BURN2 is Almost Here!

There is definitely a melancholy setting in this month of October. It’s the beginning of another change in the air. Saying good-bye to summer, saying good-bye to all the summer parties. And, of course leaving the memories behind on the desert playa of Burning Man.

In here. In the virtual world of Second Life, there are only a few days left to the BURN2. I wonder how many real life Burners will be there mimicking and recreating the incredible art that I saw just a few weeks ago.

Big Poppa created this video out of a bunch of snaps that he took during the blazing heat and horrific dust storms that probably wiped out his favorite camera. I feel the melancholy in the music chosen as I listen and look at the photos.

This year, I am not part of Burning Life or as it is now called BURN2. I didn’t try to get a plot or purchase one either. Though frustrated with the land grab last year, I really enjoyed that part of the “game.” The attempt was madness and I loved it.

This year, I will be an attendee oohing and ahhing over the rich display of the builder’s art and creations. I will go to the myriad parties and have a blast. And, I will dream of someday becoming one of those fabulous builders.

Art really is my life. I live and breathe it everyday with visual, musical and technical applications. This place called Second Life holds a promise to each and everyone of us. That we can become artists in our own way, in our own time.


Viewer 2.0 Upgraded

raftwet jewell

wet builders in second life

I was a naysayer when I first checked out Viewer 2.0. Argh! I hated the way the right side menu jolted out decreasing the window by half. I especially hated the huge image of the view box. Too big and extra clicks to go back in forth between vertical/horizontal and orbit. In the old viewer, I use both keyboard to navigate and also use the view box when I wanted to use only one hand.

The inventory file list for the new viewer “bounced.” When you scroll or look for something, the entire file list has a tendency to bounce up and down. But, I knew it was a glitch that could be fixed. Several other annoying things discouraged me and I quickly left and went back to the original viewer.

I coud hear the nagging in the back of my head, though. “This is the direction we need to go. Browser-based format.” So, one weekend with a bad cold, I hunkered down with my alt and dove in. My alt is a builder only. She has no friends, no groups; she just builds. I use her when I need to focus on a WET Builders project. There is a vanity in using your main avatar as you want your name attached to the creation. When I use her, I know that no one will know that I built it, and that makes me reluctant to use her for anything but practice.

wet builders

raftwet jewell of wetlands group

At first, I was hovering over the keyboard… hunched over, hands tight, wrists in pain. I couldn’t relax. When I use the old viewer, I am almost in dream state when I build. I reset my entire preferences on my computer to address the tension in my hands. I took off all the soft touches and set it at a default setting until I could get used to the new viewer.

Today, I love the tidiness of my desktop. Gone are all the little windows that I used to shove into corners. Now the window is large and easy to use and with one click it disappears into the right side. The annoying IMs and blue notices are now at the bottom of the screen. Small orange dot highlights tiny thumbnails letting me know that someone has “called” me. And the notices flash briefly, and then, disappear into a nice tidy little envelope.

second life builders

wet builders in second life

I got into a rhythm building multiple boxes stacked on top of each other. Each with the same texture, but I changed the variables of the texture for each box. A simple script was placed into each box; each script was modified slightly so that the texture changes were subtly different. A good practice build for using the new viewer.

Then I went into a sculpty build. Same thing. Get into a rhythm and play. I could feel myself start to relax. My hands were loose and fluid. The inventory though was still a bugger. The bounce is annoying. I kept thinking that maybe Linden Lab was trying to tell me to decrease the inventory load! LOL!

By Sunday, I decided to delete the old viewer. I didn’t want to fall backwards to an abandoned viewer. I have been here for a long time, and I have watched the changes sometimes in dismay. But, each change brings new challenges, opens more doors and I didn’t want to be that old stuck-in-the-mud kind of person who won’t accept change. Better that I jump in with both feet and help to fine tune the system.

riverland and wetlands regions

raftwet jewell building on wetlands group regions

I know there are glitches in the viewer. I have heard from my builder friends that there are issues with machinima, scripting, etc. but I hope they hang in and file the reports necessary for LL to fix these glitches. Second Life is beta and always has been. This is a testing ground for the future and those who leave over a viewer upgrade are short-sighted and probably shouldn’t be here anyway.

wet builders raftwet jewell

wet builders : raftwet jewell on riverland

I am not an expert, but I can see where this is going. The future of digital worlds is the internet. Maybe not the one we have now, but it will be a network of all digital worlds including both real and virtual. There will be no division between the worlds. All worlds will be interconnected for artists, consumers, businesses, retailers, services, educators and governments.

Those of us who stay involved will be rewarded in knowing that we helped with this new world. When I hold my future grandchild on my knee, I can tell them how I helped create the digital world they use everyday. The excitement I feel now is one of a child on the night before Christmas. I can’t wait to open up all those colorful, shiny packages under the tree.

For more pictures, see raftwet jewell in flickr.

Builders Land: Sandbox Limitations

In 2004, I tried to do Second Life, but my computer just wouldn’t handle the visual assault and components of SL. So, I had to wait and meanwhile, I studied many hours about virtual worlds and their applications to the business world. And now, here I am working for whitewater rafting companies and helping them to promote rafting in our world and in real life.

I build. I can’t stop building. It’s like having a personal sandbox here on the land. Even when I finish a project… I go back, I see something that’s just not right. So, you tear it out and do it again. Sometimes, doing it again makes it worst. So, you tear that out and start fresh. I’m never done.

Many of my artist friends have told me that building is an art. And as artists, we criticize our own work constantly. I am my own worst critic. Never satisfied… especially after seeing someone else’s build.

The worst problem at this time is my prim count. I’m obsessed with counting prims. And the scripted water is causing lag on the sim. How do I create my vision without sacrificing the servers? It’s a constant battle.

I did tear out two large waterfalls recently. They were “old style” with primitive rotation scripts to handle the movement of the water flow. Too many rocks were needed to “hide” the seams when I built it originally. Way too many prims for the effect. Now I’m using new textures and new scripts that make the water look so real.

The builds go so much faster now, but it makes me want to create several more waterfalls and rivers… again, too many prims and too much lag. The limitations can be frustrating for builders…

I also started creating particles because I just love the beauty of the event when you release them. Stars, dots, shapes exploding into a kaleidescope of colors that you can wear or release around you. Practicing particles on the land creates a horrible lag, and I’ve crashed frequently while playing with the scripts. Oh, but the results are sooo fun.

Well, it’s Saturday morning, and DJ Audrey just sent a tp to her party. I’ll be checking it out since everyone will be there. I’ll dance with Ronnie, Bio, and I’m sure Aaron will be there… lots of the ZenDivaz ppl and Mack’s group always come out to hear Audrey… then I’ll go check out Cherry’s newest art installations in Venice or her sim.

Whew, it will be a full day of partying with my best friends in SL. Hugs to all of them… they make working and building easier. They support me by helping me in every way they can. I’m off to dance now… no crashing today, pleeez, Lindens!

Notes: this is an old post from November 24, 2007. That’s why there are some very old references… more to come soon….