Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Burning Night

Things always get a little metaphysical on Carnivale around Halloween. Last year, the veil of life was thin and the dead rose to dance again in the halls. Some of those souls returned to paradise, others to eternal damnation. Well, the ones that returned to damnation apparently spoke of the marvelous time they'd had at the masquerade, and made their captors jealous. Last night I was contacted by an imp, a courier of a demon, who alerted me to the fact that certain creatures of the underworld were going to be inviting themselves to my masquerade this year. Rather than be a poor host, I decided to hold it in their honor.

You are invited, if you dare to come, to dance away the night with imps, devils, demons and seductive succubi. I will be host to the hosts of hell, and open my halls to those that you hopefully will never meet elsewhere. Come, all those that are tired of the same old circles and tortures and have some fun.

As usual I have to ask that when planning your costumes, you adhere to the following guidelines. They've been a policy since 2007 and have allowed my masquerades to be relatively lag free and very enjoyable for even those on older systems. If we all pitch in, we can all enjoy the costumes without gray people.

Please keep your prim attachments in total to 200 or less.
You can double check how close you are to the limit by using build, and holding down shift to click each item you're wearing. The build window will display the collected total of those prims.

Streamline your AO, or leave it at home
Nobody likes looking like a noob while being a wallflower. However, if you don't plan to dance, fill a veritably lag free, low prim ZHAOII with your two or three favorite stands. Otherwise, just go without.

No particles, and no listening scripts
Turn that bling off, and make sure you don't have any items on you that respond to chat commands. Make copies of items that have resize scripts in them and use the remove feature that many have included.

As usual, there will be a costume contest, determined by vote, to vie for the titles of the Burning King and Queen. Two previously unreleased, themed masks will be awarded as the prizes, along with an Angel Card good for 1500L worth of Illusions goodies.

If you are planning on coming, please be sure to join the "Illusions Burning Night Masquerade" group. There is a small fee of 150L as a token of commitment, to make sure that the people who are members seriously intend on coming. Make sure you join the group early, do not put it off because you don't have a group slot. Spots will go surprisingly fast, and I will refuse to add a single soul more than 50. I will, however, have a waiting list just in case anyone leaves the group, which has happened before. There will still be hope to get in even if you hear about it too late.

Masks are required, but a complimentary mask will be offered at the hall, which is the mask shown in the invite. I know the costume rules are tough to follow, especially when it's so tempting to go for excess, but I have the utmost faith in your creativity to be able to work around the limitations, and flourish. I can't wait to see you there.

Illusions Burning Night Masquerade
Saturday, October 23rd, 4PM SLT
Illusions Event Hall, Carnivale
(Join the "Illusions Burning Night Masquerade" Group)
Themed attire and mask required

Friday, September 17, 2010


Linden Lab is migrating the web-based SL commerce over to a new site, and I have to say it's a relief and a pleasure to see it. For years the majority of users who wanted to shop without going in-world used Second Life Exchange, then XstreetSL, which was eventually bought out by Linden. They also bought out the smaller, yet substantially more pleasant to use Onrez (formerly SLBoutique) and since Xstreet was more popular they kept that one active, and us merchants lost the online service we preferred to use. For a year and a half we've had to live with the ugly, inconvenient to use, cluttered but very popular Xstreet, but now that's finally changing.

LL is finally unveiling their new cohesive marketplace which is a beautiful merging of the two sites. The technology Onrez used to make it more pleasant to merchants and the incredible volume of products and vendors of Xstreet are being merged after all this time to create the new SL Marketplace. It's not perfect, and it's still in beta, but considering Xstreet is closing October 19th if you don't like it, you don't have much of a choice (except maybe go to Apez...?)

I for one welcome our new online commerce overlords. I'm actually really excited about this change and for once I didn't mind going through my listings and making changes using such handy tools as bulk edit and quick fill. The new marketplace has advanced technology like... listing keywords, and choosing related items. Can you believe Xstreet didn't have that? And there are a lot more advances and features on the way.

I've set up my storefront, and I'm actually looking forward to putting more of my store online than has been before. I've had a tendency to get impatient in the past and only put my biggest sellers or whatever I get around to. But they've made it so quick and easy I don't really have an excuse not to.

Quick tip for my fellow merchants, if your Magic Boxes end up getting full and hard to keep track of, rez another! Sort your products and put each group into a different box. And for people with multiple colors, keep in mind that soon colors will be able to be grouped under a single listing for an item, and really focus on updating and polishing up one copy of each item. The other colors can come later.

Hope you're as excited as I am, I have to say this is one of the nicest developments for content creators LL has unveiled since sculpts.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Runes, Chains and Dreamcatchers

My constant companion, life partner and always encouraging man has had one thing on top of his "things to make Siyu do" list for a while. There are things that he has on there which involve rescuing old projects that are sitting, waiting for attention, and things that he'd personally like to see me do, but there's one he's always bugging me about. "Decorate your horns! People will seriously love them, I'll love them! Make them!". So after Corvus & Columba, he hijacked me and would not let me create anything else at all until I'd worked on embellishing my horns, and had finished them. Since I'd already put it off before, I had no choice!

A couple of my friends suggested I carve runes into my horns, to give it an infernal or mystic look. I actually had a lot of fun going back into Zbrush and doodling on these, all of the little runes and designs were drawn on carefully, and I invented a couple of symbols. Each horn has a different design, symmetry in this case didn't look so good and it gave me a chance to do more doodles! These are available on all of the ram's horn styles. I considered putting them on to the Ibex horns but there wasn't enough surface area to really make them clear.

After an informal survey of customers and Masqueraderie, it seemed that most people had at least one style of my ram's horns on their favorites list. Nivicola in particular seemed to be well loved, and since its one of my favorite shapes as well I made the following specifically for Nivicola, designed and built around its eldritch curve.

I got it into my head that the curve of a ram's horn would be the perfect place to have a dream catcher. After sketches and a few failed attempts, I set about the mangling and abusing of an oblong sculpt. It drove me crazy, I spent hours and hours tweaking and pinching and straightening and then scrapping whole chunks of it, just to start over again. Lots of frustration, lots of sweat, (but that might have been because the AC was on low) and general pain. I dropped it for weeks but my man wouldn't let me forget it entirely. Finally, when all of the cords were satisfactory, textured, and fitting on the horn, I experimented with beads but scrapped them because I was so ready to be done. After a break, and feeling the finish line was finally close, I made some new beads and stones and of course they look wonderful. They're finally just right.

Do I even need to say that these are my favorite? And not just because these were the ones that came most easily once I finally got over not having a design in mind. I should have known that just lining up chains would make my mystic gypsy muse giggle.

I really love these, especially the delicately hanging crystals. The other side is asymmetrical and has its own arrangement of chains, you'll just have to see the demo to see the effect. They use the sumptuous stones that Elessia and Orinthia have, along with the same choices of metals and horns as always.

Seeing the final results, I have to thank him. There was a lot of frustration, long and arduous work and far too many times I just was simply not in the mood to work on these... Things just dragged on and took so much longer than usual. I had a lack of inspiration, a blocked muse, and the fount of my creativity was plugged. However, with the help of him, friends, and even my mother offering me suggestions, concepts, and encouragement I worked through the spoiled brat that is my self discipline to finish these. Hopefully he'll be right in the end that you guys will love them... but I'm not going to let him do it again! I like my creative suffering to be my own damn fault XD