A gift at the new Velvet Thorn mall

Just over a week ago The Velvet Thorn had a complete rebuild. And, obviously, the mall got a complete overhaul too. Today we placed our vendor boards back in the mall. And, given that the new style for VT is pretty much to our taste (you'll notice that there's always been a very Victorian, with a Steampunk edge, to Raven Park, and the darker use of rust and electricity is very us), we thought we'd give all members of VT a house-warming gift to celebrate the new build, and the new year. So, pop over to the VT mall, make sure you've got your VT group tag active (please note that if you're not a member of the group, there is a L$250 fee to join), find our boards:

and touch the gift box:

The gift is made very much in the theme of the new VT build.

Note that the gift will only be available into the early new year. Expect the gift-giver to disappear any time from the 3rd onwards.


2012: Our year in review (Part 2)

This is the second part of our review of Z&A's 2012. You can find part 1 here.

July kicked off the second half of 2012 quietly on the Z&A front, with no product releases and nothing written here on the blog. That's not to say we weren't doing anything. Behind the scenes we were working on the early planning for The Femdom Hunt III, and Antony was starting to have a play with some code that would turn into a new product range.

August saw no product releases either. Again, we were working in the background on The Femdom Hunt III (the hunt was announced on the 1st of the month) and Antony was still busy working on the code for the new product range that would be released in time for the hunt.

August did see us welcoming Beaumont Manor back to having a full region. We also contributed a couple of items to their "freebie shop". You can still find these items over there.

This month also saw us taking part in the Down and Dirty Hunt. For this hunt we made a whole new kind of product: a simple RLV trap in the form of quicksand. This has since gone on sale as a Z&A product.

September was yet another month that appeared to be a quiet one on the Z&A front but which was very busy behind the scenes. By this point we were well into organising the Femdom Hunt III. Also, work was still under way with developing and testing the new range of vehicles. Some testing was nice and gentle and simply involved having a nice wander around Raven Park:

Other tests.... well, let's just say when it's Zardia and Antony testing, anything can happen...

October was, unsurprisingly, very busy. The Femdom Hunt III kicked off, we released the new range of Z&A vehicles, we kept on top of and ran The Femdom Hunt III (which included Antony having to put up with some terrible abuse by some of the hunt locations!), Antony found time to make some changes to the Avatar Radar and we put the Halloween gifts out for everyone again. Late on in the month we also started work on a project for Raven Park, which would be revealed in...

November was yet another month where most of the work was going on behind the scenes. Antony started work on a brand new project (which is still ongoing as of the time of writing, and should be ready for release early next year -- perhaps in time for our third birthday) which kept him fairly busy. Also behind the scenes we were working on a new Mansion building for Raven Park. Towards the end of the month it was ready and we deleted the old one and dropped the new one into place. As of the time of writing all but one room is furnished and available for play, but there is still more work to do (at some point soon we aim to provide descriptions of all the rooms available along with some pointers on how to use each of the toys).

Towards the very end of November we released two new vehicles. One was the carriage that had been the Z&A gift for The Femdom Hunt III, the other was a RLV sleigh. We made the sleigh available as a winter gift for all of the members of our store group.

December has been another month where much is ongoing behind the scenes. As well as the new ongoing project, Antony started work on another product which, as of the time of writing, is being tested and tweaked and should be released early next year. The changes to the play area at Raven Park continued and we're also delighted to report that the rental side of the region is not only full, but we now have a waiting list! (the gamble from earlier on in the year was very much worth it).

We released three new products (both builds that had previously been hunt gifts) and, of course, made our Christmas gifts available for free again. We also accepted an invite to, and made a build especially for, Deirdre and lelo’s Fetish Spot.


And that brings us to the end of our review of Z&A's 2012. It's been a really enjoyable year for Z&A. We've had a lot of fun building new things. We've had a lot of fun making stuff that helps make people's SL more enjoyable (or less enjoyable... *wink*). We've especially had a lot of fun making a place where people can play and live. While we did say at the start of this review that we have no master plan (and this is true), there are plans for what'll happen in the new year. Work is under way on new products and they should be revealed within the next month or so.

To everyone who has shopped with us, hunted with us, or just visited Raven Park and enjoyed the surroundings: thank you for helping make 2012 a great year for Z&A.


2012: Our year in review (Part 1)

This year has been another fascinating and surprising year for Z&A. We're the first to admit that there is no master plan, that we have let Z&A grow and evolve naturally, that the most important thing for us is that this is fun and that everyone we deal with is happy with what we do. Once again we finished the year surprised and delighted at how much we've grown considering our humble beginnings.

January was a pretty quiet month for us. Antony had a play with the idea of a relay checker, initially as something that would be placed around the shop to help people diagnose any problems they might be having with our products, and then we quickly released it as a free product to help everyone. We did release a couple of products, including a new Punishment Picker and the very popular Z&A Strap-On.

Two big announcements were made that month. The first was our decision to hold a mini-hunt around Z&A to celebrate Z&A's second birthday. The second was the formation of Raven Park, a playground and hangout created out of the older Shackles Femdom (something which, a little later on in the year, was to grow much bigger).

February was a very busy month for us. We released quite a few new products, including a black version of a popular simple throne, along with the catch/hold holding cells and the Quadripod; and then a little later we released two new cells, the Corner Chained range and the Pipe Bed.

This month we also experimented with the idea of having a guest vendor in the store. For this experiment we invited Evelock to place a vendor in our main store. This worked well and Evelock would go on to having a store nextdoor to Z&A's main store (but more on what made that possible a little later).

