Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Vlad Bjornson plays with physics

Just stumbled upon this excellent demo by Vlad Bjornson of Second Life's Havok4 physics engine, which is still in beta. On his YouTube posting, Vlad indicated that "Even for a beta test the system seems pretty stable. At one point I had roughly 1,500 physics-enabled boxes in a huge pile. The sim sort of hiccuped for a moment, but then went about it's business like nothing was happening. :)"

artoo, again!

artoo Magneto... you are becoming a habit.

Heh, maybe not entirely NPIRL, but this is too hard to resist.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Experience your afterlife

Toran Cult has updated his HUD-guided journey to the Afterlife just in time for Halloween. This is not a typical way to while away an hour or two of your afternoon! All you need to experience this odyssey to your "hereafter" is rezzable land allowing approximately 100 prims and a few friends. Toran invited the NPIRLers to have a go at it...

The adventure begins in no subtle way with the chopping off of your head. Here AM Radio watches as Bjornlyn Loon checks out.

Al Supercharge's soul - now sporting a set of wings - is gently lifted to the great beyond.

After a few moments you find yourself floating in a dark void... your friends appearing beside you, one by one. (This photo by Toran Cult)

You arrive at the pearly gates and cross into purgatory. NPIRLers took a moment to meditate on their sins.

From there you must choose between heaven or hell... whereupon you are transported to many different scenes ranging from celestial...

...to rather unpleasant, as TeeCee Towradgi would soon discover.

Thanks for the field trip, Toran!

Nearly completed

Kazuhiro Aridian rang me up a couple of days ago to let me know that we'll soon be seeing this creature on the market. Kaz is just preparing the documentation and packaging. I tried it on last night and every detail, from the HUD, animations and particle effects, to the actual av... perfection. Kudos, Kaz!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Megaprims for science

Megaprims breathe life into outreach programs that empower human exploration of space.

Builder Jimbo Perhaps and his partner, Rocket Sellers, routinely work with megaprims to help real life rocket companies demonstrate their programs in 3D. Jimbo was also responsible for building most of the rockets at the International Spaceflight Museum.

The Terrestrial Planet Finder is a mission NASA hopes to launch in 15 to 20 years. Slurl: Explorer

Jimbo explained that he would not have been able to achieve the smooth outer hull with regular prims.

The Bussard Ramjet - built here at about 1/4 scale - is a huge spaceship that scoops up interstellar hydrogen and uses it for fuel. Slurl: Bussard Ramjet, Space Frontier

This Sun Tower is a recreation of a plan that recommends that the U.S. Government continue studying the feasibility of solar power as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Slurl: Space Studies Institute, Frontier Spaceport

Yet another solar power satellite has huge particle beams to show the sunlight being gathered and converted into microwaves.

All this would not have been possible without megaprims.

Dear Linden Labs: Give us some editable megaprims, bigger prims, manageable prims... but don't take away our megas... and Michael Linden? It's been two weeks now... Two weeks that builders have been stalled on many projects. Please give the waiting (second) world a favorable answer, and soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Adam Ramona, his "Unsung Songs," and his color Blue

There's Tiffany Blue, Paloma Red and then there's Adam Ramona Blue. It's pure, it's primary, and as far as I'm concerned, it is his signature color.

This Aussie artist and musician - Adam Nash in real life - has been working in realtime 3D since 1997. In fact, all of Adam Ramona's first life work is in virtual environments, though not just in Second Life. He has several art installations throughout the SL grid, but his largest - and perhaps most celebrated - is sprinkled all over the greater part of the Odyssey sim: Seventeen Unsung Songs.

The Odyssey - affectionately referred to as "The Ody" - is the center of the metaverse where experimental art is concerned. The region is a hive of activity, featuring artists that appear to have one mission in common... to rethink everything and push the boundaries, and then push again. We have its benefactor, Pacino Hercules of the Dynamis Corporation, and its curator Sugar Seville, to thank for a number of recent shows that include Gazira Babeli's original "Collateral Damage," as well as performances by the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse and Second Front.

Adam's latest show - this gentle, sensorial feast - may well be remembered as the beginning of a new period of interactive and immersive possibilities that involve us even emotionally, but more on that later.

Adam said the most incredibly liberating thing to me yesterday:
"I'm happy when people tell me about their experience (with my work), but it is not a priority of mine because I learned a long time ago that people have the most meaningful experience when they invent the narrative themselves".

