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.