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Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Transgender Resource Center


Second Life Destinations

This week we would like to bring attention to the Transgender Resource Center, a place of community and support in Second Life.

The TRC is of particular importance to Shilo Ravenhurst (she/her, they/them), who has been in SL since around 2007. About a decade ago Shilo decided to change to a female avatar, and found it to be empowering and freeing.

While Shilo is realistic about the aggression that trans people often face, she speaks highly of the safety that LGBTQ+ people can find in SL: “It’s an open world where you’re free to be who you want to be, to be you as you want to be seen and addressed.”

The TRC holds meetings twice a week for trans and gender non-conforming individuals. The meetings on Thursdays (7PM SLT) are called “Topic Night,” where they discuss the news and current events. Cisgender allies are welcome to join this meeting and show their support. For those who are not familiar with this community, the term cisgender refers to people who identify as the gender assigned to them at birth.

Shilo tells us that the Sunday meetings (11AM SLT) are “more akin to what your typical transgender meeting in real life would be, like a support group. We talk about our week, about who we are, and introduce ourselves to people if they’re new. It is typically closed to cisgender people because of the sensitive topics and such.” Safe spaces are important for many reasons, and there is a special comfort in being around people who also experience the specific challenges of certain marginalized communities.

Shilo loves changing outfits and has many avatars, although the one featured in today’s video is her main avatar. Shilo says that “when you can’t present as yourself in real life, then it’s a lot easier to be who you want to be inside of this virtual world.”

There are many support groups in SL, and we want to remind you that in SL you are never alone. Shilo says of her experiences inworld, “Second Life has done a lot for me. It’s where I met my partner, it’s where I met many lifelong friends. I think it’s a great place to socialize and explore with other people.”

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Euphoria


Second Life Destinations

This week we are taking a look at Euphoria, a region dedicated to life, loss, and love.

From Euphoria's creator, Kris Miss:

The inspiration behind Euphoria has a lot to do with the Covid pandemic. I lost so many relatives and family friends in just a year's time. Trying to cope became difficult and overwhelming, really. How does one mourn for several at a time? I was exhausted, to say the least. I come from a long line of huggers, and to hug my family during that time was out of the question. So how do I deal with my loss and still carry on? I kept logging into Second Life to try and forget. But inside me, I really wanted to express how I was feeling because I don’t want to forget. I want to always think about them, even when I log into Second Life. 

So, I decided to create Euphoria not only for me but for everyone else who is trying to cope with a loss. 

When I think of my family, I picture them in a place that’s truly peaceful and beautiful. Euphoria is my vision of that place. It took over two months for me to do. I just wanted the {region} to be special enough that even Second Life Residents would want to visit and memorialize a lost loved one there as well. And, now it is. Euphoria is my little oasis. I get to visit the memorial wall every day and as many times as I like. 

Second Life made it possible for me to at least be with friends, and I will forever be grateful. They helped more than they know. And if I can return the favor, I do hope the {region} brings comfort to them and others who may be missing a loved one.  

I hope more people will take advantage of the services I offer, like meditation and memorializing their loved ones. Meditation helped me a lot during those dark moments and I believe it can help others, too. SL Residents can also add their loved one's name to the memorial wall or light a candle for them. And maybe, while visiting, someone will meet their true love and have a wedding at the {region}. Now that would be truly special!

(Music for this video was written by Draxtor in memory of Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Linden, who passed away on June 3rd, 2021. You can download the piece “For Ebbe” here. You are welcome to use it in your own work,  but if you do, please credit Draxtor.)

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Music Made in SL: Fly Kugin


Second Life Destinations


This week we are talking to Fly Kugin, who plays both her own mesmerizing violin compositions, as well as cover tunes, in Second Life.

Music is a huge part of Fly’s life; in the physical world Fly works as a professional musician and music teacher in Istanbul, Turkey. In SL, she reports that she performs “solo shows, dual streams, benefit shows for non-profits all around the grid and recently produced an exhibition of {my} own real life art in SL.”

Initially, Fly was unaware of the possibilities for musical performances in SL. She tells us: “I explored Second Life for about four years and participated in social and cultural activities to improve my English. Then I realized... Why am I not bringing my profession of music to Second Life?”

Fly’s performances in SL were even more prolific over the last year, given the circumstances. She played several live shows per week throughout 2020. She was eager to bring her art to people across the world, saying “sharing these feelings with people around the world gives me great energy and happiness.”

Fly adds, “the effects of music on human psychology have been scientifically proven. That's why I can clearly say that Second Life is a great platform to touch people in profound ways.”

There is actually a chance to witness her perform tomorrow at the Musical Concert for Virtual Ability, which takes place from 12:30PM to 3:00PM. The opportunities to experience art, culture, and music in SL are truly limitless and we encourage all to come explore!

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

Shot at The Rose Theatre

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Bellefleurs


Second Life Destinations

This week we are transported back in time to Bellefleurs, an ornately detailed recreation of a High Renaissance English estate.

Creator India Canning has been active in SL almost from its inception, hence her mastery of world building. It runs in the family, as India tells us that in 2006: “my sister and brother-in-law had been contracted to explore the possibilities of using SL to promote Hawai’ian tourism in a seven {region} project based on West Maui.” 

