Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Airships: Episode 1 - Liftoff

An Austrailian series, "The Airships" is a comprehensive series that investigates the beginings, development, and decline of airships in RL. The series is in three parts, with the above episode covering the early history of airships, including its early years, the histroy of Von Graff Zepplin, and the uses of airships during WW1. It is six episodes of about 8 minutes each, so it is a good amount of time to watch them all, but they are fascinating, even if they veer a bit away from the classic Steampunk timeframe.

The rest of the episodes are below (Blogger tends to be a bit cranky with large numbers of videos posted at one time...), so please do enjoy!

Episode 1 - Part 2 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6ElREc6azA

Episode 1 - Part 3 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRvN5-g0jtg

Episode 1 - Part 4 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB_zw-UPwTE

Episode 1 - Part 5 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOKxWXBqSYA

Episode 1 - Part 6 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oc_zOxaFGE

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Heliograph presents... The Heliograph



While doing a bit of research, I actually located a precursor to this Heliograph, titled... The Heliograph (and I thought I was being original with the title). The original editor of this early print version of the Heliograph described it as such...

The Heliograph was a small-press 'zine which first appeared in 1996. It was vaguely popular in its day, and I still have people asking me when it's returning and requesting back issues.

Well, sad to say it won't be returning in its dead tree format, but I've decided to convert the old issues into electronic format and put them online.If anyone is interested enough to submit fiction, or artwork, or whatever, I'll look into relaunching the Heliograph as a regular e-zine. Please direct any enquiries to me at this address.

If you are a former contributor and would like something removed due to copyright reasons or suchlike, just contact me on the above address and I'll happily oblige.

-Mr. Mike Grant

There are five past issues to view, and the works are more Steampunk-esque fan fiction. The quality varies (based on the writer), but with pieces such as the "Great Airship Scare, the "Man who lived in a Clock", and the "New Improved Accelereator", it makes for an intersting peek into Steampunk, before the genre became as well-known as it is now.

To view it, please turn to:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Steampunk Dr. Who: "The Next Doctor"



For those who were unable to see the 2008 Dr. Who Christmas (and Steampunk) special (such as myself), here is the first episode. I attemtped to load all seven, but blogger would not cooperate. To see all of them, simply proceed to You Tube, and they will be there (well, at least for now, I suppose). Enjoy!

(A thank you to young Master Jimmy Branagh for the heads up!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Cozy Holiday Ball on Saturday and a fantastic rez-day celebration on Friday evening!



A Cozy Holiday Ball will be taking place tonigth, starting at 6pm SLT. As a standard bearer for civic entertainment in New Babbage, it promises to be a most entertaing evening at the Wheatstone Waterways.



For those who missed it, Mr. O'Toole's 2nd Rez Day was an outstanding success - althought it seems a bit obtuse to measure success via lag (lol)! Nonetheless, eventhough the massive lag, it was good to see and talk to so many old friends, and of course, the "homme du jour", the dashing Mr. Hotspur

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Events for the Christmas weekend...


First, the (in)famous Mr. Hotspur O'Toole will be having his second Rez-day on Friday, December 26th, at 7pm SLT. A fixture of the Steampunk community, do take the opportunity to drop in and wish him well on his special day in SL.



Next, "A Cozy Holiday Ball" in the Piermont Landing on Saturday, the 27 of December, at 6pm SLT. As the New Babbage social has taken new life with the SL Steampunk and Neo-Victorian communities, the monthly Piermont events aren't to be missed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gatehouse Gazette, Issue Four



Issue four of the Gatehouse Gazette was released earlier today, and is, of course, a must read for any self-respecting Steampunk afficionado. To indulge in latest edition (and review the previous ones), please turn to:

http://www.ottens.co.uk/gatehouse/gazette/

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ironclads: Orabelle Steamforge



Orabelle Steamforge's franchise in Antiquity Citadel

And now, for something completely different… well, somewhat, anyways. Nautical interaction is one of the biggest draws of my new locale, the Antiquity sims. However, for the bulk of Antiquity’s existence, ship combat has been limited to sailing ships, specifically the SPD class. Very nice, moddable ships, but unfortunately, they weren’t Steampunk in essence – they are Victorian (or perhaps a bit earlier, with the infusion of pirates in Antiquity), but sadly not Steampunk.

I had resigned myself to forgo any serious combat with a Steampunk flair, until the great "Open Sim" debacle (and subsequent re-organization) led to the emergence of Antiquity Citadel, which is not only home to one of the military factions in Antiquity (e.g. the Royal Antiquity Navy, the Prussians, The French, and of course, the piratical enclaves), but also home to military outfitters specializing in era (19th century) militaria. Since its emergence as a Steampunk militaria, I wandered along its port, past the Blue Whale Tavern, I spotted a merchant I frankly would not have expected in Antiquity after her departure from New Babbage – Kandace Commons’ "Orabelle's Steamforge".



Some of the non-combat vehicles from her offerings

I entered the store with a limited knowledge of her nautical endeavors, having tested her "Mosquito Pedalboat" in Antiquity Lagoon a while back, which I will concede, was quite a smart vessel. With a cocked eye, I saw the first of works, the "Golden Courier" Hydrofoil, the "W. Warrior Canal Racer", and the "W. Wayfaryer Canal Boat", and noticed she used sculpties vice traditional prims for her ships, lending them perhaps a more "solid" appearance.



As impressive as the RL Monitor, an outstandingly detailed homage

Since I tend to fancy ship-to-ship combat (as the opportunity presents itself), I migrated to her other adjacent stall, housing her combat vessels. Based on my background, I immediately gravitated to the "Monitor" Ironclad, and noted her attention to historical detail paid to representing the RL vessel. Below it was a "Prosecutor" Ironclad, with more of a ship-like appearance, which may appeal more to surface sailors.



More towards surface individuals, the Prosecutor is an enjoyable vessel to captain

Scanning to the left, I saw her flagship class, the "Fear Engine" Ironclad. The largest of the class, it has a substantial number of guns, more armor (hit points), and would certainly make a statement wherever it might sail. Even more impressive is the cost of said ships – armed vessels average about L$ 300, with the "Fear Engine" weighing in at an economical L$600! That being said, I decided to invest in a "Monitor" and a "Prosecutor", and give each a test drive.



The leviathian of the ICS2, the Fear Engine leave an impressive wake (and damage, as necessary)

Two notable aspects of these ships are contained in its HUD. Aside from being minimal in size, it small footprint and streamlined damage report allows easy viewing during combat. Additionally, though the ships themselves aren’t moddable, she provides two flags, and a very simple means of adding flag textures to identify your allegiance. Once added, a simple mouseclick can change your flag, just incase you need to make a quick set of friends, or just trying to mislead the local Navy, I suppose.



Yes, the Mosquito Pedalboat is only L$1 - a bargain!

Quality is quality, and Miss Common’s maritime works are outstanding. Well designed, easy to use, a shallow learning curve, easy to personalize, and not overpriced – what more can you ask for? Where to fight? Not a problem – the Royal Antiquity Navy hosts ironclad combat every Friday, at 8pm SLT, in Antiquity Lagoon (don’t forget to follow the Rules of Engagement)! A most hearty recommendation to acquire one (or more) of her vessels for the new year!
(Yes, I’m aware she has an impressive airship, but that remains for another review!)



A vew of the HUD - two flags (of your choice, from your inventory), and a damage counter - with an outstanding view of the battle at the same time!

To visit Orabelle Steamforge’s Antiquity branch, please turn to:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Antiquity%20Citadel/140/49/22

Friday, December 19, 2008

Iron Dukes - Online Entertainment




I recently learned of a web-based interactive game titled "Iron Dukes" which won the 2008 "Best Web Game" from "Penny Arcade". It looks quite entertaining, and received over 300,000 hits since last friday (popular, needless to say). RL has prevented me from spending a couple hours of my existance indulging in this little past time, and a brief description of it is as follows...

Like a lumbering juggernaut, Iron Dukes is basically three minigames welded into one whole. Iron Dukes is also wildly, ridiculously funny, which takes it out of the realm of lumbering juggernauts. Unless we’re talking about some sort of lumbering vaudeville juggernaut. In which case, you’re talking about Fatty Arbuckle, the 1920s star of stage and screen who was constructed of ten tons of solid steel and required a support crew of twenty to keep provide coal for his furnace. The preferred delivery method for this fuel was in the form of pies to the face.

Leaving behind all concepts of steampunk vaudevillians, the three minigames that make up Iron Dukes are light fare: enjoyable, but not very complex. In other games, this would be a negative, but the real charm of the game is the wit and surrealism in the writing. Much like chips are merely a vehicle for sauce, Iron Duke’s minigames are just a vehicle for getting a chance to acquire more of the strange and hilarious items. The fact that the minigames themselves are often funny is just a nice bonus.

Reading the descriptions of items in the store is enough to make me have to pause for breath, and seeing my characters in their increasingly ridiculous salvage attire really hits it home. The overarching plot is just as surreal, as it sees you collecting deep sea salvage from lost seas, fighting monsters of the deep including island-sized dolphins, and outfitting a fighting crew in an attempt to get revenge on the evil warlock Thomas Edison. Seriously. [Ed note. I told you he was evil!]

Iron Dukes is still only available in demo form, but considering its recent surge of popularity – from winning the Independent Game Festival award for browser-based games and from its mention on Penny Arcade – it’s only a matter of time before the final, fully-polished form shows up on your doorstep, smiling and smelling damply of grease. It’s not a tremendously deep game, like Pirates!, but it’s a treasure trove of style and humor.

{C. Bethesda Blog.com }

Certainly worth a visit, so to do so, please visit:
http://www.onetonghost.com/irondukes/

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Der Luftkrieg der Zukunft - 1909 (The Airship Destroyer)



Probably the first movie to have an airship, the "Airship Destroyer" was an early unappreciated science fiction movie, which has been cut and sampled from over the years. Though it may seem a bit dated (it is, after all, almost 100 years old), and the soundtrack associated with it is adequate (to be generous), it is a intriguing diversion. The narrative site states...

The Airship Destroyer is playing on the ever-recurring fear of invasion. All the same, the futuristic aspect of the threat makes it very original. For that matter, this film is subject to a particular destiny.

Six years after being first shown, it is projected again in 1915. At that time, the terror of zeppelin air raids hangs over England. Several bombings claim very many lives in Yarmouth and King’s Lynn. London is also aimed at. It is only in 1917 that the creation of anti-airship incendiary bullets and of a special regiment in the Royal Air Force contains the deadly raids. 1,500 British subjects are victims of this modern war instrument foreshadowed in this film.

The airships are made using special effects. The animation and the models are the work of a master: the underestimated Walter. R. Booth. Before even contributing to the early stages of cinema, Booth exercises his creativity and exuberant imagination as an amateur magician. From 1889 on, he produces films containing “tricks” that allow him to combine traditional drawing and animation techniques. His taste for science fiction feeds on numerous inspirations, particularly on the French Georges Méliès and Jules Verne.

In 1906, Booth joins the Charles Urban Trading Company. This producing company favors films that cover news, travel, science and natural history. Its founder, Charles Urban, born in the United States to German emigrant parents, radically develops cinema in England. His company supports Booth who sets up his studio in his garden of Isleworth. However, after a few years, Booth gives up and takes on advertising. His work remains unfortunately ignored, as does the rest of his career.

The original element is a dyed print on nitrate film base, which went from a private collection to the Deutsche Kinemathek in the sixties. It was reprinted at the Studio Cine laboratory using the Desmet color restoration system in 2003.

To see the movie, please turn to: http://www.europafilmtreasures.eu/PY/278/see-the-film-the_airship_destroyer

My thanks to the Steampunk Libriarian for locating this gem!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A New Babbage Christmas...



Master Loki has made another movie of New Babbage, this time of last Saturday's Snowball Fort Fight and Rum Nog Party. Another job well done, sir!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Airships: Wicked Kitty Industries



Port view of WKI's flagship vessel, the Ragnarock

A while back, I had the opportunity to meet an up-and-coming airship designer, a Miss SimplyAmy Iwish, the proprietress of "Wicked Kitty Industries" (WKI). After a bit of correspondence regarding airships and associated topics, I had the opportunity to visit one of her establishments and see some of her work first-hand.

I very intrigued with her efforts, as I am always interested in new designs and concepts associated with Steampunk. Though she has six ships in her fleet, I had the pleasure to driving three ships in specific.



The FF Hammer

The first ship I tried was the FF Hammer, a single seat, fighter-type of ship. At first glance, it may appear to have a modern style, but it has a number of small details that provide a Steampunk-esque twinge.


The brass afterburner, and the "wings" are very nice Steampunk touches

I gave it a fly-about in Caledon Middlesea, and the controls for the Wicked Kitty Industry ships are a tad different than other ships. After one sits in the pilot seat, and activates the flying option (/1on), a menu can be activated by touching the central flight control stick (located directly in front of the pilot), though the flight controls can be controlled via traditional arrow keys.


"Ready for Takeoff" in Caledon Middlesea!

