Second Life releases new Fantasy themed starter avatars | Jo Yardley’s Second Life

Image Source: www.darrickbynum.com
Image Source: http://www.darrickbynum.com

Saw this yesterday – I’ve been toying with the idea of making a new avatar in order to do some walk-through videos for people new to SL.  Maybe with one of these?  Non-mesh avatars, so they might be easier for newbies to understand. I hope!

Linden Lab just announced (click) a new set of starter avatars with themes such as “steampunk, vampires, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic… and beyond!” Not a theme I have much affinity with, pe…

Source: Second Life releases new Fantasy themed starter avatars | Jo Yardley’s Second Life

It’s Thursday!

Image Source: www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
Image Source: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Well, it’s Thursday.

That means I’ve almost made it through the week – yay!!

Last night there was a lot of nasty weather around here, and so some activities got shuffled around.

Today’s to-do list includes cleaning the house (ugh) in preparation for a party this weekend.

I have a few last-minute errands still, but mostly it’s housework and paperwork left.

I am ready for summer to start – I need a few days to relax!

Year of Change

I was discussing various issues with a friend yesterday, and it seems 2015 is indeed the ‘year of change’ for many people in SL.

New venues opening, old ones closing, friends leaving, people shuffling around – it seems every time I log in, something has changed.

Lots of people seem to be reflecting on their SL lives and making changes, sometimes making changes in RL as well.

There also seems to be a shift in the dance community from ‘burlesque’ to ‘performance art.’

Perhaps ‘burlesque’ was too narrow a term to encompass what people want to create in dance in SL?

It will be interesting to see what the rest of the year brings. 🙂

New Dance Stuff

I am happy to see some new shows coming up – Fusion Dance Crew is doing a performance on Saturday, as are the Breezes Dancers.

The dancers over at Paramount started a new show – more intimate and a little more risqué than their regular Saturday shows.

They have their regular Saturday show this weekend, and then the new ‘Night Players’ show next Tuesday.

I also saw an ad for a new show by a group called La Femme – I’ll have to try and check it out.

New Other Stuff

Some of you may have noticed the new look of the blog.

So far, I’m digging it.  😀

I’m still making small changes here and there, but I think it’s looking pretty good.

I was also feeling the need for some change, so I changed my gravatar picture.

Let’s see if anyone notices! 😛

New Ventures

Image Source: www.gitwitcreative.com
Image Source: http://www.gitwitcreative.com

As the new year approaches, I am looking ahead and settings goals for 2015.

I have several opportunities that have come my way and I hope to take advantage of all them.

One of the things I’ve decided to do is start a Look Of The Day post.  Just a quick shot of me wearing an outfit I put together (this is mainly to give me a reason to sort through my inventory).  I will title them all LOTD, so if you’re not interested in them, feel free to skip right over those posts.

If you like it, great, if you don’t (or I don’t) then I can toss the items and voilá – less inventory!

I picked up a LOT of stuff over the advent season, so I need to go through and see what I actually have.

And Devy sent me a link to a new shoe store, so now I need more room for shoes!

What new things are you hoping to accomplish in 2015?

New Dance Troupe – Blood Evolution

I saw a notice yesterday about a new dance show – so of course I headed over to check it out.

The troupe is new, and unfortunately I didn’t get to stay for the whole show.  However, I did remember to snap a few pics!

BloodEvolutionElementsThe first act was done to a song called Elements, and I liked the way they designed the set.

I didn’t even notice until I was cropping the picture that the fire dress looks like it actually has flames coming from it.

 

BloodEvolutionsPuppetThe second number was a puppet dance.

Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the song for this act, but it had some nice choreography.

 

It’s Almost December!

Image Source:  www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
Image Source: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

What does that mean?  Only 25 more shopping days left until Christmas, folks!  If you haven’t started yet, you’d better get busy.

Things are gearing up to get even busier in SL as well.

The December round of the The Arcade is about to open (rumor has it there are some amazing free gifties under the tree at the Arcade), so you’d better be ready to get your gacha on!

When I was reading through my feed, I came across several posts about prizes in the Peace on Earth hunt this year – which starts tomorrow. I love the POE hunt, so I can’t wait to get started!

Also, there have been a few new releases – KaTink has released a new set of poses (Alexxa) and Vista has released a new AO (Mimi), so be sure to check those out.

Don’t forget to cap off your weekend by catching a few dance shows – KiKi’s House of Burlesque and Winds of the Sahara are always two good choices. 🙂

Enjoy the last day of November – I’m off to work on my Christmas cards!