Now wait just one NY minute!!! This Artist is not going to present me with a structure... with his framework from which I am supposed to see his stuff?

Adam Ramona... who's avatar conjures a jumble of images ranging from a bow-legged pot-bellied has-been Mexican lucha libre fighter to the brocade curtains in my auntie's bedroom...

...this lecturer and researcher in Games and Digital Art at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia... the man whose work is one of the four finalists of the "1st Annual Architecture and Design Competition in Second Life," this very same man whose collaborative team - BabelSwarm - just won the largest grant to be awarded for Second Life work... is not going to tell me what I should be thinking and feeling as I flit about, first here, now there, moving within these living sculptures that move and talk (and sing) back to me?

Actually, he did guide me a tad. But first I had to get the skinny on his avatar. "(It) is a tribute to the great Australian identity artist Leigh Bowery, one of the greatest artists in history," said Adam.

Oh... my... stars... I started researching Adam's muse, and I just couldn't stop.

Want more?

Apologies for going off on such a tangent, but can you blame me? I will get back to telling you about Adam... but first I have to share that the day before meeting with him, I dropped by Unsung Songs to play a bit, and while checking out the Moaning Columns of Longing piece, generated my very own brilliant white shiny column. It talked to me!

[21:04] Bettina Tizzy's Column: Bettina Tizzy loves me!
[21:04] Bettina Tizzy's Column: And I love Bettina Tizzy !
[21:04] Bettina Tizzy's Column: My existence has meaning!
[21:04] Bettina Tizzy's Column: I am no longer just a Second Life prim
[21:04] Bettina Tizzy's Column: Because Bettina Tizzy loves me and will visit me again soon!
[21:04] Bettina Tizzy's Column: Thank you for loving me, Bettina Tizzy. Without you, I am nothing. Come back and touch me within 24 hours, or I will die.

Sure enough, right next to my gorgeous particle-enhanced column of goodness, columns that others had generated stood in varying stages of decline... one little grey one about to call it quits. I resolved not to be like those other people, leaving their creations to die.

But my column didn't know that I had every intention of returning to it, so it whimpered and whined at me via IM every hour on the hour, begging me to come and touch it, until finally last night I got this terrible message:
[21:04] Bettina Tizzy's Column: Bettina Tizzy, I have died of loneliness and a broken heart.


Adam's incursion in 3D/virtual art dates back to 1997, when he was in the (RL) precision absurdist performance group The Men Who Knew Too Much.

Using VRML with an open source client/server java package called VNet to enable multi-user functionality, The Men began mounting performances in virtual space, as well as real space. In 2000, for their Virtual Humanoids show, they captured, textured and uploaded audience members in realtime into their virtual world and then made them run around chasing their hero. "It was funny, and very silly. We took a very un-serious approach to technology which was kind of rare at the time," says Adam.

By 2002, Adam had begun to see virtual environments as the performance medium, so he left the group and began to do solo work, while sometimes collaborating with the UK group Igloo and the Australian group Company In Space, though they've dissolved now. He continues to collaborate with one of their founding members, John McCormick - a pioneer in the field of telematic performance and motion capture - and the two are now preparing a work called Ways To Wave, which will premiere in San Jose next June, at 01SJ, the second Biennial of Global Art on the Edge.

Regarding collaborators, Adam said, "It's funny, I'm really a very moody, hermit-ish kind of person, but I always end up working with people!"
He is also working with fellow Aussies Christopher Dodds (Mashup Islander) and Justin Clemens (S1 Gausman) on BabelSwarm, a simultaneous installation in Second Life and in a real world gallery which explores the possibilities of literary, music/sound art and real-time 3D arts practices.

Importantly, Adam doesn't see any meaningful distinction between SL and RL. "It's not possible for SL to be a separate reality any more than music is a separate reality. Certainly, it can transport one's consciousness, and many people have transformative or transcendant experiences inworld, but this is also very true of all art and media," he says.
Adam uses a range of environments including VRML/X3D, Quest 3D, Multiverse, Torque, Unreal and Pure Data with GEM. He told me, "I do a lot of sound work for other artists, but that is another virtual environment really. In fact, the first thing that attracted me to realtime 3D was that it seemed to similar to the inside of my mind when composing music."

"SL is very limited, but technical limitations are exciting for an artist, and they make many formal decisions automatic. There is the huge advantage of virtuality, meaning that there are no physical constraints. An artist can fill a space with lots of invisible sensors, place sounds anywhere in the space, and have limitless triggers for sounds and vision, without having to worry about physical possibilities.

Of course, this freedom is countered by the many, many technical limitations in-world. The one I find the most limiting is the inability to play more than 40 sounds simultaneously, and of course the 10-second sound limit, although in many ways I enjoy that particular limitation," he added.

Perhaps the most complex of the Songs is "Mitosis." Adam stimulated the pistil...

Whereupon it expelled pollen, which then became larvae...

... which sometimes - not always - produce insects. We got lucky! We chased after the five flying critters...

...that when touched, turn into blue blocks, that grow musical branches every 24 hours: blue musical trees.

Teleport directly to Unsung Songs from here.

For a fantabulous blow-by-blow analysis of several Unsung Songs, you might also want to refer to Dr. Lisa Dethridge's superb piece in the SLART magazine, including a reference to "Yves Klein blue." ;-) That was then... today it is Adam Ramona Blue.

January 10, 2008 addendum: A more recent but equally interesting review on Adam by Helen Thorington of Networked Music Review delves into his work with sound.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Without Megaprims...

this post by Douglas Story

Without megaprims...Light Waves' Man Angel would have disappeared.
photo by Finny Yates. slurl

Ah, the power of them three little dots! I refer to the ellipse... Useful in this case because we were all ready to write a scorching propaganda piece with the theme, "Without Megaprims... All This Great Shit Will Go Away!" But now with things looking up on that front (latest word is that the all-powerful Lindens are leaning toward keeping megaprims) I only have to change the part after the ellipse to "...All This Great Shit WOULD Have Gone Away! And What A Damned Shame That Would Have Been!!!" Hmmmm...the first title was snappier though, you have to admit.

Without megaprims...DanCoyote Antonelli's Hyperformalism would have disappeared.

Without megaprims...Rezzable's Greenies' Home would have disappeared.

Without megaprims...the irritatingly prolific Juria Yoshikawa's Liquid Light would have disappeared.

I make something new about every seven months. With Juria, it's about every two minutes. I find this annoying. slurl

Without megaprims... Sabine Stonebender's Zero Point would have disappeared. slurl

You'll find a lot of shots here that include Bettina's booty in them. The author wishes to point out that most of the pictures here were taken by Bettina herself. Any booty issues should be taken up with the management.

Without megaprims... The International Spaceflight Museum would have disappeared.

The thing is...the artists and builders who use megaprims tend to be the most creative, charming, and well-dressed avatars who bring us joy in SL. How lucky we are to have them!

Without megaprims... Douglas Story, Aldomanutio Abruzzo & Desdemona Enfield's FlowerBall would have disappeared.

Without megaprims...Artoo Magneto's anyMOTION would have disappeared.

Without megaprims...Gazira Babeli's 'Gaz of the Desert' would not have been possible.

I don't like most of the machinima I've seen. This is 23 minutes of spell-binding, slow-cut magic. See it. slurl

Without megaprims... Cube Inada's Alien Flying Circus would have disappeared.

Without megaprims...Earth Primbee's Inspire Space Park would have disappeared.
Yes, it's true that I took this shot myself. But you'll notice - there's no booty. My pictures are entirely booty-free.

(photo by Wellington Bahram) slurl
Without megaprims we would not have Bettina's forest home - Chakryn - by Andrek Lowell,

nor this,

nor this (spanning three effing sims!)

nor this.

I'm sure we've missed many wonderful items (I'm sure you'll point them out, gentle readers) but I think we made our point here. The loss of megaprims would be a cheapening, deadening blow to the fields of imagination and creativity that Second Life opens up to people. We hope that this wonderful creative tool remains open to us, for both our creative impulses and for those who appreciate same.

Yoo hoo! Linden Labs? Paging Mr. Michael Linden... Please give the waiting (second) world a favorable answer, and soon!

Virtual Weddings O.o

Weddings in Second Life... :o Granted, they are meaningful and important to the people who are tieing the knot, but the *ennui* for those attending! Makes one question the trappings of civilization altogether. Few acts are more deserving of admiration than when a good friend devotes precious hours on a Saturday being subjected to these laggy RL-wanna-be fetes.

