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.

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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 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 13, 2012

In remembrence of Lego

Posted in Metaverse, User Experience tagged , , , , at 6:36 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

No the company is not dead, but what it once was (no its not me in the photo, but its similar to the peaces I had as a child).

Imagine Linden Lab would make two Grids.First they woudl gradually make SL more of a typcical MMORPG. Every Avatar comes with some basic weapons from the start and there is a lot to shoot, depending on the current lizenced movie franchise you have to fight Dark Wizards, Evil Pirates, Lucnans or whatever. You still can built everything but better make it fortresses and weapons, because conflict is everywhere. Their am only view female Avatars to select from, all highly sexualized, and most females you see in the (now really a) game are Bots who act as plotdevice, like being a hostage to be freed.

While certainly there are people who would like that, a lot of people would wander away, don’t you think?

Thats when Lindenlab decides they need a second grid for those people, who obviously have different needs. The second grid brings a lot back, like the ability to built clothes that are not armour and houses that are not fortresses. But again they don’t allow the freedom that once was. Marketing has said that those others love pastellcolors, so buldingcomponents are more broad and themed. No Prims anymore, only detailed meshes, so the basic “sweet” theme stays constant.

Do you think, that would be a good idea? Well, Lego did:

What once was a real life Version of what Second Life is for Kids, Build everything, be immersed in it (I think thats a difference between the age groups), and was a toy boys and girls could enjoy, and Alberto Knox once asked young philosophie apprentice Sophie:
“Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world?”

Well children who read Sophies world today might not understand the question and its implication, especially if they are, like Sophie, girls who nowadays get to see only a Barbie knockoff with a Lego label.

Why do people think its neccesary to have _only_ genderdivided toys? What happened here was that Lego started a marketing for only those people they thought of the biggest group of customers they assumed they had, which than came a selffulfilling prophecy until they asked how they could regain the other group, and thought, with even more specialiced stuff.

The sets are not even marketed as a group of peaces anymore, and as I read in a comment to a similar article, a father can’t get his son to built anything other than whats pictured on the box, its what he wished, not the parts.

In other words, there is nothing left that once made Lego the most ingenious toy in the world, I’m sorry, Alberto Knox. And Sophies World is a lot a shorter read this days, when in it ends with Sophia giving Alberto blank stares.

Let a real expert make the last words:

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.

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