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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.

AVLoveRender01.png

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.

AVLoveMommaDressed.png

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


 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Silent Night


Second Life Destinations

This week we are transported to Silent Night, a glittering winter park available until January 10th.

Creator Nessa Nova of Unicorn Landscaping became a Resident about nine years ago and says that shortly after, “I rented a parcel and taught myself how to terraform. It is now my main business in Second Life.” As you wander from section to section, it is clear that a skilled hand created Silent Night, as it feels like a portrait of winter’s tranquility. Among the natural cycle of the seasons, winter is often seen as symbolizing the absence of life, but Silent Night is a reminder that stillness can be an opportunity to observe the vibrance around you.

This brumal landscape is the latest of Nova’s many creations in SL. It feels like a movie set, with visitors starting at a train station before following a path through the snow and glowing trees to a cafe, an ice skating rink, a carousel, and more. The atmosphere feels at once unique and familiar, like a communal reverie. Of her aptitude for creation, Nova informs us that “Coming from a family of painters and artists, the love of art is in my blood. Though instead of using an easel, paint and a brush, Second Life’s digital world is my atelier, and a [region] is my canvas. I start with an idea, a picture in my head, a colour or a feeling. Sometimes I progress as I go, but most of the time the world I intend to create already exists in my mind and I can mentally walk through it when I envision it.”

Nova explains that Silent Night, which is a satellite of the Lost Unicorn Group, is not just about celebrating the holidays but also “to remind us to remain hopeful in these dark times.” As a bonus level of interactivity, Nova adds: “Natalie Starlight, curator of the Lost Unicorn Gallery, is organizing a photography contest. Pictures of the Silent Night [region] can be submitted to the Lost Unicorn Flickr Gallery until January 3rd. After January 10th Silent Night will be gone forever. (Unless someone decides to buy the [region] as is.)”

This sounds like the perfect opportunity to show off all the free gifts you picked up at the Winter Shop & Hop. Throw on that new scarf and take in the wintry elegance of Silent Night before the snow melts!

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 


 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Holidays Made in SL


Second Life Destinations

This week we are listening to five inspiring stories as Residents share how they celebrate the holidays in Second Life.

Isabelle Cheren, a video artist and blogger, speaks highly of SL Residents’ adaptability to the current social isolation in the physical world. Given the depth of connections people can have with each other in the virtual world, she thinks people may be more inclined to give it a try. Having grown up in Australia, Cheren says the winter holiday spirit of SL “feels like those films I used to watch when I was a young girl because… we never had any of this, the snow, that Christmas tree, all those things.” She also has the advantage of living with her friend, prominent SL YouTuber Yorkie, so they certainly never run out of ideas for inworld adventures and activities.

Squid and Timberwolf, a couple who met in SL this year, are proof that love can be found even in the darkest of times. Squid is a student in Derry, Northern Ireland, and Timberwolf lives in Central New York. They have been together for 6 months and getting a place together inworld has been a breeze. Squid says that SL has given them “a sort of proximity that we don’t have physically with each other,” which is so valuable in long distance relationships, especially now.

Rosie Gray lives in the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS), one of the oldest communities in SL. It comprises six interconnected sims of varying themes that are governed by one administration. Gray affirms that “snow is greatly anticipated” in the CDS: Residents happily engage with the technical aspects of changing the terrain textures to make way for skiing, ice skating, and the magic of winter. Their commitment truly pays off, with Gray adding, “you can absolutely feel presence here.”

iSkye Silverweb and Slatan Dryke are another long distance couple in SL. With Silverweb in Wisconsin and Dryke in Italy, one look at their avatars shows that their bond is undeniable. They are Dinkies, which is a type of Tiny. Of their anthropomorphic feline figures, Silverweb says “they’re really cute, [with] round tummies,” and like many others, their favorite activity is ice skating. They are also both active in Virtual Ability, a community gateway for Residents with disabilities. Silverweb, who is deaf, says that “in SL there is the freedom of being able to express who you are in the choices you make with your avatar.”

Game Wylder, Todd Squall, and Lain Southpaw from Club Furzona emphasize that the winter holidays in their region are all about uniting different people from different backgrounds. Furzona is a community-based, cyberpunk themed region with a constant rotation of events, music, and  games. The large outdoor area has been transformed into a winter themed space, and Furzona welcomes all, not just furries.

The concert at the end is by Fly Kugin, a violinist from Istanbul, Turkey. It takes place in her region, White Mask. We hope that you all have a safe and relaxing break for the winter holidays, and remember that each season has its ups and downs. Spring will be in the air before we know it, so for now, let’s enjoy our ugly sweaters and unleash our inner snow bunnies upon the gorgeous winter regions forged by the love and creativity of SL Residents.

Video Productions Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: VOIR Gallery


Second Life Destinations

This week we are highlighting VOIR Gallery, a slice of early 20th century Birmingham, England, in which street gangs ruled the urban cobblestone landscape.

The aesthetic of VOIR Gallery is inspired by 1920s Birmingham to be specific, during the Second Industrial Revolution and increasing tension among the poverty-stricken working class. This environment brewed many legendary street gangs that roamed the town between the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th.

In fact, these gangs left behind such impressive legacies that they have been depicted in numerous films and television shows. VOIR Gallery’s creator, Effy, designed the region as a virtual fan fiction of sorts. For those familiar with this genre, numerous details can be found that serve as an homage to notable characters.

Given the intricacy of the world within VOIR Gallery, role playing is not required but certainly encouraged. Effy’s boyfriend Frenchy, who runs the VOIR Gallery group, plays the character of Tommy Shelby. Details of his history have even been worked into the region, such as his Romani heritage, drug addiction, and horse race fixing.

VOIR Gallery is the perfect place for historical reenactments or the creation of fan fiction in the form of machinima, photographs, storyboarding, graphic novels, and more. Who will you be? What side of the law will you be on? Visit VOIR Gallery today to find out and let us know if you made your own fan art by submitting to our Flickr.

Please note that in order to access this adult-rated region, you must have payment on file.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Nord Storm


Second Life Destinations

Nord Storm is a vast steampunk roleplaying experience featuring an abandoned laboratory, a sacred cathedral, retro gadgets, and more in a wintery mountain town.
 

For those unfamiliar, steampunk is a retrofuturistic subgenre of science fiction, and it has a sizable devotion in Second Life with many steampunk regions to explore. Nord Storm is a huge region with architecture and technology bearing the distinct aesthetic of what would be considered futuristic through a 19th-century lens. 

Upon arrival, you are greeted with the message: “Here you can fight monsters, solve puzzles, upgrade avatar skills, craft, cook your own food, earn experience coins, play team games, fish, compete with other residents in skills, and much more... The game is available to all users.” Sounds like enough activity to fill up what’s left of 2020!

You first enter Nord Storm at an open air train station. In order to participate in the game component of the experience, you can receive a HUD from a machine nearby. The HUD has a built-in collision-based combat system. To hunt ghosts, you don't have to wear a combat system, but if you want your avatar to be able to deal damage to them, the combat system will allow you to do so.

You are free to explore on foot, but who wouldn’t want to use the time machine? All you have to do is launch the portal by reclining in the car seat. Click on the monitor to select one of the many locations in this world.

Be sure to keep an eye out for places marked with gold coins. When you sit at the designated earning spot, coins will be credited once a minute and can be used to purchase different items that enhance gameplay in the shop. You can also redeem prizes in the factory once you accrue enough experience points.

More details, pictures, and maps can be found at the official Nord Storm website.

For those more interested in admiring the architecture and environment than the gaming aspect, there is no pressure to conform to any specific gameplay rules. Everybody is welcome to visit the church, peruse the library, enjoy a quiet moment in the garden, or take a ride in the steampunk train.

If you’d like to adorn your avatar in steampunk attire, the marketplace has outfits and accessories for all levels of commitment. This region takes winter wonderland to the next level with the highly detailed levels of interactivity, gorgeous terrain, and hidden treats. Let Nord Storm whisk you away today.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres


 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Seaclaid


Second Life Destinations

This week we have found ourselves at Seaclaid, a roleplaying region. This ferry station in an idyllic coastal town welcomes everyone with an undercurrent of romantic mystery.
 

 

The region’s owner, Katie Luna, explains that “Seaclaid was born in sorrow, but soon became an instrument of healing. Lost friends return, new friends are made. The place now has an almost magical feel to it. I step back in wonder and gratitude. That my simple little sim has garnered so much interest is amazing to me.” Although the region of Seaclaid is about 5 years old, the roleplay group active is now much older and as you can imagine, the landscape has evolved and grown more detailed over time.

In the video, Katie also states that “Since Seaclaid is a damaged part of the ferry, doorways open up at random times. And people from different time periods fall in, which allows for the oddities that you see walking around.” There is also so much to do and see here between the stone pathways, castle, Irish pub, and gallery. The gallery is filled with many styles of art, and don’t be surprised if you see a baby dragon floating by the fountain outside.

Sorrel Fang, a dressmaker, remarks that “Seaclaid is a breath of solitude, joyful fun when meeting others and sharing adventures, and a true masterpiece for the eyes and heart. Just when you think you know something, you discover a new mystery.” The wildflowers and sparkling water will take your breath away, and the many interesting shops are a pleasant way to lose track of time. 

As Katie mentions in the video, Tam’yn comes from a different planet and accidentally got trapped. However, it seems like destiny given Tam’yn’s glowing testament to Seaclaid’s inclusivity: “As a dedicated Furr, I'd about given up on roleplay since most RP's are medieval, political, and humans only.  Seaclaid is not any of that.  Who you are is who you are since you "dropped in'' from somewhere and somewhen else.”

Some other prominent Residents include Cressy, a Fae fox, and Zsophia, a healer. Onceagain happened upon Seaclaid by chance through the Destination Guide and ended up opening a small photography studio. Onceagain says “I don't know how this adventure will end but I hope to leave lethargy behind and make new friendships because the beginning was sparkling.”

If you’re feeling inspired or would just like a nice place to relax, Seaclaid has several rentals open. It is a popular choice among bloggers and photographers, and there is no dress code. Visit Seaclaid today to enjoy a mystical windswept moment.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

 


 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: The Apartments


Second Life Destinations

Come take a stroll on a rainy cyberpunk night at The Apartments, a cryptic region that invites you to explore its dark urban corners. See if you can count all the mischievous cats lurking around!

Creator Paradox Ivory describes The Apartments as “a love letter to some of my favourite movies that just so happen to fall into the sci-fi & cyberpunk genres. I have always wanted to immerse myself in those places and get lost in the environment. So from Blade Runner to the Doctor and Han Solo, if you look for their names on the mailboxes, you can wander to their apartments and see decor specific to them.”

The Apartments is both ominous and dreamy, with flying cars, sirens off in the distance, and the sense that someone could be waiting for you right around the corner. The aesthetic bears the cyberpunk hallmarks of neon signs and garbage strewn about the dystopian landscape but there is also a feeling when one wanders the stairwell that this could very well be a place that is not too far off in the future. That is, the ambience is so immersive that it feels wholly possible that this place exists in both the virtual and physical world.

Of course, we have to address what inspired the addition of so many kitties. Having been a lifelong cat lover, Paradox explains that “they have become somewhat of a signature in my sim designs. If you have visited any of my past builds then you know they all have cats, and this one is no different. However, Maru Kado had just created these amazing, expressive kitties as I was doing this build and so I just had to fill The Apartments with them.” At times curious, at others aloof, cats fit right in with the mood, and their smooth fur provides a pleasant contrast to the harsh greys of concrete and metal.

We implore you to put on your boots and see The Apartments for yourself. Whether you want to be the protagonist in a sci-fi noir or a silent observer, the pitter patter of the rain is waiting to whisk you away.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres


 

 

 

 


 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Angels Rest


Second Life Destinations

This week’s video sheds light on Angels Rest, a uniquely timeless memorial garden for Residents to visit loved ones who are no longer with us.

Creators Fae and Mr. N greet visitors warmly with their group’s message: “Angels Rest is a memorial garden offering space for you to create a focal point for remembrance. The aim is to offer a chance for quiet contemplation and reflection away from daily distractions.” The environment invites one to be vulnerable among the serenity of nature, with an occasional wild animal hopping about to remind you that you’re not alone.

Assembling a sacred virtual space that is accessible 24/7, rain or shine, was an enormously thoughtful endeavor. It is hard enough losing a loved one, and during the added strain of coronavirus tumult, many survivors were not able to honor traditional funeral practices for safety reasons. Fae says, “I have lost people in my life who I wanted a way of memorialising. It seemed to me that there was such a huge need for this, especially this year with the COVID pandemic. I met a couple who had a similar kind of garden but they were not able to maintain it, and it had to close, so I decided I wanted to fill the gap that had been left behind.”

Fae, elaborating further on her vision for Angels Rest, says, “I have seen and felt firsthand the effects that social isolation has had on both myself and my nearest and dearest… We wanted to create a place that people can spend time and have peace and reflection in the virtual ways that we are able to right now. It was very important to us that we be able to provide this free of charge as so many are struggling right now, and so we came up with the idea of the refunded rental.”

The rental options include candles and plots that can be decorated with pictures, messages, flowers, or other meaningful mementos. Many people commemorate their pets as well, as is visible from the glass display case showing a four-legged friend in a perfect slumber. The space makes its inclusive atmosphere clear with its centerpiece, the Ecunemical Chapel bearing objects that represent all major world relations.

For visitors who are struggling with grief, a notecard offers important information such as phone numbers and email addresses of both Bereavement and Mental Health Services. We hope that all those who visit Angels Rest are provided with joyful reminders of loved ones and the strength to carry on.

Note: The poem featured in the video is “Death is Nothing at All” by Henry Scott-Holland.

 

Video Production Credits:

Draxtor Despres

 

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Travel to Real Life Hot Spots


Second Life Destinations

From historical buildings to monuments of nature, and places that embody authentic local cultures, explore virtual incarnations of places from the physical world.
 

With Second Life the world is at your fingertips, and you can see places you’ve always dreamed of without breaking the bank or dragging around a heavy suitcase.

What’s incredible about these regions is that they can exist in a space where chronology is fluid. Experience 19th century charm with the convenience of modern comforts! Whatever you choose to wear will be just right for the climate, and you can walk as fast or slow as you like without getting lost in the crowd.

Visit the locations featured in the video today!

  • Village of Ciampi: The Tuscan countryside embodies a rustic charm and timeless romance. You’ve probably seen it featured in many popular films, so teleport over soon.
  • Mitsumi Town: Based on an urban neighborhood in Tokyo, this region has made headlines for years. It was painstakingly modeled using Google Maps and real photographs.
  • Zwieselalm: For those who live close to the Equator, or just can’t get to a winter wonderland fast enough, the Upper Austrian Alps are the perfect place to get bundled up, do some exploring, and wind down with some hot cocoa.
  • Venezia City Showcase: This highly detailed recreation of Venice is as real as you can get. Take a stroll along the canals with a friend or with the company of the city itself.
  • Little Santorini: A famous Greek island with volcanic sand beaches and beautiful homes. Go scuba diving and lose track of time in this sophisticated oasis.
  • The Grand Canyon: At 5-6 million years young, this masterpiece of nature is always breathtaking. Beat the heat with a virtual visit.
  • St. Louis Arch: The architectural emblem of this American city is instantly recognizable to many. An afternoon in the park is always a great low key way to relax.
  • Terra Egypta: Ancient Egypt beckons to be explored and contextualized in the modern age.
  • Garrigua: Based on Garrigues,the south of France is a highlight for every traveller.

Share your travel adventures with friends by uploading pictures to our Flickr and share #ExploringSecondLife with us on social media! Other Residents will be delighted to see the possibilities, and there are so many more places to visit.

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Your Virtual Passport


Second Life Destinations

This week we’re taking a broader look at the possibilities within Second Life for expression, metamorphosis, and a unique type of freedom from our current circumstances in the physical world. There is no denying that we are social animals, and while we are in this period of indefinite isolation, connecting with others in a dynamic environment can be very rewarding.
 

At this point almost all of us have had to pass up a vacation or event we were looking forward to, and not everyone has access to partially reopened spaces. In Second Life we can safely explore nature, hear the push and pull of the tide, and feel present in a place we’ve always wanted to go to.

The phrase quarantine vacation might seem like an oxymoron, but it is definitely possible in SL. A luxury getaway to the Fashion Week of your choosing is only a few clicks away, and whether you’re in the audience or on the runway is up to you. Plus, this is the only place that we condone riding a motorcycle without a helmet.

What do you miss the most? Recreational sports, the endless row of bookshelves in your library, chatting with others at a gallery reception? All of these things and more are waiting for you in-world. Of course there are certain things about the physical world that cannot be replaced, but there are also aspects of the virtual world that can augment your experience in ways that are inimitable.

It is liberating to give a 3D visual form to parts of ourselves that have traditionally been abstract and interior. Whether it is something you have daydreamed about for years or an aspect of yourself that has always existed beneath the surface, there is no better place to set your thoughts free.

Head to the Destination Guide today for a new adventure. Don’t know where to start? Pro tip: the Editors’ Picks are always poppin’.

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Raglan Shire Shocktober 2020


Second Life Destinations

We have a bonus Second Life Destinations video for you this week: let’s take a look at Raglan Shire, a community of tinies in the midst of month long Halloween festivities. No need to worry if you are what they refer to as a “biggie,” as they are welcoming to all.

 

As their land info states: “The original community of fun for folks of all sizes. Many different locales, events & activities for anyone seeking friendship & adventure! Whether you're dinkie, tiny sized or any size or shape, come visit & enjoy!”

Every October Raglan Shire celebrates “Shocktober” to celebrate the spooky season, but their revelry is defined not so much by blood and gore as by whimsical creativity.

Attractions include a brand new interactive Haunted House for 2020, where you can choose the level of exposure to Halloween madness: the options are cute or creepy. The Raglan Shire Ride of Horrors is back, and filled with custom rooms created by the community. Hop into that snake cart to cruise through tons of spaces brimming with unbridled creativity. Not to mention the Haunted Wooden Roller Coaster of DOOM is faster than ever before.

Musical performances and many other themed activities round out the celebration of a month that puts creative expression first, in the world of biggies and tinies alike.

Visit Raglan Shire today and you'll see that no matter what size you are, you'll leave with a huge smile.

Video Production Credits:

Draxtor Despres

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: 2020 Election Simulator


Second Life Destinations

This week’s destination is an intriguing and timely recreation of a news studio buzzing with current forecasts in real time as well as a voting booth with instructions for each U.S. state.

The creator is a longtime Second Lifer named Duncan who also works in the political field. (His voice in the video is dubbed by voice actor Reverend Quar for privacy reasons.) Built with data pulled from FiveThirtyEight.com, this region runs a simulation of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election based on the latest state-level forecasts once every ten minutes or so.

A male avatar in a formal suit named Guy Simpleton serves as the host, announcing each state as its corresponding color is filled on the large map behind him, in the manner of the calling of states on election night. Duncan elaborates on the design of the board by saying, “Rather than do a geographic map, I made 1x1x1 cubes for each electoral vote in a state to give voters a better sense of the relative scale of the states as they're called. So Wyoming may be big on the map, but it's tiny in terms of the electoral vote total. The Eastern Seaboard gets really crowded because so many people live there.”

There are also some lighthearted elements to bring a humorous contrast to the table of pundits, such as a nerdy statistician based on Nate Silver (founder of FiveThirtyEight), and a talk show set with some celebrity guests.

This region is a well-rounded snapshot of the current U.S. political climate: protests on both sides taking place, a courthouse, as well as a voting booth outside of a post office scripted to outline local U.S. voting procedures.

Duncan has recently experienced some health issues that have prevented him from being as physically involved with this election as he would prefer, so he created the election simulator in an effort to present the facts in an impartial way so that people can make the decision they feel is right for them. “I see voting as a matter of thinking locally,” Duncan says, “building community and institutions that can be trusted."

Whether you’re there for a couple hours or 10 minutes, alone or with politically engaged folks from the U.S. and beyond, you will definitely leave with something to talk about. Visit the Election Simulator today!

 

Video Production Credits:

Draxtor Despres

Linden Lab

Imaginación Hecha en SL: Arietu Kyori


Second Life Destinations

This week Drax spotlights Arietu Kyori, a 24-year-old communications student and Second Life designer in a special interview predominantly in Spanish.

Hailing from Mexico City, she is an extraordinary multitasker with an inventory housing about 500 avatars. She also views SL through an analytical lens, writing in a university thesis that “Second Life is all about being able to freely express yourself. Young people can show more facets of themselves than they can in the real world.”

One of the ways Arietu illustrates this point is through her brand, Hanzel, which specializes in skins and accessories. As one can see from her Flickr, Arietu has a colorful imagination and encourages others to explore the possibilities that exist in this unique environment.

Although she lives in a big, sprawling city, Arietu chooses to focus on family life at home with her parents and sister, as well as honing her design and English skills through interacting with a global community in SL. “I learned most of my English by making conversation in Second Life,” she says, “and in terms of using Blender and other tools to make 3D content for SL, I learned from others inworld and by watching YouTube tutorials.”

Arietu'swares have been covered by Seraphim, and you can shop from her catalog at events such as SoKawaii Sundays and several regular hunts. She also has her own small skybox store where she concentrates on selling niche products for fans of anime, like modified skins for the popular Kemono avatar, among other content. “In order to be successful in SL you have to find something that nobody else is offering and then you learn how to make those things. Anybody can do this!”

Arietu's parents fully support their daughter’s creative endeavors in SL (probably because her school work is diligently pursued), although as Arietu chuckles, her mother’s internet skills might need some brushing up: “My mother is still trying to figure out YouTube.”

Well, on behalf of Second Life, we’d like to let Arietu’s mom know that we would love to see you inworld. SL has great community gateway programs full of wonderful folks who would love to show you how things work, and you might even bump into an avatar or two sporting your daughter’s whimsical designs!

 

Video Production Credits:

Draxtor Despres

 

P.S. If you’d like to protect yourself with a matching SL facemask, you can get one at our brand new merchandise store.

 

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Halloween Haunted Neighborhood


Second Life Destinations

We have entered that time of year where unforeseen events can occur in even the most tranquil Linden suburbs: this week’s Destination Guide video explores the Halloween Haunted Neighborhood.

 

One of the many benefits that Premium account holders can receive is a land allotment to use for a Linden Home. These neighborhoods have been landscaped to perfection, the transportation is smooth, and the locals are friendly. In most Linden Home areas, waterfront homes are available, as are single-family homes with beautiful yards, and there are plenty of customization options. But somehow, just a few days ago, this dreamscape has become a nightmare that Residents can’t wake up from.

It is immediately apparent to anyone familiar with the Millbank region that the atmosphere has been altered. The light is subdued, and a gloomy fog hangs about. Strange noises can be heard in every direction, ranging from a whirring chainsaw to screams dappled with eerie childrens’ laughter.

Today's video follows a masked character with bulging eyes and an unnerving smile as he prowls the streets, lurks in a derelict carriage, and watches an unsuspecting couple with his unblinking gaze. We are given clues as to what heinous acts may have taken place here, but the mystery remains unsolved. A stately home sits with an open door and ominous red light emanating from the windows. A cemetary can be found with creatures bursting through the cement.

Are you courageous enough to find out for yourself what happened here in the Millbank region? Will you explore alone, or bring a friend? Visit the Halloween Haunted Neighborhood today, and don’t forget to bring a flashlight!

Video Production Credits:
Draxtor Despres

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Sandboxing Around the Grid


Second Life Destinations

A big part of the magic of Second Life involves building and scripting objects in real time and playing with prims. Sandboxes are designated areas for Residents to experiment with the art of building in SL, alone or with friends, in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of way.

If you don’t own land or your landlord just has a small area restricted to rezzing and finetuning your models, fear not. There are many different sandboxes in SL, and many are attached to helpful groups where experienced builders are at the ready to assist with tips and tricks. 

In the video we see several sandboxes featured, including one of the very first ones in Morris, which has been around since 2003 when the Welcome Area of Ahern came online.

The Ivory Tower of Prims can also be seen in the video. Not only does it have script-enabled sandbox areas with a separate damage-enabled weapons testing area, but The Tower is also an info hub for aspiring builders with lots of tutorials on how to manipulate the basic building block of SL: the almighty prim.

Another friendly sandbox area is the one embedded within the Amsterdam community. Don’t worry, many people in Amsterdam in SL speak English, so don’t hesitate to approach a friendly (flying?) Dutchman or woman if you are stuck with a building challenge.

There are even more places for your imagination to run wild in the sandbox category of the Destination Guide, and for premium Second Life members, there are exclusive members-only sandboxes available as well. If you ever feel stuck, in addition to chatting with members of building groups, please don't forget to check in with the building forums

 

Video Production Credits:

Draxtor Despres

Linden Lab

Second Life Destinations: Asiza's Islands of Love


Second Life Destinations

This week Asiza Wolf takes us on a tour of her floating Islands of Love, a seamless amalgam of her varying cultural interests that features steampunk ships, meditation areas, a concert stage, and more.
 

 

Asiza’s real life alter ego, Toni Harper-Dunlap, is a former professional singer and dancer who has graced the stages of The Apollo, Carnegie Hall, and Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show), so you’d be lucky to catch her perform some impromptu jazz standards here.

Asiza says of the virtual world, “Second Life tickles me. It is my kind of thing. I am having a natural ball every day!” At the age of 83 Asiza/Toni is as creative as she has ever been, with Second Life her playground of infinite imagination.

Asiza turns the stereotype of the lonely old technophobe on its head, proclaiming “I am not afraid of technology. A busy mind is a good thing when the body can’t be that busy anymore. I am the happiest person that I have SL. It is a wonderful something to have in one's life. I have a new life here now and I do intend to truly enjoy it for as long as I am able to.” Her independent and robust spirit continues to thrive inworld and out; proving age is not a thing to be pitied but a badge of honor.

Asiza also refutes the misconception that people who are passionate about virtual realms don’t have a fulfilling experience of the real world: “I have a beautiful family, I love them to pieces. I’m busy doing my thing and they are busy doing their thing… They’re breathing their own air, I’m breathing mine.”

As Asiza/Toni is a practicing Buddhist, she has placed a replica of her home altar on the islands for anyone in search of quiet contemplation under the soft cosmic glow. This region is a visual representation of her dreams, character, and hobbies. There are a few hidden gems here too, like Asiza’s favorite room, which is a serene lounge with a purple (her favorite color) piano surrounded by flowers, as well as a salsa club located inside an active volcano.

To get the full schedule of regular performers, join Asiza’s group: SL’s top jazz and soul singers such as Scorpio Aeon and Tony Slade do regular shows here and weekly DJ events happen down in the fiery depths of the VolcanSiza Club. Asiza’s Islands of Love truly welcomes everyone, so visit today to see the spectrum of vibes.

The three songs Drax and Asiza/Toni recorded in Palm Springs in 2019 & the two tunes Scorpio Aeon performed in the video are available for download here.

 

Video Production Credits:

Draxtor Despres

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