Frequency Picnic, my dear friend and fellow Second Life Hobo (and a charter member of Impossible IRL, I might add!), gave me permission to republish this hilarious account of the spontaneous nuptials between hobos Candy Cornwall and Megan Choche... Luna Idler presiding. Now here's a wedding I would have given my eye teeth to attend:

Candy and Meg's wedding 7-6-07
I know I haven't posted in a while, I just don't feel like I've been doing anything noteworthy lately. Friday night , though, I happened to drop into Hobo village just as a friend's wedding was starting. In true Hobo fashion, nobody was invited, we just all showed up, and the proceedings were predictably unorthodox. Some pictures, and a transcript of the event (by Hotspur's request):

(left to right: Megan Choche, Candy Cornwall and Luna Idler)

Luna Idler shouts: everyone plz be seated err um nvm : )
Candy Cornwall: someone, anyone! hee
Candy Cornwall: good try, pshh
Nolan Finney: hello freq :))
Luna Idler: hi Freq
bartelby Pegler: Hiya freq :)
Candy Cornwall: hi Freq! :)
Aten Milo: keep quiet
Amy Plympton: i'll try.. cant walk straight.. i'll be the drunk dad who is depressed about giving away his only daughter
Megan Choche: ok lets go
Candy Cornwall: Lunas gonna marry Meg and I, look out! hee :)
You: oh cool, Pastor Luna
Nolan Finney: there you are freq - looking all over for you :))
You: hi niamh
Megan Choche: ok im ready *smiles*
Luna Idler: yea, cuz i molest children, im qualified
You: heh
Candy Cornwall: *gulp* me too :)
Luna Idler shouts: ahem ahem
Megan Choche: take pics please
Candy Cornwall: ready i mean
Amisja Fillion: eeeuuuw luna
You: are you gettin gmarried right now?
Megan Choche: yes
You: damn! I should have dressed up
Luna Idler shouts: we all gathered here today to witness the union of ....
Luna Idler shouts: Candy Corwall
Candy Cornwall: *smiles giddily*
bartelby Pegler looks for tux
Luna Idler shouts: and Megan Choche
Megan Choche: *smiles8
Nolan Finney: mega- did you still need me to walk you down the isle - couldn't fine you :))
bartelby Pegler: damn sorry i deleted it
Luna Idler shouts: ill cut straight to the chase
Candy Cornwall: hee hee
Niamh Pfeffer: :-)
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Luna Idler shouts: Meagn, do you take Candy to love and cherish, through scurvy and poverty, til death do you part?
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan spanked Candy's ass
You: LOL
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Candy Cornwall: eeps!
Megan Choche shouts: yes
Candy Cornwall: :)
Megan spanked Candy's ass
Megan Choche shouts: take pitures for us please
Luna Idler shouts: Candy, do you take Mrgan to love and cherish through scurvy and poverty, til death do you part?
Candy Cornwall: i most certainly do :) :) :)
Luna Idler shouts: Megan*
Megan Choche shouts: and her fleas also
Luna Idler shouts: k, i now pronounce you married
Candy Cornwall: and her fleas
Luna Idler shouts: you may kiss
Megan Choche: wohooott
Candy Cornwall: yayyyy! my favorite part :)
Luna Idler: WooT! WooT!
Amisja Fillion: eeeuuuuwwww
Candy gives Megan a big kiss.
Luna Idler: (enthusiastic applause)
Candy Cornwall: !kiss Megan
You: c'mon, smooch!
Luna Idler: (enthusiastic applause)
Amisja Fillion: yuck stop talking about sex stuff
Nolan Finney: clap clap clap
Megan Choche: MMMMMMMMM *moooans*
Amisja Fillion: yuck
Geo Meek: (enthusiastic applause)
Amisja Fillion: eeeeuuuwww
Geo Meek: (enthusiastic applause)
Megan Choche: again please
You: WooT
Candy Cornwall: / gah! wifey, heee, yumm :)
Amisja Fillion: PG place
You: yay yay!
Megan Choche: again and again
bartelby Pegler: a cheer goes up from the crowd
Geo Meek: WooT
Luna Idler: WooT! WooT!
Candy Cornwall: !kiss Megan
Alec Paragon: woot
Geo Meek: WooT
Candy gives Megan a big kiss.
Geo Meek: YIFFY! ^.^
Nolan Finney: yiffy
Megan Choche: V^vv^V PuRrRrzZz V^vv^V
Megan Choche shouts: *kisses deeply*
Luna Idler: Geo shouldve hadda shotgun ready
Frequency Picnic cries
Luna Idler: a classic hobo weddin
Candy Cornwall: / *coos* *melts* :)
whirligig Rutabaga throws beer cans
Luna Idler cries.
Candy Cornwall: WooT
Nolan Finney gives a happy little howl!
Geo Meek: WooT
Megan Choche shouts: ok you cook clean and worship me candy
bartelby Pegler: property rights?
Frequency Picnic blows her nose on geo's sleeve
Luna Idler: WooT! WooT!
Geo Meek: V^vv^V HoWlLLzZz V^vv^V
Geo Meek: V^vv^V HoWlLLzZz V^vv^V
Amisja Fillion: whats the point of being married?????
Candy Cornwall: you all so sweet, i love you guys *gushes* :)
Megan Choche: V^vv^V PuRrRrzZz V^vv^V
Niamh Pfeffer: Congrats Megan and Candy!
Hooper gives Frequency a big hug.
Kewi Noel: purrrrrrr
Kewi Noel mews
You: purrs quietly =^.^=
Candy Cornwall: thank you ")
Luna Idler purrrrrz!
Geo Meek: *purrs*
whirligig Rutabaga puuurrrrrrsss
bartelby Pegler: purrrrrrrrrr
Megan Choche shouts: all kidding aside I love you CANDY
Alec Paragon: congrats guys
Niamh Pfeffer: =^.^= PuRrRrzZz =^.^=
Geo Meek: *purrs*
Niamh Pfeffer: Mew!
Candy Cornwall: guess we cant have the honeymoon inna PG spot, hehe ;)
Luna Idler: we all goin on the honey moon with you two?
You: woohoo
Niamh Pfeffer: LOL!
Megan Choche: umm NOOO
Luna Idler: hobo roadtrip
Candy Cornwall: lol
Hooper March: eep this hobo is attracting the strays
Candy Cornwall: careful, with Meg you never know ;)
Luna Idler: hello
You: we have to wait for the second honeymoon
Amisja Fillion: hahahahahahaha
Candy Cornwall: lol, Freq
You: congratulations!
Megan Choche shouts: ok now as my gift Candy will sing im a lil tea pot
Candy Cornwall: thank you :) *stupid grins* :)
Megan Choche shouts: Right love
Candy Cornwall: oh gawd
Megan Choche shouts: go on we all love ya!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mars Rezzable: Miki Gymnast's temporary sandbox and our playground

