Sunday, 29 November 2009

Opening the box

Well, the past two weeks have been all about the tech and finding out just what makes avatars tick...

Kyle G from the Reaction Grid started up with the idea of developing a meeting place for users/developers of all virtual worlds to gather, share ideas and technical know how with each other with a final aim of meeting up in the US in 2010. There's just under 90 members already and I thought i'd contribute some of findings i'd come across.

My initial aim was to try and cross over Avatars from SL/Opensim to Unity 3D and create a base system that developers could import into their worlds, I made up a few tutorials going through the process:

The really interesting point of this was that I was able to import the standard avatar along with bones and all animations into a Unity project but from within the project I was able to control avatar bones/animations using some simple scripts, this got me to thinking about how easy it would be to setup a system whereby the users could create their own custom animations in world and why haven't LL or anyone else done this yet?

For one the saving of user data in world seems to prevented for a reason, you can't write to Notecards etc but also it would remove another revenue stream. The more I played the more I could see where the SL designs came about, I was able to create my own textures in world by painting straight onto my avatar, why is this not available? another revenue stream I guess.

The possibility's that this could open up are going to be stunning and it's great to be able to de-construct this kind of work and see just how it's made, it's something I often do when looking at a new build in world, I like to work out the techniques for myself and learn in the process.

Considering the way all these areas are constructed so that to create objects everyone has to make a series of micro payments to upload texture/anims/sculpts etc it will be interesting to see what happens when Mesh imports become available on the SL grid and just whether the Lab is considering increasing the upload charges for this new advancement?

My ultimate aim for this is to create a more detailed mesh and bone system so facial expressions and hand/finger movements can be captured, I really want to create a new system of communication in VW's, perhaps a system with a very limited gui and the ability to control you av's actions via mouse expressions. With most of this stuff though it's just something I pick at when I have the time, I like to get an idea and try and implement it, just to learn how it's done. :)

Friday, 13 November 2009

A week exploring

Well it's been a hell of a week with loads of new stuff and worlds/tools so here goes!

1. New Netbook Viewer: Boy Lane has released a netbook optimised viewer based on the rainbow viewer that installs with all the graphics options etc all ready set to run better on atom netbooks, tried it on my eeepc 901 and it's impressive, averaging 10fps without all the fiddly tweeking: Grab it here

2. Unity 3D: Unity 2.6 is now available to download for FREE with a FREE indie license, a few of the more pro features have been removed but it's certainly a very impressive package for making virtual worlds/game/art demos or whatever else you can think of that can run great 3d graphics in a browser, it's all pretty much drag and drop and comes with built in blender support, just import drag and drop, very easy. PLayed with this for a day or so and rebuilt the epistems sim as a test, also tried out the character control schemes which were easy enough to implement.
Unity is available for MAC and PC and looks like it's going to cause some waves in the future with the number of indie developers picking this up, there's also a race on to use unity to create an opensim client with some great work done by Dahlia here.

3. Blue Mars: I was hesitant to re download the client again but someone handed me the install file on usb and after reading that there was a Hack/workaround for importing blender builds into Blue Mars I thought i'd give it a go (check the comments in the post here).
So I logged in and was greeted by....Bots, loads of them, blah. So after crafting myself some facial hair I went exploring to meet all the new users and one, not one person in all the "worlds" so it was a bit of a let down. At least the inclusion of some new worlds/sims has created some variety and there's some interesting fauna being introduced so i'll not be uninstalling just yet.

4. The MetaPlace: This was a BIG suprise! An isometric virtual world that runs in the browser and looks so twee I might be sick, but all users get their own little "world" once they login, it's more a small private patch of land to build on and invite people to. You earn money by building/meeting people and getting people onto your land which is all par for the course for these sorts of worlds but the best thing I found here was that it allows user generated content. You can create your own floor tiles, objects etc by using 2d images and then add them to your world to create whatever you want, it kind of looked fairly limited when I first logged in but it just keeps opening up, including scripting behavior for objects, hosting gigs/art shows etc.
Must admit this sucked me in and took up a little more of my time than I had to spare....i'm sure someone with good 2D skills could make something pretty spectacular.

5. Google wave - Got my invite! It's a very different way of working collaboratively and at the moment seems to be full of too many forum recreations which become unwieldy but the possibilities for project work and bouncing ideas around are exciting.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Ripping it up

Organics Animations
Originally uploaded by Snowy Hoobinoo
Completely stuck in a rut for the past month or so I found myself just logging on for the sake of it and wasting away hours doing.......nothing. Sometimes I walk away from an SL session after a couple of hours with no real idea of what i've achieved or done, i'm not the most talkative and my friends list is fairly short so no long winded conversations, no building, no great explorations across the grid, I guess i'm just sat in world procrastinating.
Anyway, it got to the point where I was ready to take a break for a while and walk away, but that evening while dropping of to sleep images came to me, caves/organics/life systems colliding, must be that point in quiet stillness where your brain begins putting together all the things you've learnt/seen throughout the day that give the best ideas.

So the next day I went back into the RG sim and ripped it up, deleted the lot and leveled the land, as a cathartic action it really did wipe the slate clean in my head and the building just flowed from there, land went up, sculpted were sorted and texturing was easy, no pre planning just bouncing ideas along as they revealed themselves. I really like visiting enclosed builds or eco systems where the closeness and conformity create a believable cohesiveness.

Shortly afterwards Vlad Bjornson set through a link to this vid:

The thought of animated plants and organics in virtual worlds has been on my mind for a while but after testing various anim systems etc the end result never matched the initial idea, too jerky and unrealistic, after watching the Yonder vid above it occurred to me to use my avatar as the base for the animation and the plant itself, creating smooth animations in the process. After knocking up some quick test anims using folded limbs and attaching some forms I knocked up this video, works pretty well and i've experimented a bit more since so should be showing those soon.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Epistems Experiment end of Week 1

The pay what you like experiment at my Epistems store has been running for a week now and here's the results:

I posted links to the event on twitter/flickr/koinup/sl forums/in world events and linked to a flickr pic with the slurl to the store.

I got 62 views on the Flickr pic and my in world land traffic went from the mid forties up to just over 200.

12 people bought items 40 items from the store over the week (normally valued at around 4000 lindens) and 2 of them payed towards the plants a total of 110 lindens, so I made 2.75 lindens on average per item.

It was just an experiment and so nothing to cry over but it was a little disheartening to see people come in and take every item they could get their hands on for free and then just leave, no thanks, not even a token payment, nothing.

It might also be worth noting that the two payments I did receive were when I was on the land myself or just above working.

Lessons learnt:

1. Get it right, first time. I'm the first to admit the whole thing was a bit of a rush job, I layed out the land as quick as I could just to get it up and running, a better flow and some more developed items could have helped.

2. The system needs changing. As visitors arrived they were handed a notecard explaining the offer and as we all know one of the first things people do when arriving somewhere is decline any offered items. Perhaps a script on each object so that someone would have to pay something before receiving the item could have helped.

3. Size matters. thinking back, my store is way too small for this type of experiment, would be interesting to see what would happen if some of the larger clothes stores did this for example.

4. Where am I going with this? I guess it's made me think about why i'm doing this in the first place, I make just enough to pay the rent each month and realize it's just a hobby, but is it fun? When it comes down to it I think I would still be just as happy to give my works away for free if I had rent free land to build on. Also all this selling and store building really detracts from what I love to do..CREATE.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Epistems Halloween Experiment

Thought i’d have a bit of an experiment on Epistems this Halloween, i’ve re made up the land with some new Tree’s/plant and some older halloween bits but made everything absolutely free, the deal being that people can pay the Gremlin on the land what they feel the items were worth or how much they liked them, if it all goes well I might open the whole store up to the same pricing.


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Monday, 31 August 2009

When I grow up.....

.....I want to be an Astronaut.

I asked a friend recently what they expect to be doing in SL in a few years time?

Their response was: No idea really, guess i'll be still going to gigs, maybe running a store, who knows?

