Friday, May 29, 2015

Commentary: "Get a Job"

Dear  Beautiful Bunnies,

Are you new to this lovely place that we call Secondlife and find that you can only afford to be a wish list shopper? I see it everyday, people wandering around looking into the windows of the shops. Wishing that they had a few linden to shell out for this or that. Not wanting to spend real world money on digital goods. When I ask them why so broke, they simply tell me that they cannot find a way to get lindens here in Secondlife.

Well, just like the real world; there are jobs. Who Knew?! But, where can you find one of these jobs you might ask. And do I have what it takes to do one of these jobs. That depends on the job in question and You! Lets start from the beginning.

Where do you find this thing called a job? That's the easy part. There are several groups and places right here in-world whose sole purpose is to connect job seekers with employers. Amazing right?! Try typing 'Job' in search. You might be blown away at what pops up.

Looking in-world not quite your style? Try the forum. That's right, Secondlife has an employment forum where people post positions that they want filled and you can post that you are looking for employment too.

"But Syndra", You might ask, "What kind of job could I get?"

That depends. What are you good at? If you can write, there are often people looking for reviewers, bloggers, and all around general authors.

How are you emoting skills? There are literally hundreds of clubs looking to fill positions of dancers and if you are really good, perhaps an escort.

Like greeting people? Then try a host or a hostess job. Say 'hello' and make sure everyone is having a fantastic time.

Modeling, DJing, photography or even roleplaying wait staff. The opportunities are literally endless, all you have to do is look and give it a try.

Don't be shy, and ask lots of questions. Those pockets won't fill themselves. And remember, you might not always land the perfect job on the first try; But keep Trying!

~Love Syndra

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Caricavatars Political Satire Sim (2007/2008)

Second Life has been the scene of political expression. One of the more notable examples was when a member of the right-wing French National Front built a place where his party could express it's views and promote it's candidate Le Pen. But the result was protests from it's opponents that sometimes went to the point where they could be considered griefing (youtube) (The Guardian) (New World Notes). Another example from France was the Caricavatars sim, owned by Christophe Hugo. He called himself a political satirist, with caricatures of political figures, hence the sim's name, of the United States and several other countries, notably the sim owner's home country of France, in the sim, as well as builds made with the purpose of expressing political views such as "George Bush's Colon," and "Larry Craig's Bathroom." However, Christophe could be a little thin-skinned when it came to anything he considered a slight in his direction. His place would be the scene of two articles by Second Life Newspaper, by Brutha Voodoo in April 24, 2007, and several months later by Bixyl Shuftan in Jan 25, 2008.

*  *  *  *  *
April 24, 2007

Vive La Politque

By Brutha Voodoo,

So there I am... standing in a nightclub high above the ground, trying to interview with a man who is sitting pointing a rocket launcher squarely at my head, as he sits in his army helicopter, telling me in no uncertain terms that if I was not French, then I would be removed from his island... and since I'm not, and can barely speak French... well, you can see what I have to go through in the name of a story.

"So how did you get yourself into this strange situation, and should I call amnesty international or the UN to ensure your swift release?" you may be asking? Well, to answer that, I need we need to go back to a previous article I wrote, where I interviewed a gentleman doing a study on SL for university ( In the interview, it was mentioned that "The French National Front set up a HQ in Second Life, which caused a protest, which broke down in to a riot." This stuck with me, as the idea of having politicians following us into our little virtual fantasy world, where we go to escape the boring day to day grind and reality of things just like this, was not one that particularly struck me as being conducive to fun. However, being the studier of the human condition that I am, it intrigued me, and so I went searching for evidence of real world politics in SL.

Frustratingly, I found little evidence of the politicians actually getting on their laptops, logging into Secondlife, and canvassing the streets for potential voters. There are a few groups and places for politically like minded people to gather and chat and debate (as much as you DO debate when you're politically like minded). There are even a few places independently trying to promote certain political candidates, but are completely unaffiliated with the party the represent, or the person, and didn't really seem worthy of in depth investigation (although I did learn that Hilary Clinton seems to have her own logo).

Frustratedly, I moped around the sl-newspaper offices, until, while discussing this piece with fellow newshound Dixie Barbosa, it was suggested that I return to the source of my intrigue. With the French Election in full swing, we set off to investigate it's effects on SL.

And thus, we ended up on the island of Caricavatars, a place of political discussion, demonstration, and from what we discovered, performance art. The place is littered with signs and posters, protesting for amongst other things, gun control (with their own little tribute to the Virginia Tech victims next to a picture of a George W Bush type avatar wearing stars and stripes boxers, and holding two handguns). There is a castle with more propaganda and political statement, and a nightclub where folk gather to chat about the pros and cons of current political feeling. But the thing that really got my attention on arrival, was the gunfire. At first, we thought it was a griefer, but upon closer inspection, a caricature avatar of the French centre-right politician Nicolas Sarkozy, current UMP candidate for the French Presidency, was shooting randomly, and flying a military aircraft. Eventually I managed to grab a few words:

[16:36] You shout: Hello!
[16:36] You shout: May I ask what you're doing?
[16:37] Christophe Hugo: I am the owner. Next question
[16:37] You: ah... np.....
[16:37] You: was just looking into this place as part of a story on rl politics in sl
[16:38] Christophe Hugo: there is no rl politics in France. There is just a dictatorship
[16:38] Christophe Hugo: I am the dictator
[16:38] Christophe Hugo: any more question?
[16:38] You: right....
[16:38] Christophe Hugo: are you French?
[16:38] You: no... english
[16:39] You: but interested in learning
[16:39] Christophe Hugo: I am sorry but I have to protect the French national identity
[16:39] Christophe Hugo: consequently I will have to ask you to leave if you are not French
[16:39] You: o....k......
[16:39] Christophe Hugo: you can't learn to become French
[16:39] Christophe Hugo: you're French or not, simple for Sarkozy
[16:40] You: no.... but I can get a perspective on french situations and politics
[16:40] Christophe Hugo: easy:
[16:40] Christophe Hugo: (a) me Virtual Sarko next dict... next president
[16:40] Christophe Hugo: (b) you and all French people have to obey me
[16:41] Christophe Hugo: (c) for the next 5 years
[16:41] You: ah...
[16:41] Christophe Hugo: simple
[16:41] Christophe Hugo: and it seems that you truly are not French...
[16:42] You: well... thank you for the information, my brother from across the channel
[16:42] Christophe Hugo: you welcome.

This is the fascinating and impressive thing about island: Not only is it being used to allow political debate and discussion, and proving to attract many intellectual residents to engage in these talks, but also for performance art, using skillfully modelled cartoon avs, to make dramatic points about the real world, through character and presentation. And while the ability to move the discussion from the real world to the virtual, to get a wider mix of perspectives, is undoubtedly a good thing, the use of the medium to create thought provoking pieces, that actually engage with you, and make you think, is much much more so. And if the rl political influence into SL produces more things like this, then it can't be all bad, can it?

Thanks to Dixie Barbosa for the assistance and photos

Brutha Voodoo

*  *  *  *  *

January 25, 2008

Hillarious 2008 - Biting Political Satire

On one of Sean Voss' tours, he showed me and the others in his group a unique sim in Second Life - Hillarious 2008, of the Caricavatars sim.

Teleporting into the sim, one finds oneself surrounded by caricatures of various political figures, black helicopters, A Beijing 2008 Olympic flag with "N"s circling the Olympic rings so they resemble "NO"s. Further in the distance is a punching bag with a picture of Hillary with a black eye, in front of a recreation of the White House.

Nearby on a chair sat the creator of the sim, Christophe Hugo.  He never spoke a word outside IM to us, but after overreacting to a question by one guy in the group (more on that later), he changed into a Hillary Clinton avatar, then took a gun and began popping at us, "Hey, don't shoot, we're Democrats!" As this was not a combat sim, we weren't hurt, but it encouraged us to retreat to the White House.

Sean got the codes to enter the White House from Hugo through IM, then we went in. The first floor had a public restroom lampooning the disgraced Senator Larry Craig. The second floor had what might be called "Hillary's Oval Office." There was a funny picture of Bill, and the computer on the Resolute Desk had a google search no doubt done by Hugo's version of Hillary Clinton.

Christophe Hugo is a biting satirist, whom some might say is the kind that's the most fun. Unfortunately, his temper was anything but fun for someone in the group. All the visitor did was ask about a red mosque in the sim that was supposedly the subject of some controversy for being insulting to Muslims, and Hugo threw him out. Talking to the guy who had been unceremoniously given the boot, he told me Hugo had insulted him, then before he could answer, was told he was being muted.

Returning to the place later, Christophe Hugo would only respond to me in Chinese characters. Of the Red Mosque, there was no sign of it. In the place where a picture I found on a website showed it in another area of the sim, was a Sphinx with face of the French President's fiancé. Apparently he had taken it down.

*  *  *  *  *

Christophe did not appreciate the second article written about him, he writing in the comments that not just would I be banned from the area, but all of Sean Voss's exploration group. He would also appear in the Second Life Herald (2006), and Free Rebublic "Xeroxing Hillary Clinton" (2008). Hamlet Au had the fortune to contact him when he was feeling civil, explaining he had a mild form of Autism. (2008). He called the 2008 elections a challenging one for satirists, as criticism of women and blacks could easily be taken the wrong way. I would later hear that someone complained about an exhibit to Linden Lab and he was asked to take it down, he angrily took down everything in Caricavatars. I also heard he had been banned soon after.

Satire can be a tricky art to pull off right for even a man of mild temperament, let alone one with a temper. It appears either his art or his behavior got Christophe Hugo booted by Linden Lab.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, May 25, 2015

Insilico: Roleplaying on Mars of the Future

By Ozymandius (0zymandi)

“Welcome to INSILICO” My cybernetic guide Star Raven typed, punctuating her greeting with a smiley face, "This is East, our homestead. We have a few rentals here, but not many due to prim space limits. We have two venues here for role play and any event. The Buddha Bowl was a landmark of West INSILICO (which is no longer with us for various reasons), so we moved it here and upgraded it to mesh.”

I looked around at all the neon signs and strobing lights. This was not my first visit to INSILICO but the futuristic cyber punk sim is so immense that even the most road savvy navigator could run the risk of losing his way, so I thought to call on one of the sim admins to see if they would be willing to show me around. The admin board is close to the teleport landing zone so I looked over the profile pictures and thought to myself; “The girl with the green hair looks friendly."

Shortly after clicking on her picture I was hailed by Star Raven and, after appearing before me in the form of a metallic humanoid, I was pleased to learn she was INSILICO’s Public Relation’s GM.

    "INSILICO was founded in 2008 by Skills Hak along with a few guest artists, some of which still build here art projects time to time.” The glittering silver android explained in her own peculiar grammatical style. "Insilico itself was an art project in the creators eye as a vision of the future, but as soon at it was done, role players came in and made it a home with Skill's blessing."

I listened to Star Raven with curious fascination as she shape shifted into the girl with the green hair. Perhaps she had greeted me with a metallic form on the chance I might be hostile or maybe she had been doing industrial work in deep space where the lack of oxygen and warmth would have been too severe for her more fragile shape. Whatever the reason was there was little time to wonder as INSILICO is a big place, and I had opted for the walking tour.

    "Skills founded our RP website and helps us run the sim as we help her in turn together. She doesn't RP, but helps maintain and rebuild along with our new builder Stark Osterham.” According to my green haired guide, INSILICO is a multi-tiered sim that includes INSILICO City, Mars, Cyberspace, Lyra Station, Kill City, and Earth Ruins.

    "Insilico takes place in the year 2485 where humanity has made Earth uninhabitable due to wars and pollution.” She elaborated as we strolled past hotels, restaurants, sushi bars and private apartment buildings. "We have many groups in Insilico. Metro is our fan group, we have a renters group and small groups for establishments in sim. We have only one roleplay group that is open to all factions to get up to date RP local, requests, and story lines."

Above our heads the flashing lights of air cars swished past like fireflies in the twilight sky and I instantly felt I had stepped into a scene from the movie “Bladerunner".

    "Insilico also has real artists, DJs, and other media come into sim from ti\me to time to play such venues.” Star Raven said as I took a quick snap of a building illuminated by fluorescent Korean text. "The Aftermath is more punk, Reaktor is more adult, Fusion more class, and Asylum on Mars more adventurous."

It was truly remarkable the depth of the design, the vastness of the future city and yet I did not experience the lag I had experienced on far smaller and less complicated sims.

    "We are more than just a roleplay sim, we like to help out the bloggers, shop owners, shoppers, photographers, rpers, and vistors in sim with what ever they want.” She said as we approached an Arabesque cafe known as the "Kasbah Cofeehouse”. "In Central we also have the K9 Fight Club for combat and The Blue Ant, a great and starter rp spot."

After passing through the cafe we ascended a flight of stairs into an art gallery and after taking a quick look at the Second Life snapshots that graced the gallery walls I inquired as to the means by which artists exhibit their work.

    "They can ask us and we would be happy to set them up at a fair rental price, beside they can sell their art work in gallery as we promote it on our Facebook, Twitter and main Insilico site.” She replied before commenting on some near bye apartment buildings. "not everyone can afford our rent, so we offer limited space at 25 prims in an area for 100L a week for a great test drive so to say."

Again my guide changed forms, adopting a humanoid shape with a glowing skin that seemed to be covered with pulsating circuits and binary code.

    "This is south the corporate area and the most rentals are here in Tokuma Tower.” She said as she floated around my primitive human body. "Behind is IPS HQ the protectors of the city. There is Hot Chicks a burger joint, Terra Firma a coffehouse and bar, AGIS Medical, and Tra's Diner car which was in West too. We also have a moving Sky Diner but at the moment is parked to request by renter. The sim is slowly getting upgraded from sculpts to mesh on all parts.”

So that explained the lack of lag, I concluded as we entered a darker and more daunting part of the city.

    "This is where we test weapons and combat meters. Its based off of Kowloon and Shanghigh” Star Raven explained. "a small city perfect for urban combat, we know some of the main city due to the shops and what now can be laggy, so we off here for some fun ... We try to make it easier for everyone. We know how lag kills fun :/"

I had to agree with the little shape shifter, lag does kill fun. But the technology of INSILICO was astounding and our trip to Mars, a six month voyage by space shuttle in 2015, took less than a blink of an eye as we teleported to the dusty red planet.

