Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Medieval, Historical, and Fantasy Outfits for Men and Women from TS Creations and Eleran’s Crafts

Work has been hectic lately, and to relax in the evenings, I have been busy styling my small army of Second Life alts, using some wonderful free medieval armour and fantasy outfits I picked up in my travels across the grid, from a couple of stores that were new to me.

TS Creations has two free group gifts of complete fantasy outfits (the store group is free to join)—one for male avatars and the other for the female avatars:

The Battle Legionnaire outfit includes everything you see here, plus a battle axe (it is sized for Signature and Aesthetic mesh bodies, but it should work for just about any male mesh body if you use your alpha HUD to erase any body parts which happen to poke through):

The women’s outfit is this wonderful Royal Duelist costume in red and black (Maitreya Lara size only). The details are magnificent!

But wait, there’s more! Teleport over to Eleran’s Crafts, where they are celebrating their tenth anniversary with a whole room stuffed with dozens of fantasy and medieval outfits for free! (The store group is also free to join, just click on the Join Group sign in-store.)

There are fantasy outfits for male and female avatars, as well as for Kemono avatars! All outfits include accessories, including boots, gloves (Bento in some cases), helmets, and weapons. Note that almost all of these outfits will work for just about any mesh avatar, since most components are adjustable/resizable attachments, and you will be alpha’ing out most of the mesh body underneath using your body’s HUD, anyway.

First up is this black Abyss Watcher outfit for men:

This wonderful Lady Maria costume is perfect for gallivanting around your next historical roleplay sim! Everything you see is included, plus a knife, a single-edged sword, and a double-edged sword (this lady knows how to protect herself!).

Next is this incredibly detailed Abyss Walker knight’s armour in black (it also comes in red, blue and white versions):

This is the Celestial Knight armour in white and gold; the outfit includes wings, which are not shown here. (It also comes in blue and black versions; I swapped out the included boots for a medieval pair I picked up from the Dreamcatcher store.)

The Lady Farangis outfit includes glowing wings which open and flap when you fly! It comes in red, orange, blue and purple versions.

The copper Knight of Elmandria outfit is perfect for historical roleplay (the sword is included; comes in copper as shown, plus silver, white, black, red, and blue versions):

Looking for some women’s armour? Look no further than this Aurora outfit! This detailed armour comes in silver, copper, green, and blue chrome versions.

This Faraam outfit for men is something straight out of Game of Thrones! In addition to the blue shown, it comes in black, white, green, and red:

This Celestial Mage outfit in green includes the glowing staff! (I swapped out the boots with a less ornate pair from the Hilly Haalan freebie store.) It comes in black, blue, copper, green, purple, red, and white.

This is just a small but representative selection from Eleran’s Crafts; there are many, many more to choose from. I don’t know how long these fabulous freebies will be available, so if you’re interested, hurry on down!

Happy freebie shopping!

I Was Interviewed by a Business Reporter for The Globe and Mail for an Article About the Metaverse

On March 10th, 2022, I was contacted by Joe Castaldo, a business reporter for The Globe and Mail (which bills itself as “Canada’s National Newspaper”). He was writing up a story about businesses entering the metaverse, and the current metaverse hype cycle, and he asked me if I would be willing to be interviewed.

After checking in with my union representatives at the university, who gave me the all-clear to go ahead, I was interviewed for an hour via telephone. The Globe and Mail had given Joe a Meta Quest 2 wireless VR headset, so a couple of weeks later, I gave him a guided tour of two popular social VR platforms, VRChat and AltspaceVR.

Well, Joe’s article was published in The Globe and Mail today, titled Is the metaverse the future of the internet? A Globe journalist steps inside to find out (if you should hit a paywall, here is an archived version).

I’m not going to reproduce the entire newspaper article here; I was mentioned in the final few paragraphs:

For Ryan Schultz, the widespread interest in the metaverse is a little weird. “My obscure, niche hobby has suddenly gone mainstream,” he told me. A reference librarian with the University of Manitoba, he spends a few hours every week strapped into a headset or exploring desktop-based worlds, and has been blogging about it for years.

Mr. Schultz finds the speculative nature of the digital land rush in some worlds off-putting. “People are investing in this basically as a flex and as a boast to their friends that they can afford these artificially limited items,” he said. Businesses with virtual office space, meanwhile, are likely spending money on a “really fancy three-dimensional brochure.”

He’s seen much of it before. Corporations flocked to Second Life when it took off in the 2000s. Coca-Cola installed soft drink machines, Toyota set up a car dealership, American Apparel built a clothing store, and IBM established an island for employee recruitment and training.

It wasn’t long before the corporate enthusiasm died. “Nobody came to visit these locations, because the people who were already in Second Life didn’t care,” Mr. Schultz said.

He understands the appeal of virtual worlds, though. When he first discovered Second Life, he spent hours there each day. Away from the computer, he has jokingly called himself an “overweight, divorced, gay librarian with diabetes.” At 58, he feels his body growing older, and he’s struggled with depression so bad he’s taken leaves from work. “I kinda suck at this whole reality business,” he wrote on his blog.

In Second Life, Mr. Schultz loved building avatars – angels, supermodels and a Na’vi from, well, Avatar. There was solace in becoming someone else. During the pandemic, he’s met his social needs through virtual reality, and a mental-health app became a lifeline. “I can put on my headset, join a group, and use cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to work through issues and problems, and it’s extremely powerful,” he said. “You feel like you’re really present.”

