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 had spent at least an hour painstakingly retexturing 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 slowly 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, which is well worth an explore. It’s gorgeous!)

Note that I first found out about this fabulous freebie from the Midnight Magpie blog, which is a good source for information on various freebies to be found 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: