Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beautiful Light and Shadows with Depth of Field...

It has been a while since I’ve spent significant time in Second Life or posted here.  It seems I have been distracted again.  I’ve been exploring  some OpenSims… out on the “Hypergrid”.  I particularly like the work going on over on the Craft Open Sim (  Although the biggest distraction for a few months now has been my learning to use the programs within Adobe CS5.  While I admire and continue to use many open source tools, there is some value in using the industry standard for creative tools.  Perhaps it is the focus that spending money applies to my efforts… lol.  Or perhaps it is the amazing number of tutorials, resources and support available.  Either way… I know I am lucky to have it and I love learning to use the CS5 tools.  So far my favorite is Illustrator.  I have so much more to learn.   

However, today I was distracted by test driving Kirsten’s latest viewer in SL.  Kirsten reports this is likely the last version of the S20 viewer with S21 rolling out next.  As many know Kirsten’s S20 requires a decent machine to run it, certainly if running w/ shadows and in ultra.  I shot this clip in Chakran Forest (perhaps the most beautiful place in Second Life).  The Forest… with S20(45) on ultra settings and shadows cranked up… gave my video card (nVidia 470) a run for it’s money (as can be seen with the stuttering pans using FRAPS to capture the video).  But I think you can still get a sense of how depth of field looks running Kirsten’s viewer.  Truly beautiful. 
Beautiful Light, Shadow w/ depth of field from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.
An test of the latest viewer by Kirsten Cinquetti
Shot in the beautiful Chakran Forest of Second life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Brave New World – HyperGrid…

Recently I posted about the Sim-on-a-stick.  At the time I was able to get the server running on my laptop and access my own sim.  But I couldn’t manage to invite any friends.  Later that day I tried to do the same from my Win 7 desktop.  Sadly it didn’t work.  (Probably a 64-bit issue)  In the process I loaded the Apache server, MySQL and PHP5 on my desktop…  it still didn’t work.  Eventually I became distracted by my Dreamweaver project.  After posting about the Sim-on-a-stick and talking about it to a few folks I didn’t think much of it.  Obviously if I was thinking about it others were as well, others with far better technical skills than I.  Today I learned Oberon Onmura set it up successfully and at the invitation of my friend and fellow metaverse explorer Jo Ellsmere, I was able to log into an independent OpenSim running on Oberon Onmura’s “older & not so fast” desk top (running Vista and a single Gig of memory!)….

Some may wonder… what is the big deal?  OpenSim right?  Yes… sort of… more like OpenGrid… or as several have labeled it… Hypergrid.   A completely decentralized Grid – You want one Region of your own to control completely?  Go ahead install it. Run it & invite your friends.

Like so many advances, it raises more questions than it answers.  What of inventory?  As it stands today… you Create it … you move it around the Hypergrid.  Will it stay that way?   How will creative freedom and copyright be impacted?  What of “the Boys at the Lab” as sororNishi calls them?  If the Hypergrid is so completely decentralized, what value do they still bring to the table – scale – community - history?  What type of economy will develop… will there be common currency?   Or will I have to make my own hair?  Will the technologically savvy rule the roost?   And just what is that ‘roost’?   How will being connected to ONLY those you want to connect to change things?  Will the serendipity of community be destroyed?  Perhaps it is as Dusan wrote recently… perhaps the lab created (unintentionally) a critical mass of emotional bandwidth allowing us the experience of Place.  How will Placeness be impacted by a hyper-decentralized-grid, it remains to be seen?  Clearly we are entering new space that will likely create a new Place. At this point (particularly for the Artists I know) it is the ultimate Sandbox… in more ways than one.  

Stay Tuned… More to come… 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Early attempts...

Some know I am happily working my way thru many tutorials for the various elements of CS5.  One thing I know for sure is I've always been a better cookbook user than creative chef.  Yet it is my goal to move from being able to follow directions in a tutorial to a more genuinely creative process.  A few weeks ago when staying at the coast for a few days with family I had the opportunity to take a ton of photos.  Now that I've had a little time to go thru them I've put together these two triptychs, the first of Newport Harbor and the other of our beautiful rocky North West coast line.  I thought perhaps you would enjoy seeing them and more to my point they were fodder for exploring and pushing myself just a tad beyond cook booking something beautiful.  While I certainly have a lot more to learn, see what you think…

Fishing Fleet
Northwest Surf

Saturday, October 9, 2010


OpenSim on a USB stick...
Many may have seen the post below yesterday (or the one from Tateru Nino)
John "Pathfinder" Lester Runs OpenSim, Transfers Objects From a USB Key & Explains Why It Matters To Educators
Here's an amazing innovation explained by metaverse consultant John Lester, once known as Pathfinder Linden during his days as education evangelist with Linden Lab. Using the Second Life compatible Imprudence viewer, which can easily log into numerous OpenSim worlds and save back-ups of objects you create within them, John was able to make an object in one grid and then move it to another OpenSim grid. Which is very cool, but that's not even the best part. This is: He did it with a USB memory key, even putting his own OpenSim grid on it, and explains how he did so here.
Quoted from
It really worked. Today i was able to get an OpenSim up and running from my USB drive on my laptop. See pictures below. Some have asked why? Free full sim (full prim) developement sandbox is one thing. Anything created there could be uploaded to SL (of course at a cost of $10L per assest, but no more paying for trial assests).
I will be interested to explore this further. Is it possible to have friends access your usbSim remotely? Possibly not. But there is much more to learn about this. Folks have had clients (viewers) on usb sticks for long time, but this is the server side as well. It sets you up with MySQL and Apache server... I then loaded Imprudence onto the stick... and both ran flawlessly (well... after some tweaking) on the 6 yr old laptop running with Vista. 
Hello World

Truly Ruthed!...
I probably didn't need to black those out... I freely admit my ignorance there... but all you need to know to set it up, can be found by following the links from New World Notes and Dwell On It listed above. 
And for more info (certainly over my head at this point) try this link you can also read from Pathfinder himself at
Be Cunning and Full of Tricks.
If nothing else... I learned a lot and look forward to exploring the potential of my Sim on a Stick

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dusan Writer’s Metaverse » Linden Lab Raises Prices for Non-Profits and Schools

This is very disturbing news (see Dusan Writer’s Metaverse post below) ... & I can't agree more with Dusan.   Even if you don't work in the non-profit world... it is time to look at our alternatives. It sure looks like SL is walking away from education and other Cause based customers. What about .gov sites?  How do these new rates compare to the alternatives?  Once this ‘weeding’ out is done will they be raising prices for us lowly ‘regular’ folk?  Just who do they want for customers?  If I were responsible for my non-profit's media presence I would be looking closely at providers such as or Reaction Grid, etc.  In the mean time I will be checking out pricing at inWorldz for my personal plot… I’ve felt the need to do some remodeling anyway… I can just as easily do it there as SL.  This increase in pricing to Education and Non-profit organizations sure erodes my already faltering trust in Linden Labs.

