Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tank Club

Some of my neighbors on Syzygy, along with a few more SL residents, have started a Tank Club on Vacit (62, 164, 73).   No special skills are required.  The Tank Club is open to any resident who has a fondness for tanks and wants to have some fun.   I first hitched a ride on Elric Anatine’s tank and went on a convoy led by Samantha Glume.   On another night I drove one of the club tanks, with a lot of help from my friends.  Both times were great fun!     
      The Tank Club was started earlier this year when Samantha Glume, Motoko “Moto” Henusaki, and B.W. Jinxing were updating things and saw Linden Road, Route 9, among their items.     Samantha said, “Hey, I know something fun to do...”   “I rezzed my pink panda tank,” she said, “and Moto rezzed her cat face tank and we went for a little convoy.”   Soon they were joined by Elric Anatine, who describes the club as a “happy accident” that evolved from the fun they had that day. 
     “Everybody had a lot of fun,” Samantha said, “so we had a second convoy. That one was with eight tanks.” 
       Elric remembered that they picked up some hitchhikers, too.  “They saw our tanks,” he said, “and joined in the fun.  For myself, it was a spectacular way to explore the wilds of mainland.”
      The group soon decided they needed a permanent place.  They started with the idea of having a clubhouse, which Samantha said, “evolved into wanting a garage, a parking lot and play space.”   Elizabeth Rechter pointed out that it was very helpful “to have a reliable starting point where we could rally the tanks ahead of the trip.”
     They studied all of the different continents and chose Jeogeot for its vast network of roads, Samantha said. It is also next to a rez zone.    The group divided up the work based upon their various interests and skills.  For example, Motoko “Moto” Henusaki worked on mesh items while Elric Anatine re-textured.   Elizabeth Rechter did trees and landscaping, and BW Jinxing prepared the parking lot and driveways that connect to the road. 
     The tanks are purchased from Spyker Enterprise, who makes mesh tanks.   Spyker has allowed the group to modify and make their own skins and textures for each individual tank.   As a result, the tanks are customized and personal to each owner.   “For some reason,” Elric remarked, “this particular tank has brought so many of us together in a variety of events. I think in large part because it can be modified and therefore personalized.  The moment you personalize your vehicle, it truly becomes yours and something to be proud of.”
      In addition to being modifiable and easy to drive, the Spyker tank is fun and electric.  Because it has to be recharged, repaired and rearmed, Samantha says, “it fits perfectly with our fun.”   They built a fully functional garage with working bay doors, a mesh tank lift, and a console to help with repairs and rearmament.  Power cells that she first used on her space station are available and can be refilled at the recharging station.   She hopes to expand the number of recharging stations to eventually cover the entire continent.  Club members receive a custom texture for their tank, a tank only parking sign and toolboxes for making repairs.   However, anyone who already owns a tank is welcome to bring it.  No one is required to purchase a particular tank.
        We chatted about the fun of touring.  Samantha Glume said you can open the hatch while driving and drive in the standing position.   “You can wave at people as you slowly rumble by,” she grinned.  
       I asked how they had been received since I had heard the mainland can be a wild place.   Samantha said, “We haven't had any problems at all.”  Though she joked that the psychological impact of a tank rolling by might have kept people nice. 
        Elric said the people have been really great. 
       “Even the hitchhikers,” Elizabeth added, smiling.
         “Some have wanted to join in,” Elric said.  “Others just take the "gunner position" and ride along with us.” 
        Elizabeth and Moto have toured a lot of different sims.  “Anytime I'm in a new place,” Elizabeth laughed, “I get an urge to rez a tank.”    Moto even made a HUD that they use to identify unmarked rez zones.   Many of the photos can be seen at   The club has a webpage, too, at

        But the Tank Club doesn’t limit itself to simple touring.   Recently Elizabeth and Moto organized a “death match” on Syzygy between the Reds and the Blues.  BW Jinxing created a video of it that can be seen at    The battle takes place right in front of my house!    My friends claimed they did their best to avoid blasting it, but I’m not convinced. 
      This past Sunday, the group met for a “Get Well Soon” convoy for Samantha Glume.   Some RL surgery is going to keep her out of SL for a few weeks, and her friends wanted her to have some fun before she left.   In addition to Samantha, Tank Club members Anarchy “Pandora Le Fay” Tigerpaw,  117 “Mohandar”  Dirval, Elizabeth Rechter, Elric Anatine, Stacy Bluxome,  Motoko “Moto” Henusaki, and possibly one or two others met at the clubhouse  before dawn.    
       “Everybody form up on the road behind me,” Samantha said.  “And it's dark, so I suggest you turn on your headlights.”  She patiently gave instructions to new drivers on how to turn on their lights, which gear to use, and other valuable information.   “Everybody should be in low gear with a speed of three,” she said.  “Watch your spacing.” 
     “Try not to press the self-destruct button,”  117 “Mohandar” Dirval joked. 
      When everyone was lined up, with lights on and armament off, the tanks began rumbling down the road.    Earlier, Elric Anatine had told me that of all the vehicles he had driven in Second Life, he has never had as much fun as he does now when he drives and tours in the tank.  “And the more the merrier,” he said.  “It's really impressive to have a convoy of tanks and friends for exploration.”

