Six Years of Being Yordie Sands

It slipped right by me a couple days ago. I guess I was so wound-up in “Tomb Raider” that I forgot, but on February 14, 2008, this Being Yordie Sands blog began. In those days I was in that phase where I was compelled to define what Second Life is and I wanted to document my journey.

I had a plan to write a post every day, regardless of how I felt or whether or not I had anything to say. Now, six years later, I can look back at how this blog has evolved and I’m surprised at how many different stages I’ve been through.

For those who don’t know, this blog began as a Google Blogger blog and was imported to WordPress about a year ago. The Blogger blog had been surprisingly successful, with 100,000 views and at one point in time a Google search of “Yordie Sands” returned over 50 pages of links (20 links per page). I just checked today’s search count and it returned only seven pages, a substantial decline. The truth is, I just haven’t been in SL much in the past year, and don’t have much to blog or social network about, and the Google result is probably better than I could expect or deserve. Nonetheless, I was proud of the degree of coverage I once enjoyed.

Yordie Sands, Photographer, stars, heroine, virtual fantasy life

On Saturday I took about an hour and visited Second Life.
That’s me in SL Kyoto, an Edo era region that has been around for years.

Yesterday I logged into Second Life and sought some inspiration, something to reignite my interest, something to lead me to open a new chapter in my second life. I checked out the Destination Guide and wandered over to an interesting looking Japanese region, and that got me wondering if the BAKUMATSU regions, home of Edo Kyoto, were still open. Surprisingly, it was and I spent some time wandering around. I saw a residence open for rental and for a moment I considered putting my money down; unfortunately, the region is Japanese language and I realize my brand of Anglo-Japanese adventure just wouldn’t work there.

Btw, April is my rez day and Yordie Sands will be seven in Second Life years. I’m hoping to find some motivation and write an account of my virtual life. It may also be a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned and what my future my hold.

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I, Tomb Raider

On Friday afternoon I finished my adventure as Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, and another “Survivor” was born. I was 98% complete when I finished, not bad I suspect. Here’s a vid that gives a look into Lara’s world and what you face if you take on this game.

Found this cool pic on geekbeat.tv http://geekbeat.tv/review-tomb-raider-2013/

Found this cool pic on geekbeat.tv
http://geekbeat.tv/review-tomb-raider-2013/

Most of my real gaming experience goes back over a decade, so I don’t have a lot to compare this game to, but I thought it was awesome! It’s probably the ultimate game for me personally because it has so many features that appeal to me. However, there are several aspects of the game that were a letdown; I’ll talk about those later.

The WOW Factor

There are five things that really WOWed me about this game. First, the avatar of Lara Croft was great and the actress playing the part was near perfect, her voice and movements created a sense of reality and I became totally immersed in her character. Second, the landscaping was fantastic and the physical attributes were perfect, not to mention that some of the areas were simply awesome to view. Next, the storyline was as good of an adventure as possible within the limitations of the market, it was exciting and at times terrifying. Fourth, the animations in general were as good as anything I’ve ever seen, again, the physics were outstanding. And finally, there were no defects that caused any disruption of my play.

There Were Issues Though

Even though this was game an enjoyable experience, there were three issues that left me with the feeling that the game wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. The main issues I had is, this game was along the same line as games I’d played in the 1990s; for the most part it’s about solving silly puzzles, collecting useless junk, doing finger gymnastics with the controller, and shooting stuff up.  This is the proven, “rinse and repeat” formula that appeals to the young male audience, despite the fact that the protagonist is a female. In fact, after viewing the vast list of credits that were displayed at the end of the game, maybe hundreds of people, over 90% of the product development staff was male.

Other than selecting a great young woman actress, Camilla Luddington, to star as Lara’s motion capture and voice, there was nothing I saw aided at making the game appealing to actual females, yanno, women. I know there are women and girls who will play this game and will be fine with what it is, as it is, but I would like to have seen this game include elements that reach out to women (nuff said for now). Second, is it really necessary to have sooooo much violence and gore and rotting corpses and filth and yuk? And one last thing, I found the main menu screen graphics, the character graphics that is, to be very poor on my 43″ Sony Bravia tv.

