The Time Machine

Relaxing in the balcony lounge of the Old Caladar club she ponders on recent events. There’s been a lot of visitors in outlandish or just plain strange garb lately in the City. Not that she can talk, her attire for attending the club tonight was perhaps better suited to a performer than an customer, but the management didn’t object so long as she kept buying drinks. She wonders where all these strangers come from and where they go to afterwards, not many of them seem dressed for travelling a great distance. Has some mad professor actually managed to make some kind of time travel device? Maybe it’s not so reliable, since the visitors have been seen to vanish into thin air, as if sucked out of existence..or back to their own time perhaps?

Location: The Old Caladar , Drune Diesel

Credits:

Items From Engine Room

  • Hair: Raven Bell – Celeste
  • Hat: Insomnia Angel . steampunk top hat
  • Gloves:..Silvery K..:*SteamDiva Bento Glove
  • Shorts& Blouse: *:..Silvery K..:*SteamExplorer

Others:

 

Drune – Diesel City

Another Drune installation is here and what a difference it is! A mix of Steampunk but with some newer tech thrown in. Just looking at the vehicles parked on the streets it’s quite a range from the Batmobile to worn out hovercars. It feels like your walking through multiple genres and time periods at once, but it really works.

The landing point is very appropriately located in an airship, I had an explore of the docking area building before takig the elevator down to the ground level.

Arrival in Airship bar

Like other Drune builds there are lots of lights everywhere, but not this time the neon of the cyberpunk styles of the past incarnations. There’s lots of shiny metal everywhere that reflects the light and making the place feel brighter, but then darker in the shadowy areas. Lots of the buildings are accessible and not just facades, as we’ve come to expect form a Drune build, attention to detail.

When you step out the tunnel from the elevator, you come to the first of many vehicles lining the streets. I did my usual routine of making a circuit of the streets to get my bearings and found some surprises.

By the time I reached the garae I was only about a quarter of the way around the block. I see some steps and explore and it’s here that I find there appears to be two levels of roads, since I found myself back on tarmac at the top.

Then I started seeing how many doors would actually open, as expected of Drune build, plenty.

Radio station – City Radio

Cinema

Private investigator – Deckard & Associates

Pub – The Garrison

Club – Old Calabar

Hotel – Cortez

One thing I did notice was absence of an aerial walkway area that have been included in the last two cyberpunk builds. Maybe simply because it wouldn’t have been appropriate in 1940’s era, but then neither would hovercars. Overall another fantastic build that anyone should visit and explore, whatever genre you’re into.

One last note a quiet little waterfront spot I found for those that enjoy misty sunsets, if you can find your way there (when using Region Shared Environment).

Landing Point: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Blissful%20Summer/204/123/2835

Credits:

Usually I like to wear something in-theme when exploring places, I really wasn’t sure what would class as DieselPunk. So it’s even more of a mix and match than normal this time!

Thoughts on Emotional connections, Real and Virtual lives.

A few things recently have set me thinking about the nature of virtual vs physical realities.

The first of those came out in my post about Virtual Hugs, which seemed to be very positively received. In that piece I talked about the importance of emotional attachment to your avatar.

I’m not debating whether virtual spaces, activities or experiences are “Real”. We interact within them, do things and have experiences within them. So from that perspective, the fact the “place” is computer generated is irrelevant, its Real. They’re just a slightly different kind of real, but you can’t deny the interactions happened.

Shortly after my blog post about hugs, a thread started on Twitter by Loki Eliot (@Demonkid) about how virtual experiences may have affected the physical reality, set me thinking more.

He posed the question of how much of our virtual lives (whichever space that may be in) pervades into our physical lives to shape our perception of it. I would say that it may well be quite a lot. Or possibly more accurately it could be proportionate to the amount of time you spent on these spaces. I’ll start by sharing my responses:

“Belief whether something is real is exactly that, belief, which is something you feel. If something happens in a virtual setting it’s no different to your mind than a physical world [..]”

