The contributors

Belochka Shostakovich

I’ve been lifelong reader of sci-fi and fantasy but interest in an immersive virtual world, which you can control or navigate, really only came along for me in 1994; the year that Robyn and Rand Miller’s company Cyan, Inc. (now know as Cyan Worlds) released the game Myst.

A chance introduction brought me to create an avatar in Second Life in 2007. It was the start of a whole process that I would never have guessed where it could lead.

Although I started out as someone more interested in exploring virtual spaces and meeting people rather than expressing creative ideas I did have some previous training and experience of using Photoshop and Freehand.

Drawing on that old knowledge I began to see the side of virtual worlds that people extolled. The ability to create your own works, design your own world and share ideas with a larger audience.

Since then I’ve been learning how to create and am still learning.

My name is the avatar name I signed up with on Second Life back in 2007: Belochka means “squirrel” in Russian and Shostakovich is for the composer (Dmitri Shostakovich). And no, sorry, I’m not actually Russian.

Techie details.

I use an Intel Core Duo iMac and Intel Core i5 iMac with the following programs:

Adobe Photoshop CS3

Adobe Illustrator CS3

Poser 7

Blender 2.49b/2.61

Thom Lunasea

A small, anthropomorphic, hedgehog who likes coding, squishing bugs and playing with leaves. Actually, no, he’s not a hedgehog but Thom really does do coding and all that clever stuff that makes things work behind the scenes, which people forget about when it works properly. And start screaming about when it doesn’t.

He also likes bunnies and dislikes writing his own biographical information.

Update by Thom: all of the above is true! The following is also true:

With a background in computer science (focusing on software engineering as well as artificial intelligence), I’ve grown fond of working with, or inside, software that make things real or makes them appear or behave real enough to work with.

Even though I have a liking for design, style and creative art – I do not have a particular talent for them in the digital world, which is why I prefer to work on making software and making things happen in general.

In my professional life, I’m a software designer and engineer. Whenever I can, I work on connecting different systems and services and making them appear like one smooth running process (even though they never are, of course). I’m a specialist on Microsoft’s .NET platform, but I consider myself a generalist in the field of web technologies, ranging from databases and server components to every detail in browsers and mobile devices.

When I’m not doing things for work, I may be tinkering with photography and music, getting stuck in Wikipedia and creating scripts and other bits and pieces in virtual worlds. And doing things for work anyway.