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Blog by Ina Centaur


mShakespeare Twelfth Night, Act 2 – Open-Ended Run

Written by ina on Tuesday, 9 of March , 2010 at 6:16 pm

OEP2 Twelfth Night Malvolio A2S5

Metaverse Shakespeare Company’s 2010 Main Canon: Twelfth Night, Act 2 – Open-Ended Run

Shakespeare, Second Life—The Metaverse Shakespeare Company (MSC), formerly SL Shakespeare Company (SLSC), next Tuesday will open its long-awaited 2010 Main Canon production of Twelfth Night, Act 2—“As you will it!” in an open-ended run to occur every Tuesday at 6 PM SLT (PDT), and every Sunday at 1 PM SLT (PDT). Set to occur at the 4-sim SL Globe Theatre ( in the virtual world of Second Life—this live theatrical performance, available anywhere with an Internet connection, continues the troupe’s 2009 production of Twelfth Night, Act 1—but, with a fresher, riper take, and its own amalgam of the year’s innovations in virtual theatre.

Artistic Director Ina Centaur has crafted an interpretation that conveys the topsy-turvy nature of the play and the era of its creation, without being bound by the constraints of a historically-accurate production, “Even though this production is set in a pre-modernity ‘generic past,’ there’s still plenty of Elizabethan bawdry and notions… There’s the presentation of class-crossing as a ridicule-prone absurdity, both directly, through a miasma of brooding, obsessive maliciousness as Maria and Co. plan their ‘practical joke’, and indirectly like when Sir Aguecheek… that ducat-flowing knave knight… impersonates a dog playing catch in Scene 3, with paupers Feste and Toby as his masters… And, then there’s some intense visual portrayal of that heavily-cozy-explicit language—with a wild bit where a drunk-betimes Sir Toby Belch urinates live on-stage to “[fill] an unfill’d can (II.iii).” Says Centaur on the music of Twelfth Night and the spirit of the open-ended run, “We’re providing sheet music and instrumental-only clips for all of our songs on the mShakespeare Blog, so that audience members can sing along with our live show (with their SL mic’s off, in the privacy of their own home) or in their own Metaverse Shakespeare theatre-inspired karaoke events… For most shows, we’re sticking with an orthodox interpretation and traditional songs, drawn from eras before and Shakespeare’s contemporaries. But, this being an open-ended run, be braced for variations, and character metamorphosis—in both act and appearance.”

This Open-Ended run of Twelfth Night, Act 2—“As you will it!”, like Act 1, will evolve into a final form, per audience interaction on the play’s progression. These interpretations are based on archetypes, grounded in the play’s intrinsic elements, such as character relationships. In April, the troupe will begin weaving “Variations” to its main interpretation, where certain characters will undergo some dramatic metamorphoses. Antonio and Sebastian will oscillate between varying degrees of a close-friendship, from the orthodox interpretation of caring-companionship to, in the words of Artistic Director Ina Centaur, “a homo-erotic or quasi-masochistic relationship to finally settle down and arrive at the one that fits best!” Most curiously, Malvolio, that time-weathered face, will de-age, becoming, as described by an anonymous patron, “a complexion that e’en you may fancy”, in the virtual world’s take on new scholarship interpretations of Shakespeare’s tragic villain-victim as a young man. For select shows, gender-experimentation interpretations will manifest in all-female or all-male or even switched-gender productions of the play. The troupe will once again show its April Fools “Super Spoof” edition in a special performance on Thursday, April 1, that will explore the character relations of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night via a medley of parodies inspired by popular modern shows.

While this will be the troupe’s first production under its new name of Metaverse Shakespeare Company, Centaur asserts that the production continues to uphold the company’s founding ideals of creating quality, memorable productions, while developing this nascent field of virtual theatre, “As with every Main Canon production, we spend about a thousand hours rehearsing and analyzing, building and designing, and also applying new technologies to virtual theatre… For Twelfth Night, Act 2, our three technological innovations include the usage of physics, moving automatons, and visual illusion on the virtual stage. You’ll see physics on-stage, in both built-in and scripted forms in our apple catches in Scene 3, and wilting rose motif in Scene 4—and, in the crawlspace of Scene 3, you’d see prim-based automaton actors in the form of rats!”

Special to this production, the MSC introduces the concept of “crowdsourced interactive set design,” which allows anyone to submit a graffiti message or poster/flyer idea to be plastered onto the “City Wall of Illyria” set in Act 2, Scene 1. More details at

The live show, presented via SL Voice, is also available in closed-captioning with live subtitles in English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.

