PERSONAL NOTE: Well, I actually lasted a whole TWELVE DAYS between blogposts, which I think is a new personal record!
I was going to save this particular blogpost for when I resume blogging in September, but I didn’t know how long this special, promotional price would last, so I decided to publish this post now rather than wait.
Because I need to work overtime (including evenings and weekends) on my full-time university job in order to meet some firm deadlines this fall, I regret that I will not have any time to blog about the various social VR and virtual worlds, at least this month. Consider this a one-off, single-time exception.
See you in September!
I swear, you come across great deals in Second Life in the damnedest places.
I was enjoying the blues at Bray’s Place (my new favourite hangout on the grid) and idly checking out what the other avatars were wearing (using the handy free What Is She Wearing? HUD) when I discovered a model of Bento mesh head that I hadn’t encountered before, from a company called META. And it’s a real bargain if you are looking for a Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible female mesh head!
This is what the Bae head looks like, using the included brow shaper and body shape, right out of the box, with zero adjustments to the sliders. The shape of this head reminds me a bit of the freebie Catwa Freya head (sorry, it’s no longer a freebie!).
The head skin you see in this image is actually a full-head tattoo layer included with this head (I experimented and found that the butter body skin tone of 7 Deadly S[k]ins matches it well). I am wearing it on the freebie Ariadna body by Kalhene, which is, sadly, no longer available*. There was a slight neck seam visible, which I covered with the golden choker you see here.
After making various adjustments to the head and body sliders to my liking, here is my final avatar look, using the Bae head and the Ariadna body. In these pictures my avatar is wearing the Elvira skin from 7 Deadly S[k]ins in the butter skin tone (this was an Advent calendar gift from last December). I found that this Bento mesh head responds very well to the sliders, and of course it works with any Bakes on Mesh skins and makeup:
Here’s a full-body shot:
Now, I don’t know how long the L$99 promotional pricing will apply to the Bae head, so I would snap it now if you’re interested! I think this is a real bargain, especially when you compare it to Bento mesh heads that cost L$5,000 or more.
*Note that the L$1,695 Anya mesh body by Kalhene (which is frequently updated, and simply gets better and better with each new update!) is the successor to the original Ariadna freebie mesh body. Anya is available to buy at the Kalhene store, and is fully Maitreya Lara compatible; please see this blogpost for further information. I am mightily impressed with this body!
I wish the Sansar project well, but I no longer feel very attached to, or engaged by, the platform. Perhaps that’s a good and necessary thing: I learned that it’s not wise to get too emotionally attached to any platform, no matter how much initial promise it shows.
So it’s a very good time for me to take a break, pause, and reflect on my journey of the past three years. I know that I have said that I will be extending my self-imposed vacation from the RyanSchultz.com blog, but this time around, I am firm in my resolve to step away. I am feeling jaded, cynical, a bit overwhelmed, and weary.
And, as I have said before, I will be needing to work extra hours (including evenings and weekends) on various projects at my full-time paying job with my university library system, all of which require my time, attention, and energy. I regret that I will not have any time to devote to blogging over the next month.
So this will be my last blogpost until September 1st, 2020. I am taking the entire month of August completely off: absolutely ZERO blogging about virtual reality, or any virtual world or social VR platform.Nothing.
Of course, I still plan to visit and explore various virtual worlds and social VR platforms in my month off; I just won’t be writing about them.
I apologize if I sound bitter. I’m just tired. I hope that all of you reading this understand that I am dead tired. I desperately need to recharge my batteries. I have written 1,979 blogposts in three years, which is one hell of a lot by any standard, and the circumstances feel right to me to take the next month off—completelyoff, not sorta-kinda-off.
Please note that I am taking the rest of the summer off as a self-imposed vacation from the blog so I can focus on my other work, except for sponsored blogposts, and the occasional exception such as this blogpost. See you in September!
Another day, another free Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible avatar! This time it’s for female avatars: the RuthTooRC3 full-body (i.e. head and body) avatar. As usual, the head and body are separate components, so you should be able to mix and match with other BoM heads and bodies.
