Gaming News Special: XBox One Reveal VidCast

Hello there. Wondering where I have been? I’ve been setting up a YouTube account. And there is Torch Guide content going up on there too. Like this;

Torch Guide VidCast Special: Xbox One Special

Enjoy and see you soon, Wil.

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Christmas Classics: The Fir Tree

Out in the woods stood a nice little Fir Tree. The place he had was a very good one: the sun shone on him: as to fresh air, there was enough of that, and round him grew many large-sized comrades, pines as well as firs. But the little Fir wanted so very much to be a grown-up tree.

The Fir Tree was a young one, new in this world by tree standards, and he heard the tales the birds sang about his brethren in the world, what Man had done with them and he wanted nothing more than to do the same joyous things.

Hans Christian Andersens fairy tale about the fir tree that wanted more have been told since 1844, when it was released alongside The Snow Queen in New Fairy Tales in Denmark. Andersen himself read the story at the Christmas party of Count Bismarck-Bohlen, where Wilhelm Grimm was awestruck by the tale.

In 1979, the story was adapted into a short film by Martin Hunter, with Jeff Kahnert as the voice of the Fir Tree. Debbie Osmond of The Osmonds had her first public appearance in this film, alongside the director of The Wild Pony, Kevin Sullivan, in his only acting role to date.

The Fir Tree has become a real Christmas Classic in many homes over the years and is really worth the read, for even if it might seem depressing at first read-through, you will leave with a sense of content for what you have and the caution to take care of the moment and not let it fade away without enjoying it. As with most of Andersens works, The Fir Tree has fallen into Public Domain and can be read here or ordered as hardcover here.

Torch Relay for Life Fundraiser at Club Capital Recap!

Today the Torch SLG had it’s first Relay for Life fundraiser! The event was held at Club Capital and DJ Morphman was on hand to play a variety of tunes and take requests from everyone! Everyone had fun dancing, talking, and of course raising money for the cure…and raise they did, pushing the Torch Relay for Life Team donations to almost 6,000 Lindens! Thanks to everyone who donated today, keep an eye on the blog and the Torch group in world for more information about upcoming Relay for Life Fundraisers! Below is a slideshow that contains photos from the fundraiser:

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The first year – A look back at The Torch 2011

This year has brought many fine memories to us at The Torch SL Guide, much have happened and we have had great success… And it’s all thanks to YOU!

We want to take some time now at the end of 2011 to look back at some of the places we’ve been to and some of the people we’ve talked to and see what have happened since we were there last.

First out is my own very first article, Grendels Children. The store itself haven’t changed much, but a lot of avatars have been added. The prices are still great, not many items go over 100L$ and there are LOADS of freebies to be found. Flea has really outdone himself since we last saw this place 11 months ago. A lot of recognizable characters from old and new popular cultures, with a great price makes this my favourite avatar store of the year.

Next up is The Jungle, the naughty clothes shopping mall for men. The changes are few, but noticable. A lot of effort has been given to the new items of this year, and even if you’re not into the LBGT movement, this is definately a store you should check out if you’re a male avi. Great prices and a huge selection makes this my favourite clothing shop (or mall) of the year.

Ah, Replugged, the club that made me go into SL DJing. It was the first club I played at and it was a sad day when it closed. Recently, Topas Zane re-opened the doors and brought back the classic look that we all loved. It’s no surprise that Replugged is my favourite club of the year.

Caledon, the massive, 55 000 square meter continent devoted to steampunk have helped me a lot throughout my first SL year. With free classes at Caledon Oxbridge University I learned how to script, build and take snaps. This is 2011′s best learning centre.

It was with a heavy heart and a tear in my eye that I wrote the Survivors of Suicide Project article. Because of my past experiences with someone close to me falling victim to this horrible thing, it touched me that there are so many people out there devoted to help those who need support. SoS is definately the best Helping Hand of 2011.

