Thursday, January 5, 2023

Setting the Tone

 While community is at the heart of the Safari experience, we also aim for quality, and our kick-off event for the first season of 2023 really set the tone. Lorin Tone, and Alia Soulstar, two names that convey a sense of excellence. The build? An immersive experience based on the film 2001 A Space Odyssey.
This is opensim artistry at its best.  Not a rip-off replica, but a multi sensory, walkable meditation on a much loved and discussed classic, spread over a VAR that in SL would cost you in tier something like the rent of a small house. 
Lorin Tone
There were about 20 of us on 3rd Rock Grid to meet our host and learn the story behind the build. The fun starts in a dome at ground level, where there is a warning that if you don't do well around flashing optical effects, this build might not be for you. The address, is of course, at the end of this post.
Lorin Tone: Welcome to the HAL 9000 project, which is a collaboration that I've done with Alia Soulstar, and also with Han BoShi executing some of the more challenging scripting aspects of the build. Please remove or turn off any AO's (Animation Overrides This piece of work explores aspects and scenes from the movie and book, "2001: A Space Odyssey" rather than being a sort of tribute to it.  I won't be going over the details of the plot of the movie or book.  It was created to be open to interpretation.
A touch of the monolith, and we were up in the ship, listening to that wonderful documentary style dialog from the first scenes of the movie, feeling a bit like astronauts -you can lie down in the hibernation beds, and sit at the table - studying the readouts and above all the plan of the build  and the white poster that explains the general plan of the build - two journeys through the brains of the main antagonists in the film, Hal and Dave. The tunnel or spine of the ship starts out looking sci-fi until you pass through the into the next simension...
Lorin Tone: In this area, we are hearing a combination of local sound emitters and speakers: We're hearing portions of Gyorgi Ligeti's "Atmospheres" and "Lux Aeterna", most of which are used in the movie, along with a transmission from Earth that's an interview with astronauts Bowman and Poole, and HAL 9000. I'll allow the voice part to loop once so that you all should be able to hear the interview and music along with random sound emitters that are playing a large number of differing computer/controls sounds.
Cailin Mistwalker: Sound is important. Helps bring everything to life.
First up Hal's side of the story, through that famous red eye, it's deliberately made to be a very long walk through a wonderful mixture of sounds and textures as we descend towards the breakdown of that mightiest of computers. Finally we were back on terra firma... for a moment.
Lorin Tone: Here, we are back onboard the spacecraft, approaching the area in which the main components of HAL's brain are located. On the right, you will see helmets on a shelf, choose a helmet; "add" it to your avatar. Now, let's walk into HAL 9000's brain and see how this thing works for a group of people.
Thirza Ember: Floating!
Fitheach Eun: glad I wore pants ;)
Lorin Tone:  For me, this is one of the most tragic death scenes in film history, just in the way that it depicts loss of brain function in the dying human body. Please permit this scene time to play fully.  It is not fast-paced; in fact, to me it is very disturbing...deliberately painful to listen to as Hal realizes that his mind is going. Upon HAL's disconnection, we get a message from Mission Control. Everyone sing along with "Daisy"!  lol
James Atlloud: I do not believe HAL went insane.  It had contradictory instructions.  Unless that's the underlying cause of insanity anyway?
Cailin.Mistwalker: If it can't resolve the contradiction, then yes, it probably is.
James Atlloud: wait - can we still breathe?
Doctor Indy: Bowman only wore the helmet because he didn't want HAL to blow out the air and kill him.
Back through the computer's mind, we returned to the central point of the ship, and headed into the second part of the experience. 
Nara Nook: Amazing build
Lorin Tone: All of the visuals done by Alia Soulstar!
Kelso Uxlay: Impressive sound mastery
Star Ravenhurst: How long did it take to build this?
Cailin Mistwalker: Months. If not a year or more.
Lorin Tone: We did a first attempt on this grid at Alia's Nuna Gallery area, but it wasn't a large enough space to build a scale model of the ship. At that point, 3rd Rock grid management made this area available and we have plenty of room.  In fact, I think that this build is a bit larger than the Discovery as represented in the movie and book. This has provided Alia with a good palette that she's been able to use effectively, expanding on my crude visual attempts and making it work in this environment.
Lorin Tone: As we move forward, you might find the visual effect to be...well, probably a tad intense. Here, we introduce you to humanity's great-great-great-(etc.) grand-ape, Moonwatcher.  He and his his tribe are depicted in the beginning of the movie.
Fitheach Eun: The combination of visual and sound effects is awesome
Mind-travel! photo by Fitheach Eun
Lorin Tone: For soundtrack in this section, I'm using single sounds, ambient desert wind recorded from the movie, looped sound sequences and sound colliders. In this section, we get more introspective, passing through levels of civilization from a more human perspective. We end up seeing aspects of Bowman's life as we near the end of this section. Let's just walk past Jupiter to the next section.  I'd sure like to be able to do that in real life.

Lorin Tone: As we proceed, we find ourselves in this replica of an Earth-based "hotel", where Bowman finds himself at the end of his final voyage as a human. The music here in the "hotel room" is from that scene from the movie, but we'll also get a little bit of Eric Whitacre's choral music coming from our next destination of this tour, just a bit farther along ahead of us. We meet the monolith one final time as Bowman's human body dies and is transformed into the entity known as the Star Child. Zooming out, you will see that we are at the spherical main module of the spacecraft. For this area, i have chosen to create a mix of the final phrases from a number of Eric Whitacre choral pieces. I chose these pieces because I find them best to support the awe of the concept itself, so it's nothing more than my opinion of what it should sound like.
Lorin Tone: This final piece of the build is still in progress and has been for months now.  I look forward to Alia's depiction of the Star Child itself, which will be installed in this large space, for now, we'll just need to fly out into the middle of this space to hear what it will sound like when we become one with the Star Child, experiencing the majesty of what lies in our solar system and beyond.

James Atlloud: I took a walk along the emitters - very cool!
Thirza Ember: how many of you are already thinking - I must come back and see this build again?
Youca Godel: Me! And bringing friends
Kelso Uxlay: I sure do
Chantal Harvey: me too, and i lived here for a week!
Lavia Lavine: Most interesting
Lyr Lobo: wonderful
After our journey through the build, we got to see the tech heart of all the sounds that animate it.
Lorin Tone: I will turn off the emitters one at a time and answer any questions that you might have in text. OK, all turned off!
Cailin.Mistwalker: Welcome to the 'normal background sound' of virtual.... dead silence. :)
James.Atlloud: oh so quiet!
Lyr Lobo: now, but it wasn't two minutes ago
Lorin Tone: Can I answer any questions you may have?
Kelso Uxlay: How do you make sure that all sounds are loaded ?
Lorin Tone: Kelso, I don't preload any of the sounds here,  which makes it imperfect, but it DOES work
Fitheach.Eun: How long did it take to build this?
Lorin Tone: How long?  Over a year of work on this. More like 14 months
Tosha Tyran: awsome... I had guessed more like 2 years
Lorin Tone:'s seemed like forever!
Fitheach Eun: Yes, it;s definitely a major creation
Star Ravenhurst: It was worth the time
Lorin Tone: The largest sounds installation I've ever done
James Atlloud: It's like turning a landmark into a museum.
Youca Godel: Talk about a sprawling huge art piece
Thirza Ember: Is there any other film that inspires you, maybe for a future project?
Lorin Tone: There is not currently another that we have in mind yet... ALTHOUGH... NASA has recently created sonifications of the sounds made by solar systems, So... I have obtained those recordings

James Atlloud: I usually use mouselook for touring and other than camming out to see the ship, it was very effective.
Lorin Tone: Glad it worked for you James!
Thirza Ember: and wonderful Chantal who did the machinima of this when it first opened, a great piece of work
Lorin Tone: Yes, Chantal's video is wonderful!
Chantal Harvey: ty but its the build that is the star, not me
Tosha.Tyran: I think it is the combination - unbeatable :)
Lorin Tone: It's the build that counts, it's the story, it's everything combined. And Alia Soulstar's brilliant work
Thirza Ember: What makes your collaboration with Alia work so well? sorry she couldn't join us from New Zealand
Lorin Tone: I don't know, Thirza.  We just hoped it would work... and look who's here, it's Alia!
Alia Soulstar: hi everyone :)
Lorin Tone: My genius collaborator!
Fitheach Eun: Amazing build Alia
Ai Austin: Many thanks,.  Superb
Lorin Tone and Alia Soulstar
Alia Soulstar: I'm sorry I wasn't here for the tour, my life is the inside of a washing machine atm... I can answer your last question btw Thirza - Lorin is a unique individual in terms of a collaborator... when we were discussing sound, he didn't say "Strauss" as anyone else would. He said Ligeti, a contemporary composer who was at the very heart of 2001 - dissonance that carries the dissonant ideas. As a collaborator I know Lorin will make the best sonic choices, so I trust him completely. I think that's why we work so well as a team
Lorin Tone: As I trust Alia for visuals and all else. That's what virtual worlds are for...collaborative work.
Lavia.Lavine: Teamwork. Awesome
Fitheach.Eun: The sounds and the music were so well integrated with the visuals
Alia Soulstar: I make objects around his ideas and he makes sounds around mine and we are both on the same page
Thirza.Ember: as you probably all know, Lorin does classes a couple of times a month, if you want to learn a bit mre about optimizing the sounds on your own builds
Star Ravenhurst: When do you have classes?
Lorin Tone: Digiworldz (Metaverse University), AMV grid (Koryphon Academy) and Second Life (Happy Hippo school) -  Saturdays, sundays Mondays. Schedules are posted on their sites. Anyone who'd like to friend me here, do! and we should probably get ready for today's next destination!
Fitheach Eun: Thanks Lorin and Alia
Alia Soulstar: thank you all for coming
Lavia Lavine: Thanks for having us! Fascinating build.
Mal Burns: Tks - fine tour
James Atlloud: Thankyou Lorin, and all!
Tina Bey3D: thank you so very much for having us
Star Ravenhurst: Thank you for the tour! I enjoyed it so much!
Ai Austin: Many thanks
Ard Rhys: Thanks Lorin and Alia
Lorin Tone: Most welcome!

  HG 9000  this will begin you to the 128/128 coordinates of the sim, increase your draw distance and you'll see the dome at about 400m from where you stand. 


  1. A really mind blowing experience. I can only recommend to everyone: go see for yourself!

  2. I agree Tosha, another really great Safari. Thank you Thirza!