It is time to talk about alpha.tribe.

I am spending a lot of time working on the output – to the extent where sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep because there is some new thingy floating around in my head and I get up in the middle of the night and fire up photoshop to do things. Wander into the shop in the early hours of the morning and start rezzing prims. It is a full fledged obsession. And not only the work but all of it. Sometimes a few days go by and no one buys anything and I feel low: Instead of checking emails  (as one does), I first look at the transaction histories of the 5 avatars on their SL accounts pages when I get up in the morning. It isn’t about money obviously: I would need to be selling thousands of items to talk about any kind of a tangible income. And, of course, I do not. I make enough to cover my day to day SL expenses and a bit above that perhaps. Maybe, in time, it will be enough to cover the fee of the new homestead. Certainly not what I pay for Syncretia as well. Not anytime soon anyway… So, the obsession is about something else.

Bettina asked me the other day about Syncretia, that she was concerned that I was no longer so interested in “building”. I have been a multi tasker for as long as I can think; so no, I have not given up building. I will do that as well. But, the thing with Syncretia is that it is finished. And there really is no reason whatsoever for me to hang out there, to go back there even. The new sim, yes… Of course. I will be building that – eventually. It will take a couple of weeks, maybe 3 or 4, but probably not even that and then that too will be done, finished. I will be putting an alpha.tribe store there as well, I should add. I can do that, it is not educational land.

The thing about designing avatar apparel is that you can just keep on doing it, over and over and over again – infinitely. Each outfit is a novel design system which you need to tackle all over again, from scratch. And it is an imaginative process. So, on the one hand it calls all of my previous design know-how into question, but then you can use that design know-how to really take an imaginative leap of fancy. I am my own client in a way, I write my own brief and then I implement it through the 5 avatars. And while on the one hand one does need to pay a lot of attention to inherent design restrictions such as those odious avatar templates for instance, the total nightmare of getting one’s head around that little problem right there; on the other hand it is a truly liberating process. You need not worry about RL design issues such as “function” or “usability” or “specifications” or “legibility” (a very big one for the work of a graphic designer, this last one). You can play – really and truly. So, it is a designer’s paradise. No wonder I am so enthralled with it. And like I said, it is endless…

But is that it? It is quite a bit of it, true. I really am preoccupied with the creative process. But that is certainly not what makes me run and check my transaction pages every morning. What it is is that alpha.tribe is giving me a purpose. It is giving me the illusion of having a valid reason for carrying on my existence in SL. That I am needed somehow. The illusion that I have clients who look forward to my producing something new. It is, like I said, a huge illusion and of course I know that it is anything but true. No one needs me or particularly wants me or cares if I am around or not. But, when I click on the transactions page and see the names of avatars that have bought this or that, that have valued the stuff that I make enough to actually pay me for it, it gives me that illusion of being needed. And, I need that sense of purpose to carry on. To justify my continued existence in SL. To myself.

And no, even though it may sound like it, I am not sad. Just trying to formulate an explanation to an obsession, that’s all.


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