Good Things…

... sometimes come in strange packages.

The first hint of something new on the horizon—at least in a good while—was a tease that Magic of Oz, the beloved sim by Malkavyn Eldritch and Candy Cerveau, was at last returning after a long period of being closed to the public while renovations were going on. What I didn’t realize, however, that something much bigger was on the horizon. Something that fans of Malkavyn’s and Candy’s most well-known work, Ozimals, have been anticipating for quite awhile. But there’s a twist…

... to the Strangelings, and also an opportunity (Alternate Signup 1, Alternate Signup 2) for everyone to get in on the ground floor for the revolutionary new game that Malkavyn, Candy, and others have been working on over the last year. More on that in a bit.

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Yes—that’s a rigged mesh Strangeling avatar, and just a small taste of the variety that you’ll find when you start to play with and customize it. With a quote from Tim Burton—a definite influence on Malkavyn Eldritch—in the background, the craziness of these Strangelings with their billions of possible individualizations are as real as it gets in Second Life. More than a year ago, the Strangelings were previewed as the future of Ozimals, and then they were a new breedable, an interesting and innovative one…

And they still are. But not, as it happens, in Second Life.

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No, instead the gorgeous new Magic of Oz sim—created pretty much entirely in mesh with the help of the very talented Tya Fallingbridge of PixelMode—is a destination that will feature not only some of the most beautiful mesh builds I’ve seen anywhere in Second Life, but will also be the home of the Strangeling avatars. And the avatars… are “just” avatars, but they’re beautiful, professional-quality work, and they’re largely derived from the very same assets that have gone into the Strangelings breedable game. The avatars will go on sale tomorrow, November 27th.

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Priced at L$495 for the body and initial tail, and just L$95 for each additional part (fat packs at reduced prices are also available, including the Ultimate Pack that includes all the parts for L$2500) the avatar comes with an intuitive, very good looking HUD that provides access to both the many, many color customization options, as well as provides an AO with additional animations that bring the Strangelings to life. These are high-quality animations, I’ll add, really succeeding in making the Strangeling feel real and alive as it breathes, sleeps, scratches, dances, and occasionally feels gloomy. And no wonder, when animators who’ve worked with National Geographic, Disney, and Industrial Lights and Magic have been brought in to animate them. And the crazy thing is, more animations and options are planned as time goes by.

But all that’s at your choice, just as you have the option of picking up additional tail, crown, and spine attachments to further customize your look. There’s no “game” to it, it’s just another way to be different, to be something new, in Second Life.

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Indeed, former Lindens abound among the executives at FMI, and no one less than Philip Rosedale—Philip Linden, to many of you—is among their investors. The purpose of the company has been to develop a technology base with which to create innovative, multi-platform games, and the very first thing they’re doing is a Strangelings breedable game. Using the Unity 3D game engine, this game will work in any browser that can load the Unity3D engine (so PC and Mac, and Unity 4 will even start making Linux viable)... and in time will also be available on the iPad.

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Right now, though, they’d love those who are intrigued by the possibilities, who find the Strangelings very cute, who have gotten many, many hours of enjoyment (and perhaps, even, financial benefit—yes, there will be auctions as one way to trade Strangelings) from the Ozimal bunnies and Pufflings, to sign-up for the Beta (Alternate Signup 1, Alternate Signup 2) . It costs nothing, and you’ll get the chance to test out a new breedable games from the premiere breedable innovators in Second Life. You don’t even need to own an avatar to sign up, but really, at that low price and given the unprecedented quality and customization possibilities, why wouldn’t you get one?

Vendors will be available within the Emerald City building, by the way!

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(Yes, that is indeed a fish tail!)

I haven’t even mentioned that there’s a rider attachment that will allow petite avatars to ride on a Strangeling’s back, have I? Or the fact that Magic of Oz will feature a small store area in Munchkinland featuring some well-known stores (PixelMode, of course, but also Katatonik, Silent Sparrow, Schadenfreude, and more in time)? Or the surprises you’ll find as you explore the sim, poking around the scary entry into the Witch’s Castle or glorying in the Art Deco-inspired beauty of Oz?

So, make sure to visit Magic of Oz, and discover something new both within and without Second Life!

To wrap things up, courtesy of FMI, we have a special contest for an Ultimate Pack—containing all the available attachments as well as the mesh avatar—for anyone who signs up for the Beta using one of our links above (which contains a referral tag). All you need to do is sign up, and mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with your SL Avatar name and the e-mail address you signed up with. We’ll randomly choose one winner who, once verified as a Beta sign-up by FMI, will receive their Strangelings Ultimate Pack shortly thereafter.

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