Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rabbit Assassinated in Virtual New York

csi:ny in second life - dead rabbitBy Fresh Catteneo
Second Life Reporter

If you thought Second Life is a paradise of beautiful flowers, magical landscapes and enchanting sunsets then you are..... probably right. But there is a second side to Second Life and it is dark and dangerous. This white rabbit was shot point blank right in the forehead on CSI:NY Orientation West . With a cigar still stuck in his mouth he lay flat on his back while his wound oozed blood all over the sidewalk. A close examination of the footprints leading away from the body reveals they belong to someone wearing high heels.

csi:ny in second life - dead rabbit
I was not alone on the crime scene. In fact, the area was surprisingly crowded. But not by typical SL residents wearing L$ 2000 suits and skins, but by dozens of shiny bran newbies with NOT flexy hair. Most of them had CSI FAN tags on them and NY police badges... Here's a picture of a typical CSI:NY fan inspecting the scene:

csi:ny in second life -csi fanAnd what else is typical newbie behaviour at SL? There are two main ones; being in a state of "Away" or in a state of "Editing Appearance". This girl came to the crime scene to help solve the crime (I'll tell you about that in a minute), so why is she dozing off while floating in midair ? And wearing only one shoe ?! What's going on here ? Is this a police badge I am seeing on her right breast ?

csi:ny in second life - csi detective
The rabbit was shot by a dangerous assassin called Venus who started off in an episode of CSI:NY , later escaping her pursuers into SL.

csi:ny in second life - assassin venus
The CSI detectives followed her tracks, in the form of SL avatars. They are detective Paul Dawson, Medical Examiner Dr Dacota Lenox, CSI Nathalie Evans, and Jared Washington.

csi:ny in second life - csi detectivesAlso a major player is detective Zuiker:

csi:ny in second life - csi detective zuiker
This virtual CSI team calls SL residents, CSI:NY fans and literally anyone with a bit of a detective spirit to help locate the whereabouts of Venus and deliver her alive to the hands of the police. This apparently draws many people to participate. At the sim's landing spot (welcome area), I counted new avatars materialize at a rate of about 5 - 10 per minute.

csi:ny in second life - newbie avatarsOnce you arrive, you are instructed to download an additional piece of software called the OnRez (developed by the Electric Sheep Company), which is a sort of upgraded traditional SL viewer. It's very user friendly and enhances the overall SL experience. The detectives left clues and tracks one must follow in different sims in SL. I am not sure but did I see a reward of 5000$ ? The game will go on until February 2008. I might continue following this story, so stay tuned....

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Animals of Volcano Island

second life animals - the animals of volcano Island
The Animals of SL Part 3

After dancing all night at the discotheque inside the volcano (see previous post), I felt I needed to get out and breath some fresh air. The sun was shining on Volcano Island and it seemed that the volcano's lava had stopped flowing towards the village. Although I still didn't see any people, some animals began to appear. There were many marine animals that I photographed either inside the water or near the seashore.

second life animals - shark
second life animals - pelican
second life animals - seagull
second life animals - crab
This is the second sea turtle that I have seen in SL. The first one I saw was at Bodhi, but he was of a different species. I plan on setting out on another expedition to Bodhi to document all the animals on that Sim. As I recall there are very interesting species of wildlife there.

second life animals - sea turtleThis is yet another species of humming bird and also the second I have encountered in SL. You can see a picture of the first kind that I met at Mystica at "Animals of Second Life Part 1"

second life animals - hummingbirdDragonfly
second life animals - dragonfly

Friday, October 26, 2007

Volcano Inferno is Erupting

second life - volcano erupting on vacation resort

By Fresh Catteneo

I was informed tonight that volcano Inferno on Volcano Island has begun to erupt. Volcano Island is a tropical paradise and a vacation resort. When I arrived there it was completely abandoned, as all the guests and permanent residents have escaped for their lives. The lava began to flow down the mountain and is threatening to drown the village and bury it forever.
The only one left was a lion who stood on the beach and didn't seem to mind.

second life - lion on the beachI decided to take a closer look inside the volcano. This was very suspicious and there was no reason for this volcano to erupt. Something is going on and I had to find out what it was.

second life - inside the volcano
I flew and entered into the gaping pit of the volcano. The heat was unbearable but I had tolerated worse things in my life. After all, I AM Superman. I descended lower and lower until I almost stood on the lava bottom of the volcano.

second life - lavaSomething was fishy. I could swear I am hearing music from down below. This is no joke. I held my breath and dived into the sea of lava. I was in the dark for a few seconds and when I opened my eyes I was deep inside the volcano, under the sea of lava. I looked down and saw that I was hovering over non other than a discotheque....

