Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Saddest thing in the world is loving someone who used to love you.

"The saddest thing in the world, is loving someone who used to love you"
                                  -----------------------------
"Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it's better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together"

                                  -----------------------------
Sometimes I'll fall straight to my knees
And sink, in to the floor
Lost in a hundred memories
Of a time, I'll call before.

Now I can't even seem to remember
What I've fought so damn hard for
It hurts to see your face and know
I should'nt love you any more

It's when my head is way too full
Of hating her for having you
And you as well, for your big piece of cake
And me for letting you eat it too.

Damn this wall, built to keep me at bay
Hating the fact I can't have my way
Feeling fully naive, straight to the core
For waiting on what I'm wishing for

Wanting to be able to hear your name
And it not riddle me with shame
From a hundred memories of before
That I shouldn't think about anymore

So maybe my knees will give a little
I'll lay my head down on the floor
And maybe with my eyes closed tight
I won't love you anymore
                             ----------------------------------

Monday, 29 November 2010

Geisha Honey Shoji Textures




















Geisha Honey Shoji Textures

Second Life Web Browser Beta

Screenshot of SL on web client BETA

















I happened to see the Linden Lab blog announcement yesterday asking people to help them beta test the web browser client they want to release for Second Life. (my experience is detailed in the last half of this post)

A web browser client is what  IMVU uses and the last time I looked IMVU had 140,000 people logged in.

I love IMVU as a business concept but not as an alternative to Second Life.

Unless you actually enjoy cartoon avatars and cell shaded graphics IMVU is kind of lame on the face if it, realism is not a feature.
But IMVU is doing very well indeed.

As I posted a few months back, I love the way IMVU has been set up, how it navigates users to the Market place and encouraged us to spend money or earn credits by doing simple but good things like verifying their ID and age or verifying their email for example. (you know,  things that SL has allowed people to get away with for years)

Another thing, unlike SL not just anyone can be a content developer (that's what they call them over there) You have to be a VIP (premium/paid for) member to be able to create and sell content.
You also have to electronically sign a contract which clearly explains about copyright violation and the consequences if you breach someones copyright. (education is key)

Yep, they had their heads screwed on at IMVU when they thought about cash flow. Shame the actual platform sucks, I logged in once and it is the total opposite to SL,  really lame ass avatars, very anime.

Anime Type Avatars IMVU





This look will appeal to many Asian game players I am sure, but I don't know, it just doesn't sit well with me for a number of reasons.

I don't want to look like I am 12,  I run a business and I don't even like being referred to by my stupid SL name , LillyBeth Filth which is why I tend to include my real name in a lot of publications and in world communications.

How can anyone be taken seriously as a business owner in SL with names like Buttercup Trixibell?

Perhaps more importantly IMVU like SL,  has an adult area but with IMVU you have to pay for a "pass" to have access to adult themed areas.

I am not sure what "adult" means in IMVU but I don't think it means streaming porn.  I just think it means you can swear and talk like, well, an adult.

But with "adult" comes sex and whether you like it or not, sex is part of the online territory period. Chat rooms and online games alike all attract adults looking for something a bit stronger than swapping cooking recipes.

Now, we all know that sex happens in SL and by sex I mean avatar sex or "The Simpsons Sex"

It's more like soft porn than anything but it happens, we all know it happens and apparently sex is the biggest cash spinner in SL just as it is on the internet. Sex sells, we all know that.

But you apply that to IMVU and then take a look at those cute avatars above and its just wrong on so many levels. Anyway, regardless of my opinion, they have bucket loads of members (140k!)

This leads me back to the SL web browser client I beta tested last night.

Lets cover the basics first.
The first picture in this post shows your typical ocean shore scene in SL. Nothing new there then,  but the important thing to realise is the speed at which textures and in game assets appeared which was lightning fast.

When I logged in with beta, I landed on some main land, normally if I even attempt to visit main land in SL I am rubber banding and getting trapped in buildings that had not rezzed at the point of me flying into them, the whole business is an absolute nightmare. (I have an iMac with 50 megs of bandwidth so nothing wrong with my PC or internet speed)
Because of this, I avoid main land as much as I can these days and I really do pity those people who rent or own a piece of main land.

But with the web browser client, LAG was not much of an issue, certainly nothing like how it would be normally and I could see things from a distance too,  I could navigate smoothly and with some speed.
In short, even on a beta client it was clearly better than the current system which is great news, of course.

But what excites me is something I don't think everyone really understands and that is by running SL on a web browser it means Linden Labs can start to advertise again and start pulling in more users, something they haven't been able to do for a long time.

