Saturday, July 3, 2010

About Us- Stardust Enterprises...

Or... why am I doing this.

These blogs will be an attempt by me to chronicle the vehicle building history of my Second Life company, Stardust Enterprises INC. I will be your tour guide, Belenos Stardust.

I started Stardust Enterprises back in November of last year (2009), after a one and a half year hiatus from being in world, on Second Life (SL). Prior to that, I had dabbled in building back in 2006-2007, trying my hand at making Star Wars related vehicles, and fighter jets. My lack of building and scripting skills were evident though, as I never really got past the "plywood" stage. After a few minor successes (one of which was making and scripting a "singing" Red Stripe beer bottle), I decided when I returned to SL that I would make a go at building again. This was greatly aided by my losing my RL job late last year. They say whenever Gawd closes a door, he opens a window...

I discovered a lot had changed since I was first on the grid, most notably, the addition of new scripting capabilities, physics engines, sculpted prims, and other new innovations that were bound to make my life easier this time around. I set about to learn everything I could, starting with scripting! I figure I know how to slap prims together, what I really need to learn is how to make them MOVE!

I decided I would start with something easy... Since I was coming back from a Star Wars Galaxies binge, my first vehicle would be the sail skiff... Just to see if I could do it. Armed with 30 prims, some really grungy textures, and a copy of Cubey Terra's hoversled script, I set out to build the sucker. The build itself went well, easy to do, easy to line up with the grid I got from my friend Edesse Thibedeau, but the scripting... oy! That was a piece of work trying to get this thing to do what I wanted it to. Cooler heads prevailed and I was able to get it finished and ready to test! I had recently discovered the Blake Sea, and its crown jewel, Hollywood Airport, so I decided to take this monstrosity there to do my flight tests. After getting yelled at a couple times, once from the notoriously cranky Grandmother Bloch, and once by a supposed SL Coast Guarder trying to keep the peace.... yeah right... I was able to find a quiet spot amidst the Blake Sea islands to actually get the job of refining and testing the script done! It's amazing what you can get accomplished when there is no one around to chime in their 2 cents...

Bottom line, it WORKED... It worked well enough to carry several people (5 to be precise), and well enough for me to box it up and list it on xstreet. After my first few sales, I decided to really go for the gusto... I got vendor spots in Little Mos Eisley, and in New Tibannopolis (Cloud City). I fired up the little freebie vendor, and loaded my products in. By this time I had also made the Storm IV Cloud Car, and had begun work on the big brother to the Sail Skiff, the Sail BARGE!

Now the Cloud Car was a major "lightbulb" moment for me. I say this not because it was easy to build, easy to texture using my trusty photoshop CS3, or even easy to script using my growing library of freebie and open source scripts...

Noo... what made the Cloud Car a breakthrough for me was that... IT FLEW! Not just hovered over land or sea... It can gain and lose altitude! Now while that may not seem significant to you, to me it is the accomplishment of a dream. I LOVE flying... in real or second life. So you can imagine the exhilaration I felt as I popped in that EEV2 Flight script in there, and said the word "start" for the first time. I had found my calling... Except for one minor detail.

Seems like everyone has built TIE Fighters, X wings, Millenium Falcons, hell just about anything that flies... Even my versions of the skiff and barge were third attempts at it from content creators such as myself. At least the Cloud Car is an original... You won't find another like it in SL. Needless to say, that is on xstreet too... But If there is no point building the other items, then what do I build??? I knew as soon as I finished the Sail Barge... there was not much more in the Star Wars line that I COULD do that has not been done before, or at least done well.

The Sail Barge actually helped me figure something else out too... one- how to create pilot animations, and two- how to make HIGH prim vehicles and have them attach and detach correctly. I would be remiss to say there was a fair amount of my profits eaten up by getting the items I needed to finish the barge, but the investment in scripts and tools has proven worthwhile for me, and the finished Sail barge is of course... on Xstreet... Once I did finish the sail barge... I was at a crossroads... I needed a plan, a new direction... and aviation seemed to be it. There was one issue I would have to face... SL Aviation is a VERY competitive business!

I am a guy who hates competition... Cornering the market is one thing, but competition, I could do without it. I know it is the capitalist way... and yes it DOES spur me to do better at what I do, but competition is the major cause of sleepless nights of never ending building, scripting, tweaking, texturing, sculpting... etc. All that having been said, there is one thing above all else that I really really love... HELICOPTERS! My very first purchase in SL was a helicopter (Jillian Callahan's MD500 to be precise)... and the one thing I have NOT seen in SL up to that point are some of the behemoths of helicopters, most notably, the CH-47 Chinook, and the CH-53E Super Stallion! Come to think of it, some of the X planes and Hovercraft that I really enjoy seeing or reading about on wiki are not even touched in SL... Hmmm.....

I had a mission... A purpose... a goal.

Stardust Enterprises would not only make the occasional Star Wars related vehicle, but we will specialize in making the unusual aircraft AND hovercraft that you do not really see in SL, and are lucky to glimpse in RL.

It is that ever quest that these blogs shall be about, starting with my next blog, on the CH-47 Chinook project.

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