And Then There’s Multiplayer

I probably should have waited to take a plunge into the Multiplayer extension of “Tomb Raider”, but I went ahead and hurled myself in, as always. Unfortunately, I was disappointed on so many levels I wish I’d taken a long break before trying it. I’ll try it a second look after a break.

All Things Considered

I’m glad I played this game. It was an adventure and I feel like I have a much better handle on the Xbox controller, until the next game comes along and many of the controls are different. heh

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Being Lara Croft

I finally found an Xbox game that I can identify with, “Tomb Raider. Yanno, Lara Croft® and all. It’s so obvious that this is the kind of game for me. So, you might think, why did it take you so long to figure out that this is the game for you? I guess I was just lost in the maze of vid games.

Here's a great photo of Lara Croft from HD Wallpapers. (http://www.hdwallpapers.in/tomb_raider_2013-wallpapers.html)

Here’s a great photo of Lara Croft from HD Wallpapers.
(http://www.hdwallpapers.in/tomb_raider_2013-wallpapers.html)

Anyway, I finally tried being Lara Croft and, so far, I’ve enjoyed playing the game. I’m about 64% into the game, but I’m not sure how much farther I’ll be able to go. For me, Xbox games are hard and very time consuming.

You can buy "Tomb Raider" on Amazon. (http://www.amazon.com/Tomb-Raider-Xbox-360/dp/B004FSE52C)

You can buy “Tomb Raider” on Amazon.
(http://www.amazon.com/Tomb-Raider-Xbox-360/dp/B004FSE52C)

I love the graphics and the remote, ancient Japanese island setting, and there’s time to do a lot of exploring which I like.

I don’t enjoy running around and killing things but the designers have done a good job of making me want to shoot the evil, murderous psychos that inhabit the island. And I like my bow and shot gun, and I like my AK47 and even my pistol. heh

I’d like to finish the game but game designers don’t seem to envision gamers who are over 30. I want to finish so I’ll have the skills needed to join the online, multiplayer game.

OTOH and the thing is, if the multiplayer experience is anything like the challenges in completing this game, I’m not likely to last very long.

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Linden Lab is Headless Again

It’s old news now, but I just learned this morning that Linden Lab’s CEO, Rod Humble, left his job at the Lab about two weeks ago. And apparently Will Wright, a close associate of Rod’s, has left the Linden Lab Board of Directors. There’s no CEO and there’s no Chairman, the Lab is headless.

There’s virtually no information about what happened or why on Linden Lab’s Press page, but I got my update from Inara Pey, Hamlet Au and Draxtor Depres. Be sure to listen entire Drax radio program, there’s an interesting interview with Harvey Crabsticks.

I left some comments on Drax’s page, but I want to write some more about this subject soon.

Linden Lab About as of February 1, 2014.

Linden Lab About as of February 1, 2014.

Posted in Real Life | Tagged , ,

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.”

Click here to see the complete report.

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Reflecting on 2013, Envisioning 2014

As readers know, I’ve been kind of on-again/off-again with my second life since declaring it’s “Time to Say Goodbye” to Second Life. That was back in February and even though I’ve returned to SL to participate in a few events since then, the truth is I don’t know what will become of my virtual life, be it SL or InWorldz or Xbox or whatever.

“You’re Really Gone”

Even though I don’t know for sure what will become of my virtual life, a couple months ago my friend Leanna said to me, in her always insightful manner, “You are really gone”. She caught me a little off guard because I wasn’t so sure that I was gone, but LeLe was right. The spell SL once held over me had been broken, and I am both happy and a bit unsettled. There are times I wish I could just hurl myself back into the life I once knew.

