Exploring the City in Second Life

The City is a sprawling 4-region build designed by Betty Tureaud at the LEA. It is a place which at first might seem a little baffling to the casual visitor and those familiar with Betty’s work, which is generally hallmarked by the use of bright, usually shifting, colours and interactive elements.

Here, however, one arrives on a vast desert plain, vast and flat, with only a poem by Betty, delivered via note card, and a whispered instruction to follow the footprints for guidance. Do as the latter instructs, and you’ll come (by way of a skeleton, which has a story of its own to tell when touched) to a DC3 belonging to Adventure Airlines. This will, by the magic of teleporting, carry you away from the desert and to the edge of a city, rising like Las Vegas from a flat plain, albeit this one  covered by the first signs of Betty’s familiar vivid colours.

The City - transport

The City – transport

The City sits at the centre of the four regions, surrounded by the multi hued flat plain. To see this at its best, you will at least need to run your viewer with Advanced Lighting Model (ALM – Preferences > Graphics) enabled. This shouldn’t place too much of a performance load on older / less powerful systems, and it is necessary to have on in order to appreciate The City fully, with colours washing over the tall buildings and across the airships flying overhead.

Some of the buildings in The City may have various degrees of familiarity about them. The western edge is dominated by the instantly recognisable form of  La Grande Arche de la Fraternité, located in the La Défense business district of Paris. Amidst the taller buildings one can also find New York’s Empire State Building, Toronto’s CNN Tower, Malmö’s Turning (or Twisting) Tower, Tapei 101, the tallest environmentally green building in the world and London’s Swiss Re building (often referred to as “the Gherkin” due to its distinctive shape), whilst the Guggenheim Museum, Copenhagen’s Opera House and more and be found as one wanders the streets (do beware of the trains!).

The building can all be touched, offering links to their respective Wikipedia pages in return. The CNN Tower also provides an elevator ride to it top. Other interactive elements can also be found as one tours – a football can be kicked around a stadium, seats in the parks can be sat on, and  pink boxes scattered around the edge of The City offer a neat helicar designed by Betty which can be piloted and carry up to two people. As you travel back and forth between the regions straddled by the build, so to does the time of day change, allowing you to see it under different lighting conditions.

The City is very much an interactive installation, touching and clicking and having local sounds fully enabled is very much required when exploring. It offers an interesting way of discovering more about modern architecture and some of the world’s most famous buildings.

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One thought on “Exploring the City in Second Life

  1. Pingback: Exploring the City in Second Life | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World | Windlight Magazine

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