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About this blog

A showcase of featured content from our community. If you're interested in being featured, submit your pics to the Official Flickr Group.
Looking for places to visit inworld for pics and adventures? Check out the Destination Guide for places to explore. 

Entries in this blog

Linden Lab

springtimeslaughter.jpg

1. Where do you get inspiration for your mysteries? Any famous sleuths stand out?

I get inspiration from logical puzzles in magazines or books. I have always loved books with mysteries — especially murder mysteries. "Springtime Slaughter" was created based on a logical puzzle. The challenge was to bring it into a 3D world. And using a murder as theme for it made this easier.

As we have a lot of other games here at Heart of Dragons, like fencing and various board games, I am constantly looking for ways to combining one of more of those games into a bigger setting. In that way, other in-world games are an inspiration too.

2. Do you plan out the clues in advance or just make them up as you go along?

Yes — I plan everything out in advance — or most of it. It is easier to check the logic and solutions on paper, or on a "map.” Usually, I start with a puzzle, and then I have to find a background story that fits with the sims here. My partner, Eden, helped me with the backstory of Springtime Slaughter. Creating the clues is easy once you have those two in place. Sometimes the best ideas can pop up at a late stage, and you have to have room for some late adjustments.

 3. What historical stories or figures do you look to for ideas?

 Oh, I am easily inspired! But I can't name any in particular. The fantasy theme of my sims really makes it easy to make a "parallel" universe, rather than recreate a real story, event or person. I want the players to focus on the game, the puzzle and the logic, and not get hung up on historical incorrectness. That way SL is excellent. You can create your own reality and universe.

 4. What are some of your other favorite mystery or game spots inworld?

My top three favourites must be "The Pot Healer Adventure," "Black Heart of New Babbage," and MadPea. I love the immersion in all of them, and they are challenging. They are great games to play with friends.

5. What are your tips for getting over “creative block” when you’re building your games?

If I only knew that there is a "cure" for that! Hehehe. What I do is either to take a complete break, do other things (RL or SL), to go exploring in SL to get inspiration (I never get tired of that) or I even try to see if I should start from scratch on a new one...

Visit Springtime Slaughter inworld.

Gabrielle Linden

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‘Tis the season to be grateful! Share the love with your Second Life family by trading stories about the things that makes Second Life so special — each other! What are you grateful for? Did someone help you when you were a noob? Did someone show you a cool, new place in-world? Or, did you receive a comment that just made your day? Did you find support in an in-world community or discover a group that works to promote the health and welfare of others?

Check out the Gratitude Guest Bloggers today, Dec. 13 and tomorrow, Dec. 14, for inspiring stories of goodwill and gratitude in-world! You may also find some heartwarming stories in the forums, or be inclined to share your own stories there. Share your own special stories and read about the experiences of other Residents who have felt the love in SL through the spirit of gratitude.

Linden Lab

It seems to me that gratitude should not just be a season, but a lifestyle.  ~ Amanda Baker

Truer words were never spoken! My years in Second Life have been spent in ever-increasing gratitude for the learning and support so freely given by others.


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Having loved Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, I came to Second Life because of the “coolness factor.” What I discovered instead was many enthusiastic groups engaged in creative, constructive, imaginative, and educational activities. I also discovered the sheer beauty of many lands, and even diverse opportunities to create beauty. A whole world of both the mind and heart suddenly became available.   


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We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

On my first day, I was so anxious to get to a particular UU meeting that I did not take time to learn how to navigate well.  Members of the group, particularly Virgilio Dagostino and Hyacinth Greymoon, patiently taught me how to get around and what to expect. They did this for many avatars, and later it became my turn to help others in the same way. Today Zyzzy Zarf generously maintains space for us on the islands of UUtopia. Darcy Cedarbridge, Joan Ixito, Freda Frostbite and others prepare and give weekly talks and coordinate special literary and festive events for our delight and learning.


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Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.  ~W.T. Purkiser

I had always wished to be a librarian, but my real life took a different turn. On UUtopia, I have the opportunity to run my own library, the Library of World Religions. I am also involved in a small community library at Amatsu Shima. It is a joy to create different sorts of books.

When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.  ~Chinese Proverb   

I studied at Amatsu Shima Okiya, where Suzanne Logan patiently educated her pupils in the art, history, and customs of Japan with emphasis on the art of the Geisha. She gave us space to live and work and endless hours of her time in tutoring and classes, as well as a detailed and comprehensive educational website. We were not so much preparing to be Geisha as learning  about Japanese historical life. I would never have thought to read about these subjects on my own.

I maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.  ~G.K. Chesterton  

The literary world of Second Life is truly amazing. I never dreamed of being able to write Haiku and other forms of poetry.  Attending  the Short Poetry Workshops taught by DanteOsaka Deschanel, Sunnie Beaumont, and Ngagpa Writer has been an enduring gift.  They teach facts and writing techniques for as many short poetry forms as can be discovered.  We then have an opportunity to write our own – and even publish if we wish.

I have a desire to do something in return. So gratitude becomes the gift, creating a cycle of giving and receiving, the endless waterfall. Filling up and spilling over… perhaps not even to the giver but to someone else, to whoever crosses one’s path. It is the simple passing on of the gift. ~ Elizabeth Bartlett

In gratitude, I wish you all the happiness and joy of this Season of Light.   

Love, Pomona



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Pomona Writer was born into Second Life April 9, 2007, is a Librarian, retired Geisha, Miko of the Eastrose Shinto Shrine, and Proprietor of the Imaginary Press.

Linden Lab

All together now!

I have been a resident in Second Life since May 2005, and my claim to fame is that I was the first avatar to use a wheelchair full time in SL. I, however, did not build my wheelchair, nor have I ever been interested in or able to design virtual wheelchairs. So, my first thanks goes clearly to the designers of my first wheelchairs. It also goes to the person who I never met, who helped me in SL, when I was a noob all those years ago.


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In these season of goodwill, it is important to offer thanks to those to have supported us in our real and virtual lives. I would argue that for me SL has been a world of goodwill, and I feel grateful to everyone I have met in SL, far too many to mention – since they have all played an equal part in assisting me and my club, Wheelies, develop and grow in a way that has in return helped many people to develop and grow.

Let me explain Wheelies. Wheelies was never have designed to be another club. It formally opened on Dec. 1, 2006, from the combined efforts of many friends in SL. It was just a club for me and my friends. I of course wanted it to succeed within the internal world of SL, as the new kid on the block. It was therefore somewhat interesting and pleasurable when the club was featured on peak-time Canadian TV News a few months later, especially as I live in the UK. What I assumed was some nice one-off media turned into a catalog of media and student interest, which continues today. This humble activity has been talked about and researched about more times than I could count.

But that was only half the story, the public one, of one guy making a difference. It was always more than that, because Wheelies had an identity and spirit far beyond what I could possibly put into it, and there were times when my health and real-life circumstances meant I could put very little into the club. The club inspired others to make a difference with the club and in other ways in SL, people who inspired others – so a ripple effect was created that continues in SL to this day. No one specific person makes SL the wonderful place it is – the combination of all our efforts together is what makes it so great.

This means we all need to be thankful to each other for SL and the lived experiences we have in SL. It is an environment where people from all over the world can come together and naturally be more helpful and kindly to each other. In SL noobs are most more likely to be helped out, shown what to do and given gifts than anywhere in the real world. It is now inherent in the culture of the platform, which we can also give thanks for, as this is a virtual economy that works on true goodwill – regardless of background.

When Philip Rosedale imagined Second Life, I wonder whether he realized how much joy and pleasure it would bring to so many people? The fact that the platform is not going mainstream as quickly as some would like is not important ,because the true gifts in Second Life are so priceless. He created a ripple effect in which Wheelies only played a small part, and if anyone deserves our appreciation for our very virtual existences, this would indeed be a very good place to start.

- Simon Walsh/Stevens
simon@simonstevens.com


Linden Lab

It's December, the end of the year where the days are getting a a little shorter (well, at least in the Northern Hemisphere – daytime is always three hours long in Second Life). And, it’s a time to think about those things that have been best in life for the last year.

What still makes me happy is the Second Life community that I've been with for the past five years: UUtopia. We find our connection in our interest in the virtual-world technology of SL and our Real Life Unitarian Universalist principles that call us to renounce the ideas that some use to divide our real world, and to support each other as we search for truth and meaning in our lives.


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UUtopia is a real community: several of us have met as our circumstances find us travelling around the real world – even those who never imagined they would ever make a real-world connection in Second Life. Like every real community, we've shared in moments of celebration, and have supported each other in circumstances of personal loss and tragedy.

