Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blogging about blogging...

I have never been the most consistent blogger around. Some of my personae are writers and love to chat, keep journals, use instant messengers, and otherwise socialize and spew their thoughts across the universe for all to see. Some of my personae would rather have their toenails removed with pliers than socialize or talk about much of anything, but especially themselves, That is kind of the basics of why I seem to blog for spurts and then have huge dry spells. Personae shifts and the whims of who is running the show at the time in my head.

One of the coping and survival mechanisms I have used for decades to ensure I continued functioning at least reliably enough to not starve in a corner has been to train myself into habits. The joy of having moderate OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is that I can use my compulsions as a way to force most of my selves to stay in line, at least on certain important matters. Once I ingrain a routine, I am very very uncomfortable with ever deviating from it, regardless of which of us is at the helm. Mostly, I have used this for the big stuff, as training these habits isn't easy and takes a hell of a lot of serious energy and concentration from me over a good amount of time. I am obsessive about patterns, among other things, but getting a pattern established that my OCD will then latch onto is work.

So, what does my odd compulsiveness have to do with blogging? Umm...I am not even sure any more. Oh! Wait, I recall...I am going to try to train myself to blog more constantly by building a daily pattern that my OCD will help ensure I stay with. This hasn't been something I felt like trying before, nor wa sit something I could have managed on this blog alone, since in order to make this work, I would have to blog every single day, likely at the same time of day without fail to get a habit built up, and I just don't have enough business releases or SL business information to really justify blogging on here every day.

That is why you will now see a new link over on the sidebar under the temporary heading of "Odd Zoe Links" called "The Broken Doll". This is a personal blog, unrelated to Second Life, fashion design, any of my businesses, or other things of interest to those people who read -this- blog...all three of them. The Broken Doll is basically an online diary, a jumble of my thoughts, and the weird goings on in my head. I will be making posts in that journal every morning and every evening to train myself to be more reliable at this stuff, and hopefully that will also help me blog more consistently here as well.

Please do not feel any compulsion to actually read The Broken Doll. It has no relation to this blog other than the authour, and won't directly be referencing SL much. I put the link there for anyone who is curious, or who has those crazy voices that force them to watch train wrecks without looking away so that they can get a small peek into the insanity I live with. You are welcome there, but certainly not gonna hurt my feelings if no one ever clicks it either. It's a personal project for sorting my thoughts, charting my illnesses, educating the curious about DID, Depression and other such diseases and disorders, and a tool to an end as stated above. Be warned however if you do read it, it may contain triggers and disturbing thoughts and imagery at times. Mostly it will just be insanely boring I expect.

However, of more interest may be that I plan to do some revamping of the SL Fashion links on the sidebar over the next few days as well. I myself have long used Fashion World of SL as my daily dose of fashion information, relying on most of the big fashion designers and stores in SL to be syndicated there. However, I am increasingly finding so many neat labels and blogs that are NOT on that site that I feel I need to start hunting down some of the ones I really like and linking them on the side. A lot of people may even not have ever heard of or use Fashion World of SL the way I do...hard as that is to believe! So, look for more cool picks for designers and blogs over there soon.

Today I added Illusions, the blog of the cool mask lady Siyu Suen to the list. I was dumb-founded to realize I had not seen her amazing stuff before a few items got blogged recently on some other sites that do syndicate to Fashion World of SL. Her work is truly amazing, and her style and ads, her whole brand is just so well done. Definately check out her blog and her store! It has threatened to relive my childhood fascination (read morbid obsession) with carnivales and sideshows in a serious way...damn you Siyu!

There will be more links added as I track them down and edit them in. Likely I may reorganize the sidebar some too, maybe break the links into more categories...

So...that is this blog on blogging. Hopefully you will see more of me blogging here and updating stuff more often as I get this new habit up and going, so you have been warned and given time to hide. O.O

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The shape of things to come...

Yes, after three years of refusing to bother with making and selling shapes, I finally caved in. The main pressure came from customers asking for the male shape used in most of my ads, from Neko Skins to the Gothic skins and clothes in ~ broken ~, which I had originally made just as a stopgap shape until I could find something better. Oddly, people seem to actually like it, and I got IMs almost daily asking if it was for sale. Of course I have been getting requests for Zoe's shape too based on my ads for ages, but I refuse to sell my own shape, and will always stay firm on that. Mine! All mine! *mad look in eyes*

*cough* Sorry...

I have now released 6 new shapes at the ~ broken ~ store...3 male and 3 female. These shapes are only being offered as NO MODIFY / COPY / NO TRANSFER and can be found in a new side room at the store under the lava in the volcano. I am not taking any requests for custom shapes. Each shape does come with a notecard that details the skins, hair, and clothes worn in the advertising images so the "look" can be reproduced if you so wish, not just the shape. See Information and FAQ from the in world notecard tagged at the end of this post below for more info on my shapes and policies.

The shapes available so far include ::

Jiang Li - 5'5" tall Asian Girl -

Jiang Li is very loosely based on my own shape. She is however much taller, thinner, and has a newly redone face from scratch. The effect is nice I hope. Average height, and an A cup bust. She is the first of the "Kawaii" shapes. :3

Sasha - 5'6" tall European Girl -

Sasha is kinda your normal college girl. Average height at 5'6", cute round face that gives her a youthful look, medium build with a B cup bust.

Kimberly - 5'0" tall European Girl -

Kimberly is a little different than most of the shapes you see in SL. She is short for one at 5'0" tall, and in a sea of 7 foot amazons that is rare enough. But, I wanted a cute, but realistic look for Kimberly that was not model perfect. The girl next door sort. She has an adorable, innocent face and a slightly pudgy frame with wide hips and a bit of junk in her trunk. She has some belly to her and barely a B cup bust, but is not really overweight. Hopefully she will appeal to those who want something a bit different than the glut of supermodels.

Kiyoshi - 6'0" tall Asian Boi -

Kiyoshi was the second of the Bishonen shapes I have done. he is a bit taller than Masakazu with a somewhat rounder face and longer legs. He has a very thin frame, willowy and youthful. I used the female model to achieve a prettier face and thinner build than you can get with the male base, and I am very pleased with it. This is the shape I sometimes wear myself when I go slumming it as a bishie boi with friends. >.>

Masakazu - 5'8" tall Asian Boi -

Masakazu was my first Bishonen boi shape I made some time back. Based on the female model, he is a smaller version of Kiyoshi with average height and a slightly thinner and wider mouth and nose and somewhat shorter legs.

Jaquin - 6'2" tall European Boi -

Jaquin is the male model based shape you see in many of my advertisements at Temenos. I have used him for the Neko Boi skins, the Whispers of Night male skins, and most all of the ~ broken ~ ads. he is the most requested shape other than Zoe's shape, and releasing him was kinda the catalyst for this whole shapes thing. At 6'2" he is tall...but not monster tall like the 7 foot insanity you see in SL so much. he has an average build, with none of that bulked up hulk craziness.

More shapes will surely follow, though I do not plan to mass produce shapes. I want these shapes to be unique and a little different from the stuff you see most places, so I plan to take my time with them and craft shapes that have personalities that say something to me. I hope you will find them interesting.

That's all for the moment, but more will be arriving soonish as I have a list to work through of stuff to get out for all my brands and labels over the next few weeks as I also work on the new store build on the Temenos sister sim. So, drop into the ~ broken ~ store under the lava at the bottom of the volcano @ Temenos and check these new items out!

- Broken :: Shapes Information and F.A.Q. -

- Permissions -

1. What are the Permissions? - All ~ broken ~ shapes are sold ONLY as NO MODIFY / COPY / NO TRANSFER.

2. Why No Transfer? - I personally feel that offering copyable as opposed to transferable items, including shapes, is a preferable business model. By offering my works as copyable but without transfer, I can replace lost, corrupted and deleted items without question...something that simply can not be done with Transfer items.