Quoted from

Dusan Writer’s Metaverse » Linden Lab Raises Prices for Non-Profits and Schools

Instituting a 200% price increase, as Linden Lab has done today, seems to me more akin to what a company would try to do if they were looking to exit a particular market and does nothing to change the narrative that the company is ripe for a sale, takeover or meltdown.


We do limited work in cause marketing and education. But without any reason given I’m left to guess what’s motivating the Lab, and I can’t for the life of me think of anything other than falling profits, a wish to be a pure consumer company, or some sort of insight into the appetite for higher costs from these communities that I don’t have (a latent desire to, um, spend more?)


Regardless of which of these reasons it might be (or is there some reason I’m not able to guess at?) the move by Linden Lab represents nothing short of a blow to their credibility and judgement, and while I’ve long been a supporter of the community and possibilities of the virtual world, it’s clearly time to start dusting off the blog posts looking at the alternatives.


While a move in the education market might not seem to have implications for enterprise, my feeling is that this move erodes trust in the viability of the Lab’s strategies and indicates they are taking a lowest common denominator view of who they think their target Second Life user should be.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Inspiration discussion...

There is a very intersting discussion about what inspires an artist, or more to the point how can you answer unanswerable questions... My contribution is reposted here...but head over to read many other interesting comments. 
" I very much enjoyed this post. Of course I ask those questions of others and myself. Yet they are indeed unanswerable questions… this is why I often refer to myself as a tool user rather an artist.

When confronted with a piece that thrills me, I find I am most often thinking about 3 questions…

1. What are they trying to say to me?

2. What does it remind me of?

3. How did they do that?

Of course the more important and often most vague question is the first. In the postmodern tumult of a crashing wave of creativity (Nothing new… old stuff just mixed up and rearranged, washed and re-washed) the other questions seem to be attempts at attaching vague and amorphous meaning to our concrete material lives.

Which is really all just fancy talk for trying to describe what happens when you get that “Wow” feeling when you see something that moves you emotionally, whose beauty fires off a refreshing wave of neural activity, causing us to want more. It is that Spark that is art… in both the indescribable act of creativity and in the moment of seeing (an equally mysterious moment). "

Monday, September 13, 2010

Perseverance Matters… a gentle counterpoint to “Fast, Fun & Easy”

Much has happened this last month. The Metaverse continues to expand and we continue to see Linden Labs struggle to find its footing in the evolving landscape; such as possible additional layoffs and the ongoing debacle of Viewer 2. Some hope the return of Philip Rosedale will keep Second Life from becoming a stagnant backwater. While, vision is not something Philip lacks, it remains to be seen if “Fast, Fun, Easy” will increase growth and retention. If Second Life becomes Fast and (more) Fun few will complain; yet it is the possible meaning of "Easy” that gives me pause.

Yet I remain optimistic, and believe we are witnessing an inevitable cultural stratification across the Metaverse. Many (not all) who were most disturbed by Viewer 2 tend to be veterans; users who need and want deep level control over the tools for the creation of their content. Viewer 2 fails on this count, yet what is most disappointing to me is that this deep level control was never its point. I count myself among the builders and those whom see ourselves as “Transworlders” (to use BotGirl’s term) but I also want my tools and experience to be Fast and Fun. AND I want the damn tools to work and to allow freedom of creation. Clearly this is not “Easy”.

What is meant by “Easy” seems not to be about the viewer or the tools. I think it is about the initial new user experience. I’ll admit my memory is poor, but I recall having a fairly embarrassing and confusing 1st hour. Many who 1st enter second life are overwhelmed by the complexity and most everyone is surprised at the emotion of those first few moments. But like many things of value in this world perseverance matters. Those of us, who stuck it out, allowed the embarrassment, chose to dig in and learned what a virtual world offers. We found rich and valuable experiences. We learned new skills, created beauty and met wonderful and amazing people ALONG with putting up with lag, asset allocation errors and asshole griefers.

I think it is fair to say that your 1st hour of Facebook was confusing and unclear, but hardly embarrassing. Reducing the angst of that first hour in Second Life is what I hope Philip means by “Easy”. But I would also suggest Linden Lab be careful NOT kill off the challenge completely of learning how to navigate within a virtual world. From the facing of these challenges come our growth, power and beauty. I call on Philip and his team NOT to lose sight of the thrill of discovery felt when you rez your first prim or finally figure out how to put on hair that doesn’t look painted. Do not dumb down second life. Design tools that both ends of spectrum can use. How Linden Labs or any virtual world accomplishes this is up to them. Developing an entry level tool that clearly links to a separate more complex and creative tool is perhaps the way to go. Either way, as long as there are multiple worlds and third party viewers (and we avoid more idiot episodes such as the recent EmeraldGate) there is hope.

 Enough ranting… What do you get if you persevere?

Stunning creativity

A clear example is the work of sororNishi and her “The Tree of Trees” installation in one of the IBM sims. While I doubt its creation was fast and certainly was not easy; I am sure much of the time it was fun. Her deeply color-saturated magical world is a joy to explore. Soror’s work often has reminded me of the brilliant glass work of Dale Chihuly. Judge for yourself. Let go for a moment of the drama and frustration of “Fast, Fun and Easy” and enjoy a relaxing drift thru Soror’s world. This is why Virtual Worlds will survive and flourish; whether Second Life will flourish is for Philip’s vision and the creative souls toiling away deep within “The Lab” to figure out. My suggestion? Get cracking because we are moving on without you.