Starting March 2, shows occur
Tuesdays at 6 PM SLT (PDT)
Sundays at 1 PM SLT (PDT)
only at the SL Globe Theatre at Shakespeare (255,255,25), Second Life

All shows are free (“pay as you will”), except for VIP performances, occurring on the last Tuesday and Sunday of each performance month.


About Twelfth Night, Act 2
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a multiplot story with plentiful songs and bawdry topsy-turviness. On one hand it’s the story of a shipwrecked girl named Viola, whose choice to go incognito as a boy eunuch results in myriad complications—including a gender-bending love triangle. On another, it chronicles the fallacious rise and tragic fall of a Puritanical steward named Malvolio, who becomes a victim of his too-lofty dream. Act 2 sets the basics for his downfall—his dysfunctional relationship with the other servants provokes a practical joke involving a certain forged letter, that would eventually ruin him—but, Act 2 sparks only of joviality; tragedy is due in a later act.


About the Metaverse Shakespeare Company (mShakespeare)
Headquartered in the virtual world of Second Life (SL), the Metaverse Shakespeare Company (MSC) is the flagship project of sLiterary’s Virtual Reality Shakespeare Initiative (VRSI). MSC is a professional virtual theatre company that embraces the best of what the metaverse has to offer. While it is primarily known to provide quality live Shakespearean theatre available to anyone in any location, MSC is also the curator of the most historically accurate theatres and architecture in virtual worlds relating to William Shakespeare.

Press Center:

About sLiterary
sLiterary, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering literary and artistic endeavors in Second Life and other virtual worlds.

About Second Life
Second Life is a free online virtual world imagined and created by its residents.

Neither the Metaverse Shakespeare Company nor sLiterary is affiliated with Linden Lab. Second Life is a trademark of Linden Lab. No infringement is intended.





Category: Projects, theatre

Primtings Campaign 2010

Written by ina on Monday, 1 of February , 2010 at 10:54 am

Primtings Museum is a gallery of prim’d paintings–3d interpretations (on SL!) of famous 2d paintings. It’s a sim-sized museum completely dedicated to the arts (and, it also hosts a corner of the SL Globe Theatre). Like all of my artistic projects on SL, it receives no external fundingits support comes from just me and you. If you’d like to help, now is your chance to support Primtings via Primtings Campaign 2010:

primtings ad 1024x1024

primtings widescreen series - _0005_Varied Structures

sliterary venues widescreen series redo - _0004_Anteroom

Category: Projects

A Casual Meditation on Life from the Creation of Virtual Bunnies

Written by ina on Wednesday, 13 of January , 2010 at 1:04 am
Tags: , , ,

I. Exordium

What is a living creature? It responds to things, and it multiplies. From the perspective of computing, it’s an entity that is capable of input and output, with a manner of self-propagation.

Ah, propagation… Therein lies the interesting element–the growth of a population. Consider a hypothetical case, where you start out on a desert island with a pair of male and female creatures; each female produces just one female offspring per generation, and stops reproducing after two generation. Assume the male is immortal, and massive incest occurs to create all subsequent generations, all females. The heritage diagram of sorts would look something like this:


Or, referencing the same diagram, but slightly more organized, and not-too-snobby-against-the-color-blind (thanks to @WildstarB):


To make it more interesting, Fibonacci, from back in the day, thought of the same problem. Apparently, bunnies were the most nearly-instantly promiscuous creatures back then, so his gedanken involved bunnies, and he devised the eponymous Fibonacci Sequence using the generation scheme described above (though, he didn’t use an immortal male, but rather, the assumption that each female produces a male and female pair per generation, with guaranteed brother-sister incest).

This is just an interesting thought experiment of an extremely basic model for describing population growth that, other than using bunnies as our key sex players, has absolutely nothing related to the virtual bunnies to be discussed in the rest of this article.

The point is that living creatures, in addition to responding to stimuli, have internal mechanisms of sorts that enable its reproduction. At least, that’s the perspective of a living creature that we have from observing its behavior from our limited microcosm. Microcosm? Habitat?

We’re actually right on topic, heading onto the most basic features of creating a virtual critter with AI-esque–certainly necessary for the creation of the virtual bunnies that piqued up your interest.

II. The Pseudo-Physics of Our Subset of the Virtual Microcosm

In “RL”, when you drop a ball, it falls, and when it hits a flat surface, it stops falling (though it might bounce or roll or crack or explode, or do a number of things in reaction to this action of collision). In “SL” or any virtual reality, when you drop a ball, it might not do any of those things, or it might do all of those things, depending on what you program the “physics” of your virtual microcosm to be. The essential affect is the reaction to an action–what happens when the collision (or, in general, the interaction among separate entities) occurs. In a virtual reality, this reaction is defined by a pseudo-physics that governs what happens when this interaction occurs.

When you’re working with phantom objects on SL, or regular objects that are not explicitly physical, you can’t rely on the built-in physics system, and thus you must design your own–from the perspective of parsimonious code being the most efficient (read: best), this is basically a “good-enough” physics system that will emulate just the wanted or needed reaction.

If you’re trying to program virtual critters (VC) or moving objects that are phantom, you’d need to worry about what happens visually when they collide. They ought to be “smart enough” to bounce away, or try avoiding merging into each other. A simple solution would be to have a llSensorRepeat() detect and react to objects that enter a certain small “bounding sphere,” whenever the virtual critter (VC) is moving. Upon entering the radius of this bounding sphere, the original VC will try “hopping” a random-small-distance away from the impending VC. Similarly, since the impending VC has the same bounding sphere “pseudo-physics”, it will try doing the same thing. Both VC’s will continue hopping randomly away until their “bounding spheres” do not intersect. This is the HB Bunny 1.x solution to avoiding the classic “merging phenomenon” demonstrated in the beta.

Characteristic behavior is really an orchestra of interaction, a sequence of action-reaction occurrences–a sunflower blooming towards the sunlight, a mouse attracted to cheese. But yet, when you look in nature, on the subject of group animal movement, you wonder what keeps them together in the way they move. For example, migrating birds often fly in a V-shaped “formation”. Obviously, the solidness of their physical bodies keeps their bodies from merging, unlike the phantom VC’s described earlier, but how do they know to fly in this V-shape, and why do they do this? While science has speculated on several reasons why, deferring to economy of such motion, how they do it requires both wirings in the bird brain that respond to such a situation, as well as features in reality that allow this. When cast in such an abstractified perspective, it becomes clear that what’s happening is that there is simply a different, but “equivalent” mechanism at work to keep things in formation–in reality, and in its emulation, virtual reality.

A series of such mechanisms might be considered to be governing characteristics of a paradigm. In the case of the phantom VC’s, their movement might be set such that they will move only when they detect a mat, and such that they will stay level only to the mat. Because the VC will detect the mat, it is almost like a magnet, or from a more macroscopic perspective, the mat is like a flat earth — although, contrary to what the Flat Earth Society believes, the mat doesn’t accelerate(!), and yet things simply stick to it.

A pseudo-physics that deals with only the known elements in a microcosm works because the VC only has to react to certain things, rather than to all elements in the physics of its containing world; moreover, having the VC respond only to such known elements in a microcosm is more resource efficient. Using this idea, in a pseudo-physics named “FIZ”, the HB Bunny implementation of my VC design averages to only 0.1 ms at peak, which is a fraction of what most AO’s take. The HB Bunny will “hop” away when they hit each other, or small objects named HB Rock. They detect only objects known to them, such as HB Food (which they eat), HB Toy (which keeps them happy), and HB Mat (which, they stick to). Moreover, in SL, when one uses VC’s whose prims are sculpted prims, it is actually necessary to use an alternative physics system, as sculpted prim bounding-boxes are not always as expected and precise as those of regular-prim VC’s. The phenomenon that may bring wonder is that with such simple behavior constraints, a VC that appears “alive”. And, with further internal constraints that will change their behavior, such as growth functions and mating functions, VC’s appear “living”–more on that in a later section, though!

The idea of having a creature react only to things that are immediately relevant to it, or that it is capable of detecting, is actually a common phenomenon in nature, RL. Humans and other animals live in the real physical world, but are capable of perceiving only a limited subset of reality. For example, we humble humans are not capable of seeing UV or infrared light, though other animals can; we are consciously susceptible only to a limited subset of the electromagnetic spectrum, though our bodies may react incrementally to gamma-ray bombardment, for example, its effects are 99.9% too small for any macroscopically-observable difference to occur. Many examples also exist on the size spectrum; we can’t see things that are too small (a virus, for example), or too big (the universe! - we live in it, but we can’t detect its entirety). But yet, we function in our own paradigm, and equivalently, so do these VC’s.

III. The Protocols of Life… Er… aLife!

Artificial life or, to coin a term, “aLife” might be considered a fine-tuned simplified set of protocols that emulate life, with complexity depending on the realism of the particular aLife entity. There are three general categories of aLife protocols–external interaction, internal determination, and non-interactive autonomous behavior. I will briefly discuss elements of each category for VC’s, particularly in relation to their implementation in HB Bunny.

External interactions occur when either collision occurs, or when an interaction is proximate, within detection vicinity.

Collisions occur with either the environment or its objects. In a pseudo-physics as described above, i.e., a physics that deals with only a limited microcosm, collisions that generate recognizable reactions would occur only with known objects, such as objects named a particular name, or flagged otherwise for detection. In the HB Mat example above, the HB Bunny’s environment is simply its mat, and this is its entire world, on which it can move. (However, if the mat is moved slowly, the HB Bunny will be able to go beyond its old bounding box environment, to “move with the world;” but, it is really the world that moves the VC…)

Some examples of possible proximity behavior phenomena are sickness (too many VC’s nearby), friendly interaction (gathering to sleep at night), or mating (for sexual creatures, at least two’s required). For HB Bunny, sickness occurs when the VC detects more than 6 scripted objects named HB Bunny nearby; sickness is manifest as an incremental counter, from 1 to 100 units, which can be decremented when the VC is hungry, and eats twice as much to decrement both hunger and sickness. HB Bunny will first find each other, in friendly “compassionate” behavior, and gather close-ly at night time to sleep, before deactivating all detection until daytime. Mating is possible when a HB Bunny is more than 14 days old, and is fully-grown and considered an “adult bunny”; presence of an eligible non-pregnant mate of the opposite gender is required.

Mating is perhaps one of the most important components, when you’re creating aLife for the purposes of viral breeding. And, since we’re 21st-century non-gender-discriminating folks, a significant mating system for VC’s must account for the case of gayness or genetically-disposed celibacy (with respect to impregnating). From the perspective of statistics, gayness might be considered a non-systematic deviation from the mean. Thus, consider a system where gender is assigned on birth of a VC as a global variable, and where this global variable might–in an extremely rare case–be reset. Assign the null value of gender to default to female VC, and the non-null value to be the male VC; when reset, or when communication error occurs (which has a higher chance on noisy-platforms such as LSL/SL), gender becomes “miscarried,” and you wind up with an effectively gay VC (i.e., outwardsly-male, inwardsly-female).

But, in general, the proposed VC mating system does contain the regular features of mating, such as VC-preferred-selectivism in mate selection, as well as birthing processes. This is best summarized in the diagram here (please click to see the larger version):

virtual critters mating protocol

Mating selection occurs on closest-match of a random number generated by the female and male bunny; call this the mating random number (”MRN”). To add “personality-in-female-choice,” in the HB project, I chose to have the male bunny generate his MRN at birth. A female bunny generates her MRN each time she goes into heat. The male is the one who chooses which female number is closest to his, and thus will favor a certain female if she generates the right MRN each time they meet while she is not pregnant (they’re bunnies, and not monoagamous).

To conserve resources, heat only occurs when there are eligible opposite-gender adult bunnies nearby. For HB Bunny, mating only occurs when bunnies are near non-pregnant entities of the opposite sex, and if bunny characteristic conditions fit (bunny has to be both happy and energetic enough).

Internal Determination is necessary to show changes in a VC’s characteristics (such as its core stats - happiness, energy, hunger, sickness, etc.) and changes in states. A VC contains a –literally — biological clock that governs its self-behaviors, such as growth and perkiness. A VC has three general states: awake/living, dead, and sleeping (semi-conscious). In the case of HB Bunny, when it is sleeping (and has found the other bunnies, if any), the entire script “goes to sleep”, suspending detection of other objects, effectively giving the simulator hosting the VC, some time to cool off. When the VC is living, it goes through its full range of behaviors. When the VC is dead, it simply ceases to exist in the virtual reality, other than as data stored in a database somewhere.

Non-Interactive Involuntary-Autonomous Behavior is generally an aesthetic feature of VC’s, as they do not have any “internal organs,” other than scripts. HB Bunny VC’s blink and twitch, and sometimes, they “bristle” on SL texture change lag.

IV. Concluding Remarks - Some Thoughts on Copy Protection and “Playing God”

The rage about SL virtual animals is likely due to the spirit of creation, albeit in a VC-promiscuous way, but then again, it’s also due to the value that they (and their offspring) develop, in part due to their rarity. Copy-protection is essential to the survival of a VC line whose lifespan depends on costly server-resources to run, which is, paradoxically, funded through steady sales of VC’s. But, next-generation propagation is also important, so I will discuss the general idea behind the propagation of turtles and Sion chickens (call this the “traditional method”), as well as alternatives.

validating virtual critters for transfer or spawn

The “traditional method” for a VC to give “birth” to offsprings essentially has the female VC rez an egg, and then have her drop a VC in the egg. The mother has a copy of this offspring VC in her inventory; her offspring in the egg, does not (but will, once they are born, as the egg script, will, in turn, give a copy of the VC to the newborn - though, for HB, this happens only for the female newborns).

This idea of a script creating a copy of itself sounds like a worm or a virus, and in fact, the adjective “viral” totally works. This concept is best illustrated through an interactive example. Drop by the park-like area next to the Skin City Library (NorthEast side of Skin City sim) to grab a copy of an “Infinitely Viral Urn.”

The “Infinitely Viral Urn” is the most basic implementation, with delayed inventory-drop check, of a script-based object self-reproduction. You only need to get a single urn, touch it, and it will give you another urn, that will, in turn, be able to “give birth” to yet another urn, and so on. What’s interesting to note is that if you attempt a “Cesarian,” by just taking the baby urn from the mother urn’s inventory without having it being “born” through a regular touch-rez, the baby urn will poof in a quick burst of stillborn particles. This is basic copy protection, where rezzing of a scripted object is only permitted by the script.

On SL, though, the problem of no-copy becomes complicated with a faulty permission system. The “traditional method” for copy-protection is also what’s done for the classic SL-AI-esque VC’s, the turtles and chickens. When a VC is transferred, it must be taken to inventory or sold in-place; using the SL feature of take-copy will disrupt normal script-flow and disable the VC. When taken to inventory, the traditional method requires that the VC be boxed. While the VC may be a +copy/+xfer object, the box itself is always no-copy. One the VC is boxed, it’s the box that is the inworld indicator of the uniqueness of the original VC. To prevent both the old owner and new owner from having the same copy of the VC, the box applies its no-copy permission to its inventory VC. When the VC is unboxed, what occurs is that a completely new VC is rezzed, but the data that defines the characteristics of the old VC is transferred, to give the appearance of the old VC’s continual existence, even though it technically ceased to exist the moment it was boxed.

Incidentally, a seamless updater works just like unboxing a VC, except the new updated VC is rezzed in the position of the old VC; it’s the same idea of “injecting” data from the old VC into the new, to make it appear a continuous incarnation of the original. Like boxing, the original was destroyed upon updating.

An alternative way to facilitating copy-protection would be to use a technique I’ve dubbed “pregnancy fortified food“. This would allow the best of protection in that all VC’s would have the SL no-copy permission, because the new VC is actually the no-copy inventory in the food bowl. (Kind of brings a whole new perspective to “eating something to get pregnant!”)

virtual critters reproduction and feeding tokens

In conclusion, I can’t help but recount the times when I felt like some deity when planning the general VC diagrams, and in implementing the HB Bunny, and in fact, it was more hubris than anything else that prompted me to take this project. I was even high enough to address myself as “Bunny Goddess”, at one point.

In beta phases, we tested the HB Bunnies on shortened lifespans, roughly 1 beta day = 10 regular days. (This meant the bunnies became adult and mating-age in about 1.5 days.) So, anyway, the fact that 1) these bunnies will automatically sleep at sunset, 2) have predetermined “promised lifetime of 356 days (barring starvation or sicknes)”, and 3) essentially have their body mechanisms limited by AI, and more, does not make me like the Goa’uld experimenting on the Argosians. (If you read this entry before hulu takes it off, the entire Stargate episode where that happened is embedded below.)

I confess. I’m just Ina. Ina Centaur ;-)

Category: Amusing, Daily Sumly, Projects, Reflections, Tutorials, bots

Between Then and Now

Written by ina on Thursday, 24 of December , 2009 at 12:18 pm

I haven’t been posting because, other than a few absent-minded releases and such, I have not had much time to spend on SL, and thus haven’t really done “much on SL these days” (of course, knowing me, my “much” is rather relative to my voracious appetite for more [read: insatiable ego]). Anyhow, I have been spending around 95% of my time in RL, which means dealing with plentiful politics in academia, and in trying to obtain RL funding for my virtual artistic endeavors. Both endeavors have proven to be complete wastes of both time and creativity, especially the latter. The epitome of bad PR aside, it doesn’t help that there are times when it seems that Linden Lab is imploding on itself.

This means we have basically less than 2 months left to try to raise funding for the SL Shakespeare sims. Last year, the SOS Campaign took us over a year to raise the funds whose original deadline had been 3 months. The good part is that we have some leftover after paying tier last round (as shown in SLSC Transparency); this is due to LindeX fluctuations and people donating directly (such as Wunderlichs), but we still have the better part of the ~L$700k needed for tier for 3 island sims, paid 6 months in advance. The bad part is that I simply don’t have the time or energy (what’s the point!) to run another SOS Campaign. And thanks to my merchant reputation being selectively sabotaged by Linden Lab, nor do I have the $L to secretly “pitch in” the missing and needed chunk of $L (like I have done each time in past SLSC fundraisers), without breaking my Fundamental Principle. Anyway, I want to be able to use my free time on SL to create shows, such as the stalled but long-awaited SL Shakespeare  Company’s Twelfth Night, Act 2! And, for the few of you who have actually seen SLSC main canon shows, you understand that we simply cannot do these shows without a four sim infrastructure! What to do, what to do…

Onto happier news… stuff that don’t relate to the maladies of a starving artist trying to paint in a borked virtual world…

About two weeks ago, I chanced upon meeting Hunny Larimore. Before I knew it, I started writing the code that would become the backbone of the HB Bunny SL “AI” application.  I was a total SL AI animals virgin, and it wasn’t until just a few days ago that I finally looked at other SL AI animals; as a result, I not only started coding from scratch, but also designing from scratch, thinking up my own ways of how to make certain processes work. More on my findings and musings about life, the universe, and everything per this project in the next post ;-)

Category: Daily Sumly, Designs, Projects, Reflections, theatre

Ina Presents @ SLCC

Written by ina on Thursday, 20 of August , 2009 at 12:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Alongside RL celebrities like Ray Kurzweil and Jeff Barr, I was lucky enough to present on the BizTrack and EdTrack, and sit on two panels on the FashionTrack at SLCC 2009 (Second Life Convention) at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. Here are my presentation PowerPoints (ppt) slides:

BizTrack presentation:

Branding for a Cause - Two Case Studies in the Arts” was a two-part presentation by avant garde virtual world artists Eshi Otawara and Ina Centaur, that tells the story of each artistic brand name that both sustains and is their art, in a very economically-materialistic virtual world. The presentation started with an introduction (slideshare | ppt) that set the “status quo” of Second Life, and how that really isn’t a medium for art or any endeavor that requires the input of abundant time, care, and love:

And continued with - Eshi Otawara’s presentation, which is available on Eshi’s site.

And, concluded with my presentation (and an informal Q&A), entitled “Ina Centaur and The Creation of the SL Shakespeare Company” (slideshare | ppt)

EdTrack presentations:

Shakespeare’s Virtual Theatre (The Ina Centaur SL Shakespeare Company - The SLCC Introduction) (slideshare | ppt)

Primtings: A Museum of 3d “Primmed” Paintings (slideshare | ppt)

sLiterary, Inc.: A Mini-Overview (slideshare | ppt)

Category: Amusing, Builds, Designs, Projects, theatre

Ina in RL @ SLCC

Written by ina on Friday, 31 of July , 2009 at 5:28 pm
Tags: , , , ,


Just confirmed and finalized - I will be presenting on the Business Track and the EdTrack @ SLCC (Second Life Community Convention) in San Fran @ the Westin St. Francis Hotel! (I might also be a last-minute panelist on one of the Fashion Track’s, and maybe the EdTrack 5×5’s and SpeedGeek.)

So. Presentation-craze. Hoo!

(On Friday the 14th @ 3:30 PM, I might be popping into the Fashion Track as a designer-CEO panelist.)

On Friday the 14th @ 5 PM, Eshi and I will be the two black swan-esque independent artists presenting on the Biz Track. Here’s both the brief 250-char version of our abstract, and our longer abstract for “Branding for a Cause: Two Case Studies in the Arts”:

Abstract: Branding for a Cause - Two Case Studies in the Arts (250 chars)
In a world of substandard wages, the consistent and significant value required in building a brand can only be fortified by a cause. This 60 minute session will include two notable case studies, as presented by the driving force involved in each virtual world namebrand: Eshi Otawara and Ina Centaur
Abstract: Branding for a Cause - Two Case Studies in the Arts

In a world of substandard wages, more often associated with the vapid, the consistent and significant value required in building a brand can only be fortified by a cause. This 60 minute session will include two notable expository case studies, as presented by the driving force involved in each virtual world namebrand: Eshi Otawara and the Ina Centaur SL Shakespeare Company. Galvanized by the cause of RFL, Eshi Otawara, a starving artist in RL, created unique couture virtual dresses that sold for record prices. Haunted by an undying childhood dream, Ina Centaur, a recovering physicist, created the premier professional theatrical production company in virtual worlds. Discover the story behind each global brand, and the cause that created it.

On Saturday the 15th @ 10 AM, I will be presenting an overview of three of my dearest artistic projects on SL on the EdTrack.

Abstract: “Shakespeare’s Virtual Theatre, 3d Paintings via Primtings, and the Literary Arts on SL” (250 chars)
An overview presentation with demo and tour of the following projects Ina Centaur SL Shakespeare Company (virtual theatre in historically accurate Elizabethan buildings), Primtings Museum (3d Paintings), and sLiterary (literary arts on SL).
Summary: “Shakespeare’s Virtual Theatre, 3d Paintings via Primtings, and the Literary Arts on SL”Shakespeare, in his heyday, established modern theatre; nearly five hundred years later, the Ina Centaur SL Shakespeare Company is trying to develop and advance the nascent field of “virtual theatre” by staging Shakespearean (and other) plays on SL with a full range of live 3d virtual world magic. In addition to a demo overview of some of the new technologies we have created for virtual theatre, we will also explore the theatres and the sets of past productions, and perhaps meet some SLSC actors and the Bard, himself (in avatar form).

Primtings Museum is a sim-sized “prim’ed paintings” gallery. Famous paintings in RL are interpreted by SL artists in a variety of ways via prims into 3d paintings. Built to “feel” like a RL museum, where visitors can take their time to explore and “stumble upon” an exhibit, visitors can also quickly “teleport” to a particular primting via’s search-able web directory of all primtings. Artists may also submit their primting for consideration as an exhibit in the museum. We will be exploring some notable Primtings in the interactive part of the tour.

Both of these projects are fiscally-sponsored by sLiterary, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the arts in virtual worlds. offers a variety (from historical to modern to cozy!) of high quality inworld facilities, open to the public for events and other activities, some of which we’ll get to see in the interactive part of the demo.

I will also be popping into Grace McDunnough’s Music in Virtual Worlds event Sat @ 3 PM. Here are my answers to her survey:

I am answering as a venue owner/event organizer, performer, and attendee/fan.

  • Based on your experience, what’s working really well now? In other words, what would you NOT change?
    Second Life is a painful medium to use for performances. It’s passable for rehearsals and small gatherings, but, for large events, due to lag and object loading issues, Second Life is not better than a radio stream.
  • What needs to be FIXED and why?

    Load abilities (It’s very difficult explaining to an RL audience why your Stephenson-esque metaverse can’t accommodate more than 100 avatars per sim, and suffers from non-trivial lag starting at merely 20!)

  • What services, features or options need to be ADDED to improve your experience overall?
    Voice-chat moderation in main-chat (not group chat). Listen-in only feature for non-mod’s.Make large events less crash-prone.
  • In your opinion, what is the MOST IMPORTANT CHANGE to be made in the next 6 months?
    1. Minimally, some voice chat moderation features in main chat (not just group chat). Listen-in only feature for non-moderators.
    2. It would be nice if performers could easily port their local voice chat (with lip sync) to group voice chat - directly without using external software. This would be useful for directly “simulcasting” a local event to another venue, using only SL.
    3. I believe both of the above would not require the invention of new technology. Item 3, below, however, may be something the SL prim-based-architecture can’t get by:

    4. Make large events less crash-prone? Allow more than 100 avatars per sim?

Screenshot of my survey quant’s:

Music in Virtual Worlds SLCC Survey

Oh, btw, everyone go and take Grace’s SLCC Music survey!

Category: Projects

Ina is AWOL!

Written by ina on Tuesday, 7 of July , 2009 at 8:49 pm

Due to coup’s, backstabbing’s, and other semblances of both cutting-edge and hackneyed intrigue, I am spending some time away from SL. I won’t be responding to any SL-related messages for some time. (I am still considering submissions for Primtings, however. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Arden Forest additions to Shakespeare sim will come anon, and the SOS Campaign is still accepting donations.)

As I’ve mentioned on plurk, this means I’ll *not* be receiving any offline IM’s. Offline contact information per my inworld endeavors are still available in my Profile Picks.

Category: Uncategorized

SL Shakespeare Barred from SL6B

Written by ina on Monday, 22 of June , 2009 at 10:00 pm

Remember the SLSC
It’s true. The SL Shakespeare Company is barred from attending SL6B because the SL6B Board does not believe Shakespeare goes with their theme of “the future of SL.” I’ve tried appealing, explaining how SL Shakespeare *can* be part of that future, but, alas, the SL6B Board holds to their decision. Despite their irrationality, I’m taking the aloof approach by *not* staging a protest, but a purely “Remember Us” campaign.

You can help by rezzing a 1-prim “Remember Us” sign. It looks chic, blends in with virtually any build, and it’s low-lag on the sim. And, you get the excuse of visiting one of the two legendary theatres of the metaverse to fetch one — Blackfriars Theatre or SL Globe Theatre. ;-)

Remember SLSC Statuette light on sim resources Remember Us HoloLight's

– etc. a slightly more-bloated, but-still-brief version of *my version* of what happened –

I want to say it’s true that I was granted a parcel, but it’s not for Shakespeare; they gave me a parcel for my fledging Skin Concordance project. Dusty Linden and at least one other admin told me that Skin was more in line with their vision of the future of SL than Shakespeare, and they made a point about how I erred by applying for a parcel for each of my groups, and they had to select just one. Although this arbitrary limit was not mentioned on the application form, it was mentioned on their blog post, but in an ambiguous form of “1 per avatar/group.” (In past years, SL Birthday events had no limit in sim quota, and projects were accepted based on merit, rather than an artificial limit.) After trying to get them to see the light in Shakespeare, and failing there, I tried trading in my Skin parcel for Shakespeare. I received no further communication on the matter after that. And then, one day, I was told to re-apply by their June 15 deadline. I did that, and, the next thing I know, the admin’s gang up on me–telling me that, yes, Shakespeare was granted a parcel, but (immediately after) the parcel is negated due to how I failed in responding to them. In reality, it was the opposite thing that happened, but I think they’ve made their point clear from the beginning–SL Shakespeare is not to be allowed in SL6B. All in all, it’s a mess. There are those annoying speculative stories going on. If you’re interested in the exact facts behind what happened, I have archived verbatim all the official communication I received from the SL6B Admin’s, excluding the ones where they resorted to some very unprofessional language.

Category: Uncategorized

SLSC Transparency and Ideal Nonprofits (Naive Version)

Written by ina on Sunday, 24 of May , 2009 at 1:08 am
Tags: ,

I’ve just created a really super-open Transparency subsite for SL Shakespeare Company public funds. Here is perhaps the core of my naivety: as explained on the site, all funds raised go towards paying tier to Linden Lab — and there is a significant debt just in that arena, not even getting towards actual non-venue production costs–basically, people who do the most work don’t get paid at all in funds, and end up putting in both time and money themselves, so it’s just for artistic license. It’s truly art for art, the cause qua cause, which, imhno, is the way an ideal nonprofit should be run.
This is the policy that I’ve always worked with since I first entered SL. Back then, I was much more naive about money, believing in donated land and ideal collaborations. When owners of donated land became destructive, I realized that such a model doesn’t work. That was why I ended up purchasing four islands on SL for my artistic endeavors. As you might have noticed with my less-and-less frequent endeavors on SL, that idealism doesn’t work in RL. When I started, I had a significant personal fund saved up to do something like this, but that’s been pretty much depleted. It seems the largest source of disputes centered on my creativity–few people could believe that I worked without pay in my long-term maniac-loads of time put in to create on SL. That might also stem from envy, to an extent–whether of people who would wish for such a chance, or for inferiority-superiority reasons. But, for what it’s worth, I am making public the meager funds we’ve raised and explaining their usage in SLSC Transparency.

Category: Reflections, theatre

Drawing Day 2009 - 24-Hour Marathon and Revitalized Gallery

Written by ina on Saturday, 23 of May , 2009 at 2:08 am

So, this year, I will again be hosting a 24-hour drawing marathon (no, not the *chance* kind of drawing, but rather… the thing you do with a pencil–no, not *that* thing! Oh, come on, don’t you draw?!) on the first Saturday of June, the traditional international drawing day–June 6, this year!

I’ll be taking drawing requests gratis ad nauseum–that is to speak, no Sicilian mafia artist can ever refuse a (drawing) request on Drawing Day. The best way to send me your request is to drop by the Drawing Day gallery inworld on Second Life anytime on June 6, 2009 between midnight and 11:59 PM PDT. You can also plurk or twitter me your request. Drawing Day gives me a chance to relive my undergrad days skipping out on NSF research to be a derelict sketch artist on the beach–actually, I meant, I’ll produce quick semi-abstract sketches of whatever your request is. Feel free to go crazy with your ideas! Here are some items I drew last year (some personalized with requestor’s name):


Incidentally, all participants (who log on SL this special day) get to display their drawing day artwork for free at the Drawing Day Gallery! Further details available at the sLiterary Drawing Day Gallery Venue Website.

drawingdatesummary 2009

Category: Amusing

Who is Ina Centaur?

A 25-year old American polymath of Taiwanese ancestry pretending to be old and Caucasian in Second Life. Semi-retired independent scholar also dabbling as an independent artist in new media, particularly theatre and the humanities—notably Shakespeare. Programmer, playwright and novelist. Formal academic background in, philosophy, and bioengineering.

This is largely a personal blog which isn't always up-to-date. There's no one definitive way to stalk me ;-).