Getting prehistoric in Second Life

Prehistorica: Dawn of Time - apatosaurus
Prehistorica: The Dawn Kingdom – apatosaurus

Dinosaurs are a fascinating subject. Kids love them, Hollywood can’t get enough of them and BBC even took us walking with them in what was a truly ground-breaking television series in 1999.  They can also be celebrated in Second Life in a variety of ways, including through what must be one of the longer running dino adventures in-world, Prehistorica: the Dawn Kingdom, Here visitors can drop-in on the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of pre-history, and as I last visited far (ish) back February 2014, I decided a return visit was long overdue.

Covering three regions (although parts of them are not apparently open to public roaming), Prehistorica offers the opportunity for people to explore ancient lands and witness the thunder lizards as they once more roam those environments – and, through the sky-borne store area – become a prehistoric beast of their own choosing, if they so wish.

Prehistorica: The Dawn kingdom - pteranodon (aka: "polly wants a cracker. NOW!")
Prehistorica: The Dawn Kingdom – pteranodon (aka: “Polly wants a cracker. NOW!”)

It is at the store area that visitors’ journeys begin. On arrival, you’ll be given a set of region rules – which should be read carefully. From here, you can wander the store and view the offerings or grab a freebie “time travel” outfit or mesh dinosaur and proceed to the Time Machine.

This is an Experience-driven event (for the teleport portals), and once accepted, you’ll be transferred (with a bit of a sideways kick!) to the main portal hall. This offers six destinations – Jurassic Jungle, Prehistoric Plains, Cretaceous Canyon all being above ground, and Abyss Caves, Fossil Reef and Kelp Gardens under water. I’m not sure if it was just the time when I visited, but I admit to finding the three overground destinations more engaging.

Prehistorica: The Dawn Kingdom - spinosaurus
Prehistorica: The Dawn Kingdom – spinosaurus

It is in these that you can find various denizens of the periods such as the apatosaurus, stegosaurus and triceratops representing the herbivores  and the allosaurus, tyrannosaurus rex, its “cousin” giganotosaurus and the spinosaurus representing the carnivores.  These are all wearable dinosaurs made of mesh (and can be purchased in the sky store), brought to life via interactive bots – they’ll respond to your presence – which where they pose, move … and periodically, poop. For those who don’t fancy walking, there are also dinosaurs which can be ridden / flown – just look for the arrows over them. I did try one, a gallimimus, but found I couldn’t dismount after, and had to log in order to do so.

The models themselves are beautifully detailed, and pretty much “life-sized” when compared to human avatars. Each shows off its own range of skin colours and designs  –  some of which make the dino look like it’s either wearing war paint or has been the focus of a group of street artists (prior to them becoming lunch / a light snack in the case of the carnivores?). Each of them makes for excellent an photography subject, either alone or in human company, and for those looking for somewhere different for their photo shoots,  Prehistorica could be an interesting choice – rezzing of standalone props is permitted (5 minute auto-return).

Prehistorica: The Dawn Kingdom: triceratops
Prehistorica: The Dawn Kingdom – triceratops

Role-play isn’t the primary aim of the regions, although those wishing to RP are free to do so, again within the bounds of the rules set out in the region note card. The landscapes appear suited to the times they are designed to represent, and encountering the dinos can be a fun experience. I’m just a little disappointed that there was no sign of the famous short-sighted theropod, doyouthinkhesaurus!

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