End of time for Alpha and Omega?

Two of my favourite builds in Second Life were Alpha Point and Omega Point. Developed by Masoon Ringo and Sweetlemon Jewell, these two regions were fabulous and intricate places to visit, offering stunning sci-fi and fantasy oriented builds both on the ground and in the sky overhead.

Nor were they static; Masoon and Sweetlemon periodically re-worked both Alpha Point and Omega Point in order to keep them fresh, interesting and well worth repeated visits.

Alpha Point and Omega Point, circa 2011
Alpha Point and Omega Point, circa 2011

Now it seems both have gone from Second Life.

I was first alerted to their disappearance earlier in the week by Ayesha Askham-Ezvalt, who pinged me in-world to see if I knew what had happened. On checking the map, I discovered that both Alpha and Omega Points were coming up as “Not Found”. Remembering what had happened to the International Space Museum a couple of years ago, when both regions slipped off the map as a result of a payment mix-up on the part of the region holders, I dropped Sweetlemon a line to find out what had happened – but I’ve yet to receive a reply.

Today, I received an offline IM from another in-world friend, who had apparently heard the news that not only have the regions gone, but Masoon Ringo has departed SL. If this is true, then it may well mean that both Alpha Point and Omega Point have gone for good, which is a great shame because the regions were so well known to, and enjoyed by, a lot of people in Second Life.

Alpha Point and Omega Point circa 2012
Alpha Point and Omega Point circa 2012

Assuming both regions have now permanently passed into the annals of SL history, here’s a slide show of my last visit to them in 2012. It’s a little lengthy, I know, but as I said, both regions packed-in a lot to see.

(Click here to see the slideshow full-screen)

Related Links

A walk through a Forgotten City

The other day I was pondering on my wanderings, and how effective / readable they are (or indeed, how “samey” they might be to one to another);  thank you, by the way,  to everyone who responded to positively to my questions. All the replies were most welcome.

At the time, I mentioned I might try mixing things up a little and adding things like urban developments in SL to my list of places to visit. Well, as it happens, I have a list of role-play regions and estates (some of which I started to visit last year, but still haven’t actually got around to writing-up), and places people have suggested to me from time-to-time, or which I’ve stumbled upon when poking at the Destination Guide. One of the latter is the Forgotten City. As “city” and “urban” go together (as a rule), I decided to pop over and take a look.

Forgotten City
Forgotten City

Forgotten City is the brainchild of Jenne Dibou and Mandy Marseille, and it is immediately intriguing. The main build is a blend of several styles (possibly best described as Steampunk, Wasteland and Art Nouveau) which present a wonderful, multi-level city with a degree of industrial development and with little pockets of rural scenes tucked into it here and there. The arrival point will present you with a notecard which offer a number of places to visit via direct teleport, but I really recommend that you ignore it to start with and take time to explore on foot.

This is a place where the residents were once served by miraculous automatons, which took care of the city and saw to the needs of the people. But now it seems the people have gone, leaving the city behind, still watched-over by the faithful automatons. some of which can be interacted with when encountered.

Forgotten City
Forgotten City

The attention to detail is wonderful. I’ve often said when reviewing various places in SL that you need to keep a sharp eye out to see everything, and with Forgotten City this is certainly true. Whether you are simply out exploring or looking for something to do, Forgotten City has a lot going for it.

From the upper levels, with the museum and dance hall, you can travel down to the ground level and explore the streets of the Citadel of the Forgotten, the Marketplace and past the Abandoned Villas to the lighthouse and windmill. If walking isn’t to your liking, you can catch an airship tour of the city, but walking is good for you, and the exercise is, as I’ve mentioned, worth it.

Forgotten City
Forgotten City

The original inhabitants of the city may well have long-since departed, but part of the intrigue of this build is discovering what they have left behind.  Who were the city’s royalty? What purpose did the Time Wolves serve? A simple member’s club, or something more?

One point I should make about exploring is that while much of the city is open to people to discover, please do keep in mind that some of the houses and apartments are private residences. Most of these are clearly denoted as such, and visitors are requested to observe the privacy of those occupying them.

For those who are seeking things to do, then the city is certainly worth a visit. There’s the airship tour, offering a view of the city from overhead, our you can grab a row-boat and explore the canals on your own. For the adventurous there is a steamboat which periodically stops at the row-boat station and which will take you “out” of the city to the post office and back…

Forgotten City
Forgotten City

Those seeking more active pursuits in the city can try the teleport destinations in the notecard. Theres a simple oval race track and vintage racing cars, the toy factory, and a winter park, complete with a ski jump for the really athletic. You can even take part in a couple of shoot-’em-ups or play (SL-legal) poker – and don’t forget the 8:00 SLT daily circus!

Those looking for an unusual venue for photographs would also do well to pay the city a visit; not only does the region windlight suit the place, it is ideal for tweaking and playing with other viewer-side windlight options.

