Puppet (& Scripting) Wizardry in Second Life

Pimper Puppets by d-oo-b.cc (moderate)

It’s a play, one performed by puppets, and 24 hours later I’m still thinking about it for a variety of reasons (all positive). I’ll try and describe this in a way which makes sense. Try being the operative word here.

Starting with the play itself – it’s a comedy, and if you are at all involved with the virtual art scene you will recognize the situation and the characters. Although they all have names, I might call some of them ‘the Artist’ (who just wants people to see and love his work), ‘The Other Artist’ (who considers the first guy a has-been and knows that she is the better talent), and ‘The Curator’ (who just wants a good show).

We’ve all met artists who like to intellectualize what they do. One of the best lines in the production occurs when “The Other Artist” disagrees with somebody else’s assessment of her work and explains that: “A physolactic entrocalypse of the etheric dimension is the opposite of an animophobic introclecstate of profane dialectics, a submorphic frame that stimulates subcutane erections that induce in the cervocularic consciousness a feeling of reanimation.”

Even if you just like looking at inworld art you’ll enjoy this piece, and the experience of watching it. It’s also possible to get involved and I’ll explain that a little lower down.

Pimper Puppets by d-oo-b.cc (moderate)

Speaking as somebody who can’t use Blender, and doesn’t script, to me the technical aspects of this production are extraordinary.

You start by sitting in a chair and hitting ‘escape’ a couple of times. In front of you is a line of puppets with speech bubbles and I expected to watch them take turns talking. What actually happened was so much more.

You and your chair are magically teleported from scene to scene. What you see, and the angle at which you see it, is also dictated for you. The entire process occurs without any sense of the transitions occurring – I mean there’s no feeling of being transported, the scene just changes. It’s seamless, even though you’re bouncing around from elevation to elevation.

We’ve experienced much of this before, but again I don’t remember it ever feeling this effortless.

Pimper Puppets by d-oo-b.cc (moderate)

I assumed that d-oo-b.cc was using Experience Tools but I didn’t remember being asked for permission to animate me.  I asked him, just to make sure, and his response was “What is experience tools?” He scripted all of this from scratch!

To add to the complexity of the work he’s done, the show runs every 5 minutes (from a different chair) 24 hours a day. The play runs for about 20 minutes and you’re never in a scene with somebody else. Well not in the standard mode.

You can “stand up” and enter the scene. There are standard teleporters as well so you can move through the production and interact with the characters at all stages. They aren’t static by the way, they do move and his animations of a blender doll are also impressive.

So to summarize, the story is fun (in a kind of inside joke way), the puppets are gorgeous, the scenery & music wonderful, the scripting is superb, and I loved it.

Pimper Puppets by d-oo-b.cc (moderate)

d-oo-b.cc is using half of LEA9 with a Core Sim grant  and these grants are much shorter than the 6 months given to Artists in Residence. The bad news is that the performances will end on April 26th, so you have less than a week to visit the Pimper Puppets.

In addition to the play, d-oo-b.cc presents concerts every day. You can find that schedule on his website and on the LEA Calendar.

You will also find (if you scroll down here) a description of his building process and the backstory to the play. He provides some wonderful closeups of many of the puppets I haven’t included.

I’m very very glad that d-oo-b.cc applied for a Core Sim Grant.  Go see his work, it’s the one way we the audience can repay the artists for all of the time & energy they spend creating amazing things for us.

PS If you fall in love with his puppets, you’ll find links on his blog to Marketplace where you can purchase one. That wouldn’t be a bad way to thank him either. :)

PPS I’d feel guilty for finding ‘artist angst’ funny but I’ve been assured that it was intended that way. :)

Pimper Puppets by d-oo-b.cc (moderate)

The End of Some Things in Second Life

LICK Sim Designs – End of the World as We Know It (moderate)

I saw Torley’s photo and went to check out the current iteration of LICK Sim Designs demo sim. The title is the “End of the World as we Know It” which, it turns out, involves angry weather and homicidal meteors.

LICK Sim Designs – End of the World as We Know It (moderate)

The innocent inworld days of excitement over a bit of snow seem very long ago. The rain and wind-whipped waves are just a small, but spectacular, part of this design.

There are a couple of other endings (albeit far less violent) I thought I would mention.

LICK Sim Designs – End of the World as We Know It (moderate)

It seems that my trusty translator has stopped working. The Metanomics language tool was both dependable and free (if you ever paid for it you were ripped off).

I received a notice in White Tiger Mentors of an alternative – the MHTranslator. It will cost you a bit, but one very nice feature is that you can buy it in different versions. Unlike the Metanomics offering you’ll be able to get the instructions in a variety of languages. There is a demo version available to try first – find it at their store inworld.

LICK Sim Designs – End of the World as We Know It (moderate)

Finally: “Interpol and a variety of key players in the computer security industry have announced the takedown of the Simda botnet, believed to have infected some 770,000 PCs around the world.” If you want to check to see if your computer was infected, Kaspersky has a really quick/easy tool.

I’ll leave you with an image of some very stormy virtual seas. :)

LICK Sim Designs – End of the World as We Know It (moderate)

Lobby Cam by Bryn Oh in Second Life

Lobby Cam by Bryn Oh (general)

You didn’t really think I’d ignore the opening of a new installation by Bryn Oh did you? I admit to waiting a couple of weeks, but that doesn’t indicate a lack of enthusiasm. I do have to prepare myself emotionally for her work – she takes great pride in making me cry.

Lobby Cam is situated in the middle of the Canadian prairie – in Saskatchewan to be precise. You’re surrounded by wheat fields moving gently to the rhythm of the wind.

Lobby Cam by Bryn Oh (general)

The HUD will help you navigate the story – that of a lonely, isolated farmer.

I have to make a slight digression here. Bryn does a great job of giving you a sense of the endless prairie – unfortunately she has to build up the terrain around the edge of the sim so you don’t see the water. Pretend it’s not there and that those flat wheat fields go on forever. If you’ve ever driven across them you’ll know what I mean.

Hollywood once made a movie called Saskatchewan which they filmed in the Rocky Mountains. Not exactly a documentary. :)

Lobby Cam by Bryn Oh (general)

Our lonely farmer lives in a renovated grain elevator and makes toys. The story got to me (as usual), the visuals are stunning (as usual), and I spent an enormous amount of time fixated on taking images of details.

Bryn’s builds have many layers, and it’s finding the tiny things which helps me deal with the emotional impact her exhibits have.

Lobby Cam by Bryn Oh (general)

As for the title – well I’m not going to explain that. You’ll have to wear the HUD, follow the story, and explore this wonderful creation.

I would have titled this post “The Loneliness of the Isolated Farmer”, but I don’t want you to think that all of Canada’s prairie residents have this one’s psychological profile.

Visit and enjoy Lobby Cam – it’s another example of why the virtual world is such a fabulous platform for art.

Lobby Cam by Bryn Oh (general)

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