Sunday, October 23, 2005

Get a Moove On !

In my travels in Virtual Worlds I have been many other places other than Second Life, but in a way like Hoover, Biro, Sellotape etc, the phrase '2L' as I have come to use it, to me, means the entire virtual or '2nd world' of digital existence, as opposed to ' RL' ( Real Life) of as I prefer to call it '1L' or first life.

Here is a brief glimpse of a world that occupied me briefly before finding Second life; its the world of MOOVE.

Moove is described as a ' 3D online world' where you can create you own avatar (AV) self, dress him or her, change some aspects of the looks of your AV and then furnish and decorate virtual rooms of your own, and meet and chat and interact in many ways with your virtual neighbours.

Above is how Moove looks on the screen, taken in my 'house' in the main salon room which I created using Moove tools. So, what is Moove like?

Well firstly Moove is not a persistent virtual universe like 2nd Life or Neocron in that when you are not there, the places u create are not there and no one can visit them while you are not around. They exist when you log on, and recreate at each log on exactly as u created them. 3D means you can walk around inside the spaces and around objects like furniture so my chairs are really chairs which your AV can sit in and adopt poses and animations from a pop up menu. The movement system is a little tricky and consists of camera controls like in Second Life and click to move to spots where your AV will walk. You can see above, behind, in front and from various angles around ur AV and through your Av eyes, what SL calls ' mouselook' or first person view.

Your house is laid out as u create it. The important thing to know about Moove is that there are no communal places, there is no general world or landscape outside what u make yourself. Your house appears as 3D rooms, like a green Star Trek holodeck grid and you texture and decorate using imported patterns. You get a map view of your house layout and can beam from one room to another pretty fast, and the room realises around you. Rather than importing textures and storing them in world on the game server like SL, u have a unique and great way to import textures into Moove by just dragging them from your HD literally right into the room, where they then appear as a cube like a basic SL 'prim'. You just throw the pattern cube at any surface and it instantly resizes and scales to fit that space.. magic !

here is part of my roof penthouse studio with Japanese shoji walls and wood.

using the simple and ingenious pattern drag and drop onto walls ive created many interesting rooms in Moove, in my Japanese house.

Moove allows you to make doors that link rooms together - click on the door, go through and you are in the other room. You can even make gardens, but they are in fact just rooms in the house plan using a garden theme, not public areas or part of an 'outside world'

Moove is a simpler graphic world than Second Life by far but as a room designer it lets me do one more unique thing I still cannot do in Second Life - boooh ! and that's MIRRORS !!

Look behind my AV in this Hall of Shoguns and see the amazing instant mirror effect in Moove on any wall . its truly reflective and you can see yourself and everyone else moving and reflecting exactly like 1L. Amazing !

See how good the mirror effect is? Now why cant the technologically superior Second Life do that?

The other graphic that impresses me and we still dont have in Second Life is that your Av shadow really is a real shadow, and moves and alters angle and shape exactly as your AV does - looks amazing, and again, MUCH better than the primitive 'foot shadow' blur in SL.

Moove however is really limited in some ways, you will have seen that my AV isnt really looking much like me (my chest hasn't been that small since I was 12 !!) and AV making is really limited. You can import ' outfits and avatars' and ' rooms' and 'furniture' created on 3rd party sites, and import items of clothes but the actual AV or ' actor' as it's called in Moove always have the same body shape for everyone. This is where its completely lower scale than SL. There are no alien forms, no furries, and robots and winged dragons, and when you make ur AV its a little bit like dressing a flat paper doll in a grid room. Each version of your AV in different dress is saved as a Actor file.

So, how do you meet and greet? - well here Moove really becomes limited. As a basic member all that can happen is people look you up on the web, see your profile on the Moove site and beam into your rooms as a visitor to chat with you. There are problems if each of you dont have the other persons dress items or actor files in the store, so you have to swap those from each others HD which takes time. Otherwise u all look like green grid box robots with boxes instead of body sections.

Chat is basic, and interaction is really a series of pose animations off a menu. Free walking is hard to do, and there is no fly. Sex is ( as always!!) a part of interaction and the Moove AVs will scuk and fcuk using pre programmed pose animations off the menu but its dull... but lets face it even in SL with all the amazing tech its still dull there !!! No games have got virtual sex right yet.. but that's another post !

So, Moove, creative art room decor program with some unique touches that even the mighty SL cannot replicate yet, crude AV making, dressing up at basic level, no economy to speak of, limited chat and no persistent virtual 'outside world' . Basically, you make your little self existing world and wait to see who shows up.


Moove yet however has some fun elements, the simple and fun artistic room making for me was the main interest but it lacks real longevity and creative power compared to Second Life. I doubt if you are already in Second Life that you will gain anything to play with Moove. It is free, but maybe too basic to appeal to serious content creator or social player. I still visit to see my house, but that's part of my history and evolving and I have a fondness for Moove in that way.If you do drop in though and I am on, do come see my house !

Monday, October 10, 2005

SL NYC Convention - Crossing the Divide

SL NYC Convention - 1L meets 2L - LIVE!

This weekend 8-11th of October is the first ever Second Life Convention organised by a group of energetic SL residents, headed up by my friend Hiro Pendragon, and working with Linden Labs to create the first 1L meeting of SL players at the New York Law School.