I read a few of the comments from SL users in response to the blog announcement and as usual the moaners were aplenty.
One person was moaning about how Linden Labs should "advertise more like IMVU do and get more people into SL!!" They totally miss the whole point of the bloody post!

Second Life cannot handle more than 70K logged on at the same time, the grid is already laggy and choppy and that is exactly why Linden Labs are "trapped" and can't promote SL too much.

The current client is too taxing on the servers and this is precisely why they are wanting to move to a web browser client (like IMVU) so they can advertise and increase population, increase in world spending, increase brand recognition, increase positive user experience, this is a good thing!

My only regret is I suspect they had to see the success of IMVU before it occurred to them to do follow suit.
This "coulda shoulda" been done 2 years ago, but hey, that's hindsight for you.

Also, there is a red button at the top which says "Full Access" I assume this means that like IMVU, people will have free access to some of the places in SL but not all. That means if you want "full access" you have to pay. Again, good idea and a system that IMVU uses and it clearly works for them.

Anyway, there are a few more screenshots at the bottom of this post, they don't really show anything "new" they just show that textures are loaded well and you will just have to take my word that it really was much faster and smoother than the current client.
Or see if you can test it yourself by clicking this link: http://interest.secondlife.com/beta

Note - The beta wouldn't work for me on a Firefox browser but it did work on a Safari. It also picked up on the fact I was running a mac computer too and I am from the UK.
The reason why I mention this is because there was a lot of bitching and moaning in the comments about how unfair it was that people who weren't from the US couldn't test it  *groan*

I just wanted to clarify it has nothing to do with bloody geographical locations.

Because it's only a beta, I am assuming they have made it compatible for a specific set of "specifics"
Your gender, country of origin, colour of skin and colour of underwear you are currently wearing has not been a deciding factor when they released the beta client.

Second Life Web Browser beta Screenshot 2
Second Life Web Browser beta Screenshot 3





Second Life Web Browser beta Screenshot 3

Monday, 22 November 2010

Geisha -Shoji Screen Texture Collection

75 seamless Asian paper and Ebony screen wall textures available in sheer and opaque.
1024 x 1024 pixels.

Available from

Second Life Market Place

Contentparadise.com

TRU Textures Ltd (leave it a week though)

isourcetextures.com (as singles)

Perfect for most virtual worlds IMVU, Twinity, Second Life (of course) Inworldz, BlueMars and so on... :)

That's all folks!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

True Blood - "Pure" - New Orleans/Mississippi Texture Collection

Click to enlarge



















I love the architecture in New Orleans, not that I have ever been there sadly, but as a huge fan of True Blood I loved the shots of the old run down Victorian wood buildings.

A horror movie, The Skeleton Key was set in the same location and that too was an inspiration for another collection of textures I made some time ago again, named after the movie.

None of them were duplicates but rather my interpretation from glimpses of the architecture within the show and movie.

England, where I live,  has a lot of Victorian buildings but none are made from wood siding so it's difficult to get photographs to work from.

The windows in both the True Blood collections were a combination of hand made and taken from photographs from  isourcetextures.com

As far as building textures go, this style of architecture cannot be really overdone because most of the look and feel is made from balconies, railings and prim based content as apposed to the face of a wall.

The semi circle window (which I posted about earlier) was a real bitch to make as it involved playing with paths in Photoshop to create the shape and that's just not an area I am confident with because essentially I am a photo manipulator and I have always admired those texture artists who could create their own "shapes"
I can turn a shape into a fairly good 3D looking object within Photoshop quite well but I need the shape to begin with and that's where I fall.
Anyway, I got there eventually (5 hours!)

I think I will learn more about paths and shapes in Photoshop as I continue with my TIGA Game Art & Animation diploma.

The last two lessons touched on Photoshop which was a relief to be honest after the previous lesson which was all about 3DMax, it was killing me!

The irony is I got 100% for the TMA (Tutor marked assignment) which covered 3DMax but the following two TMAs, which covered Photoshop, I only got 85% and 95%
(You need 75% to pass or 15 correct questions out of 20)

It just goes to show no matter how long you have used a program you never know it all.
Plus, I think in hindsight, I was over confident and made assumptions that it was going to be a "walk in the park" were as 3DMax requires my full and undisturbed attention and perhaps that's why I got the 100% mark.

So, I have reached the end of Section 1 Part A which is a book of 216 pages and passed all of the TMAs within that section (yay) and I am now waiting for the course material and DVD to be posted for Section 1 Part B.
Each section will get harder of course so it's important you really understand everything you have studied previously and as such, I need to keep playing with Max to get familiar with it.

