Visiting The Village in Second Life

The Village & BarDeco; Inara Pey, February 2016, on Flickr The Village & BarDeco

Pearl Grey drew me towards The Village & BarDeco after she blogged about it in January.  A quarter region in size, it is described as, “a small village on the water where you can stroll beside the sea in a Zen atmosphere and relaxed – a drink and listen to the music of the best DJs in SL at BarDeco.”

The club sits at the far end of the The Village relative to the SLurl I’ve given above; those available through Search may well drop visitors a lot closer, but I’ve opted for this approach so that you can wander the length of The Village and take in the full atmosphere, which right now is one of a mist-shrouded evening or morning, mindful of late autumn / early winter.

The Village & BarDeco; Inara Pey, February 2016, on Flickr The Village & BarDeco

The road leading into The Village is a foretaste of things to come. Unpaved, it is rutted and perhaps not in the bast of condition. It also splits at the SLurl I’ve given above, to provide two parallel routes into the hamlet, which run wither side of a large rocky outcrop.

Follow one arm of the road and you’ll travel past an old farm, while taking the other will take you alongside an old railway spur line which presumably once served The Village. Those days are now long gone; the tracks are overgrown, and nature is slowly laying claim to the carcases of two old boxcars which appear to have been derailed in some past accident. A mist is drifting in from the sea the other side of the old railway tracks, making this second route into The Village somewhat more atmospheric (and, if you’re on a lower-end system, perhaps a little challenging as well).

The Village & BarDeco; Inara Pey, February 2016, on Flickr The Village & BarDeco

Like the roads leading to it, The Village looks to be past its prime; all of the building look tired, paint fading in the salty air, tin roofs rusting, wood panels in need of repair. Even the vehicles here have seen better days, although the single trawler moored and the little docks looks to be in better condition than the nearby road vehicles, suggesting it is cared for and still plying the seas.

BarDeco sits within what might have once been a warehouse, a place as careworn and suffering from the passing of the years as the rest of The Village. Sans roof, canvas awnings strung from the rafters provide a measure of protection for those on the dance floor when inclement weather comes visiting. Nevertheless, going on the numbers there when Caitlyn and I visited, BarDeco clearly offers a worm welcome together with good music.

The Village & BarDeco; Inara Pey, February 2016, on Flickr The Village & BarDeco

Nor is the music restricted to the club; there is a live performance stage facing the church, and one of the largest stores is a record shop. Other artists have settled here as well, as peek through the brightly lit windows of an old factory outbuilding will reveal.

All told, this is an atmospheric place (make sure you have local sounds on to catch the ambient sound scape as well), one which again demonstrates you don’t have to have an entire region just to build something special to share with others. For the SL traveller, it offers an interesting destination to explore, with plenty of photographic opportunities. Add to that BarDeco and the music, and The Village makes for an interesting visit. It even has what could be thought of as an indirect hat-tip to a certain other Village of television history sitting in the town square!

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Playing with a hovercraft in Second Life

The Hovercraft 1.0 on land

The Hovercraft 1.0 by Kaliska (Yetius) on land

Every so often it happens: you’re hunting for something specific on the Marketplace or in-world, when something else grabs your attention. It’s not what you’re looking for and it may even be something you’re not sure you want – but it’s there and it gets your attention just enough for you to think, “why not?”

Such is the case with the all mesh Hovercraft 1.0 by Kaliska (Yetius), which I happened across on the MP whilst looking for mooring buoys. Despite being into my tenth year in Second Life, I’ve not really seen that many hovercraft around, so the idea of a little single-seater (and which is offered free to boot) proved to be a little too distracting.

... and over water ...

… and over water …

Kaliska describes the vehicle thus:

I recently discovered the dinkie avatar (a mesh tiny sized avatar), and just had to do something about the total non-existence of dinkie-friendly vehicles.

So this is primarily a diminutive hovercraft for dinkies.  It’s loosely modelled on pictures of single seat racers and personal/leisure/small utility craft, but based on nothing in particular.

By “dinkie”, I think Kaliska means “petites”; however, and as she notes, this is not a vehicle aimed at a single small market; there is a version included in the package suitable for tinies and one for “normal” sized human avatars (if you’re 7+ feet tall, some adjustment to the sitting pose may be required).

Everything bar the engine script is supplied Mod, offering plenty of opportunities for playing around with the vehicle and texturing / colouring it to suit personal tastes – maps are supplied to assist with both, and can be found in the instructions note card. For the purposes of testing, I simply recoloured parts of mine from white to red. I could well end up playing more extensively with it at some point :) .

The full-size Hovercraft (red) and the "dinkie" / tiny version

The full-size Hovercraft (red) and the “dinkie” / tiny version

At just 12 LI for the human version and 8 LI for the “dinkie” / tiny version, this is a little craft which can easily fit within most land budgets. It is also, I have to say, A lot of fun once the controls are mastered – and these are not exactly taxing. Sitting in the vehicle and typing “start” in chat enables the engine, lifting the vehicle slightly as dust (is on land) our spray (on water) is blown out from under the skirt.

