Saturday, 24 May 2008

Talk Of The Town

There have been rumours about a detailed albeit low prim hot car being offered in the SL racing community. A super-car dubbed the katana blade of exotic automobiles, the Porsche Carrera GT which never fails to amaze me in RL is now available for in-worlders to own in SL.


Showing off the Porsche Carrera GT at the Mooz race track for a test drive... Being one of the few owners of this brute machine is not only prestigious, but also a privilege. Never felt this pleased with an SL car since owning a 2007-08 Ferrari Formula One. Although my Kimi Raikonnen replica helmet still says how much I still feel about my other "red devil" of a car (laughter).


I believe fate had lead me to cross paths with this car as it was being road tested by IAm Zabelin (not a mis-caps name by the way), the car's creator who was at the Mooz Racing Circuit at that time. I was burning pixel rubber of my older Lamborghini Gallardo (my all-time favourite road car before the Carrera showed up hahaha) when I chanced upon Zabelin and his magnificent creation. It just seemed like yesterday when I was told about the eventual release of the prototype which was said to be just a couple weeks away. Since then, I had never stopped wondering when I can finally get my sweaty hands on this beauty. With that in mind, I was still confident that it would be just a matter of time when the roaring sounds coming out of the double barrel exhaust as I put my foot on the pedal, gnashing its gears and cruising around popular SL hotspots.


The heart and soul of the car is its engine! You'll be amazed with the detail this car has as well as it being crafted to scale the real life model. In RL the car boasts of a 5.7 V10 engine and is considered the third most expensive car to ever be manufactured (and the most expensive Porsche in the company's history), about £330,000 and close to L$7,000.00 in Second Life. There is a certain sense of pride in getting to own one, something money simply cant buy.


The Second Life version of the Porsche Carrera GT was crafted by ZA Motors and has its humble beginnings at Mo Island http://slurl.com/secondlife/MO%20Island/211/229/24. Who would have thought that this awesome car would be assembled in a beachfront cottage! You can also see the car in its earlier version by visiting the place and be witness to its raw and prime glory! Not to mention variations of the car's upcoming colour updates which are on display. If you're lucky, you just might see IAm himself working on upcoming upgrades for the car.


The rear engine hood, front car boot and its two sleek doors are fully functional (they open and close in a click of a mouse). Sporty tan leather cup-seats which are also standard in the RL version adds more to its x-factor. Authentic Carrera GT engine sounds is but one of the many features that make this car a must-have and worthy enough to be included in your SL wish list.


To date there are a little over a hundred proud owners of this dream car which includes the Lindens (wow!) and me of course... We're like a group of racers who can't seem to wait for its official launching! The car is currently in its infancy stage and owners are testing, as well as enjoying it at the moment. It may still be considered a prototype but the car works like a charm. Having to shed 7Gs of your precious lindens, I personally believe it still is a great investment as the car is a limited release. Only a few more brave ones would probably be getting the chance to own one, so I suggest you get yours now while you still can.


Careful.. careful! This car was crafted with an ingenious feature of getting real-like damage when bumped into or when crashing off the tracks.


This beauty does have a few aces up her sleeve and is probably the first in SL, where the car actually gets damaged when hit or during the event of a collision. Apart from rezzing up a new car from your inventory to have a fresh one, you also can actually "mouse-click" the damaged panels and they quickly return to their normal form. It also has functional head lights and tail lights which activates when driving as well as 3 start-up modes (Chill, Cruise, and Racing); a burn and drift option and 5 gears that absolutely work well with the Havok 4 platform.

Of course there are occasional FREE updates which is part of the package when purchasing the car. The first update in the pipeline will give the owners the option to customise the colours of their cars. Fine-tuning of this new feature is still being done by IAm as of press time, and more updates will be sent out to group members as they come. If you are not a member yet, I would suggest you join the group... it's FREE!


Chillin'-out with Liz as we both evaluate and test the car for ourselves. The verdict? Two-thumbs up! With so many Porsche wannabes in SL, nothing so far beats this Carrera. As what the old adage says, if the wife approves of it then it must be really good! Hahaha!


The Colour HUD tool which is still on its BETA stage will be on a Release Candidate version in a couple of days time. The new HUD will include adjustments for the car's base colour, its shine and tint levels that conforms to the owner's taste and sense of style! This will add more character and individuality to each car's identity. I was just so fortunate enough to be at the right time to spy on IAm working on this new feature! hahaha AND not only that!... we may be in for another pleasant surprise with a BONUS for an unannounced update! Don't you just love surprises!

Superb after-sales service! An unannounced update for the car's existing alloy wheels. Well ventilated disc-brakes and the official 5-spoke alloys adds more charm to the already mind-blowing creation of ZA Motors.

The Head's Up Display (HUD) is one of the most unique and cleverly-designed fully functional HUDs in SL with interactive buttons and features. The car's gears status also appear in its digital display. The blue i-button which can be located at the far most left part of the HUD will open an online owners handbook, you simply just cant go out without it! All the A-Z about the car can be found in there!


So are you up to it? Want to be one of the coolest dudes on hot wheels in Second Life? Then go get yourself one! Believe me its one investment worth trying. For more information, please refer to the official sites and blogs of ZA Motors: http://zamotors.blogspot.com/ and http://sl-carreragt.blogspot.com/.

See the latest review of the Carrera GT here: http://n71aeon.blogspot.com/2008/07/raging-and-roaring-road-runners.html

If that ain't enough for you, watch this official video from UK's number one car magazine show, Top Gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE_WqdKbTvY&feature=related. I am sure after watching, you may really want to get one.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

The REDS are coming!

... a short story...



The Cold War begins!
800 hrs SLT. Friday (180508)

Lt. Col. N71 Aeon, 927th Pi-Sigma Squadron Commander was at the bridge of USS Wilderwest with Rear Admiral Niki Wilder to discuss some important matters, when a distress call from fellow pilot Lt. Col. McKinney Allen came to their attention.

"I'm hit! Mayday! Mayday! Pilot going down! I'm going down!", a loud explosion in the background followed soon afterwards... then static and his radio went dead...



A fateful encounter, Lt. Col. McKinney Allen was shot down by a yet unknown hostile bogey. Status of the pilot was not immediately known.

A frantic Niki Wilder shouts at the intercom: "All squadrons, assemble! We are under attack!", as emergency sirens fill the air and airmen scramble to their planes in a bid to intercept a suspected bogey.

Earlier...
727 hrs. SLT Friday (180508)

A lone Lt. Col. McKinney Allen who was on a practice run in his F8F Bearcat was ordered to investigate an anomaly reading dispatched to him by the main control centre of a signal picked up earlier on the radar. There has never been a intrusion to any US Naval Facility since Pearl Harbour post World War II. The Americans thought, "Who would make the same mistake?" And indeed the Yanks have never been so vigilant and prepared like this ever before.

Present time...
805 hrs SLT. Friday (180508)

Discussions between R.A. Niki Wilder and Lt. Col. N71 Aeon about his return to regular tour of duty at the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the United Kingdom was cut short. Lt. Col. Aeon was on loan to the United States Navy (USN) under the Top Ace Pilots Exchange Programme (TAPE-Pro) which the United States and the United Kingdom had forged a few years back in an attempt to enhance the flying skills of their top junior pilots currently on active service.

WWII had taken a toll on their top aces with a lot of casualties on both sides during the war. The program aims to fill in the void by giving junior pilots the opportunity to train and put their skills to a test in a different setting and environment, making them adaptable to any fighting conditions. And in the event of another invasion by enemy forces, both countries may easily adjust to one another and prevent any catastrophe that may arise due to miscommunication.

Unconfirmed reports were saying that the programme was a top secret operation to counter the immediate threat of a strong communist USSR as a superpower (having been successful at its WWII campaign thwarting the German forces in Eastern Europe), and its attempt to infiltrate Western Europe.



806 hrs SLT. Friday (180508)

The loud roar of engines from a squadron of Grumman F8F Bearcats overwhelms the sound of wailing sirens in the air. One by one the planes leave USS Wilderwest as flight-deck crews scramble to assemble the rest of the fighter planes for take off. Lt. Col. Aeon thinks about his luck, he was just a day away from being returned back to UK service and now he finally gets to put his skills to a test. There has never been a single shot fired since the end of World War II, until now.


F8Fs are prepared for take off in a search and rescue operation for the missing pilot, and to intercept the bogey responsible as well. Deck crews ready the planes for battle.

Adrenaline pumps through his body when a loud bang from the side of his loaned American fighter plane brought him back from his dreamy state. It came from a flight deck crew giving him the all clear with a salute, signaling that the pilot is ready to go.

"Godspeed Sir!", the deck crew shouted.

"God save the Queen...", Lt. Col. Aeon whispered as he salutes back at the crew and throttled up his plane to maximum speed. The weightlessness and the feeling of being airbourne uplifts his spirit as his plane leaves the carrier's runway.

Attack formation! Bearcats are on the prowl...


It was like life was passing in front of Aeon's eyes in slow motion. Memories of his childhood quickly flashes in his mind:

Flying in formation just after take off. Pilots looking for signs of McKinney's downed plane and for the bogey responsible for it. Eagle's eyes are on the lookout for the missing McKinney.


... the moment his dad taught him how to ride his bicycle and fell hard leaving a scar on his knee...

... his first crush in grade school...

... the infatuation he had with his high school French teacher...

... his first kiss...

... and most especially the love of his life which he was expecting to meet on his way back to the United Kingdom, Capt. Lizzy of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) whom he met in Berlin almost a year ago...

"I have got to get through this... how hard can it be?", he muttered to himself.

And thoughts on how this still unknown infiltrator was able to get Lt. Col. Allen who is known by his colleagues as the sly fox as he is always able to disappear from sight during practice runs. If someone as good as Allen gets shot down, then this bogey must be really good! The worse thing of all is that the status of the downed pilot is still unclear.



810 hrs SLT. Friday (180508)

It's been 4 minutes and still all of the planes in the air are scrambling to locate the bogey, lest identify him. Col. Aeon who was flying NW 50 miles from USS Wilderwest saw the sun reflect its rays on something metallic in the air.