3. Why No Modify? - With shapes, this is a simple answer unfortunately, and the same one as offered by any scripter as well...if the shape were modifiable it would be easy for an unscrupulous person to copy the settings to a new shape and sell it as their own, undermining the hard work I put into creating these shapes for you and stealing business and money from my pocket in the process. As this is my living which supports my children, that would be an unwise risk.

- Custom Shapes -

1. Do you accept custom orders? - No, I do not and never have accepted custom orders for any of my work, brands, or products. I simply do not have the time to devote to custom work, as I am kept far more than busy with 5 brands to design for as is. If cloning ever becomes a viable option, I may reconsider this stance. Until then, please, no custom requests.

2. Will you just tweak this shape some for me? - No, I am sorry, but I do not have the time available for tweaking or changes to the shapes. these shapes are offered as you see them. If you like the shape, I would be delighted to have you purchase...but if you only maybe like the shape, or like part of it, or almost like would honestly be best if you think a bit more before you buy. Shapes are a major purchase since along with skins they make up the foundation of how you present yourself in Second Life. I want you to be happy with any purchase you make and not later regret it. please be sure of your purchase before hand, as the shapes can not be altered afterwards.

- Other Shapes -

1. Are you planning to make X shape? - I honestly can not say what sorts of shapes I may or may not offer in the future. I try to put a lot of thought and effort into my shapes...most of which started as shapes done for myself or my models. But that also means I won't be cranking out masses of shapes. I do not do custom requests, but I am happy to hear of suggestions for future works...though making a suggestion is by no means a guarantee that idea will be made.

2. Will you sell me Zoe's Shape? - No, my own shape is not for sale now or ever. I crafted this shape on my first day in Second Life and it has changed very little in the past 3 years. It is unique to me and has never been shared, and never will be. I like it that way, and hope you can appreciate my attachment to my own shape. :3

3. Will you reproduce X's shape? - No. I will not even attempt to copy the shape of another Second Life avatar. I will, as mentioned above, happily accept suggestions from real life images as possible future shapes. But no requests or suggestions based on SL avatars or the works of other designers would ever even be looked at. Sorry, but I will not undermine anyone else's hard work.

- Miscellaneous -

1. Why are these shapes so expensive? - Honestly, I have two reasons for the prices I put on these shapes. The first and simplest reason is the amount of time and effort I put into crafting them. I don't want to churn out masses of shapes every other day. I would far rather spend more time on each shape and make shapes that have some real character than something done quickly that looks like everything else out there. The prices reflect that to a degree. The main reason however is rarity. I want the shapes I offer you to be something you enjoy and won't see every person you run into wearing. A 200L shape is cheap and anyone can have it. That makes it less distinct, less unique to you, and less special. I want to offer shapes that you can be proud to wear and that can help you define what is unique and special about you. To that end, keeping the price higher than most I hope to keep the shapes more rare and more special.

2. Hey! This guy shape looks kinda girlish! - Some shapes I offer are designed to be rather androgynous in look. The bishonen shapes in particular are supposed to reproduce a certain feminine style of male body and face as popularized in Japanese animation and pop culture and as such often use the female base model to design the shape...even though it is a male shape. This is a stylistic choice I make for some shapes as often the male sliders and base model are not capable of achieving the correct look. When worn with a male skin however, the effect can be very pleasing and while "pretty' remains very masculine. If you do not care for this sort of shape or do not want to use a shape that starts from a female base model, avoid the shapes labeled as "Bishonen" or "Androgynous" and you should be safe.

3. How come my skin looks bad on this shape? - It's just a fact that not all skins will look good on all shapes. A skin is simply a texture map laid over top of the 3D model that is the shape...if the skin you have was designed and painted to look best on a drastically different type of shape than you are wearing, then there is always a chance the skin won't look as good as it should. Different skins and shapes work well together or clash together and there is not real way to say which will be the case unless you try on a demo of the skin with that shape. The shapes I offer all come with a notecard of information that includes a listing of the skins, hair, clothes and other items shown in the shape advertisement so you can reproduce that exact or a similar look if you wish. But there is no way I can guarantee that any given skin will look its best with any specific one of my shapes.

4. Whoa! My eyebrows look funky! - The eyebrows on most Second Life avatars have two aspects. Neither actually is based on the shape, oddly enough. The skin you wear has eyebrows painted on it, and how they will appear on any given shape is hard to predict without trying on a demo first. This aspect is only controllable by the skin maker when they make the skin, and not adjustable in world. The second aspect that you CAN adjust is actually part of the hair base. I have included a bald basic hair base that is designed to work best with the shape and skin pictured to achieve nice eyebrows. However, a different skin may change how the eyebrows appear, and thus you may need to adjust the hair base included in the eyebrows section of the appearance tools to achieve the best look. The bald hair base offered in my shapes notecards is thus modifiable so you may change the shape and looks of the eyebrows as you wish.

5. I have a question not addressed here. - Any additional questions should be directed to Zoe Llewelyn in IM or notecard. My IMs may be capped most days, so if you do not receive a reply, please true again, I may not have received your IM at all. Notecards are more reliable, but please, if you send a notecard, put your name and something about the purpose of the card in the title. I get a lot of notecards in a day, please help me find yours quickly and easily. :3

Thank you so much for your consideration of one of my ~ broken ~ shapes. I hope you will be pleased with any purchase you decide to make.

- Zoe Lleweyn

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Broken Stuff...

As I mentioned a few days ago, I released some new stuff a little while back and failed to blog it here, so I am now remedying that situation. This batch of stuff is a mash up of items with assorted sorted histories.

Harlequin -

Firstly, the newest of many makeups already designed and awaiting my patience to upload and fool with...the Harlequin. This was actually one of the first makeups I did for the Whispers of Night skin line, way back in January, but I didn't think it would be that popular, so it wasn't among the first bunch of options I put out. But, after one of my skin beta testers, Raven Pennyfeather used the beta version of the Harlequin skin in her ads at RFyre, I started getting a lot of requests for this makeup, so here it is...

It is available for males as well as females, in both tones, Spectral and Deathly, and I have expanded the lip colour palette to include three new colours, the deeper red of Crimson Kiss, the silvery Moon Glow, and the pale blue of Steel Blade, for a total of 6 lip colours in three lip styles.

Zombie Skins -

Secondly is the long delayed release of my first set of Zombie skins. These skins have a long and sorted, but otherwise boring history that I shall now relate much to your dismay. I started these skins waaay back, almost 2 years ago now. I got the idea to do limited edition zombie avatars because many friends at the time had taken to referring to me as "Zoembie", and of course I love zombies anyway. I had been toying with the concept of limited edition sales, and the zombies kinda fell in with that at the time. This idea was one I would later use in my Heart of a Doll store...that of releasing a complete, limited edition avatar that came with everything from shape, skin, hair to shoes, clothes and accessories for a complete look...each with a story associated who the avatar was, where they came from, etc. I had a whole background story written for my Zombies of the Apocalypse line, and had completed the first zombie, the one I had worn myself for months and thus named "Zoe", and was writing her personal story when I kinda gave up and ran outta steam on this idea. Zombies of the Apocalypse just sorta faded away from my randomly insane and rambling mind and none of the work was ever released.

Fast forward to the present and I found myself digging through my folders of old half-finished material and i stumble onto the Zombies again. No longer so fond of the "Limited Edition Complete Avatar" concept, I decided to drop the stories (as much as I loved writing them), and just release the avatars as parts. Thus the first of what may be several zombie offerings in the future...the old Zoe and Rob Zombie skins from long ago have been resurrected at long last and are now available to you of the more morbid mentality...

