Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Post #3 on hold because I have the flu T.T

But happy birthday Rudh! When I can manage it, this post will actually be a birthday post in your honour, but you're away til the weekend anyway. Having a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious time I am sure! :)

Monday, 18 March 2013

Zombies and skeletons and CREEPERS, oh my!

HALP! Creeper on my house!
Post #2 as promised! This one will probably leave most readers going 'huh?' but it's an attempt to explain what I've been up to since not coming into SL these past months.

My little boy, who will be 5 in a week's time, likes to browse YouTube for computer game reviews, which feature commentary with video of the gameplay. He discovered Minecraft this way, which is a very popular game because it isn't just about fighting monsters, it also has a creative and social element just like SL. He really wanted to try it and I let him have a go, even though I thought it might be a bit difficult for him. Turns out I was wrong, he is a whiz - at least with building and fighting, he isn't so great at resource gathering and conservation, but that's what mummies are for ;-) I got hooked too, and another SL friend set up a multiplayer server, to which I have now attracted three more friends from SL! It's like I am spearheading a mass exodus, muahahaha *ahem*. Anyway, Bean loves playing on his own in Creative mode, where you can just build without worrying about resources or monsters, or dying when you fall off the roof; but he especially loves to come adventuring with me on the server, despite the fact that we frequently die in horrible ways. More about that, and creepers, in a moment, but I will explain a bit more about the game first.

The creative element of Minecraft is that you get to build things, just like in SL but with NO PRIM LIMITS!!! although there are very few shapes to work with and you can't individually texture things. There are also no space limits as you have a whole world to explore, with computer generated terrain equivalent to the surface area of Neptune (so you really can't complain of being cramped). Another fun element of the game is that you have to go out and gather your resources from the world around you instead of simply rezzing what you want, so for example if you want to build a wooden house, you must make an axe and chop down trees; if you want to build with stone, you have to make a pickaxe and go mining. This is where the monster fighting comes in, because during every night cycle of the game, they spawn in the wilderness and come to get you. Some of them also hang around during the day, and since it is always dark underground, there are always monsters when you go mining. It helps to have armour, but iron ore is underground, so that you have to encounter more monsters while finding it, a somewhat circular scenario especially since your armour wears out and you keep having to craft a new set -- though in theory, if you play with friends, you could stick to a purely building and farming role and let them do all the dangerous work bringing home materials. You have to farm to generate food for survival, as hunger also plays a part in the game and you don't heal up on an empty belly.

Anyway, this brings us to the monsters, and specifically, the pictured avatar. (Bet you were wondering when we'd get to that.) The game has your typical zombies, skeletons and giant spiders - and big cubic slimes that bounce on you, which Bean loves attacking - but by some accidental* stroke of genius, the game creator also came up with one of the best monsters ever (imho). They are called Creepers, and they are totally silent and, in the dark (and particularly among trees) very well camouflaged. They scuttle up to you soundlessly on their four shuffling feet, and when they get within range, they explode. This obviously isn't good for your health, though not fatal if you are wearing armour, but it has an extremely annoying side effect. The explosion doesn't just damage you; it takes out everything within blast range,   carving craters in the ground, destroying your buildings, letting in flood water, or knocking out bridges and dropping you hundreds of meters down into a chasm - or worse, when you're deep underground, a lake of lava. The only warning you have of this impending doom is the soft 'psssss' of a primed creeper just seconds before it goes off - enough time, if you aren't backed into a corner, to sprint in the opposite direction and at least escape the worst. You could probably walk around in real life and determine the Minecraft players by sneaking up on people and going 'psssss!' behind them; the ones who leap forward like Olympic sprinters are a sure bet.

*It really was accidental. He was trying to make some kind of explosive pig.

As you can imagine, Minecraft players grow to hate creepers. As a concept, and when you aren't directly confronted by them, they are awesome. Close up and personal, they are anyone's worst nightmare. I'm sure I am no different from most Minecraft players in having a love/hate relationship with the little hissers. (Bean adores them. He will set them off deliberately with no regard for his own health, or adjacent architecture. But then his first attraction to the game was through TNT, so go figure.) So when I found out that someone had made a creeper avatar, I had to get it. It's a little bigger than it should be (dwarfing other residents, when it should be person-sized) but I might be able to shrink it with some careful modding; unfortunately it's no copy, which is always a bugbear with worn items. It also doesn't have any sound or explosion animations. However, it was only L$80 and looks great, so I'm not complaining. I climbed up onto the 'roof' of my house, an up-ended ship, and love the photo I got (top image) which is now my desktop. If I saw that in Minecraft I'd be going NOOOOOOOOOOOO! - best thing to do in these circumstances is run out of range then take the critter out with a bow and arrows before it wrecks your build.
Explosive new design on the catwalk
While wandering around in my new avatar (some time back in February) I visited SL Fashion Week because of something I'd seen on Rudh's blog. The entrance to this market is a catwalk, so I found myself in a hilarious situation as a creeper doing a fashion walk. You had all better raise the rafters with your applause or this creeper will take out the whole stage! Nobody wants a creeper to have a hissy fit. "This season, it's all about camouflage - work those greens, baby!"

If you want to know more about Minecraft, besides trying a free demo from their website, you could watch some fan songvids on YouTube. There are some hilarious and beautifully made parodies of current pop songs, staged using in-game graphics, and you can pretty much just type in 'minecraft song' and surf, but because I've been discussing creepers, here's one of my favourites about them. Actually I think the song is completely original, and a pretty catchy tune!

