July 8, 2013
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.
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.
January 30, 2013
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:
November 18, 2012
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.
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.
Then I had to miss a few panels because there was an interesting talk at Virtual Ability Island
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
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.
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.
Anyhow that was one hell weekend…
January 11, 2012
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”.
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!
November 23, 2011
When one thing is true, its that to experience and explore all aspects of virtual worlds you need all the computer power, you can get. Yet my Computer is two years old and originally came with a Vista 32 bit installation with a cheap update option for the then soon to be released Windows 7. While it came with 4 GB of ram, the 32bit Windows systems hid a GB from me, witch did not bother me that much that time, 64bit Systems where said to be all kinds of troubles.
But that changed after I found this new hobby. Because I’m not a gamer I never looked out for graphic power, so I upgraded my graphiccard last month. While the need of ram and processor power immediately dropped for the SL client, on the other hand I needed more and more power for the basic stuff. A website I set up on IIS 7 and MS SQL Server (the Windows webserver and powerfull database) and needed Apache and MySQL running for the Grid too, and that’s before Robust and OpenSim, the two peaces of software that make your grid real, was even mentioned. Adobe Premiere, an advanced video editing Software I liked to use for making machinima, even only runs on 64 bit systems to start with
So I decided to the route of what I wanted to avoid all along. I work in information technology and we have a saying “never touch a running system”. And its oh so true, over the course of two years I installed and organized so many things that I knew it will be very hard to get everything up to the same level again. Because you can’t just update a running system, you have to set it up new from scratch.
So sunday I finally did was inevitable all along. I started to save all databases and a view other configurations, where possible, and did it.
I’m up to 80% of the functionality again, yet, three days later, and I still run into autoupgradeissues, problems my computer had from the start (when it was turned of once it has real problems to boot again), and the restoring of my Grid is not that easy that it looked at first, because there where changes to the MySQL Server itself that I didn’t make a note anywhere about and the saved backup in text form (SQL) did not recreate the database so complete that I could start it again. Since the data is preserved in there, I think I can recreate it complete, but it will be hard work.
So maybe, my Grid will even be down a few days longer – and in the worst case I (Avatar) loose my inventory.
Its a very hurtful way to get a gigabyte of ram I owned from the start, and its not even a technical necessity, its a marketing decision from Microsoft not to allow higher Ram on 32 bit. But it paved the way should I want to upgrade to 8GB (its maximum with the board) and since the problem of all this services running in the background stays I think of reactivating an older computer (Athlon 64×2 with 2GB) for those and keep server and desktop business strictly separated.
July 14, 2011
When I am a fairy, I’m often confused for an elven girl. Yet the cousinhood is closer to mermaids.
I found a good description over here:
Faerie kin can be divided into numerous classes, or races. Fairie is a collective term for many different beings, usually possessing magical powers. Many fairies have a human form, but some have animal or human/animal shapes. Who they are and how many there is, is something that varies among the facts I’ve found. So I give you all the classes I’ve found, and you can decide for yourself who you think are fay and who’re not.
Four major classes can be found:
The fay is mainly used to signify enchanters and enchantresses with supernatural powers. Some fay are mortal, others are supernatural beings or are part human and part supernatural. Two well-known fays are the Lady of the Lake and Morgan le Fay.
Certain monsters and demons having a connection with fairies and/or having some of the characteristics of fairies.
The nature fairies are mermaids, water-spirits, tree-spirits and such.
This may be considered “true” fairies. Two main groups: The communal fairies, who belong to a group, tribe, and/or nation and live together, or the individual or solitary fairies, who are usually associated with a place, occupation, or household.
For the most part communal fairies live in a Fairie land and may have a loosely organized social structure, or a distinct structure with a king and/or queen.
The solitary fairies are of two general types. Some have a connection with humans, others avoid them. The hobgoblins are friendly spirits who live in houses and do domestic chores, such as helping bread to rise and caring for unattended babies. The brownie is another type of solitary Fairie. The banshee is a solitary Fairie who wails to foretell the death of a family member. The leprechaun is a solitary Fairie who shuns human contact.