    “Welcome to Mars, land of rust and blood.” The glowing guide said with a gleam in her translucent eyes. "Mars RP is more driven by combat then just story. The colonists are attacked by the 1st colonists, the local D'naa, who want to keep the land for themselves after they were abandoned by Earth long ago in its first attempt to colonize. They over time survived and grew its own culture and language. So these new colonists seem like invaders to their land. Nothing is black and white on Mars, only shades of red. The Colonists want to take the land by military force, and the D'naa use terror to claim it back."

I looked around nervously. Happily, the tour through Mars continued without incident but we had teleportation problems getting to the Lyra Station so my guide decided to transport me using a space plane. For a glowing humanoid covered with microchip tattoos, Star Raven was an excellent pilot and I only vomited once during our ascent to the Lyra station.

At this point in the tour it was getting late so I thanked Star Raven, who had spent more than two hours showing me around INSILICO. However it seemed I had only seen the tip of the iceberg so I look forward to my next visit to the future, and hope that the dark prophecy of a dying planet Earth, destroyed by war and pollution will serve as a warning to all of us, that what we need most in this life are keepers and caretakers of this beautiful planet and not destroyers.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Antaris Gothly’s New Treehouse

By Grease Coakes

In Second Life a lot of the time you see music clubs that are all about music, but there’s also a ton of emotes covering up the sounds. Nothing wrong with clubs like those, but if you’re looking to hang out with friends in a more mellow setting, I think Antaris’s Treehouse might be what you are looking for at SkyBeam FirstLand (34/87/35). The first thing I noticed is the music stream is very mellow. It’s not hard dance beats like from Dance Island or from club culture, but more like a coffee house atmosphere which is Antaris is aiming for. Antaris and I know each other from real life, so doing this interview was a real treat.

Antaris Gothly had something before called the clubhouse with her friend Sakura. She described the general idea as this, "Originally, I was trying to resurrect something that Sakura and I did many years ago called, The Clubhouse. It was just a place to sit and relax. A place to hang out for all of our friends. A safe place to be who we are without judgement."

Antaris said for many years she was managing clubs and dj/s. She said she wanted to take her Second Life and real life in a new and authentic direction. So I asked what direction is she going now. Here’s what she had to say, "The direction I'm going with this place is a more modern bohemian style. Fantastical, old world charm with the combination of the artisanal coffeehouse culture. I wanted to not only make an place of artistic and mental expression, but a place that was safe and welcoming to all of its visitors. But there is also a lack of places where furries and non-furries alike are accepted and welcomed in tandem."

I agreed with Antaris that most places welcome furries outside of furry clubs, but not all. She was shocked when I told her a church wanted me to change to a human avatar, her saying, "Jesus was about acceptance and love of ALL beings, not to pick and choose." Antaris herself isn’t a subscriber of Christanity, she’s more into Wiccan beliefs as well as Buddism.

Antaris Gothly: "I wanted to not only make an place of artistic and mental expression, but a place that was safe and welcoming to all of its visitors." Like Gandhi, Antaris wanted to become the change she wanted to see in herself, "I've spent much time furred and un-furred. I've seen things on both sides of the coin, as well as from the lesbian point of view. I wanted, no, needed to be the change I wanted to see, as Ghandi stated many decades ago."

Antaris’s main event is every Tuesday night open to anyone who like to perform music a short story or poetry or maybe even magic, "Every Tuesday night at 5 pm SLE, or 8 pm EST, I host a 2 hour open mic night where anyone who wants to can go on up and tell a story (like you did Grease), read poetry, sing a song, play their instruments, dance, do some performing art, do spoken word, rap, do magic tricks, whatever they wish to share with us."

If possible, as the Treehouse grows in popularity, she might have more open mike nights. She’s looking for live bands and or also live performers. There’s an art gallery open to everyone including furries, humans, robots or otherwise. Antaris told me, "Well, it's not free. 23 L/week for 10 prims. But that's what I can afford to share at this time. That's why I want to expand that to its own parcel."

But also Antaris didn’t want people to forget her friend and helper. Sakura Rajal has helped a lot in creating her treehouse, "I'd also like to point out that my niece and one of my dearest friends Sakura Rajal, the owner and creator of WinterShadow boutique (Just down the hill) is crucial to the development and creation of The Bohemian Treehouse. She helps with the day to day management and design of the place. I couldn't do this without her."

I happened to say it’s the people that make a place great. And Antaris said, "Exactly. Otherwise it would be an empty tree. What's the point or fun in that?"

She had this to say about the depth and complexity of Second Life, "SL is a virtual world made up of pixels, however there is a level of creativity and expression in here that in many areas of the world is frowned upon, or so expensive or dangerous that one can't do much about it anyway. SL has become a medium of sorts for creative expression for EVERYONE of all ages, all nationalities, all genders, all sexual identities and orientations, no matter what they're into, to come in here and create! That blows me away."

I added to that by saying, "Oh yeah in reality you can have a house cat but you can't be a cat. And yet both of us are sitting here as a cat and a griffin defying the laws of reality."

Antaris Gothly: "Yes and loving every second."

