Iris Wants to Know: What Costume Are You Wearing For Halloween in Second Life and/or Reality?

Bakemonoya

Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I haven't had the occasion to dress up for Halloween for a few years now, even though it's easily one on my favorite holidays. This year for the first time in a while I won't even be dressing up in the virtual world, either. It's a bit of a bummer, especially since I've still got that fashionista itch to buy loads of newly released Second Life costumes, just for the sake of having them. After all, one day I might need one of them (I won't.) Maybe (Nope.) Who can say? (Me.)

So let me celebrate this holiest of days vicariously through you. I want to know what you'll be dressing up as for Halloween, both online and offline. Share your costumes in the comments below and, naturally, if you're a blogger or photographer feel free to link your favorite Halloween looks as well and inspire those of us who have to wait until next year to get back into the spooky swing of things.

And if you're looking for the creepy-cute costume pictured above, it's a classic mesh gem from Bakemonoya that I covered way back in 2012. Check out the details here.

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Get Ready for Battle With These Cinematic Images of Second Life Avatar Armor

Jordan Giant My Fate
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Armor doesn't get enough love in Second Life fashion circles, which makes it stand out even more when those elusive, perfect shots finally do surface. This week virtual world artist and blogger Jordan Giant captured a series of images of a gleaming, detailed suit of her own, and they look so good that when I first caught sight of them in my Flickr dashboard I mistook them for the jawdropping work of my favorite Skyrim screenshotter, Jay Faircloth.

But they're not; these pics weren't captured in a heavily modded version of Skyrim running on a lightning fast computer at all. They were captured in Second Life, taking advantage of a dramatic and skillful use of in-game lighting options -- and probably more than a little bit of Photoshop, to be fair. Suffice it to say that the full set, including the image embedded above, are a breathtaking change of pace from the usual Second Life fashion snaps you'll come across.

Check out the full series on Jordan's blog, or swing by her Flickr gallery for more of her intense and compelling work.

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Trick and Treat: Halloween Events in Second Life

Halloween town
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Maybe it's your turn to stay home handing out the candy. Maybe you want to take the kids trick-or-treating, and won't be back in time to go out. Maybe you have a costume idea so fatastical that only the virtual world can do it justice.

Maybe you just don't want to deal with a swarm of drunken people in oh-so-clever, oh-so-sensitive Ebola doctor costumes.

Regardless of why you're logging in to Second Life on Halloween, there will be a ton of things going on to keep you busy -- sims to visit, fairs to shop at, performances to attend, contests to win... It would be nearly impossible to do a complete round-up of them all. Instead, I've picked out a handful of the best events and destinations for you to check out on and around Halloween weekend and, naturally, an opportunity for you to share your own.

Keep reading for more!

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Second Life Designers and Consumers Speak Out: What It Takes to Make, Sell and Buy SL Stuff

SL Designer Expectations
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

This month I asked both Second Life designers and consumers to weigh in on an important issue: Exactly how long they think it takes, and how long it actually takes to create the staple goods of the virtual economy. Now, I'm reporting back with some of the most interesting responses I received in the hopes that, in some small way, we can try to bridge the occasionally cavernous gap between customers and creators.

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Inside Sunset Overdrive's Fabulous Virtual Fashions

Sunset overdrive fashion main image
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Gita Jackson gets it -- or should I say, she gets us. Jackson is a games writer with a passion for virtual fashion, and she understands the role it can play in how we understand a game's characters, attitude, and landscape. Hot on the heels of her recent post about the fashion and design decisions behind Final Fantasy X's Yuna, she's interviewed a few of the folks responsible for the vibrant, arresting fashion of Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive over on Paste. (Full disclosure: I am also a regular contributor to Paste.)

