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Changes at the Cinema

I just read an article on a web blog about dancing Groot and why it was not released as a toy in combination with the release of the film.   Basically the toy news would have gotten out and spoiled this bit of the film.  However the world new about this after the release of the movie. People were probably tweeting about it during the end credits of the very first showing.

This got me thinking.  Basically there is no longer any reason to want to see a film on the opening day… aside from wanting to be the very first to tweet the cute ending bit to all your friends and ruin it for everyone I guess.

There once was a very good reason to go see the movie at the very first showing.  That was because of film.  Film wears out.  If you have a cheap theater and idiot projectionists (like the theaters in my home town) that film would be beat up all the heck by the third or fourth showing.  If you waited a week or more you probably were looking at long scratches and perhaps splices and bits missing.

Today there really is no more mainstream film in cinemas. I have not seen a movie projected using film in several years. The movie I watched last was Guardians of the Galaxy and I saw it about 2 weeks after it came out. It was pristine in it’s digital glory, now only if the theater here would get a new screen as that one they are using has a big dark spot on it… Oh well. I guess if I had gone the first showing the dancing Groot might have been a fun surprise.  I now wait until the run is almost over before seeing most movies.  Fewer people, but the movies look just as good as opening day!

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No I will not be making that for you… at least for now.

I am constantly distracted by side projects and people asking me to make this and that for them.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Progress on my new series ground to a halt after Disky passed away. When I got back into designing things for my series there was always someone asking me to make this or that for them.  It became almost impossible to got to any event in There, even my own, without someone asking me to make something for them.  I think it is great you want a prop on your back, but didn’t you just hear the person sitting next to you ask me to make something else for them a few seconds ago?  Most of the ideas are great and the items are cool, but I have already provided adequate in world classes on how to create you own items, as well as more than a dozen you tube videos  detailing the entire process.

Frankly I need the time to do my own projects.  Diskyland is mostly empty.  I am about 20 props and 10 sets away from being able to shoot my new series in There. I am taking a break from doing things for others and concentrating on making my own projects for the next few months.

Here is a link to my video page on YouTube. You will have to scroll down to find the Gmax Boot Camp classes, but if you watch those few videos (the basic 4 get you making an object in about 2 hours time) you will gain 90% of my knowledge of making things for There.com.

https://www.youtube.com/user/VirtualVikki/videos

One note of change.  The installers for the previewer and builder kids DO contain the installer for the gmax exporter. However they do NOT make a start menu item.  You will have to seek out the file and then run it. It is an installer but creates no start menu icon.. No idea why.  It is mentioned as not being released in the videos. There clarified it IS in there.  I tested it and it indeed works.  Just search for gmax or g-max and you should find it.

Now get out there and start designing.

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Post Unrelated… Those Darn Muppets!

The new Muppet Movie had a lot of cool things going on in it. It also had some of the best Internet marketing for any movie ever, and it needed it. But it was not great Muppet Movie. How often has the plot of the Muppets been to get back together an put on a show?
 
Let’s see…
In the 1979 the Muppet Movie – the gang gets together one at a time and goes to Hollywood to make a movie.
In 1984 in Muppets Take Manhattan – the gang gets back together after being split up for a long time to put a show on Broadway.
In 2002 in A Very Muppet Christmas Movie – a banker dreams of tearing down the Muppet theater, and the muppets have to raise money to pay off the loan quickly.
 
The big problem comes from the plot of the movie itself. It has been done to death in about every other movie they have ever made! I heard people talking about this a a re-launch of the franchise. That sort of is the kiss of death these days.
 
Here is where the movie really fell apart.
 
The male lead tries really hard in this movie, but he is no Muppet. The actor tried really hard, but he looks like a guest star on Gilligan’s Island. The rest of the cast belongs on the island, the guest star is just passing through…
 
The female lead in this movie is quite good, but she is also not a Muppet.
 
The brother of the lead who is a Muppet sort of gets lost towards the second half of the movie and then comes back at the very end. At least he is a Muppet. Makes me wonder what his mom was up to though! The movie would have been better with this character as a single child growing up.
 
The villain is an oil Barron (not a banker or a parody of Col. Sanders) who is quite good, but they cut his one musical number short and removed his reason for hating the Muppets so much from the movie. Its on a deleted scene on the BluRay. Also his musical number was cut in half, and it was the best number in the entire movie!
 
