“The initial project, ‘The Little Prince’, would take a long time,” Sniper Siemens explains in introducing Second Life 1999 / 2017 – The Story, which is now open through until the end of June 2017. “For my health and work reasons, I could not make it this year. I apologise for the inconvenience.”
Frankly, I don’t think an apology is warranted; if anything, Sniper’s look at the entire history of Second Life from 1999 through to the present should be a permanent, living installation in Second Life (although Sniper may well shoot me for saying so!).
Before I get into the Story of Second Life, let’s take a look at the story of the story of Second Life. The installation originally began in July 2014 as Second Life History, a relatively modest but informative installation, complete with humorous touches which continue to mark these exhibitions. In February 2015, Sniper returned with The Greatest Story Ever Told, expanding on the original idea, offering more information, a new presentation layout and lots of new little characters to show you each of the many notable events throughout Second Life’s history (and that of its precursor, LindenWorld).
For this latest installation, Sniper builds on the 2015 design, bringing it bang up-to-date with everything that’s happened since that installation was exhibited, with a look at things like Bento, the starter avatar updates, improvement to Sl web properties such as the Community platform, etc., and a tongue-in-cheek “look” through the gates at Sansar.
From the landing point / information point, visitors progress along a footpath passing through the years sequentially, from 1999, with the originals of Linden Research and The Rig, progressing through LindenWorld, Primitars, early experiments with AI creatures, to the birth of Second Life. From there, major notable events, positive and negative (depending on your perspective if you were around at the time). All are marvellously presented, with a great balance between information – presented via static information boards, interactive elements, and in-world videos.
As well as walking around the installation, visitors can opt to take a train ride through the exhibits. A Canopied station forms part of the landing point. Simply touch the rezzer to generate a car, jump in and touch the car to start your ride. You can stop along the way at any time to take a closer look at exhibits by touching the car once more – just make sure you cam over to them, don’t get out of the car or you’ll have it de-rez on you! A further touch of the car will resume your journey, while barriers at certain points also encourage you to stop in case you risk missing something. With a change of train half-way around, this is a really charming way to see the exhibition (rail traffic allowing!) – kudos to Sniper for including it.
Journey’s end for Second Life 1999 /2017 – The Story is a shady park alongside of the cheeky “look” at Sansar. However, this isn’t the end of the installation. A teleport station will take you on to a look at the History of Burning Life, (or Burn 2 as we now know it). This can also be toured by rail car – just follow the path to the right as you exit the main landing area and before you enter “1999”.
I am an unabashed fan of Second Life’s history (and I’m flattered to have played a very small and indirect role in this exhibit), so cannot recommend this installation highly enough anyone wishing to gain a rounded understanding on Second Life, Linden Lab and Burning Life / Burn 2. It really is a pleasure to visit, marvellously informative without ever drowning you in a flood of information, and rich in gentle touches and delightful flicks of humour. I also couldn’t help be notice the layout of the exhibit seems to include a fair amount of space for future expansion as well 🙂 .
Second Life 199 / 2017 – The Story is an absolute delight, and as noted, will remain open through until the end of June 2017. Be sure not to miss it!
- Second Life 1999 / 2017 – The Story (LEA 25, rated: Moderate)
Video by Sniper Siemens