Item Credits:

Creeper avatar by Mai (maimoamimo) sold on marketplace.

Shipwreck, fully furnished with undersea themed low-prim mesh furniture, FREE from the Arcadia Asylum Recovery Library (I will have to make a post about this soon, there is some awesome stuff there and word deserves to get out). The palm tree at the bow is my Khargo tropical log (see last post) which I have since rearranged.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Chillin' in my new treasure chest;
no I am not a leprechaun :p

Surprise! Bet you all thought I'd died, or fallen off the edge of the world or something *g*

The fact is I was ill for so long (Nov through Feb) that I struggled to finish the Colour Challenge and then felt both a bit burned out and lost when it was over. I also discovered Minecraft, thanks to my small son (more of that to follow) and so decided to take a bit of a hiatus from SL. I couldn't afford to keep renting a parcel for my castle if I wasn't going to be here, and the whole situation was a bit depressing, so I chickened out of even letting folks know what was going on - but I figure you all probably know my little sister Rudhmellowen Laguna and could have asked her ;-)

Well, ostensibly I only logged on today to gather some details for another post - I'll be putting up three in a row! - but of course it's St Patrick's Day, and green is mandatory. I wore my Hunter Green outfit from the Colour Challenge and bought a new hat to complement the occasion. I don't have any connections with Ireland whatsoever; I don't even know anyone who is Irish, or - to my knowledge - can claim Irish descent. I just like festivals, and joining in the spirit of things. Though I find it funny, in a more ironic than amusing way, that only St Patrick's Day is big in SL. All right I wouldn't expect St George (England's patron saint) or even St David (Wales') to get much of a look-in, but there are plenty of Americans who are proud of their Scottish heritage, so why do we never hear about St Andrew's Day? (It's on Nov 30 for those who are interested.)

I then spent an enjoyable hour or so wandering around the Epic Toy Factory looking for Steam Hunt prizes in a fantastic Lost World setting; I took lots of photos and might post them up later (then that will be 4 new posts...) There are 5 prizes, very easy to find if you follow the instructions (!) and the hunt runs until March 31 so you've plenty of time. After the hunt, I was feeling very kindly disposed towards the creator and had whet my appetite for shinies, so I made a couple of extravagant purchases, one of which I am sitting in for this post. It is a lovely little treasure chest, a low prim mesh build with 7 poses, though the chest itself does not move.

Tea for two on my tropical sand bar
I had to abandon my castle, as I said, but I own a tiny parcel of First Land which I will never give up, and there I have built a floating island with a geodesic dome on it. Inside the dome is a tranquil lagoon where the waves lap gently against a little sand bar with a shady palm tree, and a shipwreck converted into a dream home for a mermaid. My new chest is very fitting for my tiny desert island, as (un)buried pirate treasure. Dragons are always digging up pirate treasure; we've a nose for it like truffle pigs. I feel very comfy nestled into a nice cool pile of coins during the tropical midday sun, with a tasty snack of petit fours and a creamy latte.

Chest from another angle, with petit fours

The fabulous, tentacular, colour changing Tako tea set is by Schadenfreude and available from the Arcade, piecemeal, as random gatcha prizes. Now I'm not sure if you know my feelings on gatchas - every time (as now) when I could write about them, I feel myself starting to rant and don't want to bore you - but I mostly avoid them on principle, and wild horses could not drag me to a gatcha event like the Arcade (which is why I'm not linking you!) It is a sore point for me that this one of my favourite creators loves gatchas and frequently makes the most adorable things for them, so that I miss out and am cross. However, my darling little sister is smitten with the things and managed to acquire enough pieces for the both of us, so that I now have the full 8 piece set of commons and 1 spare latte for a guest. It is worth noting that despite at least 16 tries on the machine, which cost her L$400, she did not receive a single rare, which goes some way to explaining why I think they are the invention of the devil. But I'm not going to rant. I will just enjoy my tea set now that I have it. Look how dainty and detailed it is! I love tentacles. I think this has been said before.

Tako tea set in close-up

Item Credits:

Outfit: As worn in Colour Challenge 39 - Hunter Green, plus Emerald Isle hat from The Mad Hattery (L$50 'til end of today only).

St. Patrick's Day Treasure Chest from the Epic Toy Factory.

Tako tea set (3 pieces shown) from Schadenfreude @ the Arcade (but will be sold in her store afterwards).

"Tropical log" seat with palm tree and dune grass from Khargo.

Sprouting coconut with wave sounds from G Field.

Sea urchin table from the Arcadia Asylum Recovery Library. (More on this in a future post.)

Venus sea-shell posing prop from N326 - I couldn't see any on sale though, and I modified this one as a static posing prop (you wear the original and sit curled up inside the shell). Mame used to send me things she was working on for help with English translations, but I lost contact when I had my son and couldn't keep up with extreme time zones any more. I was surprised to find her store still exists as her blog just stops after 2010. The building looks as though it has suffered heavy griefer attack, but that could be a deliberate reflection of the 2011 Japanese earthquake disaster (where she is from). She sells some very cute and quirky things, specialising in rugs and cushions with multiple animations that don't require you to sit on a pose ball. Rudh will remember her as the creator of our Dean and Sam quoting cacti!

More posts to follow but it's nearly midnight and I must get to bed. Hope you all had a very enjoyable day! (I should have stuck a rainbow over the chest, shouldn't I - or would that have been too cheesey?)