Starship trooping

As regular readers know, I get bitten by the building bug every so often. Until recently, this manifested itself by me routinely taking a proverbial sledgehammer to my home and knocking seven bells out of it before replacing it with something else. usually, when I start banging prims together, I have some idea of what I’m aiming to achieve. Other times I don’t, and it takes several attempts to get things sorted to a point where I’m completely happy.

Things have obviously changed since moving full-time into my Linden Home. While I can tinker around with the insides of this to my heart’s content, I can’t really go knocking it apart and replacing it. However, it doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the old building bug when it comes to call. Which it recently has.

I’ve no idea why, but I’ve had starships on the brain for a while. Maybe it is a hold-over from living in my little “skystation / space station” before jumping over to my Linden Home. Maybe it’s just that I love Bear McCreary’s music for the reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series. Whatever the reason, it eventually drove me to go out and buy a copy of the LJ Jayde starship by Smith Fizz. Call it an impulse buy; at 80 metres long, this is not the kind of behemoth you find hanging from string from an hobbyist’s ceiling…

The original Jayde in "stock" format
The original LJ Jayde in “stock” format

I’ve actually been aware of Smith Fizz’s work for a number of years – when I was involved with someone way back, we looked at a number of his ships with a view to getting one as an SL home. Well; seemed like a good idea at the time, even if we subsequently didn’t. Get one that is.

My first task on getting the ship – and with due respect to Mr. Fizz, who did not have the advantage of large prim formats when designing and building the original, was to do a little bit of prims shaving from the basic hull and also removing a few bits and pieces I feel are extraneous – such as the tiny wings. In its “stock” build the ship comprises 871 prims. With the new maximum prim size, and some trimming around the hull, I reduced this by some 211.

My revised Jayde after prim trimming
My revised LJ Jayde after prim trimming. Still might have a further fiddle with the rear end. If you’ll pardon the expression…

Next up came the major issue of the ship’s interior. Part of this is actually very clever. You see, Smith Fizz, working with Thomas Connover, has developed a scene rezzing system (not, I hasten to add, a temp rezzing system). This means that the forward section of the ship can be used to generate a number of interior rooms, which is quite handy and offers plenty of scope for those wanting a sci-fi role-play environment. The problem is that time has not dealt too kindly with some of the offered interiors, which now look more than a little, well, dated.Some of them also, while very clever in how they work and the flexibility they give, also have bits sticking through the sides of the ship. This isn’t something you notice while moving around in the ship, but cam out, and for a self-confessed  obsessive like me, it’s a red rag to a bull…

So, my first act was to grab a new rezzing system from Smith Fizz (wonderful system if you have limited space and want to put it to multiple uses – just make sure everything going into it is at least COPY), and start re-modelling. I’m still working on things, but I’m rather pleased with the results to date.

The original lounge are of the Jayde - the style of furnishings, coupled with visible poseballs mean this has not aged well
The original lounge are of the Jayde – the style of furnishings, coupled with visible poseballs mean this has not aged well

The first room to get the Pey touch was the lounge. I have no real use for kitchens in SL, so the space devoted to this and a dining area in the original design were lost on me. Instead I reduced the overall rezzing space by adding new interior walls (providing a forward “vestibule” area in the process) and then went for a sunken look, with updated sculpted sofas and recliners, with a small bedroom area beyond a partition (I still can’t shake myself of incorporating one into personal builds). A touch of the Orient to the wall textures and an echo of Fallingwater in the ceiling, and I was done – and in less than a third the prims of the original.

The revised lounge, with a bedroom area beyond
The revised lounge, with a bedroom area beyond

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SL Christmas Expo – supporting RFL SL

The 2012 SL Christmas Expo is underway. While the official Relay For Life Second Life 2012 events season is officially closed, the Expo is in support of RFL SL, and is being held on five sims adjacent to that of the American Cancer Society.

The Expo, which runs through until December 19th, brings together merchants and entertainers from across the grid to help us prepare for the holiday season and get in the mood for Christmas as the New Year, and features a number of special events and activities.

Race for the Bells - all proceeds to RFL
Race for the Bells – all proceeds to RFL

In terms of the latter, the Expo is the starting point for the 2012 Race for the Bells. This is a unique “marathon” “run” across 25 regions in Second Life. On offer is a first prize of L$10,000 for the person who can complete the course in the fastest time – and locate the 25 silver bells in the process. The marathon is open to all, and can be run as many times as you like. The is an entrance fee of L$100 per run – with all proceeds going to RFL. To start, use the teleport above and then click on the TOP sign at the start point and pay the entrance fee (click the BOTTOM sign if you are re-running!). The  hint for locating the first bell will be delivered, and you are off! Each bell you find will give you a hint as to where the next can be found. The race will be open through until December 19th.

Proceeds from the Expo raffle, featuring some unique prizes, will similarly be donated directly to RFL. Tickets cost L$100 or three for L$250. Keep an eye on the Expo’s blog as well, for details of upcoming silent auctions.

SL Christmas Expo 2012: come shop 'til you drop!
SL Christmas Expo 2012: come shop ’til you drop!

The Expo will also play host to the 2012 Avi Choice awards at a black tie formal event to be held at the Expo’s auditorium on December 14th. The event commences at 18:00 SLT on the 14th, and will be fronted by Traderi Whiplash and Nuala Maracas and feature Saffia Widdershins, Elrik Merlin, Zander Greene and Aisling Sinclair with a host of entertainers.

The Expo park
The Expo park

Entertainment at the event will take place daily, and feature some of SL’s top musicians, dancers and DJs. The full schedule is available on the Expo website.

The five regions of the Expo feature an urban layout of broad streets lined either side with stores which encourages a feeling of being out Christmas shopping. Christmas trees stand at many street intersections, snow lies piled about, and there are a number of open areas where the foot-weary can sit and take to load off for a few minutes, including the central park area.

Each Xmas Expo shopkeeper has donated two items and set them for sale in a special Relay for Life vendor. Proceeds of all sales from these vendors will go directly to RFL – so look out for them as you wander, explore and shop.

The RFL Xmas CD

On offer at the Expo, and available in-world only through until the New Year, is the Christmas Holiday CD, which features some of Second Life’s best performers, who have donated their time and their voices to a very special recording.

The RFL Xmas CD
The Christmas Holiday CD

Coordinated and arranged by Liz Harley and produced by Joe Silverstar, the CD is available for L$500 which goes directly to RFL. It can be purchased from a number of special RFL vendors located at the Holiday Park and in the Auditorium on sims: Xmas Expo 1, Xmas Expo 2, Xmas Expo 3,  and Xmas Expo 4. Each copy includes an in-world CD and a link for downloading track MP3s outside of SL.

SL Christmas Expo 2012, giving support a worthy cause
SL Christmas Expo 2012, giving support a worthy cause