Lt. Col Aeon had a visual of the bogey and was keen to go after it. The Russian MiG 1-3 was heading towards the USS Wilderwest!



"That must be it!", he thought to himself as he radioed in his coordinates: "This is November Alpha, I have a visual of the bandit 50 clicks NW from base, awaiting instructions, over."

"This is R.A. Wilder, can you identify the bogey? Over...", the nervousness on the commander's voice can be felt through the wires. The whole crew had long prepared for such an intrusion, but never had they imagined that it would happen during the peace time.

Within seconds the bandit zoomed in passing Aeon's fighter plane in which it caught the pilot by surprise.

"It's A MiG! The bloody Russians are hostile!", Aeon radios back with a bit of excitement in his voice. The sight of a big red star on the plane's marking gives him the shivers... "Communist Bastards!", he continued.

"Are you positive it's a RED? How many are there? Over...", a worried Wilder radios back.

"Affirmative commander, I had a clear eyeball with the bogey. It's Russian and it's all alone. Over..."

"You are to engage the hostile! Fire at will! I repeat, FIRE AT WILL! Take her down and take her down hard!", Wilder furiously instructs the squadron.




811 hrs SLT. Friday (180508)

The loud buzz of roaring engines reverberates the early morning sky as F8Fs zoom in to their lone target like a swarm of wasps attacking a threat. It may seem overkill but the MiG appears to have been successful enough to breach the home base's perimeter zone. And it seems to be bent in accomplishing its mission.

Non-stop machine gun fire can be heard hundreds of feet above as the Russian MiG seems to dodge the hail of live rounds.

"The bloody mother f****r is good, this isn't going to be as easy as what I've hoped for.", Aeon thought to himself as he closes in on the MiG. Aeon sees the clear and present danger this lone assailant poised to the carrier. Something must be done fast.


The mission priority had been upgraded to code RED, having to protect USS Wilderwest from the enemy. If it were only a bomber and not a gunner, the result of the attack would have been catastrophic!

"Oh Bugger! The hostile seems to be heading towards mother!", referring to the carrier as Aeon radios status reports to all squadron units. Being the nearest plane to the MiG, he makes a daring maneuver and prepares to go for the kill.

"Get ready for a furball guys.." These were the last words the radio ever heard from Aeon at that moment. The sound of .50 caliber machine guns firing dominated the skies as home base anxiously await for updates and hoped that everything would be over quickly.
From the ground, it seemed like dragon flies bullying a fly as they try to aim helplessly at the MiG who cleverly flies in front of other Bearcats. The squadron were avoiding a bittersweet situation where in a friendly might get the bitter end of a good guy's bullet.



Madness in the clouds... Bearcat pilots try to carefully avoid a "bittersweet" situation, term pilots use for friendly fire. Mills and Lisle tried trapping the enemy, but the bogey was able to escape the dragnet. Aeon targets from the top.


Two Bearcats being flown by fellow British ACE, Lt. Col. Ellynor Lisle and USS Wilderwest's top ACE, Lt. Col. MeganAnn Mills, (dubbed the dynamic duo) tried to trap the enemy in a risky sandwich maneuver.




Bulls eye!...
815 hrs SLT. Friday (180508)

"Sh**! He got away!", yelled Mills as Lisle narrowly misses clipping the wings of the other plane in what was known as a dangerous flying maneuver. But these two pilots are known to be wild cards being so good with unorthodox flying styles. Commander Niki Wilder once dubbed them proudly as The Double Edge Sword of USS Wilderwest.

Aeon was above them and makes a risky dive as he makes a swift turn to the right and fires rounds and rounds of artillery. But the MiG fires back with just less than 20 feet away from him. Aeon quickly makes a 360 getting a clear view from it's rear... aims... and FIRES!



Aeon aims and hits! This must be the end of the MiG as he relentlessly fires his plane's machine guns.
Badadadadadadadadadadadadammmmm....
Badadadadadadadadadadadadammmmm.....


The enemy's plane is quickly put to flames as it screams a deafening whistle of death flipping and rolling below Aeon's Bearcat!

"GOTCHA!", he yells. "The bogey is hit... The bogey is hit! It's going down baby!", an excited Aeon announce as the MiG struggles to control itself. The only way it's going is down...



Worried that the MiG might do a Kamikaze dive in an attempt to still do some damage, Mills signals to Lisle for a deathblow.

"Let's finish him off!", The two pilots zooms in on the MiG and gives it the double-edge sword finale it deserves....

Badadadadadadadadadadadadammmmm.....
Badadadadadadadadadadadadammmmm.....


... as the enemy plunges into the ocean and disintegrates.



We can all breathe now...
817 hrs SLT. Friday (180508)

Commander Niki Wilder radios in last minute instructions for the squadron to make one last ocular within the perimeter. Just to make sure that no more surprises would await the carrier ship and its crew. Lt. Col. Aeon calls in the all clear as they all finally head back to home base.



A fly-by salute to USS Wilderwest to celebrate their victory! But what about Lt. Col. McKinney Allen?


A roar of applause greet the pilots as they land one by one like wasps returning to their combe. From a distance, a beaming McKinney who narrowly missed certain death by ejecting just in the nick of time before the crash, waves to his compatriots as he is swarmed with bear hugs and the occasional friendly whack on the head.