India loved building inworld so much that she also mentored other Residents. Eventually, she decided to take her creations to the next level: “I decided to combine my background as a professional historian and in architectural design and art into storytelling, and conjured Bellefleurs as an evolving platform, and an open home to the community.” This region encapsulates the many possibilities of creating in the virtual world. Part duchy, part museum, with an educational angle and a romantic fountain. It's whatever you want it to be.

This massive property is a wonderful place to get lost in, with so much potential for storytelling in the walls of art and attention to detail in the countless rooms. There is a level of interactivity for those curious about the region’s narrative. India says “Bellefleurs, rooted in the English history I knew, illustrates the life of a mysterious independent Duchy, yet preserves a lived-in home spanning centuries.  It seeks to provoke thoughts about loss, mortality, as well as love and the essentials of life experience. There is an incomplete, written history, and a huge store of clues and evidence about the background of the elusive Canning and von Baerwald families…” For those who would like to know more, join the official group for more information.

Not to mention the weekly Salon music series, fencing, opera, dancing, and more! Visit Bellefleurs today for an immersive cultural experience.

bellefleurs events PS.png

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Hammifari


Second Life Destinations

This week we are taking a field trip to Hammifari, an African safari themed zoo event that runs until May 21st. Don’t miss out!

Hammifari is the latest creation of the Bellisseria Hammies, a couple/building team that oversee the Bellisseria Animal Sanctuary. They go by Hammie (Jessycajayne) and Varistentia Varriale

Hammifari has an open-plan setup, with the animals roaming freely. You can get up close and personal with giraffes, zebras, elephants, and more. There is also an elevated wooden walkway that lines the perimeter of the exhibit. It’s a great vantage point to enjoy the waterfall, trees, and surrounding nature.

This event takes place on the Bellisseria Fairgrounds, a space the Hammies are quite familiar with. They tell us they have done many events here, such as “Zoo-Palooza 1, {and} a winter fantasy land we called Hamnia - a play on Narnia. And we also did a summer-long Water Park last summer, which will be returning for its second year this coming July.”

Of their inspiration for Hammifari, the Hammies say “our main message to folks that come to see Hammifari or any other builds that we do, is a universal message to be kind to animals. To learn more about them and their needs, habitats etc. And to just generally help create a fun environment where families and anyone who also has an appreciation for wildlife can explore.”

The event is only up for a few more days, so teleport over soon before it disappears!

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

This week Drax interviews Chris Prynoski, who runs Titmouse Animation with his wife Shannon. Don’t miss the exclusive five-second shorts screening only in SL!

The screening region, which was custom built for the Smash Party event last year, has a very authentic urban grunge vibe. Matter of fact, the SL location represents an authentic replica of the Titmouse studios in Hollywood, California, right down to the porta potties. Surrounded by concrete buildings, the open outdoor space has everything from a cage to smash things with a hammer, an area to grab a beer, and plenty of seating to hang with your friends or meet new people. There are hidden easter eggs to explore as well, like the lonely animator, who is working away day and night while his colleagues party.

Chris tells us that the tradition of screening five-second clips started 13 years ago. Traditionally screened at a live event in the physical world, previous events have taken place in cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver. This year, due to the physical constraints of COVID, the screening moves exclusively to Second Life through May 24.

Chris says this is an opportunity to let every animator do what they want, so be prepared for a wide range of styles as well as content ranging from wholesome to slightly crude, but always hilarious.

Hopefully we have many more inworld Titmouse events to look forward to. Last year’s premiere of the show “The Shivering Truth” brought thousands of Residents to the event. These collaborations illustrate the many possibilities within SL and make it so wonderfully hard to describe. Visit this quirky virtual cinema today!

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

This week we invite you to take a fantastical journey to the regions created by Resident Natalie Starlight.

United by thematic elements that draw from fairy tales, the fantasy genre, and her boundless imagination, these regions are visually sumptuous and will truly make you feel as if you have been transported to a different world.

The Lost Unicorn Gallery, shown in the video, features a beautiful elven castle full of amazing fantasy artwork. There are monthly shows and events for different artists, as well as rotational exhibits. Check out the official website for more information on the latest featured artist, cottage rentals, and photos.

Finian’s Dream, based on old Celtic Ireland, is a mysterious mountainside village. Walk into the fog to explore the castle, tavern, and rolling green hills.

There is also Storybook, which has a more whimsical aesthetic. Frolic amongst the flowers and glistening trees! This region welcomes all avatars but is a particularly wonderful place to visit for elves, faeries, fauns, satyrs, fae and the like.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Anime


Second Life Destinations

This week we are taking a look at several anime themed regions that are bursting with fun and colorful odes to Japanese culture.

Anime, a Japanese style of animation, has become popular throughout the world. It can be found in graphic novels, film, television, and of course, Second Life! There has been a massive following of anime devotees inworld for years, and there is now an anime category in the Destination Guide.

Taikou, created by Hiro Hamada, is a small Japanese town with a market and arcade. Hiro tells us, “I'm deeply inspired by Japanese architecture and culture, so I enjoy creating builds, backdrops, decor, and even food. Whenever I'm back in Japan I take a bunch of photos of the scenery so I have references of what to make in SL. I want everyone to be able to feel the joy of Japan. I've made a lot of great friends in SL that I never would have been able to meet anywhere else.” Hiro’s travels add a great degree of authenticity to this region, which shows the unlimited possibilities when elements of the physical world and imagination collide in the virtual realm.