All-in-all, it’s a great build to explore, and I’m actually keen to see whether Jenne and Mandy enhance it now that materials has all-but-arrived; the use of normal maps in particular could very well make this even more of a stand-out region.

Again, well recommended when you have the time! In fact, so good is this build that it has been one of the locations in which the Lab has been testing Oculus Rift!

Related Links

Sherwood tales, balloons and a lighthouse

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in Voice, brought to Second Life by the staff of the Seanchai Library SL. As always, all times SLT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday 2nd June, 13:30: Tea Time in Sherwood Forest

Robin-hoodJune arrives in the evergreen woods of Sherwood Forest, and with it comes a month of tales from Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, brought to us by Caledonia Skytower and Corwyn Allen, complete with original songs by Corwyn!

An American illustrator and writer, Pyle published The Merry Adeventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire (to give the book its original full title) in 1883. With it, he helped solidify the heroic / romantic image of Robin Hood witnessed in works such as Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (1819). The stories Pyle built for the book were drawn from various ballads, which he drew together to form a cohesive tale, rewriting the songs to suit a younger audience and further establishing the role of Robin Hood as a heroic outlaw who robs the rich to feed the poor – a role in sharp contrast to the way in which the ballads actually portrayed him (which was principally as a through-and-through villain). So popular was Pyle’s work that it led to several more children’s books about Robin Hood over the next three decades, firmly establishing the legend as a respectable subject for children’s literature.

This week, Caledonia and Corwyn bring us How Robin Hood Became an Outlaw and Robin Hood and the Tinker.

Monday 3rd June, 19:00 – The Twenty-one Balloons (Part 1)

21-balloonsCaledonia Skytower starts a reading from William Pène du Bois’ 1947 children’s classic, The Twenty-one Balloons.

A steamship en route across the North Atlantic comes across the strange wreckage of twenty deflated gas balloons and rescue, much to their surprise, a lone man – one Professor William Waterman Sherman.

The professor had last been seen some three weeks previously, departing San Francisco aboard a giant balloon, determined to spend a year aloft and drifting on his own. Now, as word spreads that the professor has been found alive and well – and in completely the wrong ocean to the one he had last been seen flying towards – the world awaits the story of how he came to circumnavigate the globe in record time, only to be fished from the wreckage of twenty balloons when he had started with just the one.

And when he has sufficiently rested and recovered – and received a hero’s welcome on his homecoming – the good professor tells a tale most fantastic…

Tuesday 4th June, 19:00: Original Science-fiction

Join Jackson Arthur as he presents original works of science-fiction.

Wednesday 5th June, 19:00: Selections from Ermengarde the Expansive

ermengardeFreda Frostbite reads selection from her new book Ermingarde the Expansive – a fairy tale for the rest of us.

“A fire-breathing dragon has entered your realm? No problem! A star falls from the sky? Catch it! Don’t like the prince you are obligated to marry? Dump him! Your daddy’s the king and he thinks you aren’t worth his attention much less capable of ruling the realm? Prove him wrong!

“Ermengarde the Expansive had a lot to overcome in spite if being born royal. Through strength and perseverance, she grew in power, stature, and, most importantly, self-esteem. Ermengarde is the princess our daughters could and should aspire to emulate.”

Thursday 6th June, 19:00: Poe’s Lighthouse

poe-lighthouse“The Light-House” is the unofficial title of Edgar Allen Poe’s last work, written some time between May and August 1849, shortly before his death in October of that year. Tale set within the confines of an isolated lighthouse and told, as were many of Poe’s tales, in the first-person.

The story opens on New Year’s Day in 1746. A storm is underway and the new custodian of the lighthouse writes a diary entry describing his arrival at this lonely outpost. In it, he entry expresses a mixture of annoyance, anticipation and a measure of paranoia / concern as to the safety of the buiulding itself, which grows somewhat in the two entries which follow. And while there is a heading for the 4th entry, no account of the day is actually given; the page is blank.

Much has been written and discussed about “The Light-House” over the years. Was it the start of a novel to which Poe never returned prior to his death? Was it actually a short story, the last entry intentionally blank to signify the narrator’s death, thus leaving the tale already complete when Poe died?

However, Christopher Conlon wasn’t interested in dry discourse about what “The Light-House” might or might not be when he established his challenge of Poe’s Lighthouse. Instead, he set some two dozen authors, including Mike Resnick, John Shirley, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Carole Nelson Douglas, the task of continuing Poe’s work and turn it into a complete story. His only stipulation: that they use Poe’s language, his images, his ideas; that they truly work together with the master.

Join Shandon Loring as he delves into this anthology of tales, all commencing with the same subject, but each one unique to itself.

Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and additions to the week’s schedule.

In May, library guests are invited to support Seanchai Library’s featured real world charity Heifer International. Have questions? IM or notecard Caledonia Skytower.

Related Links