Tree of Trees

Dale Chihuly's glass ware

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oberon's Coriolus build...

Recently I got a preview of Oberon Onmura latest project.  Wonderfuly mysterious build.  It is still evolving, but I couldn't wait to try to capture it in machinima.  My first visit there the sounds were minimal so I have tried to capture that w/ spare sound collage.  Anyway go... enjoy...
Take the Slurl to Coriolus ... be warned the sim may force you to come in on ground level.  Fly up to near 3100 meters and you will see it. 

Oberon's CORIOLUS from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

Here is the notecard Oberon offers at entry into the build. His build is still evolving, so explore often :)



Greetings. You are standing near the center of a unique landscape. The landscape has four quadrants - please explore them all.

"Coriolus" is populated with a bunch of objects which I have come to think of as characters. Two of these characters - the red splattered chairs and the flying birdlike objects - exist everywhere in the landscape.

In addition, each quadrant has objects that are unique to that quadrant:

-- The Mountains quadrant has violently falling cubes which somehow are able to seep through the surface and disappear.

-- The Yellow Hole quadrant has jet-propelled cubes which leave particle trails tracing their upward trajectories.

-- The Chimney quadrant has a spiral of moving cubes which grow transparent until finally they die and are regenerated.

-- Finally, the Moire quadrant has floating electric pads. Be careful of those!

Have fun. Explore. Try different skies. Enjoy.

Oberon Onmura

August, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Sustaining Power of Iduro*…

Of late it has been sadly easy to find well deserved fault with Second Life and Linden Labs. So much so it has begun to polarize many of us, in blogs you see rants and earnest questions along the lines of: Is so and so just a “Fast, Easy and Fun” fan boy? Is that other guy’s blog just too negative? What about all those full-of-themselves-artists and their groupies? I can be as bad as anyone. Face it there are legitimate concerns.

Yet every once in a while, in this troubled little second life world something remarkable happens. Suddenly I look up and it has been 2 hours and I need to pee and I’m hungry and I realized “it” has happened again. I’ve just been awe struck by a build/installation/experience that dare I say can currently only happen in second life (given they still seem to sustain a socio-economic critical mass). Sure it will happen elsewhere - soon. I’ve certainly been blown away by what has been done over on Rezzable Grid (Bryn Oh’s wonderful 3D drawing a few months ago… wow). I am also excited by what is happening over at InWorldz. They seem to be hitting critical mass for a viable community with mega-prims allowed, prices lower, etc. And you must admit Blue Mars sure is pretty. Yet, yesterday in Second life IT happened again.

Chouchou… a band I think William Gibson would call true “Iduro” put on a long awaited show… which was full of such wonderful pure notes. But they also opened their new sim (now ond of 3). In Chouchou XVI is an amazing build “The Babel”. I found it, stunning in its simplicity… yet engrossing in its complexity of interaction. In some ways it is a “simple” sound installation… in other ways it is a mind blowing concept. But more than any of this hyperbole could ever express, I want to say… Just go! Touch the cube. If you are anything like I am, you may need to set a timer. Whether you have a wiz bang machine with cutting edge viewers or a barely-can-move machine … it doesn’t matter either way you will want to go slow and touch stuff. Do so … and enjoy.

Thank you to all involved in the world of Chouchou. You serve as gentle reminders that the spark of excitement reducing us to simply saying “wow!” can still be found in second life.

Score another point for the sustaining power of Creativity.

*As I understand it Iduro comes from the Japanese concept Aidoru describing a media created celebrity – used in this case to describe a virtual identity – existing digitally only.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

A cool project and some sites worth checking out…

I have been a bit lazy about keeping up on the blog, I am on my summer schedule though so I will cut myself some slack. This week I ran across a project and then a fun related website. At New World Notes I saw the post about a mixed media collaboration project called PeaceLoveIcecream from Mescaline Tammas and Four Yip and had to check it out. They are collecting voice samples for their project. I could not resist offering up mine. Who knows if they will use it, but it was fun making it. Just a simple statement (nothing profound… just random revelation of my two favorite words of all time) using Audacity. I did a simple pitch modulation to get a nice sound (it it a machine or is it human?).

Robward Antwerps Favorite Words by Robward Antwerp

But the best part was in order to post the brief voice track I was sent to sound cloud. What a site… lots of music, lots of types of music and love the format, worth checking out to be sure. I placed a soundcloud ‘drop box’ on my blog… it should come in handy for collaborative projects.  For example, this will be great way to send me the music for collaborative machinima projects, etc.

What else? As I mentioned I'm on my summer schedule, in some ways just as busy as my regular work schedule. Mostly I’ve been a student… taking two classes at PSU for work - both interesting (to me) and useful (at work). On the more creative side; I’ve continued working on my Blender chops… with texture stacks, ambient occlusion, and procedural textures. I am having a small amount of success, but it is slow going at times. I do love the folks over at machinimatrix. They do a comprehensive job of sculpty tutorials (I can't recommend them enough... the Jass 2.0 Blender kit is the best way to get Blender optimized for SL - it includes the Primstar scripts, etc). Fun fun… perhaps some images of my progress later. 

As always... enjoy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Blender... do not be afraid

Given the fact I am off work for the next 5 weeks I figured now is the time to take Blender by the horns (and move beyond making simple sculpt maps). It is time for me to try to make sense out of the world of resources for Blender users.

Now I know many of you have downloaded this free Blender and opened it up only to moan and think -there’s the catch, that weird interface. I felt the same way… everyone I talked to who used Blender said “You get used to it” or, they would say something like “no really It actually makes a lot of sense” or “think keyboard short cuts”. To which I always moaned… but why?

Consider me converted… to those of you still a bit fearful… give the interface a chance. Consider the many things you can do with Blender (mind you full on commercial money making 3D animated movies are made by some pro’s on Blender). Of course, I don’t pretend I will ever be working in a commercial animation studio but I did fairly quickly learn to move beyond making Sculpties. (Which are about .5% of what Blender can do.) In short is Blender hard? Only at first… I swear. Now that I am working with an eye toward a less fettered mesh import future in sl… I am able to appreciate the program more. Below are a few simple examples of progress I’ve made in just a few days working from one video and one .pdf tutorial.

My only caution is… truly if you are new to Blender, be sure to do any “interface” tutorials you can find first. Once you get the basics figured out… like having multiple views going at once, and for transforming an object (moving, rotating, scaling, etc)… then I highly recommend this to these next tutorials. is about to release 2.5.x (currently in Alpha trials) and you will see some tutorials working from that interface. If I were you I would download this stable full release (current download is 2.49) . Any 2.4x tutorial I’ve seen has worked just fine with my 2.49. At this point I am not worried about importing anything into sl. That option is likely a few months away. When it comes rumor has it we will be importing in the Collada format – which is natively supported in Blender (unlike the specialized export plug in for sculpt meshes currently needed – See the SL wiki –search sculpt, then go to Domino Marama’s primstar plug in.)

I know I know… why does it got to be so hard! Keep your chin up… if I can do this YOU can do this.
Here are a few links:

Interface tutorials:

Two successful tutorials completed by me: - choose BlenderCourse Basics: v1.0 for Blender 2.48a Choose v2.0 for Blender 2.50 (although this only has chapter 1).

You will discover many resources in many languages here:

So… if you want to do content creation for SL, Blue Mars or for Open Sims… and you have wondered how Blender fits into this - dig in.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Second Life - Never Boring

It has been quite a week, so there is required reading today...

NWN ,  Dusan Writer, Crap, sororNishi or SaveMe Oh

It is a lot of reading, I know… but a lot happened this week.  As for my thoughts... have a look... I tried to be brief.
  • There were the 30% Layoffs at the lab – never a good sign when it comes to feeling confident that this amazing world will still be here when I wake up.
  • Mark Kingdom – was mysteriously absent from controversy marred SL birthday celebration… can’t say I was that interested in his comments anyway.
  • Philip – Filled in for M. Linden with some interesting but vaguely apologetic comments… and the rumors flew.
  • Yes Alice – Some rumors do come true. The dramatic return of Philip Rosedale as interim CEO and the flurry of M. Linden bashing reached its peak. So the guy with the passion and understanding for SL returns, despite the fact he has a reputation for making us cringe on occasion. It will be certainly be interesting.
  • Rumors of Mesh imports… cool, wow, fun, concerned… (anxiously scratches head) … hopefully when and if this rumor proves to be true, Mesh Imports will be introduced into SL with some careful thought, both from a technical point of view regarding how a flood of rich but complex mesh based objects will impact the grid AND how it will impact the economy of sl (if I were a current not so skilled content provider… I would be wondering how many 50 prim houses will sell when a 5 prim mesh import house is put on the market). But over all I am all for mesh imports… I am also working thru a wide variety of Blender tutorials… for those interested here is long list of Blender user and tutorial sites.
  • And then there was the whole art censorship issue… a complex and messy debacle to be sure. True… the Labs owns this virtual world (In the end we are only renters of server space) and they are allowed to control what goes on that server. Of course what they ‘allow’ greatly impacts the socio-economic vitality of SL… which has a direct impact on investor returns. It seems to me that open markets, open source, user created content, be it commodities or art (sold or not), etc would be encouraged. I would think they would want a wide and deep pool of creativity. So why ban stylized nudity from an art submission by Rose Borchovski? Fearful of the old “flying penises” argument? Fear of what, human depravity? Sad this puritanical fear of a lewd public perception stopped the lab from treating the artist in question honestly and fairly.
    Here I will quote Rose Borchovski via SaveMe Oh’s blog:

     I raised my voice because of the way it was handled. When I came online I found my installation in my lost and found folder with a formal message in IM from a Linden. A moderator of the SL7B GROUP saw the installation on my sim before it was put down at SL7B. Several Moderators helped me while I was setting up the installation. I had sent all the information about my Susa Bubble Story by forehand to Linden: video, LM of my sim and notecard with info. I admit, I was absolutely naïf about my Susas being naked, I do not see them as being naked anymore but as vulnerable and lost. I’m not insensitive about other people’s feelings, the SL7B was not opened yet for an audience, they could have asked me to come down and explain the problem before deleting me.
    To me… in the very least the Lab was cowardly and disrespectful in their dealings with Rose.

    PrimPerfect's recent post looks closely at the art work in question... you decide... what were "they" afraid of? 

    I know I've been reminded once again - powerful art such as this impacts individuals differently and our reaction to such art reveals more about who we are as viewers than anything else.

  • And last but not least, soror Nishi – offers a list – Philips List. Topping her list at number 1 in the hearts of all who love sl - Sack the PR Team.  This might seem odd given other critical issues like repairing chat, search, voice, etc.   Yet I agree with soror.  In my opinion even with Philip back , public relations (internally and externally) is a huge weakness of Linden Labs

    (Word to the wise Philip – you can drop the cod piece… funny – yes, ironic – yes, professional – no… imo... I'm just saying...).
Well… as you can see… lots of opinions, lots of heat, smoke and even fire. Not an easy week to summarize… so given my incomplete, partially informed musings… I will stop.

To be sure – Second Life & Linden Labs are filled with passionate opinionated people… not boring in the least.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Great Recent Issue of PrimPerfect...

The June issue of PrimPerfect has extensive reporting on the larger Metaverse (beyond Second Life); with reviews of, Blue Mars, Reaction Grid and Heritage Key. These are three of the more developed virtual worlds, each with their unique properties and issues... all well laid out and discussed in the June issue.  They also have their usual featrues devoted to SL.

I particularly liked the interview with Wizard Gynoid about her work based on sacred E8 geometry.

There is also a nice outline of the basic copyright issues related to inventory transfer to OpenSims.

And as a final recommendation... if you were curious about building in Blue Mars check out Creating In Blue Mars - Advice from a Mentor piece by Maxwell Graf and Qwis Greenwood.

You can link directly to the e-reader version  here or link to the full Prim Perfect site.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Newbie on Mars...