These were my favourite articles of this year. If you have any, please, leave a comment below. For now, have a great ending of 2011 and an even greater start of 2012.

Phoenix Viewer: Now With Mesh Option

A couple of months ago we reported a rumor that stated that the Phoenix Viewer would have mesh. They explained that Phoenix could not have mesh because of the codes that were used to make Mesh available in viewer 1.5. According to the Phoenix Blog, that is now   made possible. The Phoenix Crew gave thanks to the creator of Cool VL Henri Beauchamp, who shared the information of how to get Mesh working in viewer 1.5 (Cool VL was one of the first viewer 1 that became compatible with mesh, when it was said that viewer would not function with the new mesh upgrade.)  According to the Phoenix Blog:

Firstly I want to make it clear that the only reason the phoenix viewer has mesh now is because of the tireless and determined efforts of Henri Beauchamp of the Cool VL Viewer. I would encourage those of you who appreciate these efforts to thank him personally. Credits and Kudos! Thank you Henri!

- Phoenix Blog

It also states that the RLVa function of Phoenix will not be updated, according to the Phoenix Blog:

RLVa has not been updated in this Phoenix viewer release. This was my decision, not that of Kitty Barnett. Although I said some time back we would update RLVa in Phoenix it became obvious that the work/time commitment involved in doing so was simply not reasonable or responsible. Kitty is a very valuable asset to this team and I refuse to take her away from the ground breaking work she does in Firestorm and v2/v3 to put a large time commitment into a dying viewer code base. She is worth far more than that. If you want updated RLVa I would suggest using the Firestorm Viewer or Kitty’s own Viewer Catznip. I offer you my sincerest apologies for going back on my word in regards to RLVa update in Phoenix, however I believe it was the right decision.

- The Phoenix Blog

More information can be found on the blog entry for Phoenix and  to download the new Phoenix viewer .

Goodbye to Kristens Viewer

Second Life Viewer Kristens Viewer has stopped development on September 8th 2011. The viewer started back in 2010, making an alternative to then default viewer Linden Labs V2, which aimed to be a friendly portal for residents who wanted to explore the vast world of Second Life  as a photographer, a builder or a film maker. Kristens Viewer was a mixture of the Snowstorm project and other source codes.

In a blog final blog entry  entitled ‘Sad Farewell’ from the creator of Kristens Viewer, Kristenlee Cinquetti, explains  her reasons for the end of this amazing viewer:

You may have noticed that the client has not been updated in some time.

Farewell KV

Sadly Real Life events have taken an unfortunate turn which basically puts an end to any more development. The Plans for S22 have been shelved and the project has been marked as discontinued. Installers have been removed as they are now very outdated, the sourcecode will of course remain. The website and forums will stay up for as long is required. Also inworld groups will stay active. It is of course entirely your choice as to how long you continue to use the client, however I do stress that it will fall behind with features and it may be wise to seek alternatives in the near future.

- Kristenlee Cinquetti

She ends with a final farewell a big thanks to those who have stood by the making of the viewer over the time.

The Torch SL Guide bids farewell to Kristens Viewer.

For more information on other Second Life Third Party Viewers, Check out the Second Life Wiki 

 

 

First Look: Viewer 3

When I heard that there was a new what I like to call Vanilla Viewer – the benchmark where all other tastes derive from – I knew I needed to check it out. Check out Morphman’s post on the blog as this is supposed to be a major release.
Viewer 2 got a lot of slack and negative comments by a lot of die-hard viewer 1.x fans as it was a major move away from classic looks: new interface, engine coding and feel. What Linden Labs forgot then was that people don’t like too much change. I guess they listened to the complaints as Viewer 3 has a v2 look and feel… or is it just a rename of the year old bottle of wine?

Login Screen

The login screen did change a bit: you get a website overview that in my opinion could have been more integrated into the viewer: the colors are more “website” than “viewer” based. I have a feeling this has been rushed and not looked over by a graphic designer, as the image on the top is pasted against the top bar, rounded at the bottom means for me it’s missing a bit on the top… But that’s pure esthetic!

What is interesting to me is to see the “What’s Hot Now” screen, you get an overview of the busiest sims of that moment, although I’d have to investigate if those are real-time stats (I doubt it) or some timescale is being used (more logical and server economic I think). The “Destinations” is what it is: destinations filtered by their category. If you want to feature in this I guess you have to take time to put them in the “Events” diary. Finally something that might make this feature a bit more appealing to use, as it might bring in new people to your events.

The more interesting thing is what happens when you look at the bottom: no change whatsoever! You still get a choice between “Basic” and “Advanced” mode – I’ll be skipping the former as in my opinion it takes too much away from the SL experience and thus being pointless (don’t get me wrong, it’s a great way to ease new players into the SL experience, but most will skip it within a day or two I think :)

Checking out the viewer

Of course this release gets a new number as it incorporates mesh into SL. But what is more interesting to me is if the minor “problems” have been solved… So mesh for me isn’t all that important – yes I am excited about it for other reasons, mainly to see what builders are going to do with this new toy!

Not a lot has changed at first look: the much hated – but in my opinion very useful – sidebar is still there. You get the “Linden home screen” with the same basics that were shown in V2, so i’m going to skip that. I do recommend as a new user to go over them, there is some useful stuff in there!

The profile screen got revamped when you click the “profile” button, more in touch with the website version of your profile. This was not unexpected as LL announced a more web-inclusive interface. The other tabs haven’t changed at all on a first glance. The favourites bar is still there – one of the features that I really liked about V2 from the start!

What I suspected: V3 is just V2 with mesh code incorporated into it. Not a bad idea to rename this, as it is a major difference in user experience inworld, but not per sé viewer-wise.

What is really getting on my nerves is that 3rd party viewers are able to render things right, but V3 still has a problem rendering textures right for me when I switch to “ultra” graphics settings… I can only compare to Firestorm at the moment, but there I can run SL smoothly with everything bumped up to maximum, V2 and V3 just aren’t up to the challenge! Frame rates drop, making my experience less than optimal… Why is it that a brand new high-grade computer still isn’t able to use Ultra graphics settings, Linden Labs? Why still include this!

The other thing that still get on my nerves is “depth of field”: granted, a useful tool when you’re taking pictures in Second Life, but why hasn’t this option been moved to the “snapshot” function? Depth of field isn’t that useful on a day-to-day basis.

Yes, I agree these are minor things, but annoyances non the less…

Pro
• No major changes – except of course for including mesh
• Various tweaks, like the web-integration that has been refined.
Con
• Messed up Ultra – at least for me
• Minor gripes solved in 3rd party viewers still present in Vanilla…

Conclusion

Viewer 3 is a logical rename of the previous viewer, giving users access to the long coming promise of mesh inclusion. I’m sure in time coming this will become apparent to all users, as mesh will steadily be introduced to the grid. Don’t worry, it will live perfectly next to prims and sculpties as we know them, so you don’t have to start buying new stuff immediately!

Hopefully my minor problems with V3 will be solved in the (near?) future, although these are my gripes and as with everything: you can’t please’m all!

Sven Hyx 

ZED_001

*ZED* Surrealism of rl, realistic in SL

Have you ever imagined when you saw a beautiful painting how it would be to walk in this scene?

Would you change things? And how would you feel if an imagination like this would come true?

This is your chance!


Just a few months ago a new very talented artist was born in Second Life. Zweet (azee Resident) had this fantasy when she was a child and she made this fantasy real in Second Life. *ZED* is her first project in SL and I really think we will see a lot of this talented Canadian woman in the future. Her goal with *ZED* is to bring art closer to the people.

Zweet: “I wanted to create a mood, ambiance with places for people to be close and chat and have fun, not just cold art to look at.”