This event crosses the digital gap between our 'meat' world of 1L and the digital universe of 2L and the core link is a video and audio streaming link between both worlds which showed presentations, speeches,meetings and question sessions happening LIVE at New York Law School which could be seen in world by SL residents. Guests included many Lindens on panels, question and answer sessions and Philip (Linden)the founder and energetic CEO of the Linden Labs group.

For me, in Japan, the event was too far for me to invest a week in travelling to New York to attend, though I avidly watched and listened to a lot of the content, when I could. I sponsored the event myself paying the in-game equivalent of $100 which now looking back doesnt seem much, as an in-world only sponsor. For this I gained a plot of land in SL near the giant screen and the virtual model of NYC Law School. Hard to belive this is the SL picture here, Hiro and team made this SO real ! I built a tribute exhibit.

My exhibit was a 'Dragon Hall' a richly textured Chinese style Hall with dragon wood, stone guardian dragons and solid pillars, with a distinct ' Metropolitaine ' feel about it.
I saw it as the kind of building that might exist in a city like NYC.

Inside it i created a vaulted complex ceiling of curves and elaborate dragon wood chinese lanterns suspended and floor based.

The lanterns are the classic chinese pagoda wood style with carved dragon fret cut wood, and glass painted panels. these you can see in Chinese restaurants around the world. If you want to buy one the entire range is now on sale in Neo Japan store.

On Sunday, and my Monday (Japan time) I tuned in to the giant screen in Fortuna sim with many many other AVs, The sim was FULL. Performance on the streaming was, sadly, poor with constant crashes, loss of signal, downtime and erratic jerky video and on and off sound which sounded at times like a broken mic.

The SL in-game audience coped with it with spirit knowing, as we all do, that we are pioneers in a never ending beta test with SL. In the end having spent many hours even on Japan's fantastically fast DSL Broadband ( Speeds of 15-20 mbps would be regarded as SLOW in Japan whereas many UK and USA residents get 512mb-2mb at best)I still gave up and went onto the net to listen:
rtsp:// This won't work now of course !
This however was not a lot better with server loss, failed connections and erratic picture and sound. Compared to even the poorest streaming radio station on the net this was pretty unreliable. Clearly the NYC Law School's ISP or streaming service was not up to the job.
The question I asked myself a lot and I am sure many have asked is ' do I wish I had been there?' on what was a history making exercise. Strangely enough, though you know i love SL dearly my decision is I am glad I did not go. How can I put it?.. well.. since being a little grl I have loved virtual life, and I have whoop with joy when I managed to get Lara to jump another gap, or escape another's always been an 'escape' for me, a fantasy world. I am not sure I want to meet the other SL AVs in their human forms, I prefer to meet them resplendent as winged angel, giant robot or cute bunny, or just as their 'wannabe' self!
I do like how virtual worlds bring out the kindness, help, friendliness and cheer or many yet also reveal the greed, selfishness and anger of others.. that way one can judge the human behind the AV.. in world without rules.. one becomes as one truly wishes to be and can leave behind all those excuses for not being what you can be, at your best !
Also much of what I listened to tho fascinating was very business like, about money, corporate expansion, technical needs and such, and of course the ever present politics .. and I am still myself (naiive?..) to prefer to continue to be the wide eyed child when in these magical ' I can fly' worlds.
For me, the experience, which reflects in the places I create is one of immersion, of wonder, of adventure and variety and I think for me to sit in a conference room and discuss it with others would not have been the same. I was struck looking around that there were more ANSHECHUNG.COM sponsor banners than SL !
I think I will continue to enjoy the varied multiverses I visit as Snakekiss just as they are, as uniquely separate worlds from my 1L self, yet places where I can be a 'better' me in many ways, physically, behaviour and ability. I want it to be that same magical feeling that I get when immersed in the lastest Harry Potter book overnight, or the 'can't wait' feeling that I get as the cinema curtain opens. That to me is the ultimate value of this...and the chance to see us humans better ourselves and learn. Perhaps if lessons come back from 2L to the 1st world yes this will be worth it! Maybe some day I will go, who knows.. WELL DONE Hiro !.. well done all.. a great and historic event made real by your hard work and imagination!
One amusing story then...
I 'beamed in to SL NYC Law School in-game from a shopping trip to Curious Kitties and others and soon attracted an eager crowd of guys wanting to chat about SL NYC and me. It wasn't until I looked back at the snapshots I had taken I realised I still had a dramatic 'no panty' and very non PG ( sorry!) outfit on... I wondered why they had all been so attentive, ah ha!
boys (even virtual boys) will be boys!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Hiroshima Garden 1945-2005

Looking back to August, I was lucky enough to be given a space to create a work in the annual Burning Life creative art project which is featured in Second Life. The project mirrors the creative 1L festival called Burning Man, held each year in the Nevada deserts, USA.

As this year was the 60th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WW2, I decided to feature a devastated city and garden landscape as a personal experience and thought provoking work of art. The week of creation leading up to the opening of Burning Life was very poignant for me, as while I was making the scenes of devastation and horror and suffering, my very good friends in New Orleans, USA were witnessing fire, flood, death, and human tragedy and destruction through the very streets along which I happily walked with them last year.

The great Linden journalist and writer Hamlet Linden has produced his own summary and article on my Hiroshima Garden work at the following site: