isabel Infohub. Let’s see what she discovers on Day 5!

When I woke up in Isabel, near the Infohub, there were 51 avatars sharing the sim with me! There was also an intersection; I decided to go straight (south-west), further away from the crowds. OMG LAGGGGG. I thought I'd never cross that bridge.

Continue reading “Sleighbells and Yak Butter: Petal on the Road, Day 5”

Posted in child avatars, day-to-day, Petal on the Road, photos, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, travel, vacation, work in progress

Petal on the Road, Day 4, part 2

It’s time once again to check in with Petal, that intrepid nine-year-old explorer as she pedals her way along the main roads on the Mainland. Today being what would have been Jules Verne’s birthday, it seemed especially apt to include her visit to the Jules Verne Museum. So here we go…
Continue reading “Petal on the Road, Day 4, part 2”