Play This Weekend: An Indie Pug Speed-Dating Simulator

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

Got any plans this weekend? How about a hot date? With a hot pink pug?

I've been seeing gifs and teasers for Hot Date on Twitter for a while now, and with scenes like the one above you can probably understand why I was excited to see that the pay-what-you-want indie game finally launched earlier this week. There are Mac, Windows and Linux builds available, and you can pay as much or as little as you want for them. 

The premise is simple, and a bit absurd. You're speed dating and trying out conversation starters on your current partner, a floppy-eared pink pug with a downcast gaze. It's not the most exciting "date" you'll ever go on, but it will probably be among the more... Unique. The game's itch.io page gives precious little in the way of details about the game, but with gifs and screenshots like theirs what is there that really needs to be said?

As I mentioned, Hot Date is available as a pay-what-you-want release on itch.io. This means you can downloaded it for free if you want. If you do download the game for free, remember that there's nothing stopping you from going back to the page and using the pay-what-you-want checkout to pass the game's creator a tip for a job well done. Either way, enjoy your "hot date"!

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Iris Wants to Know: What Are the Best (And Worst) Ways to Approach Others in Second Life?

Canary Beck How to Approach a Woman in SL
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Last week I covered a great blog post from Canary Beck about the Dos and Don'ts of approaching women in Second Life. Although there's a lot of practical advice in both posts, it does only cover one shade of the Second Life dating spectrum. As NWN commenter Merc put it:

I can assure you, men avatars in SL have also the very same creepy approaches by women avatars, no difference. For example, as the reverse of the blogger's statement, me, as a male avatar, the unsolicited IMs I receive typically come from females. And trust me, with the same type of eyebrow-raising communication. As the blogger writes about how men don't believe that you don't feel lonely when sitting on the beach alone, women avatars, just like that, don't believe that a man avatar doesn't want to be seduced every time they are addressed.

It's true, especially if you take even an ounce of care with customizing your avatar. Even in the brief time I've spent with a male avatar on I remember receiving proposals and propositions completely out of nowhere, with almost as much frequency as I received them while wearing my everyday female avatar. But of course I've never spent a significant amount of time presenting as a man in Second Life. Even when I wore that male avatar, my account name and profile were unchanged, so I'm far from qualified to speak to the experiences of those who spend all their time in SL as a member of the sometimes-scruffier sex.

That's why I want to hear from those of you proudly sporting male avs in SL: What are the best and worst ways that someone could approach (or has approached) you in the virtual world? And if you have a non-binary (or even non-human) avatar, I want to hear from you too! As I said, there's a very broad spectrum of possibilities in SL, and mine and Canary's experiences only cover a sliver of it.

As ever, share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Iris' Social Network Guide for Second Life Users, Part 3: What You Need to Know About Plurk

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

If you caught the first and second part of this series of posts, then you already have a pretty good idea of what your options are when it comes to tying a social network into your Second Life self. What you may still lack is an idea of the best way to use these networks. That's particularly true when it comes to Plurk, which is so popular among SL users that they allow you to select "Second Life" as your location. Outside of Second Life however you'd be hard pressed to find people who know what Plurk is, nevermind how to make the best use of it. And that's where part 3 comes in...

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Spend Your Afternoon at a Small Town Cafe With the Help of This Charming Second Life Machinima

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

It's still hot off the machinima presses (that's how people make machinima, right?) but this short video from designer Maylee Oh might be the cutest Second Life clip I've seen in ages. Just watch it for yourself above if you don't believe me.

Maylee's name may sound familiar if you saw the promo video she produced last year to advertise her brand, The Secret Store. The promo was catchy as heck and a phenomenal success, which I covered here on New World Notes at the time. Her latest machinima work is miles away from the glitter and polish of her promos, though. "Small Town Cafe" is the second short machinima she's produced this week, and both offer sweet little vignettes into surprisingly precious worlds.

You can drop by the location of "Small Town Cafe in SL [Teleport link] or pick up the sweet old lady avatar featured from Maylee's store in-world [Teleport link] or from the Second Life Marketplace. You can also find more from Maylee on Flickr or Youtube. I particularly recommend watching her other recent machinima clip, "Journey", as well as the 2015 promo for The Secret Store posted last month, which features a dash of magical girl flair that I can't help but appreciate. 

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Gacha Fever: Second Life Designers Are Dropping Stunning Work-In-Progress Teasers for Upcoming Fashion Event

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

'Tis the season once again -- for The Arcade, I mean. Second Life's most popular gacha event will open its doors on Monday, June 1st, and designers are already starting to tease the sets they'll be offering in their gacha machines.

My favorite so far has to be the work-in-progress teaser posted above, a set of mesh corsets from Pixicat. Pixicat (both the brand and the designer) are known for clothing and accessories with a lot of detail work that's more than just texture deep. She's a phenomenally talented 3D modeler, and her work is always intricate and costume-like. She takes so much care with every swoop and swirl of her creations that these finished corsets are sure to be a must-have from the upcoming event. I mean, seriously, just look at them.

