Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've been happily plucking along on my new house, which is inspired by a lovely building designed by an architect named Elmer Fisher. It was built in the late 1800's and I adore it.  It's a commercial building, but I thought it could be converted into a townhouse sort of structure.  The architectural style is "Richardsonian Romanesque."

I thought I had it just the way I wanted it last night and I started applying some test textures when I realized that the columns protrude much too far.  The rounded parts of the building aren't supposed to look like turrets, they're just a more pillar-like appendage that gives the building more architectural interest.


And so now I'm thinking about starting all over from scratch.

I suppose that's not a bad thing because it's all more building practice, but I did want to have a structure to set down in New Babbage as quickly as possible.

Back to the drawing board!  Again...

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Rubble Ball, and I'm a landowner!

Well, I didn't end up purchasing that property I mentioned in my last entry, nor did I pursue my clever idea. It's still bouncing around in my head though, and I might drag it out at some later point.

Instead, I took a tour of the city with a new friend I met during The Rumble Ball at Piermont Landing.

Let me back up.

On Saturday night, Ms. Breezy Carver held a magnificent ball at Piermont Landing, which had recently been destroyed by the dastardly villain, Dr. Obolensky. The venue was tremendous - rubble, fallen columns, still-burning fires and the like. A great many people were there.  A dashing gentleman named Mr. Matthieu Manamiko, who is new to New Babbage, invited me to dance. We spent the evening whirling around the detritus-strewn dance floor.

Later that night Mr. Manamiko and I met for drinks and then wandered through the city. We are both relative newcomers; he just moved here, and I am still becoming reacquainted with New Babbage.  It was quite pleasant to walk and explore with a new friend.

At some point I began looking at the available townhouses that were listed in the most recent real estate card, but didn't fall in love with any of them.  There were things I liked about all of them, but there was some drawback to each that prevented me from wanting to rent.  All of this looking made me long for a real home in New Babbage though, more than just a room at a tavern.

Then we happened upon a lovely plot of land  abutting a quiet park in the Academy of Industry sim. I knew I wanted it almost immediately.  I contacted Mr. Tenk, who sold it to me the next morning. And now here I am, overjoyed to once again be a landowner in New Babbage.

Now to the work of building myself a real house!

Friday, June 24, 2011

An idea blossoms...

I spoke to Mr. Tenk last night about possibly buying the sheep meadow (Coronet Gardens is the official name, I think), over by the ruined bridge in New Babbage.  Unfortunately, someone else had grabbed it yesterday morning.  This is what I get for waiting.

Be that as it may, I think I have an even better idea of what I'd like to do in the city after giving it some more thought today.  It's something that occured to me a couple of weeks ago, but I set it aside to consider some other ideas.  This one keeps coming back though, and I think I know a great spot for it.

I need to log in and IM Mr. Tenk before this one disappears too...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Thank You

I neglected to mention that at the Pearse anniversary party, a longtime resident of New Babbage sent me a private note to say thank you.  I was puzzled about what she could possibly have to thank me for until she explained that one of the big influences that brought her to New Babbage was my newspaper, The New Babbage Cog.

I really only managed the paper for four or five months before I handed it off to Eggberta Echegaray, and she continued it for about the next year.  It was started on a whim when I saw that there was a periodical being given away on newsstands in Caledon.  ("Hey, that's a good idea!  We need something like that in New Babbage!")  Apparently it was a critical time for the city though, and I'm thrilled to have helped attract people who ended up staying for the duration.

It was maybe a small thing, but it made me very happy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Drink Contest Entry: Angler Ale!

I fiddled with QAvimator for days and although my drink animations did get better, I'm still not completely happy with them.  Still, the rest of this week is going to be busy so I polished them up as much as possible (which isn't saying a whole lot) and stuck them into my drink.

I put the drink into a giver and set it on a table in Tomonah Hall next to the Porthead Tavern sign.  I have no idea if a pub can have multiple drinks next to it in the contest, but since I don't really know the other establishments and since I'm renting there, it seemed to make the most sense.

On the wall I hung my 2D advertisement, which is for the drink I entered:

As I've said previously, I have no expectation of winning, I'm just excited to be participating.  In the process it gave me a good reason to experiment with scripting, particles, building, and animating.  Not bad!

