New Forum…

Entropia Forum’s database got bought by Mindark, so the new location of the thread my shop in Entropia Universe is http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/forums/showthread.php?183967-Delta-Discounts-Calypso-s-TRUE-Bargain-Shop-Omegaton-West-Habitat-Delta-Tower

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Wish List…

This could be a rather lengthy posting. I apologize for that, but not really… There’s a lot that I have to say and am thinking about here, and it feels good to get this stuff out here for others to read and for myself to come back to read from time to time… (*this post will likely look different the next time you see it since it’s going to be edited and re-edited a few different times to get everything in here I want to say*)

The other day Tekla had me email her an Art Wish List for Birthdays, Christmas, or just any time. At first I did not think I would have a very long list, but before I knew it, I had a very long list that just kept growing, and growing the more that I thought about various things that I could use, might use, or have used in the past.

Since other folks besides her sometimes read this blog, I’m making a copy of some parts of that list here. This is stuff that I’m probably going to need or want at some point in the future to continue doing various forms of art that I want to focus on. If you ever want to get me a gift sometime for a birthday or whatever, this is they type of stuff that I can and will use and probably appreciate more then cash or gift cards.

I kind of feel greedy or cocky making this list, but also feel it’s informative since it tells people the type of stuff that I have used, do use, or will use in my artwork. It also tells you what type of traditional art products I have preferences for and why, and gives people a glimpse in to my techniques, hobbies, and habbits that they can ask questions about that they might not normally ask. In this way, it’s sort of like an educational virtual studio tour so to speak…

not looking for pity donations, or money, or anything like that… just for a way to do what I want to be doing…

There’s no real order to the list as far as priorities of what is more important to have or anything. It was just created as I though of different things.

• Sketch Books.
I like having little sketchbooks, either like the 2 1/2 x 3 inchers with the spirals (like what I’m scanning now with the mall small series of drawing), or the 5-6 x 8 inchers. I also like having a bigger few that are like 8 1/2 x 11 inch or so… In the past, I’ve used much larger sketchbooks, but for quick little doodles, notes, etc. these little books are nice since they can be carried around easily.

I like having the ability to tear out the pages so that I can scan them or store them separate from the rest of the book. Some sketchbooks can do that better then others. I like being able to store the smaller pages from the smaller books inside of the larger books. The way that works is that I stack 2 pages from the smaller books inside of each page of the bigger books, with each smaller page facing away from one another.

This storage method is not really needed for ink pen drawings or something like acrylic that is sturdy, but for stuff like watercolor, charcoal, pastel, colored pencil, etc. this method works best since it protects the faces of the drawn area from rubbing against the face of the other drawn area, pulling the charcoal, etc. off with it in places I didn’t intend. With printed materials, a lot of artists do something like this but stack felt in between the backs of each page instead of sketchbooks. The idea is basically to keep the face of the artwork from being torn, bruised, and battered by the other artwork near it… And to keep the stuff that does rub off on to the bigger sketchbook’s blank pages only hitting one area, instead of making it a huge mess by moving different stuff on it that then rubs off on to other artwork stored there, etc. With the bigger paintings, it’s sort of similar, face to face, back to back storage, kind of like that rack downstairs… But since I’ll be working on small stuff, we won’t run out of storage room nearly as easily. I could store a whole lifetimes supply of the 5×7 inch stuff in a small 3 foot area, but with huge paintings that each have stretcher bars that are at least half an inch thick, that’s not so easy.
… So idea 1: acid free sketchbooks

• Ink Pens
Idea 2 : ink pens. If I get back in to drawing with ink pens in sketch books like I did with the stuff that I’m scanning now, I can go through about half of an ink pen in about 2-3 days. On larger works, I can actually burn through 2-3 pens or more in the course of one drawing if there’s a lot of detail to it. I don’t like ink pens since the ink pens themselves are not usually acid free, but since I’m going to start scanning stuff more then once every 10 years like I’m doing with this stuff I’m scanning now, it should not be that big of a deal. (the acid causes the paper to yellow over the years where the acid touches the paper, even if the paper itself is acid free).. Ink pens are cheaper then expensive india ink, which is acid free… But expensive.

