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Sunday, June 23, 2013

THere Will Not Be a Meltdown with Her in Control: A Q&A with SL10B Senior Lead KT Syakumi

Every organization needs a leader. A leader who can manage the predictable and handle the unpredictable. For SL10B, KT Syakumi, has taken on that responsibility as one of the 2 Senior Leads. She has, also, done much more than that. KT is the creator of the Reactor, the DJ Stage that sits on the Awesome and Incredible sims.

I did not get a chance to sit down with KT for a personal interview. (17 hours time difference made that impossible to set up.) However, she was kind enough to answer written questions that I submitted to her. Here is my Q&A with KT Syakumi.

Who are you?

I'm an SL resident like everyone else. I run a small business here, take photos, build stuff, have fun and explore.  I'm fairly normal and anonymous in the grand scheme of things. 

Why are you here at SL10B, and why take on the responsibilities of a Senior lead for this event?

Blackmail. They have the photos and threatened to make them public.

About SL10B

A sighting of KT at the SL10B Welcome Area

Last year, residents were in shock but quickly rallied when Linden Lab announced that it would not be sponsoring SL9B. This year, you went into it knowing that if there was to be an SL10B then the sims would have to come from somewhere else. How did that affect the planning and when did you know that you had support for the 21 sims?

We actually started planning and looking in late January, but it was something like early April before we knew we could produce something.

On the original maps of SL10B, there are 21 sims. The Cornfield seems to have been a late addition. How did that come about and are you surprised how many residents have visited there?

I'm really happy at the amount of people that have seen it. It's a piece of SL history that most newer residents don't even know about, and it's really quite cool. I wish it was still in operation, except though, I'd never get to see it as I never do anything that would get me there.....We initially intended to do a mini cornfield on an exhibit plot, as part of Mari's history exhibit, but we were over the moon when LL offered it and weren't about to refuse!

SL10B is easily the biggest undertaking by a volunteer group in Second Life. You have hundreds of residents involved in the set up and running of this event. What dies it take to keep things running smoothly during the preparation and actual event?

Where is this 'smooth running' I hear you talk about? I've said before - it's like herding cats. Except the cats have lasers strapped to their backs. And they're riding elephants. Working with a huge number of extremely enthusiastic volunteers is sometimes just a matter of holding on tight and steering it in the direction you want.

If you were trying to explain what SL10B was to a friend who knew nothing about Second Life, is there something in the physical world that you would compare it to?

The closest would be a world trade fair.  But not this world. Some other world where gravity didn't apply and everyone could fly and is incredibly good looking.

Every year, there are complaints from adult-oriented businesses and roleplay sims about there being no place for them at these events. This year, there seems to have been less complaining than usual, has there been any effort made to give them space here while still keeping the event General-rated?

There's always complaining. It's understandable. People are naturally disappointed if they don't get a spot. This year we had 518 applications, and only 368 parcels, so someone had to miss out. We don't have a policy of excluding any 'type' of application. But we do have a policy that the applications be G rated. This is because a G rating allows everyone in SL to attend. Rating the sims adult would mean a significant part of SL users would not be able to attend. We have a good number of role playing exhibitions this year, some of them adult themed, and they've stuck to the G rating just fine. I heard that this year someone actually produced an Adult SL10B celebration, and personally I think that's a much better way of doing it. They're able to show and express themselves completely as they are in SL, without having to water themselves down to fit a G rating. I would really encourage them to do it again next year.

What things would make SL10B a success in your mind?

No fatalities? If you want metrics, our counters show that as of Friday (6 days in), our welcome areas have had over 16,000 visits. That's not 16,000 individuals I'm sure (1 person 16,000 times?), but it's still a fair old number for 6 days. There's a ton of other ways to count success. Yes there's always the fantastic builds, but one of my favorite things is seeing someone, maybe fairly new to SL, maybe not all that great at building, but they have an idea and they want to be involved, because they love SL. Giving those people a space to be part of the community is always special to me. 

SL10B is known as the Second Life Community Celebration (SLCC), There are 2 ways to look at this. Is this a celebration of the unity of the residents of Second Life as one community (a big melting pot) or is it a celebration of the diversity of the communities that exist in Second Life (a big tent)?

C) All of the above. I try to set themes that allow the maximum amount of diversity possible. Last years theme was simply 'community' - if you read this years theme definition on our website, it's actually quite similar. The central theme through both of these was community celebration. It's a melting pot of people from all over the world united under one big tent, showing us what Second Life is to them. 

About the DJ Stage and Awesome and Incredible sims

The Reactor Stage
The Reactor Stage on the Awesome and Incredible sims

Last year, you took residents to the Egyptian desert with your stage at SL9B. This year, you have created a barren wasteland around 2 nuclear reactors. What is similar and what is different about your stages last year and this year?

Last year was a barren desert. This year was a barren sandy wasteland. They're obviously completely different! I like creating space in a build. And 2 sims gives a lot of space to create. I also like creating spaces that tell a story, rather than just being a build plonked on a sim. Even if the story is not immediately obvious, there's usually one there (in my head at least). They're different for me in that last year i built using a lot of builders packs and pre-made stuff, this year I made almost all of it from scratch, with only a few store bought items for when I ran out of time. Also one is ruins of an ancient civilization and the other is a modern civilization about to be ruined. Maybe that is a similarity not a difference. I'm probably a bit of a one trick pony!

After the events end on June 23rd, will there be things for residents to do when visiting the Awesome and Incredible sims?

The stage events finish on the 23rd, but all the sims are open until the 29th. This is probably the best time to visit all the stages to see the builds themselves, rather than for the partying. The stage sims will be less laggy and you'll be able to explore easier. On the reactor sims you can explore the tower and the tunnels below. Watch out for the lasers and the spinning blades of death. There's also the Bear Island lookout point, some 90s inspired games characters floating around, and bonus points if you find the dancing cows...

What was your inspiration for these sims and the DJ stage?

Last year I was asked to make the stage an Egyptian theme. I was actually intending to do a reactor then, but in hindsight, since I didn't build in mesh then, it would have been really hard. The idea of dancing inside a huge cooling tower just popped into my head. The final result looks nothing like that first idea. Last year I'd been playing Borderlands 1 and this year Borderlands 2, so that had a big influence on the look.  There was a lot of James Bond retro kind of mad scientist building a secret lair kind of thing floating about too.

Is there anything special that residents should look for when exploring these sims?

The spinning blades of death inside the tunnels of Doom. Also the pipe room where you have to climb the pipes to get out (although I suspect most people fly). On the stage you can get free radioactive glow sticks and the road cones are also hats.

Final question. The theme for SL10B is "Looking Forward, Looking Back." It is easy to look back at where we have been. It is harder to look forward to see where we are going. What are you looking forward to in your Second Life, in the short-term and the long-term?

Short term - bed before 4am
Long term - I'm looking forward to improving my mesh skills and doing more building using the new features.

I would like to thank KT Syakumi for taking her time to answer my questions. Today marks the 10th Birthday of Second Life. Be sure to stop by SL10B today. The events end today but exhibits and the amazing stages will be open until June 29th.

For more information:

Second Life Community Celebration blog



Friday, June 21, 2013

Can You Tell a Story in a Single Frame? She Can: An Interview with Whiskey Monday

Of all the projects that transcend the virtual boundaries of Second Life, the Single Frame Stories Challenge is my favorite. I have contributed to it in the past, though not recently, and watch for the post from Whiskey Monday each Saturday morning that says that a new gallery has been posted. When I heard a few weeks ago that Single Frame Stories was coming to SL10B, I could not wait to see how they presented the works of the artists who contribute.The approach that was taken to the exhibit space is simple and elegant.

As a member of the SL10B Press, I was given a list of exhibitors who were willing to be interviewed. When I saw Whiskey's name on the list, I knew that was one interview during SL10B that I wanted to get. I was not the first to interview her, though. She had a very well attended Meet the Artists session in the Auditorium at SL10B on Tuesday, that covered a wide range of Whiskey's experiences in Second Life.

Whiskey Interview
A thoughtful Whiskey Monday during our interview
I met Whiskey at her home, far from the crowds of SL10B. After she invited me in, we sat down to discuss the Single Frame Stories challenge and the exhibit at SL10B.

Linsey: Who are you?
Whiskey: Oh gosh. I'm not anyone, really. I haven't accomplished anything inworld. I'm just someone who started taking photos, and got noticed. I've no titles. I'm not partnered. I don't own anything or build anything. I'm just me.
Linsey:  Why are you at SL10B?
Whiskey: OH! Of course. My apologies, I'm sleepy. :) My exhibit at SL10B is for a project called Single Frame Stories. I felt like showcasing some of the work done inworld would be appropriate for the theme.
Whiskey Monday: Botgirl Questi and I "host" the SFS challenge. It's a weekly prompt, and folks submit an image that tells a story in a single frame, their interpretation of the prompt.  For this SL10B exhibit we had prompts inspired by just a few of the reasons people stay in SL. Creativity, Identity and Community.
Linsey: Let's start at the beginning. Botgirl and you launched Single Frame Stories Challenge almost a year ago. What brought this project about?
Whiskey: She and I were both doing our own visual stories, sort of a tale in a frame. We had both participated in Crap Mariner's 100 Word Stories, and so were inspired to try a visual challenge similar to that. We both appreciated the challenge of paring a "story" down to its most essential elements. Which is what you must do to tell it succinctly.
Linsey: One difference with Single Frame Stories is that you accept all forms of visual art, not just things that originate in Second Life. Is there a reason for this?
Whiskey: We didn't want to limit creativity.. The majority of folks submit photos from SL, but if someone came upon our challenge and didn't have access to SL or the right graphics for taking photos, I'd hate to see them left out.
Whiskey: I had miserable graphics for years, and know how that feels. I'd hate for someone to feel limited, ya know?
Linsey: What is it that you look for when choosing the weekly prompt?
Whiskey: Something that can be broadly interpreted, mainly. A word that's ambiguous enough to inspire variety.
Whiskey: I tend to come up with the prompts spontaneously when I'm writing the weekly blog post. One week we shared the same prompt as Crap's 100 Word Stories challenge, and it was fun to both write a story and visually tell it at the same time. I'd like to try that again.
Linsey: You have this challenge that exists on a blog outside of SL, so why bring it inworld for SL10B? You have not done anything like that before.
Whiskey: I think it just felt right. Everyone who participates in the challenge is in virtual worlds, (InWorldz and SL and Hypergrids) and so most of us are shooting our shots inworld, and to have them come from the blog back into SL for the exhibit felt like coming full circle.
Whiskey: We've discussed showing the weekly SFS entries inworld somewhere each week, but it just hasn't fleshed out.

Single Frame Stories
Above the maze of stories at the Single Frame Stories exhibit
Linsey: About your exhibit itself. You say that you are not a builder, but I find the design of your exhibit simple but intriguing. A maze of glass walls, with a glass floor, sitting above water. What was your inspiration for your exhibit space?
Whiskey: I wish I could say I had some amazing inspiration, but the truth is, I had mesh walls from another project, and I just started moving them around until something started to click. I wanted the build to showcase the art, not compete with it. So the glass seemed to allow the stories to shine instead of the build. And the glass floor is mainly because I love SL water so much. I just thought it was the perfect backdrop. Our space was limited and I knew we'd have several pieces to exhibit, so the maze allowed me to show off the work without making the build too huge and imposing.

Single Frame Stories 2
Every frame tells a story in this exhibit

Linsey: What do you think of the location of the exhibit? It is located on the main road in the Welcome Area. Did you enjoy the prospect of getting so much attention from visitors?
Whiskey: It's funny, I didn't realize we had such a wonderful spot until the last few days of building. I was so focused on getting my own build done, I didn't pay much attention. But yes, I think it's a great spot, but the way the sims are laid out, there are very few "bad" spots. There's so much to see and the paths take you through all of it.
Linsey: Well I know many exhibitors who would covet the location that you have  *smiles*
Whiskey: I'm really honored to have a place at all.
Linsey: I have a couple of questions that i am asking everyone that I interview.
Linsey: SL10B is known as a "Community Celebration." When you can be anything, and be anywhere,whenever you want, The normal boundaries on community disappear,. It is not based on geography, nationality, religion, or any other thing that people share in common,  So what makes a community in SL?
Whiskey: Well, there's the larger community of general users, where the only common denominator is that we're in SL. But I think lately, there are oddly formed communities related to social media. The SL community on Plurk is very active and chatty. The same on twitter. But I think it also has to do with how you enjoy your time inworld. There's the furry community, the blogging community, the art community... etc. And sure, we all intertwine, but I think shared interests is the biggest community builder.
Linsey: One final question, The theme of SL10B is "Looking Forward, Looking Back". It is easy to look back to where we have been. It is much harder to look forward to see where we are going. What are you looking forward to in you Second Life in the short-term and in the long-term?
Whiskey: I agree with you, it's tougher to look forward. I've been around long enough to know that folks always think SL is dying, and I don't believe that it is. But is that wishful thinking on my part? I hate to imagine SL limping along as it has the past few years, but I also don't think Linden Lab will do much to shore it up. I think SL will continue and I'll be here for as long as I can be. Short term, I hope to enjoy every minute that I'm given here. Long term? I hope to have one. I've learned not to look too far ahead.

Be sure to stop by the Single Frame Stories exhibit in Wonderous before SL10B ends on June 29th.

