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A showcase of some of the amazing things going on in Second Life - from snapshots, to gifs, to edits and landscapes. 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. 

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Brett Linden
One of the most acclaimed and creative spots in Second Life is the Nemo trilogy, consisting of three distinct virtual world locations inspired by the three natural elements of water, earth and air. Designed by Sextan Shepherd, this impressive steampunk-themed creation takes inspiration from the works of author Jules Verne and even inventor Nikola Tesla. The Destination Guide's Brett Linden recently toured the Nemo trilogy with creator Shepherd, who shared his thoughts about this ambitious project.

Watch the video below to view the tour and hear the interview. There's also full text of the Q&A below.

 

DG: Your trilogy of NEMO areas has been among the most acclaimed and popular spots in SL. What inspired you to undertake this ambitious project?

SS: I have always liked the steampunk style in books with Jules Verne that I read when I was a child, and with movies such as "Steamboy" or "The Illusionist." So, when I started to build in SL I built steampunk stuff naturally. Concerning Nemo, it all started with the mechanical manta ray. I built it just for fun, then I thought it was cool so I built the shrimp and the horseshoe crab. Once the creatures were built, I decided to build a room to put them in, and then a tunnel, an entrance and then yet another room. Nemo 1 was born!

 

For the rest of the sim, each build inspired another one...and then another one. I don't plan anything. I just build with instinct. Once a build is done, I don't know what I will make next until another idea comes. I am lucky...I have a lot of ideas!

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4079/4930518768_4caf139348.jpg

DG: Jules Verne-inspired fashions and steampunk imagery seems to be particularly popular in Second Life. Why do you think that this genre has caught the interest of SL residents?

 

SS: My definition of the steampunk style is "a romantic kind of old timer science-fiction" and I think that it's what people like: the romantic side with that old-fashioned architecture -- the mystery of science and the imaginary part of science fiction.

nemo-shepherd.jpg

DG: In creating NEMO, did you work alone? Or, were there other developers and designers that helped out?

 

SS: I work alone as much as I can. I build and make all the textures myself but when I need a very specific item, such as a 45° gear wheel or a specific prim movement, I call on my friends who are talented sculptors and script writers. Morpheus Merimann has drawn some specifics sculpties for me, two gears, a column and a boat wheel. You can't miss those beautiful sculpts. I use them everywhere!

 

Christy Mansbridge, bestmomo Lagan, Lancelot Joubert, Tigerfly Wardark and Elenia Boucher has developed some specific and complex scripts for me and they were always by my side to bring me advice and support.

nemo-tesla-coil.jpg

DG: What other designers and developers have inspired you in SL?

SS: To be honest, I spend all my time building and I rarely "go out," but I remember that I had a real shock when I saw Grey Kurka's work and AM Radio's artistic projects.

 

DG: The level of detail within each of the NEMO areas is astounding! How long did it take you to construct each section?

 

SS: I have spent about 40 hours building each section, so it's about 120 hours for the whole SIM. I have a day job and a family, so I can rarely spend more than two or three hours a day on SL. I have learn to work fast, so half of the time involved in the building process was spent on Photoshop.

 

DG: Did you hide any secrets or obscure details that might be missed by casual explorers?

 

SS: Well, there are a few items hidden, some high-quality freebies, but you must have the mind of an explorer to find them. But this question just gave me the idea of building a secret laboratory hidden somewhere in Nemo!
nemo-planets.jpg

DG: What was the most challenging part of the building the trilogy?

SS: The most challenging part? Well...when I finished Nemo 1, I thought that I had reached my building and texture skills limits. Because of the success of Nemo 1, the challenge for me was to find the courage to start building Nemo 2, but I also had the feeling that I didn't have the right to make an error or to build something not as good as Nemo 1 was.

 

DG: The third installment of the NEMO trilogy only recently debuted in SL in mid-August. Was that design informed by any learnings from the previous two builds?

 

SS: Of course. The learning process is something that never stops. Each previous building showed me the errors that I must avoid to progress. There is always something to improve in a new build compared to a previous one. For example, I have improved the number of prims involved and the glass textures.
nemo-mirrors.jpg

DG: Many people have been commenting, in particular, on the "reflection" effect found in Alnitak's House of Mirrors. Can you shed any light on how that came about?

SS: I will tell you my secret.. I didn't know it was impossible to make a mirror, so I just did it! The idea came while I was searching and working on some glass effects and textures. The idea was so simple, was right in front of my face! So, I tried it.. and wow! It was working! I was the first person surprised by the result.
nemo-jewelry.jpg

DG: What's next for you and SXS Design in SL?

SS: I am gonna leave the megaprims and big structures for awhile to focus on something smaller..much smaller! I will launch a Steampunk Jewelery Collection in a few weeks, so for now I will just explore the world of nanoprims.

 

Looking for more cool places to explore? Check out our Destination Guide or submit your own!

Grant Linden

marketplace.jpg

We are thrilled to announce that the SL Marketplace is the new destination for online shopping for all things Second Life. We invite Second Life Residents to visit the redesigned site, check out all the new features and start loading your shopping carts with the amazing things only our creative community can deliver. The purchasing functionality on XStreetSL is being disabled as of today. So, if you’re shopping for avatar skins and fashion, home and furnishing needs, scripts and objects for getting your groove on, or almost anything else  you can think of....you’ll find it on the SL Marketplace.

We’re just getting started
When we set out to reinvent XStreetSL, we looked to emulate the experience of other online shopping sites that provide a smooth and enjoyable  experience for the customer. Looking at XStreetSL, we realized we needed to revamp it completely and create a brand new site as well as develop a new process for building cool, new features in a more rapid way moving  forward. We are committed to giving both merchants and shoppers the  tools and functionality necessary to have a great experience on the new  site and we’ll be adding new features weekly. Today’s launch is just the  starting point; the new SL Marketplace is poised to become a more integral part of the overall Second Life experience for everyone.

Notable features and what’s ahead
New features we love include the modern, clean look and feel, which makes the flow of the shopping experience better than it’s ever been before.  Also, customized online merchant stores allow shoppers to easily find  all the creations of their favorite designers. And the new shopping  cart! XStreetSL had limited capability when it came to loading up the shopping cart full of goodies, which is now totally streamlined. Over the next few weeks we will add the Favorites feature and we will migrate over the Favorites list from XStreetSL. We will also be adding an easy way for shoppers to find the purchases they have not reviewed.

