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SL's Spirit Art Installation's Free Fantasy Mesh Avatar are Stunning (If You Can See Them)

Spirit 1

Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of virtual world and MMO fashion

A few days ago, Airedine Poe (creator of this rad Lichtensteinian makeup) plurked a picture of herself wearing an incredibly unique and eye-catching mesh avatar, and of course the av leapt right to the top of my "to buy" list. Never mind buying it though, because it's actually a freebie available at an immersive art installation called spirit, by claudia222 Jewell,on the Art Screamer sim [Click here to teleport to spirit in ART SCREAMER].

The exhibit itself is a surreal landscape of alien anatomy and organic oddness, spread out across rolling hills and swamps filled with stalks of insect wings in the place of reeds. It's a great place to take pictures, or just roam around. Check out this video to see what I mean:

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SL Marketplace Direct Delivery Reportedly Delivering Fail

SL Marketplace direct delivery problems

Emilly Orr has a rant about the current unstable state of the SL Marketplace direct delivery system, which many have reported is failing, helpfully accompanied by this illustration and comment:

Maybe it's just me, but the longer this drags on and the more businesses are hit, and hit hard, the more this seems like a metaphor for Second Life as a whole...

Evidently it's not just her: Inara Pey notes other problems with the Marketplace. To be fair to Linden Lab, direct delivery of SL made products from a web-based e-commerce site is a massively complex undertaking that will probably take awhile to get right. However, as Ms. Orr notes, a lot of people's livelihood's literally depend on it working. I've asked Linden Lab for an update to these issues, and will post their reply, when and if I get one.

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SL Men, Want More Mesh Fashion? Share Your Avatar Sizes (Update: Broken Link Fixed)

ENTENTE SL male fashion

Click here if you want more mesh-based fashion for your male avatar, and share your avatar proportions. It's a survey being conducted by ENTENTE, a well-known SL brand, to create a new line of mesh clothing. "We are currently working on a lot of mesh items and we realised, just as with women, mesh is not 'one size fits all' for men either," as the site explains. This poll has been pushed by mesh master creator Damien Fate, who said on Plurk, "The goal has almost been met but needs a final push to get the total number of avatars required to make a nice average set of shapes." NWN style columnist Iris Ophelia in turn pointed it out to me, noting how valuable this could be, "especially given how many guys whine a me in the comments about mesh availability." And yes, this means you also have to share your "Package" size. But at least it's anonymous. And I'm sure all your packages are leviathan anyway. So click here to take it already.

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Awesome SL Fashion Photography on Modavia is Awesome

Awesome SL fashion spread

This is an awesome SL photograph from a larger series that is also awesome by Vikeejeah Xevion, as featured on the blog of Modovia, an SL magazine, which is also awesome. And that is all I have to say on that.

Penny Arcade's Tycho Explores SL - Where Should He Go?

Tycho Penny Arcade Explores Second Life

As it turns out, the reason why Penny Arcade devoted a strip to Second Life's sign-up process is because co-author Tycho Brahe is exploring SL. (Hat tip: Adeon.) Tycho decided to finally try SL after watching Life 2.0, the acclaimed documentary, which puts a lot of focus on virtual sex in Second Life, so it's not surprising the avatar selection process made Tycho think zeppelin fetish. For many reasons, it's not immediately clear to gamers like him that much of SL actually has a lot of affinity with the modding communities that have sprung up around Garry's Mod and other 3D platforms. But rather than complain about his balloon sex bon mot (which was actually pretty funny) why not suggest to Tycho where he should go to see SL at its best as a gaming platform? Three points there:

  • It should be a SLurl link that drops him somewhere that'd be immediately impressive to a hardcore gamer -- as breathtaking as a Deus Ex: Human Revolution cityscape or a Skyrim hold.
  • The location should not require adding game attachments and HUDs before it becomes interesting. (Seriously, while a lot SL games are great, a new user can't be expected to go through the time-consuming, user-unfriendly installation task most of them still require.)
  • It should have a lot of mesh-based content -- preferably, all mesh.

My personal recommendation to Tychu might be Hangars Liquides, the Cyberpunk City (pictured above) which just opened up for roleplay. [Click here for SLurl teleport] Another candidate would be a mesh-enabled sandbox where gamers regularly hang out. Post your own recommendations in Comments with a short description and/or links to YouTube machinima or screenshots of the place. And hope that Tycho takes the time to teleport there.

