Paying a Return Visit to Occupy White Walls: What’s New

I’ve been away from Occupy White Walls for quite some time, so tonight I decided to pay a return visit to see what’s up.

Occupy White Walls (OWW for short) is a niche virtual world, which gives you the tools to build your own art gallery, and curate your own personal collection of artwork. I have written about it several times in the past on my blog, and I had started on an ambitious renovation project for my own gallery, which unfortunately got abandoned as I got pulled away to cover other social VR/virtual worlds. (Call it an occupational hazard!)

I had gotten as far as building one large wall for my prize work of art, The Last Judgement by Michelangelo:

But the rest of my gallery is still pretty much empty at this point. So I decided to spend a little time, wander around, get lost, and visit a few of the recommended galleries from their official Discord server, particularly in their Cool Galleries channel:

The whiterabbit gallery in Occupy White Walls

Some people have even gone so far as to build multiple galleries to house separate wings of their art collections!

Among other news, there is now a separate website called Kultura where you can browse the ever-growing collection of art available for you to decorate your gallery. You can buy the wonderful soundtrack. There’s also a new contest, where you are asked to build something cool using the newest assets from their version 6.0 “State of Mind” update. (You can see the winners of their last contest here.)

So, why not download the OWW software from Steam and do a little exploring, designing, and curating of your own? Best of all, it’s totally free! You can learn more about Occupy White Walls from their website, their Steam page, their user forums, their Discord server, or their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Tumblr.

Advertisements

UPDATED! Shopping for a New Penis in Second Life: Any Recommendations?

The Xcite Store in Second Life

One of the true tests of whether you have a mature, fully-evolved virtual world is: can you buy sex organs? 😉 (that link is safe for work, by the way).

And no, for those of you who have never been to Second Life, a male mesh body does not automatically come with a penis. You have to buy one separately, usually from a different store than the body. Back in the day, the big name was a brand called (of course) Xcite!

Now that I have a snazzy new Legacy male mesh body, the obvious next purchase would be, of course, a (detachable) penis. Hey, don’t judge; I may just decide I want to visit a nude beach in Second Life sometime!

Sooo… since I haven’t gone shopping for a penis in a long, long time, I thought I would use this blog to solicit recommendations from my readers as to what brands to try out. Is Xcite still a thing nowadays? Are there other, better brands I should look at? I really don’t have a clue. Please help a fella out with some recommendations!

Thanks, guys. (And I betcha the comments section on this blogpost is gonna be epic!)

UPDATE 5:21 p.m.: Well, I just posted my request for recommendations to the official Second Life community forums (along with a link to the above video), and I have discovered, much to my amusement, that “penis” is one of the automatically censored words, both in the post itself and its title:

However, the word penis is still in the YouTube video title (Linden Lab can’t censor that, apparently). Here’s the thread if you want to jump in there rather than leave a comment here. Thanks! 🙂

And so far, based on comments both here and in other forums where I posted this question, the clear front-runner is a brand called Aeros. Please note: to see this link to the store on the SL Marketplace properly, you must be signed into the Marketplace with a Second Life avatar name on which you had previously gone into the account settings in your viewer and elected to see adult content and visit adult-rated sims, in order to be able to view any of these products. So, if you don’t have that already set up, you will just get the Aeros store banner and an empty page if you click on the above link, which strikes me as a very sensible precaution to take.

UPDATE Jan. 13, 2020: Another product which is getting a lot of good press are the three different models of Bento phallus (Bento?!?? the mind boggles!) available at the Birth male and female skin store. Apparently, they use fewer scripts and are less complex to render than the Aeros ones, which might be an important consideration in high-lag areas.

The penis sales area at Birth. Obviously, this picture has been very heavily censored!

Just search for “Birth” under Places in Search, teleport to the store, head for the “Sex and Romance” section, and follow the trail to the far end to the fountain, where the vendors are located. I’m not going to provide a SLURL; I’m sure you can find it 😉

Editorial: How You Can Prepare for the (Eventual) Closing of Second Life

Someday, it will happen. Not if, when.

