Hell’s Crossing and the Walking Dead in Second Life

Hell's Crossing: Terminus - sanctuary, or ...?
Terminus at Hell’s Crossing: sanctuary, or …?

Back in June, friends Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd) and Max Butoh, famed for running [The Chamber]  and the always outstanding  Dathúil Gallery, both in the region of Floris, opened a new ventures; Hell’s Crossing, a free-form role-play environment (which you can read about here). At the time of the opening, it was a medieval role-play location; however, Lucy dropped me an IM to let me know things had been changed, and inviting Caitlyn and I to take a look.

As a role-play environment, Hell’s Crossing is intended to be updated from time-to-time, but in doing so, the core theme of crossing danger will always be present. And for this iteration, Max and Lucy has turned to what has become a modern classic: the comic book series turned hit TV show The Walking Dead, with “Terminus” added to the region’s name, reflecting a major location from the series.

Hell's Crossing: Terminus
Terminus at Hell’s Crossing

I have to confess, I’ve neither read the comic books nor watched the TV series, so beyond apocalypse, zombies and survival, I’m in complete ignorance of things. However, a deep understanding of either the show or the comics isn’t required; which Hell’s Crossing includes various locations from the series – the titular Terminus, the railroad tack with sign promising sanctuary at Terminus, an old church, a barn, etc., the emphasis here is fun, not getting buried in the minutiae of the series.

Visitors arrive at one end of the region, where they’ll receive a note card with some background information. Where you go from there is up to you. There’s the railroad to follow, winding dirt track and also twisting trails through the dense woodland. The various locations scattered across the region may (or may not!) offer safety from the zombies, but if you’re in the open, you’re fair game for eating: and if you “die”, you’ll be teleported home.

Hell's Crossing: Terminus - zombies!
Terminus at Hell’s Crossing: zombies!

If you intend to engage the zombies, you’ll need to be armed with a gun capable of causing damage*. If you want to simply explore, set CTRL-R, keep a sharp eye out for movement among the trees and be ready to scoot away. I’m actually not a big fan of shoot-’em-ups, but I admit, there is something addictive about Terminus at Hell’s Crossing. I found myself completely lost in running around and blasting zombies (which explode rather spectacularly, if bloodily, that I genuinely lost track of time.

Quite how much role-play will evolve is hard to judge. Certainly, the safe areas, Terminus in particular, offer scope for groups of people to come together in character or friends  / fans of the show to hop over in “informal” character and mix a little role-play with shooting the walkers.  However, I have the feeling the focus for most is going to be on splashing zombies.  With a points board on the wall just off to one side of the main warehouse in Terminus, there is a subtle encouragement to keep blasting away and engage in a little friendly competition.

Hell's Crossing: Terminus - zombies splashed!
Terminus at Hell’s Crossing: zombies splashed!

For those who do fancy a little RP amidst the shooting, there are a couple of points to keep in mind: Hell’s Crossing: Terminus isn’t intended to be a metered combat environment, and use of weapons against other avatars is frowned upon: the emphasis is on walker shooting. The region is open to rezzing, so weapons should work without a group tag, and props can be rezzed for photo shoots, with auto-return set to 20-minutes. Just make sure you have a means to stop any attempts at zombie photobombing!

All told, Terminus at Hell’s Crossing is a lot of fun. I can say that honestly, as I’ve so far spent around 3 hours there in the last 24, blasting away at things. What was I saying about not liking shoot-’em-ups?!

Hell's Crossing: Terminus - all along the watchtower...
Terminus at Hell’s Crossing: all along the watchtower…

* In editing, I removed a comment noting that the region uses the default damage indicator, rather than any metered damage system specific to the walkers, which means you can be “killed” while still apparently 100% healthy. Weapons-wise, the system isn’t geared to any specific make of weapon. I tried five different systems, and all worked fine. YMMV.

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An Abstract Line in Second Life

Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery
Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery

I first encountered the art of Morlita Quan in June 2016, when I visited her exhibition Organic Geometry (read here). I was at once fascinated and captivated by her work, so it was with delight that I recently had the opportunity to visit her gallery space in-world, Abstract Line Art Gallery, located over the region of Dax.

A physical world artist hailing from Spain and working under the name MorlitaM, Morlita’s artistic expression covers 2D and 3D art and music, and all three are very much reflected in her Second Life presence, where she exhibits her 2D work, creates 3D art and also plays music, often at the opening events for other artists and galleries she knows.

Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery
Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery

“The pictures exhibited at Abstract Line, are some of my physical world pieces,” Morlita  says of her gallery space. “They mix classical painting with post graphic design work, focused on light and geometry. Everything is inspired by nature, and I try to show the beauty of nature’s shapes through a strong touch of geometry and always guided by feelings and an abstract touch.”

The result of this are images which form beautiful, geometric abstractions of line and shade, clearly driven by geometry and symmetry whilst all the time retaining an organic sweep and flow. Produced in black and white, or sometimes using soft colours, the pieces are at once alive and at times urgent in form, while also being calming and almost mesmerizing as we become caught in the patterns forming before us.

Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery
Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery

It is the organic aspect of the pieces which perhaps captivate the most. Looking at certain pieces, as abstracted as they are, it is difficult not to see ripples on water or the curl and twists of pattern we might observe on a butterfly’s wing – or even the head of a fly or bee; whilst elsewhere can be seen a beautiful nod to that move organic of geometric forms: the Mandelbrot.

Also within the octagonal gallery space are several of Morlita’s 3D pieces, with the centre space dominated by a glorious 3D abstraction entitled The Garden. Translucent like smoked glass it forms three flower heads with petals that at once have hard, geometric edges but which are also completely organic in look, and through which white light flows sinuously.

Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery
Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery

Abstract Line Art Gallery makes for an engaging visit, particularly if you are interested in abstract and / or geometric art, and particularly for exploring more of Morlita’s artistry. When visiting, please also consider a donation towards the gallery’s upkeep.

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