And the Treehouse itself is decorated very well in pillows to sit and relax on. And yummy things to buy and eat. Even if you don’t want to perform you can still hang out here and talk with your friends. The ambiance is relaxing along with the chilled music. You can talk about the newest MLP episode or maybe about retro cartoons or just utter goofy nonsense.

Be sure to check out Antaris Gothly’s new treehouse with your friends when you want a change of pace from the music scene and you want to slow down and have some tea. Antaris would be glad you stopped by to hang out.

Grease Coakes

Antaris' Treehouse has it's own Facebook page, where it's called "The Bohemian Treehouse."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

SLN Archives: BNT Bankrupt 53 Sims Offline ( October 2009)

Original article by Dana Vanmoer,
Additional comments by Bixyl Shuftan

In the history of Second Life Newspaper, one of our major sponsors for a time was BNT holdings, held by an Intilibber Brautigan. He could be a little opinionated at times, once remarking (not an exact quote) "Second Life's furries should stop yiffing and start actually building things." As a defender of Woodbury University, infamous for having a reputation as a griefer hangout, he raised more than a few eyebrows. But his business seemed to be doing well, and his sponsorship bennefited us for a time, Second Life Newspaper getting a huge space for an office, a quarter sim, of which a three story brick and mortar building was built on. James and Dana also got their own private island, on which we had a few parties on, notably our second anniversary bashes. Then in mid-October, there was trouble, major trouble. We couldn't get to our office, Dana couldn't get to her island. Dana soon found out the reason: without warning our sponsor had defaulted on the sim payments.

October 19, 2009
*  *  *  *  *

A couple of days ago I got a message to say my sim was offline, ok these things happen so I didn't worry too much, next day I logged in to find 'Your location is unavailable you have been moved to a nearby area'.

OK whats going on???

I went to the office and looked at the map about 1/2 of BNTs sims were gone - including my island WTF!!!????

Scrolling through past notices I found one in the Brautigan and Tuck holdings group:

BnT Holdings started with one man and his dream. A dream of building a virtual free state where the residents could proudly call Ancapistan home. Unfortunately even the world's greatest empires have endured hard times. These times are no exception. Due to the current economic status of the world and Second Life, it has become increasingly difficult to sustain 50 sims. BNT Holdings will continue to exist, but we must take one step back in order to take two steps forward. If you wish to remain a part of our family at BNT, we will be happy to relocate you to our original estate in the Surreal BT sims. Thank you for being a loyal part of BNT. Here's to a bright future.

No warning, no notice, nothing just gone.

Next - will we lose the office? Our 1/4 sim on BNT land the answer came the next day when that too disappeared. In this time I had spoken to Duchess Shepard who helped me get the sim back online for 24 hours so I could empty it. The loss of this and all our hard work on Fairyteller was devastating.

Duchess also knew nothing about this until it happened, despite the anger being directed towards her she is doing what she can to help people for which I commend her as many in her position (and some who are) don't log in or hide behind alts.

Many notes followed which I wont repeat here. I asked Intlibber for an official statement that I received this morning, which to be honest, I am not going to publish in full simply because its an out-pouring of spite and blame on others (named) none of which actually answers the questions, the rest you can read here:

"Three years ago, I launched BNT with the dream of building a real life sustainable business that could pay a real world income for myself and staff. Those were heady days when land sold reliably for 12 L$ per square meter and one could double their holdings in a few months. I built some of the iconic buildings of the SL business community, and was featured from almost our first week in business in major SL and RL media for our projects. We grew from a half sim in October 2006 to 53 sims this summer, doing so organically from sales, and capital raised via inworld markets. We had begun the transition to becoming a major developer a few times, the first time stymied by sabotage by the largest competitor, and most recently by a smaller competitor with a big obnoxious mouth."

"At the same time, it appears that the real life economy is taking much longer to recover than we had expected earlier in the year. The disposable incomes of SL users continues to erode in RL and SL, causing some of our long standing tenants to give up their land. We have also seen a systemic failure by our shareholders to follow sage investment advice to rent BNT land rather than land in other estates, in order to support their investment in BNT.

Unlike many in SL, we do not subsidize our SL business with real life income. BNT always operated on a sustainable basis on its own organic inworld growth and cash flow and was not a 'hobby' or 'game' like we see so many in the land business who do not operate with common sense business models and who undercut the market with cost-based prices.

As a result of these pressures, this past month we fell into an unrecoverable condition. We had been expecting additional income from development projects but those have not come to fruition in time to even out our cash flow. We do not expect the real world economy to recover sufficiently in the next 6 months to improve the land business, and we have made the decision to get out of the land business almost entirely.

As a result of a sudden severe drop in income, Linden Lab seized our sims on the 16th of this month. We have negotiated with them to reopen the sims temporarily so tenants may recover their property.

We are working to raise capital to recover them so we may sell them off and to pay off existing tenants tier. Once we accomplish this, we will focus solely on the content, finance, and education businesses. Our work with Woodbury University is poised to take off with major student body involvement in SL.

