Friday, April 03, 2015

Get to Work Over the Long Weekend With The Sims 4's First Expansion Pack

The Sims 4 Get to Work  (65)
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

The Sims 4's first expansion, Get to Work, launched earlier this week, and I'm sure that with the long weekend ahead loads of you are wondering if it's worth picking up. My review of this career-oriented add-on went live earlier today over on Paste, if you'd like to hear my two cents. Here's a taste:

The scene is Magnolia Promenade, a bustling shopping district featuring a brand new, pastel-toned bakery. It’s impossible to miss: Mint green walls sitting on prime real estate directly beside a playground. Though it’s regularly packed with customers, this bakery and its modest staff used to end every shift in the red. The first day it made a profit was the day I ditched my dream of a sim bakery and started stocking a shelf in the corner of the shop with $400 chicken statues. The chicken statues sold like hotcakes, while the hotcakes… Not so much. Either way, at least my sim didn’t have to pay her staff out of pocket anymore.

You can read my review in full here, but those of you who have already bought the expansion may have a different question on your mind this weekend: Where exactly should you start? Get to Work adds three active careers and a robust retail mechanic that will support everything from boutiques to galleries, so what should you try out first? Well...

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New World Notes' SL Flickr Stream of the Day: Annan Adored Makes Virtual Homes Look Like Painted Still Lifes

Annan Adored Second Life flickr

Annan Adored's Flickr stream is full of photos like this -- depictions of Second Life virtual homes which begin as screenshots, and end up looking like beautifully textured, incredibly detailed paintings. (Click here to embiggenate this one.) Also many SL fashion images integrated into settings like this. Click to see them all here.

Hat tip: Katien09erin

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Sony Acquires Assets from OnLive for Use in PlayStation; OnLive Services Free for April, Gone by May

SL Go Second Life closing

SL Go, the very cool Second Life streaming services for tablets and low-end laptops from OnLive, is now totally free to use until the end of this month. That's the good news. The bad news for SL Go users (and other OnLive customers) is this: Sony just acquired selected assets from OnLive, and consequently, the entire OnLive service is also going to be shut down. That's good news for Playstation owners, because it looks like the console line is going to get some kind of additional cloud-based streaming features soon. (Sony already has a streaming service called Playstation Now.) The acquisition, as a Sony exec said in the press release OnLive just gave me, "demonstrates our commitment to changing the way gamers experience the world of PlayStation.” 

As for SL Go, as I said, it's free this month, seriously free: "The OnLive and SL Go services will continue to operate in full capacity until April 30," OnLive's Dennis Harper tells me. "All services will be free to anyone who has or creates an account. All prices for the service have been set to $0.00, including SL Go." So if you haven't tried SL Go (or for that matter, other games on OnLive), now's your chance.

As for Second Life's SL Go user base, Dennis says this (and this is sad to say):

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DX Exchange Seeking to Partner With Second Life Sims Popular With American SLers

Second Life DX community

DX Exchange, a proud partner to this blog and a leading third party Linden Dollar exchange service, is looking to partner with Second Life sims especially popular with American SLers. DX Exchange is already partnered with Berlin 3D, a Second Life recreation of modern Berlin (pictured here), and with Quebec Bunker Club, so now DX is expanding to US consumers in Second Life. Contact their in-world representative MarcelEdward DX or e-mail support at dxexchange dot com.

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Remnants of Earth, a User-Made MMO in Second Life UPDATE: Now Featured on Kotaku, Lead Dev Comments

Remnants of Earth is a cool-looking and quite ambitious MMO in Second Life -- let's take a look at the slick promo trailer:

To visit in-world, copy/paste this SLurl in your favorite Second Life viewer: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Tron/203/156/3527

Here's the premise and game write-up from the developer:

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New on Steam: Delve Into Deep Space With Out There: Ω Edition for Mac, Windows and Linux

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

Haunting, tense, and meditative. Those are the top three words I would use to describe Out There, a mobile space-travel roguelite released last year that emphasizes communication more than it does pulse cannons or laser guns. If you missed the Out There hype-train the first time around, the game's newly released PC version provides a second chance to see what all the fuss it about. Out There: Ω Edition launched on Steam today for Mac, Windows and Linux, promising new aliens, new planets, new events, new music and even a new ending.

I covered Out There here on New World Notes when it first came to iOS, and (like a lot of other writers at the time) I had almost nothing but good things to say:

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

SL Flickr Streams of the Day: Cool, Contemporary Fashion With Diverse Avatars

Second Life African American fashion avatar

Second Life fashion blogs tend to reflect the real life demographic background of the bloggers, which is a major reason why the avatar fashion models tend to be white and the fashions tend to be more aspirational and fantastic, rather than street-level. Here's a couple Flickr streams that do great job depicting multi-ethnic avatars in contemporary styles -- the kind I see every day here in Silverlake, Los Angeles (with the facial hair to boot!)-- beautifully presented with great use of filters and dynamic lighting.

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Posted at 05:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Anita Sarkeesian Shows the Game Industry How to Create Excellent Female Characters in Videogames

Undaunted by continued death threats, cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian has a new series on her YouTube channel highlighting positive female characters in video games, starting with the beloved indie hit Swords & Sworcery. Her previous series was devoted to pointing out sexist portrayals of women and misogynist behavior in games, and it was a legitimate criticism* to think this tended to imply she was painting an entire medium with a broad brush, or not offering ways for the industry to improve. By highlighting and closely analyzing games with well-developed female characters, this new series gives game designers some role models to follow -- and a standard for game players to expect in future games.

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Playstation Home Closes Doors After 6 Years in Open Beta

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

Yesterday was your last chance to revisit Playstation Home, the virtual world exclusive to the Playstation 3 console. After 6 years of operation and no official release out of beta, the console-only virtual world has been shut off for good.

I'll admit that the headline may seem damning, but by all accounts Home wasn't a wholly unsuccessful product, even if it never technically left its beta phase...

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Posted at 12:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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