Murder at Skull Creek!

So y’all may have noticed, if y’all were paying Extremely Close Attention, that this is no fashion “blog”. But I do belong to a shopping group or two (wave wave!), and I’m on some subscribe-o-matics, and wildly unlike in RL I enjoy wandering around malls and exploring out-of-the-way shops, and even shopping. And sometimes I get notices of things.

And today, just when I seriously needed some light procrastination, I got a reminder about the Murder at┬áSkull Creek event that WoE and Exodi are doing. It started a week ago, and I don’t know how long it lasts, so rush on over! :)

It involves wearing a nicely-scripted and textured HUD, and basically wandering around finding the scavenger-hunt things and the prim-people to click on, in a nice modern build full of baked-in shadows and a fine autumnal atmosphere, in a sort of creepy inbred too-small town from a slasher flick.

I eventually actually solved the murder by finding all the millions of things you need to click on (select-by-surrounding doesn’t count as cheating, right?), and confronted the murderer (after confronting only one non-murderer), and got the Golden Ticket which lets you get all the prizes.

And nice prizes they are!

(Like my inventory needs more things in it.)

But hey, it was fun!

And so I’m telling all my friends, like the prize boxes all told me to. :)

Burn Dance 2010

So while I had great fun during the build phase of Burn2, RL and general mood kept me away from it during most of the time it was open. It makes me happy that the place was apparently packed and rockin’ pretty much the whole time, even without me. :)

Here I am (on the left, lookin’ macho) at one of the few things I did get to; a post-Man-Burn party at the Yokohama Marching Band camp. Woot!

Burn Dance 2010

Lots of other people have some great posts and series (serieses?) of posts about the great stuff at this year’s Burn2. I highly recommend Honour McMillan’s and Miso Susanowa’s, just f’rinstance…

Thingmaker news, and another video!

Funnest part first (I recommend one of the HD versions, if you got the bandwidth):

That’s a video from the special Burn2 version of the Thingmaker, currently experiencable (experienceable?) only at Ten Thousand Things Camp, my Burn2 build.

(The kinda neat one-prim-at-a-time pace of the action is thanks to Burn2 lag; I think Time Dilation was somewhere around 0.8 when I took this.)

Once Burn2 is over and I find some time somewhere, I will add various of the new features of this version of the Thingmaker to the commercial (“commercial”) version, and update it in my SL Marketplace store, to which I don’t think I’ve ever linked before because of the whole confusingness of XL Street L or whatever it was going away, and stuff being automatically copied over to the SL Marketplace, which at least I can spell.

If you buy the Thingmaker in its current version from the SL Marketplace, I will send you the new post-Burn2 version as soon as it comes out.

Unless I forget, in which case I will do so as soon as you remind me. :)

Bygone Picks IV: Midnight Reflections

For the fourth in my series of Picks updates, I’m replacing a place that’s not actually gone. But it’s changed quite a bit since I first went there, and so have I, and I haven’t been there for ages, and probably people know about it already.

Midnight Reflections

I remember Midnight Reflections as a complicated and mysterious place, all wooden walkways between steep cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, secret grottoes and hidden caverns, misty glowing places with darkness and enigmatic poseballs.

Of course, I was young then. :)

When I went back to it for the first time in ages to see if there was any reason to keep it in my Picks, I found a nice-enough sim, still with steep cliffs and waterfalls but somehow without the mystery, and with a big chunk of it now occupied by a remarkably uninteresting store.

The description as saved in my Pick was:

Midnight Reflections *Relax-Explore-Play*

fwiw, the description of the cliffs-and-waterfalls part now is:

Midnight Reflections:Love~Romance & Couples Dancing
Experience the softer side of Midnight Reflections. Gorgeous waterfalls,Slow jams, Love,Beauty,Romance, romantic couples dancing,Couples Club,Clubs,Slow jams,slow music,Propose,private balconies,couples cuddle blankets,secluded beach,romantic music

and the store part:

Midnight Reflections: Relax~Explore~Play~Dance & Shopping
Dance,Dancing,70s,80s,90s top 40s music,couples dancing,
beach,night club,clubs,events,djs,70’s,80’s,90’s,Image Reflections,romance, beach,clubs,affordable sexy Womens Clothing store,sculpted shoes,boots,gowns,outfits,Image, Womens hair, fashions

So has the place changed significantly, or is it just me? Who knows! But anyway, that’s a Pick slot freed up.

For now, until the end of Burn2, it’s being replaced with my build, Ten Thousand Things Camp:

My BURN2 Camp (Burn2: A Community of Fire, Art and Experience… In Second Life)

The way that can be trodden is not the eternal way.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.