The Pearse Anniversary

Friday night was Edward Pearse and Christine McAllister Pearse's 4th anniversary celebration.  It was held in a beautiful location in the Vernian Deep, where I'd not yet visited.

The Vernian Deep itself is a marvelous set of builds, all running along the sea floor.  I didn't spend any time exploring, but just the walk between the elevator and the ballroom was enough to raise my interest.  Imagine an underwater Victorian steampunk city - this is the flavor of the Vernian Deep.

This was the first event at which I was asked to dance.  I spent a great deal of time dancing with Dr. Kristos Sonnerstein, who was quite charming and well-mannered.  The chatter in the room was festive and enjoyable, and I stayed until the end.

Dr. Sonnerstein asks me to dance:

Whirling around the room:

When I got home to the tavern, I stood on the balcony for awhile and contemplated my hardware troubles, and took some comparison snapshots.  On the left is what I usually see with the viewer set to levels that allow me to actually function in-world.  On the right is what I would see if I had hardware capable of displaying the highest quality graphics.  (Well, to be fair, I suppose that my hardware is capable, I just can't do anything when rendering is set so high.)

I feel like I'm missing so much.  Something must be done!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mr. Underby's Rez Day Party

Mr. Yoyo Underby, the proprietor of an establishment called The Bucket of Blood in a district of New Babbage known as The Gut, celebrated his 2nd rez day today.  I was able to make it to the last bit of the party and stayed for the "after party," and had the opportunity to meet several new folks.

I think this was my favorite event so far.  I found myself laughing out loud several times at the interactions between those present.  What a marvelous city New Babbage is.

A snapshot of me relaxing with a cigar back in the corner, which I haunted for much of the night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More work on the New Babbage drink

Tonight I did some more work on my particle script, stuck it into my drink, popped in a toggle function and tweaked the particle script relative to the sample drink animation script.  Now that it's all working smoothly and I like the drink itself, I can devote myself to other things.  Namely, Blender.

I downloaded and installed it tonight, and am reading through the newbie tutorial for making SL animations in Blender.  If things go well, I think I can create a custom animation for my drink and enter it in the contest without being ashamed for using the sample scripts and animations.

Here is a teaser pic of my drink!  Bet you'd like to know what makes it glow, wouldn't you?  (Other than PSYS_PART_EMISSIVE_MASK, I mean...)

At my leisure

I did nothing productive last night.  Instead I went to the last part of a bonfire party at Sweetwater Square hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Melnik.  Although I was late I did have an opportunity to see the bonfire fall, which was great fun.  Mr. Blackberry Harvey was the DJ at this event and was kind enough to play a Leonard Nimoy encore.

Afterward I retired to my room at the Porthead Tavern where I tinkered with a piece of art I've been working on. Ultimately I didn't accomplish much.  I ended up going out to the bar and drinking with some other midnight burners. It's been quite enjoyable to just claim a barstool and pass the time in aimiable chat. The rental at the tavern is working out very well in that regard.  I like the idea of being able to work in my room for awhile and then just wander out to the bar for conversation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

National Drinking Month contest

Apparently June is National Drinking Month in New Babbage, and there is a contest to mark the occasion.  Mr. Tenk has invited participants to create drinks, drink servers and vintage ads that can be used by bartenders.

I created an ad almost immediately after he posted the notice, but I've been waffling on whether to try to enter the drink contest.  It requires building a beverage, scripting it and animating it.  Some sample scripts and animations were given out to anyone who wants to use them, but it seems kind of a cop out to do that.

There is an idea that has been floating around in my head for a new drink, so I experimented a bit last night. I built a glass, textured it, and played around with the sample scripts and animations. They're rather plain, but I might use them. I'm not sure that I can come up to speed on Blender again before the June 25th deadline.

I also spent quite a bit of time toying with particle scripts, because particles would really enhance my drink idea. I had forgotten just how tricky particles are.  Gah!

Anyway, I'm still mulling it over.  I'll keep working on it before deciding whether or not to enter the end product. I don't have any expectation of winning, but at least participating would be fun. It seems like good practice either way. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Doctor Who!

Tonight I was in the mood for some sight-seeing, so I decided to check out Katrina, where there is a very large (perhaps THE very large) Doctor Who exhibit.  The museum was amazing - I could rez all of the different police boxes that have been used over the years for the Tardis (properly TARDIS for "time and relative dimension in space," so determined by the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan).

