5 Questions to Ask Yourself if You Want to Be an SL Blogger

5 Questions SL Blogger
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Two weeks ago, I laid out something that had been on my mind for awhile. I shared five painfully honest questions that I think every aspiring designer should ask themselves before they dig into the world of SL fashion. But there's another side of this equation, a role in the Second Life ecosystem that comes with almost as much idolization as designing: Blogging.

I'll be the first person to tell you that blogging (fashion or otherwise) is not as glorious and glamorous as it might seem. I'll also be the first person to tell you how rewarding blogging can be, again regardless of the subject... As long as you're doing it for the right reasons.

So if you're thinking of starting your own Second Life blog, here are five questions you absolutely need to answer:

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This Second Life B-Boy Battle is a Thirty Second Machinima Master Class

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

Here's a Second Life machinima posted this past weekend with some serious style. Blaq Magik's "Battle" is brief, but in that brief window of time it demonstrates a lot of powerful techniques. If you're already about to skip to the comments to deliver some choice zinger about baggy pants and rap music, you can keep your #dadjokes to yourself. Not everyone's going to like Blaq's work, but everyone should still respect it.

Even if you can't appreciate the style, the music, or the seamless b-boy animations on display, you should absolutely be able to appreciate the technique demonstrated in this thirty second slice of a Second Life dance battle. Here's why it works so well:

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Weekend Shopping List: This Mesh Head is so Beautiful That it Barely Looks Like an SL Avatar

VCO Mesh Head Tia
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There's a new item at the top of my virtual world shopping list this weekend: The Tia mesh head by VCO, available at The Winter Wonderland event [Teleport link]. I already have my fair share of mesh heads, and these days the latest from The Sugar Garden has been serving me just fine. So why am I in the market for yet another? Well, when I first saw the above image of this finely-featured face from VCO I didn't entirely believe they were shot in Second Life. 

I don't mean that Tia looks hyper-realistic, however. Far from it. She looks more like a flawlessly modded Sims 3 character, or even a high-end doll, and to me that's just as appealing as realism would be.

Even if Tia's not to your liking you may want to swing by Winter Wonderland anyway, especially if you're looking for the perfect finishing touch for your virtual home...

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Check the Receipts: Here are 3 Crucial Anti-Scammer Tips for Second Life Designers

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

A Second Life designer (who asked to remain anonymous) had an interesting experience with a customer recently. Well, maybe I should say this experience was with a 'customer', because their interaction with this designer casts a lot of doubt on whether or not they ever bought a single thing from her in the past. Either way, it led to an amusing story and a few tips that most SL designers will be able to appreciate.

It starts like a lot of customer service encounters in SL start: A notecard with an explanation that an item had been purchased and lost to some technological snafu or another. it happens, and it's usually the truth. This note also came with a snippet from their transaction history to prove the initial purchase:

Septermber 13, 2014
Order #1373338995
Order Status: Delivered
Total items: 1
Order Total: L$39,998
[...]

Providing your transaction history, essentially a receipt, right when you contact a designer is a thoughtful thing to do since it saves you both time. Unfortunately it's easy enough to fake one end of this receipt, and not every designer will bother digging through their own records to confirm that a transaction is legitimate. That said, maybe you've already caught the most obvious clue that this 'customer' was trying to take our anonymous designer for a ride, and that brings me to the first tip:

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Facebook Still Doesn't Want Your Virtual World Account, but it Does Want Your Deceptive VW Ads

I Love New Year Club FacebookJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Second Life user and virtual fashion photographer extraordinaire Xantheanne (whose blog we're big fans of here on NWN) noticed something unusual on her Facebook feed earlier this month. A promoted post from something called "I Love New Year Club" was advertising something rather unclear with some truly original copywriting and a picture clearly taken from Second Life. 

"Your Own Virtual Baby! Meet husband, new comrades, have virtual baby, create your super look and more. Play Now!" My super look? Who could resist a pitch like that?

Of course when Xantheanne clicked the post, it shuttled her straight through to IMVU, a platform that most avid SL users have little love for (though it's provided us with more than a few trained, talented virtual fashion designers over the years.)

As for Qastelis.com, the URL given at the bottom of the post? Well...

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Iris Wants to Know: What Made Second Life 'Click' for You?

SLGo Snapshot (3)
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Do you remember when it 'clicked'?

For my mother, I think it was the dancing. She honed in on the flexi gowns and ball-rooms and non-stop socializing. She bugged my father to make an account so they could dance together. For him it wasn't the dancing, though. It was the live music, and the community he could help shore up and relocate in the wake of one of his favorite MMOs closing. For my old roommate it seemed to be the exploring. She wanted to travel but we were still pretty young so it just hadn't happened for her ye. The ability to hop from world to world must have held some appeal.

For me, it was undeniably the character customization. I loved fiddling with sliders in The Sims, I was delighted to try on any newly dropped piece of loot in my RPG-du-jour, and so it was fitting that avatar fashion was where Second Life 'clicked' for me.

Of course once it's 'clicked', your interests diversify. You get into the art scene, or the blogging scene, or you decide maybe all you really want is to be a a 1 foot tall badger in a sundress. But that 'click', that moment when Second Life changed from a sensory overload to making perfect sense, will always be one of the most important pieces of who you are in SL. That's why I want to know: When did Second Life 'click' for you? As ever, share your experiences in the comments below!

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What Does Valentine's Day in Second Life Mean to You? Share Your Stories and Snapshots with LL

Call for SL Snapshots
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you've ever wanted to see your work (and/or your avatar) on in some official Second Life promo material, now's your chance. Earlier this week Linden Lab put out a call for Second Life Valentine's Day snapshots, the best of which will be shared with SL users via email (and the rest of the world via banner ads).

If you want to submit your own pics, here's what you'll need to know:

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Five Questions to Ask Yourself if You Want to be a Second Life Designer

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

A very nice person sent me a notecard once, asking what they needed to know to become a Second Life designer. Content creators, including fashion designers, are some of the most respected people in the virtual world, so this question is a pretty common one. At the time I sent them a few Youtube links, a few blog tutorials, and some free software suggestions to get them started, but every now and then they pop into my mind. As far as I can tell they never did open up a store like they wanted to, and I wonder if I should have given them some slightly more practical advice instead. 

What do you really need to know before you become a Second Life Designer? Well, a lot more than just Photoshop and Blender.

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Whiskey Needs You: Here's How to Contribute to a New Project From One of Second Life's Most Popular Artists

Intrinsic-for-web
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Second Life artist Whiskey Monday, a favorite here at NWN and currently a virtual artist in residence thanks to the Linden Endowment for the Arts, has a new sideproject in the works, and she needs your help to complete it.

The project, dubbed "Intrinsic Inventory", is something that Whiskey will be working on in addition to her LEA sim, and seems to revolve around the idea of the value we place on our virtual items. Though we don't know what shape "Intrinsic" will eventually take, Whiskey has sent out a call for participants along with a very specific set of guidelines:

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Things Get Very Real When SL Users Describe Their Tastes in Virtual Hair

SL Avatar Hair header
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Last week I asked NWN readers to describe how they like to wear their virtual hair, and something about the answers really took me by surprise. It turns out that when you ask people how they like their avatar's hair, the answers sound a lot like someone talking about their real hair. Maybe that only surprised me because I framed things more in terms of flexi and mesh than I did fringe and mousse, but, well...

Here's what I mean:

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