Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Butterfly Queen

I was feeling rather depressed this evening (for reasons that I won’t get into), and to cheer myself up I decided to do a styling challenge on one of my Second Life alts (i.e. alternate avatars), a medieval minstrel named, appropriately enough, Scarborough Fair.

And when I saw this beautiful Marisol gown at La Bella Boutique, located on their Group Gift wall, I knew exactly how I was going to pull a look together. Joining the La Bella Boutique group was free, and the gown was also free! And it’s not just a gown. It also comes with six attachments of clusters of 3 or 4 butterflies each, all arrayed as if in flight around you!

It even comes with a HUD so you can change the colour of the gown to one of seven different shades, and all the butterfly attachments to one of seven matching colours as well. (There’s also a bouquet of roses that comes in six colours, but I left that out.) And… the best part is, if you click on each of the individual butterfly attachments, it will start to flap its tiny wings! The overall effect is quite magical.

And so, to match the gown with all the fluttering butterflies, I dug through my inventory and pulled out a very old hunt gift by Evie’s Closet from the 2012 Crazy Hair Hunt, where I spent at least an hour painstakingly retinting each individual hair prim from brown to blonde hair textures (because Scarborough Fair is a blonde). This hairstyle also comes with many tiny animated butterflies flying around amidst the flowers and even a couple of tiny landed butterfly attachments fluttering their wings! Here’s a short video of the effect, which I think is quite lovely. Very Disney princess!

Unfortunately, the hairstyle is truly a one-of-a-kind item, and no longer available. But you can still pick up this lovely gown with the butterfly attachments for free, and style your own Butterfly Queen.

(All these pictures were taken on the Lost Unicorn sim in Second Life.)

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Metaverse Newscast Episode 3: My Interview with Galen in Sansar

I am happy (can you say, ecstatic!) to announce that episode 3 of the Metaverse Newscast is finally available on YouTube! (Bronze and higher-level patrons on my Patreon page have been able to watch an earlier version of this video for several days already, as a special “thank you” for financially supporting this blog and the fledgling pre-taped show. I will continue to offer Patreon patrons exclusive sneak previews of our work every month, as well as other nice perks and benefits in future. Thank you for your support!)

Actually, this was the very first episode my producer and main cameraman Andrew William recorded last August (along with Carlos Perez as second cameraman), but the way things worked out, the first two episodes about events in High Fidelity were released first.  Andrew and I have learned a lot since August about how to conduct interviews and record and edit the videos, which means that future endeavours will be even better! We are challenging ourselves to raise the bar for each new video in the series.

(By the way, we are looking for an assistant video editor for the Metaverse Newscast. It will be a volunteer position to start, but we do hope to work it up to a paid position at some point in the future. If you’re interested, please use the Contact page on my blog to send me a message. Thanks!)

But this is the very first video we recorded, and you can tell how stiff I am in my avatar! You will notice that Galen looks much more comfortable and natural during our interview than I do. (You can even tell from this photo! And I look like an insurance salesman or a Jehovah’s Witness or something…I never wear a suit in real life!)

In particular, I seem to have a great deal of trouble figuring out what to do with my avatar’s arms as I am holding the Oculus Touch hand controllers in VR! So I do apologize in advance (and I also believe that Linden Lab has also improved their inverse kinematics a fair bit since this interview was taped last summer). I swear, I will hire a personal trainer and get in some arm exercises! 😜 I’ve also discovered with experience that my avatar looks much more natural when I conduct interviews standing, instead of seated.

So, without further ado, here is my interview with the talented Sansar scripter Galen, shot in the studio created for us by Tyler Scarborough:

The next Metaverse Newscast video will be released in March 2019, and will be an interview in Sansar with the wonderfully creative avatar fashion designer Solas NaGealai, who is perhaps best known for her work in Second Life for the brands Silvan Moon Designs and Lune Bleue (the latter being a label she has expanded to Sansar).