Now, before you all get your torches and pitchforks and tar and feathers out, and angrily run me out of town, I do want to reassure you: Second Life is still going to be around for many, many years. It still reliably generates millions of dollars of profit every year for Linden Lab, it still generates a fair income for a great many content creators, and it still has—at the ripe old age of 16—approximately half a million regular monthly users. Linden Lab would be absolutely crazy to shut down this cash cow, especially as their latest social VR platform, Sansar, is still struggling to attract users.

However.

Based on what happened in 2019 with High Fidelity, and based on the recent layoffs of much of the team building Sansar at Linden Lab, it is important for people to realize that these platforms are not charities run for the benefit of their users. These are private companies that are doing the best they can to provide value and generate income for their staff, and they are accountable to management, boards of directors, and (in some cases) shareholders and venture capitalists—not to us.

Do not for one second assume that Second Life will be around forever. After observing how Linden Lab is handling the Good Ship Sansar, I am beginning to suspect that when they do decide to shut Second Life down, it will be sudden, unexpected, and brutal.

So how do you prepare for the inevitable? How do you deal with the loss of a beloved virtual world, which will happen someday in the future?

Well, here’s a few tips to get you started.

First, do a little personal research on the process of grieving. Whether you like to admit it or not, you will probably go through all of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

In other words, it is normal to feel bad after any loss, even a loss that you might not see as very significant at the time. Depending on how you use Second Life (ranging from an idle pastime to an essential source of income), your reactions to the eventual shuttering of SL are likely to vary. You may go through the steps of grief out of order, plunging directly into depression rather than denial (I myself often do this).

Second, remember this harsh truth: these are businesses, not utilities, charities or non-profits. As I mentioned up top, in business anything can and does happen, and it often happens unexpectedly. Sometimes companies are mismanaged into the ground. Sometimes companies have to do things that you as a user of their products might not like.

For example, it is within the realm of possibility that a behemoth company like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft buys out Linden Lab and shuts down Second Life, perhaps even to force them to migrate to one of their platforms. (We already saw this happen when Yahoo! bought up the short-lived virtual world Cloud Party, just to grab the programming talent, and then they shut that world down completely. They did hold a lovely farewell, though.)

One of the reasons I got so upset about Sansar is because I got emotionally attached to the platform, associating it with my most recent recovery from serious clinical depression. Unfortunately, my soft spot for Sansar became a major blind spot, and I landed up getting triggered and getting extremely upset and angry when unfortunate things like the layoffs occurred, even though they did not affect me personally.

So it’s probably best to try and reframe your perspective on Second Life. I admit that many people feel about Second Life the way that I felt about Sansar. Hell, even I sometimes feel that way about SL! But after I processed the shock of the sudden Sansar staff layoffs, I do consider myself more emotionally prepared for when the inevitable does happen, and Second Life does shut down. It’s a matter of when, not if.

I look at SL as a hobby, a way to pleasurably pass the time that satisfies my creative and social needs, and if it all goes away tomorrow, well, I had a wonderful time, I got to know some great people, and I will have many happy memories of countless hours of (mis)adventure. (And one hell of a lot of avatar makeovers!)

Third, it’s probably time to gently begin exploring other options. When Linden Lab shuts down Second Life, there will be a massive diaspora, who will likely land up in various successor social VR platforms and virtual worlds. However, the whole process will go a lot smoother if you do not put all your eggs in one basket.

Now would be a good time to see what Sinespace has to offer, for instance. Or perhaps you decide that Sansar is for you, after all. Or any one of the platforms in this spreadsheet I prepared last November (which I will try to keep up-to-date as the market changes and evolves). Who knows? Maybe you will be attracted to the upcoming Facebook Horizon (even if you can’t be whoever you want).

So get out there are explore alternative social VR/virtual worlds. In almost all cases, it costs you nothing to get started. And you might be pleasantly surprised to find a place you quite like, and want to spend a bit of time in. Having options is usually a good thing—and having options is a necessity if you are a content creator. Many designers and creators already have their brand in several different virtual worlds, and they will have some sort of cushion when Second Life fails.

I hope that you find what I have written here to be helpful, and not see it as an attack on Second Life or Linden Lab. It’s not. But now might be a good time to start preparing for the eventual, inevitable end of SL.

Because someday, probably when you least expect it, it will happen.