New Second Life Product: the Medhue Animesh Pet Chihuahua

Medhue and his partner Bagnaria (who together run a business called Full Spectrum, creating and selling 3D assets and animations for virtual worlds) are people I first got to know through Sansar, whom I interviewed in an episode of the Metaverse Newscast, focusing on the many wonderful, interactive worlds they created there:

You might not know this, but Medhue is well known for his work in Second Life, too. For example, for four years Medhue did the rigging and animation for a number of Zooby products, including the Zooby cat avatar (which I created an alt account for, just to wander the grid as a tuxedo tabby!) and the Zooby animesh baby (which I also own).

Medhue recently gifted* me one of his latest creations, a very cute animesh pet chihuahua:

Vanity Fair and Goliath the chihuahua

Using it could not be simpler. All you have to do is unpack and attach the HUD, and rezz out your first chihuahua pet. You will be prompted to give it a name (I called my first one Goliath!):

Everything is controlled via HUD: rezzing and derezzing pets, issuing commands, setting options, etc. In addition to holding them as shown in the picture above (with a wide variety of male and female Bento poses, including very nice petting animations), you can have them follow you—even play fetch with them! If you ask them to sleep, they will curl up in a slumber position, walking over to their pet bed if it is located nearby.

Here’s a closeup look at the dog, with a look at the commands menu on the HUD:

Here’s the notecard that comes with the product, explaining how it works:


Features:

  • Rez from the HUD
  • Name your Pet
  • Wander, Follow, Auto Rez, Name Tag, Mute
  • Force Sit, Stay, and Sleep
  • Fetching Toys
  • Holding options – go anywhere with pet
  • Tricks
  • Clothing Options

Instructions:

  1. Rightclick/Add Chihuahua Pet Hud from your inventory.
  2. Click on New Pet> , and Name the Pet in the dialog box pop up.
  3. If the Pet is already created, then choose Find Pet, or Select Pet, then select the pet you want to control.
  4. Click on Options to set the different options to your liking for the pet.
  5. Click on Commands to control your pet directly.
  6. The eat/drink options in Commands will only work if you have Medhue food bowls near.
  7. The Sleep option in Commands forces your pet to sleep where it is.
  8. If you have a Medhue Pet Bed, then when selecting Sleep and the bed is near, the pet will walk to and sleep in the bed.
  9. Hold the pet to be able to bring the pet anywhere in Second Life.
  10. Click Hold, then click Yes in the dialog pop up options.
  11. Click Next Hold, to cycle through the holding options.
  12. Click Unhold, to put the pet back on the ground when you are in areas you can rez items.
  13. Click Fetch to be able to throw items for your pet to run and find.
  14. Once you have clicked Fetch, you must go into first person mode, leftclick hold, and let go to throw the toy. A meter on the HUD will show the strength of the throw.
  15. Click Tricks, to be able to play a pet trick animation. More tricks can be purchased and added to the pet.
  16. The pet also has clothing and collar options, but those must be purchased separately.
  17. The pet works best on real Second Life ground, and also best when pathfinding is properly set up on the land. This is not required, but the pet will perform much better.

Contact Medhue Simoni if you have any problems with this product.
Mesh design, rigging, animation and texturing by Medhue Simoni.
Product coded by Ariu Arai.


You can rezz as many pet chihuahuas as you like—as many as your parcel can hold! If you wish, you can have a herd of chihuahuas follow you around! Here’s a 16-minute YouTube video from Medhue, explaining how the product works and demonstrating several chihuahuas in action:

The Medhue Animesh Pet Chihuahua is available on the SL Marketplace for L$1,499. It comes in two versions: a regular chihuahua or an apple head version. Medhue also sells coats, collars, beds, and bowls for the chihuahuas on his store, Medhue Animations. (Medhue also has an in-world store; here’s the SLURL.)

I have already fallen in love with Goliath! Expect to see him as my latest fashion accessory as I travel around Second Life!

And here’s an exclusive sneak peek at Medhue’s next animesh pet—a kitten, which presumably will work the same as the chihuahua:

I think Medhue Animations could have a hit on their hands!


*Effective immediately, my blog policy on accepting unsolicited gifts from content creators is as follows: If you give me the gift of a product (for Second Life or any other social VR platform or virtual world), I reserve the right to write or not write a review as I see fit. Accepting a gift puts me under absolutely no obligation to write a review, or to write a positive review.

1029Chris: A Duck for All Worlds

1029Chris is among that group which I half-jokingly, half-lovingly refer to as “my people“: passionate proponents of social VR platforms and virtual worlds, the sort of people who believe in the power and potential of virtual worlds, much the same as I do. Many of them belong to the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, where we gather to discuss, debate, and argue over various metaverse projects, and share pictures and videos of our adventures.

One of those people, 1029Chris (she/her), is a Canadian avatar creator. I have written about 1029Chris’ work in passing when I blogged about VRChat’s Virtual Market 4:

1029Chris’ bird sanctuary: feed the wonderfully animated ducks!

