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

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 Second Life, User Experience, Games 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

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…

May 26, 2012

I was memed, and I nearly missed it.

Posted in Grids, Second Life tagged , , at 6:15 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

Maddy Gynoid answered a meme on his (german) blog EchtVirtuell and asked me, among others, some questions.

But as I made a pause logging in to SL itself (and blogging about it) I was not reading SL blogs, too. (Sorry, RL really got me occupied, and not in a good way)

So here are his questions:

  1. Kannst du dich in eine virtuelle Welt so hineinversetzen, dass deine Wahrnehmung überwiegend von dieser Umgebung bestimmt wird? Kurz: Verspürst du Immersion?
  2. Wieviele Items hast du in deinem Inventar? (bei mehreren Grids nur das größte)
  3. Welches ist das für dich beste Machinima aus einer virtuellen Umgebung?
  4. Second Life wird in kürze neun Jahre alt. Glaubst du, es wird noch weitere neun Jahre bestehen?
  5. Identifizierst du dich mit deinem Avatar, oder ist es für dich nur eine Pixelpuppe, zu der du keinen Bezug hast?

Or in english:

  1. Can you get that much into a in a virtual world that your cognition is dominated by it? In short, do you experience immersion?Yes, I can and do. But only with Second Life or Open Sims. When I play games there is always a gocnitive distence between me and the games hero.
  2. How many Items do you have in your inventory. If you am on more than one grid, name the biggest.Second Life, about 22.000 Items. After multiple cleaning sessions!
  3. Which machinima do you think is the best of any virtual environment.Every machinima I made myself carries a special meaning at least to me 😉 But from the outside its still: http://vimeo.com/27009695 Other may have been funny, artfull or otherwise interesting, but this peace about beeing a child in SL and being able to do so much more fun thing from this perspective really got me.
  4. Second Life is become nine years old soon.Do you think it will last 9 years more?I joined Second Life at a point in time, when everyone thought it already dead. Its not. Second Life lives because for those who get into it, its great, and as long as those people am enough to make it profitable, I have no fear. Yet 9 whole years is a long time to predict anything. Think of 2003, when Second Life actually came to life. And all the things that were unheard of then (e.g. Cel-/mobilephones replacing many of the functions from computers and gaming handhelds).
  5. Do you identify with your avatar or is it just a pixelpuppet, you have no connection with?I Am Avatar. (Do I get a movie starring will Smith now?)
    No honestly, there are even issues that stemmed form it that may be part why I currently mainly use an avatar that is not so much similar to my real life. I did starting to get a bad feeling when I looked in the mirror and my similar, yet better looking avatar came to my mind.

March 13, 2012

An interesting journey… Part 1

Posted in Second Life tagged , , , , at 8:38 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

… or how I changed my Avatar and learned a lot.

I already wrote a lot about my “Avatar-Journey” on my About page. But this got a new turn, and one that gave me a lot of experience.

Sometime before Christmas I was on a shopping trip with an inworld friend, who is very conscious about realistic avatar design, immersion but on the other hand is male (not transgendered or transsexual) and has a female Avatar. Normally I did not waste much thought on it, but as I’m pretty interested in neurological, psychological and anthropological things it didn’t compete exactly with what I learned about mirror neurons, gender differences and a few other things, so I asked if, when immersion was so important for him, how he could live with an avatar of the other end of the sexual spectrum… I know it gave me the creeps when I tried to use a male avatar as funny cosplay (Doctor Who) or to try out some hunt gifts that were really exclusively made for male human avatars (lets see how that looks, oh nice, but…. uhm… PANIC).

He said how he started SL primarily for role playing and the idea was, to keep a bit of a distance from the character, and than stayed that way for other activities, too, and learned to get quite some fun out of it. E.G.  as male he never had a big interest in fashion, now with a female avatar, he found a new hobby in it, that would never be possible like that in RL.

This was right in the aftermath of a shared shopping tour (I’m by the way not the worlds greatest customer for inworld shopping) and I got some very nice and natural red hair. We than started to show us some of our precious dresses and I recognized that the red hair now does no longer match some of my favorite clothes and from that on I theorized, that light skins combined with the black hair  of typical asians , like many Japanese people are, really could wear anything. It was a small step from here to the idea of: “How would it be, to play a bit with an (Northeast-)Asian avatar?

