Friday, November 28, 2014

Virtual Ability: Accessibility For the Disabled

By Wesley Regenbogen

We sometimes don’t realize it, but there are people with disabilities in real life. They have a presence with Second Life as well. With that said, this means that over 15%, but closer to 20 % of the Second Life residents have a disability in real life. This means that 1 out of 5 avatars you encounter in Second Life has a disability in real life. That’s no small number. There are places to visit for Second Life residents with disabilities, such as Cape Able, Cape Serenity, Health Info Island and there are residential areas. But one special place for them in Second Life is Virtual Ability Island.
Virtual Ability Island was made by Gentle Heron and two friends of hers. But there are other places to visit as well: Cape Able, Cape Serenity, Health Info Island and there are residential areas for Second Life residents with disabilities. It was established in June 2007, seven years ago. 
There is a Virtual Ability group in Second Life with community events and there is a Google Calendar, which can be viewed in-world. Eme Capalini leads the Design/Build team of Virtual Ability Island. She wanted to make the island fully accessible and she did a very good job making that possible. Their website gives readers more information about the Virtual Ability Island.
What’s special about this place? Gentle Heron said this about it: “Our community welcomes people with all kinds of chronic illnesses and disabilities (physical, mental, emotional, developmental, and sensory) and helps them use the virtual world. We have been able to adapt all types of assistive technology that people use to access their computers to interface with Second Life.”
Able bodies don’t always think about how many skills they use in their everyday lives. But if you are recovering from a stroke or a traumatic brain injury or assisting a family member or a friend in that situation, then you suddenly realize just how many skills need to be re-learned.
In my personal opinion, this place is a nice place to learn more about disabilities, and realizing that there are Second Life residents who have a disability in real life. Either they are in a wheelchair, they are blind, or they have another disability. This makes you realize that there are many people with disabilities in both, the virtual worlds and in real life.
I find this project a very nice one, which offers many possibilities and high potential.
You can find the mentioned places :
Virtual Ability Island :
Cape Able :
Cape Serenity :
HealthInfo Island :

Wesley Regenbogen

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Primal Passions Club

By Bixyl Shuftan

If you're looking for a club that appeals to the wilder side, one place to check out is the Primal Passions Club. Located in a castle in the Zoxen sim the club promises to offer a unique adult experiance to mature-minded residents.

Co-owner Rayven Avalira described the club as a place for residents reguardless of appearance "to come and explore their more primal, feral and fantasies of every type and kind in a safe environment, along with meeting other like-minded individuals." Of it's orgins, "I had the idea of having my own club for awhile, but the idea for this one specifically came from when I met and married my Lion Beast Coeles, it was him who opened up a far wider world ... showing me the many possibilities of different species to explore and see what called to me." Second Life being a virtual world where one's appearance was more or less what one wanted to be, there was more out there than just a differance in skin color. One could find a lover of a different sapient race out of science fiction or fantasy.

"We then embarked on the many pleasures together from erotic, to carnal, to exploring the many ways of lust with not just each other but also with other playmates ... we wanted to bring the wide world of pleasures we found to together, to others in a safe place where all are respected and admired for their individuality and uniqueness."

Another reason for creating the club, not all places welcomed nonhuman avatars with open arms, "I have heard stories from others in my travels in SL that some places are not very friendly to mixed couples of human and furred. I also noticed to many clubs are speciests and discriminate by not allowing you in if your a non human, which angered me. To me all are equal human or not, its the personality and the one in the avi that matters over the avi to me, and vowed Coels and my place here, would never be speciests ever."

"I hated it when I found a great club, to only have them tell my non human friends they cant be there. Second Life is supposed to be this huge place of creativity and coalition of ideas and fun, but what fun is it if your excluded from a club, because you choose to be a beast, or furry or demon or other fantasy creature?"

Of the design for the club, "I always loved old castles, and how they can seem  so dark and foreboding on the outside, to reveal such elegance and beauty inside. Making one realize you can never judge the outside until you seen the beauty within. Hence the underlying hidden message of Primal Passions, don't judge till you seen the beauty with in." There is much inside to see and explore, "We have the main club area, a dungeon, a separate chambers skybox, a lapdance area, it is meant to make one feel at home while enjoying the many pleasures of our dancers and escorts, have fun with events and the variety of DJ's. I made sure to have a bit of something for everyones taste from romantic to BDSM." The hidden areas have beds, some made for normal human-sized avatars, others for when one or more partners is much larger in size.

But the secret beds aren't the only kind of fun to be had here. Rayven says the club plans to hold at least three events a week, "We play mostly from classic rock, rock, metal, etc genres, But all of our DJ's will gladly play any requests our guests have that they would like to hear. We are also hiring male and female dancers, escorts and dj's and hosts of all species, including human."

"We also intend to hold live concerts here as well," their first one planned being an Iron Maiden Tribute concert, "courtesy of Rockshoppe Concerts. The stage set is being built up outside as we speak. I would love to see a large turn out of course, as to me concerts are a great way for people to mingle and meet and strike up friendships and possibly far more."

Rayven's partner and the other co-owner of Primal Passions, Coeles Tentigo, had more to say about the club and why it came to be, "One of the big things here in Second Life, in my opinion a little silly, a number of sex clubs do only what can be easily done in real life, the same six pack abs, the same music, the same old thing. This doesn't make much sense to me ... so many possibilities. The people coming here will find a much different experience."

He described the club as "running under the 'Four-F System': fun, friends, 'farking,' and fantasy." Coeles expressed puzzlement as to why so many residents stick with ordinary human avatars, "you can become anything, so why become the same? I suppose there's the familiarity, but after a while it becomes boring. This place allows you to expand your horizions ... I think that's pretty awesome."

