Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: 2018 Hair Fair Freebies and Dollarbies!

Well, between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. this morning, I braved the lag and traversed the 2018 Hair Fair Second Life. Here are the freebies and dollarbies I found (with SLURLs to take you directly to the store on the four Hair Fair sims).

Unless otherwise specified, all items are FREE!

Adoness
Adoness 22 Sept 2018.jpg

KoKoLoReS
KoKoLoReS 22 Sept 2018

no.match
nomatch 22 Sept 2018.jpg

BMAH
BMAH 22 Sept 2018

ASO!
ASO 22 Sept 2018

EMO-tions
EMO-tions 22 Sept 2018.jpg

EscalateD
EscalateD 22 Sept 2018.jpg

Curious Kitties
Curious Kitties 22 Sept 2018.jpg

Zibska (colour-changeable collar and earrings)
Zibska 22 Sept 2018.jpg

MINA
MINA 22 Sept 2018

amiable L$1
amiable 22 Sept 2018.jpg

CHEVEUX
CHEVEUX 22 Sept 2018.jpg

Calico L$1 for four hairstyles (please click each picture for a larger size)

Vanity Hair
Vanity Hair 22 Sept 2018.jpg

KMH
KMH 22 Sept 2018.jpg

aa*Hair
aaHair 22 Sept 2018.jpg

enVOGUE
enVOGUE 22 Sept 2018.jpg

LM
LM 22 Sept 2018.jpg

DQ
DQ 22 Sept 2018.jpg

Sintiklia
Sintiklia 22 Sept 2018.jpg

booN
booN 22 Sept 2018

Astrology
Astrology 22 Sept 2018.jpg

red Mint (L$1 for a posture collar and a heart choker; please click each picture for a larger size)

Alli&Ali (6 hairstyles; please click each picture for a larger size)

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SLUniverse Is Closing

sluniverse

Yesterday evening, Cristiano Midnight, the owner of the SLUniverse (SLU) discussion forum (the largest and longest-running community site dedicated to Second Life), posted the following message:

So a lot has happened in the past 24 hours. I nearly lost 2.4 million posts and obliterated SLU, got them back, perhaps may have cried a little, then made some decisions about what to do about SLU.

I detailed what I was going through my mind in this post, so I won’t repeat it. However, since writing that, I made some rapid decisions that are already in motion.

First of all, I am launching a new site – VirtualVerse, which expands the scope of SLU to all things related to virtual worlds, whether it is Second Life, Sansar, other VR worlds that are gaining in popularity, or game related worlds like MMOs and open world games. I’ve wanted to become less SL centric, but it has been hard to do that with SL as part of the name.

The SLU forums will be closing within the next few weeks, depending on how long the transition takes. These forums will be archived – they may be unavailable for little while but will come back as a read only forum.

The new site domain is VirtualVerse.one – http://www.virtualverse.one

Why .one? There has been a significant number of new top level domains added, and I considered .cloud, .site and even .ninja, but .one appealed to me the most, since this also is starting over in many ways.

The new forums use Xenforo, not vBulletin. It is much more modern forum software, and fully supports mobile without needing an app. I purchased two gorgeous themes for it, one light and one dark, and have already installed an add on that allows me to add unlimited reaction buttons.

I’m looking into whether or not I can migrate user accounts from VB. If not, I will assist anyone in securing their name on the new site. I’ll have more information soon about all of this.

In the meantime, if you would like to help test out the new forums as I am getting them setup, they are already live.

I’m sure you will have lots of questions, and I still have some things to figure out and a lot of work to do, but SLU is going to live on, just in a different format.

I have been a fairly active member of SLUniverse since Sept. 18th, 2007 (just over eleven years), posting a total of 1,689 posts to various discussion threads in that time. It has always been a fun, free-wheeling place where anything and everything could happen. Some of the discussion threads have achieved legendary status!

I am looking forward to Cristiano’s new venture, VirtualVerse. You can visit it already.

 

Does the End of PocketGacha Mean That Second Life’s Economy Is In Trouble? No.

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Image by Mediamodifier on Pixabay

It never fails to amaze (and amuse) me how much I have been blogging about Second Life recently. As I have said before, I never intended to blog about SL at all! This blog was originally about Sansar and Sansar only, and then last January I broadened the scope to include all the newer social VR platforms (High Fidelity, VRChat, Sinespace, etc.). And then, I decided to start sharing my 11 years of accumulated knowledge of how to get the best steals, deals, and freebies in Second Life with you, my readers. And those posts generate a fair bit of traffic, too.

Lately, I have been covering other aspects of Second Life, such as the upcoming ability for Premium Second Life account holders to choose a new first and last name for their avatar. That one blogpost is now by far my most popular, with well over 2,500 views!

As you probably know, gachas are a big, big thing in Second Life. Which is why I was so surprised to hear that PocketGacha was shutting down, even though it had thousands of users and earned lots of money:

  1. Just over $300,000.00 (DOLLARS…not Linden!) were transacted via the two HUDs [PocketShop and PocketGacha] – generating real sales and real money for creators. This is demonstrative proof that those who feel SL is not “real life” are grossly mistaken. Small cottage industry brands (People!) benefit and, in many cases, PocketEvents proudly contributed to their lives and well-being. A number and fact we are very proud of.
  2. Over 30K unique users engaged the two HUD’s during this time. While we have no idea how this compares to other events we can say this: given an average of 30K users on SL at any one time it seems a healthy percentage of the grid at the very least tried and embraced the shopping HUD platform with us.

I used and enjoyed PocketGacha myself, and I loved the convenience of the service. So why are they shutting down? The PocketEvents team explains:

With that said the team has felt of late that now is the time to move on to new ventures. Those age-old words of “always leave a party when you are having fun” never rang so true.

It’s no secret that PocketShop never really resonated with shoppers like PocketGacha. Just like PocketGacha we worked to address the needs and wants that so many voiced. Creators wanted traffic driven to their mainstores. We did that. Shoppers wanted less lag and instant gratification at events without having to fight to TP. We did that too. HUD based delivery of Demos to try in private…check. Just like PocketGacha we looked to be more than an event but a solution to the most common wants. Yet, despite it all, shoppers were less than impressed with PocketShop.

We have spent two months trying to understand if this lack of engagement was a result of anything we did, a failure to properly market the idea, or perhaps a fault of the HUD design. Nothing made sense as those who did use the HUD found it just as easy as the popular PocketGacha HUD. What we surmised is that in the end shoppers better associated us with Gacha and their seeing beyond that was difficult.

There is no doubt as well that SL commerce is changing. The boom-boom days are long in the past. While perhaps the top 1% of brands might still be doing fine (though I’m certain not selling what they once were) the new and emerging brands are finding it harder and harder to connect with shoppers. The drastic drop in new users in SL and an inability to retain these avatars has led all of us to this juncture. In some ways we have reached the point where we are just selling sneakers to each other. Or, to better quote the old adage, “delivering pizzas to each other.” Because, really, how many sofas can one own after years in SL? The people at Linden Lab are smart. I am sure they know this as well and are working on solutions. Let’s all hope.

The finale to this perfect storm is that the world of events is becoming saturated to the point of being destructive to one another along with the brands that try to balance doing them. While the old-line events may thrive to a point (I think, again, not like they once did) new ones arise it seems each and every day and SL is starting to feel like a town of 50K people that has built 50 shopping malls. It’s just too much for the current market.

Wagner James Au calls it a sign of an SL recession, saying:

This closure comes despite Pocket Gacha and a related HUD being used by a reported 30,000 unique users transacting over $300,000.00 “DOLLARS…not Linden!” across the service.  What Pocket Gacha lead developer Oobleck Allagash tells me suggests a larger economic trend I’ve also noted elsewhere — less emphasis on virtual homemaking, and more on Second Life as a social media experience:

“That shopping is being affected, especially in the area of Home and Garden, due to a minimal amount of new users and a lessening interest in creating sim builds,” as he puts it. “After all, how many sofas does a 10-year old avatar need? Photography has been a saving grace to a point but at levels nowhere near what we saw a few years ago.”

In other words, as more and more of the Second Life experience is shifted to virtual fashion/lifestyle screenshots and video on Flickr and YouTube, there’s less need for virtual land, and less need for housewares to furnish that virtual land. All that remains is what’s core to the user — their avatar, and their avatar’s appearance (clothes, mesh bodies, poses, etc).

I’m not sure that I agree with Wagner that Second Life is undergoing a recession, and I also don’t agree with the PocketEvents team’s assertion that there’s simply too many stores chasing too few customers in Second Life. Stores and brands are always going to come and go, and some of the newer ones have been phenomenally successful (as anyone who tried to teleport into the Scandalize store this weekend will certainly attest).

I spent a good chunk of time signed into Second Life over this past weekend, visiting various stores, and I can assure you that there is certainly no shortage of shoppers. Now, mind you, I can only attest to the health of the avatar fashion market as I see it; Oobleck may indeed have a point that the level of SL home and garden shopping has gone down somewhat.

