Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peace On Earth, Good Will to All!

Whatever your theistic persuasion, let us all take a moment to wish for a joyous next year and give thanks for the blessings of the last one (and no doubt, tribulations, but really, we all got through, didn't we?)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa's Sleigh is Coming to Town

Well, he knows if you've been bad or good, but that doesn't signify if you just trot down to the stables and pick up your own sleigh. Why rely on a middleman, is what I always say.

Ought be in the vendors by tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Last Call for Bustle Bows

Well, by now even I have heard of Xstreet's upcoming plans to charge everyone for listing items, particularly freebies. I'm a 4 out of 10 on the miffed scale, for whilst on one hand I can see something of their point, the counterpoint is that it's going to be a large pain in the bustle for me to pull the necessary items.

It's not just freebies, actually-- there's a large number of items I've made over the years that sell two or three a year :P I'm just not part of the fashion set, and while I still like some of my older outfits such as the bicycle outfit and Lady Lancer (a lady's version of my more popular 21st Lancer uniform), add all of them up and they still don't cover the aggregate fees for the lot. I left them up because I liked them, and Xstreet was free aside from commissions.

So, I'm taking down all my slow items. The clothes will still be available in the Eyre and Port Caledon shops (some are now freebies, such as aforementioned bicycle ensemble, as well as all my older cycles).

And, I'm pulling my last remaining freebie on Xstreet-- the ever popular (as in 10 or so a day) sculpted bustle bow. If you don't have one, now is the time to saunter on over and grab it at

As an aside, I couldn't help but notice a handful of low ratings on the silly thing (most did seem to like it, though for an overall 4 star). It looks like the picture, and sits on one's rump. What else did they expect for 0L, a free download of Maya Unlimited? Ah well, that's merchanting :D

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On Merchanting

Some of you may have heard by now that my friend Ilsa Munro of Munro Imaginary Motors has decided to shut her Second Life business down in response to a rather over the top customer. The short of the whole nasty affair was that the individual filed an AR on her for failing to respond to an IM in under two hours during her RL workday. He then proceeded to set up an autospammer outside my Eyre shops to "warn" customers not shop there. My short communication with the individual was...less than satisfactory. Among other charming turns of phrase, he expressed hopes that my horses would be copybotted and that our businesses would fail. Mind you, that was after he got a full refund in under three hours. It's a select group, the Caledon ban list is. You'd be surprised how short it is. I suppose the chap ought feel proud of himself.

I wince at writing the above, as I don't care to give someone like that much "head space". But the unfortunate truth is that oafs are often successful in making other people unhappy. And for Ilsa, it was just too much: it's not just this one thing, but the whole pain in the bustle bit of trying to run a business in Second Life. Unhinged customers are thankfully rare, at least in the horse and vehicle business (my friend Kamilah Hauptmann has many a story about the animation market, though). But there are a whole host of other annoyances, from SL updates that break scripts, to vendor maintenance, to monitoring ads, and just to the daily customer service. And all this for rates that make minimum wage look fair good, once the hours spent are all added up.

So why on Earth do we do it?

Some of us don't, actually. That's Ilsa's answer. And it's a common one in Second Life. One shows up, discovers building is fun, and makes a few whimsical things. Someone says "O hai, by Ceiling Cat, this is great! You ought to be in show business!" And you knock out a wall of your cottage and put a couple of vendors up. Or sans chateau, there is always Xstreet. And a few Lindens roll in (the money sort, not the Torley/Robin sort). And it's terrific! Yay! No more are you paying tier. When your RL spouse leans over your shoulder and wonders at that Victorian dress you're buying, you simply say "Pfft, paid for it myself, do toddle off and play kill-the-orcs on your own computer, m'kay?"

And then disillusionment sets in, when all the other slings and arrows of outrageous customer service rear their ugly heads. You're tempted to put them all out as freebies, but I'm here to say that freebies take as much time to deal with as anything else, if not more so. After all, freebies are beloved by new people, who are the first not to understand how to use a vehicle or even adjust a skirt. Mind you, 99% of them are fun to chat with, but it's still time consuming. You start noticing things like you haven't changed your outfit in over a week. Um, your avatar's outfit, that is.

