Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yoga in Second Life

In the vast universe of the virtual world of Second Life, there’s more to it than a myriad of clubs to fight for your patronage. Gemma reported on a theatre sim for MST3K fans for example. Take another odd step and you can find a sim devoted to Brahma holding meditation classes in Brahma yoga a few times a week. Who is Brahma you ask? Brahma is the Hindu version of god who is the universe that we are all a part of.

Wait what? A meditation class here in Second Life? As odd as that sounds there is a teacher or as his title states “Guru” which is a Sanskrit word meaning teacher or master. I know him first hand as Pramiil Magne and he is my Guru in Second Life.

For almost 5 years now Pramiil has been a guru here in Second Life and a real life guru for over 30 years. He has said a few times that he wanted to expand his teaching. So he takes advantage of Second Life to hold classes for people all over the world. For example one of my classmates is from Germany. As well holding classes in real life in Australia, he holds them in various ashrams on his sim. For example the Tuesday class at 4pm SL time is always held at the Shiva temple.

Pramiil’s role as Guru is to impart spiritual knowledge along with to be shortcut for people like you and me to jump directly to Brahma. How does he do that? Pramiil generates Shakti like an electrical generator which makes it much easier for the average Joe or Jane to meditate.

In Hinduism there is the chakra system like a spiral within the soul of the human body. Humans have 7 chakras, animals only have four chakras. A chakra is an energy center that holds life force or kundalini. Fox animal totems trigger the awakening of the kundalini.

The base chakra is the lowest chakra at the base of the spine. The sacral chakra is next as the sex organs for both men and women. Next is the navel chakra around you guessed right your navel. A chakra that represents love which seems obvious is the heart chakra.

Next which represents commutation is the throat chakra, which is at your throat for speech. Next at your forehead is the third eye which allows if strong enough allows you to see and hear spirits. Finally the seventh chakra is the crown chakra at your forehead or crown of your head. A good way to know that all your chakras are filled is if your hands are warm.

The goal of his classes is for everyone to reach liberation and to rejoin with Brahma. As he states within class we are souls that yearn to be back with Brahma and feel his eternal love. Liberation only happens when you have burned away all your karma. Karma is generated through action and reaction. For example bullying kids for lunch money makes bad karma and supporting a nonprofit makes good karma. Nobody wants bad karma, but even good karma should be burned away to reach Liberation faster. Pramiil states this is the goal of all human souls to rejoin with Brahma.

How do you burn away karma? With fire of course! When anyone meditates karma is like cotton wool is the example Pramiil used to describe how easily karma burns away. Meditation burns away a great deal of it.

So if you have a burning desire to get closer to God or you’re at least curious check out one of his classes during the week here are his class times.

Sunday 4am SL time
Tuesday 4pm SL time
Wednesday 4am SL time
Friday tantric dance 4:30am SL time
Saturday two classes: 5am SL time dance class, 4pm SL time

Airtol Hill (12, 241, 61)

By Grease Coakes

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Castawave Cove's Comeback

Among the clubs at the FCA club alliance, Castaway Cove hasn't been used much lately. Cutlass, Club Zero Gravity, The Cocktail Lounge, and the Happy Vixen all have regularly scheduled events. But with a number of DJs getting caught up in real life, one club, Castawave Cove, despite it's unique design of a beach club between two halves of a shipwreck, was getting only occasional events. People came by to hang out to play it's games, or shop at the vendors there. But parties there were irregular.

Finally on the evening of May 14th, Nydia Tungsten, the owner of Castaway Cove, made an announcement. The club would be closing. But there would be one last party there. DJ "Purple Puppy" L'sai would be playing the music. And true to her nickname "Naughty Nydia," the vixen decided to give everyone a chance to let their hair down with a nude party with a huge prize on it's "Last Hurrah."

Castaway cove is having it's final party tonight, come dance the night away as the original purple puppy DJ L'sai spins her tunes for us, but we aren't going out with a whimper but with a BANG! $3000 L's will be up for grabs at this final Naked nite. Your'e all invited. Starts at 6 pm SLT. SEE YA HERE!!

And as 6PM approached, people headed over to the Kalmeere Paradise sim and dropped in at the club, a collection of over two dozen human, neko, and furry avatars. Many went "au natural" for a chance at the Lindens. But others kept on a swimsuit, not really competing for the prize but just coming for a good time and to see the club one last time. People sent requests to L'sai, both popular tunes and some parodies by Second Life musicians SonicBlu Darkfold, and a few riskee tunes from Corsi Mousehold.

During the party, Nydia gave an explanation for the club's closure, "Many have asked why we are closing. Well here it is. Castaway Cove was created to create a draw to a new sim, to generate interest. Well it has done its job. the Sim owner needs to start renting this land, so we will be closing. But not forever who know what lies over the horizon. I just hope you have all enjoyed our run, and if your'e interested in the land, just send me an IM. Just remember to party as if it is your last, because some day it just might be 'Eat drink and be merry for tomorow we lose our club!' "

For two hours, the party went on. Then the 3,000 prize was voted on, and then given out. But this wasn't the final word on the club. The following day, Nydia had the following announcement:

We're Back! … We had a blast last night, and we partied into the night. Every one was sad to see the club go but not as much as Skylark Lefavre. Due to her most generous offer, Castaway Cove will be around for quite some time. So if you see her, thank her for being our clubs benefactor.

And so, the pirate club continues. Word is, there will be some Primtionary game events at the sim again soon. For anyone interested in managing or DJing at the club, contact Nydia Tungsten.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, May 10, 2012

MMO Review: Tera

So seeing there was a new MMO flavor of the month and I had a few extra dollars to spend, I thought "why not, it'll give me something to do while waiting for Torchlight 2 to come out." So I went and got the game "Tera", by some Korean company that, according to their wikipedia entry for the game, saw a touch of legal action before release of the game (but won).

So after picking the game up and playing through the first 25 levels... 

The artwork is very attractive. If it's something this company knows how to do, it's graphics. If your computer can handle the powerful graphics, turn the settings all the way up and you won't be disappointed. If you like breathtaking vistas, you'll like Tera; the graphics are better than both WoW and Rift. I won't say better than both combined because the background is kinda "comical" and maybe just a little bit cartoony (lack of better words); Rift has it beat on realism. The general premise of the game is different than most: no factions like the Horde vs the Alliance of WoW, or the Guardians vs the Defiant for Rift. Here, it's harmony. Well almost, there IS PvP elsewhere. The idea is that two titans dreamed up the world and everything on it. Now some creatures called "argons" (mechs? robots? I'm not sure) are hell bent on wrecking the place and making griefers of themselves.

Combat is interesting in that attacks have weight and visible power behind them, if you miss with a big slam and they move out of the way you leave yourself open as you recover and could get knocked down or one-shot. If you don't time your attacks and just mash buttons (as I am used to doing), you are not going to get very far at all.

While the premise of the game is good, the interface is crap. I'm used to clicking and dragging the view around, the same way as most other games out there. Not so with Tera; either the mouse controls the camera (leaving it unable to click buttons for special attacks because moving the mouse moves the camera) or right click buttons, leaving it impossible to change the view quickly if you have enemies attacking from several sides at once. This does mean you have to actually have some skill to play, though. It's not a point and click game by any means. I chose a "tank" class (the kind of player that stands there and keeps the enemy busy while others shoot them down), and tanking is -very- hard if you don't get the timing just right (due to the whole "all actions have weight to them" mechanic).

The outfits are mostly T&A --- some of these waif girls should either be toppling over paralyzed or have their own gravitational field coming from their chests that is powerful enough to snag Jupiter. Most of the outfits look exactly the same and are divided up into "tiers" (all armor and weapons of the same tier look alike) that can be "dyed" (which is both expensive and temporary) in order to customize them. I haven't bothered with that, as armor's armor and weapons are weapons... as long as they get the job done, who cares what they look like. Function over form, as it were.

The crafting is very very "overdone" --- many many things need to be crafted in order to make even the most basic of items. This has led me to not even bother with doing crafting, despite the fact that the game says crafted items are more powerful --- I've gotten by just fine on what I have and I'm almost half way to the level cap as it is. Questing seems like it's the standard fetch/kill x of y type, so nothing new there. No clicking or running over to pick up fallen treasures either; that's also all keyboard based. At least you can't pick up stuff that "doesn't belong to you" though I am unclear if things "revert" to a free for all after X minutes of no pickup.

The classes seem to be a mishmash of strange things. I think the company that created this tried a little too hard in order to seem "unique", and created a congealed mess, class-wise. Warriors are leather-wearing dualwielders and the game's "tank" class (the Lancer) wields a lance and shield -without- being mounted (wouldn't that be, I dunno, really unwieldy?). I haven't tried anything with the caster classes. I think the game company may have felt threatened by the upcoming Diablo release and wanted to get their game out.

The races are cute; everything from a resistant-to-everything (up to and including the heat death of the universe) warrior to a cute little "enlightened animal" (whose race is "all males animals, all females cat-or-bunny girls"), give something new to the table.

Overall, aside from the artwork being worthy of being better than god, I am still kind of unimpressed. At $60 + a subscription fee + middling customer support after three days of waiting about something, I am going to say unless you like shiny anime-ish artwork and an interface that makes you want to rip your fur out while trying to figure it out, give this one a pass unless you have the loose change and the time to spend on it. The game has good intentions and somewhat good ideas in spite of there being no real unique ideas on the planet anymore, but has a Linden-level ability of execution in that UI until people learn it and get used to it, which is something I am still trying to do twenty five experience levels into the game. I'm going to give this one three dragon hoards out of five, and that's being nice. It's growing on me just a little, but not enough to give it any more than three hoards.

Torchlight 2, on the other hand, when that comes out? THAT will be worth every penny and more of the $20 it will cost...

Xymbers Slade