July 8, 2013

An interesting journey… Part 2

Posted in Second Life, User Experience tagged , , , , at 8:36 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

As I said I need and actually want to wrap up the “Part Ones” I did. The first has to be the second part of “An interesting journey“, the article how I came to (be) my current avatar.

I spent a 4 digits of lindens today
At first I was fascinated with the beauty of my new avatar. But when I experimented with some clothes, especially those that exposed some cleavage the color of the skin seemed a bit off, actually even weak, pale like when one is ill. Having an immersive feedback with my avatar, that made me feel a bit sick. Than there was another difference. Around the knees and in a few other places, the skin was darker skinned, yet another experience I could not compare to my actually pretty light RL skin. I often loathed the fact that I inherited my fathers light an blotted with birthmarks skin instead of my mothers dark and smooth one that was pretty similar to the skin of my earlier, Caucasian avatar. That actually told me that the differences in skin color are a bit more diverse than different shades of brown. It never occurred to me when I met people with a typical Northeastasian bodytype. Actually I often wondered, why racists often used a full rainbow of colors to describe people. OK, black was obvious, but even that was either blackface or more of a more or less dark brown. But American-Indians red, Eastasians yellow?

I needed to learn more. What I found out is, that there are four factors that make the skin tone. First and foremost there are two types of melanin, orange and black. That throw a light bulb over my head, lit. I often wondered why even the darkest Caucasians (like my mother) still “only” head very dark brown hair, appearing black but not really black like that you pretty much see pretty much on every other person. Another factor is blood flow. So my RL skin had two factors that made it more orange. The melanin and the blood flow. But when you’re sick the blood flow on the surface is often reduced, hence the negative connotation of the word pale. Yet for the skin of my new avatar it was the other way around, the mild orange of the skin completely came from a healthy blood flow, but the black melanin didn’t add to it, so it had the same tone as my own skin as it looks when I’m sick or at least have a strong hangover.
That had several effects. First of all, It was a lot less of a problem now I did now the why. Another was that I developed an eye for the skin tone differences, now even unable to unsee it. And a third that it is really ridiculous speaking of Noncaucasians as colored. The Caucasians are the ones with the most diversity and that orange melanin, that maybe only stronger in some American Indian people (thus they are called red). As it is no either or you see more black melanin in southern Italian descends, Spanish people had a bit more. So Italians look a bit more gray to the “brown” Spanish people.

After I overcame this initial uneasiness, this new avatar more and more became my favorite. The interesting thing is, why I felt sexy with the other avatar, that was a highly idealized version of me, with this new one I felt beautiful instead. And I actually preferred this feeling. Plus I could look in the mirror in RL again without instantly feeling self conscious seeing myself without all that idealization.

Yet making it my main avatar came with a complete different concern. Would I offend people with actual Northeastasian RL-bodys? Belonging to the “body-clas”s that collects the least racism but provides somewhat the most it might offend some people, even seeing it as yellowfacing. But I found it not to be the case. It was funny how I came to not only identify with this new look, but also started to use it as an actual identity in real life, up to using this side of me as face of my game development. I tried to make the connection to my flesh identity obvious though. Now Why did I do this? First and for most for the Halo-Effect. This is, we pretend all kinds of positive traits to beautiful people, and especially with women the opposite is also true, and an obese women over 40 would do no good, obviously regarding to gaming, which has that youthful vibe to it. And as I said earlier this avatar was very helpful as it is beautiful, but not so much distracting by the sexy. And than, in the US, a big market, Asians got this special positive prejudice about being more intelligent or Japanese being nerdy (it helps a great deal that some of the most beloved games where made in Japan). On the other hand people often assume at first, that I’m actually from Japan which was one of the reasons why I wanted a more generic looking avatar. That can be a bit awkward when I’m not and don’t even know that much about the culture, e.g. when there are racial issues, like with the recent discussion about yellow facing in Cloud Atlas or when I’m in a virtual space full of actual Japanese people, like it happened recently. But as I said, people don’t really seem to mind and I think much more about it than necessary.