I had blogged about the free RuthTooRC3 mesh body before (here, about halfway down this very long blogpost), but I just found out yesterday that there is a new, Bakes on Mesh-compatible version! So a pretty good free mesh body just got even better. You can now use Bakes on Mesh skins and makeup with this head and body (the skin used in these pictures is the Elvira skin in the maple skin tone, an Advent gift from 7 Deadly S[k]ins from last December).
Here’s the exact SLURL of the Heavy Industries store, located in a retro 1950’s diner. Walk into the diner and and click both of the blue panels on the wall directly in front of you (the first one only includes flat mesh feet for some reason, but the second one includes both medium-height and high-heeled mesh feet as well):
While you’re there, click on the three red panels immediately to the left of the blue ones, and you can pick up three outfits that were designed to fit this body perfectly! (Please note that I did test various mesh clothing designed for Maitreya Lara on this particular body, and there are some fitting problems in the lower back and the rear end area on most garments.)
This body comes with a HUD to tint the fingernails and toenails, which are separate attachments. However, there is no HUD with alpha sections provided, so you will have to make use the alphas that come with the clothing you pick up. If you need a set of alphas to use with clothing that does not come with them, you can pick up a free set from Little Black Dress at this SLURL (just click on the bag on the floor).
UPDATE 9:12 p.m.: I forgot to mention that at the same location, you can also pick up the latest edition of the free RothTooRC1 Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible male mesh head and body, which I had written about previously (at the very end of this rather long blogpost).
Here’s the panel in the Heavy Industries diner; make sure you click on the one that clearly says “Bakes on Mesh Compatible”, not the one to the right of it:
Now, there is good news and bad news about this particular male mesh body.
The good news is that the alphas included with clothing do finally work with this body (they didn’t the last time I tested it out, which made it of limited usefulness, since there is no included alpha sections HUD). However, the bad news is that you are still going to find that most male mesh clothing does not fit this particular mesh body very well at all, even with the alphas.
I tried everything, including standard-size and fitmesh clothing of various kinds on the RothTooRC1 body, and in every case (even on the large and extra-large standard sizes), there were fit problems across the back of the neck and shoulders and the front of the waist. Clothing created for popular male mesh bodies by Belleza, Signature, and Slink doesn’t work, either.
The only things which worked were when I alpha’ed out the entire body except the hands, as I did with the following tuxedo outfit from the men’s freebie store at the Helping Haven Gateway (and there were still problems at the wrists; the skin is a male Bakes on Mesh skin I picked up from a store called DNA, which is now unfortunately closed).
The fingernails and toenails are (as they were for the RuthTooRC3 body above) separate attachments, which you can tint using an included HUD. (You’ll need to remember to remove the toenails when you alpha out the feet, as I did below!)
Yes, hmmm… well, all my regular readers know by now just how bad I am at keeping my vows to take a self-imposed vacation from this blog... *sigh*… nevertheless, I still intend to largely step away from blogging for the entire month of August, except for sponsored blogposts, so I can focus on other work that I need to attend to. See you in September!
However, this is a major event that warranted a proper write-up.
Gen Con is the largest tabletop gaming conference in North America, bringing together fans of traditional pen-and-paper, board, and card games, including role-playing games, miniatures war games, live action role-playing games, collectible card games, and strategy games. In 2019, the annual conference brought nearly 70,000 people to Indianapolis, the traditional home of the event.
VRazeTheBar has partnered with Gen Con – the largest and longest running gaming convention in North America – to provide an awesome interactive social gaming experience built on Linden Lab’s Enterprise/Education version of Second Life, the world’s largest user-created virtual world of its kind enjoyed by millions of people around the globe. Be the first to join our proof of concept in a virtual world created by gamers for gamers.
Now because I am supposed to be on a self-imposed vacation from the blog (and apparently, I have been living under a rock, to boot), I did not even know that Gen Con was happening in Second Life until one of the organizers contacted me on Discord late last night. So I got up to speed in a hurry, and I decided to pay a visit on their opening day, and take a few pictures to share with you.