…I was invited to experience a special world built by someone I know well from the RyanSchultz.com Discord, 1029Chris, who had spent two weeks creating an amazing bird sanctuary with animated ducks, who milled about, and responded eagerly when I selected food items from a nearby picnic table to feed them! It was wonderfully done, and I hope to return soon for another visit.

Chris’s world is called the Udon Bird Sanctuary, if you are searching for it in VRChat. A visit is highly recommended, especially if you are feeling stressed out!

Chris signature duck avatar in VRChat
Another shot of Chris in VRChat

But 1029Chris is active in so many more virtual worlds than VRChat! She has decided to bring her signature duck and opossum avatars into as many virtual worlds and online games as she can. Here are some pictures which Chris kindly shared with me:

Chris’s duck and opossum avatars in Second Life
Chris in Sansar
Chris in Tower Unite
A couple of shots of Chris (in the world she created) on the old High Fidelity social VR platform
Chris in Barotrauma
Chris’ possum avatar in Garry’s Mod
Chris and her boyfriend in Garry’s Mod
Chris in Half Life 1
Chris in Minecraft

But Chris doesn’t just do still pictures! She also does machinima (that is, videos which are recorded in virtual worlds and games):

Chris in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Chris in Super Mario 64 (I absolutely love the part where she takes off her glasses and mops her brow!)
Chris in Half Life 2
Chris in Jet Set Radio Future
Chris in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Chris in Yakuza 0

1029Chris is only one of many people I know who delight in bringing their avatars from one virtual world to another. All of them possess skills I wish I had!

Pandemic Diary, November 12th, 2020: Manitoba Lockdown

Shoppers lined up outside the Garden City Walmart on Remembrance Day to purchase goods prior to the enactment of new restrictions in Manitoba. (source: CBC)

The CBC reports:

When you look at the latest pandemic indicators, Manitoba is struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the province reported a record number of daily COVID deaths (nine), a record number of people in hospital with the disease (218) and a record percentage of tests coming back positive (10.7 per cent).

The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba has doubled since Oct. 26 — a mere 16 days ago.

Intensive care unit capacity is almost maxed out. Health-care workers are getting infected with COVID-19 and two have died.

Contact tracing is backed up anywhere from days to weeks. Provincial epidemiology can no longer pinpoint how and where COVID-19 is spreading.

Timeline of Manitoba’s COVID-19 cases (source: CBC)
Monthly COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba (source: CBC)

Meanwhile, my employer, the University of Manitoba, has imposed its strongest set of on-campus restrictions yet, including the use of three-layer facemasks and eye protection when unable to practice social distancing (there have been a total of 29 positive COVID-19 cases at the University since the beginning of the academic year):

ON-CAMPUS ACTIVITIES: 

  • The wearing of 3-ply, disposable masks is mandatory on all UM campuses for all academic and research activities. Masks will be distributed in the situations for which they are required; a mask should be worn at all times on UM grounds. Further, unit supervisors will communicate directly with employees regarding the need for these masks to be worn, and will provide these masks if required. 
  • All work that may done remotely must be done remotely.  
  • Employees accessing UM campus(es) must be reduced as much as possible – only essential activities should take place on campus.  
  • Employees accessing UM campus(es) to be reduced to a maximum of 20 per cent. 
  • Individuals are encouraged to limit their time on campus(es) as much as possible. 
  • Cancellation or postponement of all in-person discretionary activities (either being contemplated or previously approved) until at least January 2021. 
  • Closure of all but absolutely essential common spaces and lunch spaces; all other UM spaces will be closed. A reduced number of study spaces will remain open. 
  • Eye-protection (shields or goggles) are recommended for all laboratory work or in situations in which 2-metre physical distancing is not possible. 
  • All UM sport and recreation facilities will be closed. 
  • The University Centre Pharmacy and the Fort Garry Bookstore will be reduced to 25% of normal capacity. 


RESEARCH

  • Suspension of all research involving human participants. 

The University of Manitoba has already announced that the upcoming winter term (January-April 2021) will be conducted almost entirely online and remotely, the same as the current fall term.


While things are certainly bad here in Manitoba, they are still nowhere near as bad, compared to the grim numbers of COVID-19 infected and dead in the United States. The situation in North Dakota and South Dakota, immediately to the south of us, is particularly grave (and yet, neither Republican-governed state has issued a facemask mandate). North Dakota nurses have rejected a recent government decision to allow hospital staff who test positive for COVID-19 to stay on the job.

All the major news media are rebuking Donald Trump for his stunning abdication of leadership as he and his craven team of flunkies fight against a clear election loss to Joe Biden, or assisting in any way in a respectful, orderly transition:

President Donald Trump had predicted in almost every campaign rally that the media would stop talking about the coronavirus pandemic the day after the election. But as it turns out, no one is ignoring the worsening tragedy more than the President himself.

Instead of taking charge as the country plunges deeper into the worst domestic crisis since World War II, Trump has disappeared inside the White House, saying nothing on camera since he baselessly claimed a week ago that the election was being stolen from him by President-elect Joe Biden.

He’s spending time with advisers, not strategizing on how to tame the out-of-control health emergency but seeking a path to win an election already declared lost. He’s also found time to purge the top leadership of the Pentagon, and with few appointments on his public schedule appears to spend his days watching news coverage and tweeting misinformation about voter fraud.

