Today we’re shining a spotlight on Wanders Nowhere, a talented creator who has been crafting immersive experiences that transport Residents into otherworldly dimensions. From the awe-inspiring era of dinosaurs at Prehistorica to the haunting corridors of Castle Dracula, one can't help but marvel at the level of detail, passion, and creativity.
How long have you been in Second Life and how did you first hear about it?
I have been in Second Life since August of 2006. I first discovered it whilst I was living and working in a tiny rural village in Japan. Second Life became my creative outlet and connection to the English-speaking world, and my primary income after returning home to Australia and growing Prehistorica into a Mesh store in 2014.
You have been a content creator since 2009. What kind of content do you create and how did you get started?
I'm an avatar and creature creator primarily, though I’ve also done tons of worldbuilding, scripting, and experience design over the years. I tell people RL asking about my job that I "make dinosaurs on the internet." It’s just easier that way!
I was fascinated early on by the possibilities of stretching the definition of 'avatar' on SL, even back when we had to use hacked deformer animations to stretch out the underlying skeleton to hang a prim sculpty creature body on, I could see the potential to be a dinosaur, a dragon, or anything else you wanted. Mesh, Project Bento, and Animesh have taken all of that to levels beyond.
Tell us more about Prehistorica and the different experiences it offers Second Life Residents.
Prehistorica was always designed to be an immersive experience, to take you back into the past to experience the prehistoric world firsthand. That giddy sense of awe and wonder we all feel as kids the first time we discover dinosaurs - that these wonderful, fantastical, gigantic beasts that feel like they should be myth really did exist, and once ruled our world - that's the feeling I want to capture with Prehistorica.
You can ride dinosaurs, hang from a pteranodon's clutches and fly about, or buy one of our avatars or animesh and own – or become! – a denizen of the Mesozoic yourself. Our Primal Life game system allows you to experience a survival game environment where your dinosaur eats, drinks, sleeps, hunts other animals, and gains experience over time. You can also hop up to the floating Azhar Dracys dragon islands above Prehistorica to play a special minigame where you (as a human, dinosaur or dragon) battle invading Elementals for prizes.
You also have another project in Second Life, Castle Dracula, tell us more about that.
This is my other major project on Second Life, which I have been working on for 15 years. It’s a recreation of Dracula’s own castle, inspired by the original novel - and influenced by the legendary Universal and Hammer films, and the Castlevania game series - but with the novel as its touchstone. In 2022, I opened it as “Castle Dracula: A Gothic Horror Experience”, a gigantic, sprawling haunt like nothing else on the grid, and a way for people to discover the original literature in an interactive, cinematic, and scary way.
You take on the search for Jonathan Harker, traveling to Transylvania, meeting The Count Himself, and exploring his Castle in search of Jonathan’s diaries and the truth of his fate. Along the way, there are plenty of chills and surprises and an ending that will haunt you for a long time to come.
Just in time for Halloween 2023, I’ve expanded it with a second storyline based on Sheridan LeFanu’s “Carmilla”. In ‘Carmilla: The Love of the Dead”, you’ll follow the novella’s protagonist Laura as she searches for closure on her encounter with the alluring and sinister Carmilla, ten years after the story. Is Carmilla truly gone? In the tangled depths of the Castle, a story of grief, desire, and terror awaits you with more puzzles, new haunts, unique prizes, new areas of the Castle, and new cinematic twists to a classic tale.
Come this Halloween - and stay forever! Castle Dracula is open all year round, and I intend to continue expanding it with more classic gothic tales in the future; Carmilla is to be the first of several new chapters...so stay tuned, my dear guests, for more horror to come.
Who are some of the other Residents in SL that inspire you and whose work you admire?
I still have a profound respect for people like Flea Bussy of Grendel’s Children and Stickman Ingmann of Seawolf and Roarbeast, who were there before me pushing the limits of what SL could do back in the days before even Sculpties were a thing. I think there’s a sense of lost history there. Only Grendel’s, Seawolf, Nargus Labs, and Isle of Wyrms were doing non-humanoid creature avatars when I got my start. They walked so that every creature avatar maker since could run, fly, hop, scuttle, and slither. That’s part of the story of the grid, SL wouldn’t be what it is without them.
Where can people see your work? Please share links to your sites and social media accounts.
You can find Prehistorica here:
Inworld Store / Main Sim
Inworld Group: secondlife:///app/group/0d91b53a-3995-9ca3-41ee-299af853749d/about
Journey to an age when dinosaurs walked the earth and dragons ruled the skies. Plunge into this time travel experience or battle invading elementals in the floating temple of Azhar Dracys. Explore the primordial jungles, smoldering volcanos, and sunlit seas of a forgotten world. Encounter its majestic and deadly denizens, take one home as an Animesh companion, or become one yourself and experience SL as never before in the form of one of our dozens of awe-inspiring dinosaur and mighty dragon Avatars!
The Castle Dracula Experience and Carmilla: the Love of the Dead can be found here:
Inworld Landing Point
Inworld Group: secondlife:///app/group/beaf63f9-e2fa-43b0-4281-185db70dbf0e/about
Journey to 1890s Transylvania in search of the missing Jonathan Harker. Explore the colossal castle of Count Dracula in search of his journals, meet the Count Himself, and do try to stay among the living...if you can. Castle Dracula: A Gothic Horror Experience is a massive, immersive narrative-driven haunt unlike any other, 14 years in the making. In October 2023, plunge into a brand new tale of terror and embrace another classic of gothic literature with our first expansion storyline. Follow the fate of Laura as she pursues the echoes of dread and desire in CARMILLA: THE LOVE OF THE DEAD.
Come visit our prehistoric landscape, soar the heavens and swim the seas, hang out with us, and get in touch with your inner dinosaur – or dragon – or giant prehistoric snake 😊 Prehistorica welcomes explorers of every era. Just remember to be polite – some of our denizens get a little toothy when they haven’t had their morning snacks!
Watch a video submitted by Wanders Nowhere for this Spotlight feature, video production by Caelyn Moss:
Thank you, Wanders, for adding the magic of imagination to unforgettable Second Life experiences.
Each of our Spotlight posts features a different Resident to showcase the spectrum of experiences and personalities found in our virtual world. If you have created something inworld that you’re proud of, or have had a deeply meaningful experience that could brighten someone else’s day, please sign up! More info here: https://second.life/spotlight-signup