Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Avert your eyes Santa

    Last night was the first snow storm in Toronto and it was kind of early in the season.  I went out gleefully and took some pictures as I have not yet begun to despise winter yet.  I have a confession though, something to get off my mind.  I feel a touch guilty and partially responsible, so this is just between us.
     As I was taking these photos out in the countryside, I decided, after a while, that it was time to turn around and go home.  I didn't want to do a U turn on one of these snowy country roads.. I mean seriously look at the pictures, I could go in the ditch and my god that would be horrible.  So as I was searching for a way to turn around I came across this lovely house and decided I would turn around in their front driveway.  Much more sensible right?  Well I turned in to the driveway and noticed it was on a bit of a hill going down.  Then I began to question whether I was actually on their driveway or instead in their front yard.  It was hard to tell since it was completely pristine white snow and it all looked the same.  Things were still fine at this point, but then my wheels began to spin in place.  If I had kept my cool things may have still turned out ok, however, I got a bit alarmed at the thought of getting stuck there in someones front yard, rather than driveway, and perhaps I used a little bit too much acceleration.  Well far too much acceleration.  I saw dirt start to fly out over the beautiful white snow and then panicked a bit and began to slide around all over their front yard.
     At this point I guess I had only made a half dozen or so big muddy ruts in their lawn, but then I kind of slowly slid over to this white mound, then flowers began to shoot out behind the car when I accelerated.  So I stopped and looked to the front windows of the house dreading to see if anyone observed the horrible things I was doing to their lawn and flower bed.  I saw no face showing complete horror in the window, so I did what any rational person would do in such a situation, which was to continue trying what had already failed miserably for ten minutes.  I eventually found the driveway and was able to escape to the road
again.  I briefly considered knocking on the door and telling them I had driven over... no.. murdered their front yard and garden and that I was sorry, but I chose rather to sneak away and whisper Merry Christmas instead.
     Anyway, so yes I am a horrible person and I did a terrible thing today.  Someone is going to see that lawn and go WTF!  When I got home I logged into Second Life and there was a message saying Merry Christmas and a gift sent to me from the delightful scripter Desdemona Enfield.  After destroying that persons front yard I was fairly certain that Santa would not be bringing me any gifts this year so I was very pleased to receive this present before my lawn exploits became known to Mr Clause.  I took out the gift and you know,  nothing says Merry Christmas like a present which  demonstrates the movement of Comet ISON through the solar system.  Just teasing Des, but as it may be visible from the northern hemisphere in December, and since it is a pretty impressive feat of math and physics I wanted to share it with everyone.  You can get your very own free one here..

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dance of Death machinima

 The exceptionally talented Elmer Leupen was kind enough to convert my machinima for the Dance of Death and send it to me last week, here it is above.

Image from the Huffington Post
     Unfortunately I have been unable to find the other artists creations who had worked outside SL, but I do have Rose Borchovski's wonderful machinima from the project.  I liked the idea by Rose to incorporate her Susa Bubble story into the narrative of the Dance of Death.  I often do the same within my own narratives where characters overlap in some cases.  Ideally, characters such as Roses will, over time, become iconic to the degree that they can be smaller elements within a larger project, such as the Dance of Death, but if they contain enough depth themselves they will instead become main characters who are hosting the project rather than vice versa.  Not sure if I explained that well.  So imagine if I were to make more narratives with the Rabbicorn,  The Daughter of Gears, Anna or Imogen perhaps.  If I created chapter upon chapter of depth to some of those characters, then if they were to make an appearance within another project such as the Dance of Death, then perhaps their depth of character or history would overpower the other newer and more surface narratives which share the project, thus creating a situation where they are not "guests" within a larger project but rather they could be dominant instead, with everything else being the "guest".  If they have a past narrative history as well as potentially a future one, then the project they make an appearance in would be simply a marker along their path.  Anyway, I don't think I explained that well but I think it is an interesting idea.  Many of you are likely familiar with the Susa Bubble story, but if not you can find the portion called Inevitability of Fate at Rose's sim called Two fish.
And below you will find her lovely machinima.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Uemeu testing

