Where The Magic Happens: Draxtor Despres Interviews an SL Entrepreneur Whose Focus May Surprise You

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

It's been a little while since we checked in with Second Life mini doc-maker Draxtor Despres, but that isn't to say he hasn't been busy. The latest episode of his series of mixed-reality resident profiles, The Drax Fles: World Makers, went up recently, and features yet another incredibly interesting creator that many of us may never have heard of. Zach Barkley makes magic in SL. Literally. Scripted, particle-powered spells and mystical effects for fantasy roleplay... Or just for showing off.

All in all this episode is an interesting look at a niche that may not spring to mind when you think about Second Life content creation. Just as interesting is hearing how Zach, who is still quite young, fits virtual worlds into his life (and how friends and family react to them). For me, learning about Draxtor's subjects outside of SL is always as interesting as learning about them inside of SL, if not moreso.

You can catch up on The Drax Files: World Makers over on Youtube, and if you need an even bigger Drax fix don't forget to check out the weekly Drax Files Radio Hour podcast.

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Listen This Weekend: The Drax Files Radio Hour Interviews Celebrity Griefer Esteban Winsmore

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

If you're a virtual world enthusiast who's not keeping up with virtual world documentarian Draxtor Despres' new podcast, The Drax Files Radio Hour, then you're absolutely missing out.

The latest episode is packed with some pretty controversial content headlined by the notorious Esteban Winsmore, who has developed a reputation with some as a griefer, while others find his voice chatting antics downright entertaining. Draxtor and co-host Jo Yardley (known for her work in SL's 1920s Berlin sim) also discuss net neutrality, Oculus Rift augmented reality, Second Life's HTTP Project, and more.

If you go for the Esteban interview, just be sure to stay for the new virtual world documentary by Loki Eliot. "The Lost Virtual World" examines the ups and downs of virtual worlds, painting a picture 2 decades in the making. Check it all out for yourself here.

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Watch It This Weekend: Don't Miss This All-New Episode Of The Mixed-Reality Mini-Doc Series That Dominated In 2013

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

We can't really talk about the best Second Life content of 2013 without mentioning Draxtor Despres and his mixed reality machinima profiles of characters, and creators. This year The Drax Files: World Makers filled NWN's Machinima category with short mini-documentaries about the real lives behind the avatars, and covering them has been one of my favorite parts of writing on this site. It's always interesting to see who Draxtor will cover next-- I'd even say it's half the fun of following the episodes. Maybe it'll be a name you've known for years, or maybe it will be your first time hearing about someone and their amazing work. It's a mixed bag, and a great way to expose yourself to people you may never have crossed paths with otherwise.

Suffice it to say that The Drax Files is a must-watch for anyone interested in virtual worlds and the people behind them. You can watch the latest episode in the series embedded above, or catch up on past episodes on Draxtor's YouTube channel

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NWN's Five Favorite Second Life Machinimas from 2013

SL machinima

Happy holidays all - for your leisurely viewing and holiday party background eye candy, here's my top five favorite Second Life machinimas I blogged about over the last year. Sad to say, there seems to have been less great narrative-driven machinima in 2013 than there have been in previous years, but at the very least, these are all sumptuous visual treats for the season:

From January, this is "Bad Trip" by Tutsy Navarantha:

From February, this is an SL machinima by Lala Larix called "Myself, Me & I" inspired by Michel Foucault's Utopian Body:

After the break, first featured here in March, "Invisible Man" is an SL machinima music video by Japanese SLers umejintan Beck and sakurahime:

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Paradise Lost Staged in Second Life Next Year - Watch the Impressive Teaser This Weekend

A live, avatar-based performance of Milton's Paradise Lost will debut Spring next year -- read about it here. Better yet, watch the impressive teaser trailer now:

Possible NSFW warning: Contains artfully nude lost souls. Love the use of light and shadow, and the art direction is great.

Watch This Weekend: Sci Fi Machinima About Aliens in SL

There's a new machinima from master of the form Mr. Tutsy Navarantha, it's about aliens who discover a very strange place, and you can watch it below here:

Tutsy created it very much as a collaborative project, he tells me, which is also how the story idea emerged. For example, he discovered the alien avatars in an SL store, and that sparked the inspiration for the story's plot twist:

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Don't Miss This Must-Watch Virtual World Performance of The Nutcracker's "Waltz Of The Flowers"

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

Lovers of art, avatars, dance, music, and machinima, gather 'round and drop everything because boy do I have a treat for you. Loony Columbia's latest machinima, "A Pemberley Nutcracker - Waltz of The Flowers", might be everything you've ever wanted in a virtual world dance performance. While The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition in the world of ballet and beyond, it can be incredibly difficult to pull it off in games and virtual environments. The more dancers there are, the more points of failure you have to contend with. It can be even more troublesome when you have to worry about recording it. But this? This is flawless.

Watch the full performance for yourself after the jump!

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Leap Motion in Second Life: Watch This Clip of Gesture-Based Avatar Controls In Action

Draxtor Plays...Leap Motion! - YouTube
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you're like me you've probably heard a lot about the Leap Motion, a gesture-based control peripheral that's quite commonly mentioned alongside the Oculus Rift, but you haven't really seen it in action. The Leap Motion allows you to control your avatar (or whatever it is you're controlling in your game of choice) via movements and gestures of your hands in the space between you and the screen, as opposed to using a mouse and keyboard, or even gamepad. The Leap Motion and the wildly anticipated Oculus Rift headset working in conjunction could prove to be an incredibly immersive combination for gamers in general, not to mention virtual world users, since it would all but eliminate many of the Rift's control-related shortcomings.

Thankfully, Draxtor Despres (of Drax Files fame) has made the leap (get it?) and shared a quick demonstration video of how the Leap Motion works on its own with Second Life. Check it out for yourself:

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Mother And Daughter Use Second Life to Deal With Parkinson's In The Latest Episode of The Drax Files

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

If you're in the mood for a truly inspiring story out of the metaverse, Draxtor Despres' ongoing documentary machinima series The Drax Files: World Makers has just what you need. In the most recent episode you'll meet Fran Seranade, an 86 year old woman with Parkinson's Disease. Alongside her RL daughter, they've created a sanctuary of fun and relaxation where Fran and others can do the things that may be just out of reach to them in reality. As it turns out, her virtual world activities have significantly improved her quality of life. (Hamlet profiled them last February here.)

Watch the episode for yourself after the break:

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Updated Second Life Machinima Tool Auto-Tracks Avatars

AutoCam Pro Version 2 is a new update to a very useful Second Life machinima tool I blogged about earlier this year, enabling auto-track of an avatar; with the first version, you could auto-track your own avatar, and with Version 2, you can track another avatar (i.e. an actor in your machinima) -- watch:

Demo by Tryptofaa Sands, who created the device and sells it on the SL Marketplace here.

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