I like black ink pens to do most sketches since you can do a lot with it, but also like occassionally having a blue or red to do a little tonality to the work. If I get in to that toned stuff, I also like using a yellow or red china marker sometimes just to throw a little more tonality and color in to the mix for quick sketching.

• Acrylic
Idea 3: acrylic paint, preferably in a tube that looks like a toothpaste tube, or of artists quality… Cheap acrylic used to do paintings on fabric is not that great to use, even though it does work. That stuff is watered down a lot, so it dissappears fast, and is made with low quality stuff, so has a lot of limitations, but it does occassionally work as a filler color to go in between the other acrylic paint. I used to love, and still do love oil painting, but currently don’t have a studio that’s suitable for it since there’s no ventilation system in our basement. I have tried to paint in the house before, and got a huge smell of turpentine that Tekla was not pleased with at all… I personally love the smell, but that’s a different story. Also, oils, and all of the chemicals needed for that type of painting are a lot more expensive per ounce then acrylic… I don’t like the plastic shiney look of acrylic, so might do some airbrushing to thin the stuff down, or use acrylic matte formulas from time to time to lower that shininess. I hate looking at a painting and seeing gigantic shiny spots of light where shadows are suppossed to be, destroying the illusion that is suppossed to be seen. This is another reason I’m not too keen on oil painting – in theory to make oil paintings that last a long time, you should use darmar or some other varnish on them as the top layer. I rarely put varnish on any of my oil paintings since I hate the reflective shine you get with viewing the work from various angles if the light hits the varnish just right.

• Color Pencils
Idea 4: Color Pencils. I really love Prismacolors, but don’t use them much. Something that’s farily new that I really like is Crayola Erasable Pencils (runs around 5 bucks for a pack of 12 or so I think?). I really like being able to erase the color pencil markings and do layer after layer on top of the erased areas, etc. It makes working with color pencils almost like working on oil paintings in some ways.

A cheap generic brand that is not erasable at Wal-Mart is Rose Art. I don’t mind Rose Art, but it’s not the greatest. Prismacolor is top of the line as far as color pencils goes and costs around a buck a pencil. I don’t often use Prismacolor because it’s so pricey, and also because it’s easy to run out of it fast as the reason it’s so expensive is that it’s got more pigment (color) in it then wax – the cheaper stuff like Rose Art and Crayola has more wax then pigment. However, that’s not such a bad thing since I love to layer things and rework stuff over and over to get the desired results.

• Pastels
Idea 5: pastels – oil or non-oil. These are basically like colored chalk. I have a huge box of them downstairs somewhere, but don’t use them much because it’s costly and messy. Oil pastels are made with an oil base, so are more silky and smooth then the chalk stuff… But oil pastels are pricey because they are easy to burn through. A full pack of oil pastels runs around 5-10 bucks at Micheals I think, but I can burn through an entire pack of them in about 2 drawings… So it’s way pricey, even though it does not seem like it.

Conte crayon is what the non-oil pastels are sometimes called when they come in earth tones (browns and reds). Most of the normal soft chalk pastels are very expensive since pastels are really just powerded pigment thrown together with something – so it’s basically a dried version of watercolor paint sort of. Cheap colored chalk is not the same as pastels, and is not worth messing around with. I bought some sidewalk chalk once just to try it out, and hated it. There’s almost no pigment in cheap chalk, which is why it’s so darn cheap. I do sometimes grind up the cheap chalks though to use in pounce bags and as an additive to put texture in to various other types of painting materials.

• China Marker
Idea 6: China Markers. These are Berol brand, and you can get them in some office supply stores, but it’s cheaper (even though still pricey) to just buy them direct online. They come in blue, yellow, red, green, orange, black and white I think. I love China Markers as a top layer to put on paintings or drawings because they can write on just about any surface, even a painting that you think can’t have anything else put on top of it since the tooth of the canvas is full. I think of these as super waxy color pencils sort of. They are mainly used to write stuff on cars by auto mechanics and stuff like that since it can write on cars, glass, and all sorts of stuff like that and be easily wiped away without anyone ever knowing there was something written on there.