“Perhaps those that mocked you may see their error now they can’t go out, but you can still do all your regular recreational things. Re-creation being the perfect word. It’s all recreation of a type of Real but better and how we want it. “

Emotional connection to your avatar and feeling part of the virtual environment are sometimes known as embodiment and immersion respectively. Whichever terms you use these things are important to get the most out of these worlds, to feel connected.

Some people can spend years in Second Life and not develop this connection. I have a friend that was in SL for years, until it finally happened. I said something like “Welcome to the Real Second Life” playing on the line from The Matrix. Others including myself form the connection quickly, it’s different for everyone.

Some people that don’t understand the idea of places or environments like SecondLife say things like:

“Just log off and forget about it”

It doesn’t work like that though. The thing that bridges the Physical and Virtual worlds is yourself. Your mind that experiences both places, you can’t switch your thoughts off. If you have an argument with someone online, particularly if they’re a friend, if they say something nasty it hurts you emotionally. It hurts in exactly the same way as if a friend in the physical world did the same.

So you would probably log out, but those feelings are still there and the exchange could rattle around inside your head for quite a long time. Note I said “online” above, because these things aren’t limited to 3D worlds, people are always getting into arguments on social media too. It can also happen in the Physical world, something that upset you at work for example. This is something the “just log off” brigade don’t realise, it’s the same emotional triggers as when they have a squabble on social media,it can hurt.

Does that mean Virtual Worlds are “Social Networks”? Perhaps in a way, we socialise and we network with our friends and make more friends. That’s where the similarity ends I think. In SL there is much less tolerance for disruptive behaviour I believe. We (Second Life residents) have a simple all-encompassing term we apply to it, “drama”. If you start any, you’re likely to be removed (ejected) from the place/group fairly promptly.

Perhaps where the virtual overlaps into the physical, is how we deal with people. We may have fewer physical interactions right now, but for those that inhabit virtual spaces, life continues as it did before or maybe even more frequently.

We may even go as far to say that interactions in Virtual Worlds are more like the Physical world than things on social media. People have jobs they go to, places they socialise at and favourite stores they like to shop in.

Imagine you ran into an old friend unexpectedly while you were out, that friendship may be refreshed, you’ll have a catch-up chat and may arrange to meet again. That kind of thing doesn’t happen on social media, because they’re flat, 2D, boring.

It’s  exactly what happened to me recently, as opposed to the hypothetical situations mentioned earlier. I went to a club to hang out with a friend and by pure chance there were a number of people there I hadn’t seen for over a year, many years in one case.

So those overlapping emotions can be positive as well as negative. I’m now looking forward to a catch-up chat, a shopping trip and another event I was invited to,  with the various different people I met.

All from the comfort of my home in the physical world.

Featured on the Second Life Community Blog on 24th March 2021.

What’s different about Second Life Gor Roleplay (from other RP)

As I mention on my About Ava page, my introduction to SL Roleplay was via the community of groups and locations collectively referred to as “Gor” in Second Life. Maybe this wasn’t the best introduction I could have had to SL Roleplay, but it’s what I got.

There are lots of criticisms of the books written by John Norman set on the fictional mirror-Earth planet called Gor, on which these locations are based. Criticisms include bigotry and sexism to just start with, but I’m not talking about that here. Lots of others have debated and discussed these issues better and at greater length than I would.

What I’m talking about is the actual style of how roleplay interactions happen in SL,how people communicate. Regardless of which variant of SL Gor you play, GE(Gor Evolved) or BTB(By The Book), whether there is much difference is debatable. Either way my experience was of a casual un-structured dialogue.

It wasn’t until I left Gor and started RPing elsewhere that I came across “Post Order”. I talked about this briefly before in a previous post, but it basically means taking turns. Sounds sensible, polite thing to do right? Actually it can be infuriatingly tedious. This is where I think my 18 months in Gor was probably a bad introduction to roleplay.