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Mad Men's Megan Gets a Zou Bisou Bisou Encore in SL!

Megan Draper Bisou SL 2

Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of virtual world and MMO fashion

Megan Draper Zou Bisou BisouThe long awaited season premiere of AMC's Mad Men aired last Sunday, and a memorable moment from the episode has gone absolutely viral this week. At Don Draper's birthday party, secretary-turned-second-wife Megan Draper treats Don (and us) to a pretty striking performance of Gillian Hills' adorable french pop song "Zou Bisou Bisou" (check it out here). It's a little awkward, a lot sexy, and whether you love Don's new wife or hate her, this song really gets stuck in your head.

I made a Megan avatar in Second Life as part of my Mad Men avatar series, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to play dress-up with one of my favourite virtual dolls once again. Keep reading for all the details, mes chères!

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Play World of Warcraft... With Your Mind!

World of Warcraft may be slowly losing players, but it's gaining new ways to play the game -- specifically, thanks to G.Tec Medical Engineering in Austria, you will soon be able to play WoW with your mind:

Video explains in detail how the process works, but if you're impatient, the Warcraft action starts at around 1:50. According to G.Tec's Armin Schnürer, this system, called intendiX®SOCI (for Screen Overlay Control Interface), will be commercially available later this year. And while this video demo only shows user movement in Warcraft (forward/backward/left/right), Armin tells me it's feasible to add other commands. From a smartass perspective, this could be a way for lazy gamers to play WoW without even having to move. From an utterly serious angle, however, this could be a great way for the disabled to play with their friends and loved ones, even when they have no physical ability to do so.

G.Tec is the same company that created a similar innovation last year with Second Life, and when I blogged about it then, people wondered if this could actually be a commercially viable product. Isn't it a time consuming pain to install a web of electrode's on someone's head any time they want to play WoW?

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Kickstart This: Epic RPG Game Satirizing Epic RPG Games

"Tortured Hearts - or, How I Saved The Universe. Again." is the name of a very promising Kickstarter-funded game, an epic-length RPG that is a satire of epic-length RPGs. (That is to say, pretty much all RPGs.) Or as the Kickstarter puts it: "Since almost every imaginable plot scenario and character has already been used and overused to the point that cliches are unavoidable, Tortured Hearts instead revels in pointing out that the life of adventurers is one endless heroic cliche, some sort of existential trap created by the gods of RPG worlds." So you know, like Nietzsche's theory of eternal recurrence, but with more stabbing. The development team have a pretty decent track record of previously published games, and the 3D engine, which renders the world to look like it's hand-drawn (as seen above), looks pretty impressive. They want to raise $300,000 in a month, so consider pledging.

Speaking of Kickstarters, Auditorium 2, the indie music game I blogged about on Monday, reached its funding goal with just days to spare. (Thanks to NWN readers, no doubt!)

Penny Arcade Nails Second Life's New Sign-Up Page Avatars

Second Life Penny Arcade

Penny Arcade's latest strip is on Second Life, or more precisely, Second Life's new user sign-up/avatar selection page. To say more is to give the joke away, but if you're not a hardcore gamer, you should know that Penny Arcade is easily the most-read and influential comic strip among devotees of PC and console games, and the passionate sub-culture that's sprung from them. (Long ago, in an attempt to attract gamers to SL, Linden Lab advertised on Penny Arcade, mostly to little avail.)

Given its influence, all this means the Penny Arcade strip will pretty much frame how gamers will see SL's new user sign-up page. Which is to say:

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This SL Pic is Full of Awesome (But Little Post-Processing)

SL Fashion Photo Graphic Dix

This Second Life fashion photo by Mr. Graphic Dix is full of awesome detail and exuberance. (Click here to embiggenate.) He shot it to show off the styles of Reda Bertolucci and Emilie Freund, owners of Not So Bad, and as is often the case with Mr. Dix (in real life a graphic artist near Milan), he's made it something even more sublime.

The goal, he tells me, is to highlight that these clothes are mesh, so he wanted to depict them in more than one pose, bending and adjusting to the avatars' movements, while still being "elegant enough to keep them in the fashion field", as he puts it.

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