• Water Color
Idea 7: watercolor or guache. Guache (may have mispelled that) is basically really thick watercolor – it’s watercolor with a lot more pigment in it. Normal watercolors have to be mixed thinly to have the white areas be the paper under the paint since you can’t paint thick white on top of normal watercolor easily. Guache fixes that problem since it’s a lot thicker and you can put whatever colors you want on top…

You just have to be careful, because like watercolor, once it’s dry, guache can be made muddy by adding water to it on top layers… Acrylic does not do that since acrylic is basically just colored plastic that dries to a hard layer in about an hour or so. Watercolor and guache both use gum arabic instead of plastic stuff in it like acrylic, so they stay able to be messed up easily if they get water on them, which is one reason I don’t like watercolor too much – it’s too fragile… Same goes with pastels… Pastels are basically just stick forms of watercolor… However, I don’t mind using either from time to time.

• Hardboard
Idea 8: hardboard… This is the little 5″x7″ panels that I’m doing most of my color pencils on these days. Lowes sells it and they can cut it down to the 5″x7″ inch sizes with their really awesome table saw… A full 8’x4′ sheet makes a lot of little penels, and it’s cheaper then just about anything else to work on, yet sturdy enough to take a lot of damage from my pressing hard with color pencils, scraping things out with razor blades, etc.

There’s several reasons I use 5″x7″ as a standard size to make my little panels now. 5″x7″ is a standard photo size so it’s easy to find frames, and is roughly the same size as post card template on Cafepress.

5″x7″ is twice the size of 2.5″x3.5″ – which is the standard size for art trading cards. That means that artwork that I created that is 5×7 inches will easily scale down to art card size for printing purposes in the future and the art cards will work nicely as business cards someday.

Additionally, this size can be scaled up 5.14286 times to get to a size that is approximately 3′ x 2.14′, which ends up being approximately a 2’x3′ work with a little cropping along the smaller end. In the past, I have done 2×3 foot paintings… so this size gives me the flexibility to eventually get back in to painting that size and scaling it down to 5″x7″. In this way, it’s also possible that the little color pencil drawings might become studies for larger paintings someday.

I like that size painting since it’s easy to reach all edges of the canvas easily when painting with the length of my arm… so I can do many things I cannot do with smaller works or larger works… The cropping issue is not a major one since with paintings, I like to not use frames too much, and just bleed the artwork over the edge… That little bit of cropping room is plenty to wrap around the edge of a painting. I just wish I had a 2’x3′ scanner so I could scan paintings that size and not have to rely on a camera to get an accurate digital copy of a painting that size. I hate using cameras sometimes since they cause parallax problems when trying to shoot photos of artwork.

• Plexiglas
Idea 9: plexiglass in sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ or bigger. I like plexiglass for a lot of different things. It makes a nice drawing board. It is clear so I can use it as a drawing instrument, sort of like a window to either keep still and get proportions, or as a way to trace stuff if I hold it up to the sun or a light. I also like it because you can paint it, use it in sculptures, and all sorts of other stuff. It’s not as dangerous as glass… Also, eventually, I might use it as a way to protect the scanner if I do something like take leaves off of trees or grass, etc. to scan without damaging the scanner with grass stains and stuff like that.. Or protect it from charcoal stains, pastel stains, etc. if I ever get in to working with pastels, charcoals, etc. that are messy…

I’ll probably come up with more ideas over time…

My favorite colors are mainly cadmium red, which is a really bright red, like on a fire truck, cobalt blue, which is a really bright blue, like the shirts the guys at Best Buy wear, bright yellow, like tweety bird yellow… I like these three the most since they are the main primary colors I use.