For more information:

VIDEO: Meet the Artists: Whiskey Monday
Single Frame Stories Challenge
Whiskey Shots (her blog)


This Kid Knows Her Second Life History: An Interview with Marianne McCann

Wednesday evening, I have the opportunity to sit down with Marianne McCann, the sim coordinator for the Beguile sim at SL10B and creator of the Second Life History Walk, Bay City History Pavilion, and other exhibits. Besides her work here at SL10B, Marianne maintains a very active Second Life. She is a long-time part of the child avatar community and an active member of Bay City, where she maintains her home and The Pen. She is the current head of the Bay City Alliance.

Interview with Marianne McCann
Sitting down for an interview with Marianne McCann at the Bay City History Pavilion
 We met beside the pool at her Bay City exhibit on the Beguile sim. I started off by asking what bought her to SL10B.

Linsey: Why are you here? What made you want to become a sim-coordinator here at SL10B?
Marianne: Well, I've been a part of the event since the 3rd, though usually an an exhibitor. And last year, I helped pull together some support for SL9B, after the lab stepped aside from the event. That went so well that I was glad to be involved again this year.

The History Walk
Take a walk through the history of Second Life

Linsey: How long have you been working on your exhibits here?
Marianne: Well, we got the land a couple months back, but my first duties were assisting with prep work, some work on Bear Island, etc.. I started on the welcome area about a month ago, then the history walk, then this History Pavilion, and last week the sculpture garden in SL10B Wonderous. 

The History Walk 2
A closer look at one side of the History Walk

Linsey: I read in your interview with DRFran Babcock that you have an interest in World's Fairs from the mid- 20th century and put elements from them in your exhibits here. When did your research begin on these exhibits or was it something that you already knew enough about that you just had the concept in your head and built from that?
Marianne: Oh ya. Well, not just the world's fairs. I'm actually a bit of a fan of the mis-century years. A bit before my time, but still a fascinating period. Still, I have looked a lot at photos and other materials from the World's Fairs over the years, so it tends to be a "first stop" when I start planning my birthday builds. I tend to think of them as being, in a way, Second Life's best example of a "world's fair," where avatars from all over the Grid come together and share some of the things that are unique about themselves with the rest of the Grid. So I tend to try and reflect that with my builds. I figure it it worked then, then there may be something that could work here and now.
Marianne: I don't necessarily go "well, this year I'll build the Marine Transportation Building from the 1939 New York World's Fair". But it tends to be "well, what sort of things to I want to do that say, "Bay City" and start flipping through websites and resources, and start tabbing different examples. In this case, ya, the aforementioned NYWF build seemed to fit, with a few modifications. Same with the history walk, where I borrowed elements from the venue of Flags from the 1933 Century of Progress.
Not directly copying the builds, but certainly grabbing some elements and ideas here and there.

Just hours before this interview, Linden Lab announced the release of the Materials Viewer.

Linsey: Speaking of history, would you call today a historic day in Second Life? How do you think the new Materials will effect residents daily life here?
Marianne: I think materials are part of a long history of great innovations. I think it's impact will be large, but perhaps not as big of a splash as say Mesh, or sculpts in their time, or flexible prims in theirs
Linsey: Do you have any plans of adding materials to any of your exhibits here?
Marianne: I actually did build with materials a bit at the history walk, but some last minute adjustments may have affected that. I did create normal and specular maps for the Bay City History Pavilion as well, but I ended up holding off on it for the moment. Maybe I'll sneak 'em in yet.

Bay City History Pavilion
Bay City History Pavilion

Linsey: We are sitting at the Bay City pavilion, one of the preplanned communities in Second. Life. This event is called the Second Life Community Celebration. You mentioned being a part of the Bay City and kids communities in SL. What does it mean to be a community in a virtual world where the normal geographic boundaries do not apply?
Marianne: Well, a community need not be geographic. One can be, for example, part of the Jewish community and not live in Israel. So, for example, being an SL kid means being part of a group of kids. I am a part of one of the big kid groups, and often interact with other SL kids here in the world, via school or camp roleplay, etc. But there are some geographic boundaries, for example Bay City. Where it is a block of 12 residential regions, and about that many more Linden controlled ones. And those of us who live in the Bay City regions have banded together in a lot of ways similar to any small town in first life, and would certainly see ourselves as a local community, with a certain home town pride, and local interest. So that is still possible, even in a world where one can teleport from one side of the Grid to another in a single instant.
Linsey: I guess that is what I was getting at, In Second Life there are none of the usual things that define us and group us together, such as geography , nationality, religion, etc. Here you can go anywhere and be anything, whenever you want. So what is it that makes a community. Is it just where you have your house or shop, or who you hang out with, or is it something more?
Marianne: I think it *can* be those things. But I also think it transcends that a bit. I mean, I have a neighbor right now in this world who has decided to erect a large spite fence and is feuding with myself and others. I can hardly claim to be in a "community" with someone who has opted out of same. But with the other neighbors.... sure! We share an experience. It's a communal experience. We are part of a shared community. And I think that's true in any world, any life, really.

Some of the faces of Bay City
Thew images of Bay City residents line the pool.

Linsey: What do you hope that this exhibit conveys about the community of Bay City?
Marianne: Well, two things, really. Out here, I opted to be fairly simple. In the past, we've all hung banners showing our various businesses and projects in Bay City, but this year I suggested we go one step further in a way, and show us. We're what makes up the city, after all, so... here are our faces. Inside, I wanted to show our history, from when Bay City was first formed to today, via photos, ephemera, words, and even video. Really give some of the story of the city. At the same time, by doing a very in-theme structure and display, given another level of depth about the theme of the place.

Inside the Pavilion
A look inside the Bay City History Pavilion
Linsey: Thank you for your time. I have one final question that I am asking everyone that I interview.
Marianne: My pleasure.
Linsey: The theme this year is "Looking Forward, Looking Back." It is easy to look back and see where we have been. It is harder to look forward and see exactly where we are going. What are you looking forward to in your Second Life in the short-term and in the long-term?
Marianne: In the short term... I am looking forward to the start of Camp HardKnock's Summer session in July. That's sort of a "vacation" for me. It's a role-play summer camp for kid avvies.
Marianne: Long term. That's the hard one. Really, I think it's watching for what is next. What new innovations, what new events, what new, cool content that I won't possibly be able to live without. The fun, the experiences yet to be had.

Be sure to stop by and check out the Second Life History Walk, and the Bay City History Pavilion before SL10B closes on June 29th.

Want to participate in a fun activity while exploring the History Walk? Take a photo of yourself in front of the board with the year that you entered Second life and submit it to this Flickr group that Marianne has created.


"Who Am I? Why Am I Here?"

The title comes from the famous line uttered by Admiral James Stockdale during his opening remarks of the 1992 U.S. Vice Presidential debate. I am beginning a series of interviews with people involved with SL10B to be posted on this blog. The first thing that I will be asking them is "Who are you? Why are you here?" I am a firm believer in the Golden Rule, which states "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I do not ask questions that I am not willing to answer. Here are my answers to the common questions that I will be asking others,

"Who am I?"

My name is Linsey Carter. I am the proprietor of Inspired Creativity Studio and an exhibitor at SL10B on the Magnificent sim. I am, also, a writer for BUSTed Magazine. I spend most of my time living and working on Sage Isle. I live as an adult and am not ashamed to admit that I engage in activities in Second Life that would offend others. I believe that Second Life allows each resident to live and express themselves as they wish. Such lifestyles and expressions should not be hindered by social norms or prejudices that others have against such things."

Why am I here?"

That is a good question. I have been in Second Life since April 2007. I have been a member of adult communities in SL for almost that entire time. I ignored SL4B through SL8B, mainly because it seemed that adult communities were not welcome and the controversies that perceived "adult content" at these events. I decided that it was not worth my time to go to an event that only wanted to show a sanitized version of Second Life, that was far removed from the Second Life that I lived and loved. 

That changed last year, in March I discovered the profile Feeds on By the time, SL9B came around, I was following several residents who were involved with it. They posted some amazing pictures from there. I was intrigued and decided to visit. So, I did, and I crashed. Again and again, I crashed within a few minutes every time that I landed at SL9B. Finally on the last day of SL9B, when the crowds were largely gone. I was able to get in and explore.

What I saw was amazing, the 4-sim Cake Stage, the Lotus Stage, and exhibits of all types. I spent a couple of hours exploring, then I had to leave. SL9B was history and I was pissed. I was pissed at having ignored this event for the previous five years. I was pissed at not having a computer that could handle being there. When I get pissed, I get resolute. I resolved that I would be back for SL10B and this time I would have a presence there. That is why I am here.

Standing below my Resident Input required exhibit minutes before SL10B opens
Resident Input Required grew out of some of the exhibits that I saw at SL9B. It has changed radically from the original design that I had 11 months ago, and even evolved as I was building it. It is designed to be a tribute to the infrastructure and content creators who make the Second Life user experience what it is. I call the top of it the Creative Engine and have listed the different types of content creators there. It may not look like an engine and that is because it was not to be one. The exhibit was going to be a static display, but then I had trouble linking it all together. I decided to make the tower rotate since it was separate from the base.

"The theme this year is "Looking Forward, Looking Back." It is easy to look back and see where we have been. It is harder to look forward and see exactly where we are going. What are you looking forward to in your SL. in the short-term and in the long-term?"

In the short-term, I am looking forward to fulfilling my goal this year to "Make Something Magical". Resudent Input Required is not magical. I have ideas for some things that would be. Hopefully, by the end of the year, at least one of them will be completed.

