My steamy travel diary, from Second Life to Steam

Here is the steamy travel diary I promised you all a couple days ago when I wrote about  Steam’s impending partnership with Second Life and its effect on Second Life machinima.

First off, I have to disappoint you all by reporting that I encountered no hacking, meanness, insults, or mayhem while in Steam, despite dire warnings from the blogosphere about what those Steamers are like. But my calendar tells me there are still a couple weeks before the September 5 Second Life/Steam nuptials. That’s when the real mayhem is expected to break out in our tidy little Second Life gated community, when 40 million gamers try to crash in all at once. I have a different take on this, siding with the comment on a blog I can’t remember (sorry!) who said something like: “I imagine the Steamers will take one look at Second Life, say LOL, and move on.” But still, I’ve got my Steamroller ready to roll to the scene of any mayhem that should arise. I promise prompt uploads to Youtube. Continue Reading “My steamy travel diary, from Second Life to Steam”

The new DDM Second Life machinima standard – illustrated

My entry in the A is for Avatar collaborative glossary of illustrated Second Life terms.

M is for machinima

Full Steam ahead for Second Life, and that’s a good thing for machinima

A lot of Second Lifers are getting steamed up about Steam, now that Linden Lab has announced it will put a portal to our little backwater enclave of Second Life up on Steam, home of 40 million gamers. D-day apears to be September 5, at least that’s what Valve, the technology company creator of Steam, says here. This has a lot of SL residents worrying we will be overrun with griefers, gun-toting hulks, and general mayhem once the “Portal” opens.

One of the more thoughtful posts along these lines comes from Darrius Gothy here who predicts that the rush of gamers into SL will erode our world into a “poor reproduction of a well-crafted 3D online game” and move SL toward game play and further away from the “My World, My Imagination” ethos. The more alarmist posts like these from Prokofy Neva here and Crap Mariner here predict griefers, mayhem, and even a shooting rampage down the Destination Guide yellow-brick road (that’s from Crap, who else?)

Well, after reading all this exciting doomsday stuff, I had to head over to Steam to check it out. What is missing from these analyses, I think, is the fact that not only will Steamers be joining us, we’ll be joining them – if we want. We will have a new playground with amazing technology, distribution structure, mentoring, and 40 million new friends to play with. 40 million! Steam is just as much – in fact millions of times more – of a community as SL is. The complexity, brilliance, and technical skill of the Steam community is dazzling.

What’s a Pansy Hopper like Bay Sweetwater doing on Steam?

Now don’t get me wrong – anyone who has watched my machinima, like Twinkle’s Journey and Pieces of My Heart, knows I’m not exactly the shoot ’em-up, mow-’em-down stereotypic gamer. In fact, when I first began talking about Valve’s new Source Filmmaker software a couple months back, one Second Lifer who shall remain nameless asked what a “pansy hopper” like Bay Sweetwater was doing on Steam. I never could figure out what a “pansy hopper” was, though I loved the name and will definitely use it for a character in a machinima someday. Even after thumbing through my urban dictionary I still don’t know what it is, but it didn’t sound complimentary. Continue Reading “Full Steam ahead for Second Life, and that’s a good thing for machinima”

My star gets a little bling

Yobee, the robot co-star of my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart and its outtakes spinoff Broken Pieces, won his very first prize today. He is so excited. He attended the “Sci-Fi in July” screening last weekend sponsored by machinima and media company AviewTV. Despite his shyness and avoidance of the paparazzi (read about it here),  he entered the CosPlay (costume) competition. To his astonishment, he was informed today that he won the 3rd place prize – among all those creative machinima makers and amazing costumes! Here is the portrait that won him third place.


He asked me to accept his award for him, as he is shy and, being a robot, not very good in English. He was also afraid they would ask him to talk in voice, and his voice is … well if you’ve heard it in my machinima, you know … umm, I’m trying to be kind here … it’s sort of like a machine that needs to be oiled. Anyway, Yobee was over the moon with his win and very excited to see his one-of-a-kind trophy, made by Doe Silverspar, when I brought it home.
Continue Reading “My star gets a little bling”

So THIS is what Puff is really up to?

Now we know the real reason Puff “sadly” slipped into his cave!

(Join Puff and watch my animation short Pieces of Your Heart here.)

Dodging the paparazzi

The stars of my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart (entry in MachinimUWA V film competition at University of Western Australia) dodge the paparazzi at the AviewTV theater in Second Life. Awards ceremony 6 a.m. slt at UWA – BOSL Grand Amphitheatre here inside Second Life.

Why Joey’s note caused tears

This is the note left by the young hero Joey in my machinima Pieces of Your Heart (part of the University of Western Australia MachinimUWA V film competition) before he embarks on a fantastic space voyage in his Radio Flyer wagon to find the lost world of a stranded alien robot he finds hiding in his backyard. As you can imagine, it made his mother cry.

Both the mother’s crying and the note took some doing to pull off in a Second Life machinima. But the note in particular took far more attention than any 10-year-old would ever give it. I thought I would tell you the story of its building, since the whole affair touched my heart and had quite a lot to do with how the machinima’s story itself unfolded. Also, it shows just how much goes into the making of machinima in a virtual world. Continue Reading “Why Joey’s note caused tears”

The trials of being a famous movie producer

Whenever you make a famous movie, all the relatives start climbing out of the woodwork wanting a part in the sequel. RoboMom in my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart has a distant cousin in the biz, and now he wants in. Sigh. ROFL

This Is Your Heart Speaking

One of the more astute watchers of my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart is very troubled by it. “I wish they’d stop calling it sweet and beautiful,” he told me, referring to some of the online comments. “It’s one of the darkest movies in the whole bunch. You have a kid who runs away from home and fantasizes about going to a world of robots where everything is sweet and loving like he wishes his home was. And then there’s the note he leaves for his Mom saying he’s gone to another planet with a “friend.” What must she think? We all know what happens these days when a young kid goes off with a “friend.” I mean it has the poor woman in tears. But really, the kid just goes down the block to the park and hangs out on his own there. I’m not buying this trip to outer space with robots and all. He fantasizes all that, right? This is one disturbed kid. And then, who knows what happens to him in the park?  He just disappears in a flash of light. I hate to think.”

Continue Reading “This Is Your Heart Speaking”

Pieces of Your Heart, backstory & soundtrack

My little machinima Pieces of Your Heart has only been out a couple days, and already people are beginning to ask about  the music: where does it come from, how can they download it, and especially, what do these songs mean? “I can hardly listen to them without choking up,” one person said, “but I’m not sure I understand them at all.” Stronger Angels in particular seems to have struck this mysterious chord.

In response, I have posted a media player on this blog that plays the five pieces of music from the video. You’ll find the media player to the right of this post in the sidebar, titled Pieces of Your Heart soundtrack.

All of these wonderful songs are from the music-sharing site ccmixter.org, and are available for free download and remix. They all have CC BY NC licenses, allowing reuse and remix, with attribution, in noncommercial works.

For downloads:  If you press the small arrow to the right of each tune, you will be taken to the page on the ccmixter site where you can download the tune. Or just use the clickable links at the bottom of this blog post.

For playing here on the site: The media player allows you either to click each song individually to listen, or click one of the tunes and let the player cycle through both songs in a continuous loop. You’ll find these instructions right below the player.

And now, I thought I would talk a little about the music and what it meant to me in the making of Pieces of the Heart. Continue Reading “Pieces of Your Heart, backstory & soundtrack”