So, like Ilsa, many look at the ledger and find it wanting. On one side is the SL income, which is rarely all that much. On the other side are all those things that one might rather be doing in SL-- exploring, playing games, going to virtual balls, or just socializing without being interrupted by an IM every five minutes. The thought occurs that if one has a job, one can afford the thirty or so USD for a hobby. And you'll be able to continue to build, perhaps even more freely sans an eye to what will be popular.

But then there's those of us who continue to build and sell things here. And why is that? Well, I won't be disingenuous here. For one, I do fairly well in Second Life. My silly horses are quite popular, and while my income isn't on par with the better known designers, I'm still paying for art school with it. Still, there are other things I could be doing. I recently got my first freelance RL 3D design job, and discovered that the going rate was...let us say on par with more than a few horses.

So, it has to be something more than the money. And this is going to sound silly-goofy, but really, it's all of you. This weekend, after talking about The Incident with Ilsa, I thought to myself about all the customers who've written me about how much fun with their toys (for that is what I really am, a virtual toy maker). People I don't know have smiled, perhaps even laughed (hopefully with glee) at my humble efforts.

How many of you are out there? Rough guess puts my horse sales at several thousand, and that's not including all the outfits and vehicles-- much less the freebies and demos. I've managed to make thousands happy, if only for a few minutes. That's worth a lot, isn't it? How many people get to say that?

I'm not going to encourage people to try to change Ilsa's mind about quitting her business. She has solid reasons for reapportioning her time. But I would like to ask those of you who've played with her creations and liked them to take a moment and tell her that you had fun. Because in the end, that's really what we're here for, isn't it?


Friday, July 31, 2009

Free Cycles and Outfits

Some of you might not realize this (or care :P) but before Cheval Verite was La Bicyclette. I got my start making Victorian cycles and active wear (such as those liberating cycling and bathing costumes), and they've always been my spiritual "fountainhead" here.

Well, they've been on the market long enough that I'd like to offer them to all as freebies. I've only put them out for sale in the Port right now, as that was my first plot of land and reminds me of all those early happy days zipping about those hills on my unicycle.

Four cycles (including a non-depicted unicycle) as well as my old Victorian Bicycling outfits are out there now. Have fun, and try not to hit anyone!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Freebie Bustle Bow

Well, I actually looked at my ever popular bustle bow the other day. It's not horrid, but it looks like what it is: one of the first things I ever made in Second Life. So I fired up Maya and spent a few moments making this.

Hardly a work of art, either, but it's free, and worth every penny :D Mod/copy, so if you wish to make a few hundred to adorn your hair, horse or house with, feel free. Drop by the Eyre Carriage house and look for it in the back by the Horseshoe bar.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Horse Gallop Test

Another breathlessly exciting 12 second animation clip :P Like the pennyfarthing, this is more of a "proof of concept" than anything I can import into a game engine just yet. But I'm learning :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cutest Clank Ever!

Poor Little Wheel! He lives on a planet of happy clanks, doing clank things in a clanky way. But then one day the plug (or rather, The Plug) that hooks up the main generator to everything falls out. Well, perhaps Planet Clank would have profited from a smidge of redundancy in their power source, but that's all as nevermind now. Fortunately, a lightning bolt raises Little Wheel back from his powered down state and now it is up to him to save the day.

No hard puzzles here, just click on the circles in some logical order or another. And do keep the sound on, the jazz soundtrack is wonderful :)

Little Wheel
Play This Game

Monday, June 1, 2009


Just fiddling about with Maya and Zbrush again. And, yes, his mane looks a bit...Romance novel coveresque. Believe it or not, I based his colourations and muscles on Mrs. Peterman's RL faithful steed, Woody. There is perhaps still a family resemblance, but I ended up with a bit more of a leggy fellow:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ah well

A few weeks ago, I heard that the Linden Lab was looking for "moles" to create builds for new sims. Wildlife/ecosystems were specifically mentioned. I dutifully put together a portfolio of my work on the Aviara project, badgers, snakes, antelopes and all. But today I got the "does not meet our needs at this time" form letter :/

Well, it's not as if I don't have enough projects to occupy my time, but I still have the usual post-rejection letter feelings. Anyway, if you actually like my critters and want to see them waddling about, it looks as if for now, you'll just have to visit the Caledon sims.

