Google+ Adventures of a Southern Gentleman: April 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin Into the future's been a year already?

Time flies when you're having fun, I guess.

One year ago today on April 20, 2007, I logged into Second Life for the first time. It was my "rezz day".

A lot has happened in my life since that day a year ago when I first signed on to Second Life, little did I know that I was at a turning point in my life and that Second Life would play a part in it all.

So, what did I look like when I first rezzed?


Like the color? You can't see it from this angle, but I had a red shock of hair. The proportions are out of whack with this picture, had more muscles and wasn't quite as thin as it looks here.

My base shape was the "Nightclub Male" as you might be able to tell from the outfit there, in fact the shape I wear now is the same shape just modified some to be shorter and better proportioned.

Going through the stuff at Orientation Island wasn't a big deal, I completed all the training stations, read every note card I could find and basically paid close attention. Being a programmer and all around computer geek, I didn't find it very difficult to make it through everything and after spending a while on Help Island, I finally made it to the Mainland.

I'm not sure which Infohub I first came in to, I didn't stay long and never returned to it but I think it might have been the Braunworth Infohub. All I remember is, that after I appeared I clicked a few kiosks and read a few note cards then I started flying with the map up, looking around. I noticed a snowy area and headed in that direction, eventually I noticed a bunch of green dots on the map which were supposed to be other people, so I went toward them.

I ended up at the Linden Chalet at Wengen, which for some reason I decided to make my home location, I guess because it looked interesting and the people there seemed interesting as well. Again, I hit the kiosks and read notecards and just hung around listening to the chat.


So then I started exploring SL, always coming back to Wengen as my home base, actually walking along the roads and seeing what I could come across.

Here's a picture of me visiting The Shelter in the Isabel Sim ( a great place for newbies to go). Note the hair, lol.

The Shelter - Isabel

I spent a few days like this then I decided to try to look more "normal" since I wasn't seeing a lot of folks running around with unique avatars (most unimaginative). So, I made my first shape adjustments and started playing with the sliders for skin, hair, etc.

This is what I came up with.

Sougent Mark II

Well, in the first week I was in Second Life, I must have hit up half the freebies sites, collecting everything from clothing to weapons to vehicles to furniture.

I spent a lot of time at Wengen, meeting a bunch of great people from all around the globe. I was introduced to sky diving, "superdance", being orbited and all sorts of things that a newbie needs to know, lol.

Then, I discovered something called the Teleportation Trail, not sure if it's still active or not, but it was of immense help to me for learning about Second Life and what was out there. It was a scavenger hunt, of sorts, each point on the trail there was some basic information on Second Life and a clue to where the next point on the trail was. Some of them were a little challenging to find, but I managed to find them all, and learned an immense amount in the process, it was an excellent tool for learning about SL. I think it's defunct, though some of the stations may still be there, which is a shame because it would be the ideal way to engage a newbie and teach them about SL, it's something that Linden Labs would do well to emulate.

After a few days of exploring and freebie collecting, I started looking at what I'd picked up and started trying out the skins and eyes and stuff because I knew by then that most people that had been around for a while didn't use the built in stuff. There was, of course, a lot of free stuff around for women but not much available for guys. But I found a skin in my inventory that I actually liked and so, I transformed yet again, almost into the avatar that I am today.


Didn't change the shape other than maybe a few slight adjustments, just the eyes and the skin, but it made a big difference in looks. Only problem was, the built in hair just didn't cut it no matter how much I tweaked it and none of the free stuff was all that appealing so I ended up being bald for some time. I actually kinda liked the look and am tempted to go back to it sometimes.

So, here I was almost at the end of the first week, looking almost human (though bald) and hanging out with the crazy folk at Wengen.


And I have to say that by this point I was pretty well hooked on Second Life. I kept on exploring and meeting people, and now all of a sudden, it's been a year and I've got to look back on it all and just say......WOW.

Now I can't say that everything was wonderful, there have been wonderful times and some very hard and sad times, kinda like real life. But you know what, I wouldn't change it.


This is as I am today. Yes, the skin I still wear is that freebie skin, I've looked at loads of other skins and they're either too light, too dark, too "ripped", or otherwise otherwise just didn't fit. I've tried others for a while, but was told they made me too dark, too scary (yes, scary). So unless I find something the same skin tone with similar characteristics to this one, I guess I'm stuck. This is who I am and you know, I kinda like him.

One year down and I hope that the next one is just as fantastic as the last.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Maybe a bit too Dazzling?

Being a tad geeky, as soon as the new Release Candidate was made available I was there downloading it. Over all, for me it's been great, I haven't had performance this good since I first logged into Second Life almost 1 year ago. Yeah, had to tweak a few graphics settings to get myself to a balance of performance vs decent looking graphics but it wasn't too difficult to achieve (see Torley's blog post and tutorial on how to tweak the settings here)

However......the Release Candidate also includes the Dazzle user interface changes by default. Now while I applaud the the viewer folks for trying to improve the interface, the color scheme they decided to use leaves a lot to be desired. I find that the colors are hard on the eyes after looking at them for a while and it gets hard to read (especially if you need glasses for computer work). And the new icons aren't very intuitive, I usually have to hover the mouse cursor over them to know which is which. Oh, they're nice, fancy little graphics, but they just don't work in this case.

But, the good news is that Dazzle was designed to be what's called "skinable" which means it's possible to change the colors and graphics to most anything you want. I'm sure eventually, there'll be all sorts of color schemes put up out there for download.

Right now, that doesn't help those of us that don't like the Dazzle interface.

Or does it? I was playing around with changing the color settings using the information on the Second Life Wiki page Skinning HowTo Basics and I noticed some links down at the bottom of the page, one in particular.

Skinning HowTo/Revert 1.20 to a Classic_look by McCabe Maxsted

Yes, a page with detailed instructions for how to switch the Dazzle color scheme back to the old style viewer look, including file downloads for the XML changes necessary and the graphics you need.

So if you don't like the Dazzle colors, here's your alternative. I found the instructions for downloading and installing the changes to be very easy to follow and it resulted in my having a more agreeable color scheme for my Release Candidate viewer.

Oh, certainly I'll keep an eye out for alternative color schemes to try and will give Dazzle another look when it hits the main viewer, but at least we have an alternative to the new interface right now for those of us who don't like the light blue color scheme.

And if you're really adventurous, study those two wiki pages and try to create your own custom color scheme. If you do one and make it available for download, leave a link in the comments here because I'd love to check it out.