P.S. I also have released about a dozen Zombie eyes as well. You will find samples nailed to a board above the zombie skins...

Old Fishnets -

The torn fishnet clothing was a random thing I designed for myself one day outta the so many of the stuff I do. I wanted some torn up and ratty old punky fishnets to wear and couldn't find any for sale (I am sure they exist, just that I couldn't find them), so I made these. I have been wearing em myself on and off for a few months and finally got off my lazy ass to offer them up to you. So, here they are. The tops are mostly unisex, though the tights less so, thus I packaged em separately.

Coffin Jewelry -

The cute little wooden coffins for jewelry was another idea I made for myself back when I first started the ~ broken ~ line as an offshoot, but as I often do, I let it sit and languish a while before I have decided to sell it. The set comes with necklace and collar, bracelet and earrings. unisex if ya ask me, but make your own decision.

All the new stuff is available at the main ~ broken ~ store, underneath the lava in the bottom of the volcano at Temenos. Just jump in and I am sure you will find it. It's also available at the new Sleepy Hollow sim by Grim Misfit when it opens soon.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Where is Zoe? Update for August...

Yes, it's been since May that I last posted on the blog, but no, I am not dead or anything...though some may wish I was. I have never been much of a blogger even at the best of times, and recent months haven't been that great, so I usually stop and say..."I should post X or Y on the blog," then sigh and ignore the thought.

Even when my more energetic and aggressive peronas tend to be in charge of things I rarely remember to update the blog as much as I should, but when the lazier, more fucked up personas are running the show even that rare desire to post goes out the window. Just no energy for it at all. I will of course keep trying my best, but if i seem to fade away at times and not say much, just know it's likely cause I just don't have the motivation to sit down and say anything much. Not because I am dead, left SL or aren't releasing stuff. Though sometimes releases suffer too when I get far down in the cycle of my depression.

I have been working a fair bit, even if releases have been rarer than they should be. I am juggle a few dozen projects at once and at the same time taking a step back to ponder how to simplify the processes, brands, and stores my DID messiness has gotten me into to something a bit more manageable. So, lot of higher level management idea pondering going on for possible restructuring.

At the same time I have also started construction finally on the new store design where Boneflower, Jungle Voodoo, and most my other stuff will move too soon. the sim is open (Temenos Island...right next door to Temenos), so feel free to take a look and offer suggestions and ideas. It's a departure for me, but one I settled on and like...very modern, very artsy sorta build with blue glass and large open spaces, a skyscraper, and more. The design will offer about 16 times the space as my current store area above the volcano at Temenos, and hopefully be much easier to use and locate products in.

One thing I am doing with this build is to try to design it to look it's best with Renderglow turned on...since the Lindens have mentioned that eventually, after Windlight goes live, renderglow will be added to the main viewer rather than being an option in debug. For those who have never used the renderglow option (it is basically a Bloom effect you see in many other games), you can test drive it now from the debug client menu: Client -> Debug Settings -> Renderglow -> True. (You can also change the look of the renderglow effect using the Renderglow strength, resolution, etc settings.) You will need a video card that supports it, and not all do, so if you try it and crash, just leave it be or upgrade your video card! the effect in world is tunning, but will require some changes to how many people build and display merchandise as Renderglow turns any texture set to "Full Bright" into a glowing, shimmering light source. The images below are just samples of the early phase construction of the new store...still a long way to go.

Temenos Place -

At Midnight...

At Noon...

Distant view at Sunrise...

Main Entrance between Building One and the Tower...

View from inside the Central Plaza...

Looking down on the Central Plaza at Midnight...

The view from the Volcano top at the current store...

Once the new store is finished and everything is moved, I will concentrate the majority of my efforts on version 2 of my neko skins, ears, etc. But I will continue to release small batches of stuff along the way as I work on the bigger and longer projects.

I actually have put out a couple new things since I last blogged but failed to have the energy to mention them I will do so later just so people know what went up at the store in recent weeks. More info on the new build and eventual store move will also be forthcoming as we near that personal insanity allowing...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

R.I.P. Dolltopia

This is a hard announcement for me to make, because I put so much effort and several months into the Dolltopia sim and had a lot of hopes for it being a cool, safe and innocent place for people in Second Life like me who needed a better view of childhood to experience the wonder and joys we should have had in this imaginary world. Unfortunately, under the current climate of sexual ageplay witchhunts that seem to run the risk of inadvertantly targeting innocent child avie users or sim owners, I don't feel I can afford to risk the ever-changing policies and currents of Linden lab's whims on undefined rules and standards by operating any sim catering to adults playing child avatars, no matter how innocent the idea or how strickly enforced my rules. So, as of this time, Dolltopia is dead even before it opens.

I think it's very sad really, after reading so many comments from people on the official blog post about the German news expose, and Linden lab's resulting policy changes and actions. I myself, am a child abuse survivour as I have mentioned here before. Though Zoe is short compared to the 8 foot amazons running about SL, she is not a child avatar...but I do have a child avie alt. Like many grown adults who choose to play a child avie at times, SL allowed me to try to experience an innocent, carefree renewal of a childhood that for me was very violent and horrific at times. playing my child alt was liberating, safe, comfortable and very therapeutic. It allowed me to create a new childhood for myself that replaced the one I never had.

The vast majority of adults who play children in Second Life do so for I think similar reasons. Just based on my talking to those I know personally. yet, in the comments to the LL Blog post, I saw so many people asking LL to ban child avies altogether, and questioning the reasons why we as adults might want to play one...with the assumption being we are all perverts and take part in sexual activities, which is simply as far from the truth as you could get. I feel victimized all over again now by these witchhunters and by Linden lab and their media-craze induced ever-shifting policies that they will not even define for us. It's sad that in the name of supposedly protecting abused children, they re-abuse many of us that were abused children by taking away a very helpful means of healing after our destroyed childhoods. I will no longer feel safe even logging into my child avie alt now.

With no clear written legal policy on what is acceptable conduct for innocent roleplay of innocent child avatars and what is not going to be acceptable, i just can not feel safe running a sim like Dolltopia, even though it was designed to offer the sort of safe haven, therapeutic place for people like me to heal that is the very opposite of what LL and the ageplay witchhunters claim to be aiming for. If someone comes into my sim and propositions someone, will I be held responsible for running the sim, even though it's PG and has a strict covenant against any sexual behaviour by anyone, period? I can't say I have any faith in LL to fairly decide my fate in such cases, so I will avoid the situation by keeping the sim closed and killing the idea entirely.

I am not sure if I will continue making doll avatars either. I saw far too many people use the term "doll" in the same context as child avatar recently as they expressed opinions that LL ban them entirely. I may have to err on the side of caution there as well, and drop The Heart of a Doll brand for good.

While I am 100% for stronger laws in life to prevent child abuse like happened to me, and happens daily to millions of children around the world, and while I feel its a good idea for LL to be strict on anything from casinos to sexual ageplay inside SL that could compromise the platform legally...I feel the current method of handling the issue...namely a total lack of written legal policy and guidelines for legitimate businesses to follow and feel safe that they are acting within...only feeds hysteria and witchhunts, and causes people like me trying to offer positive views and options for child avies in SL to run like hell to avoid the loss of our businesses and income if LL decides to shift their unwritten policy in the wind of media attention as it has shown it is want to do.

If Linden lab ever wakes up and decides to start operating like a legitimate business platform developer, and starts stating ALL policies in clear legal language for business investors here to follow, i may reconsider Dolltopia. But for now I can't risk being involved with anything oriented towards children in Second Life, no matter how positive it was going to be. My apologies to anyone who may have been looking forward to the Dolltopia sim.