From here, movement is simple: the UP and DOWN arrows are your throttle (faster and slower respectively), LEFT and RIGHT turn you. If you prefer, WASD achieves the same). PAGE DOWN / C acts as quick stop, bringing you immediately to a standing hover. A couple of things to note is steering is only possible when in forward motion, and doesn’t work at all in reverse, which is accessed by coming to a standing hover and then pressing and holding the DOWN key.

In addition to the above, PAGE UP / E will toggle the headlamps on/off – note that these use projected lighting, so ALM needs to be enabled to see them decently. Finally, typing “HUD” in text shows / hides the vehicle’s hovertext info, and typing “stop” shuts down the engine.

The default pose for "normal" sized human avatars is pretty spot-on in terms of handlebar placement

The default pose for “normal” sized human avatars is pretty spot-on in terms of handlebar placement

Overall, the hovercraft handles very well; a quick few taps on the UP key and you’ll be zipping along; both water and terrain are handled well, and mesh terrain doesn’t prove a major challenge. I zapped from home across the waters and to Holly Kai Park in next no time and traversed from mesh beach to water and back to beach with ease at both ends of the ride.

I’d actually be happy paying for this little vehicle, and perhaps see it with group driving were it offered for sale, as it’s the kind of thing that’s fun to rez when friends visit, and then scooting around the sea together. Setting a nominal fee for it would allow it to be gifted, which is something I’d like to do with a few close friends as well, rather than nagging them to go grab it as a freebie.

But these are really minor point.As a freebie, there is absolutely no faulting it – and it really be worth paying for it were it to be offered at a reasonable price. As it is, if you’re looking for a little vehicle to mess around with on land and water, this could certainly be just the ticket. Now, if you’ll just excuse me, I’m off for a little more fun…

Hovercraft 1.0 by Kaliska (Yetius)

Hovercraft 1.0 by Kaliska (Yetius)

Links

The songs of the Super Bowl with Anthony, Feb 10th

Wednesdays mean Music with Anthony at our very own Caitinara Bar, Holly Kai Park: two hours of some of the best music in Second Life, provided by our resident mid-week DJ, Anthony Wesburn.

On Wednesday, February 10th, between the usual times of 16:00-18:00 SLT, Anthony will be playing  a mix of songs to dance to, which this week will feature the songs of Super Bowl Half time performers.

So why not join us for numbers from the likes of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, the Rolling Stones, the Black Eyed Peas, Madonna, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, No Doubt, Diana Ross, James Brown, Sting and Gwen Stefani, and more!

We have a fabulous time at the inaugural event at the start of February, so why not join us for more great music, dancing and conversation?

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Exploring the City in Second Life

The City is a sprawling 4-region build designed by Betty Tureaud at the LEA. It is a place which at first might seem a little baffling to the casual visitor and those familiar with Betty’s work, which is generally hallmarked by the use of bright, usually shifting, colours and interactive elements.

Here, however, one arrives on a vast desert plain, vast and flat, with only a poem by Betty, delivered via note card, and a whispered instruction to follow the footprints for guidance. Do as the latter instructs, and you’ll come (by way of a skeleton, which has a story of its own to tell when touched) to a DC3 belonging to Adventure Airlines. This will, by the magic of teleporting, carry you away from the desert and to the edge of a city, rising like Las Vegas from a flat plain, albeit this one  covered by the first signs of Betty’s familiar vivid colours.

The City - transport

The City – transport

The City sits at the centre of the four regions, surrounded by the multi hued flat plain. To see this at its best, you will at least need to run your viewer with Advanced Lighting Model (ALM – Preferences > Graphics) enabled. This shouldn’t place too much of a performance load on older / less powerful systems, and it is necessary to have on in order to appreciate The City fully, with colours washing over the tall buildings and across the airships flying overhead.

Some of the buildings in The City may have various degrees of familiarity about them. The western edge is dominated by the instantly recognisable form of  La Grande Arche de la Fraternité, located in the La Défense business district of Paris. Amidst the taller buildings one can also find New York’s Empire State Building, Toronto’s CNN Tower, Malmö’s Turning (or Twisting) Tower, Tapei 101, the tallest environmentally green building in the world and London’s Swiss Re building (often referred to as “the Gherkin” due to its distinctive shape), whilst the Guggenheim Museum, Copenhagen’s Opera House and more and be found as one wanders the streets (do beware of the trains!).

The building can all be touched, offering links to their respective Wikipedia pages in return. The CNN Tower also provides an elevator ride to it top. Other interactive elements can also be found as one tours – a football can be kicked around a stadium, seats in the parks can be sat on, and  pink boxes scattered around the edge of The City offer a neat helicar designed by Betty which can be piloted and carry up to two people. As you travel back and forth between the regions straddled by the build, so to does the time of day change, allowing you to see it under different lighting conditions.

The City is very much an interactive installation, touching and clicking and having local sounds fully enabled is very much required when exploring. It offers an interesting way of discovering more about modern architecture and some of the world’s most famous buildings.

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