Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Alirium garden centre

I haven't been doing too much exploring recently, but in the course of taking photographs for a job, I came across a very well put together tree by Alirium Gardens.  It was so good I decided to search them out and have a look at the rest of their products - and I am so glad that I did.

The centre itself has rather annoying navigation.  You arrive 1000 metres in the air and have a choice of teleports.  It means that you are transported down past a wintry frost layer, to a glowy place with enormous rabbits, and eventually down the ground floor, where there is a shop.

The work by Alirium lends an impressionistic quality to the planting, as you can see from the photographs.  Having done some unnatural plantings myself, I appreciate how well they have made their grasses and flowers.

Not everything is for sale, and so you may see plants and trees which can't be seen in the shop.

I like the overall design of the shop and signage, and the products, but the prices are a bit eye watering... the trees I admired as copyables were $1999... and copyable flowers $699.

Clicking the teleport board to see the summer products used in a build meant that I couldn't find my way back to the shop easily - I had to teleport out of the sim and come back again via the 1000 metre landing spot, which was a bit annoying.  But the stuff is so beautiful, you can forgive them almost anything.

My two criticisms are the teleports - dumping customers elsewhere in the sim with no way back to the shop doesn't seem commercially advisable, and the use of glow/full bright - in places I couldn't see anything because of the glow... it should be used very sparingly.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Help Domenic Johanssen

I'm taking the unusual step of posting the same blog to all my blogs, no matter what their subject.

Domenic Johanssen was a happy child of two loving parents.  His parents were taking him to India from Sweden where they had been living, when officials boarded the plane and took Domenic away.  People who are told the story cannot believe that Domenic was removed from his parents on such flimsy grounds:  the Johanssens were planning to home educate (which was legal in Sweden at that time), they hadn't allowed him to have all the vaccinations, and he had two cavities in his baby teeth.

He has been in the care of the Swedish authorities since then, and repeated attempts to get him back have failed.  The separation has adversely affected the health of his mother and father, and the photograps of the child now compared to the child then make it obvious that he is far less happy in the care of the authorities than he was at home.

Th Swedish system seems to be a heartless and inhumane system which ignore human bonding and puts the interests of the family last in any decision.  I find it absolutely incomprehensible that a state in a civilised country could be allowed to behave like this.

I don't know what can be done.  I have written to judges and officials over the past two years.  In a place where home educating seems to be considered abuse, it is very very hard to know how to communicate with these people.

Everyone to whom I have told this story have been suspicious that there must have been another, hidden, reason for taking Domenic away from his parents, but that truly isn't the case.  If you can think of a way to publicise, or to put pressure on the Swedish authorities, please please let me know.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kitely launches Virtual Worlds on demand

Kitely have launched their Virtual Worlds on demand service.  No, this isn't an April Fool's joke!  What you will need to take advantage of their free beta, is a facebook account and an SL client.  And, to take advantage of their free credits offer, 20 friends.  Once you get to their website, you can sign in using your Facebook account, and then choose to visit their sample sim, or create your own world.

I found it a little confusing at the very beginning, finding myself in the sample sim, when I had expected to be in my own sim, but I soon worked out that one needs to go to the "my worlds" tab to create your own world... if you simply click to enter world once you have logged in, you will find yourself on a sample sim world with some empty exhibition spaces.

Having made your own world, and logged in using the SL client, you will find yourself on your own version of an SL sim.  This only persists while there are avatars online inside it... it shuts down and goes into cold storage once everyone has left. 

A word:  if avatars come to your world and haven't been anywhere else in Kitely, the creator of the world gets 200 kitely credits.  You only have this ability the first time you go into Kitely.  My world is here.  Kitely advertise free credits if you link Kitely with your facebook... but you only get these if you have a picture on your account and at least 20 friends.

It seems that it isn't currently possible to teleport from world to world, so you have to log out to go anywhere else.  Also, it doesn't give you a chance to use the viewer of your choice - it will use the SL viewer unless you choose another as your default.  Imprudence should allow importation and export of objects.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Meshing about

Mesh is coming to SL.  It's already on the beta (Aditi) grid, and people are preparing for the move onto the main grid.  For those of us who are not blessed with 3DMax or Maya tools, the time has come to learn Blender.

Blender is an open source programme for 3D creation which is compatible with mesh in Second Life.  I have been learning it (or not learning it) for years.  Today I decided to update my installation, and found myself on a merry-go-round where Blender told me it couldn't find my Python installation, even though I had just installed it and... it's RIGHT THERE.  Look!  Python, on my list of programs. 

I installed and uninstalled, trying to work out how to get Blender to recognise it.  I've also been seeking out good tutorials and videos for Blender, which will teach me how to use it and not to feel like I want to kill someone.

Fortunately for me, Eelco came becack from his winter holiday and told me about Machinimatrix, which is a website written by someone in SL, who has a download of the integrated program and who does very good tutorials.  They have an irritating artificial voice, but apart from that are very well produced and very simple to follow.  I like the style a lot, and felt I learned more in one tutorial than I have learned from hours of watching people on Youtube.

So, I am beginning properly with my journey towards mesh building.  I was also sent a link to Sintel, a film made in Blender, which is amazing.