Thursday, August 23, 2012

Same Numbers, Different Look

The owner of the SL sim where I have my part-time job mentioned that he planned to recreate part of his property on InWorldz, another virtual-world grid (and one I hadn't heard of until he mentioned it).  I got curious and wanted to see the similarities and differences between the two grids, so I registered for an InWorldz account and signed on.

First of all, even though the Dolphin viewer claims to be able to function with IW, "I" never rezzed past the point of being a little turquoise-edged cloud. I also got mildly scolded by one of the 'mentors' who hover around the rezz point for not using IW's own "house" viewer - which I will admit kind of put my back up, so I downloaded Imprudence instead. (o hai thar redhead's temper...)

I can't say I like Imprudence; it's missing quite a few of the features I've come to rely on in Firestorm. *  However, it did let me log in and actually see...
...omigod, that poor strange-looking little avatar.  O_o;;;;  My "Ruthie" self looked - and moved - like a poorly animated golem of some kind. (And I thought my SL starter avi wasn't "me"?! I owe 'her' an apology.)  Thank the technological powers that be that one of the IW mentors took me straight to the rather comprehensive freebies shop that's been set up right beside N00b Central.  I quickly grabbed a basic AO, modifiable shape, starter skin, eyes & hair, and a few wardrobe items. That got me to at least looking human, if not quite the virtual self to which I've become accustomed.

Most of the items I rezzed and wore right on the spot, before roaming off to find my SL employer on this new grid. He didn't look quite like himself either, when I found him. After he'd logged out for the night **, I decided to do a little more customizing.  I copied down every last one of my avatar's numeric settings from SL, and started shape-tweaking. Then I did a virtual-money transfer from SL, bought a better hairstyle, and downloaded a skin template to play around with in Photoshop before uploading. ***

By the time I finished all that... well, IW Tarra still doesn't look like SL Tarra; I'm not sure how much of that is a function of the skin and makeup I wear in SL, or if there's actually a difference in the way the numbers render on a different grid.  Or if, possibly, the Imprudence viewer has some impact there as well. Comparison photos below:

The maker of my SL skin, [ROCKBERRY], has an IW update group but so far I haven't found a store for them there.  IW hair is by EMOtion rather than my SL D!va collection.

* The sim owner says he uses Phoenix for IW, and I may try that if I can figure out the right settings.

**  ...time zone difference FTW!

*** InWorldz does not charge for uploads. O,o  That right there should be luring more creators to try their hands on the IW grid, I would think. Hell, it makes me want to try building!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


On Wednesday evening I went to my first SL formal dance, at Club Extasia. I've been to some less formal events on this sim and always had fun there.  The owner was very excited to have a live performer, Jacq (aka Jacqueline Luik) singing at this event.

Thanks to lucky boards and dollarbies, I've collected a few fancy lady-like dresses but so far haven't gone anywhere that I needed to wear them.  So I went through my inventory, tried a few of them on, ruled some out as unsuitable, and eventually took the final options to get a second opinion from my SL employer. :)

Dress #1 .:LC:.Evening Gown Anita silver [Lucky Board]: I really love this dress, but the silver would probably look better on someone with darker hair (or possibly platinum). While it looked all right, it was only that: all right. Not the exciting or dramatic overall effect I was hoping for.

silver ballgown

Dress #2 - **Rag Dollz** After Dark (green) [Midnight Madness]:  I *almost* went with this one. I love the way the semi-sheer skirt flows, and the color of it. Something about the pseudo-corset doesn't play as well as it might with my figure, though.

green ballgown

Dress #3 - Stitch in Time "My Gown": This was definitely the most daring of the options I had lined up. The ruffles of the skirt don't move quite realistically, but I fell in love with the dramatic decolletage when I first saw it.

slightly racy blue ballgown

Dress #4 - .:LC:. Loress [Lucky Board]: I put this one on kind of as an afterthought; it's a lovely dress, but I wasn't sure how crowded the dance floor would be and thought the huge skirt might be a drawback. (After pointing out we could probably host a small party underneath the skirt, my boss agreed.)
pretty blue gown with a HUGE skirt!

The boss told me Dress #3 would have the best chance of knocking my sometimes-date's socks off if he showed up for the event - so that's what I wore.