Safe eject! McKinney was able to chute down to safety after the attack on his plane which was gunned down by a MiG.



"You lucky sunnova...", Aeon's comment was quickly cut short upon the sight of the commander arriving at the deck to congratulate all the pilots and crew. Wilder thanked McKinney in particular that in spite of being hit, he still found the courage to radio home base first just in time before thinking of ejecting himself to safety. That crucial and selfless act prevented a major disaster from happening to the USS Wilderwest.

"There are no particular heroes tonight. You all did your country proud," Wilder addresses the pilots and the crew.

Lt. Col. N71 Aeon calls the attention of his Commander-in-Chief: "As I was saying, about my transfer?", he quips pertaining to the conversation that was cut short because of the emergency this morning...

He carries on joking: "I bloody miss my Liz ma'am.... and of course a huge platter of fish and chips!"

-----

Want to have your own adventure at Wilder West? Join the group, it's FREE! For the best experience, I recommend you get one of their planes on offer! All are combat ready and are fully loaded with fantastic features. They are probably the best designed aircrafts in SL to date. Come visit USS Wilderwest: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Wilder%20West/102/25/35 and please come script-free to keep the sim high performance. Wilder Skies have regular dog fights occuring almost everyday. You are sure to find an opponent! Don't just get my word for it, visit Wilder Skies now!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Aim High... Fly Niki Wilder's Skies!

(Revised April 2009)
.

The year 1986...

It was secondary school, a time when teenage pheromones and hormones flew wildly in the air... A time when the movie Top Gun also came flying through the silver screens. Overnight, Tom Cruise became a Hollywood sensation... the heartthrob of every girl... the bloke-next-door whom young men wished they could be like! (ahem and I was one of them buggers hahaha)

I remember that the most awesome part of the movie were the dogfights F-14 Tomcat rookies had to survive during practice. Living to their reputation as the crème de la crème of pilots who vie their way to be the top ace of their class. When I was young, I always had that ambition of wanting to be a pilot myself. As kids we all were full of dreams, and that includes a date with that hottie Kelly McGillis as well (now that's definitely a blond ambition hahaha).


The Wilder Surprise!

Second Life
is indeed full of surprises, and who would have thought that in one fine morning on sim Oak Grove I would end up being a "virtual" pilot.

Having chanced upon a showroom of various vehicles and crafts on sale at sim Balance (both the crappy and superb types), this marvelous detailed scaled-down model of an F/A-18 Hornet caught the corner of my eye. I am not into impulse buying but that fighter jet really had me going.

It wasn't easy flying the plane at first since it was my first time to ever try one. On top of that, I am not the type who is keen on reading manuals carefully, properly and patiently (with the belief that men don't have the need for such things hahahaha, reminds us of our dads doesn't it?).

Going for a test flight started as a bit unpleasant when a group of griefers got the better of me. Getting orbited several times was not funny at all. I barely had the chance to fly and enjoy the plane for over a minute, then boom... I end up being ejected off the sim again... and again... and... again. bluddy buggers


Angels In The Skies.

I just needed the right place to try my new plane, and an instant message to Niki Wilder (the jet's builder) for tech-support helped solved that. An invitation to Wilder Skies was just the moment I have been waiting for. It is massive place to try and fly planes, as well as being the right venue to acquaint with fellow aircraft enthusiasts.

Niki
was particularly helpful in showing me around this huge aircraft carrier, call it the USS Wilderwest if you wish. It occupies most of the simulator and creates the perfect free-flying haven (Class-A sim devoid of lag). Other magnificent birds of steel are on display, showcasing the awesome collection and talent of the people behind Wilder Skies Aviation.

Airmen uniforms both vintage and modern also can be found here. MeganAnn Mills, also a plane builder at Wilder Skies is fantastic in giving out basic instructions on how to fly the planes.


Listening to tips and instructions from Niki and Meg at USS Wilderwest before take off. I just wish I could remember what they have said, hahaha. Fancy my pilot uniform?


The Basics: Flying Wilder Skies 101.

Type in the main chat window:
combat on/ off to activate or deactivate the plane in combat mode;
start to start the plane;
stop to put the plane to a halt, both on ground or in the air.. and even underwater hehehe;
page-up to increase velocity for flight;
page down to decrease velocity, especially when landing;
left-mouse-click
to fire your guns;
C
view in dynamic camera mode and
G for gears up or gears down aka the wheels...
and of course ARROW KEYS for controls.


Intercepting a "bogey"... well make that a "friendly" on a test flight trying out the F/A-18 and the F-14 Tomcat.


Please do take note that with some other plane models, commands may be different: pressing C may actually open or close the cockpit window, replacing the dynamic camera command to CAM



Some Action At Wilder Skies.

There are tournaments being held weekly at Wilder West from dogfighting (yep shooting each others planes down... survival of the fittest and of the skillful) to airplane racing (like those RedBull sponsored tournaments you see on telly). As of this date, I still have to shoot down a plane despite having been downed at least 8 times already... quite embarrassing I know (but don't tell dad that all who had shot me down were women).

I do like to try racing these planes someday. The F-18 Hornet, F-14 Tomcat and the vintage BearCat F8F may be ideal as fighter planes, but their bulky size may not really be recommended for racing. I guess that that would mean getting a smaller but quicker plane, if I were to join a tournament.


Try The Landing Challenge.

It isn't as easy as it looks, and the challenge of doing a perfect landing can be as fulfilling as having to shoot down an opponent's plane. It was beginners luck as Niki Wilder (whom I didn't notice was at the carrier's bridge at that time) witnessed a good landing the first time I attempted it on the Tomcat. Like I've said, it was "beginners luck" as I haven't been able to do a repeat until now. hahaha


The F/A-18 is by far the easiest plane to land, a far cry from the skills and the timing needed to land the F-14 Tomcat. The F8F Bearcat is fairly easy to land as well.


The F/A-18 Hornet (Niki Wilder)

A supersonic jet using its speed as an advantage in the event of a dogfight, its agility and handling ability is superb and straightforward. This one-seater baby is quite easy to land on the carrier. It has functional gears and an amazing afterburner effect.


The F-14 Tomcat (Niki Wilder)

A very challenging jet with flying rockets as part of its on-board arsenal. The package contains three jets, with each variant having auto, manual or fixed winged functions. Apart from having fully functional gears and afterburners as standard, the jet's capability to take one more passenger as a co-pilot adds up to its appeal.

Just like the real McCoy, you can now relive those Top Gun memoires again! loud laughter

Fancy those cheesy tag lines from the movie? (yep that's Tom Cruise shitting on Val Kilmer's head hahaha)
Lt. Tom "Iceman" Kazanski: "You can be my wing man any time."
Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell: "Bullsh**. You can be mine."

Taking my Liz for a test flight... With terrible landing skills on the Tomcat, I almost drowned my babes when I crashed underwater... sorry my bad!


The Grumman F8F Bearcat (MeganAnn Mills)

The newest kid on the block. A post WWII navy plane dubbed as the successor to the F6F Hellcat (which saw all the action during WWII). It is the first to be built by Wilder Skies to have realistic responses to controls. More amazing features were included: cockpit window opens and closes (C); gears can go up or down during flight (G); actual machine gun sounds that guarantees an adrenaline-fused dogfight experience (left mouse click); acrobatic manoeuvrability; and of course that cinematic crash sequence as you get shot down. It is the first plane built to actually blow up on impact!

If these babies don't tickle your fancies, I wouldn't know what else would! OR perhaps go see you local GP just in case. hehehehe



New planes and much more!

Planes offered at Wilder Skies have now adapted to Linden Lab's Havok 4 platform change (much like the Windows XP migration to Vista) which means pilots won't experience any problems when Second Life rolls out the new servers.

A new vintage Russian MiG plane is already in its RC (Release Candidate) stage from just being beta a couple of days ago. Proof that the builders at Wilder are working round the clock to release it ahead of time. With that in mind, I can't help but have a picture in my head of a teams composed of Bearcat pilots going againts MiGs. Now that is one spectacular scene I would definitely want to be in!



The USS Wilderwest showcases a variety of planes of different generations. From the first true aeroplane: the Kittyhawk Wright Flyer; World War I and II vintage fighter planes; to famous modern day fighter jets as well as a roster of magnificent racing planes. Combat Helicopters can also be found at the east wing of the vessel.

The planes featured are just a few of the actual lot being offered at Wilder Skies. Come see the carrier and I guarantee you that one of the planes would definitely choose you as its new pilot!

Flying can indeed be addictive (well just about anything else in Second Life) and nothing can be compared to flying unrestricted in the SL skies. More of the feeling of freedom in the air than there is on land I may say.

The race track can be accessible through a teleport hub at the carrier. Races are held weekly with cash prices up for grabs. Smaller planes are highly recommended.


Are you up for a new Second Life experience?
Try Wilder West and get yourself a great flying machine.

So where the bluddy 'ell are you? Come visit Australia ehrmm... I mean Wilder West NOW and add a bit of spice to your Second Life...

"Fly wilders skies anytime baby!"


.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Breaking Into The SL Property Market

(Revised March 2009)
HALE HAKUNA

First Time Around...
Searching for a proper SL home would be the next big step for N71 Aeon. Being a squatter for a week in Lo Lo may seem as if I was taking advantage of Caroline's hospitality hehehe.

I am certain that searching for the right property may be quite a challenge for a new comer like myself to Second Life. Still caught in between renting or leasing out a condominium/apartment unit to buying a parcel of land. Though all that tier, prim-limit talk and land ownership policies were something still foreign to me, settling down in Second Life would not be as easy as I thought it would be. /me frowns


No longer having the slightest trace of a Haraguy, N71 contemplates what to do next?


Hunting High and Low

So finally I have decided that I would go for renting a condo instead, sort of testing the waters before finally jumping into the lake. Taking the advice of Keeley Huet on the importance of using the search button (works exactly like Google and Yahoo in-world) presented heaps of fabulous properties, most of which were too costly for an SL newcomer.

Noticing that the word "prims" (short for primitives) on every rent-box was a totally new language. I thought it meant something more like the property's floor area. Being in a gung-ho moment, alien terminology didn't deter me to keep on searching for the right abode.


Discovery By Accident

With a stroke of luck just when I was about to give up, a bloke publicly announced renting his condo units for L$500 pcm. It was not too bad at all since the ones I have looked up earlier were ranging from L$800 to 1,000 (not really sure if I am ready for that yet hahaha). Strangely enough as he discussed the details of our tenancy agreement, the word "prims" came out in our conversation. Not wanting to look like an idiot for asking what he meant by a 25-prim limit, I pretended to understand everything. Unlike earlier when the word didn't seem to bother me at all, I now felt the need to be concerned. lololol

The condo unit was not the type I was expecting, having London's Canary Wharf in mind. It had a lot of odd architectural features which were not logically feasible to have in real life. But who am I kidding here, this is after all a virtual Second Life right?

Nevertheless, my desperation to settle down and to have a place I can really call my home, was more important than some minor architectural faux pas. I just thought that with the interiors done properly, things might end up the way I want them to be.


Hopping from one furniture shop to another, interior decorating has never been this fun since AutoCAD. The Architectural industry does have a potential to grow in Second Life.


Enhancing Dull Features

Adding a bit of bibidi-babidi-boo to blank space is the fun part. Doing interiors has never been this easy: just drag, drop and reposition the objects. Reminds me of the old days when doing interiors was so tedious, having to deal with coordinates, dimensions and measurements.

Having more than adequate lindens at hand, thanks to eBay (it would seem Linden Labs limits linden purchases to new members?), the time has arrive to do some serious furniture shopping! (thanks Laci Snowdrop for the landmarks, you have been so helpful).


The Finishing Touches

Since the condo already had sofas for the living room and an "animated" bed (I honestly had no idea at first what an animated bed really means hahaha) for the bedroom, all I had to do was add dividers, side tables, dressers, plants and some table top decorations.

I was a bit disappointed with the flooring (i love black marble especially the glazed Italian types, but not the ones the condo had) and the ceiling (unpainted and raw ply boards?), which looked so bare and unfinished. Though making the condo look as homely as it can possibly be (to real life) was my main concern; the flooring and ceiling would have to wait.

Among all the furniture and ornamental shops I have visited, MAKEA ended up to be my first choice. Their products were elegant and they remind me of an IKEA store. Don't be surprised if I tell you that I bought the whole range, from lighting, fixtures and furniture. Now that I think about the similarity between the two stores, MAKEA might actually mean Mike's IKEA which would explain a lot.


An attempt to make the ambiance as cozy as possible. Mostly earth and dark colours are used to compliment the floor.. but the ceiling? /me screams!


Learning From Trial and Error!


Ever heard of the saying: "... if it sounds too good to be true.. then it must be too good to be TRUE..." Yep, don't you ever forget that!

I had a feeling that there was something more to the low cost rent-package and all that desperate marketing strategy. And true enough, there was a limit on the number of prims (God I hate that word!) I could add to the property. In fairness to the landlord, I have been told that the limit was 25 prims. If only I were not too proud enough to ask what he meant by that in the first place; I would not have to endure all the pain and disappointed on having to remove most of my furniture!

According to Ashton (the landlord), I have exceeded my prim limit to about 200, that is exactly 800%! Talk about being a prim-hogger hahaha

Thankfully enough, because according to him I was a nice chap (add naive to that word lol), he was willing to compromise by removing some of the standard furniture to free up a few prims (now I fully understand this prim-of-a-headache... finally). But surely MAKEA was now out of the question; each sofa average 12-13 prims which would not leave me much to spare. Now with some added prim allowance, I would have to work around 49 prims... which obviously is still not enough.


Next Step... Low Prim Furniture!

Looking for low-prim furniture is like finding a needle in a haystack. My best friend: the SEARCH BUTTON took me to a store that do have items of good quality. Not necessarily close to IKEA standards BUT good enough: Primsavers, I guess the name says it all.


... more of a life saver, furnishings from Primsaver averages about 1 to 3 prims per item. The secret lies on the proper textures being used other than multiple primitive shapes aka PRIMS, now that is indeed amazing!


After tasting the sweetness of having more prims to spare for furniture I really like, gut feeling tells me to reconsider going for high prim property. It may cost me just a bit more in lindens (actually would only cost as much as a candy bar in real life), but I am sure it would be worth every bit of the investment. What good is living in a restricted environment when you know you can do better and have more? Besides I am quite a rebel when it comes to such restrictions; I'm one wild stallion that no one can restrain! hahaha go ask my parents!


GOING HIGH PRIM (Royal Tropical Condos)

The only thing constant in this universe is change - Ηράκλειτος
True enough, having to starve the need for more prims triggered the compulsion to look for an alternative place to stay. Going back to the "tropics" where I inquired the first time makes me regret for not moving here in the first place. Just add L$300 more to the Hale Hakuna unit would have given me about 400% more prim allowance!
Laci Snowdrop was right when she said Royal Tropical Condos was offering me a great deal. Having learned my lesson from Hale Hakuna, I now give more consideration to prim allowances than the cost of the rent pcm. The penthouse unit which includes the whole of the roof deck would give me 400 prims, an eye popping offer for L$1,000 - adding just L$200 more to the other units with 100 prim allowance, or double the rent of Hale Hakuna BUT statistically with 1600% more prims!

