Thursday, June 11th saw the latest get together between Linden Lab staff and residents. Perhaps learning from the lessons of the last event, this one was focused on a 2-region venue in order to help spread the load. Given that when I checked at one point, there were over 110 people in attendance with more arriving, then just as well.
Coming ahead of the 12 anniversary celebrations scheduled for June, the event was marked for Premium members only. On offer for those attending was a chance to pick-up the 12th anniversary avatar ahead of it being made more generally available (and for those who missed the event itself, the kiosk offering the avatar will be available at the meet-up island until midnight SLT on Friday, June 12th).
The idea of providing a celebratory avatar for SL’s anniversary is not new; in the past we’ve had the likes of bears and robots. This year the rumour mill was that a dinosaur would be on offer. And by “rumour mill”, I mean the original e-mail and blog post put out by the Lab which accidentally gave the game away. Oops 🙂 .
The choice of velociraptor is interesting. On the one hand, dino avatars have been popular in SL for a while now – I’ve visited a number of regions over the past few months only to find various dinos also taking in the view. On the other hand, the choice of velociraptor and the release of Jurassic World in cinemas around the world did have the words “oh, bandwagon!” echoing faintly.
The island for the get-together itself provided plenty of space, with a couple of bars, a dance floor and a crocodile wrestling ring, with a bridge crossing the water to a beach on one side, and a boat offering crossings to the jungle over the water on the other. As it was, most people gathered at the main bar and showed little willingness to risk moving around too far, although as things got ever more crowded, some opted to chillax on the beach.
Michael Linden was the first to arrive, in full mole guise, and served briefly as boat pilot and then as bartender. The Watermelon punch ensured Torley’s participation, and Xiola, Guy, Patch, Vitae, Alexa and Shaman were all noticeably on-hand, while Dee’s diminutive presence (she always has the most wonderful petite avatars) perhaps went unnoticed by many in the crowd.
Conversation was, as usual loud and hard to follow in open chat. An unintentional error at the bridge meant a few people needed rescuing after finding themselves stuck under rocks – I sent Xiola a teleport offer at one point after Kerena nudged me, but she managed to extricate herself without needing the help.
There was a good ebb and flow of visitors and a far few velociraptors within the crowd, with Vitae leading a small group to go sun themselves on the beach. Ziki and I opted for swimwear, but while there were a few bare-chested males on the islands, most people opted for lightweight summer wear. I managed to catch-up with a number of friends, mostly through IMs, although at one point I forgot to turn shout off. My apologies for anyone sitting / standing near me at the bar I may have deafened with my bellowing; which I think may have actually sent Michael scampering for cover, as he was absent the bar shortly afterwards.
It was particularly good to catch-up with Karsten Rutledge, although I failed miserably in capturing him on camera. Chantal Harvey and I made the most of the bar barrel seats… and he availability of the bar itself while chatting, but I think the crowd may have prevented Torley from actually getting to the watermelon punch as it sat between the Chantal and I.
Looking across to the beach, I had hoped to see the velociraptors there perhaps engaged in sunbathing on the hammocks or playing a game of beach volleyball. But sadly no; they seemed content to stand or lie on the sand chatting.
As I mentioned last time around, it’s easy to dismiss events like this on the basis of the numbers or question their value. However, to do so is to really miss the point.
Not everything that goes on in SL need serve a specific purpose beyond bringing people together and allowing them to share time in one another’s company. That they may be doing so in a crowd of 100+ doesn’t matter; the act of being there and just enjoying the moment brings its own satisfaction. It also lets Lab staff to mingle and relax among residents without worrying about being bonked with this or that question or one problem or another, allowing them to get to know people and make friends / acquaintances.
As noted earlier, the use of the two regions did help considerably in terms of people coping with issues such as rendering, “lag”, and so on. People were encouraged to spread between the two as some of the Lindens moved between them, encouraging the crowd to spread naturally and thin itself. Hopefully this approach will continue at future meet-ups.
The demands of the physical world (in particular those of the kitchen) meant I had to depart the party before things started winding down, but was very clear that folk were having a good time, and many were seeing the event as a early kick-off for the upcoming anniversary celebrations.
It’ll be interesting to see how many raptors are roaming the roads of SL12BCC in a little over a week’s time. Or, indeed, if we get any performing on stage during the SL12B music festival…