So there has been a bit too much drama over at Linden Labs for comfort. Lay - offs, rumors that profitability isn’t what they claim, fears the viewer will not be supported, talk of a buy out or possibly going public. Once again I am reminded change is one of the only constants. Time will tell… although lately I sort of wish LL was a publicly held company and I were a share holder… and no, it wouldn’t be for the money. However, I would love to vote on a motion to get rid of the CEO. If you were a share holder, how would you feel about the string of failures, Viewer 2.0, Avatel, Voice Morphology, SL Enterprise? ...ouch.

Since I am but a lowly consumer of the Labs product… I thought I would check in again with Blue Mars. I was a beta tester of MetaPlace (another fail that I have a bit more sympathy for) and Blue Mars. So after downloading the latest viewer for BM, I downloaded additional locations. With BM you can’t think like SL. There are not sims or regions, but there are cities (which may really be golf courses, island, etc). Each is separately downloaded (all accessible from a dashboard like front end available after logging in) and quite large. Clearly BM values graphic quality the most to the disadvantage of slower less powerful machines. They allow some user content. To build for them you need to sign up as a developer and be able to work with their tools and or 3rd party tools such as Maya, 3D Max and Blender. As far as I can tell when entering on a standard account (vs a developer) there is not in world creation. If you ask me – this will be it’s biggest weakness… well that and apparently no Flying!

Clearly they have a long way to catch up with the depth and richness of SL. I fear the folks at Avatar Reality (makers of Blue Mars) underestimate how important in world user created content is. However, give them time, they recently implemented an economy and there is at least one notable crossover with an SL community (Caledonia). There is also a developing social world as well… regular events, movie and bowling nights, hunts, etc.

Below is a brief 1 minute machinima to give you a sense of what it looks like and how you move, also below is a shot of the log in screen with list of current events, etc.

While I am not ready to bail on SL (have faith) I do believe the multiverse has plenty of room for both SL and BM.

Blue Mars Newbie from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

So feel free to comment... do you explore other virtual worlds?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dusan Writer’s Metaverse » The Why of Virtual Worlds, and Selling Second Life

Dusan Writer’s Metaverse » The Why of Virtual Worlds, and Selling Second Life

Are you up to the challenge? Are you open to the change?

Read it and weep if not... read it and live it if so.

I cannot say it better.. Dusan Writer on the "Why" of Second Life...
You see, you don’t come to Second Life to play a game, or watch a movie, or attend a concert, or even, really, to hang out with friends. You come to Second Life because you’re ready to have your worldview challenged.

Forget about a movie where you relate to and are moved by the characters and story. Now, there is no plot line, you ARE the character, and you’re about to be more engaged than you believed possible.

You might run a business, fall in love, hang out with friends, explore, be shaken, enriched, scared, or enlightened. But you’ll be hard-pressed to emerge unchanged.

You probably don’t set out to do much more than waste some time, have a look around, try to figure out the rules, find someone to hang out with, or attempt to crack the puzzle of why you keep ending up with a box on your head. And if you’re not open to change, to shifts in perception, then Second Life probably isn’t for you.
And finally... as Dusan puts it:
Is It Hard? Hell, Yes

The future is difficult.
Second Life is difficult.
Get over it.

Spread The Word

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chaos, Entropy, Order & Decay...

More digital doodling.  This time using the tool called Chaoscope.  I have been taken with this shinny new tool for a few days now. You see the animated images first... then some rendered images. The rendered images are often stunningly beautiful. For the mathematically inclined  I am sure it is a very rich tool.  However, be not afraid.... to just move the sliders... and play with the different drop down choices. 
The music I sampled for this one was found again at by Airtone.


Chaso, Entropy, Order & Decay from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.
This was made using a tool called Chaoscope found at I used FRAPPS to capture and Sony to edit.

Music by - Airtone... sampled from their song called Cricket soup.

airtone / CC BY-NC 3.0

Monday, June 7, 2010

How to build community in SL

Recently New World Notes pointed us to a blog post by Carrie Lexington, in which she discussed some simple things that will help promote a sense of community in SL.  I know sometimes days will go by with me in my little insular world (true also of rl).  While no one would ever try to do everything on the list... it does serve as a reminder to be more open and to engage with people we see in second life. As Carrie put it... step out of our comfort zone... and engage in this remarkable creation of community.  Grab a copy if you like... I messed around in Inkscape and melded the rl office poster Carrie mentioned with her list of SL community reminders.  My apologies for the slight blur.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Interesting research related to sense of self and virtual identities...

In the last few months there has been an ongoing intelligent discussion about virtual identity over on Botgirl's blog.  I was reminded of this discussion today while reading at the NewScientist website about their upcoming cover article titled: The Real Avatar which lead off with this video.

Follow this link to the  New Scientist web write up:


The article is interesting... they were able to show... that men's (apparently only men were used in the study)... heart rates (after a short time as a 10 yr old virtual 'girl' in a controlled virtual environment) increased with a threat response when  the virtual 'mother' in the scene slapped the virtual girl... even if though viewed the scene from an over head 3rd person perspective...

There was also an interesting side comment made about sl
The findings might be applied to entertainment – to make video games more immersive, for example – but also to psychology. People considering a sex change have used the virtual world of Second Life to test what it is like to have a different gender.
In the end they conclude that our sense of self is likely more malleable than commonly thought.  I know for me, one of the more interesting aspects of being in a virtual setting is that we all have the ability to become much more intentional (and experimental) about our malleable selves.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Funky issue with latest viewer

I am using KirstenLee's latest viewer S20(22).... and seem to have LOD issues similar (or same?) as sometimes seen in sculpties. I posted this image here to be able to link to it for a forum post at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A worthy read about Identity in Second Life...

The post by Tabitha Eichel found in the New World Notes blog caused me to applaud and respond with the following. Be sure to read the original for mine to make sense :)

My response...
Thank you Tabitha…

Spot on, so eloquently and respectfully stated. You remind me once again of why I am here. About one of the things I love most in sl… the diversity. Not just conventional diversity, such as language, culture, gender, sexual preference, background, or level of ability (be it physical, emotional, sexual, or social)… but also the virtual or created diversity. There are so many choices (Furries, Steampunks, literalists, musicians, artists, deep immersionists, children, animals, vampires, goreans, sailors, surfers, on and on)… not to mention the concept of Alts or what behaviors we choose.