SL Merchants... the key to our success
Our commerce team has worked very hard to make the SL Marketplace a professional and modern hub for Second Life sales, but the merchants who participated in the beta truly made this effort come together. While we were working hard evenings and weekends, the beta merchants were there to help test and provide feedback. We look forward to continuing this partnership as the SL Marketplace becomes more and more central to the Second Life experience.

What will happen to XStreetSL?
The XStreetSL Exchange will continue to operate independently of the new SL Marketplace through the end of November. This means merchants can continue to access history, sell L$ and cash out as they do now. The XStreetSL website will remain up for several months beyond the closure of the Exchange, and all non sales and exchange features (including history) will remain available during this time as well as the ability to redeliver items. When we close the XStreetSL Exchange, L$ and USD balances will be moved over to users’ Second Life accounts.

We hope you enjoy using the new SL Marketplace and look forward to hearing what you think!

Sincerely,
Grant and the Commerce Team

Quick Links:
SL Marketplace Help Pages
Deutsch
Français
日本語
Português

Melissa Linden

philip_2.0_facetoface.jpg

Thank you to everyone who participated in making over Philip's avatar. Philip reviewed all the avatars and is amazed at the creativity that went into the submissions.

The winner is Resident creator, Mars Absent. To find more of Mars' work, check out The Abyss inworld or the SL Marketplace. We invite you to check out the finalist entries on Flickr.com.

Philip is thrilled to have a new look.  Here is the result of his first photoshoot.

 

Philip_2.0.jpg

 

Special thank you to Mars Absent!  Your designs are amazing!

Brett Linden
One of the most active role-playing communities in Second Life is the City of Lost Angels (CoLA), which gave birth to the popular Community Combat System (CCS). CoLA's affiliated faction, Archaic Redemption, has caught the eye of indie film producer Anthony Brownrigg. After completing his last horror film "Red Victoria," Brownrigg turned his attention to the popular Second Life role-playing community and is now working to produce an indie drama film based on the characters and environment of Archaic Redemption. According to IMDB, the film centers around a young man who "must brave an undead gang to find his sister in the post-apocalyptic world of Los Angeles."

 

ARgroupshot2.jpg

 

The Destination Guide editorial team recently spoke to Brownrigg -- as well as two Second Life Residents who served as key inspiration for the production: CCS creator Suzanna Soyinka and Archaic Redemption faction leader Tempest Ella -- about the project.

 

Destination Guide (DG): Tell us a bit about the upcoming movie?

Anthony Brownrigg (AB): The film is a drama/horror set in the world of the Second Life game "City of Lost Angels" (CoLA). It surrounds one of the factions of that city, an undead faction known as the Archaic Redemption.  What we did was much like a comic book or video game. We got the rights to many of the characters to include in the real life film, and created an original story that fit within the virtual world.  It's really kind of an adaptation, if you will, of the roleplayers there. The story surrounds a man named Gabriel Fisk, a human who is searching for his sister. His search brings him towards Lost Angels, only to get stopped in a nearby town of Necroville by the Archaics. It's his story and struggle to get away from them and find his sister.  We really wanted to make a character-driven horror film, not a typical "formula plot." The interactive virtual environment of Second Life gave us the opportunity to not only get inspired by the roleplay around us, but actually involve real characters there in the project.  We thought how neat it would be to watch a film, and then visit the virtual version and interact with the very characters they just saw on the big screen.  Second Life is the best platform I believe which can give us the flexibility to do this.

 

DG: When can we expect the film to come out?

AB: We begin principal photography in early 2011, and don't expect a release until 2012.

 

DG: How did you discover Second Life and the Archaic Redemption community?

AB: Back in 2008, a friend of mine who was a writer had suggested Second Life as a nifty opportunity to expand and "dry run" characters.  I had been working on my last film "Red Victoria" at the time, and was delving into a werewolf script I have called "Freeborn."  Knowing there were role-play communities around, I simply did a search on werewolves, and got a result for CoLA. One of the factions there is known as "The Pack," which is a group of Lycans in the main city. So I basically began by constructing a character in the script, and dropping him into the world. Over the months, it became quite addictive I have to admit.  But in that city the Pack also had an ally, the Archaic Redemption. So I managed to roleplay with many of them, as well. In the interim, the "Freeborn" project got put on hold. And I began to really gravitate towards what the Archaics were doing.  Eventually, found myself roleplaying with more than the Pack. And it's then that the concept of a film surrounding them started tickling my brain.

 

DG: Are you an active roleplayer in Second Life?

 

AB: Normally, I'm an active roleplayer. I have several "alts" that I have to explore various characters I'm writing about. It's really a great tool to be able to delve into their motivations and see how those around them react.
scene2.jpg

 

DG: What aspects of the SL community specifically inspired you for the script to this film?

AB: What really inspired me for the script was the background of the Archaics and of CoLA itself. Suzanna Soyinka really penned a great background, and Tempest Ella a great job of integrating the undead faction within that city.  It's a different view on the undead. They're not mindless, they know what they were, who they are. And for my own inspiration it really delved into some interesting concepts. If you don't have death to worry about, what happens to the human mind and its morality breakdown. It's a theme that the main character struggles with all through the story.  We see the human resistance as well and their take on the issue. Within the CoLA universe, werewolves, vampires, demons, angels and all sorts of things in between exist. So the storyline for the film really intermingles varying viewpoints and fleshes out the story to become more of a drama within a horror-filled matrix.

 

DG: Your previous indie horror film "Red Victoria" had a "virtual premiere" in Second Life. What was that experience like - and can we expect more screenings inworld?

 

AB: I have been absolutely sucked in to the potential for utilizing Second Life for film production and even future distribution options.  The Phantasmagoria theater in SL was fabulous, and worked with me to help me understand the potential of SL as a tool for marketing. The virtual premiere was a stunning experience with a virtual audience that was composed of people from all over the world, I was able to get on voice with my avatar, and welcome , field questions...and all of us sat back and watched the film together. This is something we plan on utilizing heavily as "Archaic Redemption" ramps up. We can even have virtual "press junkets," actor interviews, sneak peaks...and not be limited by a certain demographic.  Indeed, I already know some press folks that have made SL characters in anticipation of this. "Red Victoria" garnered fans all over the world from those screenings, and we'll definitely be repeating that and more with "Archaic Redemption."