That idea sticked and I took a look around. I found a free avatar, which was more south east asian, which I did not really like, but than I found Dr. Life who has a great collection of primarily Japanese skins (there is some typically Japanese make-up permanently done into it, so it could not be used for other east asian cultures) and I really fallen in love with the flagship one which has a price tag of more than 2000 L$. A bit much for just toying around, especially when considered, that I’d need matching hair too (there is a great collection at Dr. Life)

But hey, you only live once, and so I bought it and made my own shape, with the same body measurements that my other one and face that’s a little bit more generic eastasian than the one of the shape that came (nomod) with the skin, which had a stunningly beautiful face but with very typical Japanese features and a body that was as bit anorexic as it was unnatural.

This is how it turned out:

Leisure look

Skin and Hair:
Dr. Life

SilkGirl Anfgeng
Healhy Hair Mei-Wave
Top:
Izzies’s Tie Dye Top Purple
Pants and Shoes:
MIEL
MO PANTS Coal
VARSITY KICKS

Read the second part here

February 11, 2012

The customer, your enemy?

Posted in Second Life at 2:32 am by SarahAndrea Royce

When I buy something on the marketplace, I often write reviews with my honest opinion, because I think, that is what reviews are for.

Understandably, if a review is bad, the sellers am usually not happy about it. But for some, there is never anything they did wrong. Its their product, you, customer, have to be happy that the product is sold as it is at all!

I had one person who actually said she would write an (abuse, I think) report. OK, that was after I was calling her dim for the way she acted. In that particular case, it was a very cheap product (5 L$) which still was useless to me because it looked not anywhere near what the product description (and photo) promised, was set to full bright and concluded with the remark that, because its nomod, its completly useless for me. Well, she wrote in the product description that she does not want bad reviews because of the permissions. Yet the product was a texture on a typical 12 (actually 6) faces sculpt, often used for plants, and I think I have seen a fullperm version of this sculpt for free, so the no mod was completly unneccasary, there was simply no added value for it.

This is how it is marketed, and this is how it looks rezzed:

Bad roses

Click on it and set it to the highest resolution to see how badly the texture was cut and espacially how the “vase” is a bad joke. The marketplace picture is not the actual product, its just the texture, and the color of the background hides the ugly steps the borders make when shown against any other background.

The cheap price was no excuse for me, simply because you can get a lot of high quality flowers for that price, often intended as teaser for the higher priced products (and that worked often enough with me 😉  ) and, because of the price, I did not give her the worst possible notes.

Not even that, and she wants authorities to hunt me.

The other, very, very bad clash I had a while ago with the seller (he is not really the creator) of the F/O WINDY 2011

If you click on the link, you can see that the car has no reviews. That is simply because he made a new entry for it. The point is, the car is not bad for the 1000 L$ it is seen here. But it was marketed as a promo price and that the car later on will cost 4999L$. Inworld it had exactly that pricetag. And that puts it into premium range. Yet the car is not premium at all and even caused fatal scripting errors, when using the passenger seat.
passenger seat with animations doesn't work
Than there are JPEG compression fragments in the texture, on a level that would suggest an inexperienced builder.
JPEG Compression fragments
The script did not let me adjust the driving position (via menu) and the animations where not well made.
No chance of setting drivers seat position
And finally the camera position while driving was not really fixed and because I had custom cameraangles it was not driveable like that.
I wrote all that in my review, even missing something very relevant. The car is said to have 51 prims in the ad, yet it is a mesh car, and it has a serverweigh of 436(!) prims.

