Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Medieval and Fantasy Outfits for Men and Women from TS Creations and Eleran’s Crafts

Work has been hectic lately, and to relax in the evenings, I have been busy styling my small army of Second Life alts, using some wonderful free medieval armour and fantasy outfits I picked up in my travels across the grid, from a couple of stores that were new to me.

TS Creations has two free group gifts of complete fantasy outfits (the store group is free to join)—one for male avatars and the other for the female avatars:

The Battle Legionnaire outfit includes everything you see here, plus a battle axe (it is sized for Signature and Aesthetic mesh bodies, but it should work for just about any male mesh body if you use your alpha HUD to erase any body parts which happen to poke through):

The women’s outfit is this wonderful Royal Duelist costume in red and black (Maitreya Lara size only). The details are magnificent!

But wait, there’s more! Teleport over to Eleran’s Crafts, where they are celebrating their tenth anniversary with a whole room stuffed with dozens of fantasy and medieval outfits for free! (The store group is also free to join, just click on the Join Group sign in-store.)

There are fantasy outfits for male and female avatars, as well as for Kemono avatars! All outfits include accessories, including boots, gloves (Bento in some cases), helmets, and weapons. Note that almost all of these outfits will work for just about any mesh avatar, since most components are adjustable/resizable attachments, and you will be alpha’ing out most of the mesh body underneath using your body’s HUD, anyway.

First up is this black Abyss Watcher outfit for men:

Next is this incredibly detailed Abyss Walker knight’s armour in black (it also comes in red, blue and white versions):

This is the Celestial Knight armour in white and gold; the outfit includes wings, which are not shown here. (It also comes in blue and black versions; I swapped out the included boots for a medieval pair I picked up from the Dreamcatcher store.)

The Lady Farangis outfit includes glowing wings which open and flap when you fly! It comes in red, orange, blue and purple versions.

The copper Knight of Elmandria outfit is perfect for historical roleplay (the sword is included; comes in copper as shown, plus silver, white, black, red, and blue versions):

Looking for some women’s armour? Look no further than this Aurora outfit! This detailed armour comes in silver, copper, green, and blue chrome versions.

This Faraam outfit for men is something straight out of Game of Thrones! In addition to the blue shown, it comes in black, white, green, and red:

This Celestial Mage outfit in green includes the glowing staff! (I swapped out the boots with a less ornate pair from the Hilly Haalan freebie store.) It comes in black, blue, copper, green, purple, red, and white.

This is just a small but representative selection from Eleran’s Crafts; there are many, many more to choose from. I don’t know how long these fabulous freebies will be available, so if you’re interested, hurry on down!

Happy freebie shopping!

A Few More Thoughts on My Move from Twitter to Mastodon

HOUSEKEEPING NOTICE: My proposal (and budget!) for a virtual reality lab for my university library system is almost done, and soon I will be able to get back to blogging “news and views on social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse”, as the tagline of the RyanSchultz.com blog states. Thank you for your patience!

It’s been almost one month since I first decided to jump ship from Twitter after Elon Musk announced that he was buying the microblogging platform, and it seems like a good time to share with my readers my thoughts about the move.

In only 3-1/2 weeks, I have 150 followers on Mastodon, and I am already following 300 people!

The culture and ethos between Twitter and Mastodon are completely different, like night and day. There is a blessed absence of advertising and “influencers”, people are politer, there is a relative lack of trolls, and the lack of a quote feature means that people tend to talk to each other, instead of about each other. Partly, these differences are because Mastodon has a much, much smaller network of users than mighty Twitter. (Some stats: Mastodon has about 4.4 million users, while Twitter boasts over 396 million users.)

One thing I quite like in Mastodon is the ability to put a content warning (CW for short) on a post, so that the person reading it has to read the content warning and decide whether or not to click through to read and/or see the actual content. Here’s an example of a recent post I made with a content warning:

One person whom I am following on Mastodon, Rachel Sharp, wittily summed up the difference between Twitter and Mastodon as follows:

Tonight I spent a little time scrolling both Mastodon and Twitter, and I gotta say, the tone difference is just STAGGERING…

Mastodon: I put a content warning on my dinner in case anyone doesn’t feel like looking at food right now.

Twitter: THE WORLD IS BURNING AND SO TOO SHOULD EVERYONE ON THIS HELLBIRD SITE, AAAAAH!!!