...and the date couldn't make it. *wry smile* He'd told me he might not be able to, and I had a good time anyway. Jacq has a beautiful voice, and provided us with an hour of love songs to dance to. So I danced - first on my own, and then with a charming gentleman who proved to be very good at matching dances to the pace of the song. We chatted quite a bit about dance animations, avatar customization, finding one's passion in SL - whether dance or building or otherwise - and sent me a landmark for the S.S. Galaxy (a cruise ship that takes up 3 full sims? Really? O,o) as a recommendation of someplace I might like to explore. Thank you, B! :)

(Disclaimer: the following screen caps were not taken at the dance itself, I was too distracted by Jacq's voice and the conversation to think of taking any pictures then. I asked a friend to help me re-create them.)

man kneeling taking woman's hand

couple dancing

Formal Dance style:
skin - [ROCKBERRY] Apple 2 Natural [Lucky Board]
makeup - .:Glamorize:. Revolver Moderate Red lipstick & eyeliner
hair - *Hazzard* -Amarillis- Bordeaux Red Hair
dress & gloves - Stitch in Time "My Gown" by Rbk Silvercloud
shoes - Yogi's Shoes "Yogi's weave wrap stiletto blue jay"
jewelry - Blackburns Boots & Shoes "Royal Wedding Gifts Ring & Necklace - April 2011";
    earrings, ~XM~ "Diamond Dew Drop"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mesh? ...Meh.

When I started to look at clothing and hairstyles after joining Second Life, some of the stores and ads on Marketplace made a big deal of trumpeting "MESH!" like it was the best thing since the discovery of sex. So I did a little hunting around and found one group gift and one promo sale on MP, and picked up a pair of mesh dresses.

Now, one other thing I should note: I have a curvy avatar. When I first rezzed in, that skinny stick of a body I showed up in just didn't "feel" right to me, so I played around with the sliders and numbers until I actually had hips, a butt, a little bit of padding on that 3-D frame.

**NOYA** BOHEME - MESH - Dress & Pumps Outfit Red [Marketplace] This bright red slipdress came in 2 different sizes, Small and Regular. My SL self would probably be a US size 10 (*maybe* a 12) in the real world, so I didn't even try the Small. The Regular fit pretty well: a little gapping around the bosom but not bad, and I love the shoes that came with the dress!

a little bit slinky in red

NCParis Sling Dress [group gift] - When I tried this one on, things just poked out ALL OVER unless I took it to size XL - the largest of the five included in the package - which still was not a really flattering fit! Have to admit, I was very disappointed since it had looked so good in the advertisement. (I would have been a lot more disappointed if I had paid out lindens for it.)

,,,yeah, no.

Somehow I had gotten the impression that mesh clothing would conform to the outlines of an avatar's body for a better fit than prim clothes gave. (I have been told since that something called a "deformer" which performed exactly that function was invented, but Linden Labs wouldn't allow its use in the SL viewer releases.)  Instead, the mesh dresses were a rigid construction that I would have had to change my shape to really fit into properly.

Come on, LL, don't we get enough of that in the real world already? One of the appeals of SL is being able to play dress-up with your pixel self and wear all kinds of things we might not be able to outside the grid.

For now, sadly, this curvy virtual gal will be avoiding mesh clothing unless someone can point me at a source for more 'full-figured' avatars. :(

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Hello, Real World! 

Just a little introductory post, this is a blog for Second Life avatar Tarra.

Yup, that's me. (smiles)  An unpublished-to-date writer, exploring this virtual world in search of inspiration for fiction, erotic and otherwise. In my first few weeks I've discovered lands from the skeevy to the sublime, people who ran the same gamut, found a very pleasant flexible-hours SL job, and been greeted with "WANT F**K?" more than once.

(The answer was "no thank you," by the way. I realize that part of the problem was more likely than not language differences, but how hard is it to run your request through Google Translate first? ...and if they did, shame on Google Translate.)

Just since opening this account*, I've started on two short stories inspired by life on the grid. Now if I can just find the right balance between searching out inspiration and actually getting the writing portion of the program done, I think this could work out well!

I've seen other SL blogs do this, so in case anyone is interested:

Shape - (my own customization)
Skin - [ROCKBERRY] Apple 2 Natural [Lucky Board]
Makeup - .:Glamorize:. Revolver Moderate Red lipstick
BSN Deep Eyes - Bright Blue
""D!va"" Hair - "Maya" Garnet [Group Gift]
Outfit - Collection Morea Style "Typhen - Exotic Flowers Peach"

(* Full disclosure: I did have a previous SL account some time ago, but closed it due to an overdose of interpersonal drama.)