Three Years in Second Life Just Ceased to Exist...My Creations are Gone - RESOLVED

Yes, we have all heard of this happening to other people before, and we always just hoped it didn't happen to us. Well, clearly I didn't hope hard enough, or no one gave a flying fuck either way...because one of my worst fears in SL just happened: My entire 30K+ inventory is just gone.

Yes, three years in Second Life, two years of running a business, everything just wiped out in a blink of a virtual eye. It's all gone. SL's database says I only have 2,150 inventory items, most of that is random animations, a few notecards and snapshots...but not a single piece of my own work.

Yes, everything that is placed in world still exists. The stores are still there, and the items for sale can still be sold. But even those are a fraction of what I have made. There are hundreds of projects and half finished creations, alternate versions no one has seen or that haven't been made available yet...and its all gone. I built a complete reproduction of a famous New England mental asylum a year ago, but had no time to finish the last bits then so took it back into gone. Tonnes of cyberpunk items and products that I hadn't gotten around to packaging up yet. Boots, shoes, new versions of some of my stuff that just needed tweaking...all gone. The new neko parts for version 2...gone.

So i am setting here this morning, do what i normally do first thing...answering the avalanche of IMs from customers from during the night while I slept, and I go to pass a copy of a skin that didn't get delivered to someone...and it just isn't there anymore. None of it is. I am panicking, I am shocked into almost catatonia, i am crying, and yet the one thing I don't know how to do is fix it. because Linden Lab in their joyous attempts to prevent anyone of their users, investors, or businesses using their platform from complaining, pointing out issues, or otherwise bothering them with little useless facts like the loss of their -entire- livelihood has removed nearly any help function or avenue from Second Life.

I file a bug report...once I find the option hidden somewhere other than Help. But we all know how useless bug reports have been, right? I will never hear from them on that I am quite sure.

Who do I talk to about this? Who can fix it? I have no clue, and there is no longer a Live Help to ask, no longer any way for me to find out from a real human being what to do next. This is not a minor issue...this is the loss of 3 years of content creation for my business. And yet it's a Saturday for the Lindens, they don't care. Sure, they advertise Second Life as the future of the 3D Web...a business platform for the next generation...and yet they treat it like a game. Yes, Mr. a game. the very thing you have often angrily complained to reporters for years SL is not is exactly how you treat it on your end. You do not act and your business policies or development priorities do not reflect what you preach...that SL is not a game at all, but a serious business platform. I have been here almost from the start. I have invested tens of thousands of dollars into this business that supports my family like any other business. Yet when my business critical data ceases to exist...where is my support? At home watching television or playing WoW. I am treated not as a business platform user with a 6 figure income riding on Linden lab's performance, but as a simple game player. Wake up can not have it both ways!

What do I do from here? I have zero clue. Right now I am alternating between being angry, and crying. I am petrified. I quit my job and have gambled my family's entire future on a business opportunity that until now was paying off very well. But when things go wrong...will and can Linden lab step up and behave like a -Real- business platform creator? can they live up to their own claims and promises? Will they act like a Google, a Sun, a Microsoft? I admit to having little faith in them after the past few years experience.

For now I guess I start emailing every address at Linden lab until I get someone to reply and hope against hope that I didn't just permanently lose thousands in development time and costs, and hundreds of thousands in potential income.


Huge huge thanks to Cherry Tokyo for her kind help in solving this. She sent me a couple notecards that had a list of steps to perform to -usually- successfully return your inventory after something like this happens. Most of the steps were things I had already done, from relogging, going to empty sims, using serch and recent items searches, and clearing cache. They didn't work when I did them before...but for some reason when done in the order the notecard lists, it eventually worked for me.

Thank you so very very much Cherry, and also huge thanks to those that commented here or in world with support and kind words.

Text of the notecard that worked for me is here below...

How to find "Lost Inventories" due to the new Coalesce feature

In a feature release a couple of weeks ago, we incorporated a new feature to help with load on our databases when Residents return objects from parcels. As before, lost objects can be found in the Lost & Found folder, but there is a change in how they are displayed. When objects are returned to this folder, they will be coalesced into one or more of the returned objects.

The way it works is that the system randomly selects one of your returning objects as the item to be bundled with, hence the word "coalesce". This one object is actually a combination of all of the other returned objects from the same area. When you rez that object inworld from your L&F folder, it will rez all of your coalesced items in the same formation it was last placed inworld before having been returned to you. If your items are being returned from various areas in a sim, you may receive several of your returned objects in your L&F folder. Again, each these will be bundled with rest of your returned items. This will only happen when multiple objects are returned at the same time from the same parcel or region.

Here's a good way to find your returned items, utilizing the inventory tools:
" Open your Inventory
" Select the Recent Items tab
" In your Inventory toolbar, left-click on FILTERS, select MODIFY CURRENT
" When the Recent Items window opens, go to the bottom of that window and adjust the Hours Ago or Days Ago back to the approximate time your Inventory should have been returned from the parcel
" Untick all categories except OBJECTS
" In your Inventory toolbar, left-click on SORT, select DATE
" Go to a parcel where you have enough prim usage to rez all your coalesced objects (do it in a sim where it's not laggy or you could risk losing all your items if the sim should crash due to a sim rollback. If you go to a sandbox, select one that's not busy or laggy!)
" Rez objects inworld from your Lost & Found folder, starting from the top, one at a timeIf after following the above instructions, your returned items have still not rezzed, please be sure to check the land parcel it was returned from and determine whether it was truly returned. If the items being returned were DEEDED to a group, they will be returned to the Resident who originally deeded the objects to the group ONLY IF the objects were not copyable. If the deeded returned objects were copyable, then the objects will not be returned and merely be deleted.

If you've done all of this and you believe you are still missing returned objects, please file a bug report inworld. Once youve submitted your bug, send an IM to Kona Linden inworld and provide him with your RT# from the email confirmation.

Big note on who to contact if you also ever suffer this issue: Kona Linden.

Excellent info to have when it seems no one is there to help. Too bad the help had to come from another resident and business owner who had suffered this same problem in the past rather than from Linden lab itself. I think that says a lot. Thank you again Cherry.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Whispers of Night

Working on this skin line the last few months has really taken a lot out of me, and stressed me like no project has in some time. For that reason, I sit here now and stare at the blog and I really don't know what to say about the skins. I am so drained by them I really don't want to talk about the process of making them, or any of that stuff, honestly. But regardless I do feel I need to announce them since they actually went up in the ~broken~ store at Temenos a few days ago now.

I tried my best to make a lot of changes that friends, customers and users of my old skin line, Divine Mystery had suggested...I made major changes to the eyebrows and added eyelid shading, changed the breast shading, and lots of small tweaks beyond that. The makeup options you see as part of this set is only a fraction of what is ready and waiting for me to get in world...but its gonna take me some time as the tedious work of saving, naming and uploading textures, followed by photoshoots and making ads and getting the skins all into the vendor display leaves me wanting to scream. But the rest of the options will be coming, along with the Zombie skins and more...and much much later, the demon skins I been working on for over a year.

Right now, there are two skin tones to this line...Spectral and Deathly, both available in male and female versions. There are currently five different eye makeup styles, each available in three different lipshades each of which has three styles. That makes a total of 45 different makeup combinations per skin tone per gender at the moment. There is more on the way including at least 3 more lipcolours, several new lip styles, and some more eyeshadow and eyeliner styles. What is up today is just the bare bones basics of this line. Down the road I will also be offerring multiple hair colours, multiple facial hair and pubic hair styles, etc. This line, Whispers of Night is just the first of a series of skin lines I planned and started way back over a year ago. These are the Vampire skins, but there will also be a series of Zombie skins (which have been finished for more than a year but I was too lazy to deal with em), a whole series of Demon skins, Infernal Seduction, as well as a possible Angelic line and maybe some drow/elves too. All as part of the Isle of Damnation ~broken~ stuff.