Yet still its not that immersive an experience for me, and if I stayed away from Second Life for longer times (often months), I actually have to reconnect a bit. Oh, and by the way, while it really works that I now can wear pretty much anything, I ended up still preferring earthly colors like in the picture above, as I do in RL.

June 30, 2013

Plans

Posted in Development, Games, Second Life tagged , , , , , , , at 6:53 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

I really wanted to abandon this blog and leave to blogspot for good, but actually the Twisted-Prim blog is more about games development (maybe with a touch of applications development soon), whereas all around Second Life has things in common, but is still first and foremost a hobby. And then there are several articles which have a “Part 1″ tag but no follow up by now. I don’t want to abandon those (well, I abandoned the useless rant about the feminazi Firefly critic).

Checking my Blog inworld

Learning to make content for Second Life actually taught me a lot about making content for games and I don’t think I would have even began without that head start.

And Linden Lab worked hard to give me motivation to be more (pro)active in Second Life recently with the new materials. After I made my first experiments and the useless spending of countless upload fees I came to this temporary success, using it on my floor

Materialed Floor

I desided to redo a lot of my home, and even add some selfmade meshes. I really need Blender training for the game development, too.

Yet I could do one further improvement without building anything myself. I found this wonderful “off-sim” Island I added to my place, which really extends my already impressive real estate, but first and foremost gives the eye some candy when looking at the sea, which always felt like there is something missing.

There was always something missing

a better view from the lower balcony

A better view

To motivate me some more, I promised myself this great mesh-boat, when I finished that milestone. I’ll have to wait that long or the boat will have no anchorage ;-)

Yet still other plans

June 12, 2013

Horrible times

Posted in Metaverse, User Experience tagged , , , at 2:22 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

It’s a bit complicated, but through no fault of my own, I was cut from the Internet for a painful period of 41 days. I had rudimentary internet access with my mobile phone, but I only had a subscription up to 1 GB which did not allow me to do much with it and I had to “save” it for the most important things.

At first I felt cognitively challenged. Instant access to nearly any information had become so normal that it is obviously somewhat a cybernetic part of me. And I had routines that depened on the internet. I have no TV (beside internet accessing software), I have no paper magazines anywhere but I’m a person that loves to read. Thankfully I found collections of eBooks later that I did download but was not too interested at the time. The loss of my prefered channels of communication hit me hard, too, leading to (tele)phone several hours a day.

But what really surprised me, was that I got kind of homesick – for my SL Home (and virtual life). It wouldn’t be that surprising if I’d use Second Life as regularly as I did two years ago, but sometimes there where even months I didn’t log in – yet here I was, graving for french riviera inspired place and my virtual body.

My personal relation with Second Life and Open Sim, espacially compared with open game worlds, amazes me over and over again.

Yet finally being able to go online again and catching up with all what has happened in between quickly got awful, too. I had to learn that a Second Life Friend, Wault Faulds (I mentioned him in at least one of my first posts here) had passed away, leaving behind his mourning (SL-)Spouse (whom I consider a Second Life friend, too). The rate of such experiences in Second Life is sadly so much higher, because, understandably, so many health-challenged persons use it. It would be funny if it wasn’t really sad that a world where death has no part in confronts you so much with it.

February 21, 2013

Login2Life now freely available on Youtube

Posted in Games, Metaverse, Second Life, Shows and Films tagged , , , , , , , at 6:22 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

I talked about it earlier on this blog. And here… and here. It was financed and first shown on public German television, so it was blocked to be made freely available until a year after premiere.

February 19, 2013

Too much social media?

Posted in Games, Second Life, User Experience tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:59 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

Since I have to prepare to do some real marketing for my games in the near future I’ve gone over all of my social networking sites, and even added some:

Sarah Roth (german) -> Klout monitors all of those it can get its hands on

Connected over WordPress and about.me. Facebook and Google Sites obscure the main account.

