Thursday, October 12, 2006

Variessa Kenzo talks about her griefer protection tool!

...continued from last post...

From Wikipedia, Griefer is "the term for a player in an online computer game who deliberately sets out to discomfort other players."

Not to despair, though, because some residents have created anti-griefing tools!

Type 'griefer' into Search and NP Shield comes up (pictured)

Costing only $75L and having great features, it instantly caught my eye.

The creator, Variessa Kenzo, agreed to answer a few questions about her creation and about Second Life in general:

Nimue: What made you create this tool?

Variessa: This is my second attempt at creating a shield after an unfortunate incident at the Sandbox Island. I was on SL for less than a month and had discovered the sandboxes. I was working on a post and beam house when a griefer started pushing me and caging me. It was extremely frustrating and at the time I didn't know that sitting would have protected me. I was defenseless and angry, so I found a freebie shield and went to the weapons testing sandbox to learn about weapons. Over the next few months I perfected my shield. It was several months afterwards that someone suggested selling it.

N: What does NP stand for?

V: NP stands for nonphysical. Basically when you use the NP shield you are sitting on a prim with physics turned off. This effectively shields you from all physical attacks, making you nonphysical. The same is true any time you sit on a nonphysical prim; the NP shield just adds animations and controls to make you appear to be standing, walking, or flying. My goal was to try to make my avatar
appear as normal as possible while using the NP shield.

N: In your opinion - how does Fluffy compare to NP Shield?

V: I have not seen Fluffy before. Defensively I think the NP shield will provide more constant protection as it doesn't need to expand or activate in order to defend you so it will work on a laggy sim, but the NP shield has no offensive capability as does Fluffy. One of the great things about SL is that people have created such a diverse set of tools, so I hesitate to rate any particular device over any other.

N: Would the NP shield protect against most attacks?

V: The NP shield protects against everything I've seen except for a sim crash. The only thing that the NP shield can't stop are annoyance attacks like particle effects that surround you or prims with annoying sounds that follow you around, though in fast flight mode you can often get far enough away to make those annoying things get lost.

N: How did you discover SL?

V: I read about SL at and finally created an account when I had a little down time.

N: And finally, what is your favorite dessert?

V: This is a tough one. I would have to say peanut butter and chocolate ice cream...

...Thank you for the interview. I hope people find the NP shield useful, and feel free to let me know if there's anything you would like me to change or enhance.

Thank you, Variessa.

NP Shield can be found at the TechHeaven Free Open Market

Friday, October 06, 2006

The most fun in SL? You forgot the sandbox!

Flying around sandboxes is one of the most fun things I love to do!

You get to see unreleased works of genius and madness while you drive/fly around the sim - not having to worry about messing up someone's lawn and not having to worry about restricted areas.

Things take place here that you don't get to see in every-day-second life ;)

How often do you see a group of furries practicing their lightsaber skills, dudes flying low on giant birds, or a bumble bee playing chess with itself?

Sandboxes are the stewpots of creativity where everything begins!

They are also GREAT places to meet new people - for some reason people tend to bond quicker there.

Pictured: Sandbox Island ‹

(Added two hours later...two Sadder But Wiser hours)


Sandboxes seem to have a permanent stain to their name, which comes from the fact that these places attract griefers (more about them in my next post). It's best to come prepared.
I happen to have FLUFFY, which I've renamed Dot:

We have a very symbiotic relationship. I fulfill its enduring need to have someone to follow all the time, and it rewards me with protection and company.
I don't feel like talking to someone? Dot does it for me. He is even known to relay conversation from afar, though I've never tried it. My favorite feature is EXPAND. If I happen to need immediate shelter or a shield, Dot expands:

And then, on my command, shrinks back to its misleading size.
Dot doesn't look it, but he can be aggressive! If I tell him to, he will push away bothersome people that may happen to be standing next to me. I do all of this through a private channel, too.
It was sold to me on a black market for a mere ten lindens, and it came with a nice manual =) What a bargain!
(To anyone that's jealous: the original owner has vanished and the thing is copyable!! *wink*)

There is another useful griefer protection tool, but more on that in my next post.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Guide for Newbies from a Greeter

This is pasted from a notecard I give out to newbies on Help Island:

(If you want to use this as your own handout to newbies, please mention me somewhere!)

Newbie? Before you do anything, read this!


Allow me to welcome you to this exciting place, where your very presence affects its future!

Enjoy your time on Help Island, because you will not be able to come back (unless you also become a Greeter or Mentor). Help Island is like a demo of the Mainland, without the lag or the capitalism or the crazy people. It's like a little oasis!

Sometime after you leave Help Island, visit Yadnis Junkyard and Sinceres Newbie Heaven. They are incredible.
You can also join Yadni's group, 'Yadni's Newbies Helping Group' which has over 200 members. Look for it under Search > Group.

I also recommend you visit my Blog ;)

It's mostly junk, but it does have a few good entries:

Complete Idiot's Guide to Avatar Contests (A good way of getting money) and Best apartments in SL in 2005 (The listing is a little outdated, but it gives you a general idea of what to look for. If you cannot afford land, an apartment is a great alternative, and there are TONS of apartment rentals in SL, just search in Search > All > 'apartments')


Speaking of money, as long as you are under 60 days old, you are allowed to make use of the magical Money Trees. There are very many in Second life - all you have to do is Search for them in Search > All > 'Money tree'. I will be honest, they provide you with a meager amount of money, and you are allowed to use them only once a day...


Another option is to play games like Tringo, (A most exciting game since Tetris! It was created by another SL player (forgot his name) and he actually made a deal with a major gaming company to release the game worldwide!) Slingo, (very cute game) Bingo, or any of the other games that constantly grace the Event Calendar.

More on money....but this isn't official; these are my own ideas:
* You could try befriending someone wealthy ;) But no begging, because no one likes beggars.
* The Second Life forums are a great tool. Check them from time to time to see if there are any contests or anything like that. You can even look for roommates for your apartment/house. You can also check the Jobs forum to see if anyone is hiring.
* Of course, one of the BEST ways to make money in SL is to create and sell the result. Some people have skill and talent with Photoshop, others are great at scripting, and there are others who think outside the box and create something no one has thought of. Like the Nexcom guys who created a cell phone even though Instant Messaging is already integrated into the game; or the guys who created a bank, Ginko Financial, even though there is no real need for a bank. (Bad examples, I know)

To learn everything about building and prims, go to this famous place:
Ivory Tower Library of Primitives.
Go ahead and experiment :)

* On saving money: Don't pass a good bargain! You can find quality items at drastically reduced prices in the dozens of Yard Sales that happen every day.
* This is something I had happen to me a few times! There were items that I liked but couldn't afford, but I complimented the designers, because I genuinely believed they had a talent. To my surprise, I was given the items without paying anything, and once even received a box of beautiful freebies from one of the designers. Try it :) It may work and it may not.

My opinion on 512 square meters of land (the most basic slice of land and the cheapest):

You may be tempted to upgrade your land to something bigger, so you can have space for your shiny cars, your Italian Villa, the sparkling bottomless pool, and enough prims to satisfy all your desires... .
I want you to rethink ;)
Since you're new, you probably haven't heard of TINIES. If you need a quick introduction, a tiny is an avatar that is 1/3 the size of its human counterpart. Most of them are furry and look like animals. There are rumors of underground cultures of tinies and cults. You can get the avies and accessories at Extrovirtual (simply search under this name)
What do tinies have to do with land?
Well, as a tiny, you don't need a lot of space! So 512sqm of land is more than enough for you and your friends to live comfortably and luxuriously. Promise me you'll think about it.


Enough about money! I started on this topic because 'how do I make money?' is the most asked question around here. Anyway, I think EXPLORATION should be on top of the list.

There are many train stations. You can hop on a train with your friends (up to about four people!) and let it take you to faraway places.

Another fun way to explore with a friend/friends is by a car (there are many free ones). There are so many roads in Second Life. Hmm, I wonder where they go?...

Don't forget boats and sumbarines!

Other things you need to know:

The Shelter is a club that is very friendly to newbies.

There are a few places offering free classes EVERY day. They range from modifying your appearance to creating pets that follow you and so many other topics that it's dizzying! One word: Event calendar.

You must know about an island called Supportforhealing. Because of its presence and its daily support groups, it has brought a new depth to Second Life.

You haven't seen the potential of Second Life if you haven't been to a Live Music event. It's beautiful. Join Live Music Enthusiasts group to be notified of upcoming performances.

Second Life is home to a few (too few!) museums created by residents. I think this is another one of its best-kept secrets.
My favorites: SL Historical Museum @ Phobos; Close Encounter UFO Museum @ Simcoe.
 and is Second Life's answer to Myspace. It's a nice way of making friends in Second life. Don't forget to include the link in your Profile. houses Snapzilla - check it out!


YES, without a doubt, Second Life is a very complicated thing! This game ain't no Pac-Man - it takes time to learn. Enjoy every second :) And be nice to the Lindens ;)