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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Second Life First-Hour User Experience by Returning SLer

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.

which takes me to the next thought:

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Glorious Second Life Machinima Inspired by Life of Pi

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:

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Insilico: Meet the Faces Behind Second Life's Top Cyberpunk Roleplay Destination

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

Drax Files Insilico

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.

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Watch This Gorgeous Machinima Tour Through Second Life's Fantasy Faire 2015

Fantasy Faire 2015 is open now, and veteran SL artist/musician ColeMarie Soleil created this beautifully shot tour through the Faire's 13 sims, which are now showcasing some of the very best creativity in Second Life right now -- watch:

As great as they are, Colemarie says the sim themselves are not the best part of the Faire:

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We're Not Sure What to Think of This Bizarre Second Life Wrestling Match Machinima Channel

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

Nanakurata Nagy kicks ass -- a rather broad range of it, in fact. One week she has Andre the Giant in a headlock, the next she's delivering a series of punishing blows to Gomora, or fighting alongside Ultraman himself as her 100-foot tall alter-ego Ultra Nana. She's even fought (and completely demolished) two Mr. Bean's, Vlad Tepes, and the specific version of Dracula from the movie Van Helsing. In her latest machinima she actually takes on the viewer themselves. Sometimes Nana wins, sometimes Nana loses. Either way, the end result is a library of iincredibly unique wrestling machinima with a Super Sentai-inspired spin.

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...

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This Second Life Pilot's Machinima Shows the Surprising Details of Virtual Flight

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

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.

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Iconic Second Life Designer Nylon Pinkney Tells All in the Latest Episode of The Drax Files

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

For those of us who regularly watch Draxtor Despres' Linden Lab-sponsored mixed-reality mini-documentary series, The Drax Files: World Makers, this particular episode has been a long time coming. Draxtor finally got the chance to sit down with Nylon Pinkney, offline wedding photographer and online fashion designer, and neither of them disappoint.

Nylon Pinkney has been one of Second Life's most popular (and esoteric) creators for years now. From the Deimos Boardwalk to Tableau, her distinct painted technique and vibrant style have been a mainstay of Second Life for the better part of a decade. Because of this I was pretty excited to see what she had to say...

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This SL Machinima Music Video Set to "Farrah Fawcett Hair" May Make Your Own Hair Stand Up

This is a Second Life machinima music video cut to Capital Cities' "Farrah Fawcett Hair", and seeing as it's one of the most impressive SL machinimas I've seen in some time, you may want to see it now:

Much thanks to Alicia for the tip. Created by Trace Osterham, I particularly love the use of video/TV displays, so the music keeps playing out within various, well-chosen Second Life settings, and the photography with dynamic lighting, helping convey the sense of a lived-in world. (Seriously, this thing had me at the virtual curtain flapping in the virtual wind.)

This video brings up another thought: Are we in a mini-Renaissance of Second Life music video machinima?

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How to Live Stream/Record Second Life Footage in Steam

Second Life Steam streaming

This is a super useful-looking and crazily exhaustive tutorial for streaming/recording Second Life in Steam from Ai Austin. The record function should be great for recording Let's Play-style Second Life videos (and I'd love to see more of those, as long as they're not yet more lame troll vids), and the stream feature lets you squirt your Second Life experience to another display -- like so:

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