After kicking the tires on a number of iOS apps, I have settled on a paid one, called Toot!, which I quite like (I tend to use it on my iPad while I am relaxing on the sofa in the evenings, before I go to bed). In addition to my main account on the mastodon.social instance, I also have an account on the scholar.social academic-themed instance (an “instance” is the term for a Mastodon server). I have discovered, much to my dismay, that for some reason, my employer blocks the former site, but not the latter. I also can use Toot! to monitor the local/community timeline on scholar.social, choosing to follow people from my main account on mastodon.social.

One of the things that I really like about Mastodon is that it is possible—and, in some cases, even encouraged!—to switch instances. For example, I could decide that I prefer the local, more focused community over on scholar.social, and move my main account over there. While your “toots” (what Mastodon calls tweets) do not follow you over to your new instance, the social network of people you follow can be carried over! So you’re not starting off from scratch every time you move, like you do on Twitter. I quite like the flexibility this offers!

All is not perfect, however. One thing I do miss is the ability to following certain Twitter accounts that are essentially feeds of tech news (e.g. Ars Technica). While Ars Technica does offer many RSS feeds, it looks as though I will have to learn a bit of Unix (or pony up for a premium IFTTT account) in order to set up a bot to automatically post Ars Technica news items, which I can then follow on Mastodon. (The good news is, that once I set this up, anybody can then follow it! Or, I could just bug Ars Technica to set up a Mastodon feed…) I am already keeping abreast of news sources like WIRED, the Guardian, and The New York Times via Mastodon, using bots that either the publications themselves or other users have set up.

And, let’s face it, every change does take a bit of adjustment. I have discovered that, while I have severely curtailed the amount of time I now spend on Twitter, I now find myself checking my Mastodon timeline several times a day! I seem to be just as addicted to the dopamine rush of getting my toots favourited, boosted (i.e. retooted), and commented on! I’m just glad that I am conscious of this, which is, of course, the first step towards addressing the problem of how I use social media in general.

I have retained my Twitter account, to (automatically) cross-post new items posted to the RyanSchultz.com blog, as well as any public toots I make over on Mastodon. And, of course, I will still use Twitter Spaces social audio, as it seems to be taking market share away from the Clubhouse app, which appears to be slowly circling the drain as it bleeds users, even as it adds new features. So, you might still find me on Twitter from time to time, even as I try to wean myself off reliance on the service.

This picture still makes me laugh whenever I see it!

If you are intrigued by Mastodon and want to try it out for yourself, please go to joinmastodon.org, pick an instance/server, and create an account. It’s easy and free, and then you can follow me at @ryanschultz@mastodon.social—follow me and I’ll follow you back! Please note: If you follow me from an account with zero information (no icon, no banner, no profile, no posts, no comments), I will most likely block you instead of following you back.

A New Feature-Length Investigative Documentary by BrandonFM Looks at a Very Dark and Disturbing Side of VRChat

Every so often, something hits you like a sucker punch to the gut. This is one of those times.

Somebody alerted me to this brand new, investigative-documentary-style video on YouTube, and I started watching it this evening. Even before I had reached the halfway point of the video, I knew I had to stop watching it, and write this blogpost.

While it is titled The Dark Side of Virtual Reality, this one-hour-48-minute video is entirely about a single popular social VR platform, VRChat. The creator is a man by the name of BrandonFM (his channel only has 3 videos so far; after I finish watching this, I will certainly be watching his two earlier videos, which appear to be on similar topics to this new one).

WARNING: This YouTube video covers some very disturbing topics! Consider yourself forewarned!

TRIGGER WARNING: This video discusses sexual content involving minors, and will likely be upsetting to some viewers.

Brandon’s video talks about the hidden adult content in VRChat, which I have written about before here (ironically, this safe-for-work post by far the most popular blogpost on the RyanSchultz.com blog). And I’ve even written fairly recently about the Nevermet app, which is briefly mentioned in this video.*

This is a not-safe-for-work side of VRChat which I had suspected to exist, based on that previous blogpost I wrote about adult content in VRChat, but I had never actually set (virtual) foot in. But I never knew about some of the darkest depths uncovered here by Brandon—particularly where it involves minors. (He uses the word “degenerate” a lot in this video, and frankly, it’s the appropriate word.)

In 2007, Linden Lab (the makers of Second Life) underwent a public relations disaster when this sort of behaviour was discovered happening on its platform (item #4 on my list of scandals and controversies in SL):

The virtual pedophilia uncovered by two different news reporters in Second Life was a public relations disaster of the highest order for Linden Lab…Linden Lab responded to the crisis by creating an official Ageplay Policy, where people involved in ageplay and virtual pedophilia activities were banned from the platform.