Those four groups consist of different creatures, and here are some of them:
Gnomes are earthly creatures, guardians of sacred places or things. Their weakness is sparkly things like precious stones. They make beautiful things out of stones and gems.
Sprites are playful nature spirits that live in ponds, trees or other cool places. They often play with nymphs and butterflies and were charged with changing the color of the leaves in autumn. They are muses to artists and poets and can bond to humans or elves, in which case they stay for the rest of their lives.
Elves are carefree nature spirits who dance and play stringed instruments. They live underground in in springs…sometime seven in air…They aren’t bad, but sometimes their pranks have been fatal to humans, but never intentionally. Elves apparently came in several distinct varieties. Though they were a rather mournful lot, one breed of elves was an invisible kitchen helper for good servants, the other the bringer of illness and misery. They can be of both sexes, or sexless. They can have wings, often do, and are no more than 30 cm high. Originally a part of Scandinavian mythology. The good elves lived in the air and the trees, and the evil ones underground.
Dwarfs are often thought of as strictly male, but some taletellers tell of female dwarfs…but who can tell?? Their beard is as thick as a male’s!! (ok.. some say they don’t have beards! Not even the males!!) They live for mining gold and silver and live in groups. They are masters at metalworking.
Jinn (Arabian). Spirits with shape shifting ability. They’re normally transparent, composed of flame or vapor. Some are good, while others are evil. If they take human shape, they are generally handsome if good, and horribly hideous if evil. They may also be of an enormous size and can make themselves invisible This means they cam disappear into earth, air, or through solid objects. They usually live in deserted buildings, water cisterns and wells, rivers, crossroads and markets. Ghoul, that haunt burial grounds and feeds upon dead human bodies is thought to be an inferior order of the jinn.
Mermaids are water-dwelling females with long-hair. Woman to the waist and a fish tail below. some say legs or two tails) She is musical. Often sings or plays the harp. They normally inhabits the sea, but may also be found in lakes, rivers, wells and other watery places. They have been known to warn of storms or other future events, and if one is seized, she can be forced to doso, or to perform other tasks. Mermaids may sometimes adopt land-dwelling children, making them their protector. Mermaids may also marry a land-dweller, or draw men to under the sea with them, either allowing them to live-in bliss or to be drowned, depending on her whim. Nixes are similar to mermaids, but are able to assume totally human form, but they always retain some mark of being non-human.
Goblins are pranksters, and are known to rearrange items in the house or tangle horses’ manes. On one page I found the beautiful analysis “As we near the 21st century, it seems obligatory to seethe goblins as representing the conflicts we all have within ourselves- most as ugly and mischievous as the goblins were known to be.”
Pixies are neat creatures.. They aern’t evil, but perform quite unkind tricks, like leading travelers astray or to steal naughty children. They like to pinch maids who don’t keep the house clean. They were often thought to be the souls of babies who had died before baptism.
Leprechauns. Shoemakers for the noble faeries of Ireland. They were cranky, solitary, and strangely enough, often seen by humans. A caught leprechaun tricks his captor into releasing him by telling him he can show him the way to the shoemaker’s great golden treasure, which the sad captor will never see, since the leprechaun will disappear before you know it…
Trolls. Nowadays, we often think of trolls as big, clumsy creatures who go around hitting people on the head with a hammer or something, but in the Middle Ages they were thought to have magical powers as fortune-telling.
Asrai are small, delicate water faeries. Fishermen might catch Asrai with his catch. When exposed to air they melt, leaving nothing more than water behind.
Brownies come out at night to finish work that’s been left unfinished. They are devoted to their household and expect nothing but a bowl of cream and a cake for their concern. Any offer of reward or clothing will drive the brownie away. Boggarts are “evil” brownies, they’ve often have been wronged by humans. They like tricking humans and often cause a great deal of trouble.
Changelings are fairies taking the place of a human child who has been stolen by other faeries. (in some stories like Scandinavian ones, changelings are Troll children) Parents may recover their own child if they can trick the changeling into revealing it’s age.
Selkies are faeries who put on seal skins and appear to be seals as they travel in the water. On land they shed their seal skins and have human form. A selkie maiden can be won as brides by stealing their seal skin as it lay on the beach, so they couldn’t return home.