Another element is the utilizing of the SL build options to actually construct our sets based on our real life locations.  We can build them to spec, test out scenic design and even costuming.  We can then utilize the camera and make storyboards -- all before we shoot one frame of film.  On top of that, many of the actors and other producers have now gotten SL characters and are delving into even more promising elements of the SL world.

eduard.jpg

 

DG: How can SL residents stay updated on the production of "Archaic Redemption"?

AB: There is a Facebook page for the film right now, which is http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Archaic-Redemption/133975659959615  (basically just search "Archaic Redemption").

 

 

Next, we spoke to the person who inspired the film -- Archaic Redemption faction leader Tempest Ella.

 

DG:  What is Archaic Redemption?

 

Tempest Ella (TE): Archaic Redemption (AR) is the official role-play faction for the Risen race in the world of City Of Lost Angels CCS/Role-play sim in Second Life. Unlike the majority of other factions that were pre-made for the sim, Archaic Redemption came along at a later date and has built up over time. Many hours have been put into creating a complex story base and every week there is something new added to ensure it remains interesting for members. The Zombies of the AR have adapted a virus that they build their numbers with. There is a virus lore that runs through generations also helps to maintain the depth character storylines, than playing a mindless ghoul that cannot do anything but eat brains.

 

TempestZombie.jpg

 

DG: How many SL Residents would you estimate are participating in this community ?

 

TE: Tricky question. I'm going to have to break this down. The CCS community as a whole is massive. It not only supports English players, but many from all around the world. The French community is very healthy, as well. There are thousands of registered CCS players and hundreds of CCS sims within Second Life. If I had to take a guess, I'd put it up around the 400-500 mark. In CoLA alone, there are 21 sims and the main hub sim is almost always busy with a constant flow of people.

 

DG: The back-story and setting for Archaic Redemption is something that has really resonated with many SL role-players. What do you think accounts for the appeal?

 

TE: I think there are a few factors that play a part in the attraction to the AR. One being that I have really targeted those true blue horror/gore fans. You have your "vampire lovers" due to "Twilight" and there are many places in SL that offer up an inworld experience, But, there really is nothing around like Archaic Redemption. Just about any zombie sim I have visited inworld is a "shoot-em-up" game with no role-play surrounding it at all. People can come into AR and participate in true dark role-play and work alongside other wonderful role-players and feed off each other. Another reason is I keep the group busy and active and try to make sure that every person is enjoying/progressing with their role-play within the group. Lastly, if the person behind the PC can be kept on the edge of their seat as they are submerged into a group that produces descriptive, intense and articulate role-play, then they will be here to stay. For alot of Second Life role-players, they are searching for other like-minded faction members, The quality of role-play material is what snags the majority of people's attention, first and foremost.

 

Necroville04.jpg

DG: A movie is now also in the works! How did you connect with Anthony Brownrigg for this project?

 

TE: Yes! It is all very exciting, I met Anthony in CoLA of course As a fellow role-player. He contacted me one day and raised the idea of making a film based around Archaic Redemption and CoLA. Naturally, I jumped at the idea! For me as a writer/creator, there was nothing more flattering to hear. My many hours of blood, sweat and tears could be possibly shown to the world in a form of a film. The AR alone has a storyline base that will definitely get alot of interest, Not to mention, throwing it into the post-apocalyptic world of CoLA designed by Suzanna Soyinka. We must not forget about for if didn't exist, then neither would Archaic Redemption.

 

Necroville02.jpg

 

DG: Are there many misconceptions that you've found the general public to have about the role-playing community in SL?

 

TE: I think that there will always be things floating around out there, Some not always shed it in a positive light, but it all comes down to personal experience and what you, as a player, put in.  There have been many rewarding moments within the community there is always room for all types of people from new players to the older Residents. Each of the sims are staffed with voluntary GM teams who not only aid to keep things running smoothly but also to provide help in lots of areas.

 

DG: What qualities make for a good participant in the Archaic Redemption community?

 

TE: We are looking for loyal, dedicated players who enjoy good role-play with a darker flair. A place to act out their more monstrous sides and put the 'dark' into 'dark RP.'  That said, while we may be cruel creatures in-character, we are very approachable out-of-character and are always looking for fun and interesting people to join our team.  AR endorses quality role-play, and our members and officers are always willing to assist anyone who may be new to CoLA, CCS, or role-playing in general, We run constant role-play classes, CCS training and one-on-one individual aid for new players to the role-playing world.

 


Finally, we spoke to CoLA owner and CCS co-creator Suzanna Soyinka.

 

DG: The Community Combat System (CCS) has become hugely popular in Second Life. Can you briefly explain the CCS for those Residents that have yet to experience it?

 

Suzanna Soyinka (SS): CCS is a Mono-compiled gaming system that is hybridized to work with a php/MYSQL network to effectively emulate a persistent roleplay gaming experience where a player can evolve a character they wish to play over time. It has both roleplay-centric uses and combat-effective uses combining the two together for a mix of fun that most anyone can enjoy. CCS is also a managed gaming system, meaning that it is centrally designed and balanced by an impartial design team, rather than other similar systems which are basically game development kits, which give sim owners the ability to create their own dynamics. The principle of managed gaming versus game development kit scenarios is largely under the understanding that most people don't want to fuss with having to understand how to develop a game, or maintain balance dynamics themselves. Some do, and those that do can usually make their own systems or use GDK-based systems that other developers offer. But most people seem to prefer CCS for its ease of use, and its refined performance in the Second Life environment.

 

CoLA-No Saviors.jpg
DG: Can anyone get a CCS? Is it free?

 

SS: CCS is free to all users. Our major third party developer partners also provide weapons with the system for free, as well. Effectively, someone can go to any CCS-enabled community on the grid, of which there are hundreds, and get a CCS unit and weapons to play the game for free and not have to spend a dime to do so.

 

DG: Where did the idea for the CCS come from?

 

SS: CCS is an extension of CoLA which is an idea that has been burning in my head since around 1999. It's a game that I personally have wanted to play. Since no one in the mainstream industry had made it, I made several attempts since 1999 to try to get it into motion under different platforms. Unreal 2.5 was the first platform attempt but I couldn't get enough committment from other mod designers to see the project through at the time. After coming to Second Life in 2005, and applying my previous understanding of design in the Unreal environment and UScript to the SL tools available, I began building the project here in Second Life to keep myself busy and challenged. Turns out I wasn't the only one waiting for someone to make this game apparently.

 

DG: How many communities and venues are using CCS?

 

SS: At this time, CCS is currently in use in around 310 individual sims in Second Life, that number grows weekly as we tend to add one or two new sims a week on average. So there are hundreds of communities using CCS on the grid as of this time. That's going from two-thirds of a mainland sim in 2006 to over 300 individual sims by 2010.

 

DG: Did this project originate with the City of Lost Angels (CoLA)? At what point, did you decide to expand the CCS for use beyond CoLA?

 

SS: CCS was originally developed to support the City of Lost Angels specifically. I had originally seated the project development in the original DCS with Dimentox Travanti, but after a difference of opinions, he went his own direction. DCS as developed originally was a very simple script-based system with a lack of true persistence. I then started working with Jora Welesa, the developer of the Open Source LCK system, to develop CCS, which was a far more advanced visualization of my ideas that did have the true persistence of character data required to run a long-term role-playing game.

 

We decided to expand the use of the system beyond CoLA while we were still on the mainland, back in 2006 and 2007. CoLA was so popular there were 55+ people in the mainland sim at all times and people literally bouncing off the sim borders trying to get in daily. It became obvious due to the system's popularity that we needed to offer additonal venues for it until we could expand our own land holdings. We also needed to offer venues that were fun for and accepting of non-English speaking players, established French and Spanish CCS communities, as well as new English-speaking ones.
CoLA-The Ruins.jpg

 

DG: Are there future enhancements or changes that we can expect?

 

SS: Oh, yes. CCS has always updated and upgraded itself on around a 180-day timeframe. About every 6 months, I do some major system upgrades or additions to cater to the needs of our player base. We have several new features coming with the release candidate in development. We've got a lot of new user-centric features we've developed that have been requested by our player base. We've got an entirely new design approach to our third-party API, which is going to simplify designing weapons and items for CCS for developers. give the system far more top-level control of what is in use, allowing us to pinpoint weapons down to the version number that are currently active in CCS sims that may be performing in an unbalanced manner. allow us to throttle or adjust those weapons on the fly for balance in the system if the third-party developer is unavailable to make the changes themselves.

 

Also, CCS has largely become a developmental standard in Second Life. What we've done has been so effective that its largely been emulated by a good-sized handful of other developers in Second Life in their own way. So, while everyone is doing their own development, the homogeny of ideas and implementation is rather obvious. The standards Jora, Melanie and I set and the systems we designed to harness what SL had available and make it do what we wanted it to do have largely been put into practice in a handful of other gaming systems. Due to to this, everything sort of looks the same, four years later. I have a project currently under super secret development called CCS2, which is a whole new set of dynamics and parameters which change the entire way CCS will be approaching game play in Second Life. I believe will be far more immersive and fun for the users once I get it released than even CCS itself is, right now.

 

Effectively, I'm always working on new ideas. CCS never sits back on a working version and forgets about its user base. We're constantly in development mode, and we're constantly expanding what we have and, in the background of that, developing and readying ourselves for what comes next.

 

To find out more information about Archaic Redemption in Second Life, visit the official site. Archaic Redemption is only one of several factions in the City of Lost Angels. To see a list of all CoLA factions and to learn more about CCS, please visit the official CoLA site. For production updates on the film, visit the official Facebook fan page.

 

Images courtesy of Anthony Brownrigg, Tempest Ella and Suzanna Soyinka.

Brett Linden
It's time to celebrate the winter holiday with friends -- both old and new -- in Second Life. The Internet's largest, community-created virtual world is filled with cool attractions, events and themed parties that capture the true spirit of the season.
Winterfest 7.jpg

 

We're rounding up some of this year's holiday highlights for a new Winter-themed category in the Destination Guide, set to debut later this month. You'll find plenty of places for snow-filled fun (think ice skating, snow sledding, and skiing), as well as holiday-specific attractions and events (such as parties and live performances). In addition, December is filled with numerous grid-wide scavenger hunts, where you can join others on massive quests to seek and find free holiday-themed virtual goodies.

 

There's also the annual Winterfest, a week-long, snow-filled celebration with live music performances, winter sports activities and even snowball fights, hosted on the Global Online Hockey Association's wintry venues. Look for highlights of this year's event, which begins Dec. 10, to be included in the new Destination Guide category. A full schedule of activities will also be published on the Secondlife.com Blog soon -- so stay tuned for more info!

 

Winterfest 2.jpg

 

You can help us round up this year's hottest (or should we say "coolest") spots. We'll be monitoring our official Facebook page for suggestions from Residents about their favorite places, but venue owners can submit their own locations or events for consideration using the Destination Guide Suggestion Submission Form. Our editorial team will review all entries for possible inclusion in this category.
Terrence Linden

When we announced that we would be closing Teen Second Life and bringing our under-18 Residents to the Main Grid, we also made clear our intention not to compromise the experience that teens have access to. Today, I’m happy share our plan to create rich and enjoyable Second Life experiences for teens, while keeping in mind their security and safety when joining the Main Grid.

A Rich and Secure Experience for Teens

Our goal is to provide a safe, secure, and rewarding experience to all Second Life Residents, no matter their age. Accordingly, we are putting safeguards in place on the Main Grid specific to the following teen age groups:

For 13- to 15-year-olds:
  • 13- to 15-year-old Residents will be restricted to the estates of a sponsoring institution.
  • These Residents will not have access to inworld search, nor will they be able to purchase from our Web-based Marketplace.
For 16- and 17-year-olds:
  • 16- and 17-year-old Residents will have access to all SL regions rated General (i.e., containing content appropriate for all ages), on the Mainland and private islands.
  • These Residents will not be able to enter Moderate- nor Adult-rated regions, even if they have payment information on file and/or have used our Web-based identity verification system.
  • These Residents will be able to communicate fully with and befriend all other users on the Main Grid. This includes local chat and IM.

With nearly 5,000 General-rated regions in Second Life, the area that will be accessible to our 16- and 17-year-old Residents will dwarf the 100 regions currently available on Teen Second Life, giving them far more space to create, explore, and experience their online environment and what they can do there.

Our 16- and 17-year-old account holders will also be able to communicate fully with all other users on the Main Grid (unless they have been muted or otherwise restricted). This was an important decision for us, and one we think will make Second Life richer for all Residents.

Welcoming Teens in the New Year

Bringing teens to the Main Grid is now less than two months away. We plan to shut down the Teen Grid and transfer accounts to the Main Grid in early January, once the holidays have passed. Here’s what to expect:

  • When the teen grid closes, 13- to 15-year-olds will no longer be able to register for Second Life unless they are brought in through an affiliated organization. On the Main Grid, these younger Residents will not be able to travel outside the estates of their sponsoring organizations.
  • 16- and 17-year-olds registering for Second Life will be directed to the Main Grid rather than to Teen Second Life.
  • We will transfer all 16-17s remaining on Teen SL to the main SL grid, as well as those 13-15s that are affiliated with TSL Resident institutions. This includes all the inventory of those accounts. (The accounts of our other 13- to 15-year-old Residents will become inactive, but will be automatically restored when they turn 16.) All of the land on Teen Second Life will be transferred to the Main Grid. This includes teen mainland, teen private islands, and teen organizations’ estates.

At that point, Teen Second Life will be officially closed -- but the experience of teens in Second Life is only just beginning. We strongly believe that teens have as much to contribute to the Second Life community as their adult counterparts, and we do not want to restrict the flow of ideas and information between the two groups. We all have much to learn from each other.

As we continue to focus on making the Second Life experience faster, easier, and more fun for all Residents, we’ve also made a number of improvements to search to provide teens with additional security and control. We look forward to seeing the new kinds of creativity and community our teen Residents will bring to the Main Grid. Welcome, teens!

Delby Linden

Are you ready for the best (and busiest) time of the year? Be sure to mark your calendars for some fun this holiday season at Winterfest 2010: Friday, December 10 through Saturday, December 18.

Hosted on the Global Online Hockey Association’s (GOHA) six wintry regions, and featuring activities and events put on by numerous communities from around Second Life, Winterfest offers plenty to do, see, and pummel with snowballs. Whether you like snowboarding, playing hockey, ski jumping, cross-country skiing, ice skating, scavenger hunts, winter carnival rides or simply listening to some live music, we think you’ll find just what you’re looking for to get you in the spirit of the season.

By popular demand, we’ll be bringing back the annual Lindens vs. Residents snowball fights. If you’ve ever had the desire to throw something at a Linden, this is the event for you. Bring it on, everyone. We’ll be ready!

Need a new pair of ski pants? Got some for sale? The Winterfest category on the Second Life Marketplace is a great spot to look for new items to help you get outfitted for the season. Merchants with winter-themed content are welcome to post their wares to the appropriate sub-category for gift-giving and retail therapy enjoyment. We’re offering 13 different sub-categories under Winterfest for easy searching:

Curious about what else is going on in Second Life to celebrate the season? Take a look at the Winter events channel on the Destination Guide. If you’ve got some ideas for more wintry fun to add to the channel, then take a look at our call for submissions blog post for winter activities.

We’ll be announcing the full schedule of Winterfest 2010 events very soon. So, until then, bundle up, lace up your skates, and get ready for a full-fledged winter extravaganza!

Delby Linden

Lace up your skates, grab your favorite ear muffs, and get ready for some wintry fun! Winterfest takes place Friday, December 10 through Saturday, December 18 with a variety of activities—from ice skating to live music—hosted on the Global Online Hockey Association’s six regions.

Check out the full schedule of events below (all listings are in Pacific time), and browse the Winterfest channel on the Destination Guide. We’re also featuring a Winter channel, which highlights Resident locations and activities related to winter fun and holiday culture. If you’ve got other events this season that you’d like to get into the Winter channel on the Destination Guide, then take a look at our winter activities call for submissions. If you’re in the market to buy, sell, or browse for winter-related goods, then check out the Winterfest category on the Marketplace, including 13 handy sub-categories for easy searching.

We hope to see you at Winterfest 2010! (And we’re looking forward to meeting some of you in cold combat at the Resident/Linden snowball fights!

Events Open All Day, All Week

Special Events Throughout the Week

Friday, December 10
Saturday, December 11
Sunday, December 12
Monday, December 13
Tuesday, December 14
Wednesday, December 15
Thursday, December 16
Friday, December 17
Saturday, December 18
Delby Linden

Deck the halls and jingle those bells! It’s time for Winterfest 2010, a week-long tribute to wintertime activities in Second Life. Winterfest starts today, December 10, and runs through December 18. Join us at the Global Online Hockey Association’s six wintry regions, complete with games, free shopping, live music, and good times. Start by dropping in at the Neutral Zone anytime.

So, what’s happening at Winterfest? The kick-off party begins at 12:00pm Pacific time today, December 10, with a live concert by Mankind Tracer, followed by a snowman-building contest, ice fishing, and more live music. And that’s just today! Check out the full schedule here to find your can’t-miss events and activities. And if you’re looking to buy, sell, or browse inworld winter gear, then take a look at the Winterfest category on the Marketplace.

Wishing you a happy Winterfest!

Jack.Linden

A Farewell From Jack

My last blog post as ‘Jack Linden’ is almost certainly the hardest that I’ve had to write. Sad to say that I will be leaving the Lab at the end of December. It’s time for me to set sail for new horizons, hang up the god powers, and journey to another grand adventure elsewhere. It has been an incredible six years, and one that has been made extra special thanks to sharing it with you, the Second Life community.

Seems like only yesterday that I was helping new residents at the welcome area, shaping new mainland continents and delivering islands to the very first wave of estate owners. Second Life was amazing to me then, and it is no less amazing to me now. It’s an incredible virtual space full of real people and their extraordinary creativity. It’s been a wild ride at times, always mesmerising and never a dull moment. I have loved every moment of it. I have watched pioneering virtual businesses grow and flourish, seen people from around the world making friends and falling in love, been amazed at the range of new communities that have found a home on the grid, and witnessed an explosion of content that has made Second Life the largest home of user generated 3D content in existence. It’s been an honour to be a part of that world and to serve you, the residents who have made it so rich and diverse.

I will be leaving behind a Linden Lab that is in great shape. A Lab that is more focused on fixing the core features, more open and productive, and that remains on course for a very bright future indeed.

Up until the end of the year you can still reach me as Jack Linden inworld but from January 1st I will be enjoying Second Life as a resident once more, probably on my new alt (username and display name of simply ‘Jack’).

Many thanks to all of you for everything you do to keep Second Life so special.

Delby Linden

What a great event! The week-long Winterfest event, which wrapped up Saturday, December 18th, was the first of what we hope will be many collaborative events with partner communities—and we’re so pleased with the results. From winter sports to live music, Winterfest offered a good time for all.

We especially enjoyed the Residents vs. Lindens snowball fights. We saw some very creative snow weaponry this year! There’s nothing better for a Linden than getting pummeled with snow-fire to remind you of how fun it is to spend time with the Second Life community.

Big Thanks to Everyone Who Made Winterfest Such a Success!

Winterfest would not have been possible without the fabulous people from the Global Online Hockey Association (GOHA), who generously hosted the activities on their six regions. Thank you to the organizers and community of GOHA, who made Winterfest such a wonderful experience and who helped Residents to discover the many delights of the season, including the Maze, Scavenger/Puck Hunt, Snowman Building Contest, and new player training. In particular, we’d like to thank Winterfest organizers Jack Belvedere, Katia Ixtab, Ashlene McMinnar, Marjan Tomba, Dyz Warburton, Kalita Magic, Tangle Giano, Lobo Rodriquez, Janieke Blanchard, and Anhayla Lycia. Special thanks go to Marjan Tomba for the popular new ski jump and Lancelot Skytower for the fantastic balloon tours across the sims.

In addition, we are so pleased that many SL artists, musicians, and DJs donated their time and talents to the event. And thank you, TreetTV, for coming out to support and to help spread the word.

The full list of our thanks can be found on the Winterfest wiki page.

Still Time to Have Wintry Fun!

In case you were so busy with the RL holidays that you missed these SL holiday activities, there’s still time to get in some wintry fun! GOHA is keeping many of the Winterfest activities going in the Chamonix City area, and plans to add even more, based on the great ideas suggested by Winterfest visitors.

Happy holidays to all!

Brett Linden

The Second Life editorial team is looking for great romantic and Valentine’s Day-themed events and locations to showcase in the February edition of The Sandbox newsletter, as well as in the Destination Guide.

Is your favorite store or location participating in or preparing a special Valentine’s Day hunt, event or promotion? What do you think are some of the more beautiful and romantic spots in Second Life?

Share your favorites with us here no later than 5 PM (Pacific) on Jan. 10, 2011 and we’ll check ’em out! Don’t forget to include the SLurl link so that others can find your place or event, too.

We also have a special opportunity for those venue owners or groups coordinating grid-wide or store-wide Valentine’s Day hunts. For the first time ever, we’ll be publishing some “first location” clues and hints to share with The Sandbox readers. If you are organizing a Valentine’s Day hunt and would like to participate, please email the Editorial Team or leave a comment with basic information on your hunt no later than 5 PM (Pacific) on Jan. 10.


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Terrence Linden
Following up on our previous announcement, today we are transferring accounts and land held by 16- and 17-year-olds in Teen Second Life to Second Life's Main Grid.  13-15 year old users not affiliated with an organization will not be transferring, but we are excited to see you inworld when the time comes! We are beginning now and it will take a few hours to complete. Once it is done, Teen Second Life will be officially closed. If you have any questions, then check out the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Second Life wiki which provides additional details about the transition.

I would like to give a warm welcome to our new Main Grid Residents! You are a creative and resourceful group, and I've been amazed by what I've learned from you over the past few months. I have seen what you've accomplished on the Teen Grid and I'm excited to see what the future holds for you now that you have joined the larger Second Life community. Welcome, and I'll see you inworld!
Brett Linden

sexy islands.jpg

No matter where you are in the world, it’s always sunny somewhere in Second Life. The SL editorial team is getting ready for “Spring Break” with a search for the hottest beaches and outdoor club spots to spotlight in the Destination Guide, as well as the March edition of The Sandbox newsletter.

Where do you go to find hot fun under the SL sun? Share your favorites with us here or on our Facebook page no later than Feb. 6.  We’ll be reviewing all suggestions, so it’s important to also include the SLurl link so that we can find your spot!

For the next edition of The Sandbox, we’re also casting beachwear models for a March “Look of the Month.” If you’ve got it, then flaunt it! This is your chance to show off your best beach-bound look for the entire Second Life virtual world to see!

Show off your freshest “Spring Break” look (deadline: Feb. 6) by submitting your head-to-toe avatar shots to our Facebook page, where you’ll also find complete entry and image guidelines.

Courtney Linden
Kissing booths are now open! The annual Kiss-a-Linden/Kiss-a-Volunteer event is under way until 7:00 p.m. PST, and we hope you’ll stop by to share a little love with your fellow Residents and Lindens. Cupid Linden is out and about, so stop by and say hello! If you’re lucky, she may even shoot you with a love arrow.

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Not sure what to wear or bring to the event? Just like everything else in Second Life, it’s completely up to you. But if you want to spruce up your look for Valentine’s Day or send a gift to your sweetheart, check out the Valentine’s Day category on the Marketplace. Our four free, special-edition Valentine’s Day Bears are there too—a perfect gift for you to give to a friend inworld or keep.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! XOXO
Courtney Linden

The Linden Endowment of the Arts (LEA) is proud to announce its first official community event:  The Month of Machinima (MoM) event begins May 4, 2011—and you’re invited. If you enjoy creating and watching world-class machinima, then this is the event for you.

 
The objective of the event is to promote Second Life machinima, encourage the creation of new work, and showcase existing work to the community and beyond. It serves as an opportunity to introduce Residents to the machinima art form and to support the machinima community to continue to create these films for everyone to enjoy. MoM is a recurring event, continuing each month with juried screenings of community-created machinima.
 
About the LEA 
The LEA is currently accepting machinima submissions (by April 10) for consideration in the next month’s screening. The purpose of the LEA is to help create a center of arts activity in Second Life. The LEA is committed to providing access to engaging experiences in the arts for the Second Life community. Through its exhibitions, programs, and events, the LEA fosters awareness of artists’ contributions to our virtual world and encourages others to get involved and inspired. 
 
Interested in participating? You can learn more about MoM and apply to have your machinima included in the event here. 
 
This is the first of many upcoming events and programs to be produced by the LEA and its dedicated board of artists and arts enthusiasts from the Second Life community, so stay tuned!

 

Courtney Linden

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to show off their creative talents in the Bunny Jam egg decorating contest! It was no easy decision for the judges, who received and reviewed over 300 eggs—but the results are in, and the winning dozen are on display!

 
Pick the best of the dozen 
We’ve got a special prize of L$10,000 for the #1 egg in the contest, and we need your help to pick the best of the dozen! Check out the dozen winning eggs on display here and here. You can click on the voting kiosk set up by the eggs and vote there, or you can vote here after you’ve selected your favorite.
 
Ready, set, hunt!  
The Bunny Jam egg scavenger hunt kicks off tomorrow, April 21, at 9:00 a.m. SLT,  featuring copies of the 12 winning eggs from the egg decorating contest. Not sure where to start? Check out the Bunny Jam Destination Guide for tips on where to begin. Remember: Each egg (and that L$5,000) can only be found once—so good luck, hunters!
 
Get ready to jam 
The Bunny Jam music event happens on April 25 from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. SLT. Check here for the full lineup of live music and DJs. Be sure to share the latest with your fellow Residents by using the #SLBunnyJam hashtag on Twitter—so they can follow the fun! And if you’re still looking for something festive to wear to Bunny Jam (or for any other springtime events you’re attending), feel free to pick up the bunny ears, bunny slippers, and bunny tail that are all available for free in Shopkeeper Linden’s store on Marketplace.

 

Brett Linden
Second Life is a virtual world imagined and created by people just like you. And, while it's always fun to create, it's also rewarding to explore and appreciate the artistic beauty and architectural wonders created by others in the SL community.

 

Inworld photography is one of the most popular hobbies inside Second Life and getting started is as easy as clicking a single button. In the SL Viewer's Advanced mode, just use the Snapshot button to take a picture. Then, you can then share it with friends on Facebook or post it on Flickr, where thousands of SL photographers have contributed over 1 ½ million unique images that document the beauty and quirkiness of SL. For some useful photography tips and tricks, check out this wiki page to help you get the best shots.

 

Looking for great places to photograph? Watch this video to discover ten of our favorite picturesque spots to get you started. We've also put together a new Photo Hot Spots category in the Destination Guide that you can use to quickly visit each of the locations featured in the video.

 

So, in no particular order, here are the ten featured Second Life spots that are perfect for practicing your snapshots:

 

1. INSILICO

 

insilicoo.png

 

One of the longest running and most popular communities in Second Life is InSilico. This cyber-punk roleplay region is filled with hi-tech high-rises and hidden elements that make for excellent imagery. For anyone with an interest in showing off the absolute best of Second Life to your friends, this is THE place to snap and share.

 

2. S.I.C.

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Another “Blade Runner”-esque region to roam is S.I.C.  -- that stands for Science Innovation Company. By the looks of this place, you can just bet that there’s an elaborate back story to explore in this hi-tech, post-apocalyptic urban landscape. So, why not capture it in images? Scout out your shots by traveling the dark urban streets as you pass by flashing neon signs and battling bots. And, after the shoot, hang out at the cool little hamburger joint.

Visit S.I.C. Now >>

 

3. PARALLEL WORLDS

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Yep. It’s a weird and wonderful world we live in--and even more so in Second Life. How can words alone explain the strange shapes and textures that you’ll find twisted throughout Parallel Worlds? This extraordinary experience by Claudia222 Jewell is the perfect place to practice your photography skills. Zoom in on one of the many gooey globs that float in the air as you glide from surreal spot to spot--some combining snakes and circuit boards. Is there supposed to be a hidden meaning here? Maybe or maybe not. Either way, you’ll not want to miss a single shot.

 

4. ANTARCTIC STRONGHOLD

antarctic.jpg

 

If you can brave the blizzards, then you’ll get some fantastic photographs at the Antarctic Stronghold, a primary telehub for the Vanguard Armed Forces’ base in a remote, icy region of Second Life. There’s lots of shots to snap here, but be careful not to interrupt the combat roleplayers that frequent this popular spot.

 

5. INNSMOUTH

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Ready to travel back in time? Then, visit beautiful, historic Innsmouth--a troubled New England coastal town where darkness prevails and danger lurks around every corner. Be careful as you wander the rain-soaked streets as you snap spooky shots.

 

 

6. ALIRIUM GARDENS

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Do you love secret gardens? If so, then you’ll want to get lost at Alirium, a relaxing place to immerse yourself in unspoiled beauty across all four seasons. As you wander through each garden area, you’ll stumble across shots that are just too good to pass up.

 

7. LA PERLA II

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So, for your next spot, check out old Italy. La Perla II is a beautiful old Italian village with its own unique Mediterranean styles. Explore the shops and hillsides as you scour the village for just the right picture. Strike a pose on one of the cliff pathways to remember the moment as the Mediterranean sun sets behind you. 

Visit La Perla II Now >>

 

8. SAN FRANCISCO

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In this economy, traveling to some of the world’s greatest cities is out of reach for many of us. In Second Life, not so much. I know. Maybe it’s not exactly the same as the real thing, But, how can you resist traveling to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate bridge when it is just a mouse click away?

Visit San Francisco Now >>

 

9. PARIS

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Or, visiting Paris to see the world famous Eiffel Tower?

Visit Paris Now >>

 

10. GRAND CANYON

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What about walking the rocky edges of the Grand Canyon? You can even walk right off the edge. Just make sure to grab a good shot on your way down.

Visit the Grand Canyon Now >>

 

Of course, these ten spots are only the beginning. There’s so much more to explore. Check out the Destination Guide for even more photogenic hot spots.

Special thanks to Torley Linden for his fantastic photographs!

Courtney Linden
Time to get your bunny tail over to our all-day music festival! We’ve got a full line-up of DJs and live music performances from 6:00 a.m. SLT to 7:00 p.m. SLT today only. Read all about it here!
 
And while you’re there, be sure to check out the dozen winning eggs from the Bunny Jam egg decorating contest. Congratulations to the following Residents for their unique designs!
  • Egg hidden in a flower, by LadyKath Avon
  • Gift-wrapped chick, by Aria Meridoc
  • Spiked egg, by Fandango Rhapsody
  • Dozen eggs, by Maui Islander
  • Butterfly egg, by Raphaela Palmer
  • Chick pulling the egg, by Laura Liberty
  • Egg escape, by SimonLeo Roelofs
  • Waldo egg, by Griete Rasmuson
  • Cherry blossom egg, by Isis Berithos
  • Transparent egg in egg, by Wolfling Winterwolf
  • Steampunk egg, by Norbo Sands
  • Glow egg, by Ginger Lorakeet
We’ve tabulated the votes from the community for the #1 egg—drum roll, please! Congratulations to Aria Meridoc, who won the top L$10,000 prize!
AriaMeridoc_001.jpg
Congratulations go out to our winners who found the L$5,000 prizes in our egg scavenger hunt as well:
 
  • Hayato Mikado
  • andy25crawford Ying
  • Eddie Hagoromo
  • Quant Genesis
  • alexan pintens
  • Miranda Menjou
  • Platina Arida
  • Capo Freenote
  • Nancy Gumbo
  • Tsuna Core
  • Asus Flow
  • ZoeGraystone1 Resident
We hope you all had a good time on the hunt!
 
Enjoy the music—and have a very happy spring in Second Life!

Courtney Linden

There’s no place like home. Especially when it’s spacious, luxurious, and rent-free! 

 
We’ve got just the place for you to rez your hat. Imagine living in a home with an open floor plan, seaside views, and a sparkling pool just steps away from your property. Now envision having L$5,000 to spend on furnishings, lush landscaping, and a new wardrobe for your new, luxurious lifestyle. Sound good?
 
Now is the time to enter our “Linden Dream Home Sweepstakes”—where you could get a Linden Home, a L$ furnishing bonus, and free Premium membership for a year!

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What does the Sweepstakes prize include?
  • A spacious Grayson Linden Home on a double parcel (1024 m2 total) with 234 prims
  • Free Premium membership for one year, which includes the L$300 weekly stipend and extended support services
  • A L$5,000 furnishing bonus so you can decorate your home and garden parcel in style
  • Convenient location next to a fabulous pool and deck: Perfect for outdoor entertaining
 How do you enter?
Second Life Residents are invited to complete our Land Survey between May 2 and May 16. That’s it. Complete the survey and you’re eligible to win. For more details, visit the Sweepstakes wiki page.
 
What else could you get?
Tis the season to be thinking about homes and gardens, so even if you aren’t interested in the sweepstakes, we’re offering a few freebies that might boost your curb appeal. Be sure to visit Shopkeeper Linden’s store on Marketplace to check out the following items for your next garden party:
  • Special-edition Garden Gnome Linden Bear
  • Lounge chairs
  • Flowers pack
  • Picnic and tea party pack
Whether you’re looking for a little something to spruce up your space or for your friend’s housewarming party, these freebies or the great stuff on the Home and Garden category on Marketplace might be just the thing you’re looking for. (Hey, who doesn’t love a gnome?)
 
Happy spring!
Courtney Linden
Attention all film fanatics in the virtual world! If you’re in the mood to see some great machinima filmed in Second Life, then c’mon down to the LEA Theater today at 10:00 a.m. SLT to see the winning selections in the inaugural Month of Machinima (MoM) event, presented by the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA).

To help kick off the event, Linden Lab’s Senior Director, User Experience Rhett Linden and the LEA board will be in attendance to talk about the arts in Second Life, the 13 films selected for the May event, and what’s next for the LEA’s community events and installations.

Check out this
for a sneak peek into what you’ll experience at today’s event! If you like it and are inspired to tweet about it, spread the word on Twitter using the #SLcinema hashtag.

Seating for the MoM event is conveniently located near each of the theater’s four entrances: More about MoM and the LEA
The objective of MoM is to promote Second Life machinima, encourage the creation of new work, and showcase existing work to the community and beyond. It serves as an opportunity to introduce Residents to the machinima art form and to support the machinima community to continue to create Second Life films for everyone to enjoy. MoM will be a recurring monthly event with juried screenings of community-created machinima so you can participate and view new films every month.

Also, the LEA Information group is open to the public—feel free to join to learn more about the organization’s future events. You can pick up information in the MoM info boxes at the LEA Theater and infohub.

Now’s the Time for June Submissions
The next deadline for machinima submissions is May 10 for the June MoM. The theme is Mixed Reality. Maximum run-time is six (6) minutes (SL machinima has to be included in your mix). Interested in participating? You can learn more about MoM and apply to have your machinima included in the event here. Films that have already been submitted, but not selected for a previous MoM, will be eligible for consideration in future events if they adhere to the theme, length restrictions, and other requirements.

Looking forward to a great event!
Courtney Linden

Our virtual world, Second Life, turns eight this June. Wow! Our hard-working team of Resident volunteers and Lindens have been busily preparing for our annual birthday bash—laying down the groundwork (literally) for us all to celebrate.

  
The event kicks off at 10:00 a.m. SLT on Monday, June 20 and runs through Sunday, June 26 with a glittering assortment of musicians, speakers, artists, business leads, media mavens, merchants, social organizers, and other amazing Residents like you.
 
Make a Wish
This year’s theme is the, “Magic of Second Life.” No, we’re not just talking about wizards and sorceresses (though of course they’re included). The true magic of Second Life is something different for each of us. It’s all about that moment when we realized how amazing Second Life really is. It’s when we found our own personal connections to Second Life, realizing its potential in our own lives and the lives of others. Whether it’s the social aspect, the content creation possibilities, or unique business and commerce opportunities, we’ve all got a tale of Second Life magic to share.
 
You’re Invited
Now that you know the theme, you know you want to get involved! We have 20 sims reserved for themed exhibits, amazing builds, fantastic music and entertainment, and for wonderful volunteers to make this the best birthday party ever. Visit our SL8B wiki page for our exhibitor application, entertainment application, and volunteer greeter application and deadlines.
 
Don’t miss a thing: Join the Second Life Birthday group inworld (now open) for the latest updates on the festivities. 
 
Happy birthday to all of us!

 

Courtney Linden

As fans of lotteries around the world know, you’ve got to play to win. 

Today is the last day to enter to win the “Linden Dream Home Sweepstakes”—so don’t miss your chance! Simply complete our short land survey and you’ll be entered to win a spacious Linden Home on a double-parcel plus L$5,000! We’ll be drawing the winning name this week, so one lucky Resident will start enjoying his or her new, luxurious home by next week!

 

 

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