While it saddens me, although does not surprise me, that the judging of what is acceptable as ‘normal’ in life is so accurately reflected in SL. I value these differences. So much is communicated by our choices in SL. All these choices are reflections of our own stories. Still SL is more than a mirror for life. Second life is a marvelous tool for telling our stories.

Story telling… imagined or otherwise is what SL facilitates so well. Many are surprised, even hurt, by the depth of intimacy that this shared story telling creates. But that surprise and even pain is also valuable. It is Human. To paraphrase my-self/my-avatar “…Do not under estimate the intimacy of sl… to think this intimacy is not “real” is the height of hubris. “

It is my hope that we who choose Second Life will choose to preserve and encourage its diversity, to respect its differences and to build a unique and creative community.

To quote my grandmother – “Life is messy… if all you do is worry about is cleaning up … you will miss the good stuff”.

Friday, May 7, 2010

More fun with particles...

chaos cloud from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.
This is just more goofing around as I explore using and tweaking scripts. I was intrigued by the optical effect of rippling in the cloud I saw. Not practical for Second Life in that it would be too lag inducing on many viewers, was fun to play with.

By the way... music was just the live stream from SOMA FM... Suburbs of Goa. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Objects & Particles...

Some more goofing around... exploring particles and light, using loop rezzing and rotation scripts. Thank you Particle Lab. Also found the new search tool at Their Dig tool... very cool.

Objects & Particles from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

Music: Creative Commons License Dawn Of Time: Morning Cube by spinmeister is licensed under a Attribution (3.0).

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I am easily entertained.
Just goofing around with some scripts, flexi and textures.
Texture made in Harmony, the Chrome Experiment and GIMP.
Using simple rotation and loop rezzing scripts. I also used and very much like the "real night" sky setting in Kirsten's viewer s20(19)... love the light.

Whirligig from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A funny thing happened on my way to learning Linden Scripting Language…

The other day the talented and creative Jo Ellsmere (Second Life chair and tree creator extraordinaire) told me she was beginning to explore writing scripts. She knew I had dabbled around in them and was of a similar non programming bent as she. We IM’d back and forth yakking about it and played with the Loop Rezzer script she was exploring. In the end I laughed and said I’ll throw together a quick list of resources and paste it to you in a note card. In then end… this is what she got… :)

A long post chronicling my first stumbling thru the world of programming. Something fun I intend to continue… so many paths to walk. But perhaps this will be of use to folks looking for resources related to learning to write scripts for Second Life. Follow the links … and good luck.

I know you’ve found the LSL wiki.

There are MANY SL Building resources out there… here is one nice compendium from the Yaiol Imitation of Life blog. (S.N.O.W.* alert). Mind you there is a LOT more than just scripting help here… in fact scripting links are about 3/4s down the page. Some are in French… most if not all have English equivalents listed.
(*S.N.O.W. = Shiny New Object Warning = tangent = possible distractions ahead = “No really I’m just addicted to the sensation of learning… but yeah I could be a bit more focused”)

But back to the matter at hand.
In my attempts to learn to script… I quickly discovered that scripters were programmers who used weird language that use familiar words in unusual ways. Words such as: Statement, State & Function.
They wrote odd looking sentences like:
scriptnum = llList2Integer(llParseString2List(llGetScriptName(
),["mainanim "],[]),0); ...

I learned the words Statement, State and Function sort of have similar meanings to the same words used in a different context. For example; I made a statement in the state of Oregon regarding the function of programmers. I understand that sentence, but in the context of programming that I did not understand those terms.

So I set about defining the context and delineating just what the background was that I needed to understand better to move from being able to change a few parameters in a script to being able to create original or even task specific scripts. I quickly realized I should have paid more attention in math classes in high school. The logical context for the terminology used in scripting is of course mathematical.

So bearing in mind that State of my knowledge regarding scripting here is the sequence I stumbled thru as I learned more.
  •  I tried understanding some particle emitters and ‘make’ sit poses. This led me to the LSL wiki. I started to collect scripts and open them up.
  • I Got excited about the cool things they did and read the section on scripting in the Official Second Life Guide by Michael Rymaszewski, et al - on the Wiley press.
  • I then began exploring some in world scripting resources such as the Scripting College found in the Yaiol Imitation of Life blog post above.
  • Eventually I picked up a copy of the Wiley Press book titled: Scripting Your World, by Dana Moore, et al.
  • Next I got confused… mind you the book is good… it was that my understanding of basic programming concepts was not good.
  • Next was Beginning Programming book put out by the Wrox imprint of the Wiley press, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and Kathie Kingsley-Hughes. Not bad, but a bit dense for me… or was it I who was still a bit dense?
  • I also realized I could watch some college classes via iTunes and YouTube and started to do that. Search Stanford and MIT YouTube programming classes. I actually worked thru the Karel The Robot Java project that was part of the CS 61 class. Names and numbers change so search YouTube and the college sites for links.
  • Next was a very helpful (in the big picture sense) book put out by the Pragmatic Programmers press called, Pragmatic Thinking & Learning: Refactor Your Wetware by Andy Hunt. I can’t recommend this book enough… (S.N.O.W. alert) if you are not a math type, not a programmer type and are a more creative artist type you MUST read this book. It really helped, by tying recent advances in Cognitive and Neuroscience to practical applications in everyday life. How our brain works and how we think and how we problem solve, etc. To quote the back page: "Whether you’re a deep thinker, programmer, manager, knowledge worker or techno geek (or just happen to have a human brain you’d like to crank up), Pragmatic Thinking & Learning will help."
  • Then I got a bit more on track…and picked up a copy of Programming for the Absolute Beginner: No experience required by Jerry Lee Ford, Jr. on Thomson press. Another fun book. You get to make some cool simple games written in BASIC language.
  • Then I became distracted again and got a copy of Introductory Computer Mathematics, 2nd Ed, by Nigel P. Cook. Published by Pearson Education (I got it at ‘s technical book store here in Portland). (S.N.O.W. alert) Do not be afraid of this book… it was actually quite fun … essentially a work book that teaches basic math concepts with computer and electronics examples. You really begin at the beginning… talking about Fractions and Decimals. Go for it … it was fun to work that part of my brain again.
So… what is the upshot of all this… I am still not a scripter or programmer… but I can at least ask questions they will understand, and I can read scripts more easily now. Use them more intelligently. And perhaps one day will actually be able to create some on my own.