I just responded straightaway to someone, like you would when having a regular conversation. Nobody said “that’s not how we do it” or “wait your turn” once. If I’d had to stick to post order over those 18 months, I probably wouldn’t have lasted a week.

Does this make Gor players rude or lazy? I’m not sure, there are no doubt some people that may think so. But when I was playing there, it certainly wasn’t tedious and stories moved at a decent pace. Instead of sometimes having to wait as long as 40 minutes for everyone else present to make their posts,which makes advancing a story very slow indeed! (I was once actually able to go make my dinner, eat and do the dishes before it was my turn to reply in a post-order roleplay location.)

So while Gor has a bad reputation, it’s this casual and easy way of playing that makes it so easy to slip (fall?) back into it again with little difficulty. But it can be a bit like a trap too, it makes you think in a rather odd way, which I really can’t describe. A friend recently said:

“All ex-Gor roleplayers need a form of cult deprogramming.”

I actually agree with this, the early posts of this blog were exactly that for me, getting it out my system.

It occurs to me that a reason post-order is rarely used in Gor is combat. There is quite a lot of fighting that goes on using weapons and damage meters, not a situation where you’d take turns. I did my best to avoid combat if at all possible, being very bad at it.

This is one of the things that gives SL Gor a bad reputation I think. There are some groups that are only interested in doing combat activities, these become derogatorily known as “pew-pew” players rather than RP with storyline.

I had in mind lots of website references I used to use while playing there that I would link here. But not surprisingly a lot of them have vanished now. Not surprising because the words people were saying even when I started there in 2016 “SL Gor is dying”. Well if you keep saying it, don’t be surprised if it does. But it’s not dead yet,though it definitely shrunk. The region (private island) that I spent most of my time on disappeared not long after I left.

A few days ago I received a message via group notice from one of the old groups I was in, to say they had moved. This isn’t surprising either, this particular band has moved 5 times now in my memory. As a result of regions closing and having to find a new home. I usually go visit them when this happens to go say hi and have a catch-up. This time around its what led me to write this, because I slipped so easily back into character it was almost scary. Which is precisely my point.

You can certainly drop into any roleplay situation in SL, you’d just get added into the post-order and in most cases be welcomed. However it’s not conducive to a relaxed conversation,because it takes so long to say anything and relay an in-character update while still responding to the others present. That is what’s different about Gor Roleplay.

To demonstrate that there is still some life in Gor I was able to find a couple of blogs that are still active and current, telling stories of roleplays that have taken place. I’m sure somewhere there maybe more, based on the length of the list of active grups linked below.

  • Gazette of Gor – Written in part by players that I was involved with.
  • The Good Gorean – Which features a recent list of all the active Gor GE groups and locations.

 

Engine Room 2020 Recap

Since the latest round of Engine Room is opening today (20th March,12pm SLT) I thought I’d put together some of the items I collected from last year.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get in and show you some of my purchases from this round!

Event location: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Syndicate/198/154/25

Website (with item previews)

Discord

Photo Location: NeoLondon, NeoVictoria.

Credits:

Engine Room 2020:

  • Hat: Insomnia Angel . steampunk top hat [wine]
  • Neckpeice: Silvery K..:*SteamDiva Neck Corset
  • Gloves: Silvery K..:*SteamDiva_BentoGlove(Red)
  • Ears: -[TWC]- Diesel Ears
  • Mask: Wicca’s Originals – Adeline Mask
  • Hair: Raven Belle – Luxe Hair

The Rest:

Fecked after the party

A night of revelry with a group of old friends and the return of DJ Anjoux Herbit to SL after two years away. We missed him!

I arrived early to find Anj warming up the stage:

Anj warming up the stage.

It wasn’t long before the music started and everyone started to arrive, in ones and twos the dancefloor began to fill up with familiar and new faces.

