Saturday, 22 August 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT: Paramour Shopping Region Now Open

It gives me great pleasure to announce the opening of the new Paramour Shopping region in Refugegrid. This is a completely new region that will gradually be expanded over time, but I've been getting some requests recently that make me think it's worth opening sooner rather than later.

Where It Is and What You'll Find There

To visit the region, HGTP to where you'll arrive in the main Refugegrid Welcome region. Then take the local portal to Paramour Shopping (Seth will have this portal set up this weekend) or do a map search for "Paramour Shopping". Please don't HGTP directly into the region because of the heavy HG login hit on the simulator -- our Welcome region is set up to handle it, my shopping region might struggle.

So, why would you want to visit Paramour Shopping? Here's what you can expect to find there already, and I'm constantly adding more and more items to it.

More than 50 unique, mesh statues

Over the course of the last few years I've made a fairly large number of mesh statues, in both marble and metalic textures. Some of these were made as art for my Paramour region, others were part of my OSG7B exhibit in the summer of 2014, others were made for my Roman Bath build, others are part of an upcoming installation I'm participating in at Nara's Nook, and still others are ones I have made for some of my private regions.

There are more than 30 of couples, and more than a dozen single figures. as well as a set of lions and a variety of plinths that can be used for all statues. All of these are full perm so they can be textured and scaled any way you like. All are of my own creation and very few are available elsewhere. I add to the collection on a fairly regular basis.

Price per statue: free

More than 150 fine art paintings at 1024 resolution

I frequently use fine art paintings as decor in my builds. I also use them as reference sources when creating new statue poses, buildings, clothing, and all sorts of other occasions. Over time I've built up a rather large collection of them, all scaled to make their long-dimension 1024 while preserving the aspect ratio. These can be placed in frames, or re-scaled to eliminate the edging (just remember to disable "stretch textures" before you scale if you're cropping the sides, and re-enable it if you're scaling the whole painting).

The majority of the paintings are from the Romantic, Neoclassical, and Orientalism art movements; but there are scattering of others. You'll find them covering the walls of the building -- both inside and all around the outside -- and I add to them as I collect new ones. All are public domain artwork and available from a variety of art websites so this just saves you the trouble of going out and getting them yourself.

Price per painting: free

Almost 1000 Female AO Animations

Over the years I've collected a huge number of female AO animations and many of the places I obtained them from have long since vanished so many are now hard to find. I've assembled all of the ones I have into a series of preview vendors, one vendor per AO action (walking, sitting, ground sit, etc).

Just hop onto the vendor's poseball and use its controls to preview the animations. Clicking the "buy" button will give you the one that's currently playing. If you really want to there's also an option to "buy all" but be warned that for the most common AO actions there could easily be over 100 animations so it will take a little while to transfer them all to your inventory.

Over time I intend to expand this area to also offer all of the assorted dance animations I've collected -- both singles and couples -- and eventually my entire animation and static pose collection (more than 4000 in total). Sorry, I have very, very few male AO ones.

With the exception of a handful of animations and poses I made myself, most are ones I've found as freebies while shopping all over the metaverse in the last half-dozen years or have been given to me by friends. I received them as full perm and open-source but if you are the creator of one and don't wish to be redistributed, please contact me and I'll remove it immediately.

Price per animation: free

The Complete Paramour Product Line

All of the assorted Paramour objects that I've released are now here as well. The PMAC System and Add-Ons, The Dancemaster dance system, the Polemaster dancepole, the Country Line Dance Floor, the Table Dancer table, and a Chair Dance system (sorry, the chair itself is pretty ugly still...I haven't gotten around to making a good mesh chair for it yet). My miscellaneous NPC items are there as well, and I'll be adding more scripts, utilities, and items as time goes by.

Currently, these items are all also available in the lobby of my Hedonism dance club but I would eventually like to remove them from that location so I don't have to keep duplicates of everything up-to-date as I release new products (and so people who want to just come to shop aren't hampered by any parties going on upstairs). Hopefully I can complete that transition later this year provided the shopping region holds up under the traffic -- something I will monitor fairly closely for a while. You can get these products in a handful of other places around the metaverse.

