I decided to take a little time off on Easter Sunday and go for a flight around part of Bellisseria, the new Linden Homes continent, and have another look at it. However, rather than taking a ‘plane or helicopter, I decided to see things in a more leisurely manner, flying my Ask 13 sailplane.
Regular readers will know I picked up one of these sailplanes, made by Rene Underby and based on the Schleicher ASK 13, just over a year ago (see Plane sailing in Second Life: the ReneMarine Ask 13). Since then, I’ve been aloft in it on numerous occasions, both on my own and with Caitlyn. It’s a great way to fly in SL, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has a love of flying in Second Life.
However, getting off the ground in the new continent isn’t that easy. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, there are no airstrips, and sailplanes are not intended to get airborne off of water 🙂 . Fortunately, the Ask 13 comes with its own aerotow, so with a little cheating (rezzing the saiplane on the roof of my houseboat and then calling up the tow plane) I managed to get airborne. Not ideal, but it worked and got me up to an altitude where I could release the tow.
To be honest, I really wasn’t sure how far I’d get; as we all know, region crossings – physical or TP – have been something of a roll of the dice of late, and on a boat trip on Saturday I ended up losing my boat every few region crossings, so that after the fourth time I ended up dumped and having to re-log, I gave up. However, Sunday’s trip was nothing short of superb.
As my houseboat is down in the south-west of the new continent, I headed east and north, tracking the local thermals and taking time out here and there to grab a snap.
One of the critiques levelled at the land houses in Bellisseria is that they are “cookie cutter”; I’m not sure this is an entirely fair assessment. Sure the select of houses is, at present, limited to four styles in a single theme, and the parcels are all fairly regularly set, but coupled with the general road infrastructure, trees, etc., to me give a feeling of suburbia. And while it may not always be obvious from ground level, the blending of the suburban housing with the coastal areas and the houseboats is actually nicely handled; there’s a good sense of the grasslands giving way to more sandy ground that gently merges into beaches and water.
I’m not going to cover the houses in great detail here, because Ricco Sanez has written an excellent piece on them, looking at all four styles. What was interesting in passing overhead was being able to see what use people were making of the garden / yard space, including some imaginative use of off-parcel placement of items along some of the waterways. These left me a little curious as to the view the Lab might have of them; from my perspective I felt they added to, rather than detracted from, the general environment.
Airborne also gives you a sense of how much space remains within the continent – and equally – how crowded it might come to feel, depending on the way in which future developments are handled.
Overall, my trip by air was fun – very much helped by the fact I managed my tour without getting thrown by a bad region crossing – actually, the second flight I’ve made over the continent since it opened; my first being a powered flight around the coastline and was actually equally successful – up until I hit the dreaded banlines whilst trying to make a water landing.
And landing this time around? Well, that was easy. After running the thermals along the western mountains before turning inland between them, and setting down in one of the undeveloped SSPE regions. Nevertheless (and to repeat my old chestnut) it would be nice to have an inland airstrip or two. These, with the odd park and hiking / riding trail (if not already a part of the planning) could, as I’ve previously mentioned, add further attractiveness to the inland districts.
Note: we asked, the Lab listened. Three days after this article was written, a coastal airstrip was opened off the south-west coast of Bellisseria, as I was able to report on the day it opened – see: Bellisseria gains a coastal airstrip in Second Life.