A farewell to Caladan and touring Vita Nova in Second Life

Caladan, Forever Dreams; Inara Pey, March 2015, on Flickr Caladan (Flickr) – set to close on September 30th

I learned via Loverdag that Antinéa Torok has announced the forthcoming closure of her beautiful gardens at Caladan, which is set to occur on Wednesday, September 30th.

The Indian themed gardens, which offer visitors a place of peace and relaxation, have been designed by Antinéa to demonstrate her skills in region and parcel design under her AT D&CO brand – and they really are a beautiful place to visit, as I noted in March 2015.

If you have not previously visited the gardens, I strongly urge you to do some before September 30th, and savour the sights and sounds there. Antinéa has created something very special which has been enjoyed by so many, that the gardens will doubtless be missed once gone.

Caladan, Forever Dreams; Inara Pey, March 2015, on Flickr Caladan (Flickr)

However, the closure of Caladan does not signify the end of Antinéa’s designs in Second Life. As she notes in the closure announcement, her region of Vita Nova will remain in Second Life, and open to visitors.

In contrast to Caladan, Vita Nova has a decidedly Mediterranean look and feel; presenting a place that might sit right at home nestled somewhere along the coast of Tuscany. A hazy sky casts a soft light over a (mostly) low-lying, rural landscape which slopes down to a quiet beach and water front on the east side of the island, where sits the landing point atop a wood deck.

Vita Nova; Inara Pey, September 2015, on Flickr Vita Nova (Flickr)

This leads the visitor to a small marketplace courtyard, where visitors can peruse the little stalls or sit and enjoy a drink at one of several tables scattered across the courtyard, and served from the little red café. A wooden dance stage sits to one side of the walled market, overlooking an open field.

Two dirt tracks also lead away from the courtyard, one to the beach which borders it to the south. The second track offers a path up past vines rich with grapes ripening in the sun, and up to the local villa. Here visitors can again relax, or wander across the cliff tops to an old ruin, or take the wooden steps down to  another beach on the west side of the island.

Vita Nova; Inara Pey, September 2015, on Flickr Vita Nova (Flickr)

This is another considered design; not too heavy on landscaping, but offering an environment one can enjoy alone, or in the company of others. The approach to the coastal landscaping is such that it is possible to feel one is walking along a coastal region, rather than simply around an island, adding to the feeling of being somewhere on the Italian coast. The music stream provides a pleasing jazz backing (if somewhat interrupted by ads), and the sound scape Antinéa has created suits the environment perfectly. So, even if you do forego the audio stream, do make sure you have local sounds on.

For those wishing to take photos, there are many opportunities, and if you join the AT D&CO group, you can rez props – but do please remember to clear-up when done!

Vita Nova; Inara Pey, September 2015, on Flickr Vita Nova (Flickr)

Once again, if you’ve not visited Caladan before, do make sure to make time before September 30th, and don’t forget Vita Nova will also be ready to welcome you.

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8 thoughts on “A farewell to Caladan and touring Vita Nova in Second Life

    1. I wouldn’t say crashing and burning. There have been some high-profile departures of later, and the trend is still drifting down in terms of total region count – but Caladan isn’t the loss of an entire region, but rather a region parcel; Antinéa’s region at Vita Nova remains. And there have been some positive moves as well; I recently reported on the renewal of the Abyss Observatory, which is now occupying five locations across Second Life, even if the ride has been bumpy. Also, Mysts of Eyr has replaced Mystara, allowing that community to continue and perhaps grow, rather than poofing; and of course, there has been the continuance of the SS Galaxy after that looked like it would vanish from SL back in May.

      So in some respects, while there is an undeniable downward slide, it can sometimes seem a lot more catastrophic than perhaps is the case, simply because it is easier to highlight well-known regions going off-line (for whatever reason, be it the dreaded tier or reasons quite outside of SL), than to highlight those regions and activities which are much newer and in the process of establishing themselves, and which may be countering at least some of the losses.

