This is the story of a build.

making our world

This build was going to be challenging as it is. Recreating the first life Burning Man is always something – sometimes you have to be able to walk around inside the build, sometimes the thing is just HUGE.

Add to this my preference for keeping the proportions realistic (unless that super-high ceiling is part of the design, nope!), and having to find visual information about the original.

In past Man builds, one of the Man Team members in first life has documented EVERYTHING. Every day’s progress, all the little details… Not this year. That person was dealing with some serious health stuff (knock it off, 2016!!) and so the images and video were much more scarce.

Mari and I did manage to find enough though, especially after the first-life Burning Man festival concluded, and the Man Team had returned to areas with WIFI/Internet service.

Time to build ours!


I love driving through the Playa. It’s super flat, and there’s plenty of space for turns in my trusty old flatbed. Also, it’s fun to bring in pieces of the build this way. 😉


Suz stopped by after a long night of unloading and assembly. Burn2 is a social event, even during build time. There are a few first-life burners that started in SL, and vice-versa. I think Suz has gone to the first-life event, but Mari and I have only done the virtual Burns.


Building went very well, when I was able to get in and do it. My first-life was tremendously busy, and there were many many long nights in SL after a long first-life day.

The Man Base had a pretty heavy engineering problem: the toothed wheel at the bottom seemed to turn the two larger gears in opposing directions. There were also planetary gear sets that seemed a bit over-powered (and heavy) for spinning the Man. Balancing the entire thing was a bit of a challenge.

I ended up making a few modifications to the design. I deleted one of the planetary sets, and left one of the large gears free-spinning, so our Man wouldn’t strip his motor.

Of course, if this had been done with physical models, it would’ve flown to pieces with SL’s physics engine. 😀 This is where Mari’s building skills come in – she is extremely handy with scripts. All I had to do was tell her what moved and in what direction.

The best part of Turning the Man was having to have FOUR avatars to get him going ’round. Mari had a timer set for allowing this at the top of the hour. And then you had an entire ten minutes to give the Guy a turn! Extra special thanks to Loki Eliot for some tips on multiple-avatar interactions.


And then it became time to Burn the Man.

My first-life kinda settled down a bit the week of Burn2. We had managed to get the Man on the Playa and turning by the second day of the festival, and now I had to rebuild in prim for the Burn. (Prims burn better than mesh!)

Time disappeared and I was scripting the Burn the day of. The scripts we use are kinda old, and from a couple physics engine updates ago. (Hey Mari.. wanna rewrite these?) 😀 They do still work, but are not terrifically robust in modern lag. Yes, lag has changed too in Our World.

I followed all the steps for setup, and tested a bit of the build to see the timing. (Wow! those arms flew right off!) The entire thing was about 1100 pieces, and calculated to 900 LI. Lots of work for the scripts, but they burnt down a 950 LI giant a couple years ago. This will go just fine, and I can click “burn” and sit back and wait, right? Right?


This started really well! The arms still flew right off, but hey, they went through all their steps in order…

What happened next was.. Nothing. All of the fireworks had ended, and we were watching the sparking arm pieces rattling around on a perfectly intact build. A build that was supposed to be engulfing itself in flame.

I checked my chat history, yep, there’s the calls for ignition of all the parts… But nothing after.

During a Burn, my chat fills with calls of “link 19 catching fire” and “man arm setting hot coals texture” and “link 72 requesting detatch” and “link 3 falling”. None of that was happening. It was really quiet in my chat history.

“Um, I don’t think this is working,” I said to Mari. “Okay…hang on..” she responded and then started dropping more fire and particle effects to cover the error.

We began manually unlinking and setting various things physical. And somehow in between all that, Mari added a flaming particle effect to several of the larger pieces. My genius pyro-sis. ♥


Nobody noticed the glitch at all. 😉