Gen Con 2020 is taking place in Second Life on four sims, which have been extensively designed with four levels each—there’s plenty of space, and lots to see and do!
The bottom level is an auditorium, where the short opening ceremony was held today. I was very kindly issued a media pass to roam around the event, so I came early and grabbed a seat next to Strawberry Linden, who was hard at work livestreaming the ceremony (I know it doesn’t look like she was busy in this picture, but trust me, she was!):
Patch Linden gave a short speech, the ceremonial Dungeons & Dragons die was rolled, and Gen Con was officially declared open!
The next level up from the auditorium is a surprisingly detailed virtual recreation of downtown Indianapolis, including the convention centre itself, and the food-truck-lined Georgia Street block party for which Gen Con is noted.
You can even pick up some free T-shirts!
This level also features a small Gen Con Museum, outlining the history of the convention since its start back in 1968:
Costumes are also a big part of Gen Con, so I do expect to see a lot of amazingly-outfitted avatars in my travels!
Yet another Gen Con 2020 level features medieval, renaissance, steampunk, fantasy, and futuristic game-playing regions, where attendees will meet up and play various table-top games within Second Life:
The topmost level features a post-apocalyptic urban scene, complete with roaming bands of hungry zombies! If you wish, you can even ride a fire-breathing dragon around the landscape (because why not?).
Strawberry Singh devoted a recent episode of Lab Gab to Gen Con 2020, interviewing the team of organizers behind the event. it turns out they pulled all this together in SL in just two months! That’s impressive!
Gen Con 2020 is free to attend, but you must first register for a (free) badge and then purchase (free) e-tickets for each of the events, including those being held in Second Life. Here is the Gen Con Online portal where you can register for a badge and select which sessions and events you wish to attend. This is presumably to avoid overbooking; many of the Gen Con sessions are already fully booked, but there are still spots available at daily Open Gaming Meet and Greet events taking place in Second Life as follows (remember, you still have to register!):
Thursday, July 30th, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT)
Friday, July 31st, 8:00 p.m. to Midnight EDT
Saturday, August 1st, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT
Sunday, August 2nd, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT
There’s also a Saturday night dance on August 1st, running from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. EDT, which you can also register for online. See you there!
Now sometimes, when conferences are held in Second Life, the organizers will attempt to make some free clothes, shoes, and hair available, to give conference attendees the opportunity to change out of their starter SL avatar looks and avoid that cookie-cutter “newbie” look.
However, in the case of Gen Con 2020, the conference organizers very sensibly decided to refer people to the Freebie Village at the Helping Haven Gateway instead. So, I dropped in for a quick visit, just to see what was new, and I was extremely pleased to see that there has been a recent, extensive update to both the men’s and women’s collections of free apparel. There are now many new, high-quality mesh outfits, plus various kinds of footwear and jewelry, plus skins, hair, AOs, etc.
There are even free mesh bodies: the freebie versions of the Tommy and Estephania full-body mesh avatars from Altamura, plus the free eBody Classic and Curvy bodies, and a couple of other free “Ruth” women’s mesh bodies, such as the Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible RuthTooRC3 (which I review here). There’s also a nice-looking non-Bento (static) female mesh head. In short, the Helping Haven Gateway’s Freebie Village now ranks among the best freebie stores on the grid, in my opinion.
Here Vanity Fair models a couple of fabulous retro freebies she picked up from the womenswear building at Helping Haven: a multicolour debutante dress with a gathered waist (which comes in a pack of 13 different patterns, Maitreya Lara size only), plus a fully-adjustable, flowered pink straw hat (which is also tintable; I made it a slightly lighter shade of pink to match the rest of my outfit):
(The vintage pink pearl jewelry is a truly ancient Dark Mouse freebie, dragged from the murky depths of Vanity’s messy inventory, and the shoes are the versatile Wales pumps, a fatpack of which is the current monthly group gift from Essenz—but time is running out, so don’t wait to get these! The Essenz group costs L$350 to join, and this wonderful group gift alone is worth that much.)