Many of the musical numbers are done by humans, which the Muppets only appearing as characters on the side (including the finale) not to metnion the choreography was pretty darn bad. The Music Man like number had a cameo by Mickey Rooney in it that was cute. Was he in Music Man? Wasn’t that Dick Van Dyke? Oh well.
 
The bits that really work is where the humans take a back seat to the Muppets. The part where the gang gets back together is fun. The parts where they come back to the studio after only 5 years to find holes in the roof. Somehow in this timeline the Muppet Theater and Studios closed down in the late 1970’s… which is odd in itself as the last Muppet TV movie came out in 2005 and clearly the characters saw themselves as movie stars in that production. What is the deal with the 80’s robot? Why is it a featured character when Pepe the Prawn is relegated to only appearing in once scene? I think it would have been amusing to have Pepe drive the car as he would not be able to see over the dashboard, and could have suggested taking an underwater shortcut he knew of to France.
 
So you have a Muppet movie where Kermit and Miss Piggy are not the stars, way too much going on with the human leads who fill the screen for a large chunk of the movies. Many sequences used in the clever trailers were cut from the movie. The 3-D gimmicks were pretty darn obvious and contrived. The ending of this movie is a mess in the same way the end of Quantum Leap was a mess. I get the feeling it ended downbeat and they decided to fix it after test audiences hated it.
 
Yes, it is a Muppet movie, and yes it is worth watching, but of all the Muppet movies I would rank it with a tie for last place with Muppet’s From Space.
 
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Let’s get one thing straight…

 
I am happy to help you with any technical issues I can. I am also happy to help with answering basic questions about how there.works to people who are new, or even older members who are just learning how to host events and such.
If you are new to There.com I am happy to take you on a hoverbaot tour or answer basic questions.
I am happy to help you understand the differences between a there house and a there clubhouse or other decorating issues.

I am happy to take your suggestions for what I should make next, although it may be years before I get around to modeling it.

I am happy to help you with issues with items I have created in the past, like relisting an item not in auctions. Ok maybe not happy, but a lot of then can be tricky to put together and I will help you set them out or configure them when I have the time.

I am happy to help with developer issues like when you have verts that are way too close together and you need to know how to weld them. I can at least point you in the direction of the right tutorial.

However…

<rant>

I do not work for There.com.  I do not have Samsyn or any of the other hard working employees at Makenna on speed dial, or even have a clue what their phone numbers are.

So why do people constantly IM me, send me messages on Facebook, e-mail me, or leave odd comments on my YouTube videos demanding things like refunds and the like in all caps?

I have had six of these since this past Saturday. Two of them multile times, the same message over and over.

If you are sending your ‘freinds’ on Facebook demanding things in ALL CAPS and the like, you might expect ‘your freinds’ them to unfriend you at once.

I am sorry you are leaving there.com and will not give a reason why until people pry it out of you on Facebook after a whole bunch of comments, however I don’t want to read about it on my wall.

I am sorry if your account was banned for some reason that does not make sense to you or even to me. Consider e-mailing someone who can actually do something to help you. feedback@thereinc.com might be a good place to start. As it says at the bottom of the FAQ linked on the there.com front page:

“None of this helped me! How can I notify you of my problem?

Please send us an email to ‘feedback@thereinc.com’ with as many details as possible, but please do not forgot to include your avatar name in some prominent location in the email. “

I probably should just make a macro with that information it and spam it back to people when they demand things of me.

I am sorry if you can’t get there.com to work and you want a refund when the page you were on when you signed up said you would NOT be getting a refund back. Please consider reading the ‘not so fine print’ before clicking accept. Please also consider not harassing the other paying members of the service with your non issues. The FAQ on the front page mentions this as well “There are no refunds for subscription payments. ” http://www.there.com/newFAQ.htm and even if there were, why demand it from me?

Speaking of which, I know you play Star Wars The Old Republic. I played that for a while but I hated it and then they charged my credit card an extra month after my membership was canceled. So I demand that YOU, even though you don’t work for Electronic Arts or Bioware, get out there and get me my refund NOW!

NOW I SAY!

</RANT>

Do the rest of you get stuff like this all the time or is it just me?
I also should point out I hate rants and I am upset by what I just wrote above.

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Those Darn Doors!

For the past three days I have been working on a door.  I needed a door for the landing bay set I have been building.

Anyhow I was about 1/2 way done making this landing bay when it became obvious that I needed to make at least one door for people to enter and exit.  So I stoped to make THE DOOR!

This darn thing took forever.  I wanted to use the LOD distance trick to make it open as you got closer to it and close as you walked away.   I fiddled and fiddled and eventualy got a shape I liked. I really had not spent too much time thinking of the look for the ship, but for this door I needed to have a logo on the door, so I had to take more time out to design that.  Overall I think the symbol of old school rocket launching with a ringed planet and a star is pretty cool looking and very retro. I worried that it might be too art deco looking though.

Anyhow I slapped that on top of a texture I made for some posts in the landing bay that I did not use and  I was well on my way to making a door.   Unfortunately I found out that it was the same texture I had made on the pillars around the door, so it messed those textures all up and I had to re-do the doors as a seprate texture!  Oh well I have not been building much in the past two years. I need to get my grove back.. or find my mojo or something!

So I finished the door and it worked and opened and closed and I did a test submit and I could not get it to work. LOD2 still had way too many verts in it no matter how much I cut away at it.

So today I dedided to start a different approach. I made the frame as one object. This lets me have two animations on the frame which is way cool and I can change those to solid textures if I need to make a different looking door  frame.

Then the door which opens is a seprate object. I took advantage of this and added in some animation onto that in the form of a small monitor screen and a keybaord placed on the opposite side on the collum. Maybe I can get a joke out of that… “Who designed this.. you cant see the screen from the keybaord!!!:  Oh well  Its about ready to submit as too objects. I still have some placement issues to fix on the monitor itself. It uses an addative property to make it sort of futuristic and glowy and as a result the box behind it can not touch the pillar behind it, or it would show through where they intersect.  Still that should not take long.  Then I can start work on non animated textures and such for variations. I guess I can make an airlock door and a few other things out of it.  I may also make the opening part of the door  with tome variations. Mayeb one with a broken keybaord or a montor tha is only showing static hanging from a wire or something.

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It was two years ago today…

I had my old Palm Pilot (Disky called it “That which beeps”) and it still works.  Anyhow I just use it as an alarm clock these days. Except it work me up a half hour early today. I was wondering why it was all dark.

Today marks 2 years since There was closed and one of the saddest days in my life. I was so busy working on projects right up to that final hour that it was not until around 11pm on March 9th 2010 that it even really sunk in, althought there was this odd moment when I realized that the amount of digital tape I had on hand would outlast the end of the world earlier in the evening, or that final hoverboat ride with my freinds.  I guess if I had let it sink in I would not have gotten anything done.

It was so sad how this event shattered and fragmented the Thereian community. Some understood, some did not, and others will never forgive or forget. I wish my friends would all just come back home. Probably not best to dwell on the past too much.

Still plenty to look forward to now and as the years go by today will eventually be just another date on the calendar.

Here are two images of my final seconds of virtual life at 11:58pm on March 9th 2010. I went out at a traditional ‘end of there as we know it” party at the Aero Longue.


This one was taken about 10 seconds before there closed.

I had a second machine attached to the video camera, and when there shut down two minutes early I was cought by surprise, but it took a second longer to boot the old slow machine with the camera. The image froze but stayed in place just long enough for me to grab this final snapshot of the very last of my There life.

How did you spend your final There 1 moments?

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Miracle Pictures Studios Returns!

It has been an exciting time in There.com recently. First the revival of There run hoods, then shortly thereafter the return of member run neighborhoods. And even more recently the return of previous developer items which can now be re listed in auctions!

However it was getting the Miracle Pictures Studios neighborhood back that pleased me the most. Although it was around for only the last two years before There closed in the winter of 2010, that terrible winter that never seemed to end, it was where I put a lot of my time and effort. Heck it was snowing here in California until June that year. I think someone was none to happy with the closure. During that final week in 2010 I spent a ton of hours there shooting videos and the like, a lot of which has not been finished yet.

Still the sheer joy of having it back again is amazing. It works just as well or even better than it did before!

