“Spirit” to depart Art Screamer

I’ve just learned, via Chestnut Rau’s blog (and curse me for not paying attention these past several weeks!), that Claudia222 Jewell’s installation at Art Screamer will be closing at the end of August.

Regular readers will know, I’m a huge fan of Claudia222’s work, and had the opportunity to interview her back in September 2011. I was also fortunate enough to receive an invitation to preview Spirit at Art Screamer prior to it opening in February of this year. Since its opening, the installation has received more than 17,500 unique visitors – many of whom have later returned again to enjoy the surreal and entrancing work.

If you’ve not done so already, or if it has been a while since your last visit, I urge you to go see Spirit before it departs Art Screamer for ever!

You can also see Claudia222’s work at Mesh Mellows  – use the teleport sign and make sure you set your sun position to midnight!

Helping the community: the Phoenix Firestorm Support region

Update Aug 25th: The region is now open. See the link at the end of this article to visit.

This weekend, the Firestorm team will be launching a new in-world venture: the Phoenix Firestom Support island.

The region is designed to serve two purposes. One is to provide help and support for users of any calibre, via the use of in-world tutorials supported by real life help in the case of users new to SL, and via the provisioning of an area more focused on providing real life help for users more familiar with SL and the viewer. The second is to provide an in-world base of operations to support Firestorm users in particular.

Firestorm’s new support island

The region is somewhat mindful of the old SL Orientation Islands where new users to SL learned about the basics of the viewer and how to do things – so much so, in fact, that I was half-expecting to find a beach ball and table during my preview explorations :). While neither turned up, I did smile on coming across a large and talkative phoenix, itself a reminder of the OI parrot…

However, this is not to say that the region has been deliberately modelled on the old Orientation Islands. As Jessica Lyon, the Phoenix / Firestorm project lead pointed out to me as we discussed the island and the ideas behind it, it’s a matter of form following function. A relaxed and visually pleasing tutorial path with few distractions naturally lends itself to this kind of open-air approach.

The main element of the region is a path which leads people around the island from the arrival point, taking them past various lessons in gaining familiarity with Second Life and the viewer. These are very much focused on “learn by doing” – such as jumping over a fence to understand walk / jump – and are very clearly and cleanly presented, and obviously intended for the more novice user.

Arrival point

The signs are clear and concise, and while based on Firestorm running in a default mode (i.e. with the pie menu active), they easily translate to other viewers, whether they are using pie or context menus.

Within this sits a central area where questions about Second Life and viewer use that go beyond those that tend to be asked by “new” users can be addressed. This can be reached via a bridge from the outer area of the island or via a teleporter located at the arrivals point.

The central area, where the more experience user can seek focused assistance from staff and mentors

A key aspect of the region is that is designed to be staffed. Although it had originally been hoped that in-situ help relatively small, things haven’t quite work out as originally envisioned. “Our original plan,” Jessica told me, “Was to have a first entry to SL region for zero – 30 day accounts only, and would staff it with our own support staff and a careful selection of mentors/helpers. We have a RegAPI from LL [which would allow Firestorm to run a sign-up page and deliver new users directly to the region]. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with “Resident” last names, so we had to switch to plan B. Plan B is to open the region to the public, and heavily staff it with mentors and helpers to ensure new and old residents alike get real help from real humans.”

As a result of the switch to “Plan B”, and to ensure the island is properly staffed, invitations to participate have been sent to the RHN, White Tiger Mentors, Mental Mentors and other groups. One potential benefit of this is it will help ensure there’s a much more diverse wealth of experience on-hand to deal with viewer-centric questions than might otherwise be the case were the island solely staffed by Firestorm-focused volunteers.

Continue reading “Helping the community: the Phoenix Firestorm Support region”

Relay for Life of InWorldz kickoff rally

August 25th will see the start of the first ever Relay for Life season held in InWorldz, with a special kick-off rally.

The three-month event will run through until November 17th and has the full support of the American Cancer Society.

Other key dates for the season include:

  • Saturday September 22nd: RFL of InWorldz Half-way Event
  • Friday November 2nd through Sunday November 4th: RFL of InWorldz Relay for Life Weekend
  • Saturday 17th November: RFL of InWorldz Closing Party.

The theme for this inaugural season is Colour of Hope, as featured in the season’s banner, as seen in the video, above.

The kick-off rally will be held on Dreamscapes of Poseidon (IWurl), commencing at midday IW time (PDT). It presents a chance for participants to learn how their involvement benefits the American Cancer Society’s goal to save lives and create more birthdays and the opportunity to meet the Society’s IW representative as well as gain inspiration from DJ KyFire Oakleaf’s library of originals created by all those who have been involved in the fight against cancer, including survivors, caregivers and loved ones of those who sadly succumbed to the disease.

Kick-off Rally Schedule

  • 12:00 pm KyFire Oakleaf – RFL Songs
  • 12:15 pm Hairy Thor Chair
  • 12:22 pm RFL Video
  • 12:30 pm TIGGS Beaumont
  • 12:37 pm KyFire
  • 12:40 pm Sting Raymaker
  • 12:50 pm KyFire Oakleaf- closing.

Following the kick-off rally, the season will comprise a number of events held within InWorldz, culminating in the Relay Weekend itself at the start of November. In it, individuals and teams will camp out, picnic, dance, play games and take turns circling around a track “relay” style to raise funds and fight cancer. The Relay Weekend will open  with cancer survivors leading the way around the track and being honoured in the Survivor Lap. They will be followed throughout the day by groups, teams and individuals participating in the track walk which will continue over 24 hours, and the weekend will include the beautiful, moving and silent luminaira ceremony, in which lights are lit in memory of a loved one who won the fight against cancer or in remembrance of a special someone who lost their battle.

Relay For Life represents hope in that those lost to cancer will not be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day, cancer will be eliminated.

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