If you missed episodes 1 and 2, you can watch them on the Metaverse Newscast channel on YouTube.

P.S. If you enjoyed this interview, Andrew and I shot a ton of extra footage in a couple of Galen’s experiences in Sansar, which we hope to issue as a follow-up show sometime later on in 2019. So stay tuned!

Social VR App vTime Relaunches as vTime XR, Now Supports both Virtual Reality and “Augmented Reality”

The app formerly known as vTime is now called vTime XR, and (in a bit of surprising news) it now offers a so-called “augmented reality” mode. I don’t really consider it true augmented reality, since it doesn’t work with an AR headset like the Magic Leap One or the Microsoft Hololens. (It’s more like Pokémon Go, where you’re looking through your cellphone.)

vTime XR also supports a variety of VR headsets and 2D/flatscreen viewing, which the company whimsically calls “Magic Window mode”.

Here’s the new promo video:

I notice they’ve also added a lot of new hand gestures that weren’t there before. The slickly-produced video almost obscures the fact that your avatar is still locked in place in one of four seats in all of the vTime environments (in this it is similar to Facebook Spaces, in that you are limited to a maximum of four avatars in one experience).

However, as the video demonstrates, vTime XR offers you a lot of different, beautiful scenes for you to meet up with your friends (or, far more likely, other people you don’t know who happen to be using vTime XR at the same time you are).

vTime XR is an interesting update to vTime, which you might want to take a look at. Or not, considering how much more you can get from other social VR platforms that actually let you move around freely.

However, vTime XR does support pretty much any computer hardware you have, including cellphone-based VR like Google Daydream:

Avatar Cosplay Contest at High Fidelity: You Could Win Up to US$10,000 or an All-Expenses-Paid Trip to Silicon Valley Comic Con!

Wow. High Fidelity is really throwing the money around to promote their social VR platform! They have announced an Avatar Cosplay Contest, with some seriously impressive cash prizes:

On Saturday, March 16th, between 10 am – 2 pm PDT, we will be holding an ‘Avatar Cosplay Contest’ at Multi-Con VR. The theme for this contest is Characters in Anime + Animation.

Create your favourite characters from animated TV and movies for the 3D metaverse. Then wear them up the runway! The winner will be selected by the community.

Enter your avatar inspired by characters from Anime + Animation for a chance to win huge cash prizes. Get inspired by your favourites — No-Face, a classic princess, or even Big Chungus. Cosplay is encouraged and rewarded! The winner is voted by attendees.

1st Place US$10,000*
2nd Place US$5,000*
3rd Place US$1,000*
Every Avatar in the Contest US$300*

There will be a Grand Prize Winner after all 3 Multi-Con Cosplay Contests that will win an all-expenses-paid trip for 2 to San Francisco to attend Silicon Valley Comic Con!

Rules:
– Entries must be inspired by a character from animation
– All work must be original or ‘fair use’ of other works, including parody
– Entries must not violate other’s intellectual property
– Users cannot have web or text entities as part of their costumes
– Avatar’s longest dimension should not exceed 2 meters
– Users cannot use particles as part of their outfit

Contestants are encouraged but not required to use our flow script technology which gives clothes, hair and other attachments movement. Avatars can be humanoid or non-humanoid. Avatars can be photo-real or stylized.

* all cash prizes paid in High Fidelity Coin (HFC)

I have confirmed with High Fidelity staff that these prizes are in US dollars, paid in High Fidelity Coin (HFC; the exchange rate is fixed at 100 HFC = US$1.00). The HFC can be exchanged into US dollars through the Bank of High Fidelity.

These are extraordinarily generous prizes, especially the awarding of US$300 in HFC to anybody who is selected to participate in the contest! (Yes, that was confirmed, too.)

Note that this is only the first of three Multi-Con VR events hosted by High Fidelity. The other two are Fantasy + Sci-Fi Universes (to be held on April 27th) and Comic Book Universes (to be held on June 8th).

Here is the contest application form for the event on March 16th. Good luck!