Breastfeeding and Coding

Breastfeeding and coding – were there ever two more unlikely words to be smushed together?

My breastfeeding journey is still going strong and baby is almost 2 now. It definitely occupies a huge part of my day and night, and even when I go into the office I still am pumping milk and there is so much logistical hassle that comes with it. I’ve done so much research into it, that maybe one day I should write a post just about breastfeeding and breast pumps… (wait, who is the audience of my blog anyway? Any breastfeeding mums here?)

I encountered a paper in which they tried to run an experiment testing the hypothesis that breastfeeding women are the victim of bias. The results pointed to negative societal perception of breastfeeding, with breastfeeding mothers were rated as being significantly less competent in maths (Source: Smith, J. L., Hawkinson, K., & Paull, K. (2011). Spoiled Milk: An Experimental Examination of Bias Against Mothers Who Breastfeed. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(7), 867–878. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167211401629)

If someone is a working breastfeeding mother it often means they have had to rearrange much of their lives in order to accomodate this, and the experience will probably make them even more awesome at time management. I look back on the years before the Bean came along and realise that I’ve squandered so much time in the past on frivolities. Breastfeeding and wanting to do it all (career-wise) really does means you have to be extremely careful with how you manage the finite resource of time – I’ve never been more focused and productive at work, because I only have one shot at things now! I don’t have time to faff about!

It is true that the logistics of breastfeeding (when done directly) is such that it can be difficult to do work with your hands. But I was resolved to become a better coder despite also having to spend an inordinate amount of time breastfeeding my baby. I like to follow various Python MOOCs whilst lying down breastfeeding baby, with just my phone (for coding) and tablet (for the MOOC). All this seemed to point to the importance of having a cloud-based service where you could code, and to have the right coding-oriented keyboard on mobile.

The solution? Google Colab + Codeboard (a coding-oriented keyboard for Android) to play around with Python on the cloud and on your mobile!

Seems fitting that this post is being posted on Mother’s day. Big up to all the hardworking mums out there, it sure is a lot of work to raise a child!

This Blog has Migrated from Blogger to DBBD.SG!

Recently with the Wikicliki show opening, I took a long hard look at my various websites and decided to update my semi-dormant website, dbbd.sg. For a long time, I’ve tried not to meddle with the web design of my website (because its a rabbit hole of tinkering that I am apt to fall down into), but its been a few years since my dbbd.sg site was made and maybe, just maybe, I guess I should be applying my commercially useful UX/UI/web skillz (which I teach in my day job) to my own web presence!…

The funny thing about this blog migrating to wordpress is that, it being a very busy time, I actually contemplated hiring a Fiverr to save me the time and trouble of porting my blogger blog (openurbanism) to my own server. But bizarrely, when I looked into my own server, it appears that on 31 Dec 2020 (a good time for making and breaking new year resolutions), I discovered that I had already ported my own blog over to a wordpress installation on my server??? – and then promptly forgotten about having done it?!?!

I would like to congratulate the Debbie in the past for having the foresight to do all the hard work, thus saving Present Day Debbie all that work.

Well I guess it must have been too simple – to the point that I blanked out the entire memory of doing it. No wonder the rates on Fiverr for this task are so low. If I try to retrace my steps, it seems it was just a matter of downloading an XML containing all my 371 of my existing blog posts and then importing it in to a new wordpress installation, and then throwing in a few useful plugins to quickly download all my remotely hosted images to the wordpress media library. Finally, I just roughly smushed an old but classic WordPress template together to make it look like an acceptable blog (twentysixteen, nevermind that its now twentytwentyone, but i don’t like the newer wordpress defaults). The WordPress template isn’t the best yet because the amount of time I’ve spent on it is too limited, but let’s try to keep it about the documenting, and let’s not fall into the rabbithole of the obsessive editing of tiny css snippets again!

So here we are, my newly ported blog, and this is post #372!

What would happen to my Web Presence if I unexpectedly died?

It may sound ridiculous, but it has surprised me how some of my embarassingly old websites on services like livejournal and blogger have stood the test of time and survived without any intervention from myself, whereas the many paid domains I have bought and retired have disappeared from the internet (after I stopped renewing them). I worried that if something unexpectedly should happen to myself, then no one would know how to keep my websites alive. So for the longest time, I decided to relinquish a little design control in exchange for hosting it on a fuss-free long-lived platform like blogger – also in order to stop myself from compulsively tinkering on the web design (being the obsessive pixelpusher that I am).

But…. now that I have decided I will take back control and consolidate my web empire, what does it mean for the longevity of the site? What if Debbie unexpectedly stops paying her credit card bill for her web hosting and web domain name registration and everything? What would happen to the site? Would it vanish overnight, once my hosting bill is not paid?

Well, to look at things in perspective, all my writings would not be truly lost. I found that my dbbd.sg website has indeed been archived by the Internet Archive almost every year since 2012. I’ve also always kept the openurbanism blog on the lowdown, like a public blog which feels like a private blog or well-kept secret from me just being intentionally terrible at publicising or sharing when I have posted new stuff. To be honest, I document my process because it is a cult of being “done” to me. By posting about it online, it makes me feel like the work is “done” and that I can get closure and move on to a new task. I suppose it helps me get over the sometimes paralysing need to make things perfect.

Do say: The various iterations of your website have been successfully archived by internet archive!
Don’t say: The various iterations of all your embarassing livejournals since you were 17 have also been archived by the internet archive!... 😱😱😱😱😱

WordPress Taxonomies

The next problem is that my blogger categories had translated over into WordPress categories, but I know that WordPress has both categories and tags, and they were being used differently.

According the WordPress’s support page:

“Categories are best used for broad groupings of topics. For example, if you’re creating a site that reviews media, you might use categories such as Books or Film or TV.

Tags are much more specific topics that you want to use to associate related content. For example if you were creating a site that reviews media, you might want to use tags such as science fiction or horror or action adventure.”

Unfortunately, I had been writing my blogger categories as if they were tags, so it means I might have to manually go through all 371 posts and recategorise and tag them all. 😱

I contemplated editing it in mysql but have messed up databases before, and there were several free plugins out there which were very limited in function, but I eventually found a plugin ($) which would convert categories into tags in bulk so that I wouldn’t have to spend hours trawling through all 371 posts and copy the categories over to tags (not a very meaningful task). But now that I have replaced all categories as post_tags, I have to append each of the 371 post with unique categories again…

This blog will be a work-in-progress!