I declared my Facebook Page abandoned for now, but instead experimented with the Google Site, which works way better. Then I’d gone through my facebook subscriptions, adding or cancelling mine. That alone took quite some time. And for the sake of some networkers who want to see this, I made that about.me pages. First for my real life and than I thought I should make one for SarahAndrea Royce too, and connect them, which somehow makes them both more interesting, as I do different things as each identity.

And I think I will abandon this blog, too. Not because I don’t want to write as SarahAndrea Royce anymore, but because WordPress sucks compared to Blogger.com (again a win for Google)

And if you wonder, why I wrote this blog post. It was not only to inform, but also to have an overview at hand.

Taken from the article: 30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore

February 15, 2013

Starting up by downgrading my workplace? Part 1

Posted in Development tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:55 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

It’s usually not that much in the focus of the readers of the blog and while I did drop it occasionally, my real life avatar is located at the wonderful city of Zürich, Switzerland. A place thats quality of live was repeatadly prized as the city providing the most quality of life (now it has lost the first place to Vienna.), and its not hard to see why:

Mittagspause

That is a photo I shot at a break after lunch. Switzerland is not only beautiful, it has also some of the biggest salaries worldwide, which includes “lower” Jobs like a Mc Donalds employee who goes home after hours of burger flipping each valued with at least 20 Swiss franks (CHF), and a CHF is roughly about an US dollar. Rents (Swiss people prefer to live in rented flats) and grocery are pretty expensive, especially meat. So its a bit evened out. But everything else costs about as much as anywhere else, so each frank you earn over your basic needs will get you better clothes, cars and other things not beginning with the letter ‘c’.

No wonder car connoisseur is a common hobby. I live in an area, where there live 51% foreign people and which has pretty much an image as one for the poor, yet there is a garage only a few minutes from my flat that has a Porsche 959 and various other Porsche preziosa as well as a BMW M1 (no that is not the sport version of the current 1xx coupe).In a pretty easy to break in tin-built building. So you can guess the crime rate is also very low. An official Ferrari Dealership is in the next quarter (they are called cities, but in every other country they would be called quarters of Zuerich). I myself had an, actually cheap and old, Porsche as daily driver and later on got a classic Ferrari as a nice addition to it (which was, by the way, in the end the cheapest car I ever had), which is actually pretty stupid, as public transportation is excellent and often much faster, and you don’t have to worry about parking space that is sparse, even in rural areas.

Bodenseetour2007Esprit500GT430SpideMaserati3200430Spider430Coupe512
Photo by Julian Köppe. Exotics aren’t that exotic if you see them every day. In Zürich that includes Aston Martins, which is a miracle to me, because there aren’t produced that many. Half of Aston Martins production seems to be sold to Zürichs citizens.

February 8, 2013

#DemoFriday A first view on Playmory

Posted in Development, Games, Played tagged , , , , , , , at 7:20 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

as it was requested on Twitter, I hereby publish a very early demo (only for two players) of playmory. Click for the Executable.

I really hope someone enjoys it, because I didn’t know that copying the project doesn’t create a fork and saves changes back to the original folder. So I lost todays work while creating it.

February 7, 2013

Gamemaker (GML) Asynchronus Eventhandling

Posted in Development, Tools tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:03 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

While I was working on my february entry for #OneGameAMonth I ran into a problem. You see, Gamemaker is really good to develop games that follow a certain shape. But as soon as a game gets away from this scheme a bit and needs more individual coding, it’s not really that good. While objects play a vital part, in GML (The [G]ame[m]aker [l]anguage) their usage is somewhat limited. And what became especially problematic was the lack of Events.

See, events are a wonderful thing. Other objects register for the happening and one objects then, e.g. after a certain activity is finished, notifies the other objects. Not really knowing anything about them.

Gamemaker only provides a very limited kind inside the object, where they are essential on how gamemaker works. So its a bit confusing that they missed out on a more global scale. So without that, I had to trick around with global variables and status checks in the step events (which means code that is run through at the rate of the FPS) a ka very expensive one. And the more you do it, the more confusing it gets. It still was working fine when I finished multiplayer, but when I finished the first try on the singleplayermode the cardhouse crashed.

