Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just learned how to embed video from BlipTV. So here is the Daughter of Gears machinima.

#3 Greenies

#3 Greenies

11 Madcow Cosmos - Unfinished build
10 Spiral Walcher - "Tunnel of Light"
9 Ub Yifu's Avatar - Don Quixote
8 Jojorunoo Runo - Pervy room
7 Madpea - Swamp Hotel
6 Nonnatus Korhonnen - Needlebirds
5 Light Waves - "Night Dreaming"
4 AM Radio - "The Far Away"
3 Greenies

I went over to Greenies the other day to make the machinima for this post. Unfortunately the Greenies I remember was from about a year ago and the one there right now has some flaws which would have likely dropped it a few spots. I feel a bit guilty saying this as I really should not penalize Rezzable for trying to make the sim profitable. The first flaw is that the telehub is on some kind of disco table now which removes the whole lead up to the sim. The second flaw is all the marketing stuff laying about which is just distracting. The third is the rally car racing numbers all over which somehow break the feeling of Immersion. I understand why these things were added and perhaps they have increased traffic and made them some money. I think what I will do is just talk about the Greenies I remember.

Bryn Oh looks off into the distance Happy Days style.....

The first time I went to greenies I began in a tunnel. Continuing along it brought me to a torn piece of paper with some old comic book adverts. Inside was a great little jet pack which I actually still use. I wandered down this tunnel and came out inside a house. I remember looking through all the rooms and wondering why the front of the house was missing. Stepping out brought me into a massive room and I realized that I was now very very tiny. When I turned to look back I saw that the house I had just come out of, was actually a Dolls house and the tunnel was for mice. This moment made the sim for me. I love the planning that went into keeping the first part of my journey mysterious until I actually walked out of the house and looked back. (that's why moving the telehub was a bad idea)
The main builders for Greenies were the wonderfully talented pair of Littletoe Bartlett and Pavig Lok mixed in with some Light Waves. Their original vision was just a giant room with a bunch of mischievous Green aliens getting into trouble. It was the first build I had come across that had production values which seemed professional. It reminded me of Toy Story or Monsters Inc.
It is a mix of humour and fantastic building skills. It has a story and was very unique to use scale in such a way. I still don't think I have seen another sim seriously play the scale game, probably because Greenies was done so well that everyone is afraid to. Would love to see someone try though.
Moving from place to place finding little aliens looking at playboy magazines, smoking pot or getting into other forms of trouble kept me flying around experiencing the giant sim from all angles. Its wonderfully planned out and has lots of little details to keep you searching. Its still a fantastic sim just ... less so.

This takes you to where you should begin at Greenies

Thursday, February 19, 2009

#4 The Far Away

#11 Madcow Cosmos - Unfinished build
#10 Spiral Walcher - "Tunnel of Light"
#9 Ub Yifu's Avatar - Don Quixote
#8 Jojorunoo Runo - Pervy Room
#7 Madpea - Swamp Hotel
#6 Nonnatus Korhonnen - Needlebirds
#5 Light Waves - "Night Dreaming"
#4 AM Radio - "The Far Away"

AM Radio is a master at creating mood within his builds. He generally works around creating a sense of calm through the use of horizontal lines. He then adds elements to slightly warp it. He has a touch of De Chirico's surrealism mixed with the warm colour palette of a Caravaggio. Quite possibly he is also influenced by Jacques-Louis David as he has recreated "The Death of Marat" in a build. Who else? possibly Jean-Francois Millet. You would have to ask him I guess. So the build I chose of his is called "The Far Away". He has done more advanced work since this build but there is one element within it that kind of pushes it past others for me. That is the time of day he has achieved. The background gives the impression of a storm approaching. Its a bit dark and grey but the wheat in the field has a wonderful yellow glow on its tips. This glow contrasts nicely and reminds me of a patch of sunlight getting through moments before the storm clouds close the gap. Its a very particular and fairly rare moment. And I like that he specifically wanted to portray it.
Beyond this is a really finely crafted train, a surreal cabinet with a table and violin and other elements which twist the reality for the viewer. Many of these elements are interactive. Touching something may trigger an animation or rez things such as the chairs in the machinima.
Its a unique sim in that quite a few people come there to just stand around. They like to see their avatar in this environment. This kind of thing doesn't happen very often in the multitude of shopping malls strewn across SL. I am also going to guess that the wheat field design of using hollow cones overlapping is a design which AM pioneered. The final thing which makes this sim one of my favorites is that he is often there. And when he is his avatar adds to the atmosphere. Especially if he has his Millet sticks on his back (L'Hiver, Les bucheronnes). Probably my favorite mood sim on the entire grid.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Light Waves's Night Dreaming

#11 Madcow Cosmos - Unfinished build
#10 Ub Yifu's Avatar - Don Quixote
#9 Spiral Walcher - "Tunnel of Light"
#8 Jojorunoo Runo - Pervy Room
#7 Madpea - Swamp Hotel
#6 Nonnatus Korhonnen - Needlebirds
#5 Light Waves - "Night Dreaming"