For those who would like an anime style avatar, Waifu Factory cannot be missed. Here you can find many brands: UTILIZATOR, ABC apparel, Wretch, Ayashi, MelonBunny, Pirocius, and more. From bodies to eyes and even animations, the detail that many Residents put into their avatars is breathtaking.

SU-SHI City is great for photos, with rows of cherry blossoms that are characteristic of Japan. Owner Marcus BlueSky says, “We began with just an ancient town, but then wanted to add more details and now we can finally present an ancient village, a town, and a modern city. Visitors use the place for their blogs, product pictures, and even want to live and run shops here.”

Other visually stunning anime regions include Tonarino, which includes Nekomachi Street. This urban cat city feels like a whimsical daydream and is sure to make anyone smile. Additionally, Hikari and UMIMOTO Marina offer relaxing spaces with impressive attention to detail.

These regions are open to everyone and feel like a museum, cartoon, and vacation all in one. Teleport over today and discover your inner anime character.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: After The Fall


Second Life Destinations

After The Fall is a mysterious urban wreckage great for group roleplay or a solo adventure.

Creator Tigerlily Hyun opened this region in 2013, so considerable evolution has taken place. For example, Tigerlily says that “while I started the sim with roleplay in mind, that has really fallen by the wayside, and it's more for exploring and hanging out now.”

The derelict storefronts and broken roads tell the narrative of a strange and catastrophic event. The amount of detail provided by the environment provides the opportunity for Residents to have a common starting point and then create their own story with the space. What happened here, and is there anyone left?

Tigerlily tells us “I decided to add solo quests to ATF, so even if you didn't have a group or were just exploring SL, you could come here and have a bit of gaming fun yourself.” The versatility of After The Fall makes it a great spot to check out any time of the day.

Tigerlily, having been inspired by the story potential of After The Fall, has actually created a digital graphic novel available on YouTube. Additionally, Tigerlily is developing a sci-fi novel series: “The story follows the perspectives of six characters from various walks of life as they struggle to overcome fear, separation, and loss during the aftermath of a meteor storm and subsequent alien invasion.”

Fun Fact: The green bug eyed monster avatar depicted in the video was custom made by request of Sci-Fi writer legend Joe Haldeman as seen on the Second Life Book Club. The avatar is available from The Silas Merlin Gallery on Marketplace.

Visit After The Fall today or plan a group outing. Don't forget to bring a flashlight!

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Sylvania Square


Second Life Destinations

This week we are spotlighting Sylvania Square, a furry neighborhood inspired by the rainbow palette of the RL village of Boystown.

Safe spaces can mean many things; safety from violence is of course vital for all communities to grow. However, the ability to express one’s true self without judgment and connect with others who have similar interests and perspectives is also something to be treasured. Mayor Celeste Étoile is keenly aware of this, describing Sylvania Square as “a place to surround yourself with people who understand and accept you as you are. A comfort, a sanctuary, a home to those who need one. This place was created to help LGBT+ people find themselves, find friends, make memories, find love, and explore their identities in a safe environment.”

During the isolation of the COVID pandemic, Celeste says that "finding somewhere in a virtual world like this can be a lifesaver. Finding people who understand you can be life-changing."

Vice Mayor Aine Bunny also places immense value on finding community for marginalized people, adding "there's a strong sense of euphoria that comes about when you're able to breathe life into a dream like Sylvania's - one that is incredibly important to the target demographic which we can heavily relate to, especially given our current real-world circumstances... We want to make sure those who need a sense of respite, a place to call home, a change of pace, a spark of inspiration, kindred spirits to commune with, etc., have as much of it as we can provide."

RL neighborhoods by and for the LGBTQ+ community have popped up in countless cities around the world. You may recognize names like The Castro, Chelsea, and Zona Rosa. Second Life is home to many queer friendly regions, and all are encouraged to explore.

Celeste says of SL, "Second Life was a place that I could create myself how I wanted to be perceived and a place where I could find friends who understood sides of me [which] in real life [some people] may not have been able to grasp. There has always been something incredibly life changing about being in SL. It's a place that brought me closer to my partners, my friends, and myself, in ways I can never say thank you enough for."

Sylvania Square is free to enter and welcomes everyone, even non furries, although to enter Residents must have a payment method on file as a formality. Visit Sylvania Square today to breathe easily and let loose in a judgment free zone.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: The Outer Garden


Second Life Destinations

This week we are being whisked away to The Outer Garden, a resplendent winter garden that appears to be frozen in time.

Creator Bisou Dexler, a professional photographer from Japan, says that “Second Life is the one and only place where I can visualize and share the fantastic drawings overflowing from my brain and feel the beauty born from it.” (Check out their Flickr group for inspiration!)

