Sunday, April 30, 2006

Amazement and Towers

One thing that always amazes me that anyone has ever heard of me in Second Life at all. I fear that I shall never get over the idea that anyone might remember my name or, for that matter, know it without me having met them or annoyed them in some way. I am most gratified whenever anyone does, believe me, but each time I am quite astounded by it.

Me on a tarot card

The above came to mind when I was asked by the very talented Tateru Nino to pose for the illustration on the Tower on a Tarot deck. Of course, I was immensely flattered to be asked, and I think that it ended up rather well - you can see the full set on Dwell On It. I think it's a fascinating thing to interpret the Tarot in the medium of Second Life avatars; an activity that I am proud to be connected to. Torley as the Fool is particularly good.

I am not an expert in the Tarot and certainly not in the meaning of the Tower card, but I see from Wikipedia that:
* To some, It symbolises failure, ruin and catastrophe.
* To others, the Tower represents the Paradigms constructed by the Ego, the sum total of all Schema which the mind constructs to understand the universe. The Tower is struck by lighting when Reality does not conform to expectation.
* Epiphanies, transcendental states of consciousness, and Kundalini experiences may result.
Hm. Well. This is not intended to be a conventional interpretation and thus I will not take the "ruin" elements to heart. My Lighthouse has yet to be struck by lightning, though Reality has commonly failed to conform to expectations, mostly on the matter of physics and sim boundaries.

~ * ~

Recently I have been doing many things, as always, but today I decided to take a break from speculative technology and concentrate on something that I find strangely relaxing - the replication of antiquities in Second Life.

It is a good test of one's skills to attempt to create a functional duplicate of an object that exists in the "Real World", and it is ideal for those moments when one is not feeling desperately inspired and full of ideas for novelties, as all of the details are already there. In fact, quite often during the process one comes up with an idea for something entirely different. Just as the way around Writer's Block is to write, so the way around Creator's Block is to create.

This Sunday I decided to build a replica of Dr Watson's service revolver, something which would be of interest to a few people, I judged. There are different opinions as to precisely which model this would have been, but I settled on the .455 Webley as my choice. In actual fact I based my model around the Mark 6 version, which was only created in 1915, but don't tell anyone that. They all look rather similar in any case.

Webley pose 5.jpg
Webley closeup.jpg
Webley broken open on table.jpg

Being myself I couldn't help but add a series of features once the basic design and texturing were complete, so the revolver, apart from firing bullets as one would expect a revolver to, now

* has a selection of various sampled sounds attached to it;
* has custom animations for holding and firing the weapon, as I can't stand the default ones;
* has muzzle smoke;
* breaks open when one has fired all six rounds, ejects the empty cartridges (which fall to the floor) and animates one's avatar to engage in reloading.

You know, if one is going to spend hours scouring the Inter Net for textures and images, one should at least also spend some time scripting suitable behaviour for the device.

A couple of antiquarian friends of mine with a particular interest in antique firearms have indicated their approval of the final product, and thus I think I shall put it out for sale forthwith. To return to my original theme, that is the other thing that continually surprises me about Second Life, the idea that people will actually pay good Lindens for things that I create. I should hope that they would as I have already spent several hundred on textures, animations and sounds for this one item. It is not just a question of one payment for each component, either - it is impossible to tell whether an animation appears just right, or whether a sound seems quite appropriate, before one has uploaded it and paid to do so.

~ * ~

Now, if you will excuse me, I must return, as I wish to speak to Mr Shang on the subject of a noticeboard for residents.

Incidentally, I am selling my land in Theretra. If anyone wishes to buy a continuous plot of land there with amenable neighbours, please do contact me.


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