Grey Lupindo

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Troubled Waters at the Blake Sea

As many of my readers know, the Blake Sea is the most widely used water area in all of Second Life. It was created a few years ago, with support from the community, to be a "sailing first" area of mainland, where races and pleasure sailing can occur without interference from other residents. The Blake Sea is Linden-owned, and therefore is supposedly open to everyone to use as they wish.
There have been many problems in the Blake Sea over the years. Almost as soon as it was created, the aviation community in Second Life saw the opportunity to use the 30 sim estate, and surrounding sailing estates that total over 100 sims. After some debate, an established set of guidelines for the aviation community in the Blake Sea was determined. Namely this meant that pilots could not fly close to the water (unless they were landing or taking off from an airfield), they need to remain clear of sailboats, and they must avoid areas that sailing races can occur.
Eventually, a third group joined the Blake Sea. The Pirates and Navy roleplay battles in century vessels, and have an established leadership. An area of the Blake Sea was set aside for their battles, the "Contested Waters" - a four sim block of open water, with rezzing enabled and a short autoreturn. The sailing community debated for a while, but with approval from Linden Labs, the pirates and navy were welcome into the Blake Sea, with the caveat that they remain in their own contested waters.
About a month ago, a new group has been gaining ground in the Blake Sea. They have been sailing around in WW2 era boats, which are rather large and visible from a great distance (depending on your draw distance). Some have been combative between each other, but most have been peacefully sailing in the public waters. In addition, this group (after gaining approval from the community liaison, MarkTwain White) has placed an aircraft carrier in the Southwest corner of the Blake Sea, in an area that is rarely used by the sailing community.
There has been mixed reaction to this new entity in the Blake Sea, for the most part split between the established sailing and aviation groups. At first, the new group has been using the entire public Blake Sea estate, but after discussions the group has agreed to remain in a small area away from everyone else - just like the Pirates and Navy. This area, in the southwest corner of the Blake Sea, is the least used by the sailing community, and does not contain any racing lines.
For a majority of the sailing community, this was not well accepted, and has culminated with a rather large protest on June 17th, 2012. Participants were asked to silently protest the new group's activities, waiving white flags and floating next to the aircraft carrier. In response, the aviation and pirate communities, for the most part, started protesting their protest - waiving green flags and lining up in helicopters and aircraft. It was a sight to behold! According to one protester, Gwenetha Juliesse, who was waiving a green flag and is an avid aviation enthusiast, "We already have established air traffic routes over the Blake Sea area for people's convenience. There must be some way of establishing battle zones for ships or so on."
A proposal has been submitted to Linden Lab regarding this issue, but they have yet to make an official decision as of this time of writing. This proposal, which involves setting aside a four sim block in the southwest corner for their use, which mirrors what was approved for the pirates group.
Marianne McCann recently stated the "situation in the Blake Sea is getting worse." She told of a group notice from Tig Spijkers on the SL Aviation group, "Effective and immediately all military style or combat boats, planes, helicopters, etc are now banned from the Saliors Cove regions. Only current exception to this rule are the aircraft and vessels of the SL Coast Guard."  
Gemma Cleanslate and Howdy Colter, pictures by Marianne McCann

Friday, June 1, 2012

Vivid Animations and the New BAY

I met with Leopard Adored, the new owner of the Bondage and Yiff club, which he bought from Entangled, and had some words with him. A fellow bartender mentioned that he owned something called Vivid Animations, so I wondered what that was. I asked him and he answered, "Animations, furnishing, etc., but animated with furs in mind so our avatars line up better than humans during certain activities."

And what he likes to do with his animations is maintain many clubs across the massive realm of Second Life. The Lindens that he gets from selling his designs and animations is what allows him to Establish community's across Second life. He took credit with gounding the IYC from 2008, which was sold to Primal in 2010, and currently also owns/founded YIFF, SL's current No1 trafficing  furry club.

What he is doing with Bay, that he recently bought, is test out new bar tending animations for the bartenders. And I happen to be one of them. When I cycled through the animations, they were very realistic. For example one was my foxy self wiping down the bar table or leaning in towards the patrons listening in to their conversation. Amazingly there are also yiff animations in the bartender pose program as well. Another animation new to BAY that Leopard is innovating is on a barstool. Two people can sit together in a cuddle pose as if hugging each other.

What’s new to BAY as well is the new bathhouse. That afternoon when I happened to bump into him, he had just installed a new bar table, and there were massage  tables with his animations. What you may notice is when you walk in is on a door that says in silver letters, “The VIVID bathhouse &  massage spa.”

In addition to the new bathhouse and new animations all over, Leopard drastically changed the design of BAY making the environment look darker. The new design adds to the BDSM element of the club with hanging chandeliers and dragons hugging pillars. There are also pictures of furries hanging on the wall in BDSM poses adding more to the atmosphere. Fear not if bdsm is not your thing but you want to check out the new bay. Everyone is welcome just to grab a drink, or more if you like.

Off the subject, Leopard admitted to building and designing 39 clubs, and amazingly he has built more human clubs than furry despite his avatar being a black feline fursona. "We built about 90% of the human hip-hop venues," he told me, adding, "it only gets easier now." He said that in reference to buying and building up the clubs, "with the right training, tools and staff they just look after themselves in time. End result is creating a purpose to be on SL and a warmer chance of meeting a friend or partner."

It’s amazing when you think about it where Second Life is almost like real-life, where you could own and operate a club or perhaps many clubs so long as you maintain it keeping the right staff as he said.

Leo said later down the line he will add in a Yiff's vendors, as right now bay is a new marketplace for his new animations which is testing out through vivid animations with the new bar tending and massage table AOs. For patrons old and new there’s still the greedy greedy table on a second level easily accessible by climbing the stairs.

The new Bay in short is an amazing club to hang at with many DJs playing many genres of music for everyone’s tastes with a brand new look. So if you have been to BAY before as a regular or you just heard of one of SL’s most popular furry clubs stop on by and ask for a drink and or shake that tail on the dance floor.

Grease Coakes