But just because a club caters to nonhumans, Coeles felt it doesn't necessarily mean it's ideal. He found some of the older furry clubs as having a number of  "immature individuals in the labor scene, bouncing around. That's fine for them, but we want to do something more mature." Coeles added, "we won't stand for any drama. We are very zero drama in that respect."

"We want to appeal to people who want to expand their fantasy, whether it involves demons, angels, or any other being from your imagination." Coeles did note there was one exception to their welcoming avatars of all kinds: child avatars are not welcome under any circumstances, "we're strictly an adult sim."

Coeles wanted Primal Passions to appeal to "eroticism, moving away from some of the simplistic aspects to some of the more complex, story driven, creativity, imagination ...not the wham-bam stuff." In a sense, the club will offer residents to become part of an erotic fantasy/sci-fi story, "You have an event, you meet up with a creature like me or her (Rayven), you'll get a much more deeper immersion, become part of things more adult oriented, storytelling cross-genre, eroticism, creativity, ideas never previously considered, real sensuality."

"If people come here and think it's going to be a demonic f**fest, it's not going to be that. The customer's going to come away with such an experience, they'll be telling fifty friends about it, something different and unique. I think people coming here (to Second Life), their imaginations have been stretched, but many of the clubs here don't cater to that we go for a much more memorable experience, more immersion for the senses. We're doing something different, catering to the unique." For those whom find certain creatures interesting, Coeles says they plan to encourage to have a variety of appearances in the audience from many fantasy/sci-fi races, "the more the merrier."

Coeles felt the experience would cause some visitors to have a moment of realization, "Wait a minute, I've spent my entire virtual time being just an ordinary human being. There's so much more here that I can be." Of his "Four-F System, if more people lived by that, there would be less trouble. If you want in here, check your drama at the door. If you have a problem, there's various ways of dealing with it without getting others involved. This will be a safe environment that you feel comfortable with, that you can experience new things without being judged and have fun amongst other adults. You don't have to be worried about being called, 'weird,' it's okay. It may not be the taste for everyone, but it will expand the horizons of many."

Coeles explained, here are some guidelines to the roleplaying, "no one's going to grab you and take you, unless that's what you want. There may be storylines in which people play the part of a character getting corrupted." Besides the roleplaying, "You can touch the dancers if they don't mind it. There will always be a chance for live interaction. If someone's going to be a problem is when the interaction ends." Rayven commented, "If people want to get it on on the dancefloor, I'll rezz a bed. It'll just cost so much an hour."

Coeles once again mentioned the no-drama rule, "if they're going to be idiots, we don't want anything to do with them ... it may put off a few people, but," they want the club to be enjoyable for all. Bloodlines is restricted, "no random biting. If someone wants to become a vampire, that can be worked out." The use of the "Onduty" male attatchment is definately *not* welcome. "If you can't play by the rules, you'll be shown the door, everyone else will go on without you, and you won't be wanted back."

"It's going to be interesting to see how it all works out, there may be a few little mistakes, but once people see what we're all about, good roleplay, individuals being comfortable with expressing themselves, people happy to visit a spot that caters to adult roleplay by mature adults."

"I would go to a lot of clubs, talk to people, a lot of people were so bored, 'there's nothing to do.' I'd talk to them about mine," Coeles stated while some weren't interested in his club, others were, "There's going to be a lot of fun to be had. The clientel, people who are going to be respectful adults ... if you want to get interactive and the dancer's fine with that," one can. "We have the rooms, the skybox, the dungeon."

Coeles mentioned another reason for the place was for, "an escape from the depressions of reality." It might be one's personal real life or, "the things that go on in the news. Seems you can't turn on the TV without hearing about someone get his head cut off by some maniacs. You can come here and escape and relax and de-stress, enjoy a higher level of sexual pleasure."

"Some things that other clubs don't allow, we do. We aim to be unique. Second Life is supposed to be this collaboration of ideas. So why be stuck only as a human all the time? Explore your fantasies in a safe environment. That's the beauty of virtual reality, your avatar can't truly be hurt, you're in a safe avenue where you can explore. For instance, I was at an Africa sim and had fun exploring the place. I can't do so in reality as Africa's too dangerous a place to visit."

Rayven commented, "The beauty of SL is you can do things here that you can't in real life. ... The first time I met him was interesting, I was a little scared. I was still 'trapped in that box.' When he got me in that bed, I wanted more. He opened a curiosity that just won't go away."

Coeles and Rayven noted that they have an open relationship, "The world needs a little less jealousy, less posessive, ... everyone has a great time. The madness of jealousy, I just don't understand it."

They noted that they're open to suggestions, such as to what events to have, "all people have to do is drop us a notecard."

"Why a castle? Well the way Coeles and I are, it's like beauty and the beast. Everyone's equal here in this place while having a good time. Something different from the run of the mill club in Second Life. If you're uncomfortable, you can turn around and head out the door, and no one will think any worse of you."

"So be ones pleasure music, concerts, sexy dancers and escorts, we have it all here, for all to enjoy regardless of species. ... This place is meant for all, as Coel and I see the beauty in all the other avatar species, and would love for them to all come and enjoy themselves here. Coel and I have also many secret things in the works that will also set us apart from all other clubs in Second Life as well. So many will want to stay tuned as to what those are and when they will happen here. To all the creators of all the other avi species, we want to tank them for the vison and creativity in helping to make Second Life a far moere diverse and beautiful place."

The Primal Passions Club is in the Zoxen sim.

Bixyl Shuftan