second life - discotheque inside the volcano

The reason for the volcano's eruption was discovered. The 2000 MegaDecibels this discotheque was generating had caused cracks in the earth's crust and seismic vibrations which caused the volcano to start erupting.

second life - night club

This is a scandal and whoever is responsible for it should be reported to the authorities immediately. It's a man made disaster. I started looking up the records of the place to find the name of the owner and report him to the SL police but something peculiar happened. I began to like the music. It was so funky ! Not before long I was all over the dance floor, dancing like a butterfly... Doing some really groovy moves....

second life - superman dancing in night club
I think I will hold off calling the police for now. Maybe later. Hey, come on guys, this place is a blast! Click here to teleport to Volcano Island.

At the Zoo

Second life animals - panda bears

The Animals of Second Life Part 2

By Marose Mizser

If you read "The animals of second life part 1", then you probably know that my co-worker Fresh Catteneo didn’t go much to the Zoo when he was a child. So I decided to have a look at the Escapade Zoo & Safari Park at Apollonia, to find out whether it is a nice place for a visit. Then I would invite Fresh for a tour and maybe some popcorn (only if he behaves himself…).
When I got there, I met face to face with two adorable Panda Bears. As they nibbled at the bamboo, they told me everything about the Zoo's animals.
I sat on a Lama and stood next to a camel. Where else can you do that, other than in Second Life?

Second life animals - camels

In the aquarium there was a very big octopus who told me that the train was leaving. So I hopped on for the most amazing train ride of my life.

Second life train ride

The first thing I saw were monkeys, and then the train submerged underwater. A shark passed very close to us. Luckily we survived, but it left me shaking.

Second life animals - shark
Not before long I ran into another horrifying experience. I saw a frightening creature growling at me. It looks like a dinosaur.

Second life animals - dinosaur

After that I hopped off the train and burst laughing at the sight of pigs rolling in the mud.

Second life animals - pig

I really recommend going to this Zoo if you are looking for a nice thing to do in Second Life. The owners, couple Clarissa Zhao and Dan Seiling did a great job.

Click here for Second Life Animals part 3

Click here to teleport to the Escapade Zoo & Safari Park at Apollonia

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Animals of Mystica

second life fresh news - witches and wizards village
Animals of Second Life part 1

By Fresh Catteneo

I love animals and as a child one of my favourite pass times was to go to the zoo and watch the animals in their cages. I found the monkeys the most interesting and could sit and watch them for hours . If there was no one to take me to the zoo then I would watch them on T.V on the National Geographic channel. SL is teaming with wildlife and it seems that almost all species of animals on earth have their virtual three dimensional representatives in SL (not to mention magical and mythical creatures). So I decided I might start a series of articles about SL's animals and try to document all the animals I will encounter in my journeys. Sounds like a big project but I think it will be fun, especially when all my friends will join in to help me (hint...hint....) Readers are also invited to send me pictures and descriptions of animals they meet or observe.

Yesterday my friend and co-worker SLFN reporter Marose Mizser invited me for brunch on a tower at a Sim called Mystica. It's a place dedicated to studying healing and the magical arts. The scenery is like taken straight out of a fairy tail book - black crows, giant mushrooms, colorful butterflies, dangerous black spiders, sky high castles etc.. It's a meeting point for witches, wizards and fairies.

second life high tower

We sat on the porch of this incredible tower and chatted away when suddenly an amazing blueish-green humming bird approached me to say hello. It was then that the idea popped into my head that all these marvelous animals have to be seriously documented.

second life animals - humming birdExcept for a black cat and a praying mantis, all animals I encountered at Mystica were winged. Well, it's not surprising since it's a Sim that specializes in witches and fairies that can also fly.
This yellowish- brown butterfly was found near a bush on the ground where hundreds of butterflies similar to him kept flying out in all directions. There is a good tutorial at Nathalia Zelmanov's blog on how to make these butterfly effects. (Here)

second life animals - butterfly
A butterfly is an insect of the order Lepidoptera. Like all Lepidoptera, butterflies are notable for their unusual life cycle with a larval caterpillar stage, an inactive pupal stage, and a spectacular metamorphosis into a familiar and colourful winged adult form. Most species are day-flying so they regularly attract attention. The diverse patterns formed by their brightly coloured wings and their erratic yet graceful flight have made butterfly watching a popular hobby. (Wikipedia). Here is another species of butterflies that were flying on the porch at the high tower:

second life animals - butterfly
This American eagle flew around at a high altitude searching probably for rats or mice or other small animals he could snatch on the ground. By the way, it might seem difficult to take pictures of these animals that are in motion. But actually it's very easy. I was surprised to find that once you zoom in on a moving object, the camera locks on it and follows it like a shadow, so you can snap away all you want. Also there will be no smudging of the picture like in RL when you shoot a moving object.

second life animals - eagle

Black cat

second life animals - black cat
Praying mantis

second life animals - praying mantis

second life animals - Wasp
Elven Rider

second life animals - Elven Rider

second life animals - Ladybug

second life animals - Scorpion

second life animals -bee
On one of the walls at Mystica I saw a sign with a message. I think it is important so I will post it here:

Help Stop the Drilling in Another Wildlife Refuge

The Baca National Wildlife Refuge
Is not just another Refuge to be violated

There is only enough gas there to satisfy Americans lust for energy for 2 1/2 weeks.
The refuge is home to elk and bison as well as a host of rare and endangered plants and smaller animals.

Big Oil is raping our lands. Stop them now.

Click here for Second Life Animals Part 2

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Football Stadium Prepares for Launch

second life - football stadium

By Marose Mizser

Today I met Pascal Abramovic (on the right) and Patron Broek (on the left), the founders of the football stadium at the Dutch Community (0031). The stadium is located next to the Vinex district and will be the home base of the champion football team FC Schoondamme. Pascal got the idea to build a stadium because there are not many sports in Second Life. To make his idea come to life he contacted Patron Broek who is an expert builder. I can truly say this stadium is absolutely fascinating.

second life - playing footaball

On Saturday November the 3rd at 7.00 pm (Netherlands time) the stadium's opening ceremony will begin.Of course your reporter will be there. Come have a look for yourself at this beautiful stadium. Do you want to play football? You can subscribe by contacting Pascal Abramovic. It only takes three players to form a team. Don’t you have two friends as sporty as you are? If you don't have then Pascal could match you up with other players to form a new team.

Pascal himself will be the coach of his own team, FC Schoondamme. He was almost forced to stop building the stadium before it was finished. The management of 0031 decided in a meeting that the stadium will have to fit into the rest of 0031 and be a part of it. Some people thought it was too big. But luckily a split majority voted that the stadium should remain independant.

Click here to Teleport and visit the stadium:

A Fairy in a Castle in The Heavens

second life - building floating in the sky
By Fresh Catteneo

Not all avatars know, but the SL skies are almost as inhabited and full of life as on the ground. Once you start flying upwards towards the heavens, you will begin to see buildings and structures floating in the air. The castle in the picture belongs to Bietje Merlin and her boyfriend Jack, who built it all by himself. Bietje rents land in Forest Sangha, and that allows her to build structures in the space above that land. Here's what Wikipedia says about it: "The most basic method of moving around is by foot (also running and jumping). To travel more rapidly, avatars can also fly up to about 170 m above the terrain (meaning 270 m if ground level is 100 m, 180 m if ground level is set to 10 m) without requiring any special equipment, but with scripted attachments there is currently no limit to how high an avatar can fly (although once past several million meters, the rendering of the avatar mesh starts to be affected)." Well, I had to use an attachment called a "feather" that Jack gave me in order to be able to float around and take pictures of the castle. Without it I would freefall immediatly. When I arrived at the castle, I found Bietje standing on the porch.

second life - fairy standing on the porch
Bietje and Jack are good friends of mine. I thought I might pay them a visit and see how they are doing. Jack was away on vacation but Bietje was at home, flying around the castle dressed as a green fairy. She gave me a little tour of the castle. This is the ground floor.

second life - inside the castle
What caught my attention was the beautiful picture of Bietje and Jack that hung on the wall. Bietje said Jack painted it.

Then we pressed a button and were teleported upstairs to the second floor, to the bedroom and porch. The walls were decorated with a foggy light brown texture, and had two oriental shaped windows.

second life - bedroom and porch
Then Bietje told me to touch the walls and when I did they disappeared and turned into semi-transparent curtains. Nice! Gives you a really floaty feeling....

We went outside and sat on the porch looking at the sunset. Bietje started telling me about some adventures she and her friend Cat had at a Gorean Sim. What is a Gorean Sim you ask ? Well, that's a whole different story and I might tell you about it some day... Anyway, she and Cat dressed up as witches and went to annoy some Gorean people. Apparently they succeeded and were almost kicked out of the Sim for disobeying the rules. It happens that most Gorean men are fierce warriors and the women are their slaves... (except the Panther girls).

second life - Fresh and Bietje sitting on the porch
Bietje and Cat did finally succeed to escape from that horrid place but as a result Bietje got stuck to a broom and can't get rid of it. So whenever she tries to move, she is compelled to ride it. What a punishement...

second life - fairy witch on a broom
Click here to teleport to Bietje's castle.