The Outer Garden’s design, like countless other things, was influenced by the profound emotional impact that COVID had on all of our lives. Bisou, in a moment that is relatable to many, was struck by constant grief in the news and headlines. Bisou describes one particularly striking story: “A documentary was broadcast in which a young man, who was unable to go inside the hospital to see his mother, climbed up to the window of the mother's room on the second floor to look at her. I have never felt love and prayer so heartily, and that's when I found hope in my Second Life build…”

The Outer Garden feels like a sacred place conducive to experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions. It welcomes those who wish for a temporary escape as well as those seeking a cathartic reckoning. Bisou tells us that “my inspirations come from the beautiful creations made by my partner aki69, conversations with SL friends, and my emotions, which respond to happiness and sadness in my real life. Being able to express my imagination in Second Life, which is difficult to do in the real world, has had a profound healing effect on me!”

Everybody feels and expresses things in different ways. The virtual world of Second Life can be a great place to process emotions in a safe space. Bisou says “beauty comforts people, so does sharing sadness. I was healed by creating gardens in order to express myself in this virtual world. I hope my gardens also become a place to alleviate the visitors' sorrow.” 

Visit The Outer Garden today to experience your own unique interpretation of this surreal daydream.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Cravone City


Second Life Destinations

This week we are visiting the stunning metropolis of Cravone City, inspired by the real life urban jungles of New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

Creator Bhad Craven has been an active Resident for several years, “making quirky home decor and accessories, detailed building components, and the occasional strange/unique/urban outfit under the Bad Unicorn brand.” 

Bhad joined SL when he was an art student and found that the platform was the perfect canvas for his burgeoning creative output. He tells us, “I eventually met Capone MacMoragh, who became a mentor to me after he discovered I was creating original 3D meshes for Bad Unicorn. He took me under his wing by giving me tips and tricks for learning 3D. I believe after many years of creating a wide range of items for Bad Unicorn, my photoshop and Maya skills have grown tremendously since I first joined SL. I have been lucky enough to work as a 3D artist in the real world as well as being able to fully support myself as a Second Life designer.”

Like Bad Unicorn, Capone’s brand, Scotch, is also informed by a modern, urban style. The two designers both found inspiration in the cultural megacenters of NYC, LA, and Toronto. In fact, Bhad came up with the idea for Cravone City in 2015. Given the enormity of his vision, “master builder Paradox Ivory was commissioned to design the place. Known for her work at The Apartments, Ms. Ivory breathed life into this unique city atmosphere that never skips a beat.”

Just like the real life places that inspired it, Cravone City is bustling with activity. Bhad says “whether users are looking for a new tattoo, a trip to the local bodega, a place to hang out, or just a ride on the subway, Cravone offers them a chance to flourish in this familiar, nostalgic virtual space -- a perfect backdrop for most.” Not to mention the shopping district: with stores like HEVO, Animosity Poses, Rossi, Shybird, and Radix, Cravone City has everything you need for a great adventure that you’ll be talking about for days.

Take a subway ride in Cravone City today and see the gorgeous city skyline for yourself!

 

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

Football Made in Second Life


Second Life Destinations

This week Cyke Troglodite talks to us about the Global Football League, a fun and interactive way for fans of American Football to engage in virtual sports.

A longtime Resident, GFL owner Cyke Troglodite tells us he has "spent much of his 13 years in SL on the football field,” while in the physical world he is volunteering every Friday in his local Little League. 

For those curious about the mechanics of virtual sports, Cyke describes it as follows: “The experience is super realistic with football animations (throwing, catching, tackling, blocking), score-keeping, authentic field and outfits  that make the experience that much more realistic. The only significant difference is that nine players are used per team rather than 11 as in RL.”

GFL is currently in the middle of season two with four teams. If you’d like to join, please check out the GFL Offices & Welcome Center, as recruitment is active for more teams as the league grows.

GFL games stream live on YouTube, so feel free to check out some previous footage while it’s still up. Cyke assures us that the matches in SL can be played virtually without lag due to “descripting of all players beforehand. A viewing party for each game happens at a separate inworld location." Cyke and the GFL organizers are dedicated to making this a fun experience for both participants and spectators. 

There are even halftime parties and cheerleaders, so if you are missing the rush of a crowd going wild over fumbles and fakeouts, head over to catch a GFL game soon! Virtual sports are a great way for people of varying ages, physical abilities, and skill levels to get involved and play the game.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: The Far Away


Second Life Destinations

This week we encourage you to get lost in the tall grass of The Far Away, a bucolic reverie that has been a special hideaway for Residents since 2007.

This charming and old-timey region was originally created as “The Wheatfield” by painter/photographer/coder Jeffrey Berg, who goes by AM Radio in Second Life. Shortly after, in an interview with Bettina Tizzy, AM explained that “I wanted to challenge people's idea of place. We have so many preconceptions of space. What is a sidewalk, what is a house, what is a trail, what is a cave? We've evolved our sense of space and place. What better place than SL to challenge it?”

His challenge was accepted; the soothing, yet thought-provoking atmosphere of The Wheatfield has been cherished by many Residents over the years. In fact, AM Radio and some other well-known SL artists were even mentioned in New York Times Magazine in 2009. Over the years, AM Radio has built 14 regions in SL, and many Residents have been inspired by his style. Strawberry Linden expressed her appreciation for his work in a blog post a few years before joining Linden Lab.

The region is now called “The Far Away,” and is hosted by the couple Ziki Questi and Kinnaird Fiachra on the region Dreamworld North, which is part of the Dreamworld estate owned by Count Burks. Ziki says she was drawn to it because, “to me, The Far Away is a seminal work of virtual art. Evocative and timeless, it laid the groundwork for other striking and more expansive works by AM Radio such as The Quiet and Surface, all of which now survive only in images and memory. Kinn and I are delighted to preserve and maintain The Far Away for the enjoyment of the SL community.”

Kinnaird recalls being brought here by a friend on her first day in SL: “I was not a gamer, and the whole concept of being inworld was a bit disorienting, but I remember my friend leaving me at The Far Away when he had to go AFK, saying, "you'll be safe here.””

The Far Away is a living virtual relic that has a peaceful ambiguity capable of meaning something different to every visitor. What will it mean to you? Visit today to find out. With hidden poses and interactive elements scattered throughout, who knows what your journey might lead to.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

This week we are visiting a region inspired by the sumptuous beaches of Bali and the tranquility of Japanese zen gardens.

Creator Rosie Helendale has been a Second Life Resident for 13 years and says that for her, SL has been both a vital social network as well as a creative outlet “to turn my imagination into some form of virtual visualization.” Rosie tells us that she has met some of her closest friends in SL, and is an active participant in art and recreation. “From photography, creating content, choreographing my own dance routines, performing in dance shows, creating regions with friends, to memorializing it all on my own personal YouTube channel.”

After some experiences helping her friends build regions in SL, a few months ago Rosie was finally able to accomplish her dream of creating her own. While Rosie has a deep appreciation for Japanese culture, she says that her friend Guy Bagshawe “has in-depth firsthand experience and knowledge of everything Bali, and his enthusiasm for the place got me totally hooked on it.  From those two things sprang my inspiration to create an interpretation and representation of Bali and Japan.”

The Bali portion is drenched in the rosy glow of a beachside sunset. Enjoy a meal or a cocktail in the open air restaurant a few paces from the shore. A bit of exploration will lead you to a chicken coop and an open courtyard with baboons grooming each other all around you.

In case that wasn’t relaxing enough, the Japanese side of the region has tai chi poseballs in the zen garden, and make sure to look for the adorable baby panda.

Rosie tells us “one of my favorite content creators is Skye for landscaping: their content is high quality with attention to detail.” However, some of the items found here were crafted by Rosie herself. “The items in the souvenir kiosks at the tai chi garden and monkey forest I made myself using full perm items from the marketplace. You can even click the postcard rack and send a postcard to friends inworld just like you would if you were on a visit in real life!”

Rosie would like us to know that “the best way to see all the attractions is to hop on the balloon tour. It takes you to every part of the island and gives out real life information about each area in local chat.” See the deep blue waters for yourself by visiting A Taste of Bali and Japan today.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Get ready to immerse yourself in a world of primitives made of all shapes, colors, and sizes. Today we take a deep dive into the colorful art installation, Cells by Moki Yuitza at The Sim Quarterly. 

Moki Yuitza is a master prim manipulator using those basic Second Life building blocks to create complex and colorful immersive art in Second Life since discovering our world in 2008. Art has always been an important part of Moki’s life, but she doesn’t consider herself an artist, rather a good craftsman. Second Life is her infinite blank space, a sandbox as it is, and prims and lights are her brushes and colors. 

Cells is Moki’s latest gift to the Second Life art world, currently housed in The Sim Quarterly, which is owned and curated by Electric Monday.

The mission of The Sim Quarterly is to bring art and immersive installations to Second Life. Every three months a new artist is invited to share their creativity in a region-wide 3D installation that can consist of original art or scenic builds, with one thing in common - they have to be experiential. The visitor will use more than one sense while there, fully immersed inside the art rather than merely looking at it.

Visit Cells today and let your senses do the exploring.

 

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

Music Made in Second Life: Gabriel da Silva


Second Life Destinations

This week we are spotlighting Gabriel da Silva, a Portuguese musician who plays hard rock for consistently packed shows in Second Life.

Gabriel comes from a family of musicians, so the decision to pick up a guitar felt quite natural. He has been dedicated to his craft for most of his life, and his hard work has not gone unnoticed. He has won first place in worldwide music competitions, and before COVID, Gabriel was busy touring with his power-trio around the UK and continental Europe supporting the legendary band Anvil.

Playing in Second Life did bring some unexpected cultural differences to light. Gabriel says, “In Portugal it is a bit of an insult to tip people, not only performers. But once [I] learned that this is one way of making an income in Second Life and a sign of appreciating the artist, [I] embraced the ‘American style.’” For Gabriel, music is the love of his life as well as his main source of income: tipping, fixed fee in other clubs, selling RL merchandise, and music via his website. He even has a new EP coming out soon, so stay tuned!

He also plays shows in SL almost daily. You can catch him performing regularly at his club, Hard Rock Garage, in addition to many different regions. With such a busy performance schedule, Gabriel actually coded a fan club system and made it available for other SL musicians to use.

Gabriel is a shining example of how creative types can continue to hone their craft and connect with people in Second Life during the isolation of COVID. Check out his schedule of inworld performances!

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Vargsången


Second Life Destinations

Grab your fur coat, this week we are traveling to Vargsången: a strikingly realistic medieval Viking land shrouded in an air of mystery.