On top of the world: having 2 floors and 400 prims to mess around with, I would not have asked for more! As an added bonus, no eyesores in the neighbourhood as structures in the sim have to abide by covenant standards.
Quality and Taste...

With so much room and space for my sweaty hands to work on, more home furnishings and fixtures (other than the ones I already have) would definitely be needed. Being a bit more wiser the second time around, I was more conscious in counting my prims without having to sacrifice quality.

Somewhat in between MAKEA and Primsavers, T&S Designs is one of the best places to get your furniture and other decorative and ornamental items.



My penthouse's "well behaved" bedroom... just right for resting your AVs before logging-off. Start to think out of the box, who said everything indoors have to be flat?

Having been frustrated with Hale Hakuna's marble texture, I took the liberty of adding a prim cover to replace the lighter wooden floor boards with a varnished finish. Decorating has never been this exciting especially if you start from scratch.


Home made goodies! The Aquateque Aquarium; the Japanese dining table; and the breakfast nook and bar are few of my very own creations! With an adequate prim allowance, custom-making should not be a problem.


Patiently taught on the basics of prim building and crafting by my SL mates (Lizzy, Lisa and Drei in particular), personalised and remodified furniture would definitely be part of the penthouse showcase. Nothing feels more better than having to see your own creation on display.

With prims to spare in my new home, I can now rezz up my favourite Makea furniture (at last).


Finding my MAKEAs a home for the last time, my sitting area has never looked this good! I am very pleased with what has been done to the penthouse and I can't thank Relic Starbrook enough for welcoming me into his group. He does have a lot of good offers for land without having to worry about maintaining tier fees, but I guess that would have to be left for another time. For now, the penthouse is just right for me.


This is what generous prims-allowance can do for you... the freedom to create and re-decorate! Side tables, fireplace re-assembled to fit your needs and requirements.


My New Home... My Sanctuary...

Moving to the new penthouse is definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made! Though I cannot be sure that maintaining Hale Hakuna would be such a good idea, maybe I give it another month?

I have actually been asked countless times from fellow condo tenants below me, on when I would be leaving the penthouse. As much as I hate to disappoint people, I made sure they got the message that I would be staying way much longer. After all, I did gave Relic my word for a long time tenancy, and I plan to honour it. It would seem that "my penthouse" is one hot property, giving me the feeling that I have struck gold... and indeed I may have!

I have never felt so optimistic about my SL's future and so inspired in building more stuff. I do have dreams and aspirations in my virtual life, merging RL and SL just might be one of them, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? We would have to just wait and see...


The perfect sunset at the penthouse roof deck... setting the mood right with Lizzy-babes who loves what we had done with the condo.


Haven Is Where My HEART Is...

Only a handful of friends have seen this secret hideaway of ours. Not that I don't like having guests, it is just that I love to keep "some things" private /me winks and grins. Every corner of the penthouse carry a wonderful memory, making our home a sacred and holy ground. heeheehee


The perfect living quarters set on a homely ambiance simply brings RL close to SL ... and a house ain't a home without the Lizzy around to keep me company. Darn, I miss her already!

Lizzy and I could just sit at home (both virtual and RL I'm sure) and talk about absolutely anything under the stars for hours until one of us gets a tug from our dear Mister Sandman. With a homely atmosphere at the penthouse, there never will be a dull moment... ever.


Is There Life After Hale Hakuna?

... Definitely! But what to do with it, after Royal Tropical is the real question. While I'm at it, I do admit that I cannot help but wonder this time on how it is to finally have land of my own? If so, what would it be?

Beach island property or a secluded house by the lake? Hrmmmm... Better weigh the pros and cons first to know which type of property would suit us best.


Am I hearing wedding bells somewhere?

But until the Virgo knows what he finally wants, and that Libra for once quickly makes up her mind (woooot hahaha), for now the penthouse will stay!


What Ever Happened to the Old Condo?

You would not believe what actually happened... it's gone! Imagine this: while doing some conversions to the unit, from just a sitting area to a disco with matching psychedelic dance floor... the whole building just disappeared!


Boogie nights, before the bloody building disappeared!


Good thing I was not in the shower stark naked (ROFLWPIMP try figuring that one out hahaha) or worse doing a "winnie the...". I found out from the real land owners that the condo-owner's leasehold on the property has expired, and even has unsettled dues to his tier. That explains the desperate marketing he was doing when I first met him.

Still no word from the chap, wish he informed us all in his group before hand. So I guess in a way, this solved my dual-property dilemma. laughter


Where my old condo used to be? Gone with the wind (and 2 months worth of rent along with it... bugger!) I patiently wait for the condo owner to return... with a SIG 556 slung on my shoulder hahaha

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Go Forth and Multiply...

(Revised March 2009, Reviewed May 2012)
.
... your friends and loved ones, that is...

It was not that long ago when as a noob, I was feeling a lot like a new transfer student in a new school and in a new town. You cannot feel more out-of-placed than that.