Jackson spoke with Insomniac Games Art Director Jacinda Chew and Carin Cronacher, an LA-based fashion designer who creates stagewear for Alice Cooper in addition to designing for her own brand. While Cronacher's experience gave her a unique perspective that aligned well with the game's intended visual style, as she explained to Jackson she still had to make sure she'd be putting together designs that people would actually want to wear:

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Starved for Fun: Don't Miss These Top Posts from Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Survival Week

RPS Survival Week Eidolon
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Last week gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun ran a series of features for their rather brilliant Survival Week, a week devoted to survival games and mod conversions. With a full week's worth of articles published it can be tricky to catch up, but here are four recommended starting points:

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This Second Life Image is Almost as Stunning as the Classic Painting it's Based on

Boudicca Amat PinkyJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Second Life artist Boudicca Amat does a lot of different things with her SL snapshots: sometimes her work is very modern, and sometimes its the exact opposite. My absolute favorite pieces of hers, however, are the ones where she goes out of her way to imitate or evoke classical art. Normally, Boudicca just teases a few similarities with a famous piece (as she recently did with "Cecilia") but her latest, "Pinky", takes her usual approach one step farther.

"Pinky" is still a few steps removed from Thomas Lawrence's "Pinkie", originally painted in 1794. The angle of the model, the framing, the hair... There are a lot of things that aren't recreated perfectly, but those things allow "Pinky" to stand on its own without its famous source. For all intents and purposes it could simply be a beautiful portrait from the (virtual) regency. Either way, it's an exceptional Second Life snapshot.

Be sure to check out the rest of Boudicca Amat's work in her Flickr gallery.

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Learn About the Details Behind the Striking Design of Upcoming Game Firewatch

Trailerpaintover
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Firewatch is an upcoming game from Campo Santo, a small studio made up of a group of friends and industry veterans. Since the game is still in development material about it is stillpretty sparce, but this week they shared a post on their blog that is fascinating whether or not you've been following their progress. It's part two of a Twitter Q&A with fans where the developers responded to questions about the game's art and visual design, and it's an interesting look at what it takes to make a game look as striking as Firewatch.

There's a lot to take in (and some of the answers are admittedly a bit "inside baseball") but they're still an incredibly interesting read... Especially if you're looking for a little artistic advice yourself. For example, when asked if it's hard to design dozens of distinct rocks and trees, they write:

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The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo is Not Your Father's (Brother's) Indie Horror Game

UWWFN
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Everyone had that friend... Maybe a friend of a friend.... A friend of a friend of a friend (they go to a different school, you wouldn't know them) with an uncle who worked for Nintendo. They knew things, they'd seen things, they'd played things that you could only imagine. They could tell you how to get a level 99 Mew as your starter Pokemon, how to play as Zelda rescuing Link, how to save Aerith -- oh, did they forget to mention he used to work at Sony too?

It might seem like a strange premise for a horror game, but The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo is guaranteed to send a chill down your spine. Here's why:

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Iris Wants to Know: Second Life Designers, How Long Does it Take You to Work Your Content-Creating Magic?

Sadie brow raised
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There's a big gap between the time and work that goes into an original Second Life item, and the time and the work that is often perceived to have gone into it. Take a look at some of the unfair SL Marketplace reviews designers often receive, and it's not hard to find customers talking about carefully crafted virtual content as though it can be slapped together in the time it takes to have a celebratory post-work pizza delivered. For some simpler creations that's not so far from the truth, but for the rest? Well...

Last week I asked Second Life consumers how much they thought went into a Second Life design, and the answers I received in the comments, over Plurk, on Twitter, and even via email varied wildly. Taking a standard piece of avatar clothing as an example, some suggested it might take a few hours while others suggested a few months. As much as time and effort involved depend on the specific item being made, it's clear that a lot of us really just don't know -- and there's no shame in that. There can be something of an aura around content creators, especially those who've found any degree of success, that obscures the reality of their work and makes it very easy to misjudge.

So now it's your turn, designers. 

Here's what I want to know: What do you make in SL, and generally speaking how long does it take you to make it? Do you think the general population of SL has a good idea of what it takes to do what you do, or do you think some of us shoppers need a serious reality check? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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