Unfortunately, the 10 sims we have with Surreal are also under attack from the admins there. Despite being paid up on tier with Surreal, and despite having reached an agreement with their staff about our continued operation there, they have seized our sims and banned our staff from serving our customers. Despite public claims by Deuce Marjeta, we have kept tier paid up to date on our Surreal BT sims and his actions we consider criminal theft. Despite his claims to the contrary, we do NOT endorse our residents moving to Surreal, as he reneged on our earlier agreement.

Many are angry at tier paid in advance and lost, from what I have heard Mr Brautigan is trying to arrange the sale of the now defunct sims in order to pay the debts owed - we shall just have to wait and see if anything comes of this.

Despite what people have said about this newspapers' support of Intlibber we have always tried to give an even picture with all sides being able to comment rather than making judgements or leading 'witch hunts' as many other publications do. Not through a desire to keep a sponsor, as accused, but through what we believe to be fair reporting allowing a forum for people to post their own opinions and arguments.

My personal opinion doesn't matter here even if I think someone has acted very badly I will always try to make sure the reporting here is unbiased.

I would like to say that I truly understand the anger of residents who have not only lost money but also content and much much more BUT please direct that anger at the right people not the ones who have tried to help throughout, I am truly dismayed at the outpouring of hatred directed at those who have not tried to hide.

Dana Vanmoer

SLN has a new headquarters

*  *  *  *  *

We didn't hear much more about Intilibber after his bankruptcy. In 2011, Kal-El Venkman's Krypton Radio claimed he had an alt account named "Overbrain Unplugged," linked to the Bronyville sim, which fell in July 2011 and the account removed as a ban evasion alt. So apparently he had been banned. His page on the Second Life Wiki describes him as being "banned for multiple breaches of TOS." That would be the last we heard of him until August 2014, in which he posted on Facebook about being limited to a 1 sim "prison" in Second Life to put his items on Marketplace as part of a settlement reached with Linden Lab. He would respond in February 2015, in which he stated, "We reached a mutually agreeable final settlement with Linden Lab, and are pleased with the results. ... This has given us the resources for the next phase of things for us." Intilibber stated he and BNT would be launching their own virtual world, "one based on an uncounterfeitable cryptocurrency, copybot-immune DRM." He went on to say "BNT land holders in SL will be compensated with free purchase price on an equivalent or greater amount of virtual land in this virtual world. BNT shareholders will see their shares continued in the new company, Galactic Systems Inc."

For Second Life Newspaper, BNT's bankruptcy yanked the rug out from under us. Dana scrambled to get a new sponsor and new office, and soon cut a deal with SkyBeam Estates. But the paper wasn't quite the same, our third anniversary celebrations being a low-key affair compared to our second. We continued on for a while. But in April 2010, Dana told the staff she couldn't keep the paper going, and on June 5, Second Life Newspaper folded.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, May 11, 2015

Reader Submitted: Wrestling in Second Life

By Avina Wyndham (Saria)

So they say in Second Life you can do anything you want.  Want to joust?  You can! Just don't wager against Bixyl.  Want to play a fire breathing dragon in a modern sim?  You can do that! Want to wrestle?  You can do that!

Wait, what?  Wrestling?  In Second Life?

YES.  Plenty of options, from the newbie friendly Pro-Ball, to the fetish satisfying pornball, to the advanced HUD system.  In this article, I'm going to try to explain these three vastly different systems to clarify it for people, because they all often get confused.

We're going to start with something I do, and used to do a lot more.  HUD wrestling. HUD wrestling uses something called Nexgen.  It's a complex system with a fairly steep learning curve that uses gesture based animations.  While it's VERY intimidating out of the box, it's actually not bad at all.  Every fed either has a trainer, or an entire NXT type developmental program.  You're paired up with a "Pro", and they will walk you through the system.  The HUD system uses various aspects of second life to make it work.  A targeting system that "Locks" onto your opponent, allowing you to only do the moves to the, and allowing them to react.  

In a HUD system, things are much more intricate and complex, and it's the most "Free" form of wrestling in second life currently.  Using gestures and moves, your possibilities of moves are endless.  Tie that in with the custom move community, where you can pay animators to design that move you saw in wrestling for yourself.  This, literally, makes the move possibilities infinite.  There is no end to the customization capabilities of the NexGen system in second life.  It is hands down THE most powerful wrestling system in second life currently.  Nothing can get near to it in it's freedom.  But as said earlier, it's  got a steep learning curve.  But if you want to put in the time and effort, it can be a lot of fun.  I'll list the current feds and contact names at the end of this article.  I'll end this section with a quote from Gwenivere Swansong, who was quoted awhile back in another article on SL Wrestling.  She was in the new defunct uWs as the Women's Champion, and is a friend of mine from way back "in the day".  I asked her what made a good HUD wrestler:

Gwenivere Swansong: "I think what makes you a good hud wrestler is practice and knowing your animations.. My opinion of it is that it is an amazing system, I am in absolute favor of hud over poseball. I think it's more realistic. But again, it's all about the effort you put into it and practicing.The more you practice the easier and smoother it will be. I've seen many wrestlers spend numerous hours practicing alone and with others, the ones who really put in the dedication are the ones who shine the brightest."

