by prokofy on 23/01/07 at 9:55 pm
By Annyushka Apparatchik, Dept. of Worlds, Planets, Universes, Metaverses, Spaces, and Lovely Tea-Party Places
Tired of having friends you’ve send to join SL tell you later they turned around and left, after be bopped over the head by a giant phallus? Or caged on a laggy welcome area knee-deep in naked gun-totating newbs, unable to move?
Leave it to the lesbians of L-word to figure out how to beat the P-word. With this kick-ass build and superior orientation island by the Electric Sheep Company, you will want to become a lesbian just to live in this world, it’s so different from the SL we all know and barely tolerate.
From there, without any in-your-face furries, katana-slashers, or 14-year-old robots like our own favourite game company’s site, you will gently be led to L-Word’s SL page. Press on “Join for Free” and be ushered to a version of the Second Life site to chose a name — you can start all over again as long as you don’t use the same email you’re already signed up with.
Now here’s the fun part: after you get the new name and log on, you aren’t going to be taken to that old clunky Orientation Island with all those nudgy signs telling people not to shoot or get naked (wasn’t that why came here in the first place?!). You’re so past all that now that you are with L-Word. As you rez into the world you will notice you are in paradise — like SL was meant to be. Low-lag, spacious, particle-free, with winding garden walks and beautiful landscaping. In the distance, a lovely lady in a frisky polka-dotted swirly dress is walking toward you…
…not to offer you hippie-pay or work as an escort, but to help you learn the game. Wow…like…wow!
She discretely inquires if you want any help — but you may not need her. Arranged around in intuitive, easy-to-see stands are machinima videos with fun how-to instructions and something you rarely see in machinima — a large-eyed, close-focused avatar face that keeps your interest on the screen.
No one tells you to learn to build or script, instead they help you to fly, pick out a dress, and figure out where you are going shopping. You can see this is definitely going to be a girls’ game.
I chose a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland tea-party lesbian look and loitered around the orientation a bit more, before pressing on an easily-marked board to get to the main island with clubs and shops. Turns out I need not have worried — any time you like, you can fly back to the L-Word’s OI for a refresher, unlike the stock SL OI and HI that turf you off and bar you for evermore.
As I landed, not one, not two, but three staff people from Showtime were hanging around chatting, ready to help and socialize. That’s the key to having an island in SL — staffing it up so that the users don’t arrive to empty fairgrounds after the trade show.
I left the guy in the pink bunny slippers to help somebody whose dream was to open up a dance club and checked out the builds. They had that baked, pastel Barnesworthian look though built by DNA Prototype — I don’t know how they always happen to find the exact ochre colour favoured by Soviet psychiatric institution planners, but there it is, it’s the rage.
I sat for awhile in a lushly-textured cafe called “The Planet” listening to a woman describe a sort of party/cafe she had in RL, the web, and now in SL.
Now, time to go shopping. Of course, I would have to buy some Lindens because L-word-world was definitely not the one of camp chairs, casinos, and sexscorts, but with $1000 for $3.70, what’s not to like?
My one beef with the ESC-built paradise is that in well-worn fashion, they streamed the content-sales windfalls directly to their best pals. That’s why you see Ingrid and Barnes and their shops there, even though — to be perfectly honest, girls — what at first seemed like Barnes’ skins but turned out to be Launa Fauna’s skins look like road-kill —
he’s just not a skin maker, although given that everything else he has ever done is fabulous, it seemed odd, but was hard to tell because the skins were in Barnes’ shop. I can’t imagine why they don’t have the really excellent skin-makers there — I guess they just aren’t in with the right people. And that’s the problem — rather than being business-like and opening up bids for shop space on islands like this, which could have gadzillion visitors if they play their cards right, they fete and steer, in the usual SL way.
I arrived back this evening to find one of those arduous prim-rustling classes underway — there’s never an easy way to explain building in SL and the faster they get over their engineering bias and just make ready-to-rez walls and parts like we had in the Sims, the better, for my money. The pink-hued HUD thingie meant to replace laggy and frustrating inworld SEARCH functions on the UI worked pretty well — it has EVENTS PLACES and HELP spelled out at the top of your screen in an unobtrustive yet can’t-miss fashion.
As I stood around in my appearance-mode hair-do watching girls with enough store-bought hoochie-hair to sink three sims, I snuck a peek under the hood and was rewarded by two numbers I never see anymore: 1.00 Time Dilation and 45 Sim FPS. Three more women greeted me and asked me if I needed any help — 20 minutes went by and I hadn’t seen a single penis. Were we not in Kansas anymore?
All of this wonderment was made with the new 3rd-party registration API
UPDATE: Since there seemed to be so much fascination about these skins, I went back to examine them again, and post the picture. And I stand by my evaluation: they *are* ugly, and I am baffled what they are doing on this premiere island.
My original point in even mentioning these stores was to illustrate that the ESC, instead of just opening up rentals or bids for this very high-profile store, picked their friends. You have to figure the L-word website, attached to network TV, probably gets way more hits than anything associated with Second Life. So it’s a very high-profile gig, and the sherpas awarded their pals, as happens on every gig needed content purchases or concessions.
It is very easy to mistake this for Barnes’ product; the store says “Barnes Boutiques,” and Launa Fauna’s logo, tiny, and blinking, is very easily missed. When you see the store, it looks like his whole store; you then see he is sharing it with Shai and Launa. The skins didn’t look like anything Shai would make; I’m familiar with his clothing and buy it now and then. So the impression I got was that somehow men’s skins were needed in a pinch, and they put Barnes up to it. This turned out to be inaccurate, but I stand by my evaluation that a) they didn’t look good and b) they were there merely because the maker was a friend of the ESC. There are many other better male skin makers in SL.
The purpose of this comment, not the central point of my positive review, was not to trash somebody like Launa’s skins, but to point out that in their quest to just find berths and entrees for their friends, and reach only for their friendship cards in a gig like this, the ESC and other metaversal agents making purchases of content aren’t doing SL a good service, or upholding the standards of excellence they always claim to represent. And by God, in this creator-driven society, I will stand by my right to pronounce a skin ugly when everyone can see it is a Neanderthal man.