I asked the question because I was wondering what happens when you reach middle age in SL, a few years on, you've seen the sights and know your way around, got a healthy contacts list, learnt a bit of scripting/building?

Stepping back and looking at paths in SL the list is fairly open:

Land Owner
Object Creator
Co Ordinator
Machinima creator
Part goer

the list goes on.......

The great thing is many of these vocations are interchangable and it's fairly easy to jump in and out of each one as you go along but how many of us really sit back and wonder where their really going in SL, in three years time where will you be?

While some of the ages in SL are fairly easy to map, the newbie freebie frenzy, the finally settling in with a bit of land etc, the later phases seem to be a bit blurred. With a set of skills under their belts many older SL AV's become the swiss army knives of virtual worlds able to cross over and apply them to whatever they need to.

My friend also asked me, what did I expect to be doing in 3 years time? I'm not sure, I guess i'd like to further realise a transcendental and philisophic relationship between RL and SL, both helping and attributing to the other (it's made a lot of progress so far), i'd also like to really feel like i'm involved in a wider community than now.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Quick Textures for SL Part 2: Organics in Gimp

This is another process I use sometimes for creating some really nice random Organic textures, it works especially well with flesh tones but can also create some really psychdelic effects.

1. Open up the Gimp: File->New and set the image size to 512x512 Pixels.

2. Select the Gradient Tool and select two different colours for the foreground and the background (two similar tones for a more natural effect, or in this case purple and green for a texture that stands out).
Draw any gradient on the image:

3. Right Click on your image and elect -> Filters -> Render -> Clouds -> Difference Clouds
On the Tool screen that opens select the Turbulent option, this helps create a more organic finish, but apart from that just experiment with the other settings to create different results.

4. Make the Texture seamless by right clicking on the image and selecting Filters->Map->Make Seamless.

5. You can leave the texture there but sometime I like to add a little more depth to the final result by Right Clicking on the image and selecting Filters->Map->Bump Map, from within this screen play around with the settings to create the look you want.

There you go, quick easy and painless Organic textures in Gimp. :)

Quick and Dirty ways for Making Textures in SL Part 1

I use this method probably more than I should at the moment because of Time constraints but it works pretty well for the organic builds I create and it's good way to create a number of textures quickly and get them loaded onto your prims.

1. Grab your camera and get outside, take close up pics of any interesting textures/colours and shapes that catch your eye - for me I usually grab shots of leaves and tree barks as they change over the seasons.

2. Download Gimp install and load up your photo's: (ideally you want you pics to be in focus better than this example :\).

3. Right Click on the image, select Filters->Map->Make Seamless:

4. Next select Image->Scale Image and change the size to 512x512 Pixels (good size for speed/quality in SL) and Voila a ready made texture!

Load your textures into SL/other grid and away you go! Simples. :)

Friday, 31 July 2009

EpisTEMS month 3 - Tenants rights in Virtual worlds

Well, after another month of working hard trying to get episTEMS going and actually making enough Lindens to pay the rent, the following arrived in my mail box:

"Hi Snowy due to the unviabillity of sims in SL will be shutting down ********* in 24 hours, and leaving SL permanently. I ask the you removed your possessions. Thanks"

Well that was a kick in the ass! It was also the first time i'd heard from the landlord since moving in, I still had a couple of weeks rent left on the land so after talking to several other tenants I IM'd the sim owner asking for a reimbursement of rental still outstanding (I neglected to ask for extra cover for the loss of business during this period, maybe pushing it too far) replies and no lindens returned....the land was duly wiped after 24 hours and the sim has now gone.

This is also the third time this has happened to me in 2 years, which leads me to ask Who is governing tenants rights in SL?

James Grimmelmann wrote an article in the Yale Law Journal on Virtual World Feudalism that discusses the reluctance of the Lindens to get involved in disputes between Sim owners and Tenants but that having the Lindens as a direct Lord/Land owner would have it's benefits.

While it may be easier for me to sign up as a full paid SL account and buy a patch of mainland that would be governed by myself and would allow me to go straight to Linden Labs if I have any issues, i'm not convinced that the monthly fee would cover a theoretical tenants insurance.

The fact that tenants have to agree to a covenant written by Sim owners to try and keep a Sim running smoothly and aesthetically pleasing is all well and good but how many Sim covenants include a statement of the Sim owners responsibilites towards paying tenants? Many sim owners gather together in groups/business's to offer a singular covenant across a number of sims and a management company to run these sims, but as a tenant am I now able to follow the matter up with a management company who's reputation has been tarnished by a sim owner no longer on their books?

In RL many of these disputes are dealt with an independant management agency that deals with communications and issues between Tenants/Landlords while also ensuring that lease statements and rules are adhered to on both sides, by protecting the rights of both Tenants and Landlords a management agency can provide peace of mind and security to both sides, at a cost.

But SL is certainly not RL in this case, Sim owners are not all serious money investors and many run Sims as a hobby and sideline to other work, also they can relinquish ownership and responsibility for their sim within hours. But the cost of Sim's is high (far too high for myself or indeed a group of RL friends to take ownership of) and those who decide to embark on becoming a Landlord to a large group of tenants should perhaps think twice about the level of responsibilty and time they are willing to invest, when real money is changing hands between a group of people it is almost inevitible that disputes will arise.

What solutions are on offer?

Perhaps the formation of a SecondLife citizens advice bureau to advise both Landlords and Tenants on their virtual rights and to offer a number of set processes that followed to ensure the least number of issues when renting land, also to act as a third party mediator between disputes.

A Tenants rights covenant could be written up and offered to Sim owners to agree upon and then followed among their sims, if this was widely used then anyone looking for land rentals in SL could then expect at least a basic level of insurance and responsibility among sims, this would also go both ways (many covenants on sims do appear to include the same outlines).

Lastly there are some very large business's in SL that run many Sims and run them well under their own management companies and who take land ownership and rentals very seriously. Do they not feel that these more feudal sim's cause damage to the reputation of their business? Perhaps if a number of these banded together themselves and used their financial weight they could perhaps bend the ear of Linden Labs or help produce a greater level of control throughout SL.

Lastly, I hold no malice towards my former Landlord, as a former RL landlord I more than understand the strains the current climate has put upon those that invest in property and land inworld and out, yet I can't help thinking that with a little more effort from both sides things could well have ended more amicably and less abrupt.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Opensims and epiSTEMS month 2

Well epiSTEMS has made it to month 2 and so.......

...the whole gardens changed, all the plants/flowers/tree's and what nots have all been replaced with a new set, I realised with how much I build I can probably keep up with a schedule of twelve gardens a year, maybe, ish. It has made me wonder if I really do need the land though, the mojority of my SL income (say 85%) has come through Xstreet and although i'm only talking pocket money amounts, enough to cover the land rental costs and upload fees it might be worth using the lindens dollars in a more constructive way?

Anyway, most of the plants here were not built in SL but locally offline on my PC, after looking at the Meerkat viewer that allows you to upload and backup your rezzed objects my whole building experience just exploded! It really does what it says on the tin and works, ok, sometimes I need to try a few times to upload an object and that can cost when loading into SL and it crashes for a pastime doing anything else inworld but it's FREE and is exactly what I wanted to broaden my horizons... my next step was to download and install opensim locally, it's a lot easier than I thought it would be (install/setup and logging in for the first time took 30 mins top) and the freedom of having my own sim to do how I want is great! It's also worth mentioning how fast it is when not connected to a grid, I was really put off last year when I tried openlife and the Rezzable PGA grid because of building/attachments/avatars/moving/talking issues but this runns pretty smoothly and i've had no problems with the builds.

After playing with the opensim for a bit I happened to add a quick twitter post about how much fun I was having, afterwards I was contacted by the Reaction grid team who run a PG grid with an educational slant that's built up to a fair old size, I checked out the grid and it's great! everyone there is really friendly and after spending a few days there and seeing all the old linden tree's I asked I approached them about offering some gardening services and hey presto i've been given a plot on one of the sims to produce nature objects just for the Reaction Grid and they're all free to grab and copy away!

