Sunday, October 20, 2013

Minecraft: Building Around Angels Villiage

Since the new Angels Village in Nydia's Minecraft servers was built, the place has taken shape, with walls going up and buildings inside the walls. Then the building began going outward, such as the SL Newser office building there. But the building didn't stop there.

Jasmine's a fan of the "My Little Pony" show, or a "pegasister" in pony fan slang. So she built this tribute, "Luna Sleeping."

How many of you have heard of "Hogzilla?" Well, he just showed up in Minecraft, or rather, this statue of him did.

Another build was this double tribute to the mob Minecrafters love to hate: The Creeper. There was this creeper statue, and a creeper temple built.

And if mobs weren't enough to scare someone at night, we started spinning yarns about what else might be out there, such as the Minecraft legend of Herobrine, the ghost miner who supposedly digs all those tunnels we find underground. Note the arched bridge and the beach picnic areas.

 The building wasn't just out from the village, but also down. Inspired by the Dwarven City in the "Lord of the Rings" Minecraft map, Valkyrie was inspired to build her own. And it was quite an impressive sight. Just ask first before digging in the mines next to the place. Dwarves aren't keen on strangers digging on their turf.

There was one other building outside the village build, a horse track, presumably in case we ever decide on a horse race. But I was waiting until daylight to take a picture, and had to go before sunrise.

 And a statuesque tribute to four of the players of Angels Village. From left to right: Jasmine (vixen with diamond minepick), Kryxia (wolfess with diamond sword), Skye (horse with diamond sword), and Phy (pony with golden carrot).

 Jasmine however wanted to build one of me. So she took a few screenshots, with my armor off, and got to work.

 Not a bad likeness ... of my 8 bit self.

So what would my statue carry? Well, others had picks and swords. So what else did I use a lot? My compass and map (ask a girl how often men will speak up and ask for directions). So Jasmine made one on the statue's hand.

The building continues around Angels' Village. There was a subway entrance made, with plans to connect it to somewhere. Then people started digging down and then out. Looks like if there's nothing in the distance to connect to, we'll dig and make something to connect it to when we surface.

That's all for now from Minecraft. Until next time, happy digging.

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wingless Avatars in Inworldz

By Bixyl Shuftan

With the controversy over Linden Lab's new Terms of Service directed at content creators, alternative virtual worlds to Second Life have been getting more attention. Second Life residents have been dropping over to look. But what about Second Life residents who prefer furry avatars? Going over, unless one was a content creator, he/she'd have to go tailless.

But for those visiting Inworldz, some good news. There's a package of freebie furry avatars available for anyone to pick up for free.

The package is available in the Amber sim, at the Furry Welcome Center in Amber (114, 92, 23). Turn around, and head to the tables. One has three cubes, one labeled Wingless Emoto Avatars. Click on that to receive a copy. For those interested, there's also a pony avatar and house.

For those who don't know, Wingless Emoto is an avatar designer in Second Life. Some years ago, he had a dispute with the retailer he was selling them through, and since the contract stated he couldn't sell his avatars at the time through anyone else, he made them freely available to all. Many residents have kept a copy of a package of the avatars on them to give to others wanting to try a furred avatar. Even after several years, although other avatars have been available for free, no other package that can be held to give to others has emerged. There was a package of newer free avatars available at the AnthroXtacy store recently, but with the company closing down, those avatars are not known to be available.

Like the package in Second Life, the InWorldz Wingless avatars come in a variety of anthro fox, wolf, horse, and hyena avatars in a variety of colors, red, white, blue, pink, etc. But the cube passed around in Second Life was mostly fox and wolf while the InWorldz package has a roughly equal number of the four, plus a few reindeer and werewolf avatars. Like the avatars in Second Life, the Wingless avs in InWorldz have both male and female skins (except the werewolf), and both parts for plantigrade and digigrade feet (except the werewolf and reindeer, plantigrade and digitgrade only respectively), and options for large and small hands. But the Customization and Control HUDs are not in the InWorldz Wingless avatars. A notecard included with the avatar package stated this was a first release, with another one planned later with HUDs.

Like it's Second Life counterpart, one doesn't have to wear the whole avatar. One can just wear the ears and tail (and feet) for a kitsune-style neko look. There are also a few hairpieces included.

So for those in Second Life who prefer looks with a tail, the option for furred avatars is available in Inworldz.

Inworldz Grid, Amber (114, 92, 23)

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Minecraft Games

By Bixyl Shuftan

Following the pirate ship battle in mid-September, Nydia wanted to do more group activities with her new server set up for uploaded maps. She found a couple more she liked, and on two different occasions invited residents in the HV Community sim group and her friends in the Angels community to take part.

On the evening of September 22, she uploaded a "Lord of the Rings" map. It was meant to be seen with some additional textures uploaded, so mobs could be seen as attacking orcs, etc. And the "swiss cheese" texture seen on some builds led to a few jokes. But there was quite a bit of detail, especially in the palaces and towns.

Nydia took on the role of a dungeon master for this game, leading the party down the path after leading us to a chest with a little gear, giving us a few rules and reading the introduction. We soon had to go through a dark cave, and when mobs attacked many of us lost sight of one another. Nydia ended up having to port those behind to the group. Our journey went across fields, mountain passes, towns, underground passageways, and more. Every so often, we would come to a chest with a notecard describing the next chapter in the action, such as having to carry a message to a leader.

One of the more thrilling parts of the map was the mine area, complete with a fast-moving minecart ride, which got a few comparisons to the one from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Unfortunetly, if anything went wrong, the character would end up off the cart, and one wrong step off the track and into the darkness. I myself ended up in a cavern under the rail, and had to find my way back, and go down the track until I finally found the cart.

Probably the scene that gave us the most headaches was having to go through a mob-filled town. The action was harrier than Nydia had expected, and she passed us chainmail armor, and then diamond. But we ended up getting split up again, and Minecraft veterans can pretty much guess what happens to players who get repeatedly assaulted by attackers. I was among them, but managed to find a two story house where I could wait for Nydia to port me over. Others weren't as fortunate.

The adventure for me lasted a few hours, and over 25 levels of experience from clobbering mobs.  Before it was finished, players began to drop out as it was getting late in the evening, and we had real-life work or college in the morning. Perhaps Nydia's next map adventure will start on a weekend afternoon.

Nydia's next map was "Race Fo Da Wool." This  would be a competition between two teams: red and blue. Each had an identical obstacle course to search for three colors of wool: blue, lime, and magneta. The base had receptacles for one of each of the wools, with trunks nearby with armor, weapons, food, and torches.

Just in front of the base was a forest area, which had some underground caves one could dig down into. Getting through the forest was a building a few stories tall. But getting through it, or up it, one had to get through a number of mob spawners. Past that was a chasm in which players had a choice: build a bridge across it, or go down and then back up, across a number of mob spawners. Getting past that was a thin bridge over a lava pit, followed by a vertical maze in which one went up and down some steep ladders. One wrong move near the top and one would plummet to their avatar's demise.

If one croaked, one had to take a waterfall down. To keep from drowning, one had to poke out just enough to breath, but not so far as to plummet. Player versus player action was allowed, either arrows or the cannons at one point on the course. But in the games I witnessed, the players concentrated on the mobs and getting through the course. For one player, the vertical maze part was the hardest, "Gaaah! I'm afraid of heights!"

We had choices to make, such as taking the time to destroy mob spawners or take chances and try to speed through. During the day, the mobs couldn't usually get far from the building. But at night, they could sneak through and attack the base. And for a newly respawned player whom was alone while the rest of the team was deep in the obstacle course, the relentless waves of zombies, skeletons and creepers could send them back to the respawn point before they could so much as grab a weapon. Players who respawned at night began to wait until daybreak to go back down.

I took part in two games, both which took well over an hour. In one match, I had found one of the wools, and was on my way back, only to find nightfall  had come, and ended up pushed off the edge by attacking mobs, and therefore loosing the wool that had taken me a while to get. My team lost that match.

Despite the frustration with getting clobbered and having to respawn repeatedly at times, everyone had fun. And the player who was afraid of heights, by the end of the game wasn't so afraid.

In the meantime, progress continues in the new Angels Village, with players spreading out again and making new builds. But this is another story.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Odd Ball's First Event in Inworldz

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday Sept 29, Tuna Oddfellow and Shava Suntzu launched their first performance of the Odd Ball in the virtual world of InWorldz. The event took place just after Noon SL time and InWorlds time. Jana Kyomoon performed live music for the crowd.