Feeling utterly lost on the reasons for being here in the first place, I was left without a purpose. Like most of us who came in-world without any expectations, one cannot help but try to find cause. It must be human nature to find reasons and answers to our being, even in a virtual world.


More tips and mentoring from the Queen of Barcola


Human Nature

Being helpful towards others must be a built-in feature to some people. Like when Keeley Huet helped me out on my second day by sharing tips on how to easily find the things I need in SL. If not for her I would still end up as that Haraguy. Her mentoring on how to effectively use the Search Button was perhaps my turning point in SL as a resident. You can say that Search was the front door to an even bigger Second Life.

I still remember her words clearly when she said: "Search is your friend." and she was absolutely right.


Confidence will help you make the Grade...

... though too much of it might leave you in the dunce list. I guess like alcohol, it should be taken in moderation hahaha.

There seem to be this need to refine our AVs. I now laugh at the thought of promising myself not to touch Haraguy, and to carry on being him as I explore SL. It would seem that real world commercialism and capitalism exists even in the most unlikely of all places, Second Life.

The desire to be unique was perhaps the catalyst to upgrade compulsory. It could take several hours to fine-tune the way you look. The more you wish to mirror your RL persona, the harder it is to refine the features.

Some may see upgrading as vanity. But however you would prefer your cup of tea, I personally think it still is necessary. Hearing compliments on how good you have done your avatar helps build that confidence.

Confidence
however, is as important as currency in Second Life. It gives you the courage to meet other residents as well as helping you blend into the crowd with ease. A lot better than ending up as a virtual hermit, in my opinion.


Next Step, Etiquette and Character.

As much as I wanted to keep a low profile in-world, adding character to the AVs is as natural as brushing your teeth every morning (assuming ALL of us religiously do that everyday eeeep O.o). Even as virtual avatars, the uniqueness of each "individual" would still show. It is also natural to carry-over our RL character into our alter-egos.

Like in real life, every day in SL is a learning process. We learn a lot more not by being alone, but by interacting with other residents. We also have to remember that we are sharing this virtual world with different cultures from various nationalities other than ours. It is after all, their second life too you know.

It is best to avoid topics on religion and politics just to be on the safe side. I believe there are proper venues for that in Second Life, though I have yet to see one for myself.

Sticking to the universal rule may just help us get through a day without incident. Be nice. Be polite. I believe the most important of them all is, BE HELPFUL.

Call it the unwritten rule in Second Life etiquette, but we must let others enjoy SL as much as we would want to enjoy it ourselves.


Just like in the movie (of the same title, you should see it!) which stars Haley Joel Osment (yep, its that kid "who sees dead people" hehe), showing any form of kindness to others is a virtue. Second Life is not a selfish place as some folks would think. There are a lot of good Samaritans out there willing to help other residents who are in need, especially to the new ones. Be it giving some advice and tips, directions or even freebies; some people are just glad to go that extra mile. It may be a small simple gesture of kindness, but the impact on someone else may in fact be tremendous.

I speak of this as one who has been a recipient of such kindness.

It shouldn't be a surprise that a lot of in-worlders bring in their good-hearted nature with them to Second Life. It is also because of these good folks that Second Life can be a pleasant experience for a lot of us. The unconditional help they give away is something you will not ever forget. Even in silence you just carry on that feel-good sensation on your chest.


Who is LisaHot Juran?
She is an icon in Miramare, as residents who hang-out there frequently know her quite well. It is not too hard to find her as she is around all the time. The spark-plug that helped jump start my virtual engine, she pulled down my iron curtains so I could see a bigger and brighter Second Life.


Always here to help... Lisa doing her public service.


I remember the first time she showed me how to make storage boxes, which sort of baffled me in the beginning. Making sure it would have been easy for me to understand her instructions, she stooped down to my level and spoke the same noob language (in other words, she was very patient!). Having then taught me the basics of prim building (primitive shapes) not only helped me understand how virtual objects are manipulated, but also helped me sustain a well maintained inventory.

Through her mentoring, I have pretty much gained enough knowledge to aid me in creating my very own stuff. Building virtual items such as furniture and novelty items has never been so simple: from applying the right textures to effortless tasks such as linking multiple objects together (very important especially in building furniture).

What would take others at least a week to learn only took me a couple of days! Now that's sound advice worth more than a million lindens, something I will surely never ever forget.

Thanks Lisa!

Keep Moving Forward...

For sure with all the help I have been receiving from good Samaritans like Keeley and mentors like Lisa, just saying a simple thank you would not be enough. I guess the best way to show my gratitude is to help others! After all I used to be a noob in need myself.

Though I do wish that there would be less griefing by some residents. Some people (greifers) find it funny and amusing to harass others. In some extreme cases, they even hassle the very people who would want to make a difference in SL. Having more of the "helping" rather than the "griefing" would surely make Second Life very pleasant for us all.


On the look out for noobs in need, Lisa along with Lizzy and I in Miramare: paying a good deed forward.


So if you ever were approached by someone just wishing to help you out, please be nice. There is a big chance that it might be Lisa just wanting to give you a helping hand, or Samaritans just wishing to pay a good deed forward!