Wishing and Hoping

Image Source:  nevergrowingold.blogspot.com
Image Source: nevergrowingold.blogspot.com

It seems I have a never-ending wish list when it comes to SL.  Things on that list include:

  • a bottomless L$ well
  • the ability to make my own mesh
  • more animations (dance, pose, whatever)
  • the ability to move things around (for example, make stuff explode, or throw it, or toss it out to an audience member (and have them actually be able to catch it))
  • dance with props that interact with my avatar, not just attach to a point (like a boa or whip)
  • hair/clothing that moves (like flexi) but doesn’t go ‘through’ my avatar (like mesh)
  • the ability to script
  • better hardware so I can take awesome photos like all the cool kids
  • become a photoshop, blender, and LSL expert

You know, all the little things. 🙂

We all have different wishes and hopes when it comes to virtual worlds.  Sometimes, we’re disappointed.

I use the Firestorm viewer and came across a blog post from Jessica Lyon about Firestorm’s upcoming release.  I’ve been reading with interest all the chatter about the various improvements LL has been making, including CDN, HTTP, and Group Ban.  (If you’re not familiar with all these issues, follow Inara Pey’s blog: Living in a Modem World.  She’s terrific at explaining techie stuff so that even a tech-challenged person like me can understand it all.)

So, I was disappointed to find out that some of the things I was hoping would improve my SL experience may not be included in the latest release.  *Sighs*

However, I do certainly appreciate the hard work that all the Firestorm volunteers put into making the viewer.  So, while it may not (yet) have all the bells and whistles I was hoping for, I am happy to hear that the focus is on providing a stable viewer for those of us who choose to use Firestorm. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m still wishing and hoping. 😛

 

 

New Stuff!

Image Source:  xelerus.de
Image Source: xelerus.de

There hasn’t been a lot of new dance releases lately, so I’m happy to report on a couple of them. 🙂

Abranimations has released a new ‘Slow Burlesque’ series of dances.  HUMANOID has released a new set of ‘Kim’ dances – labeled as ‘dark, sexy’ dances.  Be sure to stop by both places and check them out.

On the non-dance animation front, oOo Poses has released two new sets of poses – ‘Avenger,’ a set inspired by cemetery sculptures, and ‘Henrietta,’ 5 poses designed for a bit of fun in-motion movements.  Check out a preview of them here if you’re interested.  These are part of FiftyLindenFriday, so hurry on over!

 

Attracting New People

Get Up & Dance!  Image source: virtualneko.com
Get Up & Dance! Image source: virtualneko.com

I came across an interesting article on Virtual Outworlding – Bringing People into Virtual Worlds–We Are Doing It Backwards.  The article is meant to be commentary on the seeming failure of virtual worlds (like Second Life) to bring in new people and keep them coming back.  It’s the second part that seems to get missed.  So, I began to wonder – what do newcomers to the dance community experience?  And how could it be better?  What could I do to help build the dance community?

Dance in SL has changed a lot from when I first came into SL.  Back then (in the good ‘ol days, right?), there were tons of places to go dancing or to watch dancers perform (besides sex/strip clubs).  It seemed like there was a new dance venue opening every week.  Not these days.

Why?  Lots of reasons, I am sure.  Dancing is not an inexpensive proposition in SL.  If you want to perform, there are lots of things you need to know and lots of things you need to buy.  When I first joined a dance troupe, I showed up, perhaps bought an outfit or two, sat on a marker, and let the choreographer do all the work.  And I had fun.  But soon, I wanted do more.  I wanted to choreograph my own routines.  So, I bought a dance HUD.  A cheap one.  And I bought dance animations – transfer ones, because those were cheaper.

I began to choreograph.  Badly, at first.  So I looked around and found people who were offering classes on dancing using a HUD.  I learned the difference between freestyle and sequenced dancing.  I learned about transitions between animations (and how to do them well).  I bought a different HUD – a more expensive one that would let me sequence my routines.  I bought more dance animations – this time the more expensive copyable versions.

I loved performing.  Still do.  But then, I needed to start learning how to build sets.  Sounds easy, right?  Just throw a few props on stage, or a cool backdrop, and off you went.  I started looking around for other places to dance – places where I would have more creative freedom in my routines.  Back then, dancers generally performed at only one venue.  Nowadays, you’ll see the same performer at 5 or 6 different venues.

I found another troupe.  I learned more.  I learned more about building.  I learned about set rezzers.  I discovered newer, better dance HUDs.  I learned about lighting.  I learned about particles and other effects.  That troupe disbanded; I found another.  I began going to different shows around the grid, meeting people, joining groups, and trying to soak in everything I could about how to be a better dancer.  Along the way, I invested more and more Lindens into dance animations, better HUDs, the newest tools.

But if I came into SL right now and wanted to explore the dance scene?  Wanted to become a performer?  I think I would be overwhelmed.  Unless you are independently wealthy (a possibility that gets more and more remote by the day where I live), becoming a performer (or opening a new dance venue) and being successful seems nigh impossible.