Although Linden Lab certainly has sales figures for the SL Marketplace (which of course they don’t share with us, other than giving an aggregate sales figure at events such as the 15th anniversary), they really have no way of knowing how well items are selling in stores that operate on the grid. All they (and we) have to go on is word of mouth, and the news can be contradictory at best. There has always been, and there will always be, good news and bad news. Some vendors are doing well, and others close down. It’s all cyclical, I believe. New vendors enter the marketplace as older vendors leave it (or, more likely, leave their goods to sit forever on the SL Marketplace; Linden Lab really needs to put a date filter on Marketplace search).

Second Life is constantly evolving and changing over time as it matures. This does not mean that it is in a serious decline. As the recently published academic book Living and Dying in a Virtual World: Digital Kinships, Nostalgia, and Mourning in Second Life states:

At fourteen years old, Second Life can no longer be perceived as the young, cutting-edge environment it once was, and yet it endures as a place of belonging, fun, role-play and social experimentation.  In this volume, the authors argue that far from facing an impending death, Second Life has undergone a transition to maturity and holds a new type of significance.

I do believe that Second Life will endure and that it does have a long and successful life ahead of it, although the overall number of users may continue a slow decline as more people make the move to Sansar and the other new social VR platforms and virtual worlds. Many will no doubt keep a foot in both Second Life and the newer worlds. I know I will!

So, don’t worry; the shuttering of one Gacha HUD does not mean the end of the world.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free EXMACHINA Male Full-Body Avatar

There are three options for male avatars who are looking for a free/inexpensive mesh head and body, all from Altamura:

  • The two versions of the free Altamura Max avatars at the freebie stores at UniHispana Crea and Ajuda SL Brasil (see here for more details). Note that you cannot remove the head to replace it with another mesh head.
  • The free Altamura Robert avatar from the Freebie Megastore at London City (see here for more details). One advantage of this body is that you can remove the head to use another mesh head with it (like the recent freebie mesh head from Akeruka).
  • The free Altamura Tommy avatar at the Altamura mainstore (you do need to join the Altamura group for L$50 to get this freebie; see here for more details). Again, you cannot remove the head to replace it with another mesh head.

Well, EXMACHINA has just released version 4 of their full-body male mesh avatar, and you can pick up a free demo version at their store. You do have to join the EXMACHINA group for free to use the vendor.

One drawback is that the included shape that comes with it is NO modify, which is a real pain in the ass. However, there are a couple of ways around this limitation. You can click on the Giorgio and Andrew skin and shape panels located on the wall to the right of the demo version vendor, and buy those for L$0 (you must be in the EXMACHINA group). While you cannot use the skin appliers with the free demo version of the EXMACHINA mesh body, you can use the modifiable shapes. Also, there is a L$10 Diego shape available on the SL Marketplace which you can use with this body, and you can modify it as you like. I bought the Diego shape and used it for the pictures below.

Here’s what my avatar looks like with the slightly adjusted Diego shape (I had to play around with the eyes, mouth, nose, torso muscles and arm length a bit):

Exmachina 1 16 Sept 2018Exmachina 2 16 Sept 2018

The avatar comes with the mesh eyes you see here. It also comes in two versions: nude, or with the blue bathing suit you see here. It’s actually quite a nice-looking avatar! Please note that you cannot change the skin colour (remember, this is a demo, not the full version).

The hair is Minato by Argrace, a free group gift (the group is free to join). The AO I used is the Daily sLife free Bento male AO (available free from Tuty’s). The total cost of this avatar is FREE! You can’t beat that!

Another serious limitation with the free EXMACHINA body is that it does not come with alpha sections on the HUD (in fact, there’s no HUD at all!). So, basically, you’re going to have problems getting clothing and shoes to fit, unless they are designed for this body. Note that there are a few clothes for sale, designed to fit the EXMACHINA mesh body without the need for alphas, so you can try those. I did spend another L$250 on a muscle shirt and a pair of jeans, both of which fit this mesh body perfectly!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Scandalize (Again!)

The Scandalize group in Second Life is (once again) free to join from Sept. 15th to 17th. Why is this important news?

Because, if you join the group now, for free, you get dozens and dozens of free group gifts! Scandalize is one of the most generous stores on the grid when it comes to gifts to their group members. Usually, you have to pay L$100 to join their group, but for the next three days, it is FREE to join!

The group gifts wall is located on the wall behind the main reception desk (please note that this is an old picture; they have redesigned their store):

Scandalize Group Gift Wall 23 Jun 2018.png

So hurry down! There’s also a hunt going on, find ten cherries hidden around the store for more free gifts!

New Book on Second Life: Living and Dying in a Virtual World

Living and Dying in a Virtual World.jpg

Last October, Dr. Margaret Gibson of Griffith University posted to the official Second Life forums:

Hi everyone, my name is Dr Margaret Gibson and I am writing a book with Clarissa Carden titled Living and Dying in a Virtual World: Digital Kinships, Commemoration and Nostalgia, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan. See link:  https://sociologicalexplorations.com/second-life-living-and-dying-in-a-virtual-world/  We are writing a chapter on sentimental objects in SL and we would love to hear any of your stories. These could be things in your inventory that matter to you because someone died or they remind you of an important part of your SL or RL.   If you are interested in participating in the book more fully and being interviewed via chat in SL we would love to hear from you. As you can see from book title we are interested in death, grief, family relationships in SL, nostalgia…

Any responses will be anonymous and if you do not wish for your response on this forum to be included in the book please say so. Thanks!

Well, the results of that research have now been published by Palgrave MacMillan. Titled Living and Dying in a Virtual World: Digital Kinships, Nostalgia, and Mourning in Second Life, the book is described as follows:

This book takes readers into stories of love, loss, grief and mourning and reveals the emotional attachments and digital kinships of the virtual 3D social world of Second Life. At fourteen years old, Second Life can no longer be perceived as the young, cutting-edge environment it once was, and yet it endures as a place of belonging, fun, role-play and social experimentation.  In this volume, the authors argue that far from facing an impending death, Second Life has undergone a transition to maturity and holds a new type of significance. As people increasingly explore and co-create a sense of self and ways of belonging through avatars and computer screens, the question of where and how people live and die becomes increasingly more important to understand. This book shows how a virtual world can change lives and create forms of memory, nostalgia and mourning for both real and avatar based lives.

The book is rather expensive (Amazon.ca lists it at CDN$93.54), so see if you can get it through your library (I was able to access the electronic version via my university library’s SpringerLink ebook service). Thank God for libraries!

I am looking forward to reading this, and I may write a book review afterwards. Here’s a brief excerpt from the introduction:

Now that it is 14 years old, SL attracts less news attention. Where a reporter is assigned to cover a story relating to SL, their copy carries a faint air of astonishment, as though the author believes that this world ought, surely, to have disappeared by now. The fact that it persists goes against the grain of consumer media logic of upgrading, replacing, and letting go of the old for the new. It also speaks to an implicit recognition that the demographics of SL are not “young people” even though the image culture of avatars valorises the appearance of youth.

Despite this disconnection with media logics, SL has in no sense disappeared. Instead, it has been transformed. We argue in this book that SL is now a mature virtual world. It is a world in which residents have lived and lost. It is a world which has seen significant social changes. This is a typeof virtual world that has never existed—and which could not exist—at any previous moment in history. This is a book about the maturity that has come with age. Inevitably, as an extension of that, it addresses the memory, loss, and grief that have marked the lives of SL residents. It is also a book about the care and compassion residents show towards one another and about the strength of the attachments that are formed online.

Also, an older blogpost on a topic related to this: Why I want to leave my Second Life avatars to other people when I die.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: A Fifteen-Minute Female Avatar Makeover for Free!

Time for another fifteen-minute Second Life avatar makeover!

Here’s the before (the starter Maria avatar; not bad, but definitely looking a bit dated):

Before 8 Sept 2018.png

And here’s the after (now she’s all set for a night on the town!):

After 8 Sept 2018.png

Here’s a rear view to show you the lovely detail on the back of this daring little metallic minidress:

After 2 8 Sept 2018.png

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Avatar Head and Body: Altamura Jenny (free from the Freebie Megastore in London City)

Hair: Leah hair in ash by Zalea (free gift); the HUD has 36 colour choices!

Dress: Faith gold metallic minidress by Justice (free group gift if you join the SL Frees & Offers group for free); the Maitreya Lara version of this dress fits the Altamura Jenny body well. The dress comes in three colours—gold, copper, and rose gold.

Shoes: gold Olivia heels (free gift from Ello); the Altamura Jenny body has Slink-compatible feet

Animation Override: Lucky Girl AO Basic Bento Mocap by Tuty (free)

Ankle Lock: by Baby Monkey (freebie from the blue bag on the reception desk)

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: FREE!