Okay, the blog is supposed to be about announcing stuff, sure, but before I forget in my lack of coffee induced stupour, I also want to say thank you to all those friends who stood by me, supported me and urged me to keep working on these and to see it all through despite my frustration and stress. Without you guys, these skins would still be sitting as betas in my inventory. To the folks who beta tested the early versions and offered suggestions or just wore the beta skins about for me...Raven Pennyfeather, Furiae Blackthorne, QuietlyCharmes Vega, Nigel Riel, and Grim Misfit...thank you. And to those close friends that offered support and kept me sane-ish during the last few months and who forced me to keep going on these...Quietly, Gabee, Sumire, Furiae, Raven, and all the rest of my dear, dear friends...thank you so very much. But the biggest thanks goes to my real life love, Raivyn. She is a saint for even putting up with me at all. Thank you hon.

So, the skins are now available in the ~broken~ store underneath the lava at Temenos, and will soon be up at Rfyre by Raven Pennyfeather as well. I placed a few teleport signs that will take you down there from above. Someday, ~broken~ and all my vampire, gothic and demon stuff will move to its own sim, Isle of Damnation behind Temenos...but it could be a while before I have time to finish that island. So for now get em at the ugly lil' store in the volcano or at Rfyre. :p

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stifling Creativity Out of Fear?

This is going to be a bit of a weird post for me. I kinda started this blog with the initial intentions that I would mostly be writing about my experiences and thought processes as I designed my stuff and tried to create a viable business here in Second Life. It was kinda meant to be more a rambling place to put my thoughts along this journey than as an advertising tool. Yet, as I got deeper into running the business itself and I slipped farther and farther into "Businesswoman" mode I saw it more and more as just a tool to promote the products. The original idea kinda dropped away.

A few times since I realized this had happened I had been tempted to re-insert some of the original flavour...write about some ideas, thoughts or experiences that were important to me or I felt deserved being addressed, but I resisted, for fear that customers didn't really want to hear me ramble. "Show us the new products and shut up" was I figured the consensus. And perhaps it really is. But I have seen some other designers use their blogs in a similar fashion, sometimes writing their personal adventures and exploits or discussing ideas or issues that have arisen in their business or in SL that others may need or want to hear and think about as well. So, I have been divided on this for some time.

But, after an experience recently that has shaken me, and waking up this morning and looking over the blogs as I often do to start the day, I noticed something that made me pause and think. It fell into line with other things that had been happening and I caught myself doing something that no artist wants or likes to do...stifling my own creativity.

Before I go much further, I want to do something I rarely ever a bit about myself.

I am a shy and very private person. I have little confidence or faith in myself and a self esteem that borders on the negative. I grew up in an abusive family, and I am a survivor of not only physical, but emotional and psychological abuse as a child...abuse I allowed to continue through my husband for many years as well. I am deaf, and I suffer from Post traumatic Stress Disorder induced by my childhood abuse, as well as severe Chronic Depression, and Dissociative Identity Disorder...what they used to call Multiple Personality Disorder. I grew up being told I was a freak, was worthless, was broken, was crazy...and all that from my own father. The worst part is I have let him convince me it’s all true.

I don't tell you this for sympathy, however...I despise pity from anyone for any reason, which is the main reason I normally refuse to talk much about myself. I don't want people to look at me as I look at myself...weak, broken, afraid and a freak. I tell you this to let you know how rarely I talk about myself, my life, or my background. I tell you this because I think many of you...and I am talking to the other designers in SL...may understand and have been there yourselves perhaps. I tell you this about myself because I want you to understand the person writing this blog and know where she comes from, and thus maybe how she thinks. I tell you this most personal of stuff, secrets I usually hide even from friends, because I think the things I have lived through are more common than most people want to admit, and affect more of us as artists and designers than anyone knows. Our backgrounds help to create us, create how we think, what we dream, and how we see the world. It affects our creativity and why and what we create. It affects every aspect of who we are and how we handle life. It's a filter through which we see ourselves and each other. And for once, I do want people to see me clearly.

In the childhood I lived, my art and writing were my escape. It was all I had to express myself, all I had to communicate with in a world where so few people knew my language or could understand me. It allowed me to create worlds into which I could run away and forget my life. My art and writing, my business and SL as well is still that for me, and I suspect for many of you as well. It's our dreams, our coping mechanism, our escape, our hope.

In the years after I left home and my family and their abuse behind, I struggled to stay focused on any one goal or dream in life. As a dissociative, each of my personas has not only a role they play in helping me cope with the traumas that created them, but their own thoughts, feelings, world views, religious beliefs, and dreams. As they shifted in and out of control of my life I flitted from goal to goal, job to job, new promised land to newer promised land. I ran my own business making jewelry and reproductions in college, worked as a graphic artist for a tee-shirt company, studied and taught ancient history, and worked as a sculptor for a mold company. I got into computers and worked for several online companies, did corporate management, and even spent a year in advertising and marketing. I tried a lot of things, became good at some of them, but mastered none. Nothing lasted more than a year or two at most.

Throughout all these years, the only thread of any consistency for me had been my art and writing. Even when it wasn't my job, even when I was doing things worlds away from art was always there for me. It remained my hope and my freedom. It was the only shred of stability for me.

It was about that time I determined to try yet again to make my art my career to support my girls and myself. I started doing free game modifications in my spare time for games like the single player RPG Morrowind to build my skills as a texture artist and 3D modeler. After building a portfolio, I lucked into a chance to start at a small, but known game company on a new MMORPG they were developing. I was finally getting paid to create again. However, corporate game work is indeed work, and combined with the stress, my life and issues, and my diseases, it was only a matter of time before the same forces that had made holding down any previous job difficult began to spring up again.

It was around that time I started in SL, just as my creative career in the corporate game industry was in danger because of my depression and dissatisfaction with not having the freedom I desired. I struggled through another year before I finally decided to take a enormous leap in faith and quit my job and started a business here in SL fulltime. Which is where you find me now...

Now, you may be asking...if you are still awake...what any of this drivel has to do with anything, yes? Well, hopefully it does two things, the first of which is give you a better idea of who I am, and the second of which is for you to understand exactly what a lifeline my art and creative work is and always has been for me. And...maybe, just maybe, some of you have lived similar lives, experienced similar things, and also understand the desperate desire to create something and have someone look at it and say, "Hey, that's nice." That desire to validate yourself through your art, through your creations and show those who told you you were broken and worthless that you are indeed worth something.

This is me, and this is the background from which all my work springs. My work can be in turns, silly and cute, dark and somber, morbid and creepy, disturbing, or fantastical. As many of you know, I run half a dozen branded stores in SL, each with a different theme and style, expressions of my different personas I suppose. But in the end it is all my way of coping, communicating and expressing myself and who I am to a world that I usually hide in fear of, yet desperately seek some validation from.

So, when I say that I caught myself recently stifling my own creativity out of fear, hopefully you can now understand how major a shock that would be to me. My art has always been the only place that I -was- free. The only place I could express myself to my depths and not fear retribution or abuse for it. My art is personal, and healing for has saved my life, and helped me keep going when I didn't have anything else. And yet now, here I am censoring it.

When I started my businesses in SL, I did so with a fairly simple philosophy...if I made what I liked and what interested me, it would hopefully also interest others, and the business side would handle itself. I still mostly feel that way, and I have also made only stuff I myself wanted to wear or liked or was inspired to design and build. I spent years as a sculptor for a mold company making things I had no personal interest in...there was no creativity involved for me, no expression of who I am or why I am an artist. The MMORPGs I worked on for several years were better than that, but still even though there was more freedom for expressing my own creativity and finding my voice again in art, it was limited because the work had to fit the theme, genre, story and style set by the head game devs whose game I was working on. in SL...I could do anything I wanted. I could free up completely the part of me that needed to create, needed to escape from my own head and my own "fuckedupedness" as I have called it and just lose myself in creating.