Just about any color that exists can be made by mixing and matching these colors in some variation. I also like having a darker version of the red and blue… With red, it’s usually Crimson Red, which is about the color of a dark red rose, with blue, it’s usually called something like Prussian Blue, or maybe pthalo blue – which is a blue that’s fairly dark…

With yellow, I don’t like darker colors too much, but don’t mind orange to work as a darker version of yellow sort of. I also work with other various colors sometimes, but most of the above is the main stuff that is a “necessity” since most other colors can be made by mixing and matching based on those colors… The other lesser used stuff is like yellow ochre (which is a browh/yellowish), greens (usually either lime or dark green), and other stuff like that. I don’t mind earth tones (browns) but really, mixing colors that are oppossite on the color wheel, like yellow and red with a tad of green can get you just about any brown you want…

Also, since I’m partially color blind, the dark greens and browns really interfere with my abilities a bit. With brighter greens I can tell what is going on due to the yellow tints inside of the green. With darker reds that get below about 50% or darker in tone, I have a lot of problems differentiating the green from the brown and black/white grey tones. Really bright reds are fine though. I think my color blindness is part of the reason I enjoy getting stuff out of the tubes and visually color mixing on the pallete or canvas more so then physically mixing things to arrive at muddy messes that all look grey/brown/green to me.

I guess, for the time being, my sort of “game plan” with the art will be focus on drawing, color pencils, acrylic painting, maybe occassionally ink pens or markers, and other stuff like that which is cheap to obtain and will work well on the little hardboards. I’ll do all of that after I get the scans all done (most of the little books are scanned now that have drawings – I just don’t have them online yet)

… eventually getting to a point where I’m able to explore a lot of different ideas, themes, and styles since the 5×7 inch boards are so small I can feel free to do a lot with it without it costing us a ton in materials. If I end up burning through all the little
boards I have now, I’ll just get more since they are so cheap.

Then, eventually, in a few years, I can re-evaluate at that point in time if I want to continue with the little stuff, or try doing some bigger stuff, maybe adding a ventillation system to the basement studio…

In theory, I can use a mask with charcoal filters to protect myself when I’m working on airbrushing and stuff like that now… and I can do acrylic… since acrylic dries in about an hour and is water based, not oil based. My airbrush skills are not that great, and airbrushing is pretty messy, even if it is fun, and has a lot more potential for great work then just painting with a brush. So there you go… • Charcoal Filtered mask is number 10…

a few other ideas that I don’t have time to write much about at the moment…

• Wood Engaving Equipment and Block Printing Ink

• High Resolution Camera that can have lenses changed out – and preferably be able to do HDRI photos well

• Bees Wax and Peraphane Wax – I would like to experiement with encaustic painting eventually

• Double Boiler – in case I do get in to that encaustic painting mode

• Dual Action Airbrushes – I already have one, but the needle seems like it’s not in the best of shape.

• Markers – various colors, shapes and sizes. I’ve never messed with markers much but if I’m going to start getting in to illustration, it’s something I want to learn to use more.

• Bamboo Sticks – I’ve never used this, but have read that you can use bamboo sticks to create a sort of long pole extension for charcoal and pastels… You cut the end in to fourths, put the charcoal in the middle, then tape up the edge so that the charcoal stays in place. It sort of works like a mahl stick. I don’t have a mahl, but do have a wooden flagpole that I’ve used as a mahl before.

• Sculpey – modelling clay you can find at places like Wal-Mart. It comes in a wide variety of colors and is not too pricey. I love it as a stress releiver since it won’t go hard until you bake it. I have some that I keep at my desk that has been soft for years. I also might try getting in to doing sculpture someday, and this stuff would be handy for that.

• Squeegee – I’m using old windshield wipers for this sort of stuff now… You can do interesting things with paint with a squeegee.

• Sponges – Sponges of various sizes and textures can do a lot of interesting stuff in paint too… Actually lots of oddball textured things can be used in paint. I have painted with quaters, pennies, old tooth brushes (only mine though since otherwise it’s just gross), plastic silverware, cotton balls, q-tips, toothpicks, pine cones, bird feathers, and even tree leaves before. I read in a book the other day that you can also do interesting things with electric toothbrush bases since the vibrations from the motor can cause illustration pens and really watered down paint to do really interesting, yet controlled textural splatter effects.

• Pencils – I don’t use graphite much, but it does have it’s use in sketchbooks, and also as a material that can be used to create carbon paper for transferring images. I also like ebony pencils. I enjoy pencils of just about any hardness from h4 – 6b.

• Charcoal – Charcoal comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes too. I love both white and black charcoal as well as pastels.

• Gesso – this is the stuff used as undercoating for paintings, and I also use it on the hardboards to get them to have a white underlayer with a little tooth.

• Acrylic Matte Medium

• Black and White matte spray paint – I’m going to paint some boards to use as backgrounds for shooting artwork with a camera. Glossy backgrounds for this sort of thing don’t work. The boards I’ll be painting, and am in the process of painting, are the back side of masonite sheets – the rough side. I have put a few cans of black paint on one of the boards so far, but this material just absorbs the paint like a sponge, so it’s going to take quite a few layers of spray paint I think. I’m guessing around 5-10 more cans just to get an nice even coat across the whole board. The board is about 4 foot wide and 4 foot tall. I want the white as well as the black so I can have one white and one black board for future portfolio shooting sessions.

• Daylight balanced light bulbs

• Bar Soap – you’d be surprised how much soap is needed to wash out brushes.

• Mineral Spirits or Orderless Paint Thinner – even though I’m not doing much oil painting, this stuff is handy for cleaning up brushes and messy hands

• XXXL or XXL Plastic Gloves – I like wearing gloves when I paint to protect my hands a little

• Photo Frames – 8 1/2″ x 11″ matted down to 5″x7″ is useful for the little panels so there is wiggle room as it’s very difficult to get a 5″x7″ panel in to a 5″x7″ frame, and I’m not sure I’d really want to anyways. The matte protects the surface of the drawings and paintings from rubbing on the glass.

• Instant Tea – I love to drink it, and it’s also very awesome to sponge paint on to paper… Very interesting effects you get with that light brown color, especially if you crinkle up the paper as you do it as the darker parts of the tea will sink in to the cracks, giving interesting shapes and forms to the texture of the paper.

• Orange Stuff or Gojo – useful for cleaning up hands, feet, arms, etc. after painting since gloves don’t always do the trick.

• Charcoal Filtered Masks or just the filters to go in them – helps protect the lungs when drawing or painting with messy stuff. In college I did a charcoal drawing once that took me several hours to complete, and I did this in a room with little ventillation and no mask. I ended up coughing up black stuff for about half a week after that – not something I plan to ever do again!

• Overhead Projector and transparencies – useful for tranfering images to canvas

• HEPA compliant air filteration system – I do want to do oil painting again someday, but can’t at the moment due to the fumes put off…

• Photoflow camera light system – these are a couple hundred bucks and you can get them places like Columbia Photo… They are around 500 watt lights that are easily replaceable.

• Bleach – this can be used to bleach out painted areas sometime, making them a little lighter in areas. It’s also useful as a cleaning agent for when messes happen.

• Rubbing Alcohol – I’ve not messed with this much, but I’ve read that this stuff is useful in thinning out acrylic or enamal based paints for airbrushing purposes.

• Needles, exacto blades, razer blades – intruments for sculpture and removal of ceratain areas on a painted canvas.

• Hand Brush – useful for cleaning after painting

• Various cloth materials – useful replacements for canvas on a painting, as rags for cleaning, or as texture tools for applying paint

• Small handheld Mirrors of various sizes and shapes – useful for checking perspective, checking composition in mirrored image, doing self portraits and any number of other artistic things.

I might add more to this list later from time to time…

http://piratesfootlocker.tk/

http://piratesfootlocker.tk/ – Mr. Pirate’s Foot Locker is a website that lists the trading rates for Mike Pirate Vic, a full time trader in Entropia Universe. Mike has fairly good rates, and updates the rates regularly.

Entropia Tips – Buy from Shops!

When you have a few peds on your avatar’s ped card in Entropia Universe, it is a good idea to price around and window shop a bit before doing any buying. The global auction system, accessed from the auctioneer npc is one of the main markets in game, and it is what is used to determine market value of item. However, in game shops in the malls and outlying areas are where you can sometimes find some spectacular deals. Actually, some “resellers” that sell things on the auction get their stuff from shops around the countryside where they can find items cheaper than they can in the auction. Sure, there are some greedy shop owners that want to price things way above where they should be, but there are also lots of shop owners that price things well below the auction values on a regular basis.

At my shop in Omegaton West Habitat, Delta Tower, I try to personally keep things below market value when possible. I can’t do it on everything since the minimum markup on items is +1 ped, so minimum total price is 1.03, which is the +1 Ped + 2 pecs for taxes that is automatically added to the pricing. Tax is approximately 2% in most shops in games currently.

The reason I, and several other shop owners, can keep our prices so low is that we deal directly with crafters, hunters, and others that get us the goods in direct deals, or bulk buying deals. That keeps things cheap, and keeps those that we buy from having a steady income instead of a sporadic income they would otherwise have if they only used the auction system to sell everything. Additionally, the auction costs them more in the long run since the auctioneer will take a fee from the seller of items regardless of whether the item sells or not.

Shop owners like myself, who set up consignment deals, usually pay Trade Terminal value to those we buy from, then we try to sell the items in question, and if we get sales, we share profits back to the original item’s owner later. If the item does not sell, we contact the original owner after a specified time period and offer the item back to them at trade terminal value. That keeps them having some peds on hand, us having something to sell, and keeps the general public happy since they have interesting items to look at in the shops that are always changing. We can afford to change the inventory out and swap things around that don’t sell since we are not paying markup for the items until a sell is made in consignment shops.
Other shops pay markup on everything, and then they get stuck with items they might not be able to sell. That’s sometimes the right way to do things, especially if markup climbs later after an item is acquired, but many times, it’s silly to pay full markup for items that you might not be able to sell, especially if you are just buying it for the purpose of reselling it.

When you double click on an item in a shop, you will see the item screen that explains more about the item. There are several tabs in the item screen, including a little popup window you can access that shows the market history of the item, which lists the price that the item was sold at in the auction for the day, week, month, year, and decade. That history screen is very important when you are checking prices on things since you’d otherwise have no reliable way of knowing exactly how much an item is worth. Before that window came along, buying things from shops was hard to do since it was difficult to know how much the stuff you were looking at was really worth. The same thing happened on the auction sometimes before the history window existed. Be glad it’s there and use it. It could save you a lot of peds over time.

Not all items in shops and booths are for sell. You can tell what’s for sell or not by seeing how much the markup is on the item in the main item screen (left most tab). Items that don’t have a markup are not for sell, and cannot be purchased. Usually items that are not for sell are there just for decorative purposes to give the shop a theme or specific look that the shop owner wants the place to have.

If you do window shop, be sure to look around at all of the malls and shops. There’s a bunch of them. Many don’t have their rent paid, so you cannot access them, but the active shop owners do keep their rent paid, and keep prices marked up, usually at descent levels because they want you to buy. Pricing around at various shops, just like window shopping in the real world, can sometimes get you some spectacular deals you would have otherwise missed.

In a future post, I will go in to details about what it is like to be a shop owner in this virtual universe.

In another post in the future, I might try to list all of the shops in game that I know about. There’s a LOT of them. Remember there’s 3 mall shops in game (Port Atlantis, Twin Peaks, and Emerald Lakes) so far, lots of various shops in the countryside and in apartment basements (Omegaton West Habitat, Genesis HQ, Sakura City, Treasure Island, Minopolis, North of Fort Argus, and a several other places too), a really big shopping area on Club Neverdie, a few booths on Crystal Palace, and several other places people can sell things since shopkeepers enable ANY estate in game to become a shop… including but not limited to any apartment, any hanger, and any Land Area. Additionally, shopkeepers can be used to add more item slots to already established shops, making them even bigger than they once were.
There’s an entire virtual universe to window shop in!