For those of us who are not already immersed, such moments are likely a long way off. I searched high and low for meaning and connection in the metaverse, but mostly found empty branding experiences, a speculative frenzy around digital assets, and people who were just as curious as I was to find out what this was all about, and were still searching for answers.

But given the relentless enthusiasm of those trying to turn the metaverse into some kind of reality, there will be plenty of chances to try again, for better or worse.

I think that Joe did a good job of describing the metaverse in a way that newspaper readers could easily understand, and there are a couple of videos included in the digital version of the article which made me laugh at certain points, as Joe and his producer Patrick Dell navigated Decentraland and Horizon Worlds!

I also appreciated that the online article linked out to my ever-popular list of social VR platforms and virtual worlds. I’m not really expecting a spike in traffic to my blog (I didn’t get one when I was interviewed by a writer for New Yorker magazine in 2019), but it was an interesting experience, nonetheless.

(By the way, I do receive more and more requests to be interviewed lately, because of my blog. I turn most of them down, but I said yes to this one, because The Globe and Mail is a major Canadian newspaper, and one which I read often.)

The Globe and Mail newspaper interviewed me for an article on the metaverse

P.S. The mental health app mentioned in the quote above is called Help Club; here’s the blogpost which I wrote about this self-help social VR app for mental health.

Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times: A New, Feature-Length Documentary by Draxtor Despres Looks at Second Life and Animal Crossing Users During the Coronavirus Pandemic

HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: The RyanSchultz.com blog will be on an indefinite hiatus, as I am working on a brand new project: writing up a proposal for a VR lab for my university library system! More details here. I’ll be back as soon as I can, folks!

Image source: the official website for the documentary

The full-length documentary by Bernhard Drax (a.k.a. Draxtor Despres in Second Life), titled Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times, has now been released on YouTube, where you can watch it for free! (I first wrote about the film here.)

It’s 1 hour and 24 minutes long, so go get yourself some popcorn, and settle in!

According to the official website for the film:

Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times is a new feature length documentary by media maker Draxtor.

Since March 2020, Draxtor has been following researchers Tom Boellstorff, Evan Conaway, Chandra Middleton and Sandy Wenger (based in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine) around Animal Crossing and Second Life to find out how COVID-19 is reshaping online interaction.

In the 85 minute film, protagonists from all over the world speak openly about their anxieties and everyday challenges during this global crises and about what virtual worlds and social games mean to them in the context of a pandemic.

Mixed reality interviews and group discussions provide the basis for a sprawling narrative: a mosaic of impressions, shared by people from all walks of life, some well known figures from science, arts and culture, some just regular folks (like the research team itself), trying to make sense of a new age dominated by uncertainty and physical isolation.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you watch the documentary, you can see my main SL avatar, Vanity Fair, sitting in the audience at the Virtual Ability 10th Annual Mental Health Symposium: Mental Health in Trying Times virtual conference, held on April 16th, 2021 (at which I also was a presenter on the topic of acedia). At exactly the 25:10 mark in Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times, you can see Vanity, busily knitting away… 😉 I’m tickled pink that I made a (brief) cameo in Drax’s documentary!

Screen capture of Vanity Fair (with her animated knitting needles!) sitting in the audience at the Virtual Ability Annual Mental Health Symposium (taken from Drax’s documentary)

P.P.S. Starting at the 1:17:42 mark of Drax’s documentary, in the discussion of social media/networks versus virtual worlds, Drax has an image of my popular list of metaverse platforms appearing on the screen of a virtual television set in Second Life! He even scrolls down the listing! My blog got a cameo!!!

My list of metaverse platforms gets a cameo in Drax’s documentary!

Thanks for the cameos, Drax! 😉

Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Paying A Return Visit to the Freebie Megastore in London City

I am becoming more depressed and anxious about the Ukraine Russia war, and its potential to turn into World War III. I have been spending a lot of time these past three weeks doomscrolling the news and social media (mostly Reddit and Twitter), but I do try step away for a day or two when I become overwhelmed by it all.

So, in addition to making financial donations to various war-related charities, I was out protesting against this senseless war in front of the Freebie Megastore in the popular London City sim in Second Life, standing right next to an effigy of 💩-tin in a garbage can…you know, as one does in SL (hey, it’s your Second Life; do what you want!).

By the way, the minidress in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag is a freebie from Princess Stuff (details here; scroll down to the bottom), and the No War sign is a freebie from the WENICE sim (details in this blogpost).

Anyways, while I was there, I freecammed into the Freebie Megastore, and I was pleased to discover that they have considerably enlarged their selection of free mesh clothing and footwear:

You can still pick up the free versions of the male Robert and female Jenny mesh bodies from Altamura, as well as a decent selection of free men’s and women’s clothing specifically designed to fit Altamura bodies. The menswear section has been significantly expanded from what I remember the last time I visited, too! (There is also a nice selection of men’s and women’s St. Patrick’s Day outfits, but you’d better hurry down to the Freebie Megastore to pick those up!)

Here’s a look at the mesh women’s clothing section; while the older items come in standard sizing, the newest additions are designed to fit a wide variety of women’s mesh body brands:

There’s also a women’s footwear section tucked into a corner of the Freebie Megastore, which includes some shoes and boots to fit Maitreya, Belleza, and Slink mesh feet!

So, if you haven’t been down to the Freebie Megastore in London City for a while, it might be time to pay a visit and pick up some fabulous freebies! Here’s your taxi.