I have decided whilst I am waiting for the course material to arrive, I will go through all of the tutorials that come with Max. A lot of them will bear no relation to what I need to learn but they should help me get a better understanding of the tools.

Essentially, the course leans towards "box modeling" because this is the method used by game developers to create low polygon models for use within game engines.
High polygon models are rarely used in game engines because the amount of memory required to host them is too taxing and can slow the game down.

Box modeling is basically the ability to create realistic looking assets/models with the lowest amount of polygons possible, which in itself is a skill.
If you are not restricted by the amount of polygons used, you can create some awesome and very realistic models but they could not be used with most game engines.

True Blood - Pure can be purchased from these locations:

http://www.contentparadise.com/productDetails.aspx?id=16141

http://www.texturesrus.net/front_content.php

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Textures-R-Us-True-Blood-Pure-Volume-One/1624009

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Reflective Textures Second Life?? I want my floor to reflect my room!

LOL Ok... I know its a neat trick and who ever thought it up should have patent it because he would have made a fortune!
The amount of times I get asked this question is not even funny.
As soon as they get to word "reflective" I say:
"STOP!......" and go on to explain how this illusion of "reflective floors" in Second Life is created.

So, there is no such thing as true reflection in virtual worlds or game engines period.

The closest thing I have seen is in The Sims3 and it took me by surprise actually, one of the little sim NCPs walked in front of what looked like a window and he was reflected back to perfection.. must be some kind of "screen within a screen" trick.

Anyway, in Second Life is all trickery, clever, prim expensive trickery.

All the builder does is duplicate the walls, a few of the major pieces of architecture within a room, spin them all upside down to create a "mirror" effect. Then they make the floor prim semi transparent (so you can see the duplicate walls and objects mirrored below) slap any marble or wood texture on the floor and set the shine to high in the texture edit options... TADA!

Now, if anyone else asks me I can refer them to here :)

Whats really sad is this morning the lady who asked me said she had asked several store owners where they got their "reflective textures" from and none of them would tell her. (that's just saaaad!)

I wouldn't mind but it's hardly a new phenomena! It's been used around SL for at least 2 years now.

Here are some links to and about how to do it:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:3cQ9hLJ99tYJ:virtualdrifting.blogspot.com/2009/02/creating-reflective-floor-in-second.html+reflective+floors+in+Second+Life&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=firefox-a

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Dwv2yFzO2S8J:www.flickr.com/groups/secondlife/discuss/72157607370023249/+reflective+floors+in+Second+Life&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=firefox-a

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

True Blood - Texture Volume One Now Available!

Click to see full size
34 textures, seamless, 1024 x 1024 pixels.

Comes with and without transparent windows. Opaque windows display closed drapes.

They can be purchased from Second Life market place here:

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Textures-R-Us-True-Blood-Texture-Collection-Volume-One/1613524

From the TRU Textures website here:
http://www.texturesrus.net/front_content.php?idart=10&idcat=7&lang=4&csearch=+3D+Build+-+New+Sets

And for use for projects outside of Second Life and other virtual worlds, they can be purchased from Contentparadise.com here:
http://www.contentparadise.com/productDetails.aspx?id=16115

Thumbnails

True Blood - Work in Progress - New Texture Collection

True Blood Coordinating Texture Set -Collection in the making.

Funny how the small things have you baffled, the posts on either side took me longer to make than the bloody window!

The wood siding is made from scratch, as is the window of which there will be alpha versions and two other window styles, all the same colour.

The corners are Photoshop brushes off Deviantart.com, posts hand made, drapes hand made etc

This isn't the final draft, it's all still in layers I will have to tweak and fuss before I am 100% confident.

For example, the lower trim doesn't look  like it belongs.
There is too much contrast in it and it looks grainy compared to the other elements so I will replace that soon, but it's starting to come together now.

I never used "drop shadow" these days, it's a default setting in Photoshop and rarely creates realistic shadows. I basically select, fill, blur and scale it so there's no particular direction but it still adds depth.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

True Blood - New Texture Collection - Work in progress

I am making a new set of textures in the theme of New Orleans architecture, dark Victorian styling.

They are going to be called True Blood after the cult classic TV show by the same name as that's set in Mississippi and I just love that type of architecture.

Expect lots of Gargoyles and dirty wood siding and windows with wood Victorian frames in semi circles for the basements.

The inner windows have been a bitch to make. I am not good at creating shapes in Photoshop, more of a photo manipulator than anything but the windows I want to use can not be found on the internet at all. I spent all day looking for something like them on various stock sites to no avail.