When new planets come in to play there will likely be even more shops elsewhere.

Have fun.

Entropia Survival Strategies and tips…

As someone that has had an avatar on Calypso a few years, I have a bit of experience in surviving in Entropia Universe (EU). This is the first of many little Survival tips, hints, tutorials, etc. I’m probably going to be posting in here.

If you don’t know what Entropia Universe or Planet Calypso is yet, go take some time to read about it at http://www.entropiauniverse.com.

Also, go take a look at the entry for Entropia Universe on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropia_universe

Take particular note of the stories on there about Neverdie, Jon Jacobs (Deathifer), Mike Everest, and a few other success stories. THESE types of stories are usually true. HOWEVER, they are not typical stories of average participants. Most people that participate in the virtual universe can and should expect monetary losses when playing. This is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) after all, just like Warcraft, Dialo 2, or Everquest. However, unlike those other games, the losses in EU should not be extremely great unless the participant in question wants them to be because EU is free to participate in on some levels. Sweating, gathering dung, fruit, stones and oil are all free (well oil is probably the hardest of those to get because the rig is in the middle of a pvp zone that’s always full of avatars)…

There are many risks in EU. Many consider the main professions of crafting, hunting, and mining in the game to be similar to gambling in a slot machine at a real world casino. However, there ARE ways to participate and make money and come out ahead. It just takes some work to figure out how to come out ahead… it also takes a bit of luck on occassion. Trading is one of the main ways to do this. HOwever, you have to be smart with the way you trade to make money in this game. You also have to have a lot of persistence, strategy, and sometimes just plain luck.

FORUMS
There’s quite a few forums run by participants (players) of this virtual universe with the real cash economy known as Entropia Universe. Forums are THE primary way participants share information with one another. In a “game” (even if the developers don’t want to call it a game – but a virtual universe instead) such as this one, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, and getting knowledge from other participants through forums is probably the easiest way to get knowledge quickly.

The largest, and probably most popular one in English currently is probably http://www.entropiaforum.com (EF). I participate in that forum a lot, as do many other helpful individuals. EF is a huge place – take time to read, read, and then read some more before you ever think about depositing a lot of cash in to the game. There’s a huge learning curve to this virtual universe known as Entropia Universe, and places like EF can help you get over the major hurdles of that learning curve much, much, much faster than you can overcome the learning curve on your own.

Other forums exist. Http://www.entropiaplanets.com (EP) is one example of such a startup. A few years ago Entropia Pioneer’s forum was hot, but that got so stale and stagnant that it got shut down permanantly some time during the last year or so. There’s also been a few other forums here and there that have had limited success.

http://www.entropiareality.com is another forum, but it’s mainly for flame fests since it’s not moderated. Since entropiareality (i.e. ER in other forums since some other forums actually hate ER enough that they edit their forum to keep that word from showing up in their own forum) is flame bait, some discussions in other forums sometimes end up here near the end since no moderators are not around to keep all parties posting their spit spats to one another out in the open like little elementary kids that like to cuss because they have not potty trained their speech yet.

When it comes to the forums, remember to use netiquitte. Also remember that theories are just that, theories… not something that can be proven, and if it can be proven, the system might just be altered to make the theories false again later… This is important to know since there’s a LOT of various loot theories out there…. and if the Mind Ark and FPC are smart, as I believe they are, they likely change the loot system regularly, just like online casinos or google, to keep those that want to cheat the system from doing so for too long of a stretch of time.

AUCTIONS
The in game auction is nice, but it’s limited because there is an auction fee that the seller has to pay regarless of whether the item the seller is trying to sell actually sells or not. The selling forums in EF help people bypass that little administrative fee. Similarly http://www.entropiabay.com (EB) was set up specifically to help people do this sort of stuff in a more ebay type of setting. Entropiabay is sort of a new kid on the block, but it has limited popularity. Over time, it might become one of the best places to sell stuff online in game. EP also has an auction type of thing in it’s forums, but since EP itself is even newer than EB, the number of people utilizing that system is very limited.