But I’m Still Here

There’s no point in rehashing my reasons for leaving SL, I’ve done that ad nauseam already, and the truth I’m not sure there’s a single reason for why I chose to leave Second Life. And there’s no way of explaining why I still flutter into SL from time to time, then disappear again.

Yordie Sands Photographer

I shot this photo while messing around in my Linden studio.
It’s nothing special but it is proof that I’m still hanging around…
albeit mindlessly hanging around. *heh*

Wandering Down Every Byway

I’ve been a difficult person to understand over the past year, but I’m not trying to be difficult. Since leaving my Second Life, almost a year ago, I’ve struggled to create a new way of life that allows me to adapt to real world changes while still holding onto some part of my virtual life. Unfortunately, I’ve wandered into many forks in the road and at each fork I’ve tried to travel down both pathways.

Wandering down every byway, while often amusing, has been a frustrating decision making process. And changes in my real life have presented me with many choices I’ve been unable to make, such that with each choice not made (a kind of choice in itself) I’ve added to the complexity of my life.

Finding the Main Road

Regardless of how I got here, I’ve find myself at another fork in the road and this one seems to beckon me to make a choice or just walk away from my dream. On one side of the road is more aimless wandering and on the other, a very demanding road. Naturally, I’ve chosen the rough road. (*smiles*) Here’s the thing though, this will be my main road for the coming months, starting in 2014.

Breathing Life into My Novel

In the recent past I’ve mentioned that I’ve been researching a novel. I’ve been doing this research for well over a decade, it’s how I’ve spent many late nights and early mornings. Friends have told me that I don’t need to do all the research I’ve done, but the research fascinates me. And stories of others I’ve enjoyed most are those that don’t ask me to make too great a “suspension of disbelief”.

The truth is, my novel project is by far too ambitious for someone with my skill set and education. The historic, scientific and other technical subject matters take me far beyond my knowledge. But I love the story that’s brewing, it’s themes and characters and settings, and I’m not afraid of failure. However, I am afraid of not being able to finish the project.

Yordie Sands – A Second Blog

This blog, Being Yordie Sands, has been about my life in a virtual world. I’ll probably continue to write about my virtual life in the future but I’ve decided that my novel needs a blog of its own. The new blog is about the writing of the novel, nothing else.

Any way I look at this novel though, it’s time for me to pump up the volume around here and make the jump from research, character profiles, themes, entities, timelines, outlines and such, and to formalizing this story I’ve been carrying around inside me. The biggest concern I have is, I don’t have a truly satisfying ending for the story, yet!

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Yordie Sands on XBox

It all started around our house with football season, we began playing NFL Fantasy Football, then “Madden 25” game on Xbox. Now, I know quite a bit about football, but I’m still struggling with all the details of offenses and defenses, not to mention NFL terminology. Then there’s all those buttons and gadgets on the Xbox controller. I’m learning though, I even know the difference between a “Cover 2” and “Cover 4” and stuff like that. And I’ve also learned what many of those controller buttons do.

Then there’s all the other games we’ve started playing around with. I’m not good at any of them but I like “Call of Duty” best of the shoot’em up games, so far.

And there’s a new game I just got, “Remember Me”! I’ve been looking at some vids about the game and it kinda has the feel of the new “Total Recall” movie (2012), but I don’t know if that’s the intention. And the protagonist is female! Unfortunately, the female protagonist drove a lot of publishers away. I hope there are other games with fem protagonists, but maybe gaming is just a guy thing.

Anyway, here’s some pics from “Remember Me”.

Xbox Game

Apparently, the fact that the game has a female protagonist
drove a lot of publishers away. geez

And here’s a vid that kinda gives you a look into the game, but there is a vast world to explore. That’s on of my favorite features of this game, the freedom to explore, sorta.


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We fumble around with some in-house multi-player gaming, but haven’t ventured out into the wild world of predatory gamers. I really like Xbox, even though we have Xbox 360, but maybe Xbox One is in our future. BTW, my gamer ID is “Yordie Sands” on Xbox. Jus’ sayin’

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