So anyway, I have just finished the first draft of the inner metal frame of the semi circle windows, there are no frames to them yet but that's the easy part for me and I already have the resources to finish them off.

I like how they have turned out so far, but as often is the case, I may find once layered onto the wood siding they may not look right and I may have to re-texture them with something more subtle as they are a bit dark.



I have just added the frame and I am quite pleased. The final draft will be dark blue painted wood and not the grey material you see here because the window will be placed onto old wood siding so of course the window frame needs to be wood too. It's taken me all day to get this window to this stage but as I say, the windows and architecture pieces are the most time consuming, the rest is plain sailing.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Library - Windows Optional Add On Collection

The Library - Windows Optional Add On Collection

Want One.

Bose SOUNDDOCK10 SoundDock® 10 Digital Music System + 2 Years Warranty Quality goods from MultizoneAV.com

Been looking on eBay for "something" to play music because as much as I love my iMac the speakers are crap and whilst I could get some additional speakers it would kind of defeat the point of an iMac with wires and less space on my desk. Plus I want something I can play in my bedroom or indeed anywhere.
If I knew how I would have speakers in most rooms in the house (including the bathroom) but I don't know how and I have a coffee machine that's been spitting hot water at me for 6 months and my fella has bought all the parts to fix it..... ohhh... 3 months ago? They remain in plastic bags in his "drawer of doom"

(He gets email notices each time I write a blog, I'm hoping he gets this and takes the hint! lol


There is a first generation Bose docking station which have been out for 3 years or so and they don't sell for less than £140 second hand! So they must be good then there's the second series which will knock you back around £250 and then there's THIS! lol

I can't justify spending that kind of money, well, I can I suppose because I do love my music especially when I am working and it's been 10 years since I owned a hi-fi system. Not sure why, perhaps because I've been listening to music on my PC all these years. The last hi-fi I had was black with a TAPE CASSETTE PLAYER! lol

There! That's a justification if ever I heard one.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Virtual Photography in Second Life


I'm not very good at it to be honest but there is definitely an artistic skill involved as I have seen some amazing screenshots of Second Life post worked into pixel art.

Elizabeth Tinsley has taken some nice photos in some amazing places, it's just knowing where they are.

This is just my virtual dolly sat on the fire hydrant (?) next to some painting easels displaying some of my texture work inside my own store within Second Life.

Just minor post work in Photoshop.

Bit boring really.


3DMax Piggies !

Not a lot I can say really, it's some pigs on a black background....tada!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Library Texture Collections

Two colours, Sage and Blue The Library texture collections are coordinating damask wallpaper walls with mahogany paneling and pillars.

The walls come with and without book shelves both partial and fully covered creating the feel of Victorian residential library room.

Additional options are picture frame lights casting baked lighting down the walls and just touching the upper ridge of the wood panel.

1024 x 1024 pixels. Seamless left to right and available from TRU Textures (in Second Life) and will be available from the associated website very soon.


Also available from ContentParadise.com

Monday, 1 November 2010

Free Animated GIF Avatars/Sprites

Right Click - Save Image As


I made these for the Train2Game students, either as forum avatars or as simple 2D sprites for game projects. The white line is sadly an artifact created by default when making animated GIFs on a transparent background so ideally they need to remain on a transparent background or layer them over white!

I can't really see a practical use for them within Second Life but maybe you just want one so here they are.

Enjoy.

You can preview them in most web browsers.
Just select your web browser to see them working.

















Date With Max

I've been back on course with the TIGA Game Art & Animation diploma I am studying for with Train2Game and getting involved in the student forums too. (rare treat!)

The forums are the friendliest I've ever encountered and I have achieved the dizzying heights of "Senior Member"  (makes me sound like an old age pensioner)
This is a first for me, not being the "forum type"

I've also created a folder of over 200 textures which I update based on the types of things I pick up from the threads and they are free and there to use for the students.
I am really enjoying the whole forum experience and I think its essential to engage with other students just as you would in standard college.
It's good to have someone to bounce off and share your struggles and achievements with others who are on the same path as yourself.

The members and mods are all from the UK so by and large cultural differences in humour are not an issue.

The British sarcasm can sometimes backfire in multi national forums and as I am sarcastic by default it's nice to be able to say the odd sarcastic comment without having to immediately apoligise for it in the not too distant future!

I did my Tutor Marked Assessment (TMA) and got 100% for the first time. I have passed the earlier 3 TMAs first time but only with a score of 85% or 90%

Don't get me wrong, I am far from being proficient with 3DMax (lol)  but I feel I am at least finding my feet now at last and making  progress and that's reassuring.

Here's a few screen shots of some of the things I have been playing with over the week-end.