And instead of spending days on debugging, I instead decided to delete this kind of code completely (which meant I had a whole workday to get a working multiplayerversion again, too) and built my own eventmanagement system. And somewhat gnawing with a naming convention that is near on Gamemakers native functions to make it easy for other users to use it.

I have made a Zipfile with 3 Objects and 4 functions that you can import to your Gamemaker project (you can, but don’t have to, place them in an own group)  and it will provide you with the following three functions:

event_add(id, name, userEvent);

id = object that throws the event
name = the Name of the event (e.g. “animation_over”)
userEvent: The number of the user event to trigger if the event is fired

event_fire(name);
or
event_fire(id, name);

id = object that throws the event (default is the calling object)
the Name of the event (e.g. “animation_over”)

event_delete(name);
or
event_delete(id, name);
id = object that the event should be deleted for (default is the calling object)
name = the Name of the event (e.g. “event_animation_over”)

! always use this in the destroy event of your object to avoid memory leaks !

Once again the download link: EventHandlingGMX.zip

And please ignore the advertisement below, that’s not the download!

January 30, 2013

While I’m in the last hours of January

Posted in Games, Played, User Experience tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:47 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

and my #OneGameAMonth game development (see here for more information) I needed a rest. And recently I got my betakey for Ingress, so I made a walk and played a game with my Android Phone and my real life Avatar. But that weather was not helpful:
Ingress, Augmented Reality Game

November 18, 2012

No matter how long you kept a low profile

Posted in Second Life, Shows and Films, User Experience tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:16 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

As soon, as you give in to spent a bit more time in SL, the things to do can get a bit overwhelming. Only friday I was granted being a beta tester for my favorite SL car manufacturer Pro Street Cars, and started to test an update to their SUV “Commander” as official as well as as private vehicle.

GTA in SL

Suddenly I found myself Ambushed in what appears to be GTA III with a car the quality of a GTA IV. Good news, the commander is bulletproof

And spent the night at a Jaynine Concert kicking of the Machinima Expo 2012.

Kickoff Machinima Expo 2012

Nice Manhatten jazzclub

But the next morning (well more like afternoon) as soon as I wanted to write my report I had to leave. Draxtor invited me over to the panelscreenings of the Machinima Expo.

Machinima Expo 2012

There were many (SL-)famous people there… including Superstar Flufee.

Then I had to miss a few panels because there was an interesting talk at Virtual Ability Island

Talk about complex disease diagnosis

And than made it offworld to livetalks on TEDyouth and finally back to the Machinima Expo primarily for the panels Draxtor, Olibith and Daniel Moshel (Login2Life) attended. Which made a fun fact. In a 24 hour time frame I met all people who I know of who played a role in the production of Login2Life (yet unamed, Pooky Amsterdam), Jaynine Scarborough, Draxtor, Gentle Heron, Olibith (who was in the WoW parts, but is a bit active in SL now, too) and producer Daniel Moshel.

Yet after all that I was exhausted and didn’t attend the after party. Yet today it goes on. This morning I continued the testing of the Commander

A SVU in its natural habitat

Yet Pro Street Cars doesn’t pay for gas :-(

And was actually a bit sad, because by the way of testdrive I explored many yet unvisited areas of rural Heterocera and it became obvious that Linden Lab doesn’t invest much at keeping the mainland in good shape.

B Roads

Actually, Nowadays an SUV in rural SL really makes sense. As you can see here, Gouverneur Linden has lost his interest in the roads and they decay. Some places there are even small hills on the road.

And now on it goes with the last parts of the Machinima Expos that will be finalized by Will Wright himself. Maybe if there’s a Q&A I will address the thing about B Roads and other issues I have with the maintenance of mainland.

Back for the Final

Back for the final behind the silver screen in Midnight Manhattan Reverie

Anyhow that was one hell weekend…

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