In the moments before the show started, Tuna and Shava's club looked much like it had when I was there a few days earlier, save for the piano where Jana was playing, and the huge magician's hat that's been the center of every Odd Ball I remember. A number of people showed up, sometimes one just after the other, "hope you don't mind me landing on your head." Some had longtime experience with InWorldz, others had shown up for only their first time today.

Then Tuna announced the start, "Welcome everyone to the first ever Odd Ball in InWorldz." And then things began to take shape. First the club vanished and the floor turned psychedelic shades. Then all around us, the sky turned kaleidoscope colors. The Odd Ball was back, and it was just as trippy as before, "it's a carnival ride for the mind." "Sure am glad I not did drugs in college. I wouldn't know what is show and what isn't."

Shava tried to explain the way the special effects worked, "The theory is that your brain's wiring for estimating space is being tricked into reframing the frame of reference, as though you were on a carnival ride, or as though you had entered a vaulted space like a cathedral or domed space in a big building, or were looking off a mountain top. There's a moment of a feeling of pure awe that our brains give us when we can't compute a space like that, left over from the reward our brains give us in childhood when it's so important that we master spatial relationships in play. That's our theory."

A few people had a little trouble with the sound, but not usually for long. And it took a while for some to get dancing with the animations in a whole new Grid. And the psychedelic colors had an effect on some people, "Oh my God, I'm getting dizzy." "Wow, couldn't find my mouse pointer for a sec." "Ohh this iss grreeaat." "Hey, try moving around in this." But everyone had a great time there. "If you know me in SL," Tuna told the audience, "please friend me here. If you know me here, please friend me here.- it's really that simple."

Tuna was happy that he was able to have the Odd Ball so soon after closing it in Second Life, "It took me years to deveiop our show. I am amazed we recreated it in days." "I'm surprised you got it up and running this fast too," another responded. Shava told, "We got it all working, you have no idea how hard Tuna was working on this this week! And Quadrapop has been so helpful and so many folks here too!"

People discussed what they had done here, "I think after 4 years I've got more stuff here (smile), certainly got a better avi." "Well, I could have never built Replicant City on SL. So that is a tremendously good trade-off." "With the exception of the shoes and hair, everything I'm in is either self made or uploaded from samples online I found." "First thing I did when I got here, made an RLV collar. (grin)"

People also discussed what others were doing in Inworldz, "Have you seen Wizard Gynoid's experiments with linkage geometry here? 80,000+ linked prims ROTATING!" "Here we can actually have single-object mega starships. Not to mention single-object ocean sailing ships."

Eventually, the hour was up, and the show was over. The triply effects soon faded, and the club was back, "Well folks, we've come to the end of another Sunday Odd Ball! We'll be back tomorrow at 6pm with more tripped out brain candy." "Thank you for the music that was awesome." "YEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH TUNA!" "Really do appreciate your support," Jana told the crowd, "and again a BIG congrats to Tuna." "Great time everyone and WELCOME TO INWORLDZ TUNA & SHAVA!" "Kewl show & really nice people doing it."

Shava commented, "So many people we know were already here -- both worlds or you know, we've been dual citizens three years. But a lot of folks came over first time from SL just for today and probably more for tomorrow's show. We do two shows every month with Jana this time of month, and we didn't miss them just because of this." There would be another show scheduled for Monday at 6PM Pacific/SL/InWorldz time. "This is only the beginning," Tuna told the crowd.

Before the crowd dispersed, Quadrapop handed me something: a "Wingless" anthro Fox avatar. I could look foxy again! I had to change the color of the hair, but there was no arguing with the price. Finally a foxy look.

As it turned out, there was an event in Inworldz just after the Odd Ball. Bain Finch and Panza Elde from the Relay for Life were there at a dance party, and invited me over. And earlier, there had been another. "Bixyl, you missed the fun this morning," Panza told me, "Sailing event. I ended up on the rocks." "Ya, you missed Panza's driving," Bain mused. The dance party had a number of Tinies there, some from Raglan Shire, which has a presence in Inworldz. I was also told that in the past week. a large number of residents from Second Life  had come over, notably content creators.

There was other thing I noticed. Lag was less in Inworldz than in Second Life. At least this was my experience with an older computer. I also didn't crash any. A few residents from the Odd Ball did seem to have some problems, though. SO the switch wasn't an improvement this way for all.

"Thanks for being our Tunaverse – can't have a consensual hallucination without the consenting!"

Bixyl Shuftan