(Please note this is only an opinion of one person and does not represent the entire community)

Let's now discuss the other form.  Pro-Ball/ vs Catfighting/Pornball

Poseball wrestling is looked down upon by some members of the hud wrestling community (Note, SOME).  However, recently a split happened in the pose-community, with Pro-Ball emerging as a rapidly growing trend.  Pro-Ball, unlike it's counterpart Catfight, is CLEAN, Professional Wrestling.  These wrestlers rely on emote's and description, as well as stringing together a series of moves.  A typical match is called a 2-4 YT, where you can take anywhere from 2 moves, to 4, or even more if agreed upon, during your turn.  This system is driven by using poseballs, or in the newer "BLD" mats, simply by sitting in the corner. 

The need for "Poseballs" is vanishing with this new type of system.  However, many mats still require them.  Unlike HUD, there are several types of matches and mats, but for pro-ball, the most popular is BLD or Divas ex9.  The BLD has become more popular lately due to its 100's of moves and VAST menu system.  We'll discuss those in a moment here.

PRO BALL is, as stated earlier, is professional.  Many places offer pro- as an option, with only one or two exceptions that I'm aware of.  One organization is quickly seperating themselves from the entire poseball "Community", and that is PURE.  PURE is as close to HUD as you can get, allowing freedom of weekly storylines, mats that will accept using the NexGen HUD system on them (Only the BLD does not accept the system, but you don't need it). 

This organization even has a title belt, which has been defended on several occasions.  The storyline's help to add a degree of legitimacy and help blur the line between HUD and POSE, a refreshing change since just 2 short years ago, the pose community was all but shunned by the HUD community, mostly due to our next topic:


I'm not going into detail on this, because there's not much to say.  Catfight is what you probably think of when you hear "Poseball".  It's not really wrestling (In my PERSONAL opinion), so much as soft, sometimes hard, core pornography.  This form of wrestling starts with two scantily clad women facing off, and by the end of the match are completly the end of the match, and sometimes doing things that should be saved for the bedroom. 

HOWEVER, that being said, there are some that make this kind of stuff worth watching, as their skills with words outweigh what's going on in the ring.  I recently caught two friends in a match.  I almost left, but the way they described the actual moves, you felt like you were front row at a match! 

I'm going to end talking about the different types of mats in Pose, at least the ones I'm aware of.

Rumble mat:  Basic mat, it has a decent set of animations, good for a beginner, although the mis-labeling of moves is the highest in this mat than any of the others.

Divas EX9: This is my personal favorite.  Only one or two mislabeled moves, and quite a few others, gives this mat a great feel.  It's robust, but not TOO overwhelming, and the menu system is friendly and easy to use.  It has a nice array of moves for both pro-ball and catfighting.  Definitely one to learn on.

Catfight Mat:  This one has some great moves as well, but it's more designed for...well, catfights, obviously.  This mat has more striking moves than the EX 9, however, it also has a whole lot of dirty moves as well.

BLD:  This is the biggest, most expensive, most complicated mat out there.  With several hundred moves, and several "Expansions", this mat is hands down the most powerful mat in SL wrestling today.  It has EVERYTHING you can think of, from a simple hairpull, to a complicated series of moves.  The BLD has a steep learning curve compared to the others, but in the end, it's well, well worth it.  The combination possibilities if you know this mat well can rival that of a HUD wrestlers.  It has one massive downside, however.  The moves make you feel like you're going in slow motion.  Several attempts by people to speak to the owners to speed up the animations have been met with refusal, so while you look good, you're moving in slow motion while doing so unfortunately.

Every mat has it's pros and cons, feel free to ask a booker like Candee Hannu at Inhibitions if you're interested in a match, or drop me a line, and I'll do my best to help you learn!  (This applies to HUD wrestling as well, just don't ask Candee about that :P)

Avina Wyndham

Avina Wyndham is a wrestler for the ACW.  Gwenivere was written about in May 2011.

Friday, May 1, 2015

SS Galaxy Closing Attributed to Griefing

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday April 26, DBDigital Epsilon, the Managing Director of the SS Galaxy announced through a statement that the three sim long ship, the largest ship and perhaps the largest build in Second Life, would soon be closing down. The statement did not reveal the reasons for the closing. When I contacted DBDigital, he told me he was not prepared to say anything beyond what was in the statement at that time.

The following day, there was quite a bit of talk about the ship closing in the Relay volunteers chat. People were expressing sorrow over the decision to shut it down. But something else was being told in the chatter. People were saying that the ship was closing because of repeated griefing. Supposedly a whole section had been taken down. Also, Linden Lab was being described as not helping very much.