Design choices: To avoid the occupational hazard of spending too long tinkering with the wordpress template and web design (instead of doing the actual DEBBIEWORK I want to do!!!) I simply took the default WordPress template from a few years back and adapted it briefly for my needs. I looked at all the default wordpress templates over the years and decided that I liked the simplicity of twentysixteen, the year before I moved back to Singapore. I like this shade of #0000ff blue (attempted to print my MA thesis in this colour) and I needed a strong contrast colour so the blog is basic internet blue and red now. I didn’t make the font black because it looked boring and these are not finalised or “resolved” documentations of my works. Its a process blog!

Unity + Oculus Integration on Mac

 

How long does it take to create a test project for the Oculus Quest on Mac with Unity3D? Well fortunately it does not take very much time at all, although it will take a whole lot more time to make something decent and of interest. But if one just wanted to connect up all the equipment, it is pretty fast!

According to Rescuetime I spent 33 minutes in total in Unity in order to complete these steps on my 15″ Macbook Pro 2019, including all the downloading and importing. The writing of this documentation is probably taking far longer.

The Chinese New Year Weekend is too short! I want to spend maximum fun time with the Bean, and get some catching-up-with-sleep-time, but I also want to learn how to make something for Oculus using my Mac alone?? I found several posts online claiming to be able to teach you to set up your Oculus device in 10 minutes. HA I suppose they definitely didn’t use a Mac for these speed runs (my Mac has now decided that its new calling is to mimic the hideous sound of an airplane taking off). Still, I persist in valuing the retina display+portablity over practicality and doing everything on my Mac. Will I be forced to retreat back to using a PC again after much frustration? Let’s find out!

The Oculus is a type of Android device so have to check for Android Build Support in the version of Unity I’m using. Just created a 3D project in Unity in the version of Unity I happen to be using.

Unity Asset Store has this default “Oculus Integration”. Whilst waiting for that to download, I saw there were so many different integration packages out there for VR and more. Actually got lost browsing all the rather interesting sounding “Tools/Integrations” category on Asset Store. Which ones do the most interesting things? NO CLUE. I guess I will just try Oculus Integration first before actually trying the others.

There are several updates and Unity will need to restart, after which there will be some new Menu items for Oculus like this:

Under Edit > Project Settings > Player > XR Settings > Virtual Reality should be supported.

Another step I would add in is to preemptively remove Vulkan Graphics API, because if you don’t, it will throw up an error about XR being incompatible with Vulkan. (Alternatively, I suppose one could go into the OVR scripts which is stopping the build and find the lines where it checks for Vulkan and comment out the checks?)

So I also went to read up on Vulkan Graphics API and what it does – the internet says: “Until now, the mobile graphical interface has been using the OpenGL platform. While the platform was suitable for intense mobile applications like gaming and photography five years ago, the old platform isn’t enough to handle today’s AR/VR intensive applications. It is also not possible to pack in massive hardware in a restrained form factor for running intensive mobile applications. The Vulkan API was developed by Khronos to ensure improved graphical performance with lesser resource usage. The new API has been built from scratch for rendering console quality graphics on existing mobile hardware. What that means is you will be able to enjoy the PC-like graphics on your high-end smartphone”.

ALRIGHT BUT WE WON”T USE IT.

OH WAIT AS OF 1 FEB 2021 the internets say that Unity now supports Vulkan for Oculus Quest? ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Ok whatevers. At this point I just removed Vulkan for the time being so I can continue.

Next is to create a developer account and app ID. Now I definitely have mixed feelings about the Facebook integration, which means I have to take several precautions regarding privacy. If I was buying a VR headset only as a casual user, then the issues with forcing users to login with a Facebook account would make me reconsider getting this device. However, the reason I’ve gotten a Quest 2 is for portability in VR development. Consider all the factors on your own before getting a VR headset device!

Go to http://dashboard.oculus.com/ in a different browser and set up the Developer account.

Connect the Quest to the Mac with the usb cable. Under Build Settings > Android > the Quest should now be available as a device.

Build & Run > and when its done, you can put on the headset and it will start to load your scene. Probably could have used the prefabs to make a scene but there are some demo scenes that came with so I just loaded that first.

Wahooey a demo scene!


NEXT STEPS?

Tiltbrush? Building Tiltbrush which has gone opensource?

How does I workflow???: Workflows: The process flows you should follow

How to screenshot on Oculus Quest 2? Press the Oculus Button + any trigger button. The app needs to have permission to save to storage beforehand.

Where do the screenshots on Oculus Quest 2 go to? Turns out that the Quest is a kind of Android device so on a Mac you have to download Android File Transfer and find screenshots under Oculus > Screenshots.

VOID: Documentation and Process

VOID started with a bunch of 3D scans. This was the first scan I made whilst waiting at the corner of the void deck for a taxi. The funny thing about this scan was that you got quite a good view of whatever I was looking at, but there’s a empty void behind my two legs, where the scanner couldn’t reach, which makes it look like sootmark traces in the aftermath of an explosion. There are numerous 3D scanning apps available for iPad Pro and it is easy to export the data as an textured OBJ or glTF/glb and the file can be quickly imported into Unity.

Gameplay images from VOID

These days I spend quite a lot of time waiting for taxis to take me and Beano between places. The timing is such that I frequently end up commuting at daybreak or at night, catching glimpses of dimly lit buildings and sleepy carparks through the darkness. The two destinations I frequent (my house and my parents’) are incidentally both what you might consider somewhat complicated places to get to, so there are many opportunities for a grab or taxi driver to become lost or give up the will to find me in the midst of all the one way road systems. So… there is a lot of waiting, during which I’ve ended up scanning void decks, mining it for material…

Void deck waiting area

When Shih Yun first invited me to show something at OTHERWORLDS, I had several other experiments and drafts that I thought of showing, which I realised over time to be unnecessarily complicated. A good game is not a collage. A game does not necesssarily get better from having more elements in it. I realised that I liked my growing collection of Void Deck scans… and I wanted to make something out of all of them.

HDB Scans from Veerasamy Road

The only weird thing about doing this is that after staring at it in a dream-like state within my game for so long, it is kinda weird to still walk through the same corridors on an everyday basis.

An obvious reference for the work is “In the Night Garden”, a show that Beano has been watching a lot of. Some years ago I remember once attending a lecture in the basement of RCA. The details of this lecture eludes me except that the visiting speaker was a new sleep deprived father who had watched a whole lot of “In the Night Garden” recently with their toddler. He apparently had some near-religious epiphany with regards to the philosophical meaning behind “In the Night Garden” and I only have the merest impression that he had meticulously tied it up with an elaborate history of design or critical design or radical italian design pedagogy from the 1970s or whatever it is that RCA design students get lectured to about (and that I was impressed with the mental leaps of the lecture). It thus seems typical that now in my own sleep deprivation of caring for the Bean, I do not recall that useful gem that this forgotten speaker had wished to impress upon us, that rare and useful tidbit that he had gleaned from the watching of “In the Night Garden”.