Light Waves might be the oldest and most famous of second life artists, both as Light Waves and as Starax his alt. He is a bit of a recluse and his profile would lead us to believe he has left second life. However, I don't believe a word of it seeing as we are both in a mutual group where I can see the last time he logged in. I have never spoken to him, so much of what I will say about "Night Dreaming" will be my own interpretation.
I am not sure if my picks up until now have been predictable and I don't know if the remaining five will be either. But having a Light Waves sculpture as a top 10 is probably quite common for art enthusiasts. I am a big fan of his Degas like Ballerina as far as straight beauty and craftsmanship goes, but for me a more complete work is Night Dreaming. I believe this work to be inspired by the sculpture Nike of Samothrace. Created 200 years before Christ was born. Nike of Samothrace depicts the goddess landing on the prow of a ship. She lands while a strong wind blows against her with her wings spread wide. In Nike of S you can feel the wind in the posture and in the beautifully crafted drapery over her body.
In Light Waves version he begins with her as the marble sculpture we might see in the Louvre but then he brings her to life. She moves from stone into a living being. Her rigid drapery becomes fluid and the wind we think we can see when she is stone comes forth and interacts with her. Light Waves uses the features of second life to take the sculpture further. Further than his Ballerina. And that to me is what makes this successful and a distinctive piece of second life art. He took advantage of the medium and made use of it.
Second life is a medium with all the tools of a well stocked studio. If it were real life this studio would be full of wood and tools, machinery and artist paints. It would contain all manner of things to work with and that is what Light Waves takes advantage of. This is not an imported jpeg of a painting put on a prim. Because that is a waste of the medium. That would be like walking into this fantasy workshop and seeing a piece of paper and pencil you are to use for drawing up your fantastic plans. Taking the pencil and drawing a stick man while ignoring the many tools around you. There is no comparison between a painting seen in real life to that of a jpeg. A jpeg pretty much loses all the emotive brush strokes and textures. There are always exceptions and Four Yip's oil paintings of Avatars is one as I imagine everyone would love to see their avatar immortalized into the traditional medium of paint. Her paintings take Pinocchio and turn him into a real boy.
What I also like about Night Dreaming (if it is based on Nike of Samothrace) is that he has taken a damaged sculpture (no head) and renewed it. He has taken something from a time period before God existed. A time when there were many Gods and Goddesses. A time we can barely imagine and transported it into a virtual world which they obviously couldn't conceive of, but also which many living people can't understand. Telling my father about second life creates the same reaction as I would get if I said I could see ghosts. He brought it into a frontier of art which all the great masters of the past would have given their left leg to have access to. Its somehow poetic.

So if you take this slurl to black swan then fly first and
be aware you have 2 min before they zap you

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ravenous clock

Valentina Kendal
sent me this neat link to a steampunk clock. Its beautifully crafted and really something to see.

Careful though.. its on of those things that make you feel like everything you have ever made is in fact crap.

Monday, February 9, 2009

#6 Nonnatus Korhonnen

#11 Madcow Cosmos - unfinished build
#10 Spiral Walcher - Tunnel of Light
#9 Ub Yifu's avatar - Don Quixote
#8 Jojorunoo Runo - Pervy room
#7 Madpea - Swamp Hotel
#6 Nonnatus Korhonnen- Needlebirds

(Needlebirds may not be what nonn named them)

Nonnatus is an Australian artist so it's not really surprising that his Needlebirds are a bit snarky and dangerous. I mean isn't every creature in Australia able to eat you or poison you in some way? If sharks evolve a set of legs so they can run up on the beach and bite people it will happen in Australia first. Ok maybe I watch too much or not enough nature shows.
There are many things that I really like about Nonn's Needlebirds, to begin with they are beautifully textured. He has taken a fairly simple design and through the use of his texture made a creature that to me surpasses many of the more complex designs out there. Its simple and beautiful. I enjoy just looking at them.
But to just look at them would be a mistake as they also have the best personality of any creature I have yet seen in second life. They are a bit shy but curious. When you arrive they all come forward like excited dogs to greet you. They are a seemingly sweet little creature yet when you turn your back and walk away the little buggers jump forward and poke you. And if there are enough of them around then there is always one taking an opportunity to give you a little poke. It reminds me of the nature shows where a pack of hyenas or wolves have surrounded a large prey. Little nips here and there but moving out of range when confronted.
When viewing the video please imagine them in a tropical environment or perhaps amongst sandy dunes. I originally saw them at the NPIRL/Rezzable collaborative show Garden of Earthly delights based on the Bosch triptych. There they walked a surreal landscape and were perhaps my favorite interpretation of the theme. I have seen some of Nonn's new behavioural creations and they are fantastic. One that goes through an entire life cycle will be part of an Immersive build that I am currently creating. He is a special talent and if you would like to see the Needlebirds then give Nonn a shout and he can tell you how to get there. Its on the Caerleon collaborative island but i can't really explain how to get there. Ok I will try. Fly over my long build.. over the mountain tops and you will see a set of maze like walkways on the ground. On the walkway is a canister with one of the Needlebirds in it, that is the tp point.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Daughter of Gears