And I can tell you, she did reach this goal with glance! You can relax here and have a good time with your friends and lovers and in the meanwhile you actually can learn something! Zweet is very promising:

” If I don’t create something every other day I get bored!”

” I need to to be creative… I always say, to create is to be alive”

“I knew from the start I wanted to learn the tools and experiment myself… I wanted to do something different… not something already existing here.”

” I thought, why not being creative and artistic in the way you present art in SL!”

What does it make different? You really have to look for yourself, but up here you’ll see that art isn’t boring!

There’s a central point where you enter and will come back from time to time. When you enter the first time, you’ll notice you enter in a little ring of flowers and will immediately be surprised with a beautiful gift and useful information. When you look around, at first sight this place looks like a park, but of course there’s much more to see!

For the people who are comfortable with art, you’ll recognise that Zweet was inspired, by great surrealistic artists, like Salvador Dali, René Magritte and Max Ernst. But up here you have the opportunity to see in 3D.
Lovers in Second Life, who read this article, can have here a great romantic time with their lover. There are nice places to dance and enough places to cuddle.
The people who just want to relax can find some peace here thanks to the great environment and the relaxing music.

Of course you can laugh here too. The great tunnel will first surprise you with a well built dragon, but after that you’ll be surprised how long this tunnel is! Beside of that, Zweet has chosen some funny poses in a few scenes. How would you feel to be a part of a painting of Salvador Dali? For the people who aren’t familiar with the paintings that Zweet used in her creations, she putted pictures of the originals close to the scenes. And even when you aren’t familiar, you will recognise the paintings!

Let’s take a closer look to *ZED*

Because this place is so big and you can do a lot, the teleport system is a useful option to explore the homestead, but I advice you to walk around too and be amazed how well everything fits in the environment!

When you walk westwards you’ll find yourself a beach where you can relax in a perfect combination of nature and the surrealistic atmosphere in the paintings of René Magritte.
Don’t forget to peek in the water too!

You can take a tour by boat. I have to admit, I was a bit too impatient and didn’t finish it.

When you go eastward, you’ll be surprised with another beach and a complete different scene. From here you can teleport to a cave, where you really can be a part of a painting of one of the most famous surrealists of the 20th century, Salvador Dali.

After you teleported back to the ground, you’ll find yourself again on the entry point, which gives me a good reason to tell you a little bit about the north, where you can find several scenes of Magritte and Dali. Personally I love some scenes even better than the original paintings.

When you found yourself the scene based on the painting “The Departure of the Winged Ship” of Dali, follow the path, cross the bridge and be amazed by “The Hegel’s Holiday” of Magritte. I was very surprised how well these scenes are combined with each other!
And of course, don’t forget to watch the beautiful underwater scene here too.

If you think, that’s all, you’re wrong. When you go westwards, you’ll see a tunnel, but please look in the sky before you enter…
In the tunnel you’ll find an amazing piece of art. But I advice you to enter the tunnel too and walk through it. This tunnel has some funny visual effects and brings you to a scene based on a beautiful painting of Karen Rose.

But there’s much more here to see, because in the sky are even more scenes you can enter by using the teleport system.
For example the scene based on the art of Max Ernst, which is the latest creation of Zweet at the moment I write this article.

*ZED* exists since about 2 months. It was ready for the public after 2 weeks and within a week it was noticed and listed in the Editor Picks of Second Life.

Zweet, the creator, is very realistic. *ZED* is a good place for her and her visitors. She wants it to keep it open as long as possible, but because it’s very expensive to keep, she doesn’t know how long she can keep this place alive. If you do a little research you can understand the costs are big to keep it open. Not only the homestead, but also the materials.
To reduce the costs she added a few places where you can donate Linden. And if you have a few Linden and you love the place. This might be a good thing to do. It helps to keep *ZED* alive, because it isn’t based on commercial activities.