A Screenshot from “In the Night Garden”

Now as I am watching and rewatching pixelated copies of In the Night Garden via youtube on an old and heavily bumpered ipad, I am only left with questions. WHY IS IGGLE PIGGLE ALONE IN A BOAT AT NIGHT? WHERE IS HE SAILING TO? IS THE NIGHT GARDEN THE FEVER DREAM OF AN IGGLE PIGGLE LOST AT SEA? IS IGGLE PIGGLE ALRIGHT? WHERE EXACTLY IS THE NIGHT GARDEN?

Another reference for this work is a scene from another children’s show – Steven Universe. Years back I used to catch bits of it and I remember thinking that it was way too childish for me (I probably even said something like “I dont know what people see in it!!!”. But when I was on maternity leave I somehow ended up binge watching seasons of it all at one go in the middle of the night. It was when I watched this episode that I was suddenly SOLD on the show, because seeing a nightmare version of the city made me realise that they had done such a good job of painting Beach City to me in the previous episodes. They needed audiences to have built up a good mental map of Beach City before hitting us with a nightmare version of it – otherwise the episode would not have any impact. It is funny that I almost feel kinda nostalgic rewatching old episodes of Steven Universe, because the show now gives me a feeling of Beano being really tiny. I suppose this is the video version of “song that happens to be playing in the background during a defining period of your life”. I really love the thoughtful, gentle way in which the show handles topics such as mental health, parenting, and relationships – and I guess I envisioned it being a beautiful cartoon for Beano to enjoy watching with me, one day in the future…

“Rose’s Room” (Season 1 Episode 19)

In this episode, Steven discovers that his mother’s magical room can fulfill any wish he asks for. After asking it for a bunch of silly things, he is hungry and decides to go get a donut from the shop in Beach City, and he thinks he has stepped out of the room to get a donut, but actually Rose’s room has generated a parallel Beach City. Everyone is speaking funny and he runs to the water’s edge where he finds the waves are not working properly. Finally after a terrifying time in the city, he realises it is a dream when he tries to eat his donut and it poofs.

Enough of the back story, here is the work!


VOID IN THE CAVE

Shao from DUDE.SG combined all our works into the CAVE setup for the exhibition at Gillman Barracks – a 3 screen kinect based interactive virtual environment! The boat was self-propelling, but it would turn according to the direction of the user’s body.

Due to safe distancing measures, the gallery could only accomodate a fixed number of people at one time, so queues outside built up to insane levels. Whilst the show was incredibly short, I heard that there were about 600-700 people who came through each day, so at least we know that many people got to try it!


PRODUCTION NOTES

A few notes here on issues I encountered along the way:

Water in the Boat – Convex Hull

So I wanted to get a boat floating on a sea. I didn’t reinvent the sea, no, if you must ask. I did this version with Crest, an existing ocean renderer system for Unity 2019.4.8 and later. A real boat actually displaces the water, so at first when my boat was in the water the ocean rendered into my boat. The fix is to add a convex hull (take the shape of your box and create a shape which is the smallest solid closed convex shape of itself) and then use a script to disable the rendering of the water where the convex hull is located inside the boat. No more water inside boat.

Resolution

One thing I’ve blithely not comprehended before was that on a MacBook with Retina display, the pixel density is twice that of the norm, therefore instead of 72dpi it is actually 144 dpi, meaning for every 1px there is actually now 4px (2px x 2px), hence when I take screenshots/screencaptures that do not account for the embedded dpi setting of 144dpi, they will come out twice as big. A crucial issue when trying to screencapture my game as a gameplay video…

Colour / Dropped Frames / Understanding Unity Profiler

Monosnap is the trusty screenshot app I’ve used for several years now. Using it meant that I never had to really think about how I really wanted to compress things, because I just trusted it to quickly crop and compress things for me (whether image or video). However, most of what I’ve been screenshotting with it so far have been things like annotations of images and lectures, for which colour is not much of a big deal. Well, my lazy days are ending. Using it to capture a gameplay video this time around showed me that maybe I need a better long-term solution for gameplay screencapture (possibly even an internal game recorder?) because (1) there is something going on with the colour (probably to do with conversion from 10 bit colour to 8 bit colour, which flatten my subtle purples to black), and (2) there is also something going on with dropped frames, which I am guessing is possibly my macbook pro’s gpu being not up to the task of, so it all points to (3) that I probably need to watch more tutorials on how to properly use the Unity profiler to improve the performance of my game… ¯_(ツ)_/¯


COMING SOON: VOID IN VR?

Singapore Art Week 2021: Where to see Debbie’s Works

For those in Singapore at the moment, I have a couple shows ongoing/upcoming during and beyond Singapore Art Week. I’m showing them as digital works and video works, so technically your location won’t matter once I have properly uploaded all the works later in the year…!


1. VOID

Void is a small game that’s available for download on itch.io (Mac currently / Win coming soon) and you could say it is a translation of my current reality into game form. Since I work full-time but also have a toddler who doesn’t quite go to daycare, I spend my days shuttling between void decks, waiting for taxis to take me between my own house, my parents’ house, and the office. There’s usually anywhere between 5 to 12 minutes of waiting where I don’t know what to do and for the fun of it I began scanning the various spaces in a very ad-hoc fashion. I rather liked the bad scans more than the good scans, and I ended up using this material to make an interactive experience in which you’re a little boat drifting between ruins, with the pillars looking a bit like the pali da casada (the poles that stick out of the water in front of buildings) in Venice.

If you’re in Singapore, its also in an awesome CAVE for just 4 days only at Gillman Barracks (9 Lock Road, #03-21, in the former unit of Arndnt), made by the amazing team from DUDE.SG. What this means is that you can navigate through the otherworlds inside it by raising a hand, squatting, flapping your hands wildly in front of you, and swiping. The entire show is a labour of love by INSTINC and altermodernists and all the artists involved, and the CAVE experience is truly seamless. Go and see it!