The UUtopia community is the work of a lot of people. Ariel Ventura and Bizarre Berry started the community in 2006. We had set up a sanctuary on the mainland next to Bizarre's shop, then with CoyoteAngel Dimsum moved to a Calendon island, a few living close to each other on the mainland. When the Calendon island we were using was changing owners, Zyzzy Zarf created the UUtopia region where many of us moved together about a 18 months ago.

Lilith Yue set up our bonfire and dancing and drumming circle; Freda Frostbite continues with her meditation and poetry groups; Pomona Writer built her Library of World Religions which has a growing collection of documents to support those who want to taste other religious traditions. A band shell, some dancing platforms, and circles for discussion are scattered in the region. We have a hillside where we remember and think about people and events, past, present, and future.

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The people keep changing: a few old friends leave SL and sometimes return, and new friends are always appearing – the community continues on. Avatars come into our lives for a few weeks, touch us as we touch them – and at least once have come in with a new alt so they can be more real. Even with the lag and the (thankfully less-frequent) crashes and the at-times-mysterious user interface, it's the human connection that shines through.


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Second Life is an amazing place. Because we are surrounded by it we can lose sight of one uniqueness of what makes SL: an environment which we experience each other from "the inside out." When you first meet an avatar, we know that the person at the keyboard may not really be a dragon or a fox or a robot or a Gorean--the outside appearance is not as important. What we don't see is "the disabled person in the wheelchair" or "the young adult in the house with the abuser" or "the Muslim trying to figure out why people hate her."

What we experience is the person as they want to relate to the world: the dancer or the architect or the poet or the explorer. And sometimes we learn things about our real self: how we handle the griefer or the abuser or the one who espouses hate – and sometimes how we learn how we handle someone who comes to us in real crisis.

- Etaoin Barcelona


Linden Lab

It is difficult to single out an act of generosity from my perspective in Second Life, because I have the good fortune of serving as the American Cancer Society’s director of virtual world activity, which means that I get to work with the thousands of volunteers for Relay For Life of Second Life every year.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t hear a story about an avatar who gives of his or her own time and talents to help make the Relay experience in Second Life better. Even those avatars who don’t consider themselves “team members” or “volunteers” contribute when they donate items or refer people to the American Cancer Society Island for support and information.

And it is the ACS Island that I would like to focus on for this year’s blog post. For years, the ACS Island has been in Second Life, with many changes to its overall design, look, and feel. I must give thanks to Bora Rossini for being the first “official” volunteer designer of ACS Island, and for helping us to develop a vision that makes sense for those who come to the island seeking cancer information and support, as well as a visually stunning experience.

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Now, after nearly a year of planning and developing, Zander Greene and Lauren Thibaud (along with many of their own friends) have contributed many hours of design work to bring us the experience that is currently meeting the needs of our island visitors.


From Zander’s leadership, his design team has created a visual experience that meets the primary goals of the American Cancer Society’s Island in a way that allows visitors to navigate without assistance, understand what they’re looking at, and find the information and support they need.

It’s especially gratifying to work with someone who remains positive and encouraging and who always seems excited and passionate about what he’s doing. Zander constantly surprises us with new ideas and ways to improve what he has already built. His persistent pursuit of excellence is infectious. He and his team also generously give their time and talents to the Second Life Fantasy Faire every year.

Through their generosity, they are providing a place for cancer patients and their caregivers to come in Second Life that helps them to find the support they need. Zander and his team care deeply about the meaning behind their work, both as artists as well as dedicated, passionate warriors in the fight against cancer. If you ever get a chance to talk to Zander about why he cares so much and why he gives so much of himself, I urge you to do so. He’s a truly special individual with a heart of gold (or purple)!


Zander and his team have donated all of the time and enery — and prims — that it took to create this experience, and continue to support it, while also addressing their own Second Life personal and business needs. I am grateful to have this forum to publically recognize, thank, and show appreciation for the generosity shown by Zander and his team to the American Cancer Society, and am proud to work with them each day.


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- Stingray9798 Raymaker

Linden Lab

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A TRUE STORY

I was new, not good with computers, and bored. I was wearing a short skirt and blingy chest rings, blinging far and wide through my freebie leather jacket. It seemed that was the thing to do. Second Life appeared to be lacking in depth and communication and I saw males running around wearing unmentionable attachments. (I had clearly been to the wrong places).

