Monday, August 17, 2015

A man's best friend @ Realistek

Dogs and horses don’t generally speaking get along in real life, but in Second Life they get along like a house on fire.

Zed Avedon owner and creator of Realistek, is the man responsible for making these animals get along so well in SL.

The human behind the pixels of Zed, is an artist from Auckland, New Zealand, who has a background in architecture and the fine arts.  Seven years ago, an ex-girlfriend suggested he might like Second Life and he said "what is Second Life?"  …..

Zed started creating dogs and horses when his, as he put it, social grouping dispersed.  They were a role play group in which he was a Centaur.   He said “Trouble was, I didn't really like the way it looked at all. I tried making it better, but noticed it kept reverting back by itself!”  Then he found a freebie horse head by chance, and was he was really excited to think he could be a proper horse.  He added “I needed to wear the head and make myself invisible from the hips up... so I worked hard on just that.”

There were no other horse avatars around at that time, except ones that to him look like and move more like cartoons.  Zed said “So eventually there I was, a dumb but friendly somewhat realistic horse.  Then, to improve or 'fix' part of my avatar I realised I would have to learn to do/ make it for myself.”

That was the real start for him, he was hooked.   He had to learn to make a prim,  to script, animate, and texture.  He said “I still remember looking at a YouTube video on how to duplicate a prim.  I really was filled with wonder.”

Eventually he made a full perms horse and realized he could sell copies of it.  Which apparently didn’t sell much but that wasn’t the point.  Then he needed to script a saddle, but all scripting looked like ancient Egyptian to him.  It took about six months and he had a saddle that worked reasonably well without errors, even though he still didn't fully understand how the script worked.  He said “Seven years later I know scripting well enough!  Sometimes I sadly look at the Scripting Forum hoping to find something that I don’t know, to remind me of that excitement I used to have about discovering something new.”

Zed said that he is a bit OCD about his builds, and is inclined to do things over and over until it’s exactly the way it needs to be.   With his textures and scripting, he makes things as lean as possible to keep them lag free.   He added “It’s common to see a product of mine with one or two scripts, while the equivalent product by someone else has twelve to twenty.  I don’t know how they can live with themselves! :D My first customer is me :) and I like things right!”

Zed is enamoured by mesh and he wished it had been around from the start.  It gives him much more control to make things lean where they can be he said that It’s amazing fun to make things from mesh. He added “Really it’s not that hard. In the old days it was harder, but now the interface and available tutorial guides are a huge help.”

He is a perfectionist in all he does and his work has to satisfy his own high expectations. He said “I was a cigarette smoker when I started and honestly I think that helped (grimace!).  It enabled me to work nonstop 16 hour days and seven days a week. But I loved working in SL, there was nothing else I would have rather done :) Ha! Now I am smoke free, and try to be a bit more reasonable.  To be a professional creator in SL, it does help to be the right kind of crazy.”

I asked Zed why he thought people wanted to be a dog or a horse in SL and he replied “When a girl first rode me on my first crappy horse, I could not believe how excited she was :)  She was new to SL and this was blowing her mind!   Horses, wolves and dogs ... I think they are a metaphor made real in a virtual world.   You want to be powerful and beautiful? Be a horse!  Dark and mysterious or cute and faithful? Be a wolf or dog.”

Currently Zed is taking a bit of a break from creating in SL, he has some real world things on the go that need more of his time.   He said “This is the first time I have not been permanently logged in and obsessing about some build.”

If you are so inclined pop along to Realistek for male and female mesh horse avatars, as well as wolves and mesh dog avatars. You can pick up a pet dogs and riding horses too. All with full breed capability. Copy and mod.  Also available are saddles that include pose balls that can take up to three
which Zed has for sale just for fun.

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