Daughter of Gears machinima

A few months ago I was approached by RightasRain Rimbauld to build something for Black Swan sim. Black Swan is a sim which is populated by most of the legendary builds of the artist Light Waves. It drops you at the beginning of a path that progresses through a series of traps. So when I tried to think of something for this sim I wanted to use what was already there to try and create a story. I wanted to create a narrative that would fit with the theme and maybe create a reason for the traps.
The result was a build called The Daughter of Gears. It is a story about a mother who watches as her daughter becomes sick. And as her life begins to fail she transfers her daughters soul into a vessel. A machine. When the townspeople find out what she has done they come to take the daughter. They see her as an abomination against all their beliefs and to all they hold true. But to take her daughter they must first get by her.
The mob climbs the tower and reaches the top. The mother fights them and wins. But is mortally wounded. And as she lay dying she realizes that her daughter will now live forever alone and lonely. A girl in the body of a machine in a hostile world. So the daughter of gears goes into stand-by mode like a computer. And in stand-by she dreams of her mother for eternity.
The story is made up of four poems. Each poem is found at different parts of the tower and slowly tells the story as you climb.

They call her obscene
They call her a blight
A mob slowly builds
In the dark of the night

My daughter of gears
Transistors and moss
She resembles to all
The one that I lost

They come to the tower

To take her from me
Our bond if from love
But that they can't see

My knees shake and tremble
Awaiting the worst
But to get to my daughter

They must get by me first

Poem two

Eyes of cerulean mirrored by mine
To my daughter I hide my grieving
Behind me the vessel chimes
Knowing that she will soon be leaving

Shallow breaths quiet sighs

Tesla cracks nascent mother
The vessel slowly opens her eyes

Across the room my reborn daughter

Poem three

Fluttering Heart
Nervous start

I know not what to do

Skin like lace

A childs face
Eyes of cerulean blue

Your whisper of gears

Bring out my tears

From the shattering of a dream

The confused eyes

Of my love who died

Whom I bound to a machine

Poem four (from the daughter of gears)

When you pulled the cables away
And I looked deep in your eyes
That was my first day
But you did not realize
That you were imprinted on my heart

Zeroes and ones in digital blue

And when you finally did part

I would stay and think of you

You fought them like a spark

But on that day you did die

And when you went into the dark
I put myself on stand-by

So I could dream of how
Your love kept them from me
But I am alone now
For eternity

Poem five (in stand-by)

Inside here
They won't find
The memories
Stored in my mind

Inside here
Just me and you

A love so pure
And always new

Inside here
A reality I've prepared
For you to hold my hand
When I am feeling scared

Final poem by the window in stand-by

Outside is a breeze
And a swaying of trees

The curtain blows
In and out my window

I remember the breaking of glass
From far in the past
The mob found what they sought

You squeezed my hand then you fought

Your last day

Now faded away
Just my memories and me
And the swaying of trees

And here is the machinima I have just finished to tell its story.

The build can be found at Immersiva or at Black Swan

Sunday, February 1, 2009

#7 Madpea

#7 Madpea

#11 Madcow Cosmos - unfinished build
#10 Spiral Walcher - Tunnel of light
#9 Ub Yifu's Avatar - Don Quixote
#8 Jojorunoo Runo - Pervy Room
#7 Kiana Writer (and others) - Madpea adventures

Kiana Writer is the founder of Madpea and principle developer of all the mysteries involved in them. This choice at #7 is the first team of builders. There were quite a few people who together created these wonderful mysteries. The movie above is taken from Swamp Hotel and here is the write up for its story.

On the 7th of August seven people vanished from the Swamp Hotel... but not without a trace. Unravel the mystery of this mass disappearance by finding out about the guests and their activities, preparing yourself for a shocking surprise.

One thing leads to another in this game, pay attention to little details and collect everything you can find. To activate certain parts of the game, you need to WEAR the right object. Make sure to turn your animation override off for the animations to work properly.

What I really like about Madpea is how they came in world looked at second life decided on a niche and proceeded to create despite the limitations against this kind of creation. There are certain builds you dream of making but know they can be easily foiled. With my tower at Black Swan, I built it for a location with no fly enabled. The story progresses as you climb it.. unfortunately with fly people go directly to the top and the story is lost. Madpea has overcome problems which would make the average person throw their hands up in disgust and build another mall. This plus the fact they are beautiful builds gives Madpea a special place in my heart.

They were, however, not the first. As far as I can tell the first foray into this idea came from the build The Pot Healer Adventure which has been around for ages. I discovered it as a noob and was very surprised to find it still there a few weeks back. So if you find that Madpea is your thing then run over to the Pot Healer next.