My submitted work:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Birdies For Sale

Yes, take home a ridable Bird of Prey today! (click here for the video). Comes with a lifetime supply of newspaper :)

Now on sale at Munro Imaginary Motors in Loch Avi:

And the Eyre Carriage House in Caledon Eyre:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Congratulations Vi and Marc!

Some of you may remember "Vi Paravane", intrepid steampunk girl and stalwart gun bunny. She isn't on Second Life much these days, thanks to a slower computer and more happily, a very busy Real Life.

How busy? Well, she still blogs her life in comic strip form over on, so I shall let her tell you :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bird of Prey

Done and done! Will be on the market as soon as Miss Munro comes back from holiday.

Watch more videos of Second Life

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Falling in love again

We went to the shelter and a border collie bounced into our lives.

I'll never forget Puppy, but I've made room in my heart for Mopsy. And I think she needs an awful lot of room.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jet Pack Dreams for Vi

My friend Vi Paravane kindly commented on my yesterday's post:

How I wish I could ride one of those in SL. Alas, even if LL could do it, my poor old machine would probably choke on it.

But the truth is, amazing things are possible with current game technology. So for Vi, and for anyone else who loves flying lizards, may I present a browser based game, with amazing 3D animation. And, oh by the way, it is absolutely and utterly free. And absurdly beautiful:

(well, he's an Aptosaurus. But his name is Brontosaurus, you see. It's in the introduction)

Cute, wonderfully animated, and lots of places to explore with his magical Jet Pack. And, not to hammer at the point too much, all done with fairly low polygon models and heavy use of simple procedural textures.

But enough negativity! Go have fun!

Edit: if you don't have it, you will need to download the free Unity plug in for this game.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fiddling about with 3D

Not to teaze, but I will be making an announcement about a collaboration with Miss Ilsa Munro fair soon. Hint: it makes good use of her amazing skills with fun flying flivvers and my obsession with cute animals. Well, perhaps not so much cute as dignified in this case, but that might be Miss Munro's influence.

But we want to check it all out before releasing it, so not just yet, sorry!

I'm also finishing up my first year of design in RL. I've learnt an awful lot, and I have to admit there are more than a few days in which I really, truly, painfully wish that I could do some basic things in SecondLife such as import meshes (rather than just the base sphere sculpts are), and create and animate skeletons for them. Not to whimper too much, but the technology for bumpmap importation (not just the stock Linden ones in the edit window) has been around for quite a while--and yet even something that simple has yet to happen.

Le sigh.

So, in the meantime, I fiddle about with projects outside of SL, sometimes for class, sometimes to amuse myself. The following is an example of my workflow for a somewhat science fictional dragon I imagined-- it has no legs, being primarily a flying creature, with hydrogen filled bladders that keep it aloft (akin to a fishes' swim bladder).

Here's my basic "concept art", which mostly demonstrates my inability to draw. But when I squint, I at least could see what I had in mind:

Next I blocked it out in Maya, fiddled a bit, and came up with this:

Next, I added the wing membranes, textured in Zbrush and Photoshop and added a basic bumpmap (greyscale leather from a Maya procedural texture):

Note that this one is about the polygon count of four sculpts in Secondlife. Or (please reference earlier whimpering), we could have shapes like this if they'd just set up mesh importation.

Finally, because this was really just to amuse myself with, I sent the silly thing to Zbrush, bumped the polygon count up to erm...1.4 million, and had fun with all those lovely different brushes that aren't that useful at lower resolutions like the clay and rake brushes. Then a few different render passes and off to Photoshop for compositing:

And here he is, Stormy the Dragon--

I like to think I managed a touch of dignity in his eyes...

Saturday, April 25, 2009


May the tired old heroes from a forgotten war have the peace they were not granted in life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I apologize for the lack of updates on this silly blog, although rest be assured, I have been fair busy with the Aviara animals and the upcoming flying Eagle (with the talented Miss Ilsa Munro).

Lazy though I may be, I am nonetheless taking a bit of a holiday until the 22nd. I'll be popping online today, albeit briefly, to take care of final housekeeping. Then it is off to pack, mostly planning on driving aimlessly about with our RL bicycles in tow. It's getting warm enough to allow for that sort of thing, so I ought take advantage of the moment between "too hot" and "too cold", and enjoy the "just right".

Yours etc,


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kitty Cuteness!!!!!!