Pricing: all of my products are free

Limited Time Public Showing: Roman Bath Build (not for sale)

For a limited time I have placed my complete Roman Bath build on the south side of the region. This is not for sale, although the statues and paintings there are all available in the shopping center building. It's merely there as an opportunity to see a very highly detailed build that I normally don't have open to the public.

To fully appreciate it as it was intended:
  • make sure you are in ultra graphics mode with objects LODs set to max
  • make sure advanced lighting is enabled
  • make sure shadows are enabled and set to "Sun/Moon + Projectors"
  • make sure "bump mapping and shiny" is enabled 
  • make sure water reflections are enabled and set to "everything"
  • try viewing it under several different windlight settings (see below)
  • take a close look at things...there are details that the viewer won't show you until your camera is within the necessary LOD range
  • keep a fire extinguisher handy in case your graphics card catches's a very graphics-intensive build :p
The region itself is set to a fairly bright, flat lighting to make it a better shopping environment; but this lighting model is not suitable for the original design of the Roman Bath build which was for a warmer angular light.

This means to see it as it was originally intended you'll need to switch your viewer's windlight to something closer to my original custom lighting model for it which was a slightly soft angular light. It's worth checking out under SL 6am and 9am lighting, or SL 3pm and 6pm lighting, or AnaLutetia Avatar Opt (in Firestorm...not sure if other viewers have that one) or any windlight setting where the ambient light level is fairly low and most of the light comes from the sun or moon. It needs to be casting shadows that aren't too harsh, yet aren't so weak that it fails to show the extensive normal and specular mapping that (almost all of!) the surfaces have.

The building's central roof area is touch-to-hide/unhide. Normally only I can do this but I've enabled it for everyone to touch and see the effect of it being either an open-air or closed structure. If you can remember to, please leave it with the roof visible.

The original building also had a controller that lowered the region's water level, emptying the pool of water and turning the entire building into a dance hall instead (complete with Dancemaster system and a few Polemaster poles rising into position). I didn't include that part of the build here so you'll just have to imagine it without the water.

It's here for show only, not for sale; and will only be there for a few months -- it's more or less a visual space-filler so the region doesn't look quite so empty until I expand the shopping area with an additional building or two to house even more artwork and objects that I will slowly be releasing to the public.

And It's All Free? There's No Catch?

Yes, I do not charge for anything I create. It's all completely free.

For the time being I will be hosting the shopping region on my own server. That means you'll need to be a little bit patient when you first arrive since there are a lot of objects and textures that have to be sent to you. If there isn't a huge amount of traffic at any one time you should find the load times (and the time it takes to transfer things you "buy" to your inventory) fairly short. My "test guests" generally had the entire region rezzed and visible within 30 seconds of arriving. If there are a bunch of people at the same time it might get a little sluggish, for which I apologize. Hopefully you'll find it worth the wait.

Once in a while people ask me if I accept tips and I decline. I want to give back to the community that has so generously given me all sorts of things over the years. However, if you'd like to contribute the price of a cup of coffee or two to the cost of Refugegrid's servers -- which host my Hedonism dance club and serve all of the assets for my self-hosted regions -- you can find a secure Paypal link on the main Refugegrid web page. If there's significant region traffic and people are kind enough to make the occasional donation, it might become viable to move the shopping region to a dedicated instance on the main RG server. If not, I'll just continue to host it myself.

Anything Else?

Over time I intent to add:
  • a lot more statues -- I enjoy making them and I'm starting to get my workflow down to a reasonable time investment
  • more Paramour products for dance clubs as I think of them and script them...I'll happily take suggestions if you think there's a demand for something that either doesn't currently exist or exists but is simply too hard on sim resources
  • more Paramour products for NPC management, handling, and other utilities of that nature
  • a full line of PMAC furniture products (beds, sofas, etc) I'm slowly creating
  •  various other miscellaneous objects I create or scripts I write
  • other, more varied artwork -- potentially including installations by other interested artists
Most of the things I make are for my own consumption but if I think they might appeal to the broader public I will often try to make a more generic version and release it (the Dancemaster system is an example of that, as is the PMAC system). I do occasionally take requests if the project appeals to me, but please don't be offended if I decline...I'm happily retired now and want to enjoy it so I'll pass on anything that feels too much like work.

I hope you enjoy your visit and find at least a few things you like.

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