I have largely refused to give in to the whisperings of my businesswoman aspects that say I should do more of this or more of that because its popular or might make me more money. I need to be inspired and excited to truly enjoy creating, and churning out stuff you don't like or enjoy isn't inspiring or I have tried to avoid that here.

For most of the time I have been creating in SL, I have let my own inspirations dictate what I created and sold. If I got inspired to do something that didn't fit with my current branding ideas of a particular store, I just branched off and created a new brand and store. It's not new to me, but is rather how my life has always worked with my DID...each persona does its own thing and I blissfully follow wherever their desires lead me at the time. it's a curse to live with from a lifestyle perspective...but can be wonderfully freeing as an artist.

My products, as you will know if you have visited my stores, are kinda all over the board. Neko skins and accessories, traditional clothing, j-pop inspired cutesy clothes, childlike dolls, leather and spikes, science fiction, you name it, it’s either a genre I have played with at random or am currently pondering playing with. I have blissfully puttered about doing whatever came to mind at the time.

Now, I rarely get out and about in SL. I mostly work and hide on my own cluster of islands. If I see something on the blogs I just have to have I run out and get it and rush home. I am painfully shy to the point of trembling at my keyboard if anyone I don't know well talks to me. it's better in SL than in the real world, where I almost never ever leave my house at all, but still I tend to be a hermit even in SL. It's not that I think anyone will attack me's that I worry so much about what people think of me...mainly due to my childhood abuse and the horrendously low self esteem it has left me with. I am terrified that at any moment, someone will look at me and say, "Wow, you are really a worthless freak. Damn, you had me fooled, but I see you for what you are now." I try to put on a brave face, let "the professor" or "the businesswoman", two of my many personas created to cope as a child, handle most customers or people I have to talk to daily, but otherwise I cower in my islands and try not to be noticed. yet all the while a part of me desperately does want to be noticed. Does want to be approached, does want to be praised or told I did something good. I am 40 years old, a grown woman with children, and yet I still am also a beaten child waiting for daddy to tell me he loves me anyway despite me being broken and worthless. A sad, but harsh truth.

Now, because I rarely get out much in SL, most of my acquaintance with new products, stores and cool stuff made by the rest of you is either through these blogs and Fashion World of SL or from seeing customers in my store wearing something new and cool. There are a few designers that I will actually go to their stores on occasion and check up to see what's new I need to toss money at, such as ::FORM::, Gritty Kitty, etc. but mostly I sit and watch the blogs for neat stuff I want, and of course to follow general fashion trends in SL. but, my own work has normally been limited only by my inspiration, skills, and time...and of course by the swings and shifts of my mental illnesses.

Because I have always approached my art as something deeply personal, as a form of inner expression and a defining of myself to the world...I have never even considered much before recently if my work might be mistaken for a rip-off of someone else's work or ideas. It's not once up until a few days ago crossed my mind.

Indeed, I have seen other people's stuff that I suspected had been inspired by some of my designs. usually they did their own thing with it, and it was quite new and different despite also sharing some similarities that made me feel it might be derived from something I had done already in SL. Only once have I seen anyone completely and totally copy one of works prim per prim. I recall well how that made me feel too. I was hurt, angry, and wanted to scream and cry both at once. Yes, I have had someone rip some of my skin textures before and even put them up on a website for download. Most of us, have experienced these things at least a few times I expect here. I am far from naive. I know people steal, cheat, and copy for profit or any number of other reasons. It's life, I've seen it all in my 40 years, and am overall pretty numb and jaded to the nasty aspects of life.

However, despite having seen a few derived works, and seen at least one complete rip-off of one of my designs, as well as dealt with texture theft, I never for one second thought of my own work in that way. It just was a foreign concept. I don't steal ideas, I don't copy anyone with any known intent, I just work from my inspiration, following my creative ideas wherever they wander. Since, I -know- I don't rip other people's stuff, it's not anything I would ever even think about, right?

But, this was brought home to me a few days ago when someone approached me with the belief some of my products were rip offs of theirs. I was shocked, stunned, angry, afraid...I knew it wasn't true myself...but it didn't change the fact staring me in the face that this other person thought it was true. I tried to talk to them, explain where my ideas came from, and how this piece was designed...but they were only able to see it through that same veil of anger, outrage and sadness I myself had experienced a few times before when I suspected someone of copying me. It shook me very deeply. And days later I am still struggling with this in the forefront of my mind. I know I hadn't seen their store before, I know I didn't copy their work, because I remember exactly where my inspirations for those pieces came from. Most of it is based on real life items, so some similarities are gonna happen, and the prims we used and how we did the products was totally different really in every way. It was the overall effect...the "look" if you will that shared some similarities, and after going to their store and seeing their works, I suddenly was hit with how they must be feeling, cause there were some vague sameness to a few pieces. yet, I knew without doubt I didn't copy this designer’s work. but how could I ever convince them of that? Likely...I couldn't. no more than one of the people I had talked to about supposedly copying one of my works was able to convince me otherwise. It was a sobering realization, and it has thrown me into a major tailspin.

Admittedly, I know my reaction is complicated too by my background and my own views and personalities. I have no self confidence or esteem, and think myself worthless most the time, so I desperately want other people to like me, think good of me, validate me. Most of my personas are pretty submissive and some even downright needy in that way. It tears me up for anyone to think bad of me or dislike me, and so I usually bend over backwards and let people take advantage of me to get their validation, respect or love. And here I was crying in my closet like I had as a child, because I couldn't bear that this person thought that badly of me and thought me so low as to knowingly copy her work. it is still ripping me up inside, and yet I don't know what to do about it.

This morning I woke, up, still struggling as I had over the past few days with how to handle the issue with these few products. I mean...removing them either out of fear that she would publicly accuse me of copying her or just to make her feel better and think better of me amounts to admitting I did something I didn't do, right? But doing nothing somehow seemed wrong too. How could I just go on knowing this person thought I had done such a terrible thing?

With all that churning in my head, I look over the blogs and see a new release from one of my favorite designers in all SL...Zabitan of ::FORM::...and I am floored. His new chain gauntlet is the spitting image of one I had on my list of projects to do for ~ broken ~. I have a huge list of stuff I always wanna do...and the list gets longer by the day. Some of it I will get to, some maybe not. The chain accessories I had planned were mainly inspired by my characters from playing City of Villains a few years ago. My character had chains wrapped around her fists and arms, boots and chest and her waist. I wanted to do my own version of that concept...kinda a ghost in chains idea here in SL. but when I saw Zabitan's new gauntlet, I froze. On one hand it was spookily similar to what I had worn in CoV, and what I had planned to make myself...but on the other hand it's just chains wrapped around a hand. It's not like anyone can realistically lay claim to such a simple concept, right? So, with all the self doubt and emotions of the recent days and issues in my head, I decided I shouldn't try to make the chain outfit I had planned to make, because people -might- think I had copied Zabitan, and I couldn't bear to risk that. Where before I had blissfully made whatever I was inspired to from my own I was terrified that anything I might make could be too close to some other designers work I may not ever have even seen, and I may be accused of idea theft. I was contemplating not following through on a design I had done just because someone might wrongly think I copied it from someone else. I was ready to censor myself and start the process of cutting off my own creative drive I need so much.

It stopped me cold in my thoughts. And then it made me start thinking again...

As a painter, I can paint anything I want, and even if I decide to paint a subject someone else has painted...say, the Last one assumes I am "stealing" Leonardo DiVinci's ideas. They look at it for exactly what it is...a new work perhaps inspired by the same event that inspired DiVinci, or even inspired by DiVinci's work, but my own vision of that scene. My painting is my own inner vision of the subject matter, and it isn't lessened in any way by the subject having been painted, sculpted or envisioned many times before. Yet, somehow that doesn't seem to hold true in a small enclosed social environment like Second Life.

Even in business in the wide world, and even considering the constraints of trademarks, copyrights, and patents, products once created are re-visioned later by other companies without complaint by either the first visionary company or the public. No one looks down upon the second company to create the car, or the third business to start offering "value meals". Once a vague and general concept is born, and especially after it catches on, the business world runs with it across the board. A new idea soon becomes the accepted standard.

Yet in Second Life I have seen forum threads saying things like "Bob Bobson was the first in SL to make a working car, everyone else is just ripping him." or, "My friend George started this whole trend of doing X. The rest of these fuckers are just coastin' on what he did." I have been here a while, since early 2004. I recall the arrival of the first really nice custom skins, prim hair, prim skirts, and so much more. In every case...someone was hit with these brilliant and inspired ideas first. Yet, does that mean they someone now 'own" the concept of making hair from prims? Does that make every other prim hair maker lesser because they weren't first? Does it lessen each artists own personal vision of that idea? From some of what I have seen over the years and still see in SL, many would say yes to that...even while they wouldn't blink to work for Pepsi even if under that same mentality, Pepsi is just a cheap knock off thief stealing Coca-Cola's idea. It's an odd phenomenon that may be made worse by the still small, insular nature of Second Life's designer community, and community in general.

You can get into advanced discussion on the very nature of what inspires someone. Did my seeing someone else's hat on a customer one day unknowingly inspire my own hat design? It can be hard to answer that, even when we are being our most honest. But...if the end result is totally different take on the original it still valid art as it is in the real world? Or is there a different set of rules in Second Life and communities like it? Do, we, as designers, need to start stifling and holding back our ideas and creative inspirations for fear they may be too close to someone else's? Where is the line? How do remain true to our artistic desires and yet also navigate this invisible minefield of "Whose idea was that first?".

Some things seem simple at first glance. I mean, as long as the prims used, and how they were used and built are different, why would anyone think it wouldn't be okay for me and ten other people to all create our own versions of the same airplane in SL? But I have indeed heard such comments from people before. I have heard people and their work slandered for no other reason than the person talking believed someone else had a right to claim ownership of a vague and basic concept just because they did it first here. If two works are both based on real life objects, surely that's safe, yes? So long as they use different prims and their versions are their own vision of the object, yes? But, what about layout? What about the first designer who started doing an outfit that has a mini pleated skirt paired with an tee-shirt and a shrug sweater? Even if the details are different, if I do that combo, am I copying the earlier designer? I was gonna update my neko skins, and the neko ears with lots more functionality, including HUD controls...but wait, ***Hybrid*** did a HUD control for its neko accessories first instead of the voice commands or touch menus others of us had used before. Would I be copying them if I now use a HUD system for my version 2 neko products? Originally I didn't think anything about it...but now I am worried someone will think I am doing a bad thing because I used a HUD for my ears and tails too. It's a great idea. It overcomes problems I had with the touch menu system in version 1, and it lets me do more that I wanted to do from the start. But Hybrid did it first with neko ears, so does that mean I am somehow invalidated from using a basic tool of SL for my neko ears? Does that make me a copycat? An idea thief?

On one hand, fashion is all about copying general ideas and doing different takes on it. One person in the fashion world creates a "look" that then other designers simply must do their own version of, and thus a fashion trend is born. Fashion is all about taking bits and pieces of inspiration from wherever you find it and trying to revision something new from it. Or is it the same in the real world fashion circles? Does Giorgio Armani talk bad about Liz Claiborne for using the same fabrics in her line this year he is using?

Where is the line for Second Life? At what point do we have to start censoring ourselves for fear we will be taken as less inspired, less creative than others, or worse yet as thieves? I once thought I knew where that line was, but I am not so sure now.

Have any of the rest of you struggled with this, or have you blissfully done your own thing like I was doing, oblivious to anything but your creative drive itself? Do you worry about your work being too close to someone else’s, or see an idea done and think, "Now I can't do that"?


I wrote this in a whirlwind of rambling this morning, and I held off posting it. Instead I went into SL and asked a few close friends I trusted to read it for me. Both of them have been in SL for some time, one even longer than me. One is also a designer herself, the other barely knows one end of a prim from the other as she claims, but is well acquainted with the designer circles here. I listened to both their suggestions and edited out some details too personal to include in such a format, and yet still, despite both urging me to post it...I have struggled all day on the merits of doing so. I don't want to come across as whining or as one of those women who mention her abuse and issues for sympathy votes. That's not me at all. I am the sort to hide it most the time, deal and soldier on quietly. I am shy, private, and mostly keep to myself. At times I have been told that makes me seem distant and even arrogant, when in truth I am really trembling for fear someone might dislike me or my work. I take every positive comment I have ever received and place it on a pedestal to cherish forever, and I take every rude, mean, or negative aside to heart and chastise myself over I endlessly. I do not expose myself to possible hatred, ridicule, or derision often or easily. It has taken a massive amount of willpower and effort to push the button that says, "publish". I just hope that the original spirit of the post and the ideas behind it find some resonance with others, and may serve some purpose, even if just to let someone else know they aren't alone in such thoughts or concerns.

Thank you for your patience at this post's length, and for your understanding of its difficulty to write for me.

- Zoe Llewelyn

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Neko Update for the Guys...

I have been promising the neko bois for many many months that I would release new matching skins for them in the same 5 new colours the girls got last year, but so many things kept getting in the way..or at least that was what I kept telling myself. In truth, the real reason I was always postponing doing these colours for the guys is...I was an idiot when I made the female versions and didn't write down the steps i used to create those colours. Which meant that I was gonna have to try to recreate the same look and match up these colours again from scratch, and the very idea of that made me keep putting it off.

But, at long last...and likely now that everyone who asked for these skins has forgotten about them anyway...I present to you the 5 new colours for Neko Bois.

At the moment, they are only available at the main Temenos Jungle Voodoo store. At least until I go update the vendors at other locations. Thanks for your patience guys, hope you enjoy em. :3

Friday, March 23, 2007

Temenos Island is Dead! Long Live Temenos Island!

Fine. Sue me for the silly title. But, it's true...the old Temenos shopping area, with all it's stores is going away. because...everything is moving soonish to the new and improved Temenos Island.

Temenos is a year old or so now, and I have watched and learned, listening in carefully to all the customers over the last year as they shopped and complained about things at Temenos. There have been numerous issues and things needing improvement I have learned in this time. I created what I thought was a very simple and intuitive teleporter system...but sadly most people were confused by it, and it rarely was used, and often bitched about. So...that will be totally revamped. When I designed the temple shopping area, it seemed I had soooo much room to expand. But a year later I am so cramped and out of room I have curtailed many new releases just for lack of a place to put them. So...obviously the new store needs to be hugerish than this one. people complained often...usually by shouting while standing in the central lobby...that they couldn't find whatever they came to buy. I will try to make the layout far more user friendly and also add more ways to find information on where things are located. Temenos has always had 5 floors, 4 of them housing shoppes...however, I have found that most people rarely find the stores on the upper floors, which is clearly a problem of both design and information. The new store will be mostly on a single level, so as to eliminate that issue. And those are just a few of the major issues I have noted with the old build.

