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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Shapeshifters Can Be Fun!


Perhaps people who have never logged into Second Life would think that an avatar is a copy of a human form. Well yes that is true, probably most avatars in SL are of the human kind. Lots of people though, also like to be something called ‘Shapeshifters’, meaning that they like to change their avatars into all sorts of different creatures or even inanimate objects.

SL London, just like real London, has a very diverse mix of people and you never know who or what you might bump into. I spotted the two lovely Neko friends (main picture and side picture), half cat and half human in Knightsbridge recently, and it seems that spring is definitely in the air in SL London, as they embraced so affectionately in the street.

I wandered over the Hyde Park and met a handsome, but fierce looking black wolf type av (who was very nice by the way), he stood surrounded by mist and howled like a banshee, quite an effect!!! Leaving him and going to the Gateway in the park where the newbies arrive, there seemed to be a bit of commotion going on, people were being asked to put their guns away or they would be ejected. Looking around I spotted the culprit, a cute little bear av armed with a rifle, looking cute is one thing, but acting cute is something else, this one obviously wasn’t so cuddly!!

Back by the pond in the park I spotted a gigantic dragon with white glowing wings (one of our Manager Seany’s avs) and he towered above everyone, squawking as only dragons can!! Further on there was a conference with a large pig and a few other animals, I’ve no idea what they were talking about, maybe the price of pork!! A handsome snow leopard appeared and started chatting to me, it was Seany again with another shape! I have always been worried about changing my av’s shape, not the sharpest knife in the draw when it comes to my inventory!! (that’s why I have thousands of things I don’t use, and can’t find anything!! I am starting to put new things in their own folders at last though!!), but I thought I should try another av shape. I remember being new and just like reporter Pixi Piers, I got in a state when I first changed skins and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t just take the skin off (for those in the same state, you just find your original skin in the inventory and click to wear it again).

Someone told me a long time ago, to make a folder, take copies of all the stuff I’m wearing, i.e. skin and shape etc, and put it in the folder, so that if the worst happens and I put on a horrible skin or something I didn’t like, I could easily change back by clicking on the folder I made, and just dragging the whole folder back onto my av, great stuff!! Of course I have tried this now and after being a bunny rabbit av, I clicked on my created folder and dragged it on to myself, only to find that I had not included clothes and hair, good job I was at home, I would have cleared London in a second! A tip Hibiscus gave me, and I expect most of you already know, is to open your inventory and click ‘File’ at the top and then ‘Open New Window’. You will then have two inventory windows open and you can create a new folder and drag stuff across from one window into the folder in the other one.

Other types of animals you will spot in SL London are pets kept by avatars, I met London Greeter Dougal MacMoragh in Knightsbridge and he had a beautiful lilac coloured dragon flying around him, he ordered the dragon to chase me and it did, as I flew up, the dragon followed me and even said 'hello'. In my apartment block I can hear a little dog belonging to one of the other tenants, and if you look there is a sweet little brown dog running around in her flat.

Of course there are all sorts of human avs and not all want to be slim and glamorous and indeed, some seem to go out of their way to appear what many would say is ‘out of shape’. I spotted a woman newbie in a pink dress who definitely favoured being on the heavy side. You quite often spot men newbies, who give themselves big beer bellies, big noses and bald homely looks. We had a couple in SL London recently, who thought it was a good idea to approach people and invade their space, almost like saying, I’m ugly so I’m going to shock you and be very familiar whether you like it or not! (it’s often lady avs who are on the receiving end of this sort of behaviour). When no one takes any notice, they generally result to swearing at people before they leave to annoy someone else. So at the end of the day I don’t think they make their avs unattractive because they want to look that way, I think they do it to get a response from others. I suppose it would be a good idea to keep the names of these people just to see what they look like in a few months. It’s generally a newbie thing, you don’t often see older avs behaving like that.

So SL London is a very colourful and rich place to see what imaginative avatars people can create. Think I might go and try my bunny rabbit av on again!!! (Got my hair and clothes in my folder this time too!)

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