If you want to know more about The Arcade, keep your eyes on their website. In addition to having an event calendar, group info and all the latest news, it  will be updated with a full catalog of what's available closer to the event's launch. As for Pixicat, you can check out more of her work (eventually including the finished corsets) in her Flickr gallery.

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Blogger Canary Beck Answers the Age Old Question: How to Approach Women in SL Without Being a Creep

Canary Beck How to Approach a Woman in SL
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Recently Second Life blogger Canary beck posted this gem, titled "How to Approach Women in Second Life," and to be perfectly honest I'm jealous that I (or should I say Miss Metaverse Manners) didn't come up with it first. It details all the things someone can do wrong when they approach a woman for a conversation in SL, as well as some of the things they can do right.

The biggest faux-pas? Sending her an IM while you're halfway across the sim and 400 feet in the air. Surprise surprise, women generally don't like feeling like someone is watching us, especially when we can't see that person ourselves. Most of us have been socialized by every other episode of Law & Order SVU (among other things) to be really uncomfortable in that sort of situation, and that instinct doesn't necessarily vanish the instant we log in to the digital world.

There are already more "Don'ts" than "Dos" on canary's list, but I'd like to add just one more...

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Play: My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up at 3am Every Day

Garbage Cat (1)
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I have to believe that this game comes from a place of love. It might not sound like it from the name, or they way you play, or the message you get when you "win", but I just have to believe that the creator of My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up at 3am Every Day loves the titular garbage cat if he took the time to make a little game about the creature's late-night hijinks.

Then again, maybe it's just the culmination of more than a few sleepless nights.

Garbage Cat (2)My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up at 3am Every Day is short and to the point. With graphics and a greenish tinge reminiscent of the original Gameboy, it puts the player in control of a restless little garbage cat. They can hop around the room, knock things to the floor to destroy them, clamber up tilted lamps and mewl incessantly, even pause to purr and knead their paws on whatever surface they're in the process of destroying. The ultimate goal is to wake up garbage cat's master, with a meter on the top of the screen tracking their success.

It's a small game with a pretty good sense of humor. If you're a cat-lover (or even the distinct opposite of one) My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up at 3am Every Day is certainly worth a sliver of your time this weekend. Play it on creator Will Herring's itch.io page here.

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Don't Dawdle, 21Shoe's Deals on Limited Second Life Footwear Won't Wait for the Weekend

Essenz_051521Shoe_600
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

21Shoe is an event I don't often get the occasion to cover, simply because it's window is too narrow for me to squeeze a post about it into the schedule. It opens on the 21st of every month... And only the 21st. If you miss that 24 hour span then too bad, so sad, because the lovely discounts (and often limited editions) that come with it will soon be out of reach.

This month's lineup has a distinctly summery feel and I've picked a few of my favorite entries to share, so keep reading if you're looking for the perfect pair of virtual shoes to flaunt your avatar's latest mesh pedicure.

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Iris Wants to Know: Do You Spend More Time Tweaking Your Virtual Home or Your Virtual Self?

Pokute Burt New Cafe
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

For as long as I've been in Second Life, I've always changed my avatar's outfit almost as often as I changed my own in reality. This isn't always limited to SL, either. In both Skyrim and Dragon Age Inquisition I'm the kind of player who keeps a few different outfits on hand for a few different situations. An outfit for fighting dragons, an outfit for fighting demons, an outfit for hanging out in the fancy town with the fancy people. You know, practical considerations.

For as often as I change my avatar's clothes, however, I almost never spend too much time changing my avatar's surroundings. I'm the kind of person who updates my land or skybox once a year, if that, but at the same time I'm a big fan of some of the SL photographers on Flickr who capture their decor with as much originality and detail as avatars. Folks like pokute Burt, who created the pic embedded above, who can build a room with more character than ten avatars tied together. 

That's why I want to know, do you put more time into tweaking the look of your land, your virtual home, your skybox or whatever it is you have, or your avatar? What leads you to favor one over the other? As ever, leave your responses in the comments below.

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I Just Can't Stop Staring at this Stunning Watercolorized Second Life Snapshot

Kala Bijoux Madeline of Pleasure
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I'm head over heels for this avatar snapshot Kala Bijoux posted on her Flickr recently. Dubbed "Madeline of Pleasure" this picture is vibrantly colored and incredibly distinctive. I especially like the edges of the image, which fade from dappled color to white like an unfinished watercolor painting. The end result is ridiculously harmonious, what else can I say?

Kala Bijoux's name is a little more familiar for her wing designs than her work on Flickr. She's the designer behind Material Squirrel, a Second Life shop that specializing in meticulously painted avatar wings. Material Squirrel has been around for quite a while now, and takes particular pride in their array of flexible prim wings, rather than using rigid mesh to do the job. This allows her wings to move and bend, meaning that they've retained a popularity that few other flexiprim-based items can claim in SL these days.

if you want to see more of Kala's work, you can check out "Madeline of Pleasure" in all its glory on Flickr, or visit Material Squirrel Wings for yourself on the Second Life Marketplace.

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