So...after deciding I surely needed to have a bigger, better designed and simpler store, I decided I just couldn't part with the current build on Temenos. Which meant, I had to buy a 5th island and build the new store there and move everything. This approach has advantages and disadvantages. the big disadvantage...not including that when moving any store there is a small percentage of customers who may not find you again. In this case, since the new island will be right next door, and share the same keyword in it's name (the old island is simply "Temenos", and the new will be "Temenos Island"), and since the old build will remain with a landmark pointer to the new store...I think this is a minimal concern. should be able to see the new store from the old...unless your draw distance is set at like 10 or something. The big advantages are...i get to keep the cool old build with Mount Sy' of the few volcanos in all Second Life, and not have to disturb the roleplay areas I created around the island, from the pirate cove and neko tree village to the Japanese temple sanctuary. I am too attached to these builds to want to let them go just to expand the store. So they get to stay this way.

Temenos Island will sit right next door to Temenos, and the two landmasses will be connected to form a single island that continues to share the jungle ruins theme. The new store complex will cover much of the new sim and should leave me and the other stores I have invited to have lots of room for future expansion. The overall style of the stores will remain based on the "jungle ruins" look from Temenos, but will be revisioned to be more simplified and easier to navigate.

I have ambitious plans for a detailed scripted directory system that shows where everything is, and can even teleport you to it...assuming I can make my poor scripting skill manage it. LL recently broke my old teleport system that used warpPos definately time for a new one.

If you have ever visited or shopped at Temenos, and you have ideas or suggestions, gripes or bitching about what was wrong with the build or what could be improved...I would greatly appreciate your imput, either here at the blog or in SL. I ordered the island last week, and I was shocked to see they delivered it already...but put it in the wrong place. soon as I can get them to move it where it belongs...I shall begin work on the new store complex.

Following the opening of the new Temenos Island stores, I have a whole slew of stuff I plan to release, including the newly revisioned and repainted Neko Skins version 2, and lots lots more.

The old temple store build atop the volcano in Temenos will be converted into a combination roleplay area, and live music club most likely. Yes, I am deaf, but live music seems to be a big thing in SL, and I always wanted to try making a small club that is not a glitz-filled, flashing lagfest of lightshows and scripted 'sploder balls. I have hired a club manager for it, and we are brainstorming ways to make it more of a true social gathering spot without the gimics. If it goes over great...if not, then who knows. But, any ideas or suggestions in that area are also welcome.

So...look soon for more announcements about the coming opening of the all new and improved Temenos Island!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

~ broken ~ products

I wanted to toss some images up this morning of just a few of the new products now available at the ~ broken ~ store. Hopefully I will get even more done in the next few days. I plan to use today's downtime to work some new textures up, so we will see. For now, the items below are already up and available, among others...

Lucifer - This is a complete outfit, rather anime inspired, which includes my new ~ broken ~ strapped boots, pants, vest, shrug shirt, overcoat and gloves. The jacket, shirt and vest all come on seperate layers, or merged together on various layer versions for maximum flexibility.

Sheer Shirts - This is but one version of these silky semi-sheer shirts. There are eight different shirts available with various designs, each comes with a high collar and scooped collar version and they are completely unisex ad look so hot on the guys too. They include all layer options.

Body Belts - these ~ broken ~ strapped body belts are designed to match the boots, gauntlets, and waist belts all in the same style. This set comes with both upper arm bands, thigh bands, and a neck collar band. Unisex, and pre-sized for small and large avies.

Gauntlets - The strapped gauntlets match the rest of the options, including the boots, and come with fingerless under glove and prim parts for arm and hand. Pre-sized for men and women, as with the other items.

Strapped Belt - Belts have always been a bitch for me in SL. No one ever makes em small enough to fit my avatar, so I always look like I have a fuckin' truck tire around my waist. So, here is a new belt set that was designed for someone small like me and then sized up for the big people. It will fit most smaller avies (I am 4'9" in SL) though may still be a bit big on some children avatars. Totally kickin' on men or women.

Cross Corsets - Okies, these corsets aren't very unisex, but hey...gotta have a few kick-ass girlie things in there ya know? I have a corset fetish in SL and RL, and just can't resist making em. So, this is but one colour of 8. Yeah, they have a religious theme...sue me. I am a former catholic girl gone bad who spent years rebelling among the pagan withes. I got religious fixation issues, deal with it. Lots of the ~ broken ~ items will have religious themes, though not all will be Catholic oriented.

Not pictured, but also available are two styles of men's prim soul patches, some ribbon corset piercings, and whatever else I can't recall now. I plan a whole line of men's prim facial hair. I made myself a really hawt and drool-worthy bishie boi avatar to use in ads , and got obsessed with making him a soul patch. The idea grew outta that, and now I plan everything from demonic goatees to handlebar mustaches.

Coming up soon...plans for prim thigh high boots, stillettos, more kick-ass overcoats and trenchers, and lotsa stuff with spikes. Just to mention a few. Oh...and the vampire and gothic skins are still being tweaked and will arrive shortly. Male and female, yes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Zoe Llewelyn is ~ broken ~

It's been quite a while since I posted anything, or even since I released or worked on anything new in Second Life. So long...over three long, long months...that some people seem to have thought maybe I died. Well, sadly for them, no, Zoe is not dead, nor even horribly maimed. I am, however, quite ~ broken ~ in more ways than one.

Now, I know that no one comes to a fashion blog to hear the designers whine about their problems as if we are different in some way from the rest of the fucked up people out I will spare you any rambling on the exact nature of my issues, and just say that I have a lot of them. So many that over the years, I have taken to considering myself one of the most fucked up, insane, and broken people I have known.

Why do I mention this now, in this blog, and after 3 months of silence? Well, the reason is two-fold. Firstly, it is why I have been away, hiding, and not working, releasing new stuffs, blogging here, or even logging into SL for weeks at a time. Holidays are not fun for lots of people, and I am among them. But as bad as the "holiday season" is for me, the first few months of the year are worse for me and usually result in me going into a deep, uncontrollable tailspin for a while. All due to my issues and fuckedupedness. Secondly, because when I finally did come back from my period of insanity, and started working again, I decided to finally design some of the dark, gothic, industrial, punk influenced fucked-up type clothes and accessories that I like most at my heart but have sorta avoided making yet in SL. Since this new style didn't really seem to fit with any of my current brands...guess what nutty Zoe did? Yes, she created yet another new brand name and clothing line...

The new store, ~ broken ~ is thus named after me. It represents me better in some ways than any of my previous work, and to be honest it just speaks to where I am in life at the moment: fucked up, angry at life, struggling, and quite broken inside. is the post to officially announce the newest store, brand and line of clothing, skins and accessories:

So, what does ~ broken ~ offer that my beelion previous brand names didn't? Something angrier. if you like your clothes made of leather, metal, spikes, broken glass, sheer materials, torn and dirty, edgy, shocking, and with a bit of a bite...~ broken ~ may be for you. It's highly inspired by my many real life interests and influences in style and clothing over the years, from Punk to Gothic, Industrial, Grunge, Vampires, and just about anything else fucked up enough to catch my dark, scary little mind's eye. yes, there is even some anime influence in it...but not the cutesy anime stuff.

The new ~ broken ~ line carries both male and female outfits and accessories, and will soon also sport gothic skins for both sex. Yes, indeed, you heard me...stuff for guys too. I have made a point, after a year of comments and suggestions from male customers and friends, to start designing more of my outfits to either be unisex, or have a male counterpart. There are plans down the road for hair, AOs, and anything else I feel is fucked-up enough to place in this brand.

The ~ broken ~ store is located temporarily in the volcano, under the lava at Temenos Island. There are a few signs with teleporters around to find your way there...or if you feel crazy enough, just jump into the lava. You will find it. Eventually, ~ broken ~ will move to its permenant home on the Isle of Damnation, just north of Temenos...but that is a ways off.