RightasRain Rimbaud of Rezzable Productions had been telling me that Miki Gymnast was doing “some interesting things” over at Mars Rezzable, but he would add each time that he wasn’t quite sure what they were.

Seems that Miki spent six hours on the Mars simulator last Saturday fiddling with 5,000 prims to create these… well, I don’t know what they are either… but they sure are fun to look at. Oh… and one more hour making the particles.

Oh… and then she used another 9,000 prims to make the sim graphics, so that when you look at Mars Rezzable on the map, you get this:

Actually, I’m just joshing you. I do know what they are, ‘cause Miki informed me. These are Borromean rings. According to Wikipedia: In mathematics, the Borromean rings consist of three topological circles which are linked and form a Brunnian link, i.e., removing any ring results in two unlinked rings.

She says they are a sign of strength. I'd say they are a sign that Rezzable is adding a shining star to its constellation of great builders.

I’m here to tell you that Miki Gymnast is as delightful as her build. The NPIRLers had a preview of this morsel of a sim yesterday and while it is my own wish that it stay put for a while, Miki informed me tonite that “before I delete the things in a few days, it will be accessible to everyone. It’s not an 'official' Rezzable sim… not a real concept, only a temporarily sandbox.”
Feedback from the group was unusually positive. All kinds of people - with very different tastes - wrote back to say how much they had liked it. Miki also spent some time with another NPIRLer who apparently helped her work out a simpler process for the sim graphics. “I had used a very very complicated system to bring data in. Lots of coding. He gave me a hint on how to make it much easier. I (had been) going to the bakery via Australia first."

Don't care for that color?

You have only to wait a minute or less, and every color will have changed.

Miki says that she isn’t “really good at building or scripting, but I am able to combine things, and it's fun to explore combinations.” She is German, and explains that “we like programming. (It is) close to our mentality: if yes > do this. If not > do the other thing." She’s a student and has been simultaneously working at an architectural firm for three years, making photorealistic renderings and programming plug ins for cad applications.

She added… “you see the bubble on my shoulder? It is my debugger. Also I can (alter) all the settings here (with it). I can reset, delete, change colours and particle counts flying around us… everything on the sim with it.”

Miki's first rez day is November 18, and I for one am looking forward to seeing everything this girl is going to do in the months and years to come.
Slurl: Mars 01Areas Rezzable