It’s that time again, and The Arcade is open for the September round.
Marianne McCann and I have collaborated on a set of Retro toys for this round. (I did the mesh, and she did most of the textures. Mari also did the animation in the plane. We both worked on the scripts.)
All of the items do something. The tops jump onto their tips and spin when you touch them. Touch them again, and they fall over. Or just wait, and they’ll fall over by themselves after a bit (because this isn’t a dream.)
When you touch the handheld pinball games, you hear the plunger, and the ball rolling, and then the ball appears in one of the slots. It’s exactly like really playing it! (Or as close as I could manage, in SL.)
The sliding puzzles scramble or solve themselves with a touch.
If you wear the plane, your avatar holds it up in the air. If you touch it, you get a really cute kid voice making a plane noise, so you can run around pretending the plane is flying.
The ray gun water pistol is the most fun! If you wear it and go into Mouse Look, you can shoot a cascade of water at your friends! The disks on the front of the gun also light up and spin when you’re in Mouselook, so everyone knows you are ready to douse them at a moment’s notice.
If you play the machine 25 times, you get a special Reward; a tin Police Box Bank.
There’s no other way to get it, and it’s only available during this round of the Arcade, so if you want one, you have until September 30. Unlike all the rest of the things in the machine, the bank is copy/mod, so you won’t be able to buy, beg, or borrow one from anyone.
When you touch the bank, you’ll be able to hear the coins dropping into it. There’s also a script in the Instructions (in the Object Contents) that lets you turn it into a tip jar, if you want to.
So that’s part of what I’ve been up to! Hope you enjoy it, and if you’re in Second Life, I hope to see you there!
I just put a new story up on my Patreon page, for those people who subscribe at $5 a month or more.
This could be you!
The story is from a collection that I’m tentatively calling The Dreamweaver’s Tales. Here’s the introduction for the collection.
Introduction to the Dreamweaver’s Stories
by Robin Wood
Long ago, in the Before Time, our arm of the galaxy twirled through a spoke of the Cosmos that was filled with Enchantment. In those days, all the world was thick with Magic, and fantastical creatures roamed land and sea, bringing joy or terror, according to their natures.
There were many kingdoms then that have since fallen to dust, and even the ever-so-very-great grandchildren of the ancient Kings and Queens no longer remember their names.
You might be one, all unknowing.
In one of those kingdoms there was a mighty city, with walls and towers of shining alabaster that blazed white in the sun. Many-hued banners snapped in the breeze at the tops of the towers, and the air was filled with the perfume of a thousand flowers.
There was a bustling marketplace there, where hundreds of merchants hawked their wares under colorful canopies. There were rows of booths filled with amazing fabrics, shimmering in the sunlight. There were hidden nooks where mysterious figures shrouded in robes stiff with mystical embroidery sold jeweled treasures glimmering with magic. There were pens and cages filled with animals from every corner of the globe, from small crested dragons no bigger than your thumb to towering, tusked creatures that were armored for war. There were sections filled with a thousand musical instruments, all inlaid woods and gleaming strings. There were whole squares given to selling foods from plain bread rolls to the most exotic spiced confections you can think of.
Imagine it, if you will.
Picture the rows of booths, each with its bright awning to shade the buyers and sellers. Picture the sunlight, dazzling as it reflects from polished wood, metal, and precious stones.
Picture the sounds with your mind’s ear; the sweet notes of women singing of perfumes and baubles to entice customers. The harsh bellows of men outshouting each other in their attempt to engage the crowd. The calls of the livestock, the peals of metal chimes, the snatches of song played by wandering minstrels, the calls of the street performers, all mixed into a cacophony that somehow blends into a busy, harmonious whole.
Picture the scents with your mind’s nose, perfume, and heat, the spicy musk of the wooly beasts, spices, rare woods, meltingly delicious desserts, and the cool fragrance of growing plants.
Picture the crowds, dressed in clothing from all the world, feathers nodding in an elaborate head dress here, long sleeves flowing there. Bare feet, scarlet slippers, and tooled leather boots with curled toes all vying for space on the red porphyry pavement. Children in splendid finery, and children in little more than rags laughing and playing as they slipped through the crowds together.