Stop by. :)


From friend an’ organized-per\son Elura, an SL music thing worth noting:

Covered is a concert dedicated to a single songwriter who performs in secondlife. The idea is to present that songwriter’s music as you would your own. As a performer, you choose the song you wish to perform and you let Elura Galicia know. You also choose one of your originals that you believe goes well with the cover song. Four to six performers will be chosen for each concert. Each concert will cover one artist.

All musicians are asked to promote this concert to their individual groups. Non-music groups may also be invited, Through cross promotion, the music will be heard by more diverse audiences. The venues will post to their groups. When possible, the concerts will be aired live on (indiespectrum radio).

Elura Galicia will coordinate the concert event and host the event.

This is a tips only show. The venues are being donated; as are the talents of those participating. Elura will do her best to graciously request people tip the artists and the venue.

Website information or other promotions: please give to Elura so she may assist you.

These concerts can only take place through your cooperation and generosity.

Thank you,
Elura Galicia

The schedule for the Lexie Covered Concert is:

Lexie’s show
Deadeye – 11:00 1 song, I Could Get Used to You
Raspbury – 11:15 1 song, Kiss
Phemie- 11:30 1 song, Think of You
Pol – 11:45 – 1 song, Drama Magnet
Zorch – 12:00 1 song, End of the Earth
Zane – 12:15 – 1 song, Letting Go
Lexie – 12:30 – 1/2 hour

Sunday, October 10th, 2010 from 11am slt – 1pm slt at the Sound Hole:

Display Names and public relations

So Second Life is getting “display names”, meaning that although I am Dale Innis, I can have the label over my head say “Dale” or “Catgirl” or “Barak Obama”, or almost anything else I want.

This is old news, and I don’t frankly think it will turn out to be all that significant in itself, so I haven’t weblogificated about it (unless I have and I just forgot), but I saw something today that does move me to write.

The Lab is saying, and I think correctly, that the Residents will understand enough about immutable identities (the names we have now, which will be called “user names”) versus extremely mutable display names, that there will not be huge amounts of griefing or fraud as a result.

On the other hand, the Lab is also saying that you can have any non-offensive Display Name you want, except for ones that end in (or contain, or something) “Linden”.

And people are asking the very reasonable question “if there’s no danger of griefing or fraud using display names because everyone will understand that they can’t be trusted, why are you forbidding Linden names? Isn’t that sort of hypocritical?”

There are good answers to this question. For instance:

Since we will make it very clear to all Residents that display names are under the control of the user, we don’t expect a significant amount of confusion or fraud using display names. The one exception to this is the name ‘Linden’, which is so tied in current Residents’ minds to LL employees that, although we think the potential for confusion or fraud there is still small, we’ve chosen to forbid it in display names. We regret the limits that this will put on people whose real-life name is ‘Linden’, and we will periodically revisit this limitation going forward.

On the other hand, there are also very bad answers to this question. Here’s one example:

Linden is a real world company with real world brand and protections of that brand. So yes, we will protect that inworld.

If the restriction on “Linden” in Display Names was really about protection of real world brands, then presumably they would also be more or less obliged to forbid any other trademarked name as well, which would really cut down on the available space! Or else they’d be blatantly saying “we will protect our own brand, but we will allow our platform to be used to damage any and all other brands”, which would not only show contempt for the brands owned by us Residents, but would be essentially begging for contributory-infringement lawsuits.

So given that there are good and bad answers to that question, you’d hope that the Lindens would be giving the good answers, and not giving the bad ones. Unfortunately, this Darkly Cute posting and its comments suggests that the latter bad answer was given at an Office Hours or something recently by Jack Linden, whereas the former good answer was just made up by a humble Resident (me), and posted hypothetically in one or two places in the weblog-o-sphere.

I don’t know why the Lab doesn’t have someone assigned to writing down reasonable answers to reasonable questions, and making sure that all customer-facing employees are familiar with those reasonable answers and use them. I don’t know why customer-facing employees are allowed to, or for that matter think that it’s a good idea to, basically pull random answers out of their hats in public. We had that problem with the Adult Exile, and probably with every other major debacle; rather than a nice clear explanation, well thought-out, from the Lab as a whole, we get spur-of-the-moment inventions from individual Lindens.

Maybe part of it is the atmosphere of your typical Office Hours or inworld meeting: a room full of random and largely surly Residents shouting questions and accusations and profanities and epithets at one or two Lindens, who do their best to keep their tempers and say reasonable things. It would be trying for anyone.

But the Lab really needs to drum it into the heads of the poor Lindens who endure these things: when Residents ask hard legal or policy questions that you don’t know the Official Lab Answer to, do not just make stuff up. Say “that is a hard legal or policy question that I don’t know the Official Lab Answer to, and rather than just making something up, I will take it and get back to you with the actual right answer.” (And then, ideally, actually do that.)