So what is available in the dance community to help new dancers enter the world of dance in SL – and stay?  There are tons of nice people who are willing to help.  Lots of them, however, are so busy with their own projects that their time is limited.  There are hundreds of places in SL to take classes to learn various skills.  However, many times the class times are inconvenient and/or not that helpful specifically to dance.

So, would-be dancers, what do you want to see in SL to help you become a (better) performer?  Venue owners – what would you like new (or experienced) dancers to know/be able to do?  Audience members – what would you like to see when you go to a performance?

I’ll be publishing additional posts about these questions, but I would love input from everyone involved in dance in SL, including dancers, choreographers, venue owners, animation makers, HUD makers, and audience members.  Bend my ear, tell me your story, put in your two cents, share your opinions!  Find me here, on Twitter, on Google+, or in-world.

 

Looking for Innovation

Data Sherlock
Photo Source: kellyriggsmysteries.com

Yesterday I mentioned that someone had created a rezzer that allows you to use no copy and/or no mod objects in your set.  Several people commented that they were interested and wanted more details.  Why?  Because it is something new – something you couldn’t previously do in SL.  Something innovative.

Besides being able to use no copy/no mod items in a set rezzer, we also now have the ability to ‘layer’ animations.  To skip that nasty beginning of an animation and get straight to the ‘good part.’  4 years ago, 2 years ago, heck, even last year, I would never have thought it possible someone would develop a way to do this.  Now they have.

These are the things I am looking for – innovation.  New.  Or at the very least, different.

I was talking with a friend and we were discussing the ‘dance’ scene in SL.  It’s changed a lot from when I first came to SL.  Some changes have been good – more openness/cooperation between dancers and troupes, more venues, new HUDs, faders, to mention a few.  Some have been great – layering animations, movers, using no copy objects.

Some changes – I’m not sure.  The greatest thing about SL (in my opinion), is that there is something for everyone.  Different strokes for different folks.  My favorite thing about going to dance shows was seeing all the variety, the artistry of different people.  Trouble is, these days, there doesn’t seem to be much variety.

Now, I freely admit that I have not spent much time exploring new places.  (Something I plan to remedy over the next few months.)  I have gotten in a rut of going to the same places over and over.  Nothing wrong with that, except that I feel like I’m seeing the same thing over and over.

As I said, everyone has their own tastes.  I love to watch dances/dancers.  For me, my focus is generally on the choreography – how well the dancer put together their dance.  Are the transitions seamless?  Do the animations fit the ‘feel’ of the music? Are there good opening/closing poses? Does the dance tell a story?

My focus is NOT on the set, the lighting, or the special effects.  I personally don’t like huge sets – to me, it’s distracting, and a waste of effort on my account, because I am cammed in so close to see the dancer that the effect of the set build is lost anyway.  If there are multiple dancers, then there is a reason for a large set.  But one dancer tends to get lost.  Which is part of the reason that lighting and special effects are sometimes irritating.

Most of the time, even though venues tell me to set my viewer to midnight, I don’t.  If I do, I really can’t see the dancer – my reason for being there.  Strobe lighting, stage lighting is iffy – sometimes it adds to the routine, sometimes it feels like the lighting was added just because they could.  Same with particle effects – yes, the zillion butterflies are cute, but many times it takes a while for them to rez, so in the meantime, my screen is covered with large grey blocks, obscuring the dancer and everything else.  (I know many people try to pre-cache these types of things, and I generally arrive early to a performance for that very reason.  However, SL being SL, many times it still doesn’t rezz immediately for me.)

Big, primmy, and lots of effects seems to have become the ‘norm’ for most dance venues.  Mind you, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.  I just find myself disappointed that I seem to see the same dancers doing the same sets at multiple venues.  I know why it happens – many dancers dance at different venues, most venues have weekly shows, and there just isn’t enough time (even if you spend all day every day in SL) to come up with a new, different routine for each one.

And ‘big’ is in – the most popular venues right now seem to be the ones doing ‘big’ shows.  But I find myself missing the variety.  Even the clubs themselves have become somewhat ‘generic.’  I visited three different venues yesterday and all three of them were the exact same club build.  Now, not everyone is a great builder, so I completely get the use of prefabs for a club.  But when it’s the same build, with the same dancers, doing the same routines, everything begins to blur a bit.  For me, anyway.

Am I nostalgic for the way things used to be?  Perhaps.  But I have never been one to dwell in the past.  So, I am on a quest.  To explore strange new dance venues, to seek out new dances and new dancers, to boldly go where no SL blogger has gone before.  (Ok, probably not that last one, but you know what I mean.)

So, if you have something new, something innovative, let me know.  In the meantime, join me on my quest.  Questers can always use dragon fodder . . . erm, I mean, sidekicks. 😛