Let us follow two of them, a boy and a girl in plain homespun with just a touch of embroidery, as they race below the elbows of their elders.
Together, they weave their way past the booth where an old, old woman is selling sweets dripping with honey. Past the fat, bearded old man with ranks of toys. Past the young woman with bunches of bright ribbons. Not even pausing for the flute player, or the puppets, or the man with a basket of silky-furred puppies.
Down to the far corner of the market they run, to a nondescript tent of dusty brown, with a single silver star on a deep blue banner trailing down the side.
Here they pause, catching their breath and each other’s hands. And then they lift the flap and slip inside.
Inside, all the noise and light from the market are gone. Inside, it’s quiet and cool, and stars glimmer in the twilight. Inside, it’s outside, on a still hilltop, on a summer evening.
There are other children here, and grown-ups, too, all sitting in a circle, watching a still figure draped in white.
For a moment she remains motionless, as we settle in the circle with the others.
Then she lifts her head, and smiles gently.
“I spin you a dream,” her soft voice stirs her listeners. “a dream from the Borderlands between this world and the next.”
Then she lifts her hands, and starlight and dream-stuff pour between them. She gathers it up, spins it into shimmering strands, and from the strands she weaves a visible dream. A dream of shifting colors and flowing shapes, of light and substance. Of pale shadows and strong sparks.
A dream of Good and Evil. Of how our smallest choices can make huge differences. Of the warmth and courage of the human heart.
This is a Dreamweaver, and these are some of her Dreams.
The End – Or perhaps The Beginning
If you want to read the first one now, instead of waiting for a month for it, you can support me on Patreon.
There will be another story posted here tomorrow; it’s the next Kip Andrews. Those are written in a totally different style than the fairytales, like the Dreamweaver’s stories. You might like it better, or you might not. I’d love to hear one way or the other.
I still need to make all the textures, the LODs, bring it into SL, and assign animations and script it so the hammock will swing. So yeah, next week, at the earliest.
In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Picture – a shot I took in a glassblower’s booth at the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly, MI. I wish I knew whose work it was, but sadly I didn’t keep a note of it. (If you know, please tell me!)
Speaking about SL, there are only two weeks left of The Arcade. As always, when it’s over you’ll be able to keep playing my machine on Livingtree; but you won’t be able to get the special Rewards for playing the machine 50 times ever again. So if you want those, you only have a couple of weeks to get them!
There won’t be a new item out in Second Life this weekend, because the thing I’m working on right now is going to take me longer than that to finish. I think it’ll be worth the wait though.
It will come in three parts; the hammock itself (I still need to make the pillows but they’re coming,) the stand, and the shade canopy.
That’s so the hammock can swing. Swinging in the hammock is important! It also will mean that if you have trees, you don’t need to use the stand. And if you don’t want the canopy, you can save the LI and not have it.
It will probably wind up tweaked a bit from what you see in the picture, and it needs textures and things, of course. It is, after all, a work in progress. But I thought you might like to see what I’m cooking up.
On the writing front, I’m in the process of editing a book about Wicca that I wrote nearly 10 years ago now, but then Life happened and I forgot to do anything with it. Michael reminded me about it, so now it will see the light of day!
It’s for people who aren’t necessarily interested in joining the religion at all, but who want to know something about it because they have friends, neighbors, or clients that are Wiccan.
With any luck, that will be available in the next month or so.
The next Kip Andrews story will be published here on my blog on Saturday. I hope you like it.
If you liked the last one (Stormy Weather) I’d really appreciate it if you could review it on Amazon. If you want to read it again, you can read it for free if you happen to subscribe to KindleUnlimited. Otherwise, the book is only 99¢.
If you want to read my stories early, you can join my Patreon. I would really appreciate your support.
I’m also starting to work on the redesign of the site, in my copious free time. (Haha.) Since there’s not a whole lot of free time, it might be a while before you can see it, but I’m working on it.
So, that’s what I’m up to at the moment!
Thanks for reading, and if you have a question, comment or suggestion, please let me know.
This round, I have a pressed wood dollhouse, complete with all the furnishings!
The furniture all comes in at under 1LI per piece. The dollhouse itself is 2 LI (because it has a working door, and all those windows have real glass – or perhaps it’s plastic – in them.)
All the furniture is very detailed, and some of it, like the kitchen table and chairs, is designed to be easy to tint whatever color you like! There’s even a dollhouse to go inside the dollhouse.
The dollhouse itself is carefully textured to show all the parts of the rooms that aren’t removable furniture; things like posters on the walls, a kitty clock in the kitchen, fireplaces, and kitchen cabinets. The outside has a richly landscaped texture, like a real pressed wood or metal dollhouse.
The Arcade has a new “thing” this round; if you play the machine more than 50 times, you’ll get a special Reward. It’s only available for this one month. It’s no-transfer, so you won’t be able to buy them anywhere, and we have all agreed not ever to sell them anywhere else.
My Reward is a mailbox and lamppost for the dollhouse.
The lamppost lights up, of course, and you can also change the color of the light, make it auto (on at dusk, off at dawn) and all the other things you can do with my lights.
The mailbox has a toggle. The first time you touch it, the flag goes up. The next time, the flag goes down, and the door opens so you can see the tiny little pieces of mail. The third time, the door closes, and it’s back where you started.
The stuff that I’ve been doing for the June round of the Arcade in Second Life is all modeled, textured, and scripted (in some cases,) the instructions have been written, the Permissions have been checked, and all the Keys and sneak peeks are ready to go. In other words, it’s all done!
The only thing remaining is to put it out at the Venue, and I’m ready to do that as soon as it opens. Well, the next morning, anyway. I’m not staying up until 3:00 am my time to put things in the machine.
Which means that my time is my own again. Which, of course, means that I’ll be able to blog once more. Of course, you probably figured that out already, because you’re reading this!
I’m planning a fairly serious blog post tomorrow, about Transgender issues. It might take me longer to get it all written, but I’m hoping not.
On Saturday, of course, there’ll be a new story! Yay!
I’m not planning to post much more about the Arcade here, but I’ll have new sneak peeks up every day on my Flickr stream, if you’d like to see more.
On other fronts, I’m mostly doing a lot of clean-up and maintenance work. (Did you know that it is possible to fill a 3 TB hard drive?) I’m also trying to pull all the things together to start my Patreon page.
So that’s what I’m up to! How about you?
Picture Attribution; Sneak Peek from the Arcade June 2016 in Second Life. Marianne McCann plays with Robin Sojourner’s Arcade set.
I’m spending most of my time getting ready for The Arcade in Second Life at the moment, so I don’t have the time I’d like to work on other things. (I’ll have Sneak Peeks of the things I’m making soon!)
That’s why I haven’t posted in a few days, and probably won’t post again for a few more. In a way, it’s frustrating, because there’s a lot of other stuff I’d like to do, too. But for now, the Arcade has to be my main focus.
Once that’s out of the way, the first thing on the docket is to get Stormy Weather up on Kindle. That’s the short story that I posted on April 9, with the notice that it would only be there for a month. Since it’s been a month, it’s gone now. I had planned to have it up on Kindle before I took it down, but it didn’t quite work out that way. With any luck, it’ll be there in a couple of weeks.
After that, I’m planning to get my Patreon page off the ground. It’s really just waiting for the videos that are required. The script for them is written, but the recording hasn’t been done, mostly because I was sick for a few weeks there and my voice wasn’t… umm… shall we say “recording quality.” It’s fine now, but Arcade.
I also need to learn a bit more about some animation apps before I can have the film I want, so that might hold it up a little, but shouldn’t be too long.
The story that will be posted in two weeks is written, and so are the first few stories that I’m going to have as part of my Patreon Rewards, so at least that’s not going to have to wait. There will be a new story on May 21 for sure!
So that’s where I am right now! I thought I’d let you guys know, so you’re not wondering if I’ve given up on keeping a blog, or doing the other things.
I’m in the middle of a career change, as some of you might know.
For the last decade or so, while I struggled with my health, I’ve been working primarily in Second Life®. Now I’m doing better, I’m concentrating more on my writing.
But it will be while before that can pay the bills, so I’m still working in SL™, too.
Yesterday, I paid my Arcade fee (by proxy. I can’t manage being up at 3:00 am to get a machine.) So I’ll be there again when the next round opens on June 1. In the meantime, I’m working on other things to sell. I’m hoping to manage one New Thing every week or so. If all goes according to plan, the New Thing will come out on Saturday, when there’s a Fishing Contest on my island, Livingtree. For the duration of the contest, you’ll be able to get it for half price.
Last Saturday, I released a sidewalk sandwich-board / café sign, with a chalkboard on both sides. It comes with several pre-made chalk notices, and is designed so you can easily put your own message on it. If you’d like to know more about it, (or even buy it, if you happen to be an SL Resident) it’s up on the SL Marketplace.
It’s not as easy as it looks, trying to juggle two very different jobs, but it’s something that most beginning writers have to do, even if they are (technically) senior citizens when they start to write. Besides, I like SL, and have a lot of friends there. I plan to keep my island for the foreseeable, so I might wind up continuing to work there even after I’m able to earn my primary income from writing.
It’s been a long, hard winter, but it’s giving way to spring! (Pay no attention to the winter storm behind the curtain.)
The next round of The Arcade in Second Life is coming, and I’m going to be in it again, with a set I’m calling “Warm Home.” Because even though spring is coming, where I live, in Michigan, the next few weeks are going to be wet and windy. It’s the kind of weather that chills you to the bone, and makes a Warm Home a haven.
If you’d like to see, I have sneak peeks up on Flickr. The potholders that are the Featured Image for this post are also from the set.
Making the 11 objects for this round, most of which are interactive in some way, pretty much sucked up every minute of my time for the last six weeks or so.
But now that it’s over, I’m looking ahead to other things I would like to do.
To begin with, I’m going to get some more things up over on my store at Zazzle. Today, I put Cat Dancing there!
I’m thinking of changing my career, here in my sixty-second year of life, and becoming a writer.
I’ve written for many years. I have a couple of non-fiction books in print, and I’ve worked as an editor and tech-editor on several software books. I’ve even written for a software manual! Not to mention a bunch of articles in gaming magazines, decades ago.
But I’m talking now about writing fiction. I started late last week, and I’ve already gotten a 2500 word short story done, and I’m writing one 300 word exercise piece a day. The thing is, I’m not sure how to get them out there.
Would you like me to post them here, on my blog?
Let me know in the comments. (If I don’t hear from anyone except spammers, I’ll assume no one actually reads this blog, and I won’t bother. So if you are reading this, and you want to see more, please do comment!)
The Tannenbaum Holiday Market Event is a really remarkable shopping and gacha event for SL residents. It’s being hosted by some of the same people who do The Arcade, and has a lot of the same vendors; more than 100 creators, all told.
There’s a gacha full of machines that are selling ornaments for your Holiday tree at L$25 a pull. Botanical has a really amazing Christmas Tree there; the best I’ve ever seen in SL.
I have things there too, of course, or I wouldn’t have been working to get ready for it! Two new releases, and lots of older ones!
The first new one is a box of ornaments.
Really, it’s all about the box. Marianne McCann wanted it. But when I was working on it, I decided it would be a bit disappointing to have the box, but not be able to hang any of the ornaments.
So I went ahead and put the same ornaments, but with hooks for hanging, inside the box.
You might recognize the ornament that’s not in the box as the one I made for the Texture Tutorials. It is, indeed. That’s what made Mari say she really needed to have them, in a box. 😀
The second thing I made just for this is a row of Christmas Cards, all ready to display.
It’s really a very simple piece; just seven Christmas cards, with vintage designs. Except the Chickadee on the end, which I made. I didn’t make all of them, because I didn’t want them to look like they were all made by the same person.