Vargsången, Swedish for “wolf song,” is a quiet mountain village with a soundscape of native wildlife, strong winds, and the tide. While Camila Runo designed this region to be historically accurate, there are infusions of Norse mythology here and there. For example, Camila tells us that the “residential buildings show how people lived at the time: they slept on hay and furs, all together to share their body heat in winter months, for the same reason often close enough to their livestock such as sheep or pigs or whatever animals they owned.”

Camila would like to warn visitors about a large sea monster some have spotted circling the lands. “Rumor has it that it may be Jörmungandr, the Midgard Serpent. One of the god Loki's children, tossed into the great ocean by Odin, father of the gods.”

The day to day of Viking society was carefully woven into Vargsången’s creation, such as “the Great Hall where people gathered for different occasions... Another important building is that of the blacksmith. His job was very  important, for he forged a lot of instruments and tools for daily use as well as parts needed for  shipbuilding and weapons.”

A comprehensive exploration of this region will take you to a mountaintop altar, where one can gather from the bloodstains on the stone that a sacrifice was recently made to the gods. However, don’t let the spooky parts scare you away from visiting. Yes, certain aspects of Viking life were harsh, but there was also pride to be taken in the work of artisans and beauty to be found in the landscape and animals. 

The landing area offers visitors both a group joiner for the SL Norse and Viking Society, which regularly meets here, and a landmark giver for Strandhavet Viking Museum.

Come visit Vargsången today to see the world through the eyes of a Viking.

Vargsången Flickr

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

 

Linden Lab

Love Made in Second Life: AvatarLove


Second Life Destinations

This week we are taking a look at the innovative niche of maternity roleplaying in Second Life.

For those who are curious, the Family Roleplaying section of the Destination Guide is a great place to start exploring options for your potential virtual family. Babies of all skin tones and ethnicities can be found at inworld adoption agencies, and vendors can help you find a bundle of joy that looks like you or even a combination of you and your partner. Once your love bug has arrived, feel free to go all out with tiny clothing and accessories! Chat away the new parent jitters with others at various family-themed regions.

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Carrie Tatsu has been one of the leading contributors to inworld maternity products for several years, with her first product line, Zooby Babies. This week her new product line, AvatarLove, is releasing the Love Momma: the first avatar capable of a live birth in Second Life. The body is streamlined to make it easier to use for Residents, with only one mesh layer. One of the key features is a HUD for both parents that aids in the baby’s growth and provides a mood meter for her partner. The partner and/or friends can do sweet things to boost the pregnant avatar’s mood or help her feel more comfortable. The layers of interactivity that have been woven into the creation of the Love Momma culminate in a meaningful shared experience. 

“I don’t want to say real and not real, I’ll say physical and virtual, because everything is real,” says Carrie.

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The roleplaying of relationships that Residents find in Second Life can mean many different things to people. Carrie points out that people often “reveal more about themselves in a virtual space than they necessarily reveal about themselves in real life,” and says that she creates these products to provide a segway into a unique type of emotional intimacy. 

“Communicating with each other is the ultimate connection,” she says.

Just as we often say it takes a village to raise a child, it took over a year for Carrie and her extraordinary team to bring this latest model to life. Piscine Mackenzie is one of the Lead Developers, and Brias Stardust is the Senior 3D Artist. Other 3D and texture artists that contributed are chobii Resident, ming lu, NODNOL Jameson, Astralia Resident, blaiseowl Resident, Aurore Clarity, benjaminlucas Resident, Katarzyncia Resident, Hoshi Kimono. She would also like to thank YouTuber/Blogger Mousy "The Ultimate Clout Chaser” and Customer Service and Product Testers Anne Whimsy, cindy kiyori, RoseSilverShadow Resident, and lilymai1 Resident.

The real life couple you see in today's video illustrating the live birth is Ayambi, a contributing 3D artist and owner of Lovies Maternity Clinic, and Lord Ra.

Carrie invites other creators to play around with the mesh kit on Blender, and join the AvatarLove Group (secondlife:///app/group/fce15a14-4747-977d-e06d-65fc502547b7/about).

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Marfa


Second Life Destinations

This week we are visiting the southwestern splendor of Marfa, Texas.

Creator Valium Lavender, a proud Texan whose family has lived there for generations, had until now “never found the right way to capture my love for Texas in a {region} design.” That’s pretty understandable: given that its land mass is the second largest state in the U.S., there’s a lot of personality to convey. 

While movies might give one the impression that Texas is defined by cowboy hats, barbecues, and country music, Lavender painstakingly sculpted this region to give Residents a more three-dimensional experience of her home state. She tells us that “Marfa, Texas in RL is this obscure, funky art mecca out in the middle of nowhere. Artists like Donald Judd settled in Marfa because of the massive uncluttered land space and abundance of natural light.”

One of Marfa’s crowning features here is The Empty Chair Gallery, comprising photos taken by a variety of renowned SL photographers and Lavender’s ode to the town’s artistic spirit. Lavender says she “chose photos  that imparted a feeling surrounding an empty chair. I felt that the 'empty chair' in most cases created the emotion of being lonely, sad, or waiting, and wanting from the observer. At  times, the chair instilled a sense of happiness, knowing perhaps, that soon someone would occupy their empty chair.”

This is just the beginning, as Lavender tells us “I hope to expand Marfa by adding “Ballroom Marfa,” which is the hub of cultural activity in RL Marfa, with the showing of international artists, local artists, artisans, folklore and history.”

Retro gas stations, cacti, and old school trucks add to the charm. Builder help for this project came from Fred Hamilton (frecoi), Lotus Mastroianni and Sofie Janic. Walking around this region brings a feeling of peace and a sense of curiosity.

Visit the quirky and charming town of Marfa today.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres


 

 

Linden Lab

Music Made in Second Life: Tia Rungray


Second Life Destinations

This week we are given an inside look at the musical project Tia Rungray and the new art venue, Spiralo.

Known as Takayuki Noami in RL, Rungray is based in Japan and describes his musical style as “noise classical: this style encompasses ambient, post-classical and noise music.” Rungray tells us that he uses several platforms for creative expression, but he says of Second Life, “I'm particularly impressed by the amount of user-driven creativity that goes on there. The freedom to do so is an important part of what makes Second Life such a great place for me to come up with ideas and try them out.”

Like many talented SL musicians, Rungray’s tracks are “streamed live, not recorded.” This one-of-a-kind vibe is amplified by the variety of venues in which the music is streamed, “from art galleries and shopping events to installation art spaces that I produce.” 

The video offers a few shots of the mysterious region of Spiralo. Described as a virtual cultural complex, it is a minimalist structure that guides visitors up a spiral to a rooftop with a piano against a dreamily surreal background. As you traverse the structure, you will see several art pieces, and you are welcome to discuss your takeaway with others at the ground floor cafe.

As much as Rungray enjoys the freedom available in Second Life, he is careful not to rest on his laurels, saying, “I'm looking forward to seeing how Second Life evolves in the future.” So are we! The special exhibit at Spiralo opens today, and you are all invited to observe and maybe even be inspired to create some experimental art of your own.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: COVID-19 Resources


Second Life Destinations

This week we are raising awareness for the COVID-19 information center on Inspiration Island.

Lissena, who also goes by Wisdomseeker, guides us through the colorful and comforting realm of Inspiration Island, which she created with many other volunteers to promote wellness in a fun and accessible way. In this region you can also find Whole Brain Health, which Lissena describes as “the virtual arm of our nonprofit Ageless Mind Project. Our mission is to give people the tools to stay sharp, active, and healthy, based on research coming from neuroscience, gerontology, positive psychology, and creativity.”

The COVID display in the courtyard was built by Lady Brielle, a medical librarian who maintains the text as new data becomes available. Lady Brielle has been a tireless essential worker throughout the pandemic, and her work has not gone unnoticed. Lady Brielle tells us that “our outreach work in Second Life has been recognized by the National Library of Medicine and won an award in Research by the Hospital Libraries Section of the Medical Library Association.” 

Information on COVID-19 is displayed in Spanish, American Sign Language, and  English. The creators of Inspiration Island took a multidisciplinary approach to presenting information so that as many people as possible can be positively impacted by visiting. In addition to medical data there are stories submitted by other Residents about their personal experiences of social distancing to remind us that what we’re feeling is totally natural, and we’re not the only ones who feel that way. There are also many activities to facilitate mental stimulation and help people feel connected.

Lissena wants us to know that even the scary parts of sickness are addressed here: “Once a month Rob, a member of the Collective in Germany, hosts a Death Café -- something he is trained to do professionally outside SL -- conversations that help make death less {of} a forbidden subject. Amazingly, we laugh a lot there.”

This vibrant region is the labor of love of a devoted community. Marly Milena, a volunteer, explains that she provides “programs focused on creative expression on Inspiration Island. I have introduced a way of working with arts-based processes, called Symbolic Modeling (SymMod for short). We use the building tools so people can make art in SL, and then we guide them in exploring meanings, new ideas, feelings, etc.”

Thuja Hynes, the associate director of the project, builds educational exhibits and tours. Two of her current projects are called Simply Impossible and Hero Walk. Francisco Koolhoven, media director, creates unique, invaluable tools for the project. There are also many weekly events. Faust hosts the Positive Change Circle at Whole Brain Health on Sundays, and Arisia Vita plays piano in the gazebo every Monday and Wednesday. Priceless contributions are also provided by community members Catseye Tennen, Ghaelen D'Lareh, and Marylou Goldrosen.

Second Life is proud to host a space that incorporates elements of education, creativity, and community, and Inspiration Island is a living example of the positive it can bring. Lissena feels that the activities found here “give you insight into yourself, encourage your creativity and your sense of purpose and reduce loneliness, which is really important.” It is open to people from all walks of life, so stop by for a visit today.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Centauria


Second Life Destinations

This week we are whisked away to the roleplaying community of the Ancient Order of Centaurs.

For those who may not be familiar, Centaurs are half-human and half-horse, found prominently in Ancient Greek mythology. Centauria was created by Julala Demina, a longtime Resident and aficionado of fantasy roleplay. Her fantasy creature brand Jinx has been active in Second Life for over a decade. Julala states that about two years ago, “I taught myself how to make my own Centaur skeleton rig in Blender and how to animate it,” which sparked the beginning of a region dedicated to this community. The enthusiastic response of Jinx customers inspired Julala to design a space to accommodate Residents “who had chosen to spend their Second Life (at least in part) as Centaurs.”