Light Waves dancer at Black Swan
     I recently received an invite to try beta testing a creation called Uemeu.  It is described as a sandbox application in Unity 3D and conceived by ex-second lifers Edgeware Marker (Language Lab), LittleToe Bartlett and someone described as "a certain SL artist who-shall-not-be-named" which would be Light Waves / Starax who is one of the early Second Life artists (Greenies, Black Swan) and also one of the biggest hermits ever, he makes Elvis (if he is still alive!) seem like Toronto's crack smoking Mayor Rob Ford in a Christmas light string bikini.   Actually if you are interested in learning about early Second Life people and what it was like ten years ago, DrFran Babcock does a fun interview series called the oldbie project for the SLnewser.  I just read it not long ago and it was a fun interview.

     Anyway, they have been working on Uemeu the past year and the project went into alpha on Desura (interesting) in July and has been under the direction of programmer Jeremy Hindle (Mentioum).

     I am going to paste what was sent to me.  It should be remembered that it is quite early yet and right now they are just looking for a few creatives to see what they can achieve with it. I have signed up but not sure when I will be able to really spend lots of time testing it out.

We are currently interested in builders, artists and game creators who would like to try out our game.

What it can do:

    Build environments and objects with an ever-expanding library of shapes, terrains and textures
    Animate objects and create games without scripting
    Build and play in single or multiplayer mode
    and much more to come...

You're on this list because you are a visionary, early adopter, tinkerer or explorer. I'm hoping you'll find Uemeu intriguing enough to help build a community that will shape the future of this game. We will be looking for people to create games and environments with Uemeu that will be shared with the world.

You can  register at our website: and download the free trial version. If you like the way it works, you can become part of the alpha-funding team and purchase the full game on Desura. Purchasing this license will entitle you to all future updates of Uemeu (which happens about every two weeks).

You can see some of the things being made in Uemeu here:

I am happy to set up personal multiplayer sessions or answer any of your questions via email. Direct feedback about the game can be sent to What I'm really hoping for is a few talented people to come in and prove that this application can make amazing things.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Dance of Death - Vernissage TV clip

     My friend Andrea Numanox linked me to this video created at the opening last week of the Dance of Death with Peter Greenaway.  I am pleased to see my own work shown a few times in the video which is always nice.  Nothing worse than being part of something where there is no actual footage of your work anywhere.  That happened to me for the World Expo in Shanghai when I had several machinima on screens there, all the photographs I could find online that people took of the Madrid pavilion always had somebody elses machinima playing.  It then turns into a "trust me I was in it... no I can't show you my work that was there... but really I was"  and so on.  Ok to be honest my main reason for wanting the proof is to use as a visual aid for my parents who still don't quite understand what a virtual world is.  I mean it has only been six years I know, perhaps I am moving too fast but still.  I will spend an hour explaining it to my Dad and leave thinking he finally understands it, then the next time I visit it is like starting all over again.  "Virtual whatsa?" he says.  In fact it is worse than that.  They take their half formed understanding of what I do to their friends and try to explain it.. thus turning it into something completely new and bizarre, well more bizarre.  Or their friends convince them I am playing The Sims.  "No Mom and Dad it is not the game where you play house and if you leave your newspaper on the counter for 2 minutes it starts to get stink lines"  They are very polite about it though, they always nod encouragingly to me while sipping their tea.  Anyway, the video is from an interesting site called Vernissage TV

      In my last post I talked a bit about when I spoke to Mr Greenaway on skype and how he is very much a classical orator in the way he speaks.  I am glad that this video showed his address to the crowd at the opening so you know what I was talking about.  It really did feel like I was watching a TV show on the History Channel when we talked on skype.  What I found really amazing about the project is the diversity of styles present.  So many really talented people involved and all using quite varied mediums.  Hopefully I can get more footage of the other artists and post it here.  I know Rose Borchovski also has a work in it but not sure which is hers.