“There must be some sensible people here somewhere” I thought. “Maybe there are some nice people at a yachting club”. I searched and found Nantucket Yacht Club and teleported onto a jetty.

There was a man.

No silly attachments, no fancy skin, no chat up lines. And very oddly… no talking at all!

I said hello, but he did not answer.

Now, when you are new in Second Life, you don’t understand about chat lag, AFK, invisible avatar… so I believed this person was truly ignoring me.

I said “hello” again. No answer.

Off I walked and viewed the boats. Up one jetty, down the next. Then I arrived back where the man was. I said hello again.

Still no reply.

Determined, I asked “Do you have a yacht here?”

Sigh.

I walked away pretty much in disgust really at being ignored several times. Then… as I was leaving… I saw very faintly on my screen…

"...Yes."

Maybe he does not speak English, I thought.

Then the next word from him…

"...Sail?"

This was odd, but clearly this man was asking if I wanted to sail in his boat! I accepted and followed the man as he walked along the jettys to his yacht.

The sailing was just amazing! (Although in silence!)

I had not experienced anything like it! I asked him if I could take photographs. He said yes.

The sea, the land, the turns, the commands, a skipper on a small yacht, sailing it just for me. After a long time out to sea, we returned to the jetty.

The man stood up and walked away — without a word — to the clubhouse.

Well, as I like to talk, I really couldn’t accept this. I followed and walked to him and asked “What language do you speak?”

No reply.

It was puzzling.

There were others in the clubhouse. Ravishal Bentham sent me an IM.

“Have you read his profile?”

I was new, why would I think doing of that?

So I did.

That was the moment that changed my Second Life.


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The man's name was Djduerer Zou.

He described himself in his profile:

Friendly, kind, tall, bedridden, sailor.

Can barely type.

Difficulty seeing, too.

It gets worse in the afternoon SLT time.

Slow.

I use gestures to speak.

In my life I am terminally ill (soon dead) with progressive brain disease,  OPCA  also known  as MSA.  

No regrets, lived passionately.

SL is my life.


I couldn’t imagine to have ever read such a thing or met such a person in SL.

The reality of the situation made my mind whirl. I had been sailing with a man who was living the last days of his Real Life here, in Second Life, living the Real Life that he had known. As a sailor.

My computer was a blur. There was something different here.

Djduerer managed to type:

“dance”

“I think he is asking you to dance,” wrote Ravishal in an IM.

After the short dance, I walked outside and stood my avatar looking out to sea.

Thinking.

I logged off Second Life with a hollow feeling inside but at the same time — a spark — a feeling that there was real life here in these avatars.

After this day I returned twice to see Djduerer, and both times he took me sailing. I dropped the bling chest rings and lengthened my skirt!

I talked to him, not expecting a reply.

I remember once as we were sailing saying to him,

“You must have had a wonderful Real Life at sea."

His answer made me happy and sad at the same time…

”Yes!!!!!!!!!” he said.


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Then, a couple of weeks later, I heard that Djduerer had passed away.

Four years — or more — later, when I am helping new people, this experience is never far from my mind.

At no time has anything in Second Life ever taught me so much as the day I met Djduerer Zou and discovered who was really behind the avatar.

I have used my experience of meeting Djduerer to explain to others about Second Life and to help them to have an open mind.

I doubt my presence here meant much to Djduerer. If I kept him company for a few sailings, that makes me happy, but Djduerer’s presence in Second Life meant so much to me.

He taught me the most important lesson I have learned here, and I am grateful for that moment we met — it showed me what online living can really mean.

- Treacle Darlandes

Published with the kind permission of the real-life widow of Djduerer Zou.

Linden Lab

The Monastery: A Dream Comes True

My name is Arria Perreault. I am a citizen of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, a democracy in the virtual world of Second Life. I am involved in the cultural life of the community, being curator of the Monastery — a place dedicated to spirituality, knowledge, and wisdom in Second Life.

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In 2006, I came to Second Life because I was interested in experimenting with the concept of virtual museums. As I have a degree in Archaeology, I joined the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS) because it hosted the Roman city of Colonia Nova. There I opened my first exhibition in a tiny house, where I had only 54 prims. This proved very challenging. I thought about the need for another place to create better exhibitions.

I could have built my own private place. As my house was in a democratic community, however, it seemed more interesting for me to create a place open to everyone. In 2007, the CDS planned to add a sim between Colonia Nova and Neufreistadt: Alpine Meadow. This new sim would be between a Roman colony and a Bavarian city of the Middle Ages. I imagined that a monastery could fit perfectly there between them.

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The project became to create a place named the Monastery. It would be non-denominational and dedicated to spirituality, wisdom and the transmission of knowledge. I organised a fundraiser to buy a parcel on the new sim. By this time I had experience building in SL, but my skill was limited for such a complex structure. I asked for help in the CDS forums, and several people responded to this positively. Beathan Vale offered his private land as a place to work on the Monastery building before the sim was available.

There I created a surface that corresponded to the future parcel for the Monastery and a few walls. Tanoujin Milestone, Samantha Fuller, Jo Sapeur and Sleazy Writer joined this project. Sam and Tan worked together on the tower, while Sam made the stairs and Tan made a wonderful bell. Jo worked in the Library, while Sleazy created columns with scultptie prims for the courtyard. After this work was done we finally could move the building to its new sim.

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After this I cannot mention all who contributed to the Monastery’s further activities, because the list is too long. A few examples are: Popea Heron from the Roma SPQR community designed a great exhibition about food in ancient Rome. For the first Valentine’s exhibition, Alexicon Kurka made an amazing sculpture with the sound of a beating heart. For the exhibition «Second Mirror», Lilith Ivory took a series of snapshots with a mirror in SL and added reflections in it with photo editing software. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have contributed to the Monastery — even those I did not mention.


Eventually it became clear the Monastery could be on its own sim in the CDS, and a plan was created for it to move to a new sim named Monastery in 2009. This new sim was designed by myself and Ulysse Alexander.
Ever since then the Monastery has continually held exhibitions, and has featured such community events as Egg Painting contests in the spring and holidays Advent Calendars each winter.

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By working on the Monastery project I got a great amount of experience in the management of a virtual museum. When I view the success of its activities, I believe the Monastery is also a contribution for the life of the CDS community, and even for Second Life.  The Monastery could not exist without the help and generosity of CDS citizens and SL residents. It needs skill, time and money, and it cannot be truly successful on the shoulders of only one individual. Thanks to Second Life, we can make some of our dreams come true.

-Arria Perreault

Linden Lab

Second Life Saved My Sanity

Second Life was the surprise rescue to a part of my soul I didn’t realize was so traumatic it was locked away for 30 years. Prior to May 1978, I was a dancer (nine years), a gymnast, (six years) and a springboard diver, (three years, through school.


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Though my activities were varied, in my heart, I am a dancer. Every piece of music I heard, I choreographed in my head. Until that May day, I would dance to it when I could. I felt the greatest joy and freedom when dancing. At some points, I'd even feel like I was flying. In high school, I could take my first formal training. It was heaven to me to dance.

On May 12, 1978, we were hit head-on by a drunk driver doing over 45 mph. I was paralyzed for three days; my left arm for two months. I was now bedridden. I had to be fed, it was truly horrendous. I prayed to be able to play the piano again. Eventually, I could move and I was very grateful.

But, over all this time and since those early days, my heart has longed to dance again. As life, strife and illness struck, even the most limited dancing movements became impossible. After the 1994 premature birth of my daughter, due to her disabilities, I became pretty much homebound. The world closed off to me. The 2000 gift of "the internet" opened the world back up to me, and I have enjoyed helping independent musicians worldwide at a large online site. But, with all the assistance and getting them exposure, I felt there MUST be some way to reach a wider audience for some of them. As I sought this, I found a link in a Wired article, and came to check out Second Life.

As I struggled through the gray fog of learning to exist in this virtual splendorland, I sought out the dancing opportunities. As I collected more of the best dances, I began to put a few routines together. I soon realized that machinima would be the only way that everyone could see what I create regardless of lag, etc., I could have the audience see the moves as I intended them to match the music.

During my hard work learning to do this, it dawned on me that I was happier, joyful, exuberant and couldn't wait to show my latest and then start my next.

It was then, that I realized this piece of my soul had been imprisoned for nearly 30 years at that time, and suddenly Second Life had become the key which released it from prison.  I'm eternally grateful, that even with the limitations, that Second Life exists.  While yes, I cannot dance in Real Life any more, I can do so vicariously through my avatar and regain that inner joy once again.  To share it with others who enjoy it is wonderful.  

Where life threw me lemons, Second Life enabled me to make lemon meringue pie.

- Phoenixa Sol

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