I took a bunch of video footage the first three days I was decorating the place. The only saved hood layout I had was ancient, and basicly it all had to be redone.  I replaced the 55 meter walls wiht the new 80 meter walls.  I experimented with different entrances, at one point trying to make the entrance a diagonal on the corner, but the terrian was jsut too bumpy to make it work right.  The backlot had a lot of changes too with new 80 meter sections of road that were added in.   Overall I am quite pleased with the new hood and I can not wait until I cna build some new buildings for it!

The video is a tad dull.. Ok mind numbingly dull, but I am determined to record more of what I do these days in there.com so that there is a record of what it was like.

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There Action News: B.A.B.S. Update 2-7-12

I filmed this the other day, then my illness got worse. Still I did get out of bed long enough to edit this.  I really need to find a decent editing program for the PC. This free program does not even do decent titles, but Windows Live Movie Maker is very fast to edit in.

 

I also picked up the old Miracle Pictures Clubhouse before time ran out on the house reservations. It is a large ranch style clubhouse.  It is not the original MP Clubhouse, but after Black Friday a There employee who was let go gave it to Disky. In 2005 we used the clubhouse in Rick Slick’s Mission Slightly Difficult as the house of  the evil Dr. Linden.

It appears in many other movies. It was the interiors in Tiki Trek and Tiki Trek II

So nice to have it back!  Stop by and visit if you like it is at Canyon Terrace 017 at the top of the hill.

 

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Miracle Pictures Studios

Aside from my freinds and the creativity, one of the things I missed most in There was my movie studio themed neighborhood. I was so busy between projects, and being in the hospital twice during those final months of There.com that after I bought the hood I rarely had any time to work on the hood itself. I am making a better go of it this time around.

Mircale Pictures Studrios was purchased in a rather heated auction.. in other words it went for a lot… on March 29th, 2008. It was a lush green hood with nice hills in the background (perfect for a Hollywood style sign thing) and a bit of sesert in one corner (perfect ofr a planet of the apes thing or westerns).  Immediately I started designing larger soundstages for the hood. A 40×80 meter all black interior soundstage, and a 40×80 meter soundstage with cememnt walls.  I also designed an entrance way with a insert set of pictures that could be changed and updated. The original soundstage ( a 40×40 meter mostly black interior) was also used.

The hood was original surrounded at first by a wall. I created a special 55 meter wall section by angling a 40 meter object on a diagonal. The problem with this was that they had to be in from the outside of the hood. I also make normal 40 meter sections of wall.  The wall was problomatic as the ground slanted so much in some areas that you could practily step right over it. In the end the wall was mostly left on the entrace side and the wall near the desert. 

Upon finishing that I made a dome building for the miniature Lagoland set. I had planned on using it in the next UltraAvie movie.  This was an 80 meter round building with a backdrop of New Kansas painted on it.

July of 2008 was our 5th birthday and also served as the premier for our second feature and our first musical the all singing, all dancing, all lagging Wizard of Lag!

You can see some of the premier event in this movie “My So Called Virtual Life”

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=414Ewdy7giM

October 2008 had the studios recieveing the Community Wow award!  That came as a sprprise to me! We really did not meet the criteria for being elegiable for this award. But still it was way cool!

There is a video of that ceremony and a tour of some of the sets for Flame Warrior here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke4USiHmQJ8

Our final production for the There Film Festival (there were no more film festivals after 2008) was the Kung Fu epic  Flame Warrior. This was also the first movie shot in our new studios. 

Several sets were constructed for this movie.  The village set and the Post-Fu training area were built on two sides of the hood.

The walls around the Post-Fu training area were specialy made for the movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxVrUE_LpU8

When Lagoland upgraded to a 100 acre hood it was usggested that I move my studio to the Lagoland hood. I tried that for about a month. I even designed a slanted parking lot area outside of the gate, but with only 50 hood drops at the time it did not work out well, and later the items went back to the studio hood. The new parking lot went, but was later redesigned agian to match the flatter land at the Studios hood.  So I guess there were three different versions of that entrance.

The version shown above was the one made for Lagoland. It was revised slightly for the final version that appeared at the Miracle Pictures Studios hood. This also does not show the pictures which were made as a seprate object.

In the fall of 2009 Lagoland, after moving to a new 100 acre all flat hood failed to attract many residences, and after loosing money for almost two years, it was closed. This provided plenty of buildings and items for a backlot area at the studio.  Streets were set up in a “U” shape. The plan was to place photograps at the end of the streets showing a prespective view as seen in the 100 acre  Lagoland.

