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Doing the impossible

November 30th, 2012 by Marianne McCann

In Second Life, the impossible is commonplace. We teleport so often that it is considered as typical as walking. Unassisted flight causes us to not even break a sweat. We can explore places from all times, all places, and born out of pure imagination. We continually go beyond our First Life limitations: it’s what we do.

Yet there’s another form of impossible. Things that are impossible in Second Life.

Of course, there are plenty of “should nots,” both in the form of social mores and in the terms of service. There are also a lot of things that you really cannot do, and that code prohibits. You can’t make a 65-meter prim, or build over 4096m in the air, as examples.

There are other forms of impossible, but these are a different kettle of fish — and this is the sort of impossible I relish in.

One impossibility I love breaking: region crossings. The mantra has been, for years, that region crossings are a painful, difficult issue. To be fair, they long were a difficult issue. For the last year or so, however, they’ve been largely pretty easy (recent Havok upgrades being one pain point for a few weeks). With the advent of high quality, mesh vehicles and advanced physics, we’re also seeing vehicles of great detail, capable of carrying sizable numbers of avatars.

This is where things go well into the real of supposed unobtainability. It has always been bad enough trying to get one avatar in one vehicle to cross one region crossing. Can you imagine putting several into a vehicle, and crossing multiple regions? It’s unheard of, preposterous.

You know where this is going.

Lockheed Electra 10e

Here’s the plane: an Electra 10e from Drusilla Saunders. It’s not yet commercially available, but should be very soon.

Passengers

Here are the folks in the cabin: a hardy bunch of friends and others from around Bay City.

We initially took off from North Channel, just after our weekly “Bay City Rumble,” which this week was a demolition derby the likes of which has never been seen in SL. Cars bashing themselves to bits in SL: incredible building and scripting work by ADudeNamed Anthony, making that work. I should note that, yes, we did have a sim outage after that, proving that there are still limited to physics. Oops.

Anyway, after that was cleared, we took off and headed for the Bay City Municipal Aeroport in the Hau Koda region. This was a trip that had us crossing 6 region borders, including going over a busy Infohub (Moose Beach). We made it with nary a scratch on the polished aluminum hull.

My passengers had quite a bit of fun. So much that they were still up for some more flight.

We took off from Bay City Municipal Aeroport on a slightly longer route. The final destination was the old Areodrome space in Abbotts, via the southern water passage. Total crossings for this route: nineteen. Again, we’d cross Moose Beach, and travel perilously close to the sandbox regions.

I showed a friend of mine the shot of all the passengers. She assumed it was just a posed photo and we did not actually fly. Again, the common wisdom is that you simply do not do that in Second Life. It’s impossible.

Electra crossing by the Battery Point Lighthouse

Nineteen crossings later, we touched down, safely, in Abbotts. We rubberbanded at a crossing here and there, but nothing too frightening. No one got logged out, and no one stalled at a region crossing.

I’ll admit that I know others who continually face difficulties crossings regions. It is a challenge for many — but here’s me, on an iMac from 2008, on a so-so network connection, and I can pilot that flight. The impossible is possible.

Bay City Tree Lighting!

November 26th, 2012 by Marianne McCann

Bay City Tree Lighting Poster

Come to the Bay City Fairgrounds on Saturday, 8th December 2012 from 1-4 pm SLT for a tree lighting, skating party, silent auction, music event featuring GoSpeed Racer, Grace McDunnough, and Bluemonk Rau.

All proceeds go to Child’s Play Charity. Child’s Play is a 501c3 non profit organization that helps seriously ill children around the globe.

Special items will be auctioned for charity. These include:

• Ecelectica “Nouveau Leaves” fatpack, exclusive to the event

Nouveau Leaves Fatpack

• Show of Support Artwork by Whiskey Monday, exclusive to the event

Show of Support

• Pop Shop Bunny Slipper Max Pack (two available)

Bunny Slippers Fat Pack

• This is my brain on drugs artwork by Ever Dreamscape

This Is My Brain On Drugs

• Lightening Video television and L$5000 gift certificate combo (two available)

Lightening Video Pack

• Set of Luxurious Animal Print Fur Coats from Curio Obscura

Luxurious Fur Coat Animal Print

• Set of Luxurious colorful fur coats from Curio Obscura

Luxurious Fur Coat Colorful

• Complete set of riderballs, the rideable vehicle ball by Curio Obscura

Riderball

• Set of one dozen illuminated Tall Oaks from Heart Garden Center (two available: one all white, one multi-color)

Illuminated Tall Oaks (Colorful)

• Treehouse and welcome mat by Emma Starsider

Emma Starsider Goods

• Eat Pray Love Artwork  by Gracie Kendal (aka Kristine Schomaker)

Eat Pray Love

• Cassandra jewelry set by MC Designs

Cassandra Jewelry Set

• Fortuna dress by Sonatta Morales

Fortuna Dress

• Morning Light Cupboard Bed by Trompe L’oeil Designs

 

Morning Light Bed

• DHC-2 Beaver by Spijkers and Wingtips Aviation

DHC-2

• Electra 10 by Drusilla Saunders Aeronautics

Saunders Electra 10

• Flowers of Passion by Teagen Slade

Flowers Of Passion

Auction will start at 10:00 am SLT, 8th December & end at the conclusion of the event at 4 p.m. SLT.

The event will be held at the Bay City Fairgrounds, in North Channel.

Additional donation items are welcomed. Please contact Marianne McCann inworld for details.

The death of a world

November 26th, 2012 by Marianne McCann

“This is a horrible day. This is a horrible thing to have to say: Glitch is closing.”

So begun a missive from Tiny Speck, the company behing a cute, quirky MMO game named Glitch. With those words, the land of Ur, fashioned by the imagination of eleven giants and populated by the seemingly-genderless glitchen and a host of other creatures mundane and magical, had its death warrant. As I type this, Glitch has two weeks before its demise.

Marianne in Glitch

This is my glitchen, Marianne. Yes, she’s rather kid-like there too, though the world is not much at all like, say, Second Life. She has her own little house (as do all players), is making her way through a maze of quests, learnable skills, and levels while running headlong to the end of the world.

I’m not going to bore you with reminiscing about her adventures — though the Last Pilgrimage of Esquibeth quest was beautiful, and I love the Autumn Walk — now do I want to spin a maudlin tale of woe about the loss of Ur.

Rather, I want to tell you about one of the most enduring, powerful parts of the Glitch world. It’s not the game play, the badges, the backstory, the adorable art direction, or even Glitch itself. It’s the community.

In the goodbye letter, Tiny Speck says that “Glitch has not attracted an audience large enough to sustain itself.” That’s likely true. It can be hard for a game — especially on e that is a bit off the beaten path like Glitch — to build an audience. That it is flash-based, not necessarily suited to mobile gameplay, and not another mindless game attached to Facebook likely doesn’t do much to help.

Yet the audience they did gain is the sort that most would be envious of. It’s a well-behaved, adult-acting community. They help out each other, a trait even more pronounced in light of the shutdown. They’re generally better at using blocking and reporting tools to keep things on track, and yet not vigilantes seeking to shut people out of their clique.

In the light of the shutdown, the community is going through the five stages of grief in their own ways. Many have chosen to drop all their goods into massive piles, letting others pick through and take it all away. Some are trying to organize other places on the web or in other games to continue to meet up. A cottage industry has sprung up of creators making physical copies of game sprites.

Meanwhile, many continue to explore the world, checking off their “bucket list” and getting some time in to enjoy the world they love one last time.

The glitchen who remain have stepped up, helping everyone they can to complete that last quest, gain that one item they wanted, or mentor new users even though we all know that time is limited. There are a lot more parties going on, too — no need to hoard their virtual “party packs” for that special day.

It is also refreshing to see how this has been handled by the owners of Glitch. Tiny Speck has been firm that, indeed, this is the end — but has taken the time between the announcement and the shutdown to introduce new lands, new items, and other upgrades they’ve had sitting around — giving people new items to have fun with even in the face of virtual doom.

The company has refunded all subscriptions, made everyone a subscriber, and provided every account with some free credits (you would usually have to purchase those with real-world money) to enjoy until the end.

Soon, my little glitchen will be a memory. All her achievements, all those little upgrades, her wall of trophies — they’ll only live on in a handful of snapshots from the game, and in my memories. It will be sad to see her go, but I’ll always appreciate the community of people there who have made the experience all worth while.