Monday, July 1, 2013

SL10B Wrap-Up with KT Syakumi

By DrFran Babcock

I finally caught up with KT on the second to last day of SL10B, because she was so busy up until then. She was a blur the few times I saw her. Sure, I was able to corral Doc Gascoigne in the corn field, but KT was not only senior lead along with Doc, but oversaw a two sim stage build of The Reactor.  I was happy when she had the time to respond to my questions:

SLNewser: Well, now that SL10B is winding down, you have had a little time to reflect on the experience and this history-making event. What are your reflections? 

 KT Syakumi : Wow, reflections. Um, I’m reflecting on how nice it will be to start getting to bed at a reasonable hour. You’re in trouble when you start thinking of 2:00 am as an early night. I’m just glad that the general community enjoyed it. We started planning this in January, so it’s been a long road, but hearing the chatter in the group talking about their experiences at SL10B and over the last 10 years makes it worth it. It just feels like the whole SL community wanted to celebrate 10 years of SL.

SL Newser: What would you say was your greatest joy during SL10B? 

KT Syakumi: There were many. I worked by milestones. I have this huge spreadsheet programme thing with tasks and objectives to be completed and dates, etc. The first ‘joy’ milestone was when the sims were finally opened to the exhibitors to start building. These completely empty sims were suddenly transformed overnight. When I logged off the previous evening, the sims were bare and quiet. When I logged on in the morning, probably half the exhibitors had claimed their plots and started building. It was a ‘wow’ moment and was the point where I really knew that the event was going to work.

SL Newser: What was your greatest challenge during the event? 

KT Syakumi: Time-wise, the week after the applications closed was a killer.  There was only one week in between applications closing and the sims opening. I had 518 exhibit applications to process and to send out emails. Just the sheer number to get through meant no sleep for a week. The biggest overall challenge would have been managing and co-ordination of all the volunteers and exhibitors. Well over 1000 people were involved.  

SL Newser: Your amazing build, The Nuclear Reactor Stage, was the talk of SL10B. We would love to have a little peek into the creative process that went into it’s design and construction.  

KT Syakumi: Haha, yes I've heard some of the talk. To me, the SLB is not just about celebrating a birthday. Some people queried how a giant silo on a wasteland fit the birthday theme, and if you’re just having a birthday party, then it probably didn't. To me, the SLB is all about celebrating SL and the diversity in it. It’s about showcasing the best of SL and what it can do. And, it’s about celebrating the community of SL (it is the SL10B Community Celebration after all), and the variety inside SL. I realized before I started that it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it was important to me that all tastes and styles are represented. The Live stage and the Cake were designed to be the 'Looking Back' part - they were made using only prims and sculpts. And I think we all agree that they in no way suffered from that - they were both amazing. The DJ stage and the Lake stage were the 'looking forward'. They were requested to be full mesh builds, to showcase what can be done now with new building methods. I had the idea of a very game-like build, and you can see the influence of a few different videos games in it. It didn't end up anything like what was in my head at the start, and I completely ran out of time (thanks to Harlequin Rhode who helped me make textures when I sent her panicky IMs), but I think I got the overall feel fairly right.  

SL Newser: I think the lighting and the overall look of The Reactor was stunning. Anything else you want to share about SL10B? 

KT Syakumi : [Laughs] There’s not enough space! I’d like to thank all the staff I worked with—your dedication and ability to put up with me is astounding. I’d like to say a special thanks to the stage builders: Donpatchy on the Cake, Kazuhiro Aridian on the Lake, Toady and Flea on Live, who stepped in late and proceeded to just go beyond my wildest expectations, Aki Shichiroji who made the auditorium, and my unsung hero, Pygar Bu, who ran around making all the random stuff I thought of, as well as being responsible for the welcome area. It looked sparse, but he recreated it to look identical to the original 2003 welcome area completely from a few old photos - no easy feat. These people are the reason I wasn't reduced to a blubbering mess. Their ability and especially attitude made this event for me.

SL Newser: Pie or cheese?

KT Syakumi: Pie. I’m allergic to cheese. You wouldn't want to know me.

SL Newser: What would you like people out there to know about Second Life™? 

KT Syakumi:  Most new technologies seem to go through a few phases. They start off new and slow and build slowly till they hit a bubble and explode in growth. For Second Life™ I think that was 2006. Then, they become hyped and hyped and then over hyped, and suddenly people find that their experience doesn’t match the hype, and it starts fading. I think that is what happened to SL. The cool thing is that people then begin to discover exactly what is possible with the technology and they begin to understand it fully. I think SL is slowly headed into that as it evolves and grows. I’m hoping people will begin to see what SL is really capable of rather than what they’re told it is.

SL Newser: What’s next for you in Second Life™? What can the residents expect from you? 

KT Syakumi: I guess I'm fading back into obscurity again. I need to spend time on my business that I've neglected for the last 2 months - I also learnt a lot about mesh building from making the reactor and I want to put that into practice.

Fading into obscurity? I find that so hard to believe. Watch these pages, because I am sure one of us will be writing about KT soon enough.

DrFran Babcock

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