Most folks that don’t do a lot of person to person trading in game use the in game auction system at some point in time. It is a lot more reliable than the forums sometimes because forums require that you have to meet up the people you are dealing with in game, which is not always easy. With the in game auction, you are using a system that anyone in game can access 24/7. However, since it does have fees to sellers, and high fees in addition to that, it’s not necessarily the best way to sell things.

SHOPS
In game shops are nice to have. They allow you to sell things in game 24/7 regardless of whether your avatar is actually logged in or not. Price of shops very greatly depending on location and size of the shops in question. Mall shops are the most expensive and have the highest monthly rent fees. However they also are probably the most popular shops in game. Shop owners have to deal with taxes when figuring out what prices to mark items with. They also have to deal with monthly rent sometimes. Taxes are not too difficult to work with since taxes are passed on to customers, not to shop owners themselves, and taxes also are interesting because they usually are a lot lower than the fees that have to be dealt with in the in game auction regardless of whether people bid or not. Tax money that is collected goes to Land Owners if the shop is on a land area that is owned by a participant. Some shops are in areas that are not owned by participants, and it’s never been determined if the taxes off of those shops go back to feed the loot pool or go in to the overall income of MindArk. Some estates that act as shops, such as booths in apartment basements, hangers that have shopkeepers in them, and some houses that have shop keepers in them, do not have monthly rent payments. That makes these places very interesting places to own as any income from the shop is more or less a complete income since the shop owner does not have to “break even” on a rent fee every month. However, they still may have some decay fees in the form of shopkeeper decay. Shop keepers decay approximately 10 PEC per sale… Most folks that own shop keepers are aware of this and pass that cost on to their customers. Even that small fee is typically less than the auction fee costs sellers as the auction always costs a seller something regardless of whether or not any actual sale was made.

HANGERS
Hangers are estates that have ships that can be used to fly to the astroids above Calypso, Club Neverdie (CND) and Crystal Palace (CP). It is also possible that they will be used to get to new planets when new planets are introduced in 2010. Hangers also have a number of item points on them, so they can hold furniture and other things, such as shopkeepers, just like all estates that have over 6 item points (shopkeepers require 6 item points but give you 20 back in exchange with the number of things that the shopkeeper can hold and sell for you)

ALGORITHMs…
Here’s what is believed to be the algorithm that is currently used to figure taxes.

Shop Tax = (Markup * 49.75 / (1990 + Markup))

Here’s what is believed to be the algorithm that is currently used to figure auction fees on the in game auction.

Auction Fee/Commission = (0.5 + Markup * 99.5 / (1990 + Markup))

Here’s what is believed to be the cost to pilots for using ships (although the ship system is currently offline until it’s reintroduced. This system, along with most other systems in the game have to be recreated to suit the Cry Engine 2 Game Engine that was added to EU in Version Update 10.0)

the actual flight costs, one way, to each desination are (in TT value):

10 ped to CP (4 decay, 6 ped in oil).
40 ped to cND (16 decay, 24 ped in oil).

DYNAMIC CHANGES…
As with everything in this dynamic universe, change is the ONLY costant we can accurately rely on… so the information above may be completely inaccurate by the time you read this. The systems in place in the virtual universe change every time a new version update is implemented, and sometimes even during the course of the same version of the game as Mindark can and does alter some things on the server side of the game any time they want. Getting used to changes IS a very important characteristic anyone that wants to survive in EU for long MUST have because there can, will be, and always are changes coming up… some may benefit you. Others might not… that’s why a lot of the forums are always full of people complaining about things and speculating about things. However, most long term residents of Calypso and any part of EU know that change is coming and always will happen over time…. because ENTROPIA UNIVERSE IS DYNAMIC!

I’ll add some more tips about EU and living on Calypso in future postings here. Stay tuned…