I tend to prefer using an exterior view (vice a pilot view – again, which can be changed via the menu), but regardless of the view, the FF Hammer is a satisfying single-seat aircraft.

~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~


The Lolite

Next, a multi-passenger ship, the Lolite is a mid-way vessel, able to carry a small party instead of a single individual, but not too large to control or manage. Making my way to Caledon Lionsgate’s impressive skyport, I was able to not only test its controls (similar to FF Hammer’s, insomuch as the central flight stick provides a multi-option menu), but take some more pictures of its interior.


Interior view of the cockpit, and passgenger seating (and the massive cavorite engine just behind the pilot!)

The Lolite has a central captain’s seat, and two couches for passengers to relax in, while one flight about in this vessel. To enter the vessel, one can either "sit" (much too boring), or open the entrance gang-plank, (which is operated via touching the top portion of the center glass of the bow of the ship). The two lights to either side will either lock or unlock the position of the plank (good for photos shot also, I assume).


View to the entrance of the Lolite
~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~


The Ragnarock, prior to take off...
(just outside Antiquity's newest Steampunk stronghold, Antiquity Citadel)

Finally, the Ragnarock, Version 2, is most certainly an outstanding airship. With its spacious double-deck construction (an open topside deck, and a lower enclosed cabin), a single open-air command seat for the captain, and plenty of seating, it would seem to reign as the pinnacle of the WKI fleet. Making my way back to Antiquity Township East, I decided to give it a "look over".
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Three-quarter, port side view of the airship, showing the spaciousness of this beauty!

I would gather most interaction would take place in the open air topside area, with five passenger seats in addition to the captains chair, provide plenty of opportunity to exit and return at will for a good number of associates.


Smartly scooting along the skies of Antiquity

Also, as a trademark of her fleet, are the impressively large engine and afterburner, standing out from other of its contemporaries of similar size, along with nice "propulsion" effects (a thrust for above water, and bubbles for underwater exploration) and companion sound effects.


A view of the lower cabing of the Ragnarock, showing its seating and meeting table

In fact, not only is a means of conveyance, but it can also function as a domicile for those who wish more portable living quarters. To access the lower cabin, simply activate the folding ladder, and entrance into the classically designed cabin is provided. Its lower cabin has a front opening door to exit via the front of the ship, central seating around a classic globe, and plenty of space to move about in the cabin.

~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~

One minor issue is being addressed, which is a modification for certain sims that tend to be a bit … dogmatic about maintenance of a "Steampunk" appearance. In light of this, she is working on developing "genre-specific" modifications, to easily traverse said areas in style, though one is able to mod the textures oneself to meet the same criteria.



Well, I'm off! Please do have a good weekend, and ensure you visit WKI in-world!

Needless to say, Miss SmiplyAmy Iwish and her Wicked Kitty Industries are certainly one of the newest stars in the airship world, and I look forward to her future endeavors!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A busy weekend in SL Steampunk



A good number of events will be taking place this weekend, and I shall begin with the second half of the SL Toys for Tots, and its updated list of entertainers (as listed above). They will be performing in the sime of Utwig, so I do encourage one to visit and enjoy the talented entertainers, or simply donate to a very good cause this holiday season!


First, Bellhaven, a new Steampunk sim that shall be opening soon, will be having a "White Elephant" sale this weekend, and next weekend, providing the opportunity to a person to either dispose of, or find a baragin if you visit. For more details, please visit Bellhaven in-world.




Next, New Babbage will be hosting a Snowball Fort Fight and Rum Nog party on Saturday, starting at 2pm SLT, at the Wheatstone Waterways. Looks to be quite the adventure, with over L$5000 in prize money for the best Steampunk Snowman and/or Ice Sculpture... under 25 prims! Or just show up for the snowball fight!


Sunday has two major events, with the first being the third Aether Salon, best described in its official announcement....

Despite the fact that we are still finding pieces of the east wall in various parts of Babbage Palisades (thank you Mr. Streeter) following the rather explosive end to the Weapons! Salon... We are pleased to announce that The Aether Salon of Babbage will welcome the esteemed Dr. Augustus Dayafter for a discussion presenting the results of his medical investigation into the phenom of the Lycanthrope. Dr. Dayafter has informed us that he is uniquely qualified in this field, following a period of long study and careful observation.



Finally, at 7pm SLT, the Wraith Fleet will be hosting a Military Winter Celebration. Mr. O'Toole has posted much of its intricies in detail (as listed here...


and here...

So, if one has an affection for militaria, ensure you pay a visit to the last major military social event of the year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Aether Salon (this Sunday)...



