Wednesday, 31 January 2007

l33t eyechart

Found this while wandering through a sim with a "Doctor's office".

Love it.

Monday, 29 January 2007

The Caledon Social Season

In December 2005 Secondlife had 100,000 people playing it and Caledon didn't exist. By August of 2006 it had hit 500,000 with October seeing it hit the first 1,000,000 (and me as one of them). By December the total number of registered users hat hit 2,000,000 and Caledon now took up some 14 sims by itself (with two more on the way). This week it hit 3,000,000.

In an effort to try and bring some of the burgeoning new population of Caledon together many of the more socially outgoing have begun a programme of The Caledon Season inspired the 19th century social season of the Victorians.

Today (or yesterday for SLT) was the first ball of the season.

The Palatial grounds of the Guvnah's Mansion in Victoria city

I managed to indulge my passion for dancing and quite enjoyed myself.

Myself and Lady Meg

With The Honourable Kate Nicholas

With Miss Orr a recent acquaintance I made in Steelhead

With Her Grace the Duchess of Carntaigh

Miss Cornelia and Mr. Hassanov two of Caledon's mechanical denizens.

One of the drawbacks with having the ladies out looking so gorgeous is that all thos flexiprims cause lag. It was an effort simply to cross the room at times :-) That and, as you can see from the photos, you tend to get enveloped by the ladies' skirts. Which may not necessarily be a bad thing...

I chatted with many people, have discussed the desire for an organised Military Unit for Caledon though some are hoping for Highland Regiments and other for Cavalry. I'm working on uniforms for both. Mr. Somme is quite im patient for me to finish the Cuirassier uniform for the Cavalry and Mr. Wormser is quite keen on another kilt.

I was also told about a device made by Natalia Zelmanov that supposedly helps with flex prims. Miss Doyle suggested this may help with my quest to create a kilt and is better and cheaper than a product we had been discussing some time ago. I've picked up a copy but have yet to have a chance to try it. Her blog also has quite a few tips on SL in general which I'll be going back through and reading. Looks very promising.

I also spent some time with Elda Luna who seems to be going through bouts of insomnia. A rather strange person she's about the height of an 8 year old with vampire features, ears and a clockwork construction. She loves tinkering and can be a great deal of fun.


I need to work on some more building. The Cavalry need boots.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

A new film to watch out for

A Gentleman's Duel hold the presence of excellent looking animation but it's the animation of giant steam powered robots!

(Oh and something worth fighting for. Watch the trailer you'll see what I mean).

Looks fantastic.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Explorations of a Second Life

Most people will draw a blank when you mention the Théâtre de l'Opéra. Of course if you say the Paris Opera house they know immediately.

A rather enterprising person has begun the creation of SL's very own Théâtre de l'Opéra.

No run-ins with any strange masked figures though I did have the pleasure of a beautiful young lady singing "Think of me fondly" while I was there.


Fond of a dance

I'm rather partial to dancing and have been complimented on my rhythmic skills by many. As such I present for your pleasure some recent highlights of the dance season.

Myself and the Duchess of Loch Avie at the New Year's Eve dance.

With the delightful Miss Christensen at the Snowflake Ball.

And with the stunning Miss McAllister at Steelhead City's weekly dance.


The Caledon Victorian Expedition should do what it can to obtain one of these for the remainder of the Expedition.

The beast in action.

Dedication ceremony

Dedication part 2

Monday, 22 January 2007

A First Life?

What's this body thing, and what do I do with the dangly bits?

Sunday, 21 January 2007


I've been interested in "old things" since I was very young. A fascination with a box of shirt collars that belonged to my Grandfather; trying to understand my father's joke about why wouldn't the robber go into the wash house (because there was a copper in there); my other grandfather's collection of old coins and some jewellery belonging to his grandfather.

Since then it's become a wide-ranging interest in history but the Victorian era has always captured my heart. Men were expected to be MEN and women were expected to be Ladies. The hypocrisy and snobbery have not escaped my notice but I think in the same way that people of the SCA hold an idealised view of the mediaeval world I came to be what would be referred to as a Neo-Victorian.