Zweet is absolutely a talent, although she doesn’t agree with me. I asked her how she learned all this so fast and what her best advice is for new residents of Second Life. (But I think the oldies can use this advice too).

“The best advice to newbies on SL is to have a good friend to show you around… it is a shock the first day you come in SL, the virtual world here is so different… you don’t know what to do, where to go, etc… too much at once. I had a very good friend who has been here for 3 years and he explained many things, showed me places as examples, taught me how to use different tools, etc. Then it ,clicked, I made the connection here, I understood what it meant.Fast learner only because I had a good teacher from day one.”

Zweet creates 95% on *ZED*, she gets some help from a few people, like Shaft Laval, who made some impressive sculpties for her. And in the future you can find more of his art on *ZED*. And also her friend Rikku Talin helped her with a beautiful dance floor.

At this moment busy she’s very busy with organising a very interesting event, which will come up in May 2011. It will be a 3D art contest based in the same spirit as Zweet works. So everybody who can build and like to have a new challenge, keep your eyes open and visit *ZED*!

Although I like *ZED* in almost every day setting, Zweet made sure that even in midnight this place is like a pearl to see.
Her use of glow, lights and colours is very impressive.
If you like to experiment with settings. I have put some of my settings I used on *ZED* to explore this place on the internet. You can download them here for free.

Finally I want to say to you, I hope you will enjoy this place as much as I did.

If you aren’t familiar with surrealism, or it isn’t your taste, *ZED* might can bring you some new perspectives. If you want to know more about this, in the following list of URLs you can find some information.

http://www.surrealist.com/

http://www.surrealism.org/

http://wwar.com/masters/movements/surrealism.html

Of course I’m very curious about your experiences on *ZED*. Please make a comment and write about what you liked or didn’t like there.

TP to *ZED*

Hugs Justum

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It’s a Drag… … Racing, that is!

The Torch invited me to try out something that frankly I’ve never given any thought about. And the idea of it at first had me puzzled at first: how can you drive extremely high powered vehicles down a virtual 1/4 mile? But, as I live by the motto “try most things ones”, I didn’t have to think long before saying “yes, I’m game”.

I got in touch with Tresbon Toocool, who agreed to be my mentor for my first time. He showed, Izzie, Morph and me around the shop, where I couldn’t take my eyes of all the finely crafted cars for sale. They truely have everything for every taste, ranging from bikes, imports and genuine kickass Detroit Muscle. Boy, it almost made me break the bank, and I’m genuinly considering getting me a car…

But that’s not what we came for today. Up next: the track… Abike can be gotten from a vendor on the wall at no charge, and Tresbon had me drive it up to the far lane, as two other people were racing on lanes 3 and 4, and showed me the basics on setting up the bike so it returns to the start grid after a race. That went pretty smooth, as all of it is pretty much done via a menu. Actually, the only two buttons on the keyboard you really need are two for racing: PgUp to set your gear, and the “up” key to race away…

Time to stage (put your vehicle in the starting position and gear) and hit the accelator when the yellow light comes on… I must tell you, it’s unlike anything I’ve experienced in Second Life! A race lasts… one second!

After getting a few pointers on what to do, we had a few races between us (somebody even offered us the use of his car) and I must say: Izzie by far has the best reaction speed overall, although I did beat her best: 0.06 seconds after the yellow light went on I hit the accelerator. Trescool mentioned that anything under 0.05 is usually a winner, and he was correct: I saw reaction times of 0.02 seconds!!!

A few pointers: avoid personal lag! Take off anything scripted to minimize missing that reaction sweet spot. Another one is take your time, after 3 runs I was hooked!

I’d like to thank Trescool for his expert advice and guidance; me and my baby have a date soon to the races…

Oh, and did I mention it’s freakin’ addictive? Well, now I have! :)

Article by: Sven Hyx 

Photos by: Morphman