Also worth checking out the saturday b movie nights with the group which have been pretty entertaining! but it really has made me think about the SL grid and the size it's become, with so many people complaining how the Lindens have lost touch with the users it's a refreshing experience to meet a smaller team who really do appear to be doing everything right.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Installing and setting up SL/Opensim on Netbooks

UPDATE 14/09/10: As well as the Graphical clients there is the fantastic Radegast client, it's text based with a gui to move around, view maps, listen to music streams on land! also allows you to use a radar and interact with objects nearby all via a gui menu. No graphics but I find it fantastic for logging in for chat/gigs etc as it also allows me to run other software while logged in, highly recommended.

UPDATE 13/11/09: Boy Lane has just released a Netbook build of his Rainbow viewer, optimised for running on Atom based Netbooks. I've installed and tested and it runs VERY well, averaging 10fps wherever I went and no need for all the fiddly bits: Grab it here

Need to get SL/Opensim client up and running at a half decent rate? After playing around with a number of viewers and configs I think i've finally managed to get best out of it that I can (i'm using a EEEPC 901 and 2gb RAM).

What to expect: you won't be doing a lot of building with this but it does run with enough speed to login/communicate and to attend lectures/conferences - this is the main use for me when i'm away from my main pc to keep up to date.

Step 1: Download the neccessary files, first off is the older SL 1.19 viewer that does not have windlight and runs much better on older machines:

Install this and make a note of the install directory (if you can, try and put it in the default install location).

Step 2: Download the latest Boy Lane Windows Cool Viewer release from here:

Install this over the SL 1.19 viewer directory, it will automatically try and pull in the neccessary DLL's and such so no need to mess.

Step 3: Fire up the cool viewer and go to edit -> preferences and make the following changes:

Under the Graphics tab ensure it's set to run in a window at 800x600 (auto detect works well).

Set your draw distance to 64 - as low as it can be configured from here but we'll change that in a mo.

Under the Graphics detail tab set all the sliders to as low as they will go, Avatar rendering to normal, Lighting to sun and moon only and terrain detail to low.

Under the Adv graphics tab set Max Particle count to 0, outfit composite limit to 0.

Optionally: goto the audio and video tab and deselect streaming music and video then mute the master volume - this speeds up the fps a fair bit and is fine if your not using voice.

Step 4: Login to the grid and press CTRL+ALT+D to bring up the debug menu's.

Go to Client->More->Debug Settings and in the window type renderfarclip -> this should be set to 64 but change this to whatever you want, the lower the better. I've set mine to 16. This alters how far ahead of your avatar objects are rendered - in small enclosed spaces this makes no real difference to what you can see.

Nextup change the rendering options: Client->Rendering->Features

Turn off everything in here apart from the UI - this should add 5fps or so to the speed.

Next go to Client->Rendering types and turn off the following:


Also if your attending a lecture etc then once your sat in place turn off character as well, this make a huge difference to FPS, in my case it adds 10 fps.

ok, thats all the settings i've found that needed changing, at the moment i'm walking around at 10-25 fps depending on where I am, it's also worth altering your AV, the less attachments and extra's the better. You can also go though the above steps on any other viewer to speed it up a bit.

Overall it looks OK - your not going to be going around taking in the vistas but in a classroom or conference situation it's perfect for communication and getting points across.

Hope this helps!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

And so it starts....

.....after living off of other people's land for so long and waiting for handouts and scraps for week long half assed art projects i've finally decided to invest a bit of money and get myself my own corner of the world, or my own 4096. I don't care what anyone says, land in SL is BLOODY EXPENSIVE but i'm fed up of saving up for a year for a piss hole in titsville.

Anyway, with my own land, my own world! my rules! and so here we have epiSTEMS:

A wonka esque land of bright colours, farcical designs and Nature - plants, flowers, tree's, grass, purple hills and roaming toadstalls. I really wanted a basis and name to start pushing the alternatives to SL tree's and the god awful photo on a prim plants that seem to be everywhere and still selling by the thousands.... and so here we have it:

and the twitter account, and the in world group - epiSTEMS.