Inspired by the fact that I am suffering from extreme fuzz deprivation, but also need to keep the spirits (and my blog ranking) up, I share the following with you:

Streaming .TV shows by Ustream

Monday, February 23, 2009


My RL dog passed away today. I wish I could say more, something eloquent, something that explained how much a part of our lives she was, or how she was my fuzzy relief in some terribly difficult times. More prosaically, she was the inspiration and model for many of my SecondLife animals. Her myriad of expressions live on through my clumsy hands that way, at least.

But words fail me. In the end, she was a dog, and dogs are love. In my better moments, I hope to be half as goodhearted and cheerful as she was. I owe her that, I think.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bay Trekehner Horse

Still have to get this fellow into his box, but in the meantime, I took him for a ride in the "badlands" below Grendle's avatar shop (also known as Aviara). For those of you who haven't seen the area, it's well worth the trip. There's also a game called the Aviaran expedition, which has you rooting about for things to make other things, things to feed things to get things to make things, and in general have a good time wandering about. There are rumours that this game may soon find its way to Caledon, with a special steampunk twist...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When the Hurly Burly's Done

I know everyone is all aflutter about the New Babbage Mayoral campaign, with its wonderful campaign advertisements, but surely those kingdoms who aren't in the throes of an election can have Fun Posters as well?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sighted around Lionsgate

I truly don't know what to make of these tattered photographs that I found washed up on the beaches of Lionsgate. Someone apparently took these with their trusty Brownie somewhere just to the Northeast of Port Caledon, judging by the buildings one can see in the background of the first. The second photograph is even more inexplicable, as it seems to have been taken underwater--no doubt by one of our local Intrepid Explorers with some clever Aquatic Submersible Conveyance.

But why were these photographs so casually discarded? And more to the point, what on Earth are they of? I fear these questions may have to be unanswered at this time, but all I know is that sailor would not be unwise to exercise All Due Caution when navigating the waters of the Middlesea.

Friday, January 9, 2009

American Warmbloods

I found some lovely photographs of a spirited horse with the cutest look in his eye, and just had to take him (virtually) home. The problem is, the photo wasn't labeled with the breed. So, I called up Mrs. Nabila Nadir Peterman, who jousts in RL and is a bit of a horse expert (if not entirely sane), and after consultation with another one of her jousting friends, they decided that "Chester" was a specimen of the American Warmblood type--a breed more focused on sport performance than any particular bloodline. I hope I've managed to capture some of the "spunk" the Warmblood has.

I have made both a riding and a static version. The riding version has all the usual features of my horses, the static version flickers its ears and makes periodic noises (and is only 16 prims).

Both are on sale at the Carriage House in Caledon Eyre:

or on the XStreet Exchange

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Au Revoir, New Toulouse :(

Perhaps it shouldn't surprise us, when so many sims are facing hard times, but I still had to bite my lip--

Group Notice From: Carricre Wind

As much as I am pained by this, I have to sell the New Toulouse sims.

For months now I've been keeping them afloat out of pocket and I'm frankly going broke. There are several factors that have caused this, to many to really go into.

I'm listing them for sale for $350usd each, with the buyer paying LL's transfer fee. If one of you lovely residents is interested in taking over as it were, then I'd happily do everything I can to help.

I just can't upkeep it anymore.

I really wish I could...

Mama Cree

They are brilliant sims. I hung about in New Toulouse when it wasn't even New Toulouse yet, but just a prototype on half a sim. I was honoured to be among the first residents there. From late night dancing at the speakeasy next door, to racing my horse down the back streets and over the fences, to the art exhibitions and bohemian SL's I've come to count as friends, it's a magical place.

I truly hope it continues--that's a break even price Mrs. Wind is asking for, frankly.

I'll leave with a silly video

Watch more video games and play free games at WeGame.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Library Blimp is Coming!

Yes, hot on the heels of creating entirely too much trouble with my sleighs in Eyre, the Caledon Librarian asked me to create a suitable "Book Blimp" to ferry the literate and careless of their lives to and from the various branches. It's a bit faster than the usual inter-library loan, albeit a tad more draughty.

Once I work out a suitable path through the various full parcels of the region, service will be starting at the Victoria City Branch and landing at Mayfair. More routes to follow, time and foolishness permitting.