Out of the Looking Glass in Second Life

Out of the Looking Glass into the Madness

Featuring six levels to descend through, and presenting a community take on Lewis Carroll’s  classic tales, Out of the Looking into the Madness offers visitors to The Dirty Grind Independent Artist Community the opportunity to join Alice on her adventures, which comes with a twist of Halloween about it.

The journey starts up in the sky on an autumnal platform. A path indicated by a hand-written sign points the way towards a sloped bridge formed by a book open at the illustration of a certain tea party. The bridge leads to a neighbouring platform. Here the adventure proper starts, with and invitation to jump down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Out of the Looking Glass into the Madness

Doing so will take you into the adventure proper – but don’t expect a traditional journey through scenes from Carroll’s tales as seen through the artists participating in the build. What you will find is a more imaginative ride featuring compositions which present the spirit of the tales in a unique format.

The first destination is inside a vast vessel with chalk illustrations of Alice and more on the walls, floating chess sets, time pieces, chairs and more, presided over by the Cheshire Cat and the Caterpillar. A translucent path spirals downwards to a funnelled point, a sign daring you to carry on down. And this is how you progress through the various settings – by dropping down holes, or following airborne walkways, passing through various settings, most – but not all – of which offer a particular take on Carroll’s tales.

Out of the Looking Glass into the Madness

I offer the caveat because one of the levels is distinctly non-Alice in tone: a row of spooky shops sitting close to a giant tree of skulls and a horse-drawn hearse. Other twists can be found a well – such as in the Queen of Heart’s hall.

Elsewhere, you can find your way to the tea party, rich in symbolism, and eventually to a garden again celebrating the Queen of Hearts, but with another twist on the Halloween theme. Alongside of this is a separate walled garden; this offers both an imaginative route down to ground level (just follow the instructions on where to stand), and the chance to ride a hot air balloon. Should you take the former, do take the opportunity to explore The Dirty Grind if you haven’t previously done so. If you take a ride on the balloon, I do recommend your heed its warning, I’d wear this, if I were you, when it offers you a package to wear…

Out of the Looking Glass into the Madness

With art displays, live music on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, The Dirty Grind always makes for an enjoyable tarriance, and Out of the Looking Glass into the Madness offers a cleverly seasonal twist to a childhood tale, making it a more than worthwhile visit.

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Cica’s Land of Owls in Second Life

Land of Owls

“Take a cart through the land of owls,” is the invitation to those arriving at Land of Owls, Cica Ghost’s installation which opened on Monday, October 30th, 2017.

The carts in question seat two, and quaintly resemble little wooden boats on cart wheels, with a parasol raised in imitation of a sail, perhaps offering a little shade for those riding them. Stationary when empty, they will start rolling over the landscape when someone sits in the “a” seat – so if you’re going to ride one with a friend, make sure you both jump into the seats together!

Land of Owls

Cast beneath a twilight sky, this landscape is typically Cica; a mysterious mix of gently undulating, and broken up by needle like hills and copses of bamboo. Also to be found here are trees denuded for leaf and branch and little tower blocks, standing alone or in little clusters. Among the needle hills, bamboo copses and little groups of tower blocks are small expanses of tufted grass and bright, happy daisies.

It’s a whimsical setting with perhaps a hint of seasonal mystery created by the windlight. And the owls? They are to be found scattered around the setting, keeping an eye on things as they sit in the branches of the old trees, or perch atop an old wardrobe, one of a number to be found sitting out in the open. They are not the only avian locals to be found here; patrolling the south side of the island are a group of crane-like birds,  also being watched from a distance by the owls.

Land of Owls

Is there a story to be told here? Perhaps, but not all of Cica’s installations are necessarily heavy on message or meaning; they can also be as much about fun and whimsy as anything else, and that certainly seems to be the case here.

Do keep in mind that while the carts can save your feet from doing all the work, they may not carry you everywhere – so it is worth having a wander on foot as well. There are also plenty of places to sit as well – another Cica hallmark – so its worth mousing over things while exploring. All told, another enjoyable exhibition by one of may favourite SL artists.

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Sansar: competition winners and Fashion release news

Courtesy of Linden Lab

On Monday, October 30th, 2017, Jenn from Linden Lab blogged two news items on Sansar.

In the first post, Jenn announced the winners of the two recent Sansar competitions: the Top Props contest and the seasonal Sansar’s Scariest competition for the best Halloween-related experience.

There were four categories in the Top Props contest, with the winner in each category receiving an Oculus Rift + Touch bundle, plus a one year Sansar Super Creator Subscription, while honourable mentions receiving a one year Sansar Creator Subscription. The winners, selected by a panel of Sansar staff and special guest judges are:

Sansar Top Props contest winners

The Sansar’s Scariest contest offered a single Grand Prize of US $10,000 together with an Oculus Rift + Touch bundle and a one year Sansar Super Creator Subscription. In addition, three honourable mentions would each receive a one year Sansar Creator Subscription.

The final selection on winner and honourable mentions was made by journalist and VR consultant Alice Bonasio, who has written extensively on VR for a number of publications, including VRScout, WIRED, Fast Company, and The Next Web. Her selections were:

Grand Prize winner The Diner by C3rb3rus

Having spent time in both of these experiences, I’ll be providing write-ups on them in due course for those who may not have had the opportunity to visit.

In addition, Alice outlined a number of other experiences she enjoyed. For her feedback on those, and her notes for the winning entry and the honourable mention, and for the honourable mentions in the Top Props contest, please refer to Jenn’s blog post.

Image courtesy of Linden Lab

In the second post, Jenn outlined the upcoming Friends and Fashion releases. If all remains on track, the Friends release – focused on social aspects of Sansar – will be deployed on Tuesday, October 31st, and in addition to Jenn’s notes, you can read more about it in my Sansar week #43 update.

The Fashion update, currently scheduled for around mid-December 2017, will allow designers to create and sell avatar outfits, which thanks to the integration of new technology will be able to move and fold naturally. In addition, the update is currently planned to include:

  • The ability to restricted access to an experience to just those on your Friends list if you want.
  • More branding options for creators on the Sansar store, and the ability for the Sansar team to present curated collections of selected sellers and items.
  • Improvements to full-body IK.
  • Support for importing terrain height maps, and audio materials for terrain.

I’ll have more information on both the Friends and Fashion releases as a part of my weekly Sansar technical updates.

2017 Viewer release summaries week 43

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, October 29

This summary is published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version, dated September 22nd, promoted October 13th – formerly the “Moonshine” Maintenance RC – no change.
  • Release channel cohorts (notes on manually installing RC viewer versions):
    • No updates.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers



Mobile / Other Clients

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

2017 Creepy Crawl in Second Life

Scare Me Silly: one of the destinations for the 2017 Creepy Crawl

Following their recent call for venues, Linden Lab announced the route for this year’s Halloween Creepy Crawl on Monday, October 30th, via a blog post by Xiola Linden.

The Creepy Crawl is a growing tradition whereby Lindens and Residents get dressed up in their best Halloween costumes and roam from spooky spot to spooky spot for music, dancing, and celebrating.

Costumes are strongly encouraged for this event – and L$5,000 is available in a special costume contest (rules here). Just keep in mind that this event is for General and Moderate audiences when perfecting your look. There is also a special  witch hat pack from DevilAii available from vendors placed along the Crawl route.

As Xiola has blogged, the event will take place between 10:00 and 14:00 SLT on Tuesday, October 31st, and will be moving through a number of selected venues:

In the middle of all this, from 12:00 noon to 13:00 SLT, there will be a stop-off for the Pumpkin Smash Fight. This will take place at the old snowball fight arena, which has been specially redressed for the occasion.

The Pumpkin Fight Area

The Silent Mind in Second Life

The Silent Mind; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr The Silent Mind – click any image for full size

The Silent Mind is a beautiful retreat occupying a Homestead region. It was suggested as a place to visit by Shakespeare and Max (once again! ♥), designed by Belfana, who describes it as “A quiet, cosy place.” I actually think she undersells it; The Silent Mind is an absolute delight, mixing multiple elements – the every day,  fantasy, fairy tale and even a little hint of seasonal curio and a dash of whimsy.

The setting is that of a rugged island, temperate in looks and feel,  where a visit begins on the west side, mid-way up the tall cliffs that rise step-like from a curved beach. Here sits the first hint of fantasy: the landing point occupies a ring of elven arches, a friendly troll standing in greeting. A bicycle, basket laden with sunflowers, offers a subtle pointer that this is not purely a realm of fantasy. A look over the edge of the cliffs to the beach below will further confirm this, parked on the sand is a little VW Beetle and camper parked, a surf board lying in the waves.

The Silent Mind; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr The Silent Mind – click any image for full size

A stone path and stairs offer a route down from the landing area, passing a look-out point complete with dance machine (one of several to be found across the island), to eventually arrive at a low-lying coastal track, offering two routes of exploration to the east and north. However, walk out onto the cinder shore, and you’ll be able to see the southern spur of the island, apparently reached by wading through the shallow waters.

At the time Caitlyn and I visited, part of this southern headland was given over to a little nod towards Halloween, with mists lying around arched thorns, a cloaked figure and two Gothic vampires waiting to greet those treading the path under the thorny arches. Beyond these, across a greensward, sits a charming wooden house built out over the water, a ribbon of beach passing under it. The house is open to exploration, and the beach offers a way to where the little Beetle car and its caravan are parked.

The Silent Mind; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr The Silent Mind – click any image for full size

For those wishing to follow the tracks from the foot of the cliffs, the one pointing inland quickly brings you to a small lake, crossed by wooden walkways. It is here that another taste of fantasy can be found: ancient ruins built back into the cliffs and seemingly guarded by the skull of a dragon – one of two to be found on the island. This is also a place for romance as well; a little seating area can be found within the ruins, close to where water tumbles down from ancient aqueducts, and a dance machine is close by.

One of the wooden walkways connecting the ruins to the rest of the island re-joins the main track to the north. It’s along this track, and it curves around the island from the foot of the cliffs, that the fairy tale touches can again be found: more friendly trolls stand by the track and story books wait to be read. There are also delightful touches of whimsy as well – keep an eye out for the chinchilla enjoying a bath and a tropical drink.

The Silent Mind; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr The Silent Mind – click any image for full size

Sitting off the north side of the island is a little green house, reached by a path of foam over the waves. facing it, beneath the shade of a great tree with leaves turning and autumn red, is a garden picnic watched over by chipmunks. Nor is that all. Across the island are little scenes worthy of discovery – although some might take a little careful walking / climbing to find – and places to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

The Silent Mind really is superbly designed and laid out, and as Belfana says, it is an ideal location for those seek peace and relaxation, whether on their one or with a friend or companion. All-in-all, a genuinely delightful visit. Should you enjoy your time visiting, please consider tipping one of the trolls!

The Silent Mind; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr The Silent Mind – click any image for full size

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