Pretty soon after it he contacted me. After a very violent opening he said that he would solve my problems, if I would delete the bad review (blackmailing? Nice, isn’t it?) I played along. So he gave me the newest version without the passenger seat problem, which he said was a bug of Second Life. I’m a software developer, if a software missbehaves because a 3rd party framework has a problem, no one will take that as an excuse, you have to make a workaround, which was obviously possible, as the newer version did not have this problem. Then we discussed the seating  problem, and he advised me how I can manually set the coordinates in the script, acting as if that was a feature I have overlooked. And quite naturally, the rest of my problems with the car he couldn’t fix. I pretty much learned that everything was done by someone else, the script was originally for drag-racers and if a I have a problem with the texture I should go and confront the designer. Nothing was his fault. And while he complained that he paid 50000 L$ for the script, he also said that he had sold 300 copies of the car (and noone ever complained!) so thats 300000 L$ already.

He finally muted me, because he didn’t like the fact that I tried to tell him how he could avoid those problems in the future. I didn’t delete the review, but made an comment on the review, telling what happened, he made a comment where he said that he just gave me an hour of personal support and how ungreatfull I am. Sell an appropriate peace of work, and you will not have to give support. If it is true, and no one ever complained, how many users never got their scripts fixed?

As the car, months later, is still sold at 1000l$ so the “later 4999L$, get one now” was a lie, too. The extremly high landimpact suggests its a little edited import of a “free” model from the internet.

Still, this guy feels perfectly entitled to virtually yell at unsatisfied customers.

No, I will not stop to write honest reviews, and when sellers react like this, I know which shops to avoid.

February 9, 2012

Late to the party

Posted in Second Life tagged , , , , , at 2:42 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

I finally got addicted to Meeroos.

In a german forum I regularly visit, Durandir Darvin gifted me a pair and I thought some pets might be a good addition to my home.

These are the two, Akira and Fluffy:

I was gifted a pair of meeroos

Then they had their first nest and I thought I could not let newhatched Akascha stay without a partner of her own, and bought a matching nest from another player, and now? Look at me:

My Meeroo garden on the roof
About two month in and I’ve got 12 living Meeroos and sell nests. And I know pretty well that will be not the highest number I will ever own.

Its my first contact with breedables, I never really liked other ones, most of them are pretty boring and produce a lot of lag, and I renember a hunt where I saw a lot of horsebreeders stalls, all with very sick and green horses, obviously because the hobby was abandoned. The Meeroos are different. They do not produce that much lag, they interact with you, and sparkle when yo pet them. There is only one downside. I started the Meeroos at the time, when the hype was over, and the secondary marketprices, that will eventually come down as each type of breadable has an exponential growth are down, and it even gets hard if you just want to gift certain nests, as you won’t find someone who will want or even need them. For many, the kick of making a hit with a Meeroonest selling for more than a 100’000 L$ was part of the fun, even if those might have been rare cases fo luck anyway.

The companie that makes the Meeroos has announced that there will be a fresh start with Nocturnals which might revive the hype, but they are about 4 Month over their initial timeline for it and many breeders didn’t want to wait any longer and abandondend the Meeroos alltogether.

By the way, even when you’re not into Meeroos, you can come over and pet mine, all you need is a hud and there is a giver for it. So if you like to pet them or want to see if I have Nests that you can trade or buy, come over to my place at Algira.

January 11, 2012

Ruined

Posted in Grids, Second Life, User Experience tagged , , , , , , , at 10:16 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

The OpenSim Provider Keitly was the first to sell (OpenSim-)land pretty cheap due to a trick. When no user is on a sim, it goes into a suspension mode thus not needing any server resources. Now Linden Lab has copied this trick to save real money. Other than Kitley, Linden Labs savings am not reflected in price savings for Linden Labs customers. As the CEO said, all that is to be expected, is that Second Life land fees do not increase in 2012.

Still one could think its a good thing, if the company makes Second Life more profitable, the product is safe, and as long as it doesn’t hurt someone?

Well it does. I rented mainland espacially because of the neighbourhood to the protected(!) Route 2 and its wateraccess because I like to make tours in air, on water and on land. And now its ruined with that “innovation”.

Missing neighbourhood

1. Sims am not visible while noone is on them.
2. have to boot from suspension when you enter them, which may take a minute and does not preload the scenerie.
3. I can only see the sim my land is on. Good thing my land is more in the center

So its simply not possible anymore to travel fluently with, lets say even a slow 10 mp/h speed over mainlandregions.

I feel screwed by Linden Lab!

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