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  1. I see in world stores pulling out, I see clubs closing left and right because they get no visitors.
    This week grid – 20 private regions
    Previous week grid – 50 private regions

    Just about every week there is some big old region build that needs to be saved, 50 messages to @ebbealtberg on twitter to save this or that build are normal now.

    Forum posts on SLuniverse and the official Linden Lab forums such as:

    Do you still spend money in Second Life?

    Where are all the people I cannot find people in Second Life

    Is Second Life dying?

    The only ones still involved are the porn people and the Brazillian and Spanish communities because they do not have a clue yet. The porn people just keep going because of their urges and kinks that need to be satisfied.

    This is a really bad situation, we are almost october time for Halloween, it is like it is in the middle of june or worse.

    While you may have Sansar coming that is not the only reason, people get fed up with the dressing game. There are more interesting things to do or better ways to decorate and be social and that is what is also causing the decline.

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    1. As noted in my comment, the decline is there, certainly. But it has also slowed considerable since hitting a peak in 2012, when the weekly losses could be measured in the hundreds. It’s not overly comforting given the overall trend is downward, but it is interesting to not that the rate has slowed as many people have perhaps started to find themselves with more disposable income in their pockets than 2-3 years ago when the global economic situation was hitting hard. Just who is still making money is hard to tell, as is who is doing what.

      Most of the questions about spending money and whether SL is dying have been asked almost throughout SL’s long history. The reality is, SL is what we make of it ourselves. My perspective, after almost 9 years of uninterrupted platform use is that it is still an interesting and fun place to be – but then, my interests have shifted over time, as have my activities in-world, and these have served to keep things fresh for me.

      For the last 18 months, for example, I’ve been living close to Blake Sea, where I’ve witnessed slow but steady expansion of land – Hollywood Estates, for example, extended their holdings north of Blake Sea with the Columbia River regions and the regions to the north of it. There is now also slow expansion to the south of Blake Sea. Seychelles has also grown in size. Both offer vibrant communities rich with sailing, boating, flying, etc., and where there are always people to be met and things to do.

      Therefore, my perspective on things is that while the decline is still there, the fact that it has slowed so much, and the fact that people are still engaged and active in the platform, suggests that perhaps we can get back to the equilibrium that existed prior to the OpenSpace / Homestead explosion without things necessarily reaching a dim and destructive point of singularity. Something I wasn’t so convinced about back in 2012.

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  2. Another point, the tier is not the issue. People can now go to High Fidelity and build and host their own virtual world for a lousy 20 Dollars per year and walk around in it with their avatar and have their friends in there. In terms of tier price you have now murdering competition with better tech that is FREE, still people are not rushing over there either.

    The major issue is how a niche is being forced to become mass market while it is only a small niche. Traffic spreads while it was concentraded before so Second Life might go to 10000 or 8000 regions in the next years or less.

    First they were all on myspace and then they were all on facebook, just like that.

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    1. You’re absolutely right on the niche issue; VWs always have been niche (and there is actually nothing wrong with that whatsoever, so long as the niche offers space enough to survive – as has been the case with SL). It’s one of the reasons I wonder if the Lab really can achieve their goal of “hundreds” of millions engaged in Sansar, the coming of low(ish) cost virtual reality notwithstanding.

      Even with VR, there is a conceptual issue still to be addressed: why would the average person want to engage in a virtual world? This has been the question that has dogged SL and OpenSim throughout – and it isn’t going to go away just because of the arrival of HMDs. It’s also in some ways questionable whether VR will fuel the popularity of VW simply because, as the content and offerings for VR grow, there are likely to be many compelling opportunities for people to immerse themselves for entertainment, relaxation, etc., without actually needing to enter a virtual world.

      That said, there are some vertical markets pout there where VR and virtual spaces could have an enormous impact, and it is those verticals which potentially do offer something like Sansar a relatively large audience, and they appear to be the spaces the Lab is aiming for. As such, Sansar might become a platform occupying many niches, and ends up doing well out of it.

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