In many respects, 2012 has perhaps been my busiest year in SL. This is partly because of the way this blog has gained readership and popularity over the last couple of years, some of which went / goes far beyond anything I’d imagined. Articles-wise, it’s been something of a record with 620 published since January 1st; which given I hit 1000 on this blog this year, and it has been around in its current form since 2009, tends to say a lot (I’m just not sure what, exactly!).
Another reason is that I’ve been reconnecting with some of the things I used to find a lot of fun in SL, and have been fortunate enough to have been introduced to new pastimes. So in addition to my review of the SL year as seen through the pages of this blog, I hope people won’t mind if I’m a little self-indulgent in looking back at some of the things I’ve particularly enjoyed in SL over the year.
Skydiving was something I used to enjoy a lot in SL, having been a member of several clubs and participated in competitive and team jumps. However, it somehow got left behind at some point; no clear idea why, so it was good to go digging into my inventory and pulling out all the old kit and giving things a go again. I’ve yet to team-up with Ziki and Caliburn; maybe that’ll be something for early 2013…
Only a short step away from skydiving is flying. While I’ve fiddled around with things flight-wise in the past, I’d never seriously given it a go in its own right.
But then, I’d never really bothered to explore Blake Sea and its surroundings, either, until LL presented me with a sailboat and I succumbed to the call of the oceans (of which more anon). I wasn’t sure what to expect, flying-wise, so I initially opted for two freebie offerings from the Marketplace in order to wet my toes a little.
Since then, I’ve gathered a small collection of aircraft (including the brilliant little Warbugs – thank you, Lindall!), but have to admit the Terra Stingray from Steve “Cubey Terra” Cavers is my favourite. It is simply a joy to fly – and the fact that it can operate on and under water makes it as much fun to have as my KR Engineering “Fisher’s Menace” Neuspa. To anyone even remotely considering trying out flying, I cannot recommend the Terra Stingray highly enough.
I’ve had great fun flying all over the Blake Sea and the surrounding continents over the last few months; when wanted to simply get away from things and enjoy doing something in SL, flying offers a wonderful choice, particularly when you have a very capable aircraft around you like the Stingray, which may not be the fastest going, but which can certainly handle region crossings with aplomb.
Exploring Second Life has given me ample opportunity to try to improve / refining my snap taking techniques. I’m nowhere near the league which includes the likes of Honour Mcmillian, but I’ve tried to improve my snaps from the perspective of framing, windlight, etc, – particularly as I prefer not to post-process.
A couple of things which have (I hope!) helped me with my snapping are William Weaver’s brilliant Phototools and, more recently, his exclusive range of windlight presets. The former gathers together all of the various graphics, debug, and picture options available within SL and pulls them together into an intuitive tabbed floater and also provide improved access to the editing and creating windlight presets. Originally developed as a “plug-in” for Firestorm, Phototools has since been fully integrated into that viewer and have popped-up elsewhere.
The Phototools windlight presets are currently an exclusive set of presets supplied by William to the Firestorm viewer which offer a range of lighting settings suitable for both outdoor and studio use.
Exploring regions and estates has also given me an excuse to pull out my ever-favourite Neuspa and start driving around once more – and has also seen me get a car – the Autoworks GT43 S, which I’ve very much enjoyed running about in both on the Mainland and on estates like Second Norway, which features a fabulous road system very suitable for both cars and bikes. I reviewed the GT43 S alongside Tish Coronet’s brilliant Steampunk-inspired Mechanical Lepidoptera, a machine which is itself a lot of fun to fly.
My explorations of Second Norway came as a direct result of the other pastime I picked-up in 2012 – that of sailing.
I’ve had the finger wagged at me for not getting a “better” craft than the freebie Premium gift LL gave out just over a year ago, but frankly, it does exactly what it says on the box, although I admit I do at times feel a pang of guilt as having it means I’m not going out and investing L$ in someone else’s hard work. However, it seats myself and a number of friends and allows us all to enjoy time at sea while chatting and generally watching the world drift by. I’ve yet to try racing under sail – and I do rather suspect that I’d need something a lot better than the Linden-gifted boat were I to try, but for now the attraction is still getting out with a friend or two and just being about to sail around and chat. While flying can offer a similar level of companionship, it’s a little harder to maintain control and converse unless using Voice.
Perhaps the biggest change for my in-world life with Second Life was the gradual reduction in my remaining land holdings through the year which lead to me saying bye-bye to the last of my private estate land in October. This was marked by a gradual reduction in land and in personal space through the course of the year, and reflected the fact that my interest in having an in-world “business” was declining, as was my overall interest in undertaking major building projects for commercial end.
I started the year living in a modest house on a floating rock above my land, built with the aid of the magic of the convex hull and sculpts, transitioning through a little space station as friends left SL and my need for land decreased, before I had one final fling on the ground, creating a garden and house for my oldest friend in SL.
Overall, if 2012 has meant any on thing for me it has been this: despite all the doom and gloom that seems to swirl around SL and while I have both concerns about the future and have at times had a little bit of a pendulum swung of mood and attitude towards the platform and my involvement with it, I’ve in many respects started rediscovering Second Life once more; not bad for some who passed the 6th anniversary of her arrival in SL in this incarnation. Fiddling around in aeroplanes large and small, sailing oceans, going to more art exhibits and special events – all of it has renewed my sense of wonder in SL and allowed me to tap into the diverse richness of talent, enterprise and activities that go on across the grid – not all of which I’ve actually managed to blog about as yet (so you’ll be reading more in 2013!).
This being the case, were I to sum up my 2012, including the ups and downs, it would be in three words.
It’s been fun.
- Want to try-out skydiving, you might:
- Autoworks offer a number of cars for those new to driving to try-out which I can personally recommend
- For sailing – try running an in-world / Marketplace search