SL10BBCC: My picks of the day – Tuesday 18th

SL10BCC is well underway, with lots to see and do. Given the size of the event, trying to review everything on offer simply isn’t feasible, and some hardware issues at my end mean that I’m not in a position to do the kind of “region round-ups” I did last year.

So instead, I’m going to offer some personal picks from what’s on display by way of suggestions as possible stop-off points in your explorations.

Main Installations – A’stra Stage

Also referred to as the main stage or live stage, A’stra is the astonishing and brilliant set-piece by Grendel’s Toady Nakamura and Flea Bussy. And while it may seem like I’ve flogged it to death in these pages already (or that I’m possibly on Grendel’s payroll!), the fact of the matter is that A’stra is thoroughly deserving of attention – and careful exploration!

A'stra (live) stage detail
A’stra (live) stage detail

There really is a lot to see here. Some of it touches on whimsy, some of it is intended to raise a smile, some of it touches on th history of Second Life – and all of it comes together in the most marvellous way as one of the most outstanding builds I’ve seen in SL. A’stra is not just a place where you can enjoy music through the week – it’s a place to be savoured.

Just be warned – once you do start exploring, around, over and inside A’stra, you’re liable to keeping coming back to to see what else you can find! I confess, I’ve yet to discover the UFO …

"The artist"
“The artist” and thr A’stra (live) stage

Gwark Allen – Space and Time Telescope

I’m not a fan of huge towers at events and exhibitions in-world. Having too-high a build height tends to encourage what seems to be a “war of the towers” – who can go the highest in order to dominate the skyline, which tends to leave me going “ugh!” rather a lot and wishing organisers would say, “Sorry, nothing over 25 metres”.

However, every so often in wandering something like SL10BCC, you come across something which proves to be the exception and which clearly demonstrates that building up can be done with style, grace and meaning – and which offers a fascinating take on the theme of “Looking Back”. Gwark Allen’s Space and Time Telescope does both absolutely perfectly.

The Space and Time Telescope at SL10BCC
The Space and Time Telescope at SL10BCC

Resembling Seattle’s Space Needle (to my eyes at least), the Space Time Telescope soars majestically overhead, an elegant tower topped by a golden telescope. The elevator is admittedly a bit of a bumpy ride (hardly surprising, given all that is going on), and will take you to an observation platform where you can look out over the vast expanse of SL10BCC (or at least as far as your graphics card will let you before it starts whimpering…), and sit and chat with friends away from the hue and cry below. Or you can ride to the great telescope itself, sit in the comfy chair (yes! the Comfy Chair!), go to Mouselook and look back through time and space to previous SL birthdays.

Space and Time Telescope

I really like this build as the imagery involved is very clever as well as very eye-catching. As astronomers know only too well, the best way to get a really clear view of the cosmos is to get as far above as much of the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere as possible – hence the graceful tower. Then, as astronomers also know, to look through a telescope is also to look back in time – the light of the starts they see commenced its journey millions of years ago; so a telescope is a very apt device with which to look back on past SL birthdays…

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More middle-eastern promise

I dropped-in at Sands of Time at the weekend, a marvellous region which offers a heaven of peace and tranquility – as well as a host of beautiful vistas – for the footsore and weary seeking shelter from the rush and excitement of SL10BCC.

Jordan First
Jordan First

Well, I’m staying with things of an middle-eastern flavour, because in playing catch-up with my explorations, I’ve opted to cover Jordan First, the home of Kingdom of Jordan, another stunning and very photogenic build; this one with a foot planted firmly in history (and one Ziki Questi visited about the same time I did, but beat me to the post, so I opted to hang back a while before Pressing an article of my own). A homestead region owned by Farah Loordes is described as a “hangout” area – which grossly undersells it.

The default arrival point kind-of gives away the secret of the build from the moment you arrive, so I’ve opted to give a SLurl that will bring you to a little wooden pier over the sea next to a sand-kissed beach. A long stone stairway leads up the cliffs to the top of the island which, if you’ve visited Hazardous, will immediately appear very familiar – not that Jordan First is in any way a copy of the latter.

Jordan First
Jordan First

Climb the steps, and you’ll find places to sit, chat and pass the time in a landscape which is again reflective of Hazardous (and which includes elements by Wendy Xeno and Mandingo Quan). On the far side of the island is another set of stone steps leading down to a further beach and more places to sit, relax and share. There is even a mix of table-top games to sometimes be found as well.

It’s another of those beautifully minimalist landscapes that speaks volumes, especially when there are just two or three of you there, and it is  – as ever – a place I think is utterly suited to the eye of the camera, and which really invites time and effort spent playing with the viewer’s windlight settings & fiddling around with things in post-process.

Jordan First
Jordan First

But that’s not all. Follow the beach (from either set of steps) and you will eventually come to a deep gorge cutting into the island, with stepping-stones leading you into it over the water. Follow them and you’ll find a reproduction of Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”), rightly regarded as one of the most elaborate temples in the ancient Jordanian city of Petra, and famed throughout the world thanks to numerous films and documentaries.

Catching a glimpse of The Treasury through the narrow ravine is a genuine “Oooo!” moment, and doubtless one which has / is / will be the subject of many SL snapshots…

Jordan First
Jordan First

The inclusion of Al Khazneh in the build wonderfully straddles the RL / SL divide; bring a genuine piece of historical culture into Second Life and presenting it in a manner which is visually appealing in an environment which is a pleasure to visit and enjoy.


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