Ava finished the night at Durty Feckers and after some over consumption of Amber nectar she posed looking all flirty on the pool table with mischief (and Whisky) in her eyes. Alas she’s had too much and with all the dancing it was time to pass out. Her place felt far too far away though, so this conveniently located, felt-topped bed will do just fine!

Party location no longer there.

Pub photo Location:http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wensley/79/175/27

(haven’t checked if still present)

Pub Blog Post: Durty Feckers

Outift:

ST. Patricks Day Style Outfits from Brii Underground:

Durty Feckers

Ava entered the village and had a look around, inevitably it being an Irish village, there were two establishments, a pub an a pie shop.

The pub was conspicuously empty

The pub however was mysteriously quiet except for some rowdy tourists outside, A little exploration found a gypsy wagon, also empty.

An empty gypsy wagon

An old stone cross marked the edge of the village, beyond which she could see a tower bathed in green light, a path of glowing clover leaves leading the way.

Onward she went inside and looked in wonder upon the rainbow-drenched cauldron.

A rainbow-drenched caulron surrounded by glistening water

After several moments of wonder, she sees another small light coming from a small arched opeing in the wall.

An enchanting grove lies behind the tower

Beyond she found an enchanting candlelit grove. Perhaps the village resident have all been spirited away?

Come be enchanted by the lovely little village, Ireland.

(The pub did start to get a crowd at a later hour, so come for that too!)

Arrival Point: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wensley/63/188/26

 

Patiently Blue

I wore a rather unusual (for me) outfit to the SL Book Club a little while ago. Since a few people seemed to like it,I thought I’d re-shoot it to show the look off better.

Outfit Credits:

Location: Cocoon  Environment setting: Psycho Strobe!

 

Mischief in The Lab

Ava creeps around the lab looking for anything potentiality valuable she might be able to steal and sell at whatever place they all end up at after the evacuation. She finds an assortment of vials that look interesting and stuffs it into her bag. She had worn white in the absence of a lab coat so at first-glance she might be overlooked and the sheerness of it might distract those that gave a Second-look, that would give her at least a moment to escape.

Why she had bothered she wasn’t sure, everyone else will be in too much of a panic to care about a pilfering Scav.

She tries to be careful as she goes round, not to knock over any of the test tubes and vials on the work benches, since there had been protective masks hung outside which she’d donned out of self-preservation sense.

On the way out a terminal that has been left unlocked catches her eye. She looks around for a flash drive in one of the desks and finding one she sits and waits as a large directory labelled “Classified Projects” downloads.

Credits:

Cyber Fair 2021 items:

  • Metallic Legs & Arms:[StudioNova] METAL Implants
  • Skirt & Jacket: [StudioNova] Nova Hottie Set – 8
  • Mask:[UD] GasX Mask – Unisex 1
  • Shoes:GUTCHI – SuperBoots MK94 “White”

Other items:

Location: The Varuna Project(Location Closed 12th March 2021)

Last Descent at Varuna Project.

I joined a group of Roleplayers taking part in a “Mineshaft rescue” organised roleplay at the Varuna Project on 6th of March.

I went along just to watch, OOC (Out of Character) to see what they were getting up to, since it was the first I’d been able to attend. I wish now I had joined in IC, since little did I know, it would have been my last opportunity to RP there.

This morning Friday 12th March,(technically Thursday night in SL), it was announced in the Varuna Project Discord server that the build would be closing and was going to be dismantled over the coming weekend.

As I mentioned in previous posts I’d rank this place up alongside Hangars Liquides and the Drune Cyberpunk builds in terms of quality and attention to detail. So it is such a shame to see it closing,but good things don’t last forever sadly.

If you have the time, I’d suggest dropping by to have a look at this masterpiece before it’s gone.

Landing point:Location Closed 12th March 2021

Varuna Project Flickr

My previous posts featuring Varuna Project :

 

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