Otherworlds: non/digital realities

Organised by Instinc @instinc_space

Co-organised by @altermodernist

Curated by @hilda_hiukwan

Opening Hours: 28 Jan 2021 – 7 to 10pm 29, 30 Jan 2021 – 12nn to 10pm 31 Jan 2021 – 12nn to 7pm

Venue Gillman Barracks Block 9 Lock Road, #03-21

FREE ADMISSION

8 artists 2 cities

Digital and physical works

Facebook Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/302803607957276

Debbie’s “Void” on Itch: https://dbbd.itch.io/void


2. THE LEGEND OF DEBBIE

My vision for this work was to mine myself for material and create a gallery in which all my artworks were magical wormholes into alternate realities where I would tell you ridiculous stories that were both believeable and unbelievable and you would see various crazy visual representations and reinterpretations of my old work. We always talk about digitisation lately especially during covid – but are we really and truly exploring all the possibilities in a new interactive format like a 3d video game? I had some pretty tight time constraints (only working on this on weekends when I’m off work – I mean I do have a full-time job too), and being a one-woman developer team reined in my wild ambitions for this work (initially wanted to make a crazy ragdoll puppet of myself, which I scrapped due to having difficulties with ragdoll physics and rigging and lipsyncing, none of which is my speciality). I definitely feel this work is not even close to its final form and I imagine slowly improving it over time…

State of Motion: https://stateofmotion.sg/

Curated by Syaheedah Iskandar & Thong Kay Wee

Marina One

20 Jan – 21 Feb 2021

Exhibition open 12pm — 8pm daily (Except Public Holidays)

7 Straits View, Singapore 018936


3. MOTHER

In the basement of the National Gallery Singapore, I have a project called MOTHER. Try to visit it on Thurs-Sunday when there are helpful little elves to guide you through using the kinect-based interaction. Visually speaking this work is indeed a departure from what I usually make – i guess because of the involvement of form axioms’ dev team and my own limitations in Unreal (specifically: having tried to make my part of it on my own without any experience with Blueprints or having watched a proper tutorial or course on it – woops! Yes as it turns out one cannot transfer skills of one game engine to another haha). The background environment for MOTHER was also contributed by the development team; I described it and they translated it in their own way into what you see there. I suppose I imagined in my head something more brutalist and weird and oddball – but what came out was a bit more scifi alien in the end, a bit like walking into a basement lan cafe and you’re deafened by the ambient sound of nonstop clicking and shooting. So… yeah, not entirely what I expected, in case anyone is confused how this strange thing is a “Debbie Ding” work. Nevertheless I do feel like I learnt a lot from the progress of making it, especially experimenting with vocaloids.


4. RULES FOR THE EXPRESSION OF ARCHITECTURAL DESIRES

I guess this was my first video work, which I shot in Berlin over a summer, and made foley sound for in the dark scary basement of the ZKU building. The writing that accompanies the work was written about an anonymous city but there are glimmers of other very real cities in it. I’m just showing the video work for this exhibition at SEED space and it opens this weekend Saturday – and I am humbled to be showing alongside the amazing video work by Martha Atienza, Charles Lim, Lim Sokchanlina, Perception 3, Christina Quisumbing Ramilo, and Tromarama.

Images above from when I showed the work in Maison Salvan in Toulouse. Will update the pic of the show in SEED space when I can get a better picture!


Documentation for the works coming soon!

I self-studied for 6 and a half hours to pass the Unity Certification (Unity Certified Associate: Game Developer)

I just did the Unity Certified Associate Game Developer exam and passed it. Aight, I know this is probably going to sound like a HUMBLEBRAG but, I am writing this post because I was originally pretty apprehensive about taking the exam. Although I’ve used Unity for several years, I wouldn’t describe my job role as a game developer. So I worried that what I had done before wasn’t good or “professional” enough. Before the exam, I also furiously googled for people’s accounts of how they studied for it, what exactly they studied, so in case there are others who come after me who are doing the same thing, I thought I’d add a description of my experience and what I did to pass!

I know that the Unity Certified Associate is considered the “entry-level” certification, but even if its the entry-level test, it still needs some studying! Besides my artistic endeavours (which this blog is mainly about) I actually work a full-time job (and not as a game developer), but Unity happens to be something that my work would like me to focus on a bit more. But it is actually a very intense few weeks at work – in addition to which I am also having to care for a very demanding toddler + working on several personal projects on weekends, so this meant I was very busy and only really able to eke out a little bit of time for studying.

Now, the title of this post is a little click-baity, but it is true. Recently it so happened that I re-installed Rescuetime, so I am able to definitively tell you exactly how long I spent preparing and “studying” for the exam from start to finish!! No more handwaving or vague estimations, I can actually tell you that in total, I spent exactly:

38.5 hours preparing for the Unity exam:


32 hrs (8 hrs x 4) : Attending a Unity Game Developer course
6.5 hrs : Self-studying

Breakdown of Course time

32 hrs: Attending a Game Developer course. I decided to sign up for and attend a course with fixed hours and a human instructor so it would formally “block” out time in my calendar to study Unity. I could have done it online on Udemy or Coursera or something like that, but attending it with real people also gave me the pressure that I had to finish the course, and I also could hear the sort of questions that new users ask (useful for someone who intends to teach it). Since it was formalised as a course I had to attend for 4 weekends, I asked my parents to help with childcare (thanks mom and dad!!!) during my course hours, so I could really dedicate the time to studying Unity and asking the instructor all the questions I ever had about Unity. I should add that at the point I took the course, I had several years of experience of casually using Unity already, so the material was generally very simple for me but I really appreciated having someone tell me what was the OFFICIAL way to do things. I’ve been anyhowly doing things for a long while (because I was self-taught but in a very disorganised way) and the instructor Siang Leng showed me many quick fixes for things I had been doing in very weird ways, so this was very enlightening to me.

For me, my intention when I take a course like this is to eventually reach the level that I could teach the subject, to be able to explain in detail the semantics of the user interface of the program, to understand everything about how the formats are encoded and used, and for me to I fully understand the processes from start to finish and do it in my own way, instead of just copying what the instructor is doing. I like to think that my capture rate (rate in which I absorb what instructor says) is very high, if not 100% at this point. Once I am shown how to do something, I will go and make sure I can do the task myself, and I will screenshot or even make a screen video of myself doing the task on my own after the instructor does a demo, and I immediately publish this to my own wiki (my ‘Second Brain’. In forcing myself to document everything this way (to be able to use my own demo to teach others), I am pretty sure that I… have more than accomplished the “lesson objectives”.

Breakdown of Self-Study time (6.5 hrs)

3.5 hr : Completing all the quizzes on the official Unity Courseware. When I did the course, I was given access to the official unity courseware on gmetrix. Now this courseware is the one for the “zombietoys” project that I vaguely remember trying out yeaaaaaaars ago when I first started using Unity. Not that I ever completed it. A lot of it seems very outdated, as it was done on Unity 5.something. But I decided to do the quizzes at the end of each section. If I got a section mostly wrong, then I went back to watch the video for it (at 2x speed, of course). I think I breezed through the first 10 chapters without getting quizzes wrong, then the second half was the stuff I clearly wasn’t so familiar with, things like Animation and Audio.