What makes Centauria such a vibrant place is that the passion Julala brings is equally matched by the Residents who visit. She would like to inform us that in addition to roleplaying, there are “social events, classes, and all sorts of different types of entertainment. It’s not only about Centaurs, we welcome everyone to Centauria and even within the formal roleplay we have a wide variety of allowed species.” 

Residents appear in a variety of forms: some Centaurs look more natural, whereas others have angel wings, ornate horns, brightly colored skin, or even magical sparkles. Here, identity is more than just an aesthetic. You will meet Centaurs who are warriors, farmers, chefs, and sorcerers.

While the overwhelmingly positive feedback of Residents can’t be expressed in one post alone, here are just a few impressions. Marilina Antonioni describes herself as a Mertaur, “a type of Centaur whose top human body is that of a Merfolk with the lower body of a Taur/horse… As a Merfolk I love to swim underwater.” Rayven Firebrand, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis IRL, says that “when for the first time I entered into a trot, then a canter, then a gallop... for the first time in years I actually felt alive.” Pearline Sweetwater, longtime Resident who is retired IRL, feels that “in Centauria I found beauty, friendship, acceptance and almost instantly felt like I belonged.” Many more kind and intriguing folks are waiting inworld!

Julala’s Jinx creations are proof that Second Life is a safe space and blank canvas for anybody who wants to bring their imagination to life. On her background, she says, “I am completely self-taught and learned pretty much everything I know about 3D modelling from Youtube tutorials.” 

For those who can’t wait to explore their inner hybrid, the Jinx Bento Centaur comes in four sizes, as shown below.

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Visit Centauria today to immerse yourself in this breathtaking world!

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: David Rumsey Maps


Second Life Destinations

This week we are traveling around the globe and through time through the extensive David Rumsey map collection.

David Rumsey, President of Cartography Associates, has been an avid collector of maps since the early 1980s. According to his website, the collection “contains more than 150,000 maps... Items range in date from about 1550 to the present.” The digitization of archival materials has made historical content more accessible, and Rumsey had the keen foresight to create an interactive experience with these maps in Second Life.

Rumsey states, “We built the 4 {regions} in 2008 and have continued to update them since then. One of the things that fascinated me early on was the potential to “walk” on the historic maps and fly around them in SL.” Just getting from map to map feels like an adventure; they vary in size and are not only on display but a central component of the region’s structure. The degree to which atlases inform the design gives the region a dream within a dream feel. Rumsey informs us that “The Yosemite map which forms the floor of the site was built with a full elevation model so that it is accurate and in scale. The map is the first truly accurate map of the Yosemite Valley made by U.S. Army topographers in 1883.” 

The video shows a long map of the Tokaido road: Rumsey says that it was made in 1687 and was drawn by hand! “In real life it is a scroll that unrolls to be over 30 feet long. It shows the route from Tokyo (then called Edo) along the coast to Osaka.”

These maps are a visual history of how countries and territories have changed over time.Rumsey’s website even mentions that “close inspection of the {American} maps often reveals the growth and decline of towns, mining excavations, the unfolding of the railroads, and the "discovery" of the American West by European explorers.”

David Rumsey has donated his entire physical map collection to Stanford University, where it is housed at the David Rumsey Map Center in the Stanford Library and open to the public. Visit the virtual collection today to let out your inner navigator! And don’t forget to pin your hometown on the large world map so others can see that Residents from all over have been here.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres


 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Endowment for the Arts


Second Life Destinations

This week Tansee, Coordinator of the Second Life Endowment for the Arts (SLEA), takes us on a tour of this region’s immense and breathtaking landscape.

The Second Life Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Linden Lab, launched January 1st, 2021. The new initiative, originally announced in September, provides an opportunity for artists to apply for use of grid space to create artistic experiences in Second Life while also promoting the overall virtual arts community in SL.

The SLEA, which is the spiritual successor to the former Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA), bears a colorful aesthetic that is part university courtyard and part amusement park, influenced by art galleries, the cosmos, and more. There are a total of nine regions of varying thematic focus, such as machinima or performing arts. 

This ambitious initiative, which is aided by the help of 21 core volunteers and many more contributors, aspires to give grant awards to selected applicants about twice a year. For the debut exhibitions, the SLEA was pleased to receive wide representation from the arts both in terms of genre, style and nationality. 

On arrival, visitors will be given access to a HUD experience which enables ease of travel around the regions in addition to a teleport network. The Landing Pod provides a view over a Performing Arts Center, Arts Education and Innovation facilities, Machinima Land, and the dPod where SLEA’s archives are located for all to peruse. The SLEA regions are expected to further evolve over time as more artists collaborate and new exhibitions are brought into rotation.

Tansee emphasizes that the SLEA aims to draw attention to all artists, galleries, art venues, communities and art education locations in SL. That goal is evident by the presence of a massive T-shaped “connection bridge'' spread across two regions that aims to connect SLEA to the larger community of artists and venues. As visitors stroll across the bridge, they will encounter numerous promotional posters along the way. There are also additional kiosks that visitors can click to get teleport links and even more information about the wide range of artists and exhibitions to be found across all of Second Life.

While this region is already open to the public, SLEA intends to celebrate in style with a full itinerary of performers and artists during the weekend of January 23rd & 24th. Check out their Facebook and Instagram for news and events. Whether you are a budding artist or a supportive observer, feel free to explore this region at any time.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres


 

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