Archive for the ‘World of Warcraft’ Tag

Contact Sheet 15

Contact Sheet is an irregular column of selected photographs and portraits from Residents of Second Life and other virtual worlds. Images used in this article are used under permission of the owners via their participation in the Creative Commons license; otherwise, all rights are reserved. Click on the links as necessary to go to the required blog, Flickr, Koinup or Snapzilla page. Please go to these artists’ pages in any case to leave comments, (as well as comments here), if you have an account on the appropriate service.

Suggestions are appreciated; please send descriptions and links to me by in-world IM, notecard, E-mail to harper.ganesvoort@gmail.com, or leave a comment below. I can also be reached on Twitter (Harper_G) or Plurk (Harper G. — include the period!), but the message may get lost in the luminiferous æther.

NOTICE: Some of the photos/links may contain nudity. Viewer discretion advised.

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I was planning on putting an article or two on something other than art/photography between columns of “Contact Sheet,” but the in-world news isn’t cooperating with me (grin).  So here we go again.

Incidentally, I’ve set up groups on both Flickr and Koinup for collecting all those artists whom I feature in these columns.  If you’d like to see the entire “gallery” at one stroke (or as much of it as the owners are willing to add), click on the links.

Another thing:  in going back through the old columns to invite artists from Flickr, I discovered that I used to link to their profile, either on Flickr or Second Life.  It seems like a good custom to revive, and so I’ll try to do that where possible.  In Koinup, that means basically the person’s home page, since they don’t seem to have another place to say anything about themselves in detail.

In order to get the Koinup group rolling, this column will be purely from that service.  Most, if not all, of the artists whose work you’ll be seeing today will be new to “Contact Sheet.”  Welcome to them, and I hope to see more good work in future!

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Costumes —

phaylen works in Second Life, and appears to do both commercial photography as well as artistic and personal shots.  In the first shot, a trio of ladies are channeling the days of Marie Antoinette and her court, possibly in the replica of the chateau at Versailles, and they do an excellent job of it.  The second is titled Witches of Avalon — possibly Avilion, in this case — but the first thing that came to mind for me was The Witches of Eastwick.  It’s not an inappropriate comparison, actually, although the book and film were set in modern times.  Here, the costumes are definitely mediaval in character, and the ladies look ready to weave a spell or two in this woodland setting.

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Next, Eves Rodenberger gives us Hunting Chicks.  This does not look to be part of a series (yet), though the title is surely referring to the model, not the quarry.  The fantasial heroic female is becoming more popular, especially since Mercedes Lackey’s Velgarth novels.  I’m most familiar with those, and so the character that comes to mind is Tarma shena Tale’sedrin, though the resemblance doesn’t truly occur here.

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Mermaids are popular avatars in Second Life.  bark Aabye combines this with smashing costume pieces by Tekeli-li, and gives us this view, one of a series.  The model is Kyota Spitteler.  You’ll be seeing much more from bark in future, as she’s done a batch of monochrome images I intend to offer samples of.

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World of Warcraft makes its debut in “Contact Sheet” and Around the Grid, with this image from Maiyya called vrykul Ice Maiden.  I have no idea of the ways WoW works, so I don’t know what powers this warrior has.  Some sort of cold effect is implied here, however.  The aurora in the background only emphasizes the concept.

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This WoW avatar is called Azzurra, and the appelation is appropriate.  Arowhena shows her in a throne room or place of ritual; judging by the glow in the subject’s eyes, this must be a place of Meaning to her.

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Closing out the collection for this column, Magggg gives us our first image from The Sims, entitled Ruled by Darkness.  This subject shows that, no matter how beautiful the package, imbalance in the soul has its consequences.

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That’s all for tonight.  Please remember to leave comments on the artists’ works if you have an account on Koinup — and comments are welcome here, too!  Also, if you know of anyone whose work I should take a look at, Plurk me at “Harper G.”, send me a tweet on Twitter at “Harper_G”, or send E-mail to harper.ganesvoort@gmail.com.

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Koinup Now Has Groups!

Old hands on Flickr are familiar with the groups option available to them.  With a free Flickr account, you can add a photo to a maximum of 10 groups, or 60 with a paid account.  However, Koinup, another player in the photo world — and one devoted exclusively to pictures of virtual worlds — did not have this ability.  You could set favorites, make contacts with people whose streams you wished to follow; but there was no easy way to share your work jointly with others of a similar interest.

However, like in the government, change has come.  Koinup has added groups ability, and the mavens of that service are beginning to add new groups as we go.  I’ve started up an area for those interested in B&W/monochrome photos myself, and considering doing a group for evening gowns — although the community on Koinup appears rather more art-oriented than “commercial photography” like fashion modeling.

The one problem with Koinup I can see is their 1.5 GB space limit.  It’s somewhat offset by the potential for meeting people from systems other than our own Grid, such as The Sims 2, World of Warcraft and several others.  If you’re interested, visit Koinup and register for a free account.

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Virtual Democracy

Writing from Atlanta, Ga.:

Eric Reuters reported on Thursday about LiveJournal’s decision to hold an election in the community at large for two seats to its advisory board:

Election winners will participate in quarterly conference calls with executives from Russian media company SUP, which owns LiveJournal, and be flown to an annual meeting in Istanbul to discuss issues relating to LiveJournal’s administration.

LiveJournal’s democratic elections of user representatives closely parallels recent elections in CCP’s EVE Online, in what may be a growing trend among new media companies with loyal but contentious user bases.

This started me thinking in my spare moments about the spread of virtual democracy. It appears to be a trend that has much support; even the Russian-owned LiveJournal is embracing the concept to a degree. As for Second Life, we have the well-known example of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (better known as Neufreistadt), (Wikia, blog). The CDS is one of the longest ongoing projects on the Grid, with a reasonably successful representative government elected every six months, three working parties, and a good participation from many of the Residents. I featured a photo of the last swearing in of the CDS’ Representative Assembly in Contact Sheet, with the well-known Gwyneth Llewelyn administering the oaths as Dean of the Scientific Council.

Slightly less free, but still quite democratic, are the regions of the Independent State of Caledon. Government here is more by mutual consent to being governed under the benign despotism of the sims’ owner, His Excellency Desmond Shang, the “Guvnah.” Being the owner of the many regions that comprise Caledon, what happens here is basically what Des allows to happen; but he is also an easygoing and much-loved tyrant, and all his rules are embraced by the neo-Victorian Residents [1]. On a parallel might be Steelhead (Caledon wiki, newspaper), which is owned by Kattrynn Severine, but managed by three others and advised by four councilors.

These and other examples show that self-government in a virtual world is possible. The one difficulty that cannot be overcome, however, is that of the overarching dictatorship. In other words, the Host Company! Whether it’s Second Life, There, World of Warcraft or LiveJournal, someone owns the host computers that the software runs on, and they make the rules in the end. The only control we have over them is economic support, by choosing to continue or not continue our accounts with them; and if they lose enough subscribers, the servers will be shut down along with the “countries.” (So far, there has been enough support to keep the owners firmly “in power.”)

Second Life at least allows the nascent micro-nations to continue, only asking that Residents observe the policy decisions made by Linden Lab. There’s no sign that this will change in the future — but remember the truth of the situation that you live in.

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[1.] Emissaries from other sims have other ideas, but Guvnah has an ace up his sleeve in the form of the Gun Bunnies, his elite bodyguard. They have foiled at least one assassination attempt during the war with Neualtenburg.

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