Well, it would appear that a similar scandal may soon befall VRChat, once the major news media latch onto this story (and believe me, they will!). And, once again, a metaverse platform is going to be in the white-hot glare of the media spotlight, and have to scramble to address a public relations disaster. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.

So, I’m just going to post this, then finish watching this video, then I will add some more of my thoughts (I’m sure I will have some!).

UPDATE 9:06 p.m.: O.K., I have not yet finished watching the entire video, but holy shit. I’m really impressed with the work that BrandonFM and his team did in researching and reporting on these stories, as well as the overall editing of the documentary.

What I now want to know is: What has VRChat done in response to this video? Do they even know about it? Brandon posted it on May 6th, 2022, but it only has a relatively paltry 88,500 views so far (possibly because it does not have “VRChat” in the title?).

Also, this video talks about things such as slave auctions, something which (unfortunately) still can be found among the adult (18+) community in Second Life, despite calls from some people to forbid any slavery completely on the platform (pertinent thread from the SL Community Forums). In fact, there are numerous SL sims devoted to Gorean roleplay (based on the “of Gor” series of science fiction novels written by philosophy professor John Lange, writing as John Norman), in which slavery is commonplace.

What really struck me, in fact, is that VRChat is struggling with many of the same sorts of problems that Second Life has been struggling with throughout its own 18-year history.

O.K., back to the video…

UPDATE 9:48 p.m.: I finally finished the video, and I immediately became one of BrandonFM’s patrons on Patreon (here’s his Patreon page if you are similarly inclined). Seriously, this documentary was a trip, and this 58-year-old blogger learned a lot of things about VRChat that I did not know before (like the gangs of crashers, and the zoophiliac “hypnotherapist”, and the drug dealing, and the doxxing). The documentary is like a fever dream. My head is kind of spinning with it all.

Brandon did a masterful job of video editing (although the voice distortion used for some avatars interviewed made it a bit difficult to understand what they were saying).

My initial response after watching Brandon’s video is that, once this information becomes more widely known, VRChat is going to receive some serious pushback from parents and officials for its current Teen (age 13+) rating. It’s going to be interesting to see how much traction Brandon’s documentary will achieve, and what kind of impact it will have on the platform overall (hopefully, positive).

I also need to let everything percolate for a little while, so I am not going to delete any blogposts I have written in the past about adult content in VRChat, or Nevermet. I need to think things through, and not act simply as a knee-jerk reaction, despite how appalled I am at some of things that Brandon has uncovered. And I definitely need to watch his earlier videos!


* I did explicitly warn the people behind the Nevermet app that they needed to pay attention to the serious problem of potentially underage users setting up profiles. Now that I am watching Brandon’s documentary, which mentions Nevermet in passing, I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m going to finish watching this video, then I might have to make some decisions about what to do about my review of Nevermet, in light of the information Brandon has reported.

UPDATED! HOUSEKEEPING NOTICE: Testing Patreon-Exclusive Blogposts on the RyanSchultz.com Blog

Over the past month, I have been testing out Patreon-exclusive, paywalled blogposts on my blog. For example, if you are not a Patreon patron (more info here), you would only see a paywall message when you click on the link below. (By the way, this post is, by far, the most popular blogpost on my blog, mainly because it is the first result when people do a Google search for “vrchat adult”.)

The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat—Hidden Adult Content

UPDATE May 9th, 2022: After watching BrandonFM’s documentary (more details here), I have made the decision to un-paywall that particular blogpost.

I set it so that you would have to sign up to be a patron of my Patreon, and have paid me at least US$1, to be able to access and read this blogpost (which, by the way, is quite safe for work AND DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY LINKS TO NSFW VRCHAT WORLDS, talking about the topic in a very general way only). I just got so tired of having a page with so much traffic, and so I put a paywall on it! It doesn’t seem to have dented the traffic one bit.

And, as I have discovered, people are indeed willing to pay me a dollar just to read that particular blogpost (or one of the other two I set up in this way). So, moving forward, I reserve the right to begin imposing such a paywall on some of my content.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

As I have said before on this blog a couple of years ago, I need become a little more business-minded about how I operate the RyanSchultz.com blog. Selling advertising and offering sponsored blogposts at US$50 a pop is part of that, and this will become an additional tool in my mercantile arsenal. I do hope that you will understand.

P.S. If you do want to make a one-time financial donation and don’t want to use Patreon to do it, you can buy me a coffee using Ko-Fi or Buy Me a Coffee. Thanks!