Other tools I used were specialized Editors for easy programming syntax, etc… there are many (see links below and the Yaoil Imitation of Life blog at top of this post). I also found the free Microsoft developer programming tools… the studio express editions, for programming in Visual Basic, Visual C#, and Visual C++. They were fun with a number of tutorials that are easy to understand. In fact a whole section aimed at kids (which helped me, given my kid level understanding of some of the concepts).
In the end… so much to know… so little time… but lots of fun… and besides it is GOOD for your brain to challenge it… trust me you will live longer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Goofing off with Chrome Experiments

I was goofing around the yesterday with the Chrome browser experiments. There are many interesting JavaScript tools/toys that run only in Chrome. Several are simple but interesting drawing/painting tools with some fun brushes.
In the end I was quickly able to throw together some fun ‘orbiting’ and rotating spheres. I shot the Quick and Dirty Planetary System posted below. I will experiment more with the parameters in the rotation scripts and do some slightly different textures tonight.

In case others are interested: Here are some textures I did very quickly in Chrome’s Sketchpad and Harmony experiments (both of whom ONLY work out of the Chrome browser).
Here are the links to the tools I used:

Chrome (You must be in this browser to use the experiments)
Harmony *
*Each has Save function that opens image in separate browser tab, from which you right click in the image to choose Save Image As ... In Win 7... other systems will be similar.  I also used GIMP, and Frapps and Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio.
Planetary Side project from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Follow up on the JIRA request to fix broken suppression of user interface...

For machinima makers one of the most frustrating things about the new Linden Labs second life viewer 2.0 was that you were unable to completely suppress the user interface when shooting machinima. Without the fix we would all have been blighted by a file menu strip across the top of any footage shot in that viewer (now the default viewer for new accounts, etc). When combined with the new LL policy establishing a list of 'approved' third party viewers (which at this writing still does not include Emerald or Hippo), we had a very short list of approved viewers to work with. Fortunately KirstenLee Cinquetti's viewer is on the list and the newest version of her viewer S20 (15) fixes the UI suppression problem while maintaining (even improving) the SL 2.0 viewer’s user interface.

I drone on about this because it is too easy to assume that there is always going to be a work around or somehow the open source community will fix it. KirstenLee deserves a huge thanks and even a donation to the ‘beer’ fund if one is able. KirstenLee’s viewer dealt with this pesky (and difficult to fix) ‘bug’ in short order. There is nothing like a having a nimble open source coder in your corner. Have a look at the viewer via the download link on the KirstenLee’s blog.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I am currently working on a project for Zachh Cale... host of Project Z gallery in Lennox Hill sim. Several aspects of this project are interesting... the installation 4 Galaxies is a trick to shoot... the expansiveness and scale of a galaxy hopefully comes thru. Built by Oberon Onmura, 4 Galaxies is a beautiful and large scale particle construction. To see the 4 Galaxies go to Project Z (you will be at the entrance of the gallery) and teleport via the sign for the 4 Galaxies. An interesting added plus will be the composition of an original sound track. Zachh Cale is a composer and musician and will contribute a piece to the project (thus the lack of a sound track now). It was interesting working with the clips w/o a sound track to work with. It is sort of a “chicken and the egg” scenario where the music helps in the composition of the machinima and the machinima contributes to the composition of the music.

4 Galaxies ROUGH DRAFT from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Consider voting for this JIRA

Any photographers or machinima makers who have worked with the Viewer 2.0 probably know the suppression of the UI is only partial... it leaves the menu bar visible. Please consider taking a moment to wander over to this link and voting. In the mean time thank goodness for Emerald.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Experience the Intangible Reality

Today while working on a new machinima I was visiting with a friend in Second Life.  She turned me on to an amazing find... not a new sim or build, but to a guy's Flickr photostream.  Pixel Reanimator a relative newcomer, but one with skills and a quick grasp of what compels many of us to stick with Second Life.  The essence of why Second Life remains interesting to me... the way we choose to creatively express ourselves.... In this case Pixel subtly captures one of the most common forms of self expression - our appearance.  Commonly in our 'real' lives our self expressed appearance falls well within a fairly narrow norm.  However, in Second Life there are unique (in freedom and restriction) tools.   Most significantly there is a resilient culture of self expression as vivid as any you will encounter.  See for yourself here. Pixel has created a series of digital portraits captivating in their simplicity... by 'slowing' down my viewing experience... making me focus.  I found it bordered on the uncomfortable initially... that sense in the back of my mind that my attention wants to wander but it can't.  Soon I was consuming one portrait after another, entranced by the intangible reality behind the images and fully disappointed when I viewed the last one.  Not all will find it as I did... but I look forward to seeing more of what this creative newcomer to Second Life will do. See what you think... if you like it, click thru via link above to all the portraits (13 so far).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

SL Viewer 2.0 review

Hello all…
I admit it... I have to give Viewer 2.0 overall a thumbs up. I too have seen and heard many negatives about the viewer. Things such as it isn’t builder friendly, objections to the ‘blending’ of 1st life info on main profile tab, fairly ugly formatting of user inputted text to the profile, annoying chat changes and of course the side bar pop out. As a land owner, builder and machinima maker I was certainly concerned that I might lose some functionality, but a few days into the beta… so far so good. I’ll tick off the complaints I’ve heard or seen so far.

1. Not builder friendly – For me… I haven’t seen any issues. True the build button has moved to the menu bar above. Functionality seems the same.

2. Blending of 1st life info on main profile tab – This is a concern that may be more related to a lack of trust (sadly often deserved) related to the direction LL is going. At this point, as long as the default requires me to Opt-In to reveal my information then I am fine with it. As long as this remains the case then, it is really just a change of location… folks have always had the option to reveal rl information.

