Linden Lab's 12 anniversary "What Second Life Means to Me" marketing campaign is a bit too marketing-y for my taste, but this new entry by Huckleberry Hax has a dreamy, vivid poetry (both visual and in Hax's resonant narration) that's well-worth watching:
If you're wondering about the poetry part, there's a very good reason for that:
Whether you're a rap fan* or not, you should totally watch this new music video shot in Second Life:
From the talented hands of Mr. Blaq Magik, I particularly love the camera work, which looks like it's literally hand-held -- i.e. Magik is pointing a video camera at the screen. Another excellent creative choice:
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.
This is a really interesting walkthrough of Second Life's current first-time user experience by someone who hasn't played SL for about 10 years:
I created an alt account 2-3 years ago, as I recall, and the on-boarding process has become even more polished and robust since then. A couple other points that emerge from watching this video:
The UI is still extremely challenging for anyone who isn't deeply familiar with MMOs, and the first-time user experience doesn't even come close to doing enough to address that. But friendly, chatty videos like this (by Beau Hindman) are in themselves a good way of introducing people to the UI and all its irksome eccentricities.
A perfect way to end this week is watching this new SL machinima from SamLowry Hawks, who after a long absence from the genre (his 2010 classic here; 2012's masterpiece here), returns with this visually stunning and story rich short inspired by Ang Lee's Life of Pi. In this version, however, it's the tiger who must find the boy, in a dreamscape even richer than that film:
" I wanted to try to build a scenario for the first time, simple as it is," Mr. Hawks tells me, "to bring a plot line to what I've been doing for years. These are obviously my first steps in this area, and I am not a writer, but my wish for this little film was to have a story, even a simple one, to bring another dimension to machinima." SamLowry himself plays the tiger in the machinima, an avatar which also inspired the story:
Ask many long-time Second Life users about the best location to soak in a dystopian cyberpunk future and Insilico will be the first name on their lips. At this point it's an institution, a thrumming neon node on SL's map that's been a constant for years. Insilico has been my own go-to futuristic backdrop for virtual world photography for as long as I can remember, but I never had a concept of who was working behind the scenes to build and maintain this unique and enduring place. In my mind, Insilico always just... was.
That's why it was a pleasant surprise to see that mixed reality film maker Draxtor Despres took on the story of the Insilico sim for the latest episode of his Linden Lab-sponsored YouTube series, The Drax Files: World Makers. If you've ever wanted to know what's going on behind the gleaming facade of one of Second Life's most recognizable cyberpunk sims, now's your chance to find out.
Watch the full episode above, and be sure to drop by and see Insilico [Teleport link] for yourself afterwards. You can also check out Draxtor's YouTube channel to catch up on more of his fascinating series.
But I have a confession to make: I've been sitting on this novel channel for a while. Even though I've been so close to posting it on more than one occasion, I've thrown completed articles in the trash. And for good reason...
File this one in the "Huh, I had no idea" box. I knew that people drove and raced all kinds of vehicles in Second Life, and that there were airports and landing strips specifically for a more realistic experience when flying virtual planes, but I'll admit that I had no idea that it went as far as controlling the articulated jet bridges passengers would be boarding through. But that's exactly what SL pilot Kevin McLaughlin does in the video above as part of his take-off procedures.
Just as interesting as this detail, however, is how the flight's take-off and landing procedures take twice as long as the flight itself. The flight from Second Norway to Hollywood. It's a notoriously short route, you know, what with all the jetstreams and such.
I guess it's a testament to how much is possible in Second Life that almost 9 years since I joined (March 12th, 2006) I can still be totally surprised by what other users are getting up to. So far this video is the only one on Kevin's YouTube channel, but with any luck he'll post plenty more of his flights in the future.