Editorial: Missing

Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash

I don’t know what is wrong with me today. I am back at my paying job after a two-week Christmas vacation, and believe me, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy over the next few weeks! Lots of requests from professors for student training on how to use my university’s library system efficiently and effectively. Lots of committees to sit on. Lots of stuff to do. I feel needed, and that feels good.

And I am starting off 2020 where I am actually getting paid to do what I love, which is write about social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse (which reminds me, I need to email an invoice over to Sinespace today). My boss at work was tickled pink by my recent mention in Patty Marx’s New Yorker article about virtual reality. And to top it all off, I even got an award for my blogging from the Virtual Existence Society! I am certainly getting lots of external validation (and personal satisfaction) from what I do in my off-hours.

So I should be happy, right? Right?

So, why do I feel like something is missing?

And no, it’s not Sansar that is missing from my life. It’s truly a blessed relief to take a break from the bickering, politics and drama over there. I wish Linden Lab staff and all the Sansar users my very heartfelt wishes for the best to happen in 2020, and I vow that I will be back—someday. But not right now. I’m just so burned out on Sansar, and it’s going to take some time and space to heal before I come back. And it was a valuable lesson learned: not to let myself get so emotionally invested in any single platform in the first place. My infatuation, my honeymoon period, with Sansar is well and truly over.

Perhaps that’s what is missing from my life: a sense of optimism. The world suddenly seems to be a much more precarious place at the start of 2020, with an American president using Twitter to issue threats to bomb an enemy’s cultural sites (a war crime), and Australia ablaze due to continued inaction on climate change and global warming by global politicians. It all just seems so hopeless, so dire.

So, what do you do when what you’re missing is a sense of hope about the future, a sense of optimism? I already know that I suffer from clinical depression, a battle which I do not shy away from sharing here on this blog. But what if there’s actually good reason to feel depressed about society and the world?

I don’t have any easy answers, for myself or for anyone else. But I do think that taking the initiative to make small, practical improvements in your life can make a difference.

For example, this year I have made a pact with a coworker to go for regular cardiovascular exercise a few times a week: walking the length and width of the university’s extensive tunnel system connecting the various buildings on campus, during what can be a long, bitterly cold Canadian prairie winter. (We like to joke that there are still stoned-out students from the 1960s wandering around lost in the tunnels!)

And I can haul my raggedy ass back to Weight Watchers tomorrow, to reset myself on the path toward making healthier, more informed food choices.

Sometimes all it takes is small steps, opportunities to reassert some small portion of personal control over situations that feel hopeless in our lives, that make all the difference. It’s not a panacea, but it’s a start. Sometimes it takes a collection of a lot of little things, to tip the balance in our favour, and rediscover what’s missing in our lives.

Daz 3D Avatars and Clothing in Sinespace: A Look at Three of the New, More Realistic-Looking Human Avatars from Daz Originals Now Available in the Sinespace Shop!

This blogpost is sponsored by Sinespace, and was written in my new role as an embedded reporter for this virtual world (more details here).

Daz Productions, better known as Daz 3D, is a software company specializing in providing rigged three-dimensional human models and associated accessory content, for countless markets. You might have seen Daz 3D models used in games, advertisements, and movies, perhaps without even knowing it. I know an author who uses Daz 3D models to create images to illustrate the science fiction novel he is writing.

Forbes recently reported that Daz 3D has become a featured developer for Sinespace, providing whole avatars, clothing, and accessories to purchase from the Sinespace Shop (their store brand is called Daz Originals):

You can see some of the new Daz Originals avatars in this two-minute YouTube video which was recently published by Sinespace, showing the almost endless options of their powerful avatar customization system:

So, I decided to take some of these Daz Originals avatars out for a test drive. And I have written up step-by-step instructions on how you can get started, for free! (If you act quickly.)

I started with a freebie I picked up using the promotion code in the Forbes article, the Shyla skin and shape bundle; the promo code is only good for the first 50 people who use it, but I just tested it with an alt and it still works as of the day I wrote this blogpost, Jan. 4th, so be sure to snap it up before she’s gone! If you missed your chance to get a promo code for the free Shyla offer via Forbes, you can purchase the complete Shyla avatar bundle for 1,355 Gold in the Sinespace Shop.

You’ll have to have a Sinespace account already set up to use the promo code (if you haven’t done that yet, here are step-by-step instructions). Then sign into the Sinespace website with your username and password, click on My Account in the top menu, then click on Redeem Code:

Once you have redeemed the promo code, open your Sinespace client and click on the Inventory button. Up top you should see an icon for the Shyla bundle, which you must unpack before you can use. Click on the Shyla icon in your inventory, and select Use:

Then you will get a listing of the contents of the bundle. Click the Get button to receive the items into the various skin and outfits folders.

Then, click on Outfit, and click to create a new female avatar:

You’ll be asked to give her a name. Then, starting from the default female avatar, click on the Wearing button (the wardrobe), and remove everything—we’re starting from scratch here!

Now, click on the Body button on the right hand side, and select all three of the following items under Morphs (this is important):

  • Base Shape Body F
  • Base Shape Head F
  • Shyla Female Face Shape

Then, click the Skin button, and add the Shyla eyes and skin:

Then, dress her as you like using clothing under your Accessory, Body, Top, and Bottom buttons!

Be sure to click the Save & Close button in the bottom right-hand corner of the Outfit window to save your new creation!

I did a little bit of fiddling with the default dimensions of the Shyla avatar (I gave her a bit more muscle tone, and for some reason, the default hands were rather large). I also shopped for some new hair, and a new pair of brown eyes I liked much better than the default Shyla ones. Here’s a few pictures I took. The detail on the skin texture is insane!

Then, to outfit her properly, I purchased the Solaris outfit in black from Daz Originals, which is a complete, mix-and-match set including a miniskirt, leggings, boots, corset, belt, bra, gloves, a shrug and a necklace. The Solaris outfit comes in turquoise, copper, pink-and-white, or black-and-silver, for 605 Gold each.

After Shyla, I bought two different male avatars from Daz Originals.

Here is the incredibly realistic-looking Mr. Woo avatar (2,505 Gold in the Sinespace Shop), wearing the red-and-black Wise Master outfit (639 Gold):

Then I purchased the Luke avatar (1,075 Gold), the Soledad hair in red (99 Gold) and the Beast Master outfit in gold and white (665 Gold). A very impressive warrior indeed! The skin quality is, once again, excellent.

The detail on the clothing and armour is incredible!

The Beast Master outfit also comes in iron, navy, red, and black, for 605 Gold each (you can also buy each piece separately if you wish):

It is clear that we are going to have some really good, realistic-looking avatars in Sinespace! I’m looking forward to seeing what other Daz 3D assets become available in Sinespace. This looks to be the start of a very fruitful partnership. Adam Frisby, the Chief Product Officer for Sinespace, says:

We’re really excited to see Daz’s work come into Sinespace, they’ve got an amazing character library with so much original content that’s never been in a virtual world legitimately before. Furthermore, their content is all designed to work nicely with all our other fantastic creators’ avatar content – so you can mix and match your favourite Daz content with your favourite content by our other creators.

The coolest thing is they’re pioneering a lot of our new morph technology, we’ve been really keen to see that take off, and to have such an esteemed developers content using it, is really something we love.