3 hrs :  Mock exams. I had access to a special 400+ mock exam question bank prepared by my course provider, like a kind of “ten year series”. To be honest, I didn’t have that much time, but at the barest minimum I decided that I would go through every single mock question once. I checked each question as I did it with the answer key. I did some of this whilst breastfeeding Beano with a split screen on my phone, however, I quickly realised that studying on my phone wasn’t the most ideal for certain sections because I really ought to have just done it with Unity open in front of me.

As I went along, I googled each section on the Unity Manual, googled any words I didn’t understand, opened up Unity and used the feature to build a test file. In Unity, I created every single possible asset once, created every 2d and 3d component once. I made handwritten notes as I went along, and later I also ‘revised’ from these notes by highlighting key words.

I asked my colleague (Unity guru!!!) for areas he thought I should revise and he mentioned a few areas that I realised I was less familiar with – Animation, Audio, etc. So I tried going through the motions of creating the animator, setting up some audio mixer groups, trying out every single type of light with all the different shadow settings, making different particles, etc.

I am glad to say that the outcome was, better than random! 644/700 means that I should have scored about 92/100, so yeah, I’m happy with that score. It was on the whole easier than I had expected, but I might have been lucky with the draw of the questions. I recognised several of the questions and topics from the official courseware / mock tests. The time (90min) was more than enough, I sped through it once and finished it within 40 minutes, marking all the questions I was not sure about for review and then I used the remainder of the time to check the ‘mark for review’ question set twice through, unflagging them as I made up my mind about the answers. Then after having checked it as best I could, I decided I would submit it (20 min early). (I was very glad to have done it on computer instead of at a test centre which would probably have given me a lot of nerves).

So what does this mean? It means that it is true that the exam is more about your experience and familiarity with the software and scripting. If you are a casual Unity user of several years, it is possible to pass the Associate exam (not professional exam) with basically what is just around 2-3 evenings worth of extra studying (6.5hrs) on top of completing a basic game dev refresher course (32 hrs).

I hope this helps someone else out there trying to decide if they should take the Unity exam and how to study for the Unity exam!

Many thanks to the Dingparents whose help made it possible for me to study for and ace the exam!!

My First Vinyl Cutting Project

I’ve always liked vinyl as a material since the process of labelling and thinking about the text has always felt like a meaningful part of my work. Sometime back I also enjoyed working with cutting acetate-type sheet material, but cutting it by hand was quite a schlep. Whilst mindlessly browsing a certain (ahem) short-form mobile video sharing social media platform, I kept seeing lots of “behind the scenes” shots of people using cutting machines to creating stickers and vinyls as part of their “quarantine etsy home business”. Some of them showed sophisticated uses of the machines to do precision things like layering vinyls, foil embossing, heat transfer film, debossing, etc. ie the things that mainly is done at a commercial print shop, even if we’ve had the technology for ages and ages and it is pretty simple. (The less impressive ones were just repetitions of the same type of etsy product copied from one another, and some pretty basic things which made me say “HOW IS THAT EVEN A BUSINESS? People pay money for this???”)

One of the electronic cutting machines I kept seeing was the Cricut and Silhouette, the latter of which I had used once in NYP’s Makerspace, somewhat fruitlessly (because the grip maps were not maintained well in the shared working space). Somehow, I had not really thought about a home vinyl cutter before.

This class of electronic cutting machine can cut vinyl, paper, cardboard, plastic, stickers, cloth, thin sheets of wood, basically practically any sheet material with perfect accuracy. You can also insert a pen into the slot and it will draw for you, but it is so perfect you may as well have used a printer. There are no errors. I couldn’t possibly draw as perfectly as this machine, unlike my experience using more shonky plotters. In fact, when considering what a precision device this is, this makes the line-us look like a toy.

To be honest, the downside is that the machines are not open-source, and now I’ve also read that Provo Craft has been aggressive in pursuing legal action against software makers who have tried to reverse engineer their software in order to make the machines cut their files directly (bypassing the default cricut design space). So the machines have their own ‘ecosystem’ catering to communities of users who are largely home-crafters and small businesses. The cutting files have to be uploaded via their proprietry software (it accepts png/gif/jpg/svg) and sent to the printer via their software. Up to about the 2010s it appears that it ran on a cartridge system and everyone had to buy these pre-set cartridges which wouldn’t have been interesting to me at all.

Probably the weirdest part is that it seems to have created a niche of users who are not skilled or tech savvy enough to design the files, all searching for cutting files and ultimately willing to pay shocking amounts for files that they can cut with. (Cue more of the “HOW IS THAT EVEN A BUSINESS? People pay money for this???”)

Knowing all this backstory to the way it is run, why would I still get a machine like this? Well… although there are alternatives like the KNK Force/Maxx/Zing, Skycut, GCC, Saga, Vicsign, Teneth, Liyu, Boyi, etc (so many), many of these are pricier, all have their own software to deal with, not all are as well documented, and I may not have the time to calibrate the blade settings one by one for each material… so… eh. The most important thing is that I can just send an svg file over and get it sliced, like how I might do with the laser cutter. That’s all I really need. So for me, going with the big name machine means that it works out of the box.

Since Illustrator is kinda my thing, I just did up a quick idea for a metal style name text for Beano’s toy piano in it. Some people prefer to use things like inkscape, Sure cuts a lot (SCAL) or Making the cut (MTC – which appears to be abandonware now) to produce the svg files (I also know that SCAL and MTC were the two software makers who were forced to make their software non-compatible with cricut). I think this points to it being a casual crafter user base, not an art/designer user base, where I would have thought that Adobe Illustrator would be considered the industry norm for software used to generate SVG files. Anyway, could also imagine coding up the svg markup too to get the files, maybe through Processing again.

The shapes in the SVG have to be “welded” together in Cricut Design Space or else it will try to optimise the space and rearrange your cut items all around.

I bought the cutting machine online, but I did make a trip to Plaza Singapura’s Spotlight where Cricut has a big area in the front of the entrance, along with its vinyls. I took one look at the price of the vinyl there and basically made an about turn – they were in the 17-45 range (*spits out my tea*).

For supplies, I got rolls of Oracal 631 Matte for cheaps online. After doing a bit of research, it appears that a standard vinyl used by vinyl shops is the Oracal 631 (removable) or Oracal 651 (permanent). The adhesive on 631 vinyl is a clear, water-based removable adhesive while 651 is a clear, solvent-based permanent adhesive. Maybe I will get 651 for future projects but at the moment I just got rolls of the removable 631 vinyl which I could then use for household projects as well as screenprinting…

At Spotlight the Cricut brand removable vinyl was SGD17 for 4 feet of Black Removable Vinyl (SGD 4.25 per foot). But online I got SGD44.70 for 30 feet of Oracal 631 Vinyl (SGD1.49 per foot for the Oracal 631 Black Vinyl). I also got Transfer Tape in a roll online at 24 for 50 feet (SGD 0.48 per foot). For the “default” vinyl, I was a bit wary about getting random chinese brand vinyl just because I wouldn’t know what kind of adhesive it would be using, although I guess if I want to experiment more with materials I will need to order more samples from different producers esp when it comes to the weird and wonderful world of HOLOGRAPHIC VINYL.

I got some tools from the Nicapa brand which was a lot cheaper than the cricut brand tools. I think you really do need the tools to do the “weeding” or removal of excess vinyl. Although, I could have packed in more items in the vinyl sheet, but this was my first try I didn’t want to be THAT adventurous. It seems inevitable that there will be a bit of ‘wastage’ along the way.

I sometimes try to imagine what a printmaking class would comprise of (Having never studied printmaking or art or design when I was younger (in a formal way). If printmaking mainly was about the psychomotor skill (and not about having to study the history of printmaking or the cultural aspects of the medium), then in the future, would anyone really need to study printmaking or could they also quite possibly totally DIY it with a precision cutting machine like this? A print would be made by simplifying an image into the main regions and colours, and then vinyl cutting those specific areas in the right coloured vinyl that one could obtain. With a physical vinyl, more vibrant or unusual colours beyond the digital printing colours could be obtained – like spot colours, pearlescence, reflective mirror finishes, or holographic effects…

Actual time spent making the digital file and writing this post was several times more than the time spent on actually executing this project physically. Took me probably a maximum of 15 min from cutting the vinyl, loading it up on the lightgrip mat, cutting the vinyl, weeding, laying over the transfer tape, cleaning the target surface, and transferring the vinyl to the surface. So yeah… precision and speed was achieved.

The final product!

Rochor Dream: HSL/HSV colour values and making an iridescent/rainbow shader in Blender

Recently I’ve enjoyed just playing around in Blender with colour. There are three ways of declaring colors in blender – hex, rgb and hsv – very similar to CSS/HTML where you declare colour in hex, rgb and hsl. In a way its easier to use HSV or HSL because the model is based on the colours themselves but from each colour you can also change saturation and lightness, so it is a lot easier to pick and compare based on how close a colour is to another.

You can’t possibly do that from just eyeballing the RGB values or worse still the hex code for a colour (hex being the more compact form and thus less human readable way of declaring RGB values). So in a way HSL/HSV is a bit more designer friendly. Most young designers don’t really delve that far into digital colour or colour spaces, and it seems more to be a thing that would concern programmers and developers more, but I wanted to get an iridescent colour-shifting hue, so the only way to get it is to look a bit closer at the way in which colour is picked.

Iridescence is where the surface changes colour as the angle of view or angle of illumination changes.
HSL stands for hue, saturation, lightness, while HSV stands for hue, saturation, value. (Personally speaking, the HSV and HSL colour spaces look pretty much the same to me…)


There’s some image compression on this image, so the colour wheel is a bit wack, but you can look at where the selector dot moves as I tweak the H, S, and V values….

In Blender there’s the handy color ramp which is meant to map the values of your colour into a gradient. You just define the colours at the ends and then get Blender to calculate the gradient between the two (or more) colours. Now what I found was that you can ask it to map the colours around the wheel either clockwise, counter-clockwise, and also either via the nearest route (when you want complementary colours) or the furthest route around the entire wheel, thus achieving that distinctive “iridescent” look which is very similar to what humans are able to perceive.

When you change the H(ue) value, your selector goes around in a circle. When you change the S(aturation) value, the selector goes from the centre outwards or inwards. As for V(alue), it goes from light to black. Compare this with the rather confusing mixture of red green and blue to that goes into any colour under the rgb color space.

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure this is the final colour I am going for, it still feels like an experiment. Anyway, I’m going to try to make a couple more things like this in the coming month; hopefully I can make a few interesting looking prints on the metallic pearl paper…

Excerpt from Rochor Dream:
Coming soon on Plural Magazine’s 100 Artists!

New motherhood is like a trip to a foreign country: Flatlands

Here’s a recent visual experiment that I made in the stolen moments of Beano’s naps. The setting is the 3-room rental flat we used to stay in, a very mundane 3-room “New Generation” (slab block) default template HDB flat built back in the 70s and 80s. And I think I’ve finally found a way to explain this thing that I’ve tried to explain many times before (but struggle to explain, similar to how its hard to explain my experience of taste-shape and mirror-touch synthesthesia).

For me, at any one time I always feel other superimpositions or juxtapositions of other places that feel a bit like memory palaces where I can store facts, thoughts, and memories of another time. Its hard to explain, but it is like when you have a work phone call, you might start doodling nonsense on a piece of paper. But in my case, when I start to daydream or let the mind wander (also: this happens when I am extremely focused on an urgent task and everything else zones out), I always end up recalling a visual memory of a place I’ve visited in the past. I am imagining tracing out its contours, I am imagining what the details must be like, what the lighting must be like. Honestly, I can’t really explain why certain views for me just keep popping up as the ‘memory palace’, as some of the locations are pretty inconsequential and emotionally insignificant to me. Yet! My mind returns to them for further rumination. To what end? I do not know.

I began writing the following some time back when Beano was a much smaller baby. But now that we are all locked down at home for the corona, and I haven’t left the house and its vicinity in days, fleeting memories of parks I’ve walked in come to mind. I found myself scrubbing through these albums trying to find the name of a particular memory that may as well be a dream. There was something oddly compelling about these images I had taken of my walks and frustratingly I COULD NOT FIND THAT ONE IMAGE OF THAT ONE WALK IN MY MIND. And turns out some of these images are pretty weird. Why are there no people in them?

It was always in the back of my mind to do something with this huge lot of photographs, so…. now they have ended up in this visual experiment. I actually think it looks better than I expected it; so I think I might even make more of them soon…


New motherhood is like a trip to a foreign country. Firstly, the middle of the night feedings are conducted in near-darkness, with the endless droning of the white noise machine in the background, and some random show on Netflix playing to sustain your consciousness beyond all normal hours lest you fall asleep on the sofa and baby accidentally rolls off; not unlike when one takes a plane and night-time is arbitrarily enforced upon you, the sound of the engines whirring is ubiquitous, and all you’ve got to watch are some random blockbusters or episodes of Big Bang Theory on the inflight.

When Beano was very very small, I found myself trying to claw back a sense of mobility through a series of ever increasingly longer walks with Beano strapped to me. In some ways, this strategy reminds of me of the Capital Ring walk I did in 2017. Living in Greater London makes one feel crushed by one’s own insignificance in a big city that is too vast to know by foot, so I thought I’d try to complete a ring around the city.

Once upon a time I was going to do a detailed expository blog post for each leg but AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT so here are quite simply the photo albums for each leg of the walk…

Debbie’s 2017 Capital Ring Walk!

The source material for “Flatlands”

“I decided to walk the supposedly 78 mile Capital Ring over 6 consecutive days. I say “supposedly”, for Debbie does not go “as the crow flies” but rather haphazardly in a squiggly line all over the map, and according to other mapping devices it seems I may have walked more than 150 miles in total. Rather than starting with the traditional route as listed in TFL’s maps and David Sharp’s guide book to the Capital Ring, I decided to start and end my journey at Stoke Newington’s Rochester Castle.”

14 March 2017: CAPITAL RING Stoke Newington to Woolwich

Day 1: Stoke Newington to Hackney Wick
Day 1: Hackney Wick to Beckton District Park
Day 1: Beckton District Park to Woolwich Foot Tunnel

15 March: CAPITAL RING

Day 2: Woolwich Foot Tunnel to Falconwood
Day 2: Falconwood to Grove Park

16 March 2017: CAPITAL RING

Day 3: Grove Park to Crystal Palace
Day 3: Crystal Palace to Streatham Common

17 March 2017: CAPITAL RING

Day 4: Streatham Common to Wimbledon Park
Day 4: Wimbledon Park to Richmond

18 March 2017: Capital Ring

Day 5: Richmond to Osterley Lock
Day 5: Osterley Lock to Greenford
Day 5: Greenford to South Kenton

19 March 2017: CAPITAL RING

Day 6: South Kenton to Hendon Park
Day 6: Hendon Park to Highgate
Day 6: Highgate to Stoke Newington

A Glorious Bale of Virtual Hay: Second Life worlds and their visual references

My Second Life Avatar is now approaching its teens! Monster Eel is 13!?… (and Monster wasn’t even my first character). Every few years when I return to Second Life I’m delighted to find that it has its own life, going on strong. Things are even more detailed now. Who is doing all this? Who is paying for people to do this? Is it all just a passion project for people? Why does this unnecessarily detailed digital bale of hay exist? There’s a whole cottage industry of people making exquisite virtual hairpieces and billowing blouses and freckled skin and distressed furniture and plants and antiques and futuristic gizmos for sale (sometimes dispensed via some unnecessarily complicated gacha machines)!

Over the weekend Beano decided to have a long nap whilst strapped to me (WOW!!!!) so Mummy went on to Second Life to have an adventure without leaving home… and also to look at the types of interactions in these ‘installations’. If we think about the references that each of these worlds draw upon, I realised that the places I visited could be divided into 6 different categories….

1. Depicts an abstract world
Betty Tureaud’s Rooms
https://secondlife.com/destination/rooms-by-betty-tureaud

2. Replicates real world and has specific references
Paris for Ara
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Simpson%20Bay/114/79/27

3. Replicates real world but has no specific reference
Breath of Nature (Serena Falls)
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Serena%20Falls/28/82/22

4. Depicts a fictional world and with specific references to fictional works
Kintsugi
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Runaway/71/123/23

5. Depicts a fictional world with some realistic elements set in the past
Puddlechurch Rye
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Puddlechurch%20Rye/128/182/44

6. Depicts a fictional world with some realistic elements set in the future
Planet Vanargand Outpost Fenrir & Solveig Village
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Amazing%20Island/148/169/242

[Admittedly, I have been writing a lot of LESSON OBJECTIVES lately and this might be seeping into the above…]

The categories are not black and white, they blur into one another. Perhaps there are unknown references behind them all that I am not aware of. To what extent are these novel creations, or are they actually faithful copies of weirdly specific things in some specific world of the creators? I… really don’t know. Will some of these mysterious anonymous SL creators ever reveal a bit more about their own design process…? Is it recorded somewhere in the world via the odd blogger webpage or flickr group, posted online under pseudonyms that I can find?


1. Depicts an abstract world
Betty Tureaud’s Rooms
https://secondlife.com/destination/rooms-by-betty-tureaud

This is like looking into a early 2000s book on Creative Coding, or Intro to Processing, or looking at a folder of three.js’s webgl experiments. Experiments and snippets, I say, because these abstract rooms are more like raw snippets than actual stories or narratives or worlds to explore.

The iridescent rooms look empty but when you walk into the middle of the rooms (probably triggered by your avatar walking onto the slightly raised surface), this triggers different interactive animations. This reminds me of the SL in the days of yore, when interaction and realism were even more limited, so all you could write a LSL script to rezz up were a bunch of basic geometric forms that were randomly coloured whenever you entered a space, and for interaction you could move these about randomly (although to what end, this would be unclear). In fact, this is EXACTLY what happens in some of the rooms.

Whilst I love these rooms because they definitely look nothing like real life (and it seem to me that Betty Tureaud’s works over the years have been focused on creating abstract worlds that don’t exist in real life, peppered with statues of human forms), I still think that the interactions for these have come a bit as an afterthought, or isn’t as naturalistic or intuitive as it could be (based on current available technology in SL). Its just like how we don’t use marquee or iframe or mouseover or flash anymore and javascript mouseovers and css transforms don’t really impress anyone anymore. (It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy walking through the rooms though!)

2. Replicates real world and has specific references
Paris for Ara
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Simpson%20Bay/114/79/27

Paris for Ara is a location in Simpson Bay labeled under photogenic spots, and boy is it photogenic. I’m betting that many a SL fashion shoot has been done here. Although it is supposed to be Paris, it looks a bit more like Carnaby Street in London than Paris per se with all the English signage mixed in, and with the prominent rainbow pride flags everywhere (yay!), parts of it also feel more like Soho. The vision for this is ostensibly to render a real world scene into Second Life.

Some of the details are crazy amazing even when you zoom in, like for example, these steaming hot beignets (french donut fritters) I found on a cafe table. I’m impressed!

A photogenic spot like this is probably quite universally understood and enjoyed by all, since it has a real world reference (even if its been fudged a bit by mixing elements from different countries, but you know, ‘generic european city with street-side cafes and pubs’), and some of the buildings are even faithfully rendered in their interiors, so I would imagine these to be spots designed to be rented out to residents or for retail purposes. I walked into what I think was a cream cake shop and there were 3 floors of empty rooms above, overlooking the street. There was even a torch by the stair, because you might have that in the stairway of a real stairway in reality, but I didn’t use it because I had set the environment to SUNRISE.