Heading to the Galaxy, I ran into a few people. Among them were Mrs. Mia Epsilon (doramia.aeon), the partner of the director, and two of the staff, Slobrador (henning.lionheart), and Mrs Polly Eberhart (polly.riederer). Mia told me, "It's fixed now. Aft was affected, ... Db and a couple of staff worked all weekend to fix it. ... My husband DBDigital is the Manging Director .... I think Henn took the most pictures of the damage." Slobrador shook his head, saying someone else did, "I wasn't online during the last attack." Mia went on, "The ballroom dome was sometime Saturday early morning, and the walls and decks in aft were also. ... There was a hole blown into the aft section, and the pieces fell to the ocean floor. The decks of the ship were mangled and twisted, the walls misplaced and uneven. The dome of the ballroom was shattered. ... So we know the aft hole happened Thursday." Mia told me this had been the latest of several attacks in recent days, "between late Thursday night and early Sunday morning. We have had griefers before but not on this scale." She described earlier incidents as pranks in comparison such as spiders in the ballroom. Polly added, "Never in my 7 (and a half) years of working here have I seen anything on this scale."

Polly commented, "and LL can't guarantee it won't happen again." Mia told, "DB spent hours on the phone with LL. They allowed one roll back which fixed the decks, walls and dome." Polly nodded, "DB has been dealing with them constantly." "Why only one?" I asked about the rollbacks. Mia answered, "LL said they would only permitone." "One a day?" "One total." "Just one and no more, period?" "Yes, just the one. And they said they had no way to stop the griefers from attacking again."

I then asked, "Is that why the decision was made to close the ship?" Mia answered, "The owner decided based on that and the safety of the passengers." I asked, "So he felt he could no longer guarantee a pleasant stay for his patrons?" She answered, Yes. We have dozens of renters here, as well as events and guests.  He wanted to ensure people coming here are safe. There is always so much going on here. There's shops, activities, and this is home to many."

I asked, "Were there alternative courses of action discussed, such as temporarily closing the ship, or restricting who could get on board?" Mia answered, "Yes, DB had already turned off rezzing. Of course, for renters, that is never a good option. One wants to be able to rezz in their home after all. I believe every avenue has been looked into." Someone nearby asked "Did you say earlier that the griefer was indeed estate banned but this didn't solve the problem?" A friend of hers reminded, "You can easily make alts." Mia informed, "The ship tracking system showed only two people aboard when the damage was done."

I then asked, "So there's no chance that the ship will be brought back in the future?" Mia answered, "I like to never say never. He talked to several Lindens. It is our home." A Tronion Sands nearby commented, "Can't always trust who was onbaord to say who was the griefer though, due to someone accepting an object, that person rezzing it causing greifing. I've seen it in other sims." Mia told him, "Yes Tron, thats the theory here."

Talking further, Mia told of DBDigital's dealings with Linden Lab, "DB knows several of the Lindens very well. (After) eight years, hard not to. The first Linden he spoke to Friday (April 24) morning said a rollback would happen by 11 SL time. But it never did. When Db called again, the next Linden said they didn't allow roll backs for private sim matters without compelling reasons." Polly commented, "I personally think this was a compelling reason but probably not to them." Mia went on, "They did do a rollback Saturday, but only one." Someone nearby commented, "If they won't do more than the one, then they found something irregular."

Some time later, Mia introduced me to DBDigital just after he logged back on. I introduced myself, and brought up the stories about the griefings. But he would say little, "As for the reason for our closure, I can't give any further comments other than what I said previously. ... Yes, we have weathered many storms. It has been a very enjoyable 8 years in SL." I then asked if there would be a farewell party. He answered, "There is not a official farewell party, however our last DJ event is Friday 12-2pm at our Coral Lagoon Pool Deck. If the schedule changes, it will of course be posted on our website ."

I then asked, "Is there any chance that the ship may be coming back soon?" DBDigital answered, "Sadly no. The ship will disappear from the SL Grid May 3rd. As you know when sims are shut down all contents are deleted forever."

I then brought up one other, much smaller build, in the vicinity, "A few years ago, the Crooked House was movied in this vicinity. What about it?" DBDigital answered, "All five sims of the Galaxy will likely be shut down and the Crooked House relocated. That hasn't been decided yet. Regardless the ship itself will close."

"So what will you yourself do after the ship is gone?" I asked DB Digital. He answered, "I don't plan on taking any large projects. Although I have already had a few offers. I have declined them all." I asked if there was anything he wanted to add. He responded, "Nothing more than what I have previously said. ... As hard as this is, I know it is God's timing and time for her to go with dignity and grace as she always has."

 And so, investigations have revealed just as many questions as answers about the closing of the SS Galaxy. Why has Linden Lab made the decision to limit their help to not just any customer, but one whom has reliably paid the tiers for five sims for almost eight years? Why have they done so little to help out the largest build in the Grid? And what does this mean for the other sim owners across Second Life, especially those whom have built up their lands with public access in mind?

Bixyl Shuftan