3. Annoying chat changes – For me… it was irritating having to hunt for basic options. My biggest complaint (and this goes for the side bar… to a degree) is that lack of any Alpha slider. I want a measure of transparency to the pop ups. I often have many windows open at a time and it would be easier to navigate if I could tell stuff was buried.

4. As for the sidebar. On the one hand I appreciated that it did not cover a portion of my view, since it forced a change in my aspect ratio. However, on some machines this may cause it to hang, depending on the graphics card and processor on the client side. For me… I would like more control over it’s open size and transparency, perhaps the option for it not to change my aspect ratio.

For me, the most interesting and powerful change is the media integration. Last night I posted my blog on a prim, ran a machinima embedded in the same blog there and edited a typo I found… all in world in real time on that prim. Since I don’t see SL as a game I won’t call this capacity a “Game Changer”… but this is a huge wild card. Testing with friends revealed early, since the viewer changes are client side, only folks running the 2.0 viewer can see or interact with any of it. So folks running 1.23.x will see a blank prim. However, once adoption of 2.0 grows you will see a lot more media running. Flash works on the prim, etc… so I fear whole sims running Facebook pages playing Farmville (and yes I enjoy Farmville but I don’t want to play it in world.. .lol). How all of this will contribute to client side lag is hard to say… perhaps the group chat lag happening last night as we tested was coincidental.

In the end… This is a beta test… so… testers give input. Linden Labs desire to go mass market will in fact be market driven. In the end… they are a corporation and in the business of increasing profit. I do see the creation of the Enterprise side of SL as a good sign. Yet, I still say thank God for Open Sims, Reaction Grid, Blue Mars and other competitors. I will be interested to see how the folks doing 3rd party viewers will respond to the addition of media integration and interactivity.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Conflagration - Cetus

I finally finished the project. It was interesting to make. Once again I’ve done a free form project, similar to a music video. It will be challenging when and if I try to work with a narrative. I especially enjoyed doing the mixing of the music tracks with this. They are from, are all creative commons licensed, and there are many many samples and loops available for mixing and mashing. This was built up from over 130 clips of video and a dozen audio clips. Embedded in the remarkable cathedral is the stunning Grand Odalisque. Truly I only scratch the surface of Conflagration. Other works have been seen at the IBM sims.
For those who saw the draft (now taken down) you will not see much changed. Mostly I just tried to smooth out the somewhat choppy opening sequence of falling into the sim. As you may know, Cetus is a sim devoted the arts.  

Conflagration from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Working on new project...

I am working on a new project... a machinima project based on the amazing build at Cetus SL.  By DB Bailey with other artists works placed within the build.  This tour de force of texturing, while being a bit laggy for the faint of computing heart... it is still worth it.  For those who struggle with lag... try.  The Conflagration by DB Bailey  Drop in... hold still and try to view around... well worth the struggle.  Hopefully I can give you a taste of this ever evolving build soon.  The good news is this time I was able to create my own music track from mixes found at the ccmixter site.  For those that don't know... ccmixter is full of creative commons usable music samples to be mixed, mashed and scrambled into anything you like. Have a listen if you like: it features Michael Masley  (for the Masley link go to page, search his name from drop down list and stream his samples) and Laura Easton.

Find more music like this on Virtual Advisor

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Enjoying Skye High

Tonight I am listening to Skye High in sl... He has quite the voice... young guy.  Avatar only persona as Skye... I heard that when he performs live, you get little or no notice, and only the lucky few get in (he regularly fills a sim to the avatar limit).  But fortunately tonight the group also posted his live stream.  I am amazed at how pure his sound is.  I learned of him first in NWN, but sort of blew it off... so often live music in sl lacks polish to over come the technical limitations of streaming live in sl.  Then I saw a long post about him by ColeMarie... and knew I had to give it another try.  True to form I can not get in to the sim, but the stream is lovely.  I will have to try to get in the next time I see his group post he is playing.

On another creative note... earlier I posted the 9 Chairs machinima showcasing Jo Ellsmere's amazing npril chairs and table. I mentioned a few of her chairs would be featured in a show in sl.  Here is the info:  Her chairs are a pair among many interesting interpretations on the theme of chairs.  The show is hosted in the IMOPCA (Invisible  Museum of Post Contemporary Arts) at Invisible Gardens, Glashtan SL.  Interesting show... definately not your average chairs... Congratulations Jo on your work being in the show.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reaction Grid preview...

Reaction Grid is another Grid that is acessable with a second life capable viewer (I use Hippo to access RG). Today I had my 1st conversation with a fellow gridizen. Smart guy, named paul... a teacher of High School arts. I also was over at Wizzy's region on RG... and was blown away by what can be done with huge (compared to sl) prim limits. I hear the limit on Open Sims can be as high as 45,000 compared to 15,000 in sl. I hope to feature more content from Reaction Grid and other open sims soon. Reaction Grid can be accessed via: Reaction Grid.

This machinima was kicked out in record time and shows it... not horrible, but nothing fancy.

Reaction Grid Previews from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo.

Chairs and more...

Originally built with whimsical poses for guests at the reception of a recent second life performance piece - The wedding of Selavy Oh and Misprint Thursday. Created by Jo Ellsmere, these chairs delighted the guests and were a perfect complement to a truly elegant build of the cathedral (designed and built by Marko Seurat).

Jo’s creativity with the seemingly simple idea of a chair has impressed many. I was happy to be able to help her when she wondered aloud how she might make a record of her creations while still also capturing their moving bits.

I love their deceptive simplicity, all are clearly recognizable as chairs, yet utterly impossible. For me the process was enjoyable and instructive. I learned to focus my work flow and to work without a music score (I’ve found that when working with a music score the music is what drives the timing of the piece).

Look for Jo’s chairs at the upcoming show (details to come) in sl.

Follow these links for:

Photos from the reception:

Selvay Oh’s blog announcing the wedding:

My machinima shot in and around Marko Seurat’s Cathedral:

9 Chairs & a Table from Robward Antwerp on Vimeo