SL9B: Let the festivities begin!

We all know the story by now: Linden Lab announce the theme for Second Life’s ninth birthday and at the same time withdraw from participation; given the 11th hour nature of the announcement, it seemed that even with the potential for celebrations spread across the grid, much of the impetus and feeling of celebration would be lost without some focal-point to the festivities.

Taking the “A” Train: Grace McDunnough and I ride into the SL9B regions on Donpatchy Dagostino’s magnificent SL9B Express

Fortunately, some people were unwilling to let matters go so easily. A core group of dedicated individuals stepped into the void left by Linden Lab, and for the last month they’ve been working night and day  to try to ensure that there is a nexus for celebrations of SL’s ninth anniversary and a place for people from across the world to come together to mark the event.

Their determination saw an outpouring of support from across the grid: Dream Seeker Estates donated no fewer than 10 regions to the event, an anonymous donor came forward with an offer of six more, then Fruit Islands and Kitty CatS provided a further 2 sims apiece; Lilith Heart of  Heart Garden Centre fame gave the organisers access to her entire range of trees and flora to help with the landscaping requirements of the regions, and nEoStreams came forward to supply all of the necessary music streams for the event.

And of course, an army of willing volunteers came forward determined to ensure the event is every bit the success people would like to see.

The 20 regions of SL9B (credit: Harlequin Rhodes)

The results of all this are stunning:

  • 20 regions of celebratory exhibits, entertainment space, and special areas such as the hub and time capsule display area
  • FIVE stages for live entertainment (one more has been added to meet the demand!)
  • Some 350 exhibits and stands spanning the breadth and depth of community in Second Life
  • For the first time ever at an SLB – underwater exhibits and entertainment stages both over and under water!
  • A hub where people can learn about – and visit – other SL9B celebrations taking place across the grid, such as the SL9B Story.
An aerial view of the dramatic, all-mesh Lake Stage

Efforts have been made to minimise the rules and regulations around building, and those that have been set do make sense and – I believe – will help make people’s experience when touring the regions perhaps a little more pleasant.

The Main Stage

As someone who has been fortunate enough to be peripherally involved in organising the event from a PR standpoint. During the last couple of weeks I’ve been popping in and out and gathering shots for my Flickr stream (and uploading what I think are perhaps the “better” ones to the official SL9B stream). While wandering, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the enthusiasm with which people from across Second Life – and around the world – have responded to this, the first Second Life anniversary celebration that is genuinely by the residents, for the residents. I’ve also been privileged to witness the volume of work volunteers have poured into the core SLB in-world groups to communicate with, inform, and help fellow residents be a part of this event and to ensure they are not left without assistance or information.

And now, everything is set. On June 18th at 11:00 SLT, the doors will open and the festivities will begin!

The Community Hub – your point of arrival

The place to commence your explorations of the regions is The Community Hub. From here you can pick-up your SL9B teleport HUD prior to commencing your explorations – which you can do on foot, by flying or by availing yourself of SLB Pod Tour.

The teleport HUD, created by Bo Tiger (Bourne Denimore) provides direct access to the main exhibitor regions as well as to all of the main entertainment stages, the event auditorium area and back to both The Hub and the pod tour.

Using it is simple enough – WEAR it (default position in top left of your screen, although it obviously works fine at any attach point) and adjust it to best suit your needs (if required). The buttons then work in one of two ways:

  • Either it will open the Map in your Viewer, allowing you to see your destination and use the Map’s teleport button to reach it
  • Or it will display a dialogue box offering a number of destination points within the named region. Clicking on one of the dialogue buttons will then open the Map, allowing you to teleport.

There are instructions included with the HUD, including a suggestion that in order to ease the collective lag (there is going to be a lot going on collectively across the regions), people only wear the HUD when actually using it, and otherwise remove it when touring regions / exhibits. You can also minimise the HUD by clicking the “***” button – just be aware that if you have manually moved the HUD to another position on your screen, it will default back to the HUD attach point used to initially display it on your screen.

The Pod Tour cars follow a route through the sims that enable you to sit back and enjoy the ride – you can hop on or off any passing pod that is empty, as well as picking one up from the terminus at The Hub. Every effort has been made to get exhibitors to submit information on their builds for inclusion in the pods, which will be relayed to you in chat as you pass the various parcels.

Also at The Hub are details of other SLB events taking place across the grid during the week. To see these, hop on the carousel; as you are carried around, posters of other events will pop-up in front of you – click on the radial black bars under the poster to receive a landmark to the event in question.

The Hub carousel – details of other SL9B events across the grid

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