In the long-term, I am looking forward to getting more involved with content creators in Second Life. I have much to learn, and hope to gain knowledge and collaborate on projects with some of the best that Second Life has to offer. 

These are just a three of the questions that I will be asking some of the creators here at SL10B. My interviews with them start tonight. The first round of people that I will be interviewing includes:

Marianne McCann, sim-coordinator for the Beguile sim and creator of the Second Life History Walk, and Bay City History Pavilion exhibit among others.
Whiskey Monday, Creator of the Single Frame Stories exhibit on the Wonderous sim, and 
KT Syakumi, Senior Lead of SL10B, creator of the DJ (Reactor) Stage and the Awesome and Incredible sims.

The first f these interviews will be posted in a couple of hours. Check back soon.

- Linsey

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Want to see SL10B, Hop on a Pod

No you won't see pod races like in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace at SL10B. Though some may consider the grey and orange pods at SL10B a menace. These pods will silently cruise the streets of SL10B 24 hours a day for the duration of the event. Their routes take them passed every exhibit on 20 sims. The only places that they do not go are to the 2 Linden-owned sims, Bear Island and the Cornfield. (Maybe next year, they will go there if the Lindens plant peas instead.)

The pods are a great and convenient way to get around SL10B. There are two routes, a western and an eastern route. These routes meet at 3 places where you can hop off a pod on one route and shortly pick up a pod on the other route. These transfer points are located at:
  • The Welcome Area on the border of the Beguile and Wonderous sims,
  • At the train tracks on the Pizzazz sim, and
  • at the border in the north of the Magnificent and Exhilarate.

A pod arrives from the west on the Exhilarate side 
A few seconds after it left a pod arrived from the east on
the Magnificent side.

Each pod seats two people and you can hop on them any time you see one with an empty seat floating by. Just be careful, the pods move silently and they do not stop if you stand in their way. You have to catch them while they are moving.

Map of the pod routes at SL10B 
Besides just taking you around the sims, the pods, also, give information on most of the exhibits as they pass by. It is a great way to find interesting exhibits to come back to later.

An Interview with the Pod Creator, Yavanna Llanfair

'I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the creator of this amazing system, Yavanna Llanfair. We met at her exhibit, YavaScript Pod Tours,  on the Mesmerize sim. There we sat in another one of her pods that takes visitors through part of the exhibit, over a map of some of her other pod systems and gives an explanation and a history of them.

Cruising Through the Exhibit with Yavanna Llanfair
This is the third Second Life Birthday celebration that Yavanna has set up pod tours. Like most things in Second Life, the pods have improved with time. 

Linsey: How does this pod system compare to the one at SL9B?
Yavanna: The layout of the sims is quite similar. I learnt a lot from my first SLB - which was SL8B. So the route is optimised for the shortest possible route that will take people to every exhibit and place of interest (pretty much the shortest anyway)
Yavanna: Functionally the only real difference is that I have improved the way it communicates the text - you now only get it if you are sat on a pod. You won't hear it if you are standing nearby
Yavanna: (llRegionSayTo is a very useful new function!)
Yavanna: Oh... and this year I have it running as a railcar in part, which I wasn't able to do last year, because there were no suitable rails.

The pods on the western route turn into railcars to run on the rails

Linsey: How long will it take a pod to complete a route on average?
Yavanna: Here at SL10B, the eastern route is about 42 minutes, the western about 49 minutes.
Yavanna: It might take slightly longer when the sims are lagged
Yavanna: That will take you to every exhibit in SL10B
Yavanna: And give you the text that the exhibitors have provided, which has come in for about 2/3 of the exhibits
Linsey: In around an hour and a half and you can pass all of the exhibits here?
Yavanna: Yes. Any quicker and you won't see them all. There's a lot to see here!
Linsey: So 2/3rds of the exhibitors responded.
Yavanna: Yes, around that. Hmm... I am not sure of the total number of exhibitors, I think it was something over 300 last year?
Yavanna: I have about 230 exhibits with text in the pods.
Linsey: 368 this year. I got that number today. :)
Yavanna: OK :) Then yes, slightly under 2/3.
Yavanna: That's a better return than last year.

Linsey: One final question. I know that you are busy.
Linsey: Are animals allowed in the pods?
Yavanna: Hehe! Yes, since I don't charge for avatars, animals go free too! But they do have to take a seat, there is no standing room.

Horses, like everyone else, can ride the pods for free
I would like to thank Yavanna for taking the time to be interviewed. If you would like to learn more about the pods at SL10B and elsewhere is SL, I highly recommend that you visit her exhibit on Mesmerize.

Pods are a great way to get around and see all of what SL10B has to offer. In around an hour and a half you can pass by all the exhibits and hear about almost 2/3rds of them. Just watch out if you are standing in the middle of the road. These pods stop for no one. While they are not racing, they do keep moving along.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

SL10B Press Day # 2: Setting the Stage

Today is the second day of the SL10B Press Days. Tomorrow at noon SLT, SL10B opens to the general public. Most of the big public events will take place on one of the 4 stages and in the Auditorium. Yesterday, during the press tour, the members of the press were taken around to all of these places. There was little time to explore or take pictures, so I went back on my own today.Here are my impressions of the venues.

The Auditorium

The Auditorium is the smallest of the venues at SL10B. It was designed to be a place for lectures, discussions, and other such activities. It was built by Aki Shichiroji. It consists of the main auditorium and two smaller lecture halls to each side. Overall, the design is very modern, and somewhat typical of what you would see in a lot of small auditoriums in Real Life

The Auditorium
The Auditorium
Its notable feature is the roof. Unlike a typical dome, there are holes in the top which can make for an interesting pattern on the inside if the sun hits it right.

Inside the Auditorium
Inside the main auditorium with the night sky visible through the holes in the roof
Overall, the Auditorium is nicely designed and should fulfil its function nicely.There will be far fewer pictures taken of this venue than the other venues at SL10B.

The Reactor (DJ) Stage

The Reactor or DJ Stage is the smallest of the performance venues at SL10B. Wihile it sits on two sims, the area that it occupies is small compared to the barren wasteland that it sits in. The Reactor and surrouding sims was built by KT Syakumi, who is, also, one of the two Senior Leads for SL10B.

The Reactor Stage
A look at the Reactor from outside. (Photo taken using the region Windlight settings)
Inside the Reactor, the DJ booth sits to one side of the dance floor under a large rocket. The DJ bboth is small compared to a lot of other DJ booths in Second Life. If you use the region Windlight settings it gives the environment a hot and dry feel. 

DJ booth inside the Reactor
The DJ booth and dance floor at the Reactor Stage
The Rocket in the Reactor
The rocket above the DJ booth and dance floor
Besides the dance floor, there are tunnels underground. It has not bee revealed what or if these will have a specific use, but it is one thing that makes this venue different from the others.

Another thing that makes this venue unique is that is the only venue that I got notified by a script detector. I can not sa that the other venues do not have them or will not have them, but the Reactor Stage did and it sent me a warning every couple of minutes that I was there. As of the time I was there, it was triggered if you were over any of the following limits.

  • Script Memory: 1,000 KB
  • Script Time: 1.10 ms
  • Number of Scripts: 25
Overall, the Reactor is a nice build. It will be interesting to see how the general public's reaction (pun intended) to it when SL10B opens tomorrow.

The Mushroom (Lake) Stage

The Mushroom or Lake Stage is the only venue at SL10B that sits completely on one sim. It was built by Kazuhiro Aridian. It seems a common practice this year to surround the venues by water. Last year's Lake stage was the only venue that was srounded by water at SL9B. This year, the next three venues all sit on islands.

Whereas, the first two venues could be seen as places in Real Life, The Mushroom Stage looks like it was dropped out of some fantasy world. It's bright colors and buzzing insects give it a feeling of life unlike any of the other venues.

Getting to the top the old-fashioned way
A rope staircase takes you from the ground to the top of the Mushroom Stage.
The stage itself is small and like real mushrooms it is curved down at the edges. It will be fun to watch how performers handle such an unusually shaped stage.

Watch your step
Performers will have to watch their step on this small stage.
An interesting point about this stage is that time and care was taken even in areas that most visitors will never see. Beneath the lake's surface lies a very nicely done undersea area. It continues the feeling of this being a living thing throughout the whole sim.

Below the Surface
Life continues beneath the surface of the lake
Overall, the Mushroom Stage is a feast for the eyes. Its bright colors and organic shape gives it the feel of coming from a fantasy world.

The Cake Stage

Right next door to the Mushroom Stage is the Cake Stage. This stage is the largest of the builds at SL10B and covers 4 sims.

Mushroom or Cake?
Mushroom or Cake, anyone?
Built by Donpatchy, who created the Lotus Stage for SL9B, this stage domnates the view from most on the neighboring sims. Like the Mushroom Stage it sits on an island. but this island is covered in enough sweet stuff to have doctors and dentists put out advisories against visiting it.

Cake Stage
A lok at the sweets that cover the island around the Cake Stage
It makes you wonder if there would have been enough room in Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory for a tree bursting with sweets like this one. There are 4 main entrances into this massive tree. They each lead over 30 meters up into the tree.

The Entrance
ONe of the entrances into the Cake Stage
 It can be confusing once you enter the tree, but if you look you can find your way up to the stage area. (I won't tell you how, because that would just ruin the fun.)  The stage itself sits on two sims with the dance floor on another two sims.

A Stage at the corner of 4 sims
Dark brown lines mark the boundaries of 4 sims
It looks quite small, especially when compared to the large area covered by the dance floor and stage by the Cake Stage at SL9B. The small size may just be an illusion caused by the size of its surroundings. The reall test will come when events are held here and the place fills up.

Overall, the Cake Stage is a massive build that will see plenty of use during the first week of SL10B. It will be interesting to see if residents enjoy the challenge of navigating to the top or if the area is big enough to hold them once they get there.

The A'stra (Live) Stage

At last we come to the final venue at SL10B, the A'stra or Live Stage. Located to the west of the Cake Stage, this venue has already had many hotos and much written about it.

View from the Cake Stage to the A'stra Stage
the view from the side of the Cake Stage to the A'stra Stage
This stage covers two sims and has it all, a great location, an interesting design, and plenty to see even when there are no events. The A'stra Stage is the brain child of Toady Nakamura and Flea Bussy. The name for the stage comes from the Latin "Ad astra per aspera" which translates to  "Through difficulties to the stars".

The A'stra Stage has several unique features. It is the only one of the large stages that you can ride the pods (western route) up to the front door.

Entrance to the A'stra Stage
Pods will take you right to the entrance of the A'stra Stage
The stage area is huge. There is a sim border that crosses through the stage, but it does not matter because almost any set would fit on just one side of the border.

The large A'stra Stage
This picture does not do justice to the size of the stage.

Finally, The A'stra Stage has seats. It is the only venue at SL10B, other than the Auditorium to have a place where you can sit down. It may not sound like much but sitting does help reduce lag and, also, it is nice to just relax while watching and listening to what is happening on stage.

Sitting area
One of the seating areas scattered around the A'stra Stage
Overall, The A'stra stage is likely to become a very popular site during SL10B. There has already been a lot written about it and there is no sign that will not continue once the gates open at noon SLT on Sunday. 

Inspired Creativity Studio will have much more from SL10B, including another blog post later tonight where I sat down with one of the more popular and useful things at SL10B, the pod system. Stay tuned for that.
-Linsey :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

SL10B Opens to the Press

Today is a day that we have been anticipating at Inspired Creativity Studio. Today SL10B opened.... to the press. No it was not the full grand opening but a smaller one for members of the SL10B press. It was still a milestone, as it marked the end of work on our exhibit: Resident Input Required. We are proud to show you the results of our labor now.

Resident Input Required and the Magnificent sim

As soon as Press Days started, I took this picture of the Resident Input required exhibit. The exhibit stands 60 meters tall and represents the structure that supports the user experience in Second Life.

The exhibit Resident Input Required stands on the corner of 33rd and Busch
in the SL10B Magnificent sim.
At the heart of the exhibit is the platform with the big red button. When a resident pushes the button, the exhibit comes to life. More about that in coming days.

The Central platform and the big red button that turn the
exhibit on.
I took time to explore some of the exhibits on the Magnificent sim as well. Pictures of these will be posted tomrrow there are some great exhibits on this sim, The Catznip viewer and House of Alisha have 2 very interesting exhibits. on the sim. There are a few others that I will mention tomorrow, but now the sun is setting on the first press day at SL10B.

Sunset along the south cost of SL10B.
The tall slender tower on the left is the LGBT Media Tower. I took the elevator to the top floor and took the picture below.
The view from the top floor of the LGBT Media Tower on
the Magnificent sim.
This is a good place to call it a night. As this picture shows there are many more sims to cover.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Halfway there

Today marks the halfway point in the time given to exhibitors to get there builds up for SL10B. Needless to say, things have been busy the past week and a half. Our build, Resident Input Required, is approaching completion. 80% of the prim work, 60% of the texturing and about 40% of the scripting has been completed. We hope to have it ready for inspection on Saturday and unveil it on Sunday. The design is simple using only the standard primitives, and no mesh or sculpties.

Elsewhere Around SL10B

Last weekend, I took some time away from the build site to take the pod tours around the SL10B sims. I must say that the pods are a great way to see the exhibits that others are setting up. There are some really amazing builds being done this year. The stages are looking amazing, even when viewed from a distance.

There are still vacant plots around on all the sims, but these are filling up every day. By this time next week, I hope to have some pictures of some of the more creative builds.

The clock is ticking.... SL10B starts in 11 days.