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  My Second Life, Part 10  
Posted 2004-06-28 by Tony Walsh

My Second Life
is a multi-part journal detailing the Second Life exploits and observations of Tony "Zero Grace" Walsh.

DarkWood: A Community With Roots

" are in this forest at dusk.. it's getting dark the light is fading... the fog is rolling in... little eyes start looking at you from the depths of the woods, you seem to think that scarecrow is.... following you with his eyes slowy turning... suddenly you see some light beyond that bend... a village! no one dares adventure past those first big trees leading in the black forest once the sun is down!"
-- Concept for the original DarkWood simulation as related by co-founder Nexus Nash.

DarkWood is one of Second Life's first theme-oriented realms, founded on whims of the dark fantastic, but now much more: Today's DarkWood encompasses such classic notions as chivalry, ribaldry, fealty, loyalty, masonry, carpentry, monarchy, anarchy, pleasantry, peasantry, gentry, rivalry, revelry, and archery. In short, it's a fantasy- and medieval-style setting that spans one and a one-quarter sims.

Continue reading: My Second Life, Part 10
  Second Life Fanblogger Cranks It Up  
Posted 2004-06-26 by Tony Walsh
Second Life afficionado Cristiano Midnight has turned up the indie-reporting heat, and is now maintaining two blogs: "Second Edition will contain timely news announcements, and will be updated as needed. Second Language will contain editiorial opinions from a variety of writers from all aspects of Second Life." Some of SL's more articulate residents are already on Cristiano's contributor list, so it looks like alternative, critical views of Second Life will now have greater--and unrestricted--exposure.
  Moblogging from Second Life  
Posted 2004-06-23 by Tony Walsh
Despite my initial disdain for moblogging (mobile weblogging), I should soon have some moblog entries here. More specifically, I am in the process of setting up a moblog to display "live" screenshots and commentary documenting my Second Life travels.

The system will allow me to take "photos" in Second Life and send these along with comments from within SL to an external email account-- this is a standard SL function whereby users can send their friends e-cards. The email is collected by the blogging system and stripped of text I don't want, leaving only my message and a picture. Hopefully I'll have this implemented soon, the technical aspect is all handled by the blogging system, and it's not too hard. The end result will be the ability to report "live" as events happen in Second Life. Pretty cool!
  Second Life v1.4  
Posted 2004-06-15 by Tony Walsh
Massively-multiuser online environment Second Life has been updated to version 1.4, a very significant update that includes such milestones as custom character animation support, shared streaming audio from Internet sources, and an XML-RPC implementation. This last improvement "...allows data and commands to be sent back and forth between disparate systems over the internet. In Second Life, this means computers outside of Second Life can communicate with Resident-created objects and scripts in-world. Some applications for XML-RPC include faster in-world blogging, the ability to send newsfeeds into Second Life and the capacity for store owners to manage their inventory remotely."

Second Life, ever the brave new world. You can catch up on my impressions of this VR environment in the article series My Second Life.
  My Second Life, Part 9  
Posted 2004-06-10 by Tony Walsh

is a multi-part journal detailing the Second Life exploits and observations of Tony "Zero Grace" Walsh.

Catching Up

Ahh yes. Nothing kills your leisure hours and side-projects like a new full-time job--up until recently I've been freelancing exclusively and was graced with plenty of cycles to burn on fun stuff. I've had a mere trickle of minutes over the last few weeks to spend in Second Life, but managed to host my first event: A meeting of the Monster Makers group. The rather informal rabble took turns transforming into a range of horrific critters. New acquaintances were made, and plans for a Halloween parade discussed.

While it's not likely I'll be banging off a new Second Life article every week any more, I did manage to get another edition together. While you're waiting for my next installment, you might be interested in keeping tabs on Cristiano Midnight's personal journal of Second Life goings-on. Between Cristiano and Hamlet Linden, you'll be set for frequent SL news.

Continue reading: My Second Life, Part 9
  My Second Life, Part 8  
Posted 2004-05-25 by Tony Walsh

is a multi-part journal detailing the Second Life exploits and observations of Tony "Zero Grace" Walsh.


