Rediscovering a gem in Second Life

Taka no Sakura
Taka no Sakura

One of the difficult aspects of being a chronicler of Second Life is that it is constantly evolving. Not just technically, but also in terms of the ebb and flow of life. Regions arrive, are built, grow, change, are rebuilt, exchanged, and sometimes lost. This means that in documenting one’s own travels, it is sometimes necessary to retrace footsteps just to see what has occurred since a last visit, particularly if that visit was six or more months ago. Many are just as they were, some, sadly, have vanished, quite possibly into memory as they are no more. When the latter occurs, it’s generally noted with sadness and regret. Fortunately, however, not all builds which vanish from their former locations have necessarily gone forever; some have simply relocated.

Such is the case with Taka no Sakura, a wonderful gem of a build I came across in July of 2013. While engaged in one of my periodic walks back across Second Life to see what had changed, I discovered this Edo period Japanese build had indeed vanished from its former home, but rather than having been closed, it had been moved to Midnight Dream and has been completely rebuilt. So it was with a sense of anticipation that I set out to rediscover it.

Taka no Sakura
Taka no Sakura

One of the many points which attracted me to the original build was the way in which it had been composed with a number of focal-points, each with its own attractiveness. all of which drew one in, and which encouraged the artist in me to try to produce images just a little different from those for other destinations. While the “new” Taka no Sakura is of a very different design, it has lost none of that attractiveness; nor has it lost any of the other aspects which drew me so powerfully to the original.

The theme is still that of Edo period Japan, and there are still the little quirks in the build which immediately brought a smile to my lips simply because of their charm – such as the little vendor carts scattered around the region, all fitted with bicycle wheels and rubber tyres, and some hiding propane gas cylinders!

Taka no Sakura
Taka no Sakura

This is a rocky, mountainous landscape, cut through with deep channels of water which surround the island and one of which almost cuts the region in two, forming somthing of a narrow harbour where sits a quayside and commerce area. This is where you arrive on teleporting to the region via search. Paths lead away from this area wind through the region, stone lamps lighting the way as the sun sets, talking you on a journey of exploration, up hill, over dale, and through bamboo forests.

Follow these, and you’ll be taken across bridges to high wall gardens and down to a village sitting nestled between high cliffs. Steps and paths will also show you the way to high temples and an impressive clan house and shoreline hideaways.

Along the way there is much to discover and enjoy; there is an artful attention to detail here and also flashes of a whimsical sense of humour – or quite possibly opportunities for quite serious swordplay which leaves the vanquished quite possibly hanging on for dear life! 🙂

Taka no Sakura
Taka no Sakura

Windlight plays an important role here; the selected preset – Bristol – complements the setting perfectly. so much so that it’s hard to find reason why one would want to fiddle around for alternatives. such is the care with which sky and sim surround have been brought together to create an impressive sense of depth to the region. Not that the region doesn’t lend itself to experimenting, of course; just that it’s worthwhile looking through the camera’s viewfinder using the default and simply tweaking the time of day.

Last time around, my old PC was suffering mightily with graphic issues, leaving me reliant on basic screen captures for images (which also formed a reason for trying to put together images of the region that were just that little bit different). Although I’m not a great believer in trying to get lightning to strike twice (you only tend to end up getting burnt, after all), I couldn’t resist playing with the images I took this time around to try to emulate the look and feel I managed to develop back in July. I hope you’ll forgive me that indulgence!

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