I never quite got around to making those backdrops though.   I did keep building sets.

In the late summer of 2009 I bought one of the Saturn V rockets hoping to use it ina  movie. I had it set in the studios in one corner, but the neighborhood next door complained that it was causing them lag, so I removed it immediately.  This was a big mistake. Shortly after removing the Saturn V There neighborhoods gained the ability to block out  paz’s and hoods outside of thier own. The neighbor propmptly hid my hood from thier view, however they never botherd to let me know that they had done this and that I could put the rocket back out. By the time I realized that they had done this  I had mosplaced the layout file, and was unable to set the rocket back out. So there is no video footage of it at all.  It will be nice now to get a second chance to do something with this prop now. There is a picture of the hoverbaot version of the Saturn V flying over the hood.

 It took a while but eventually by December of 2009 I had finished the bit time traveling set. Good thing too as when March 2010 rolled around and it was announced that There.com would be closing I had the standing  sets and a script all ready to shoot!  Well the script did need some modification to make it up to speed with current events. In July of 2010 the them was There Through the Ages, so the script was written with that in mind. It needed only a bit of updating to make it about the closing of There.com. Mostly only the ending bits were changed.

If you are curious how I spent my last week in There, well it was spent behind a camera. In that final week Miracle Pictures churned out Disky’s final chapter of The Beta III, Tiki Trek II, An april fools joke with fox costumes, the Bernard Bruhaha Halloween Splatacular, a talking heads movie with members telling what There.com meant to them, a pilot for a Stargate There series (to be shot in other games later)

http://youtu.be/qSTzyVESR3w

and a ton of footage for my mega documentary on there.com and several music videos, only a few of which have been finished.

But as far as the studio goes the last big production was From There to Eternity. In many ways this was my best work ever, in other ways it relies heavily on the history of there.com for it’s humor and new members may not even understand a lot of the jokes, but for those who were There it served as a bittersweet look back.  

In fact on several occasions, with people viewing this movie, I recieved the ultimate in compliment that I can imagine ever recieving. This movie made them laugh and cry at the same time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EOD7-_LyCI

I was filming at my studio right up to the final hour before there.com closed. In the very end I was doing Captain Cosmos introductions for future Broc Lee episode in case we ever decided to shoot any in Second Life or some other world.  This was my last screenshot taken inside my Miracle Pictures Studios neighborhood, just seconds before I teleported away.

Looking back I wish I had done a lot more. I never finished the movie star trailers, I never got those city backdrops made, I had only set the backlot up 1/2 when there.com closed. 

Oh well, I am very excited about having the hood back and getting started making new props and set for my new original series. I sent in my application to re-spawn my hood along with several pictures of where the hood was located. Hoepfuly soon Miracle Pictures Studios will be back!

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This is going to sound very odd…

I had an exciting moment in There today as I started to host Tuesday Tiki Talk Trivia events again at the Coconut Club in Maidenflight. I meant to take some video. I intended to capture some screenshots. I ended up doing neither, but I did host the event. I was a bit rusty to say the least, and so were my questions!

I really missed hosting trivia events. I did quite a bundle of them back before There closed in 2010 and it was very nice to host one again. Yes, I did do two test events this fall in beta, but they were pretty limited and more of a test of the buzzers than anything else. So this was one step closer to truly being home. Which, in itself, sounds a bot odd.

I ran into ZachC the other day and he had the same odd feeling, that without a hood, and without designing something new to go in it, he was quickly starting to feel ‘out of place.’ Ok, so those were not his exact words, but that is more how I am feeling, slightly like a third wheel. I know that soon I will be busy with projects and objects and more events than I know what to do with.

I did apply to have my hood reactivated. I am not sure I did that correctly or not though, but while I wait I am trying to take in some time to just enjoy the There I used to know. The There that was not as crowded. The There where I was not deluged with the max number of IM’s the second I logged in. The There that provided fun events I went to instead of hosting them myse… ‘doh!

Too late!

Anyhow I had one more odd moment the other day. I was over at Nurse J’s house and everyone there logged out but me. Nice of the Nurse to trust me with all of her stuff like that. Her couch was very comfy, or at least my avatar thought it was! That was a nice time.

After a hard day in There.com, boy did my avatar’s feet hurt!
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