This would be a Good Rule to Have. Hear that, Lab? :)

Okay, enough complaining. :) I think I will go build something, or listen to a good DJ. Display Names and bad PR aside, it’s still a wonderful world(s).

Dale goes to IMVU

Per all of the “keep the lifeboats handy” posts about Second Life recently, I’ve been going here and there and seeing if there’s a Dale Innis (or DaleInnis) yet.

There wasn’t one in IMVU, but now there is!

Dale goes to IMVU

Well, there sort of is. It actually says “Guest_DaleInnis” above my head, and getting rid of the “Guest” costs US$19.99. I think it is. IMVU has all sortsa little ways like that to coax money out of ya; sort of like the free-to-play Lord of the Rings Online (free mount! for 24 hours; after that you gotta pay). I find the whole “being nickel-and-dimed to death” experience pretty annoying, and I’m glad Second Life doesn’t have lotsa stuff like that.

Anyway! The initial IMVU AVs are all gag-me-with-a-spoon dumb-looking (not in the “boring and generic” sense, but in the “14-year-old boy’s image of a prostitute” sense); but even without paying any “credits” there’s a certain amount of customization you can do. I seem to have started with like 3500 “credits”, and spending about 700 of them got me this nice non-stupid top and bottom. The hair was already in my inventory. :)

So far two boys have wanted to talk to me (before I’ve even gone anywhere, assuming there are places to go); one wanted to Skype / Cam with a nice woman (and was quite grateful when I turned him down nicely haha), and the other is from Columbia and wanted me to help him with English. (Google Translate is amazingly nonawful these days.)

So there ya are… :)

Fractal Heightmap Sculpties

Because I Can. :)

Fractal Heightmaps

This is all the same Python program as before, with the getR and getG functions changed to return simple linear functions of x and y (making the basic plane), and getB changed to return a point from a heightmap, where the heightmap is calculated from an old quasi-self-similar algorithm that I made up years an’ years ago, that produces kinda neat-looking terrains, except that they always have a bias toward diagonal ridges that I’ve been too lazy to squeeze out. Some have a “water table” below which the terrain can’t go, and some don’t.

And you have to set the stitching type to “plane”. I think it is.

In all of these scuplties, btw, I’ve been using the same texture for the visible texture as for the sculpt texture, just to make it more obvious to me what’s going on. That’s not at all required, though; these could just as easily be shiny copper, or grass, or marble, or wood, or what-have-you…

Making sculpties with code

I finally got around to doing this!

Sculpties, I make thems!

Here I am sitting in my place in Inworldz (where the texture uploads are free, heh heh), trying out the sculpt-maps made by this Python program that I wrote that makes sculpt maps.

My favorite so far is the pointy one on the right there, which resulted from a couple of bugs in the program. :)

(And yeah, the Linden trees are being mysteriously grey again.)

Here are a couple of the sculpt textures themselves:

The fun pointy one:

Another odd bug-generated one:

And the very symmetrical one on the left, once all the bugs were out:

And finally (Secrets of the Ages Revealed!) the Python code itself:

import sys
import math
from PIL import Image

X = 64
Y = X

fname = sys.argv[1] if len(sys.argv)>1 else "sculpt.png"

def getR(x,y):
  return(      math.sin( y * 2 * math.pi )  * 
                 (( math.sin( x * math.pi ) + 1 ) / 2)         )

def getG(x,y):
  return(      math.cos( y * 2 * math.pi )  * 
                 (( math.sin( x * math.pi ) + 1 ) / 2)        )

def getB(x,y):
  return( x*2 - 1  )

def gogogo():
  ary = []
  for x in range(X):
    for y in range(Y):
      ary.append( ( 
        127+int(127.0* getR(float(x)/X,float(y)/Y)), 
        127+int(127.0* getG(float(x)/X,float(y)/Y)), 
        127+int(127.0* getB(float(x)/X,float(y)/Y))  ) )
  mode = "RGB"
  size = (X,Y)
  im =,size)


I trust it’s obvious how to use it.

Hahaha, sorry! Couldn’t resist. :)

To use it, well, first install Python and also the Python Imaging Library, then create a “” or whatever you want to call it from the code above. Do “python vase.png”, and it will create a file “vase.png” which you can upload and use as a sculpt texture to make the symmetrical thing on the left.

Then edit your to change the getR, getG, and getB functions to something else, and do “python somethingelse.png”, and upload somethingelse.png and use it as a sculpt texture, and see what happens!

For best results, getR, getG, and getB should all expect to get two floating point numbers between zero and one as input, and should return a single floating point number between negative one and one as output.

And there ya go! :)

Oh, and: you may find that the textures work best if uploaded with lossless compression (probably a checkbox on your image-upload panel), and that it’s more obvious what’s going on it you use the “torus” stitching type (in the edit panel right under where you put the sculpt texture) rather than the default “sphere” type. P’haps…