In essence, Trump, his family and his advisers are spending all their energy desperately trying to save a job — the presidency — that he appears to have no intention of doing in any meaningful sense.

History will damn Donald Trump and his administration for their mistakes, misdeeds, and inaction during what will be the worst surge of the coronavirus pandemic crisis yet in the United States, leading to untold suffering, misery, and death among Americans.

I’ve posted this image before, but it bears repeating…

Meanwhile, I am escaping messy, painful reality again today (the first official day of Manitoba’s emergency code-red pandemic lockdown), by spending most of my time in various social VR and virtual worlds (and, of course, writing about them on this blog).

My little hobby provides me with an outlet for socializing while stuck in my apartment during lockdown, when we are all urged to stay home by various levels of government in an effort to flatten the curve and avoid overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare system. Creating and styling new avatar looks as inexpensively as possible puts me in a state of positive mental flow, and it gives me a feeling of pride and accomplishment (no matter how small).

Shopping for fabulous free fashion finds for my small army of Second Life alts also helps me pass the time when I am bored (I often do it before I turn in for the night). I still firmly intend to bequeath as many of them as possible to other people via my will when I pass on, so I figure, why not add to their inventories? 😉

Before the pandemic hit, I used to visit places like Second Life to experience the unusual, the exotic, and the fantastic: those places which could never exist in the real world. Fairyland forests. Space stations. The Old West. Victorian steampunk. Blade Runner-esque urban noir environments, where the rain comes pouring down.

But nowadays, instead of teleporting to impossible worlds, I am using Second Life to visit virtual recreations of mundane places in which I have not set foot since the pandemic started. Places like the inside of supermarkets, for example:

Nostalgic visit to a SL supermarket
The produce section: I haven’t been in one since March!

I have not set foot in any retail establishment since I began working from home in self-isolation in my apartment for my university library system on March 16th, 2020 (except for two trips to my local drug store, one to get my flu shot and a second one to stock up on my favourite brand of shampoo). Today is officially Day 242.

All my grocery shopping is done online through the Walmart website, where are I schedule a date and time for grocery pickup. I drive to my nearest Walmart, I park in one of the designated parking spots for grocery pickup service, and someone wearing a facemask loads my groceries into my car while I stand a fair distance away, wearing a facemask myself. The pharmacy delivers all my prescriptions to my home. And I have no need or desire to visit any shopping malls (in fact, I gave my mother and stepfather, who are both in their eighties, a very stern lecture when I learned that they had gone for a walk through Polo Park Shopping Centre earlier this summer, just to get out of the house).

I am remaining focused on maintaining my mental health, which means that I am doing things that make me happy, like writing for this blog or visiting Sansar, Sinespace, or Second Life (I am spending a lot of time lately at Bray’s Place). Every so often I write up a cranky blogpost when I am a bad mood, like yesterday’s rant about the Futurist Conference taking place “in” Decentraland (for which I have since apologized). I still have lots of books to read (paper and digital), and I still have lots of cleaning to do around my apartment, among other chores.

And I am still spending a lot of time, especially in the evenings, watching Netflix on my iPad, either perched in front of my Windows desktop, sitting at my kitchen table, or lying on my sofa. I have moved on from gorging on the post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and zombie apocalypse fare, and I am now watching a lot of crime dramas.

I just finished binge watching Broadchurch over the past week, and I can recommend the TV series highly. It was some of the best TV I’ve seen this year: a gripping crime drama featuring two bickering detectives, taking place in a seaside U.K. village, with a rich cast of well fleshed-out characters that you genuinely grow to care about over the three seasons of the show’s run (from BBC, on Netflix).

And, having finished Broadchurch, I am now watching another British crime drama, Retribution, about the investigation of a murder of a newlywed couple in Scotland.

I have to say that I am definitely getting my money’s worth from my Netflix subscription! Netflix just has so much more content to choose from than rival services such as Amazon Prime, Crave, and Apple TV.

I had a subscription to Amazon Prime last year, but I cancelled it because I didn’t find the breadth of content I was expecting (although I may renew just so I can catch up on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). I joined Crave (a Canadian streaming service) just so I could watch the final seasons of Game of Thrones (since G.R.R. is apparently never going to finish the series of novels upon which they are based, and I wanted to know how it all ends). But after that, I didn’t find much else I wanted to watch, so I unsubscribed earlier this year.

And I got a free one-year Apple TV subscription when I bought my iPhone earlier this year. Again, after watching The Morning Show and the alternative-history space drama For All Mankind, there wasn’t a lot of other content I was interested in, so I plan to let my subscription lapse rather than renew it.

For my LGBTQ content, I rely on two relatively inexpensive subscriptions to OUTtvGo (a Canadian service) and Wow Presents Plus (for their RuPaul’s Drag Race shows, including the recently concluded Drag Race Holland). I cannot get enough drag TV! As I have said before, RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of the things keeping me sane in this dumpster-fire year. (And yes, I am still doing digital drag in Second Life.)

Stay healthy and stay sane!

Photo by Tai’s Captures on Unsplash