But here it is and hopefull every week there will be a new plant/tree/flower on sale untill all the linden tree's are gone and the world looks purple!
I must admit I never realised just how much work is involved in setting up a business in SL, land scaping, rentals, the building, making adverts, dealing with customers......but the hardest part i've found is making epiSTEMS "interactive" people keep asking "what's there to do here?" and for the moment it's sit around enjoy the colours..........:)

Oh, and the LM!:

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

A sense of scale

Scale in SL is a hard thing to quantify, when you can move so fast and fly there are no real measures by which you might judge the epic of an object or the grand sense of your surroundings. There are a few examples that begin to improve upon this, such as Comet Morigi's Mt.XXYYZZ (talked about here  on NPIRL) which provides a real boundary by the avatar not being able to reach the object itself which in turn makes you stand back and really look at what's there in front of you.
Anyway, i'm still painting by numbers in/out world and so i've started looking over what i've created to try and gain a scale of what i'm trying to achieve. I've recently been creating a few pieces that are on the large side (300ft upwards) such as this worm garden:

It's still not what i'm looking for, I need a real awe moment, when you come across something fantastical for the first time and you can't quite get your eyes and head around whats in front of you, but then again in a world where anything is possible where is the TRULY fantastical?
Well, this has crossed over to RL as well almost in the reverse, subconsciously I revert my sense of scale to deal with the larger issues. When faced with grand decisions and dead ends where do you go? Into myself and Fimo apparently:

A sense of scale can be subjective really wherever you are, when boundaries are put up and the world gets a little smaller where does the scale slide?

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

I'm not dead yet...

....but I seem to have lost all my impetus in SL, i'm still logging on and exploring/building etc but it feels like i'm going through the motions on autopilot. Nothing for me to worry about though, this happens every few months, I stray away to other things and come back slowly. 

Moss and Lichen Plants on Rock wall. 

You see I have this state of mind that fixates itself on a subject or a form and won't let go until the objective or image has been finished, it's frustrating because I can't concentrate on ANYTHING else during this time. At the moment it's technology or I should say a particular item that's caught me, stopping me sleep at night, that I have to learn about inside out outside in before it eventually runs out of my system, or I buy or my mind catches itself on another fancy.

Lilium Flower

Luckily for me there are ways around this that help make daily life a lot more easier, SL helped a lot with the continuous idea of building nature, the background line that I explore there helps me keep a balance in what I do when I log on, instead of standing around.... 

Light through the forest

The other is art in RL, painting really helps as I completely switch off for up to hours at a time, so lately i've been doing this and hopefully moving into some new media and textures soon.

People buy the oddest things.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Scripted plants

Tethered Plants
Originally uploaded by Snowy Hoobinoo
After playing with some kinetic scripts and plants/flowers there was an idea that I had sketched (more doodled) a while back of flower heads being tethered to a rooted base.
I had the idea after coming across a couple into bondage, the mistress was leading her slave around by the collar with a chain link that appeared to sag in the middle and had physics. After looking all over for a tether script I went back to the source and went on the hunt for a bondage tether script, and guess what?! There's a whole group dedicated to bringing open source bdsm equipment to the SL masses (just search for opensource bdsm), anyway one collar and it's script later and a few hours messing with it I managed to come up with the above. I really wanted to sort out a nice hover script for the flower heads, I tried the swarm scripts but they all sort of clumped together, the ones in the video are controlled using an RC helicopter script!

The point of all this is that I wanted to create a serious of kinetic and interactive plants/tree's and flowers that provide a base that can be built and layered up to produce some really stunning nature pieces in SL, at some point i'll box all these up and make them available, hopefully someone might pick them up and really run with it..

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Kinetic Tree's

Fluid Tree
Originally uploaded by Snowy Hoobinoo

While looking into the organics and movements of squid I was playing around with a few prims and scripts to try and replicate these movements in SL. The original idea was to use these across a plane to create the idea of a moving mass along the land but once I got it all moving it just looked so out of place that I had to use them in other structures.
So I decided to form them together into this tree structure, i've been wanting to produce kinetic trees and plants for a fair while but couldn't find the movement I wanted. This is almost exactly what I wanted, the concept of a tree that's constantly writhing, always reforming itself.It's a little script heavy at the moment (about 30 odd!) and needs refining, i'd really like to get the tree to randomly rez itself. 
While I was looking at the finished tree I decided to have a play at filming too, I was suprised at how easy it was! using xfire and windows movie maker I was able to knock up a quick vid of the tree in minutes.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Window to the Avatar soul, a zero prim SL art display.

The above image is of my Avatars eyes in SL, it's a cliched reference but I needed it to make my point......the past few weeks i've been looking through people's profiles and exploring the Ascii art within, most of it is the usual hearts or neko ears but it got me thinking about what I wanted to communicate through my profile. How to show/tell someone who I am through a few lines of general text.

Squint closely at the above and you'll see the ascii text, click through to my profile and the story begins to unfold....

I ended up hand typing an ascii tree to fill the about me and continued up through the the photo with the beginnings of the tree's branches......

Carry on through to my interests a few lines of a poem appear (why not Haiku's for interests!:)) and hint at the meaning to the piece......

In my 1st life is the branch holding the hidden sapling that glows it's light through the profile and out through the eyes of my av, below is the edge of the tree placing the small home into shadow but looked over by the sapling above.

The story carries on, parts are tucked away throughout SL and come out into prims when they need be.....;)  It could all do with a polish but I wanted to experiment pushing out through the boundaries of communication in SL and what it could do. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The hidden lives of furniture

When I was younger I would often lay on my back looking up at the furniture in our house and imagine walkways, ladders and the homes of whoever or whatever lived there, etching out their existence on the unused and unseen surfaces. Then one day I tacked along on a trip to the dump and came across the huge pyramid of abandoned furniture there, I stood looking through the legs of chairs, bedside cabinets and into the darkness that was the heart of the pile, looking for the hidden city that must be tucked away inside.......

Anyway, for a long time in SL i've been looking at the relationship that the home, house and furniture have upon the avatars that own or use them. Many houses in SL are exact copies of their RL counterparts along with the living spaces and furniture used to fill them, as avatars we are expected to navigate these spaces and interact with the object within in much the same way that we physically do in RL.

This has been playing on my mind for a long time, almost since my rez day as to how, in a world with near limitless possibilites we are still expected to live and work in a set template of structures, why do homes have roofs when there's no rain, no privacy and everyone can fly for example?

Perhaps a thinktank could be brought together to produce an architectural housing structure that would fit and specs and needs of avatars in a virtual world with SL's abilities.

In the meantime I have been working on this piece based on old sketches and ideas of how we may live in a world with no rules or cares, how would we adapt to fill these spaces when physics and shape can be morphed into any form? Perhaps at night when you go to bed the kites begin flying from under your tables....

Friday, 10 April 2009

Meat Landscape

A while ago someone gave me some art magazines they were throwing out to flick through, among the articles were a few pages on the artist Paul Emsley and his amazing water colour paintings of Rhino's, in the interview they described how he approached these paintings as landscapes. 

White rhino by Paul Emsley

This got me to thinking as to how I might be able to transfer this technique in reverse towards creating a work in SL, by taking photo's of parts of my body and using these as textures for a landscape scene.

Build based on fingers and knuckles

The result is a very alien almost obscene look to all the plants and parts of the scene, while I kept all the usual repetition/symetrics and based each part of the build loosely on a RL concept (such as fingers)  the textures add a new layer that helps change the viewers perception.

Overall i've tried to link myself to my work in a macabre way which is what i've been looking at doing for a long time.
This was origionally meant as a temporary experiment and so has no permanent place to really expand upon the theme, though for the time being you can find it under the Brooklyn is watching sim here for a short time.