3. Replicates real world but has no specific reference
Breath of Nature (Serena Falls)
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Serena%20Falls/28/82/22

Next I visited another photogenic spot, Breath of Nature in Serena Falls. A beautiful flower meadow with pastoral elements rendered in loving detail – an endless sea of soft dandelions, a white horse, a windmill, an old farmhouse, some sheep, a rustic wagon… I know, people dig this shit. Can’t go outside into nature? Well here’s nature for you in Second Life. Oh and with some generic amercian top 40 alt rock country pop internet streaming radio channel playing by default in this SIM… as always. I’ve always wondered if this is the soundtrack by which the creators of these objects live by. Once in a while a SIM has good radio tastes, but most of the time, its just this not-very-interesting generic internet radio streaming through wherever I go, punctuated by the sound of my avatar thudding against things by mistake (THUNK THUNK THUNK THUNK).

There are some gems here though. A bale of hay with an ingenious way of seeming real. I know, these tropes of construction must have been devised years ago, and I admit I have never been deeply involved in building things in SL (and more of a tourist in SL), but there are some cool tricks to be found here. Its not hair particles which gives our hay bale its realistic appearance, it is a few strategically placed strands which do the trick.

I’m all like, who decided to build this in such detail? How many hours did it take? For them to construct the chicken coop with its wires, its distressed wood texture, to decide on its form. Is it a person with a chicken coop just like this? Did they HAVE to design a chicken coop first or did they use a reference from somewhere? I mean, this is not even a normal chicken coop. Its a set of shabby chic drawers converted into chicken coop. With a pile of rustic bricks by its side.

Finally, this bucket of ducklings with a duck about to jump into the water with mother duck looking on. This item even chirps. Yes, the ducklings, they are chirping. The water is cleverly done with just a partially transparent alpha layer on top with a translucent white pattern that makes it look like a reflection on water (not a true reflection of anything, but it doesn’t have to be in order to look real enough from a distance!)

4. Depicts a fictional world and with specific references to fictional works
Kintsugi
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Runaway/71/123/23

This parcel is named Kintsugi (the japanese term for repairing cracked pottery with gold) but really it is a tribute to Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, which I will confess that I can no longer remember the story line for. It is supposedly based on the fictional world in the anime, and this plot relies a lot on notecards and the chat system to distribute information about the world to the user. Personally, I am not so much a fan of notecards, even though I like words – because all these notecards fall into my inventory and become a big mess over time.

A magical house on an island….

A series of red torii shrine gates… because why not, if you already have made one beautiful torii gate?

The water isn’t really Second Life water, but some other object which has these obviously faked water ripples on them which look realistic from a distance but then when close up, start to look very artificial. You can walk on the water, which I think is the point of this magical world (in most of SL, you can walk into the water and ocean and even have a rather long walk into the ocean although it might be quite boring).

The mist and atmosphere is nice, but once again, like with any role play environment, the reverie of being in a mystical forest is sometimes punctuated by other SL residents walking by. Yeah one thing I don’t get is why there are so many SL residents dressed as ladies with big bosoms and big hair and big butt in a tight dress…

5. Depicts a fictional world with some realistic elements set in the past
Puddlechurch Rye
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Puddlechurch%20Rye/128/182/44

Another photogenic spot, Puddlechurch Rye is an event space which is reminiscent of a warehouse space, dressed up as a 1920s parisan speakeasy cigar lounge with plush carpets, stacks of antique books, delicate chandeliers, a stage for performances, and a gallery space. Reminds me a bit of when I visited the Museum of Everything in Paris (a travelling museum for artwork by outsider artists).

How much of a world like this is actually created entirely from scratch by one person (or a small team of people)? How many man hours goes into designing a world like this? Or, is this in part a very clever curation of well chosen objects from different creators to paint for us this speakeasy ambience?

What’s interesting is the detail to which the exhibition has been set with draperies, with conventional framing and unconventional framing. Can’t do a real world exhibition? Well this is pretty close, although the artwork is also the world which has been rendered for us in such detail.

An exhibition space for flat 2D artwork, shown in several different ways…

Conventionally framed artworks…

Along with some unconventional framing…

And finally, some moving louvres to display 2D artwork. Not entirely interactive, but some ideas here on different ways to present a work in a virtual space…

6. Depicts a fictional world with some realistic elements set in the future
Planet Vanargand Outpost Fenrir & Solveig Village
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Amazing%20Island/148/169/242

The thumbnail for this outpost on the SL destinations board was a huge “alien” mountain. But really, mountains are just boring old mountains like the ones on earth unless you say… ITS A SPACE BASE FROM THE FUTURE and here’s a space outpost to go with it! I landed in this space outpost floating in the sky (no biggie, not a hard thing to build) and immediately was overrun by other residents rezzing on top of me, skimpily dressed ladies dressed in tight dresses and high heels running around over small old me. Yeah so much for the scifi vibes…

I enjoyed walking around this space base until I went through a door which said “NO ENTRY” which I assumed was written specifically to entice me to enter anyway. A few metres further down they must have not finished building the space station because I hilariously walked into a big hole in the floor, immediately falling about 3000 metres down back to ground, landing noisily on a giant geodesic dome…

Finally I found myself in an empty carpark in this alien world admiring the detail of the snowflakes blowing past me. No detail has been spared! The snowflakes are not just circles, they are images of SNOWFLAKES.

At this point Beano woke up so I had to terminate my adventures in SL…


Why haven’t I made an ‘art’ project on Second Life before?

Last year Linden Endowment for the Arts closed. For many years now I have always wondered if I should apply for the land grants in the past, but I never got around to it because Second Life was something I enjoyed as a game, exploring without a specific goal. It simply wasn’t high on my priority, since it requires quite an investment of time to build this all, and I’ve got a lot of real world projects to finish. Second Life was leisure and enjoyment for me, not work, the same way one might enjoy a pleasant walk through nature without the desire to reshape it all. I suppose if you were just dabbling and not too sure on whether you would commit to building such a project, it might have been useful to give you a nudge to go and do it without any financial startup cost. Land tiers aren’t cheap after all. And if this is not art per se, then, is this all a ‘vanity’ project?…

However, the closing of LEA is not as much a loss as one might expect. I suppose if I am really motivated to create art in SL, I would continue to make it regardless of whether I had a land grant or not, and even with the closing of LEA, there continues to be lots of art on SL. To be honest I never really got into the community for SL artists. Besides a run in with some people in Singapore building an amazing Sikh temple several years ago (what happened to it I wonder?) I don’t know what happened to other SL makers in Singapore…. Or maybe if you are out there, give me a holla…?