The very popular Aether Salon will be holding its monthly gathering this Sunday, December the 14th, at 2pm SLT (as per the placard), with the topic being "Howl!" The following informational narrative was provided by the lovely Miss Viv Trafalgar regarding the event...

Despite the fact that we are still finding pieces of the east wall in various parts of Babbage Palisades (thank you Mr. Streeter) following the rather explosive end to the Weapons! Salon... We are pleased to announce that The Aether Salon of Babbage will welcome the esteemed Dr. Augustus Dayafter for a discussion presenting the results of his medical investigation into the phenom of the Lycanthrope. Dr. Dayafter has informed us that he is uniquely qualified in this field, following a period of long study and careful observation.

Do make it a point to attend one of SL Steampunk's most popular discussions!

Monday, December 8, 2008

SL Toys for Tots



I attempt to make a point of staying within the Steampunk realm, but there are always exceptions to every rule, and for me, one of those is easily the SL "Toys for Tots". Its history is better described in its narrative...

Toys for Tots began in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, and a group of Marine reservists in Los Angeles. Over the next 59 years, the Marine Corps Reservists Toys for Tots program has distributed over 370 million toys to more than 173 million needy children.

This year the Music Academy Online is bringing together dozens of SL entertainers for a huge festival which will take place over two weekends. Last year we raised over L$440,000, and this year the goal is one (1) million lindens.

Help us make a difference in a child's life. Your gift truly does matter. So please, join our festival at our sim, Utwig, and hear some great music, or just stop by to say "Hello" and donate as much as you can in one of our four dedicated Kiosks.

Unfortunately I was unaware of this until late this past weekend, but that still allows one more weekend (Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th) to attend the events at Utwig, enjoy the music of the listed artists, and make a child happy for Christmas. (As soon as I obtain the upcoming weekend's enterainer, I shall post it)!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Steampunk Music: Vernian Process - Crime of the Century

Alas, the article I have been working on has taken a bit longer than expected, so I am taking one of the outstanding videos from Mr. Process, and presenting it for your viewing pleasure. As he describes in the YouTube narrative...

This is the music video for my song "Crime of the Century". The footage (and samples in the song) is taken from the 1973 film (based on the Michael Crichton novel) "The First Great Train Robbery". The lyrics are also based on this story. The vocals were performed by Mr. Malcom Shreeck of Unextraordinary Gentlemen, and my self.

Please do enjoy his impressive work!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

RL Victoriana - The Chap Magazine



During my wanderings about the aethernet, I stumbled upon a smart British site called "The Chap". It describes itself as...

[a magazine which]... takes a wry look at the modern world through the steamed-up monocle of a more refined age, occasionally getting its sock suspenders into a twist at the unspeakable vulgarity of the twenty-first century.
Since 1999, the Chap has been championing the rights of that increasingly marginalised and discredited species of Englishman - the gentleman. The Chap believes that a society without courteous behaviour and proper headwear is a society on the brink of moral and sartorial collapse, and it seeks to reinstate such outmoded but indispensable gestures as hat doffing, giving up one's seat to a lady and regularly using a trouser press.




Any source of information that focuses on moustaches, pipe smoking, and good manners is a simple "must-read", especially with news articles such as...

"Last of the Afghan Dandies"
"School children forced to wear clipons"
"The Bollywood Moustache", and
"History of the Cufflink"

... certainly merit a visit. While not all are topics are Victorian (many are Edwardian, and others, are simply modern), the essence of being a gentleman (a chap) is certainly re-enforced here! To pay it a visit, please turn to...

http://www.thechap.net/index.html

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Airships: (RL) Airship Ventures



While I'm quite certain that most individuals who read this small blog would be quite chipper to have the opportunity to indulge in a real airship voyage, unfortunately it was relegated to a proverbial pipe-dream... until now.

Airhips Ventures is a small oufit which provides zeppelin voyages around the San Francisco Bay area, with its headquarters at the iconic Moffett Field, the home of the United States lighter-than-air program in WW2. However, it now is home to the Zeppelin NT (recently christened the "Eureka"), which will provide trips around San Fran.


A small movie of the Eureka landing after a voyage

For more information (and a plethora of information), please visit their website, at:

and a bit on Moffett Field's past...
{Looks as if a trip to the Bay Area is in order!...}

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mr. Hotspur takes a constitutional...

A small piece of what happend when our good friend Mr. Hotspur as he took a stroll...