For a Doctor Who geek, it's heaven.  I didn't stay to check everything out at length.  I'd love to go back and see all of the different Tardis console / interiors sometime though.

Here I am, outside in the plaza, which is designed to look like the Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff, where the Cardiff rift is in the series (and in Torchwood!)  Before visiting I had decided that I needed a break from my steampunk attire, so I donned some smart Amy Pond threads.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grand Opening of Porthead Tavern

I'm tipsy with excitement, and perhaps a bit too much lager.

Tonight I attended the grand opening party of Ms. Tesla Tripsa's Porthead Tavern in Port Babbage.  Mr. Vic Mornington DJ'd the event. It's the first social event I've attended since returning, and although there were many times I felt awkward, the overall experience was pleasant. 

Rather than operating in wallflower mode, I danced.  Rather than leaving as soon as the party was officially over, I stayed at the bar with several others to chat for a long while.  I had the opportunity to meet several new folks, and perhaps make some new friends.  Hopefully I didn't make a fool of myself.  It's been a long time since I've been social.

Although I tried to take several pictures while I was there, my graphics card being what it is, many of those present were, well, unrezzed.  So I took this silly snapshot of myself dancing:

I came away from the event with a lovely gift from Mr. Mornington:

I think it makes me look a bit sad, but I like it nonetheless.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's done!

I think I'm done with the Kittiwickshire house.  Well, I'm sure I'll do some tweaking here and there, but it's done otherwise.

If it looks like a girlie house, that's because it's what I was shooting for.  A little beach cottage fit for a lady.

Too bad it's me that will be living there.  ;-)

Next step:  Garden!

Above:  The photo I worked from compared to the finished product.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The cottage is coming along

Tonight I did some retexturing work, added a gable and some sculpted window frames.

Still on my to do list:
  • Window panes
  • New foundation texture
  • Back walls (!)
  • Interior textures
  • Porch posts, balusters, rails, and maybe spandrels
I'd also like to add some kind of garden, and an area in the back for sitting and looking out at the sea.  Perhaps a dock, but I'm not sure.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More work on the Kittiwickshire house

Last night I decorated my new room at the Porthead Tavern in Port Babbage.  I was going for a 19th century Bohemian look, and this is what I came up with:

Tonight I opted to spend the evening in Caledon working on my build in Kittiwickshire.  I had decided already that the scale of the build I had started was all wrong, so I more or less started from scratch.  Using the door at the Porthead Tavern as a model for a good height relative to my av (everything has to be scaled bigger for avatars anyway because they're generally taller than humans, and the camera angle makes realistic scales impractical).    Then I sized a door in Kittiwickshire to roughly the same proportions and, silly as it sounds, I built the house around the door.

I'm using a picture of a small Victorian cottage as inspiration.

Here is how my newbie house is turning out.  I'm using stock textures and it's flashing all over the place, but I'm working it out.  The scale is better not only for my av, but also relative to the builds all around it.  I was aiming for a small structure in comparison to the others, so this is a bit closer to the mark.

It's not special, but it's exercising some muscles that haven't been used for awhile...

Monday, June 6, 2011

A little problem with scale

I wasn't in-world long last night, but while I was there I took a quick look at the build I started in Kittiwickshire.  It was then that I realized that the scale is all wrong.  I set out to build a simple cottage, but it's the size of a damned warehouse.

When I have time, I'm going to scrap it and start over.

It's a good exercise regardless.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm a New Babbager!

I rented a room from Tesla Tripsa at the Porthead Tavern!

All of the apartments are upstairs on the same level as the tavern.  I'll be staying in #4, which is in the back on the water side of the building.

When I arrived there today to speak to Ms. Tripsa, Ms. Kaylee Frye and Ms. Bianca (whose last name I've forgotten already, unfortunately) were having a chat.  They were very welcoming, and gracious when I interrupted their conversation.  It was delightful to see both Ms. Tripsa and Ms. Frye again!

Building a cottage

I started framing out a simple cottage in Caledon Kittiwickshire last night.  At the moment it's very square.  It was fun to start a project like this though, and in the process I got to see Desmond and meet my neighbor, Lindy, whose store is just across the way.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

So close, but so far away

The following is a picture of a couple of things I pulled out of my alt's inventory.  There is a telegraph built by Intolerable that would send out an SOS signal (though to whom I don't recall), and my steampunk goggles.  The goggles were the first thing I made to wear, and I loved them.  I wore them all the time, as did Intolerable.  They were good sellers.  They were scripted so that the user could change the opacity and color of the lenses on click.  They're really pretty lame by todays sculpty standards, but I dug them at the time.

The Great Wipe didn't leave any goggles in my inventory.  I was thrilled to see these in my alt's inventory, but alas, I was so clever that I had made them no transfer when I gave them to my alt.  So even though I have them, I don't have them.

Blast it.

Right, then. On to other matters!

On Meeting Mr. Tenk

Last night during my wander of New Babbage, I found myself at the Porthead Tavern in Port Babbage checking out some sculpted bottles.  As I looked, the Mayor walked in and introduced himself.  We spent some time chatting about the state of NB (how incredible I think it is), the difficulty the city has had bringing in active residents, industrialization versus gentrification, and that sort of thing.

It was wonderful to meet him, and I've been giving thought to our conversation.  I'm thrilled to be back inworld, and I'd like nothing more than to be able to support and work in the city, but honestly, at my best I was only a mediocre builder. As a relative newcomer, it is a bit intimidating to see just how tied together everything seems in the city, and the obvious skill of the builders who made it.  There is a City of New Babbage thread, however, that gives me hope that I could eventually do something to not only participate in the community there, but to contribute to the overall theme:

Build Quality and Babbage Standards

Now isn't the time though for a major undertaking though.  I need to turn some ideas over in my head before committing to anything.  But it is something I'm thinking about.

On Being a New Babbage Founder

I've made quite a bit of being an NB founder in my profiles and in this blog. To be clear, I don't think being a founder bestows any special privilege, or that it should.  It is something I'm proud of only because I feel a connection to the city, and that maybe I played some small role in getting something wonderful off the ground. I've indulged in some nostalgia and reminiscing, and certainly some romanticizing, but the truth is that it was a matter of timing more than anything.  I happened to find the sim just as Mayor Sprocket was getting it started, I loved the vision he had for its future, and I wanted to be part of it.

The fact that it has thrived since then is exciting, but I am, at this point, only part of its past.  Those who have run with the idea since the city's inception have my unlimited admiration!

On the Art and Science of Building

I mentioned above that at my best I only had moderate skill as a builder.  That was long ago.  Sculpted prims had only been just introduced before I left, and Mayor Sprocket had just placed the first sculpts in the city - some grain bags on the train platform.  Sculpting tools were all external, and I hadn't gotten the hang of using 3D modeling applications.

A couple of days ago I tried out an inworld tool demo that allows a builder to put together some specially scripted prims into their intended design, then link them to another script that connects everything to a back-end sculpt map generator.  The map file is dumped on your local machine, you import it and slap it on a new prim to complete the sculpt.  It was interesting.  I built the obligatory snowman to try it out and had good luck with it. It's an expensive tool but I might take the plunge. I'd like to try out some other tools first though.

Baked textures is another area where I'm not proficient.  It seems that one needs to master texture creation in order to create anything really compelling.  At the Porthead Tavern there was a one-prim chair with a texture that made the wood parts look like wood and the cushion part look like cushion.  I have no idea how that was accomplished.

Before I left in 2007 I was doing a lot of work with microprims, making Victorian eyeglasses and such.  I had started making some of my own animations.  My last structure was a build for Intolerable's Steam SkyCity plot.  It was inspired by the movie The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, with downward spires, slightly convex walls and dark shingles.  It had an exposed mechanical elevator that took you down to the airship platform beneath the city (which floats).

Last night I built a rudimentary ring to wear, just to reintroduce myself to building. It was a good reminder to me that I'm not yet ready to do anything ambitious.  I'm thinking that I might begin work on a simple house on my Caledon land to get back into practice.  I also need to look into some classes to come back up to speed.

On Technical Issues Which Prevent Optimal Viewing

One thing that became abundantly clear to me during the last week was that I needed a better video card.  Even on the lowest settings I had a hard time moving around, and rezzing was slow.  Last night I picked up a middle-of-the road card (that at least isn't considered "legacy") and installed it.  It's a bit better, but the SL client the next-to-lowest graphics setting as its "recommended" level for my hardware.  So I have a bit more visual interaction with the world, but it's still not great.

I might try looking into other SL viewers to see how that changes things, but I think it will come down to me needing to upgrade my hardware.