The sands of Banana Bay in Second Life

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Banana Bay – click any image for full size

Banana Bay is a Homestead region described as “still under construction” (but open to the public) designed by the delightfully named Bananas (FunkyBanana). Caitlyn and I were led to it (once again) by Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla), who really does have the knack for finding places.

This is a  distinctly Mediterranean setting with a hint of the tropical; the kind of place it’s easy to imagine  as the destination for an exotic holiday well out-of-the-way of the maddening crowds and bustle of everyday life. A slightly curled, sandy island with an east-facing bay caught within its curve, Banana Bay appears to take its name from the little plantation of banana trees located almost mid-way along its sweep, overlooked by one of several Tuscan / Mediterranean style buildings scattered along the island.

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Banana Bay

Visits start on the west side of one of these buildings, which is itself located at the northern end of the island. A sandy path runs southwards from here, following the line of rock which rise from the foam of a lazy sea to reach another house sitting below the hilly backbone of the island. It’s upon this partially rocky backbone that the plantation sits, the land on the west side offering an easy walk to the southern end of the island and the ribbon of beach curling eastwards.

Following the sandy walk in the other direction from the landing point will take visitors around the villa to where a large wooden pier points out to sea. A loose-laid wooden board walk then offers a path south, running between the soft sands of a wide beach and the slopes of the island’s one hill, before petering out on the sands to the south. Palm trees offer some shade from the early morning sun, and provide convenient points from which hammocks have been slung for those wanting a little rest and they explore. More places to sit, some ready for cuddling, can be found scattered across the island, including an old kayak drawn up high above the tide line on the beach, and an inflatable raft out on the surf.

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Banana Bay

None of the buildings are currently furnished, although the villa near the landing point offers outdoor seating. There’s also no sound scape for the region as yet – but again, remember that it is under construction, so there well be more to come.

Under construction (at the time of writing) it may well be, but Banana Bay is  already and photogenic and restful setting; the fact that it is still being developed means that it’ll be remaining on our list of places to re-visit sooner rather than later in order to see how things are progressing. In the meantime, if you want to have a break from things and drift away from all the noise about Sansar or whatever, why not take a walk along to beaches of Banana Bay?

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Banana Bay

SLurl Details

  • Banana Bay (Charmed One, rated: Adult)
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Sansar: a handful of personal picks to visit and some tips

(courtesy of Linden Lab)

So, you’ve heard the new about Sansar opening. You’ve signed up for an account and have your new avatar. Now what? The Atlas has many, many places to visit. Some are more interesting than others. I’ve been hopping around for a while now, and so I thought I’d offer a handful of suggestions and one or two tips which may be useful for you.

Once again, as I’m a non-VR headset user, the Sansar experiences selected here have been chosen on the basis they work without having to use a HMD as well as providing a means to gain familiarity with using keyboard controls.

Tip: The URLs in this article lead directly to the experiences described. You can obtain them directly from the Atlas by clicking on the image of an experience. This will open a separate window. This includes a Copy URL button – which does exactly what it says. There are also two page buttons (< and >), allowing you to page through experiences in the Atlas individually. If you want to see all the experiences by a single creator, click on the creator name in the Atlas or Atlas window.

You can obtain the URL for any experience you wish to re-visit through the Atlas, and use the pop-up window to page through experiences individually

Pasting a URL into a web browser will display its Atlas web page. Clicking on the Visit button on the web page will launch the Sansar client and take you to the experience (if the client is already running, you’ll be asked if you want to visit the selected experience).

LOOT Interactive NASA Apollo Museum

Now open to the public, the Apollo Museum is bound to attract me as I love all things space exploration. However, there is another reason for recommending it: it is a good example of some of the interactions that can currently be achieved in Sansar and a demonstration of one method of teleporting.

LOOT Interactive: Apollo 11 Tranquillity Base

This is one of the more “high-end” experiences, and can take time to load; however the wait is worth it. This is a rich content experience, mixing 3D models, audio, video and information boards to take people on a journey through the major Apollo lunar missions. Centred on the Apollo 11 mission, the experience includes information on the other lunar mission in the programme, models of the Saturn V, Command and Service Module and Lunar Excursion Module and a scaled model depicting Apollo 11’s trip from the Earth to the Moon.

Interactive elements are provided through proximity / standing. For example, spread along the floor of the museum. step on these to hear audio extracts from the Apollo 11 mission. Similarly, audio on the various Apollo missions from 11 onwards can be heard.

LOOT Interactive Apollo Museum

Also on the floor close to the upper end of the Apollo Saturn V rocket is another disk. Step on it and it will teleport you to a recreation of Tranquillity Base and the Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module Eagle with floating informational text and a sound scape of recordings from the mission.

Throughout, the experience is very well done, with the lighting on the Surface of the Moon particularly well done – as is the Earth (to scale as seen from the lunar surface) hanging in space at the same position it would have been seen by Armstrong and Aldrin. There are one or two problems with the build – sounds can overlap, and it is clearly intended for HMD use; but it makes for a useful introduction to Sansar (and an informative visit!).

Tip: If you’re not using a HMD and are finding movement difficult in third-person view due to the camera, try using WASD or the arrow keys, together with pressing and holding the right mouse key and sliding your mouse left or right  to turn. Combining these allow for a relatively easy means of moving in either 3rd or 1st person view.

Unit 9  Monkey Temple

As featured in the Sansar preview #5 video, Unit 9’s Monkey Temple is a good example of an experience using ambient sounds and Sansar’s environmentals to produce a jungle-style setting with a unique temple in three distinct areas, and which includes interactive games. These are best played if you have a HMD and controllers, however, it is possible to “kick” a “ball” around  by walking into it.

Unit 9 Monkey Temple

Tip: try free-flying your camera around the temple. Press F4 to release the camera and use WASD or the arrow keys to move forwards / backwards or slide left / right. E will move the camera up and C will move it down. You can also use the right mouse button technique mentioned above to pan the camera. The numeric pad “-” (minus) and “+” (plus) buttons can be used to slow / increase the camera’s movement speed when in free flight. Press F3 to anchor the camera back with your avatar once more (note that pressing F3 twice will drop you into first-person look).

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