Oddly the word Neo-Victorian, with it's like of Victorian aesthetics coupled with modern values, seems to be slowly being replaced by "steampunk". For those unfamiliar with the word steampunk was a sort of tongue-in-cheek label from the 80s applied to stories set in the Victorian era but using arcane or scientific devices.

Since then there has been some debate about what is and isn't steampunk, even people wanting to get really anal about it devising names like sandalpunk and dieselpunk. Really, for those wanting to create a new genre to put Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow into, there’s one already there: it's called PULP! One name I've become fond of but sadly hasn't seen widespread use is "Gaslamp Fantasy" as used by the creators of the Girl Genius webcomic.

But I digress.

For me steampunk is essentially Neo-Victorianism but with far more anachronism. It's something I enjoy and something I actively seek out. To this end I've decided to put together this journal that looks at aspects of Steampunk, Neo-Victorianism, SF, Horror and it's related bits and pieces.

It's partially as a result of my involvement with SecondLife that I've put together this blog. On a Yahoo group I frequent a post was made about a new sim opening in SecondLife (SL) that was steampunk themed. Yay, I thought. What the hell was SecondLife?

While not entirely ignorant of online gaming it was something I hadn't pursued with any interest. Not only did the traditional Computer games of shoot-'em-up or hack 'n' slash become boring very quickly, I wasn't going pay for something like this on top of my ISP bill. I don't pay for porn why should this be any different (and before you ask, yes there's a World of Warcraft inspired porn site so it's the same thing now anyway).

So, yes, SL. Some people dislike calling it a game because there's no win. Whatever. SL is probably best described as a huge version of The Sims where you only play one avatar and other people control the other ones you meet. You can build objects using tool functions, script objects to do things, interact with people via chat, form groups, buy land and a whole lot more. One of the things that seems to make SL different from other games is that it has an economy. Rather than wanting the über-sword so you can kill the mega-demon or whatever many of the SL "Residents" own virtual land and want to put a house/shop/secret base on it and furnish it. They also want to make their avatars look pretty, or at least interesting. So there's a thriving community where people who are willing to spend the time wrestling prims into shapes or write scripts or make textures to cover the prims can and do sell them to people who want them but don't know how or can’t be arsed. Using "Linden dollars" people buy and sell. However Lindens are translatable into Real Money. I think the going rate it roughly $L200 per USD at the moment. One woman recently claimed to have earnt her first US $million buying a selling virtual land within SL. I'm sure the IRS will be sticking it's nose in here very soon.

Edward Pearse is my SL persona. When you sign up for names you can pick whatever first name you want but your last name has to be from a supplied list. This list apparently changes from time to time to stop surnames getting stale but when I signed up one it was with the purpose of seeking out the steampunk sim and becoming part of it. One of the names on the list at the time was Pearse. Being a fan of The Great Train Robbery I decided to go with Edward. I realise the movie character was spelt Pierce but still. Working from there I worked on his likeness drawing from both this

and this

to get

The area in question is called Caledon, which is (at current count) 14 sims linked together in a landmass (with two more on the way very soon). Caledon is a private sim in that all the land is own by one person who then leases it to individuals wanting to make a home or business there. I suppose a Monarchy works well for a steampunk flavoured sim. One thing I quickly noticed was that there was very limited fashion for men available in the Victorian style. Plenty of skirts and hats for the ladies but not much for gentlemen. Being somewhat knowledgeable about men's Victorian fashions I decided that this would be my little niche.

I've now discovered why. The clothing template does both male and female torso but it's geared towards the female form. You have to be careful with double rows of buttons if you don't want them to look funny on your male avatar. But I seem to have my admirers and have been making some good sales with the small inventory I have at the moment. I really need to sit down and do texturing rather than logging in to SL itself.

I've got a few clothing ideas that are variations of the traditional British redcoat uniform and I'm slowly coming to grips with prim clothing so there's boots and a female variant of the Volunteer Rifles uniform and trousers and kilts if I can work out the prims.

So there's plenty to keep me occupied. And as I wander the 'net looking for background information I'll often find things I haven't seen before. I'll share them here too. Not only does it mean I have my resourced collected in place, I also let people know about things they may not have been lucky enough to see.