Friday, October 24, 2008

Cylon Centurion Model 0005

As you can tell I love Battlestar Galactica. I'm especially fond of "Cylon Culture" and endeavor to recreate various Cylon icons in my SecondLife builds. My latest release being the Re-Imagined Classic Cylon Centurion Model 0005!

I got the idea for this avatar about 2 days after I released the Cylon Raider MK-VII and I immediately started researching. But I knew I did not want the "man in a suit" complete with hocky gloves and plastic sword Centurion that we see in the 70's series. I wanted to go "modern" and for that I need to go to the source. During some research for schematics I was lucky enough to find a blog written by Darth Mojo. "The Mojo" is a Visual Effect Supervisor and Artist for the Re-imagined series as well as an avid blogger. On his blog I found very detailed pictures and behind the scenes information on the modern Centurion concept.

I soon started building and in about 2 and 1/2 weeks had the first un-scripted BETA model ready for fitting. Once I had all the parts fitted to a custom shape I tinkered and tweaked until it looked right..... to me. The unarmed Centurion totaled in at a whopping 557 prims!!!

As I build I get inspired and soon realized that this model should have features that bring more realism such as guns, heavy guns, blade, classic "eye" sound, phrases and animations. This was to be the hardest part for me. I again turned to the help of my dear friend and mentor Dollwife Pink for help with the gun. I sent sent her a copy of the Cylon model TEC-9 gun for a good holstering script job. The gun you see in the Razor episode was actually based on a real life gun called the TEC-9. I added the trademark Cylon symbol on the handle for the hardcore fans. Once Doll sent me a working model I added my gun scripts to it and started testing. Oh my gosh I love this gun! But wait..... there's more......

The forearm dagger you see in the skydiving scene with young Adama was my next project. It actually wasn't hard to make and again..... I have to thank Dollwife for pointing me in the right direction. The dagger is HUD controlled for quick release and fully animated. The best thing about the blade is how bad ass it looks and sounds when you draw it.

Looking at Mojo's "extras" blog I got the idea to make the Cylon version of the M60 light machine gun. This was a lot of fun because I always wanted to make a big "butch" looking gun. This gun puts out an impressive 300 rounds before reloading an after some intense testing against battle drones (at Fairlight)..... the Cylon M60 came out the winner!

The HUD controls the blade and vocal sounds. The vocal sounds are "By your command", "It is done imperious leader", " The information is not complete" and " EXTERMINATION!" The eye sound is toggled by clicking the black part of the cylon head.

So with all that what else s there? How about.... ummm.... maybe.... hmmmm...... THE GOLD COMMANDER! That's right..... I had to do it. I included a Gold Commander with every purchase! That is 2 avatars for the price of one with 2 hand guns (gold and chrome) an M60 and daggers.

After all this hard work I just like sittin' back and looking at the Centurion brought to (Second) Life. What will I make next? Wait and see. Until then...... If you see this pointing at you........ don't bother running.... you're already DEAD!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Marketing 101

"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does." ~Steuart Henderson Britt

Some of you mite see this as information you already know...... for others it is the missing link that will bridge them to the road of success. So if you know this already CONGRATS!!!!!! If not.... then take a moment to read this short "Marketing Tip".

I once read that "the success of any product is 80% advertising and hype and only 20% actual product or service". How crazy is that! But it's true.

It is important that what you make or sell is good.... please don't misunderstand...... but if all you do is subscribe to the "If you build it they will come" theory, then your sales will be weak at best. So the question is..... How do we increase sales?

ADVERTISING! Now advertising comes in all shapes and sizes and I will touch on just a few to wet your palette.

Tip #1: Onrez and Xstreet
If you don't already have accounts with these two online sellers then I suggest you sign up right away. They are very popular and offer many benefits to their clients.

Tip #2: Press releases.
If you haven't already done press releases then I suggest you get started TODAY!!! They are simple to write and are great ways of letting people know you exist. I send a press release every time I release a new item and also when I put items on sale (more about sales later on.) Press releases can be posted on the XStreet forum (formerly SLX) and also on the main secondlife website forums "New Products" section. Make sure the press release includes the most important information.... what it is you're selling and WHERE TO GET IT!!!!

Tip #2.5: Offer something FREE in your store.
That's right.... I said it... it had to be said. Offering FREE merchandise is great for creating "word of mouth" buzz about your shop. People will tell others where they can get free stuff. Look at Freedove as a perfect example of how free stuff can drive thousands of customers to your door.

Tip #3: Create a group.
Creating a group for your store is a MUST in my opinion. You can use the group as a way to keep customers informed of new product releases and sales. BUT DON'T SPAM THEM!!! Nothing drives people away faster then constant messages. I suggest you create a group with a rule like -UK- Couture’s group, "Please DO NOT chat/spam the update group channel as this will result in your ejection from the group. Thank you!" 1 to 2 messages per day tops is best. To get customers to join your group I would include it in a notecard that comes with your products. I would also have a sign at your store location about the group and how it will benefit the customer. There are also group inviting devices that you can buy that make the job easy. Look into it ASAP!

Tip #4: Sales events.
Now I say sales events because if you have something on sale all the time there is no sense of urgency. What you want to create is a wave of people rushing to get your item at a wonderful.... but temporary.... sale price. What I like to do is offer a special 1 week low price on new products. It accomplishes 2 things. 1) Brings people out to see it and possibly buy and 2) Creates word of mouth. They WILL tell their friends! *winks*

Tip #5: Picks contest.
If you haven't heard of these a picks contest is simply paying people prize money to have your store in their profile picks. I personally give away $300L every two weeks to random winners and ALWAYS check their profile before handing out the cash. You'd be surprised how many people will ask to enter the contest and NOT put you in their picks. Their names are instantly removed from the picks contest list.... a list you should keep up to date.

Tip #6 Touch everybody!
Whoa! hey hold on a sec.... before you think I'm telling you to go out and grope people STOP! LOL....... "Touching" people is simply making contact. Having a notecard or landmark ready to pass out to PEOPLE WHO WANT IT is a form of a touch. I stress only giving it to people who want it because if you show up on noob island and start handing out unwanted notecards you are most likely going to get reported for spam.... and we don't want that. Casually bringing up a new item you just released in a conversation is also a "touch".

Tip #7: Make a good impression with customer service.
There really is nothing more to be said about this one. If people appreciate you taking time to help them when they have questions or problems they are more likely buy from you again and tell their friends.

This is just a very small list of marketing tips. It is important to know that Real Life and Second Life are not too different and that proven marketing techniques have value in the virtual world of Second Life.

Wishing you great success,

Shayna Korobase
CEO Brave New Worlds
Okeanides Vacation Spot and Mall

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cylon Raider MK-VII

My love for the Battlestar Galactica series goes back to when I was a little girl in the 1970's. I remember falling in love with the Chrome Toasters and having dreams of being a viper pilot and zipping around the stars in epic battles to save the human race. 20+ years later here I am even more in love with the modern version of BSG.

As a SecondLife "builder" (artist) I dive into projects that peak my interest or challenge me to improve upon what I see. This was the case when I created my Cylon Centurion Elite Edition. About 2 months ago I got the idea of making a Raider that was as close to the original MK-II as possible. To do this I knew I would need the help of other much more talented SL-Builders.

Dollwife Pink has always been sort of a mentor to me. She has a very giving soul and has no problem teaching and sharing what she knows. It is her original Cylon Raider that I based my design on. I also closely examined the work of Ta Moxie and Damian McBride who both had different takes on the Raider. Once I had in my head all the things I wanted and didn't want I went to work on the plywood build. I'm an obsessive builder and once my plans are laid out I tend to keep going until I'm done.

I knew that my version of the Raider could not have "ripped" textures. It needed professional made to order textures. I started looking for someone to fill that position. One day I got lucky and met MimiSoleil Dagger. Mimi is a very busy girl and had many real life projects going on but still found time to work on my raider. The textures took a few weeks but were worth the wait. I could never texture something this good on my own. Thanks Mimi!

The flight and combat scripts were going to be tricky. I am a fan of Ta Moxie's vipers and like how they have different flight modes and realistic features. I originally tried to get my hands on Ta's scriptor but apparently she HATES being contacted by people she doesn't know. I find this odd as her name is mentioned as the scriptor in Ta's vipers........ Tip: If you don't want to be bothered..... be anonymous! Moving on....... I then tried to enlist my good friend Paxan's BF who is a very talented scriptor but again I was turned down. I was starting to lose faith. I knew that the scripts I had at my disposal were great but not great enough. I knew what I wanted and wouldn't stop until I got it! That is when a long time friend Orval (the cute kitty) told me that our mutual friend Rez Grey is a talented scriptor. Slaps forehead, "Why didn't I think of that earlier?" I contacted Rez and told him my ideas and a few weeks later our collaboration turned out the Multimode flight scripts that the Raider now possesses.

Flight Script: The Raider has 5 flight modes and they are Hover, Advanced Hover, Acrobat, Mouselook and Advanced. These 5 modes fit all levels of flying skill from beginner to the most advanced pilots. As I stated to a friend.... it is very noob friendly. The script is the combination of the hard work of Rez Grey and Dollwife Pink with my own tweaks.

Weapons: The Raider is equipped with custom twin machine guns that fire physical bullets at an extreme rate. It also has Missiles that can shoot straight or once locked become guided missiles that explode in a brilliant display. Main weapons scripts written by Rez Grey with the bullets being my own modified physical rounds.

Engines: The engines were tricky. The series Raiders have a constant flame shooting out the twin engines and have a distinct sound. I searched high and low for the right sound and particles. I went through hours of searching google for sounds and then finally found the answer in my own inventory when I decided to fly my Ananke Nightshade Spacecraft by Carrah Rossini. When I sat in and started the engines it hit me like a ton of bricks.... "THIS IS IT!!!" I thought excitedly to myself. I contacted Carrah and humbly requested her assistance. She IM'ed me the next day and sent me scripts. This further demonstrates why her ships are in such demand and why she has such a following. I can't say enough about her..... Thanks Carrah!

Voice Commands (gestures): The raider is not menu or hud controled as I feel that is too slow and cumbersome in battle. I opted for gesture commands instead. To give the commands a cylon feel my next door neighbor recorded his own voice into a Vocoder for a 1970's style Centurion voice. All command gestures are set to F keys and can be triggered quickly without ever having to leave mouselook.

Other influences helped to motivate me to get it right. Stacia, Freyakc, Cathiee and Kazime all contributed great ideas. Stacia and Freyakc are always there with encouragement and to be honest.... most of what I do I couldn't do without them......... (faklempt moment) ;-P

Once complete I renamed it the Raider MK-VII. It took approximately two months from start to finish but was worth all the hard work. It is an example of what unselfish and generous builders, scriptors and friends can accomplish and is a fitting tribute to the show I love.... Battlestar Galactica!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


The S.I.C. L2968-2 is my newest toy and it certainly is SICK! For starters the size of the gun is intimidating to just about anyone who sees it. The craftmenship is second to none and simply looks AWESOME!

The gun comes with a HUD that gives you a choice of Full auto and Burst mode as well as 5 bullet types. They are: Damage, Push, Napalm, Atomic and SP Shot.

This gun has a wicked kick back that often sends you 5 to 10 meters back so make sure you have room behind you. The sounds and gun flash are very impressive but the true shining star of this gun is the SP Shot. This shot is initiated by clicking a giant red button on the HUD. Once started the gun barrel opens up and it builds up energy for the final release. The blast is 3 shots and you will be sent flying back from the kick back about 20 meters. The bullets rez into a giant glowing ball of energy upon impact and everyone near them will be pushed and orbited.

All in all I love this gun for pure destructive fun. I wouldn't use it for battles as it's not very practical...... but.... this is a fun gun that is worth the price for what it does.