Route 66 Demolition Derby

Builder Bonecrusher Slate and scripter Ramon Kothari grind Second Life's pedal to the metal with the car-on-car action game "Route 66 Demolition Derby," one of seven entries in Second Life's Game Developer Competition. Route 66 was launched with 8 distinct cars: A souped-up Model T, a purple PT Cruiser, the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee, a Mini Cooper, a black Hummer, Knight Rider's turbocharged Firebird, a blue meany called Splatter, and a green biohazard called Junker. Not just any vehicle will work in Route 66's arena—all official cars have different speed and handling characteristics as well as a Heads-Up Display (HUD) showing how much damage you've taken. The best indicators, however, are the parts that go flying off your vehicle as it gets smashed up. And when a critical level of damage is reached, your whole vehicle pops apart at the seams.

Continue reading: My Second Life, Part 8
  There Throws in the Towel  
Posted 2004-05-23 by Tony Walsh
Terra Nova tips us off to the decline of the multiplayer virtual universe There. Has There's contract with the US Army proven more lucrative than consumer ventures? Seems so.

According to Michael Wilson, VP of Community at There, Inc.: "We will no longer be making regular updates to the software, and we will not be fixing bugs...We will no longer be sponsoring the Mentor or Event Host Credit (EHC) programs, nor will we be paying Refer a Friend bonuses." [source]

Obviously any company that merely maintains the status quo of their online world rather than nurturing it is snubbing subscribers. Understandably, the natives are restless.
  SL Smash ‘Em Up  
Posted 2004-05-18 by Tony Walsh
Second Life now reeks with the stench of BURNING WRECKAGE! Indie game-development project Route 66 Demolition Derby brings smash `em, trash `em action to the SL 4-wheeler scene. There are currently three modes of play:

Demolition Derby [trailer]
"Grab a car and hold on tight! You're ready to get behind the wheel of an official Route 66 Demolition Derby car! Choose from one of 8 models, each with their own distinct features and handling. Enter the fray, and crash, bash, and smash your way to the top of the leader boards as you battle to become the King of the Arena!"

Route 66 Toxic City [trailer]
"The residents of Toxic City need your help! A tanker truck carrying illegal toxic waste has crashed downtown, leaving that portion of the city uninhabitable! Hop in your bulldozer, and clear the city of buildings so that an efficient HAZMAT clean up can begin. Be sure to collect the valuable Route 66 coins along the way. And be careful of that toxic waste!"

Route 66 Crash Test [trailer]
"A fun single player interactive ride, that allows you to 'become the dummy' in an official Route66 development vehicle. Are you brave enough to strap yourself in and set the MAX SPEED before your car rushes head first into the Route66 Crash Test Wall?"

I intend to try out and review Route 66 as soon as I get some free time. Sounds like hella fun.
  My Second Life, Part 7  
Posted 2004-05-16 by Tony Walsh

, Part 7

It took under ten minutes for my Land for the Landless in Janus to sell—appropriately to Schwanson Schlegel, one of Second Life's wealthiest land barons. With an eye peeled for a more cohesive neighbourhood, over a week passed before I scouted a new home amongst the oft-sardined dwellings of Second Life: DarkWood (114, 50).

The modest peninsula of DarkWood is split into quadrants by four rivers originating from a small central lake. The fantasy-themed region was once a testing ground for the ill-fated DarkLife project—an attempt to bring a role-playing game system to Second Life. Now, only a dark fortress, a small cottage, a graveyard, and a tiny zoo of inanimate animals remains. The rest of DarkWood has been populated by creative architects responsible for jewels such as a tranquil town square and the Elizabethan-style SL Globe Theatre. Although a few of the longest-standing members of the area have moved on, the newcomers seem to have taken up the mantle of responsible urban planning.

Continue reading: My Second Life, Part 7
  EFF in Second Life  
Posted 2004-05-06 by Tony Walsh
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Ren Bucholz is giving a series of presentations in Second Life.

The first, which begins tomorrow, is entitled "A Better Way Forward: How To Deal With Disruptive Technologies." Up for discussion is "...the history of technologies that shook up 'business as usual' for content holders and how we dealt with them in the past." Ren's speech will be followed by a Linden Labs rep discussing the DMCA's impact on Second Life.

Monday (May 10) features a chat entitled "Mash-Ups, Memos and the First Amendment Online," wherein copyright and the DCMA are discussed in their capacity to "squelch speech online." On Wednesday, May 10, it's "Exporting American IP: Trade Agreements, Treaties and Policy Laundering," covering the viewpoint that "The U.S. is exporting the bleeding edge of its maximallist intellectual property law to countries around the world."

These meetings are of course exclusive to Second Life, but anyone with a credit card can sign up for a 7-day trial and attend. Make sure you let them know Zero Grace sent you ;)
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