February saw two very big events, for us. The first, of course, was the birthday mini-hunt. We planned this having no idea how well received it would be. The idea was to have people wander around the main store and the Raven Park playground and pick up a collection of gifts we'd left out. We weren't sure how many people would turn up. We weren't sure at all if it was going to be a massive flop or not. We needn't have worried. It was a very busy weekend that weekend and lots of people turned up and made the whole thing really fun. It was a real delight to see so many people wandering around and exploring.

The second event followed just after the end of the mini-hunt, but had been in the planning stage for about a month, and we'd been busy working on it for a couple of weeks leading up to it. On the last day of the month we deleted the main store building, and the cell store, and replaced them both with a brand new build that would join it all together. This was our biggest and most ambitious store build to date and we made it big enough to last us for a while to come. Hopefully it'll last us more than a year (normally we've found ourselves replacing the store every year, or more). Of course, it didn't quite work out that way, as we needed to build a special sky platform for a new product range, but more on that later...

March, which we'd planned on being a quiet month after all the work running up to the mini-hunt and the new store, didn't turn out to be so quiet after all. Around the middle of the month we were told by our neighbour that they were letting their 1/2 of the region go. We had another long conversation, the same as we'd had before when this last happened, and this time the outcome was different. Whereas last time we decided to just stick with our 1/2, this time we decided to take a risk and take on the whole region, making the other 1/2 available for rentals.

Although slow to get started we're now in a position where, not only is every single plot being rented, we have a waiting list for plots. And we're lucky to have some wonderful residents on those plots. It's worked out really well.

April was another busy month for us. I kicked off with us taking part in two hunts (one build being, we think, the only chocolate RLV cell on the grid), with us being in a third hunt by the middle of the month. Also, around the middle of the month, we released six more cells and two new gags. By the end of the month we released five more products, including the rather popular RLV Force-TP Sentry.

May kicked off with us sponsoring the Femdom Community in SL's Femdom Fiesta. This month also saw Antony playing with a pet project that, by the middle of the month, was released as a freebie known as the Z&A Avatar Radar.

May also saw the release of a product that had Antony all excited as he was building it: The Z&A Police Box Cell. That wasn't the only cell build that we did that month. Towards the end of the month we sponsored a Science Fiction themed dance at The Velvet Thorn. As part of this we built a special cell that was given as a gift to all who attended. This, in turn, would inspire a new small range of cells that would be released in...

June was another very busy month for us. It kicked off with us taking part in the Fetish Love Hunt. Our build for that probably took us as deep into full-on fetish territory as we've ever been and, to this day, we're still debating about if we should release it as a product (as we often do with hunt builds).

A few days later we announced the release of a range of science fiction themed cells, inspired by the build we'd done for the VT dance the previous month. Whereas all our other cells, so far, were very much about doors and bars and walls and the like, this range concentrated on force fields, both visible and invisible. One cell even doing away with any visible door, walls or roof.

June also saw the release of a new Z&A carry restraint as well as the release of two versions of the Z&A Lamp Post -- a build that started life as the gift for a hunt earlier on in the year.

Finally, towards the end of the month, we released two new gags. The mousetrap gag is still one of Antony's favourite gag builds.

And that takes us half way through Z&A's 2012. The review of the second half can be found in part 2.


Deirdre and lelo’s Fetish Spot

As avid readers of Second Life Fetish Fashion we were delighted to receive, a couple of days back, an invite to take part in Deirdre and lelo's new Fetish Spot. While we don't exactly do fetish fashion, we obviously do fetish and, in part, cater for a section of the fetish community that isn't so well supported (come on designers, let's have more stuff for guys!).

The idea of the Fetish Spot is simple: invite designers and builders of fetish items and kinky stuff to make a thing available for just L$10 and then have people gather and hang out and meet and greet and get a great selection of (full, not demo items) samples of people's work.

So, with that in mind, we've made an item that's a very Z&A product and is currently exclusive to the Fetish Spot location. It's a rebuild of an item that was a gift during our Second Birthday Mini-Hunt, this time done in 100% mesh (and still with a land impact of just 1 prim).

To get this product head over to the Fetish Spot and look for our board:

Also, while you're out and about, grabbing Z&A bargains, don't forget that there's just a few days left to get our Christmas Gifts and our Winter Gift.


Three new products

We're delighted to be able to announce the release of three new products into the main store and onto the Second Life Marketplace. The first two are two styles of wooden pet cage. These two products are our first ever 100% mesh builds. Because of this they give quite a bit of detail despite having a land impact of just 3!

The third and final product is a fun RLV trap, in the form of quicksand:

This product will grab any open-RLV-relay-wearing victim who happens to walk into it and will hold them there for a time you set, or until someone else comes along and releases them. Optionally it can be configured to strip them as they're released (because, of course, quicksand would cause all your clothing to fall off -- no, really, it would).

As always, you can find these products in our main store and on our marketplace.

While you're down at the main store don't forget that there's still time to pick up our Christmas gifts and your own copy of the Z&A Sleigh.


Now that it's December...

Now that it's December it's time, once again, to make available some seasonal builds and gifts available.

First off, the Christmas stocking version of our popular Punishment Picker is now listed on the marketplace:

As usual, this will only be available until the end of the month and then it'll be packed away for another year.

Also, in addition to the winter gift we announced a couple of days ago, we're making our Christmas builds available for free again. Just pop down to our main store and look for and touch these two boards: