Miro Collas gave us the nudge about visiting Small Town Green, the Homestead region design by Mido (Doli3).
A few years back there was a region also by the name of Small Town Green, but whether this build is a continuation / renewal of that, I honestly cannot say. However, I can say that Mido has in the past been responsible for Small Town Café (see A visit to a Small Town Café), and we did hop over to an earlier iteration of her Small Town Green roughly six months ago, prior to it popping up in its current location, but I didn’t blog about it at that time.
The current iteration of Small Town Green is an eclectic build in three parts defined by three separate islands. One of these, tucked into the south-west corner of the region appears to be a private home (ban lines denote it is certainly off-limits to casual visitors). The second island is to the north-west, and is certainly open to the public, as is the largest of the three, sitting on the region’s east side.
This large island contains the region’s landing point – or rather, it is the closest of the three major landmasses in the region to the landing point, given the latter sits under pouring rain on a flooded section of roadway, a submerged railway line paralleling it as they point towards the ruins of a town on the island.
It would appear that something has happened here at some point; not only are the road and track submerged, they are partially blocked by large boulders, and while the wreck of a car and a train respectively sit on or against them, the car has been around long enough to become festooned with flowers while the tracks from which the train has toppled is similarly overgrown with flowers sprouting out of the water.
Follow the road “inland” and you’ll start to discover the eclectic novelty of the region that makes it so attractive: koi carp slowly circle around the entrance to a subway station, rain falling around them as they bring a new perspective to the term “flying fish”. More fish – but somewhat smaller – can be found idly circling within and old British telephone box close by.
Take the stairs down to the subway and more surprises await. While it might be under water, the station nevertheless has a train awaiting passengers – although the tree growing on that platform is probably not the kind of “passenger” you might expect to encounter in an underground station! Across the road sits the ruin of a school, the upper floor of which is still occupied by surprisingly pristine looking desks, the building itself long overgrown and roofless. More shells of buildings and skyscrapers, equally overgrown, mark the eastern extreme of the town, suggesting this place has been long deserted.
Across the water, and beyond the small island with its broken lighthouse that lies close to the road, the second public island is similarly overgrown and offers curios of its own. There is a gabled avenue of trees, for example, pointing the way to where an old manor house lies in ruin, the trees growing around and through are festooned with lights. Then there is the old tram car converted into a diner and accompanied by its odd little menagerie of giraffe, zebra and raccoon, it’s entrance long blocked by a wild garden despite the apparent freshness of the meals placed at the tables.
Not far from the tramcar is a little café, a trifle overgrown, perhaps, but cosy nonetheless, while between them is a delightful little curio of a corner, stacked with books and more, and just beyond it a cosy little hideaway perfect for cuddles. It is these contrasts: ruin and little snuggle spaces, the rain and the little, perfectly-detailed dioramas, the open waters and the wild, yet someone cultivated islands, that make this Small Town green a genuine pleasure to explore (although some might find the rain around the landing point and island a little hard going).
Amenable to a wide range of windlight settings, Small Town Green makes for an ideal photographic study, and an engaging opportunity for exploration.
The SL16B celebratory regions have opened their doors to mark the 16th anniversary of the public launch of Second Life. As with previous years, the event includes music, entertainment, talks, presentations, performances and the opportunity to explore themed builds and exhibitions by participating members of the Second Life community.
This year marks something of a departure from recent SLB events, in that for the first time since SL9B, these celebrations have been under the direct management of the Lab and the Linden Department of Public Works (LPDW), rather than being community-led. The most notable aspects of this change are that this year, the celebration doesn’t feature things like the familiar 4-region Birthday Cake stage – in fact there are only two official stages: the Main Stage and the DJ Stage.
The second notable aspect is that the exhibitor spaces are considerably fewer this year than in previous years, and these are located in the five regions on the west side of the SL16B estate, being: SL16B Astonish, SL16B Captivate, SL16B Enchant, SL16B Incredible, and SL16B Sparkle. Each of these is marked by a large central exhibitor display with a landing point associated with it, with smaller parcels laid out around it in a grid pattern of roads (traversed by the familiar pod tours) and footpaths.
The rest of the celebratory regions are given over to public spaces, the stages, the auditorium, a large central lake and beach, and a couple of Linden Homes preview regions, of which more anon.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Sweet Sixteen”, with a focus on a 1950’s, the start of the “youth revolution” and a general period of social change in America that continued through the 1960s. Given this, there are the inevitable core elements of diners, drive-in movie theatres, bright colours, vinyl and 50s B-movies and typically 50’s views of “the future” that involve rocket ships and the like to be found throughout the exhibitor displays, but there are also those that put the 50s into context as informative pieces, and those that cast their net a little wider.
In this latter regard, I admit to particular liking the International Space Museum / National Space Society’s central display that celebrates our once and future presence on the Moon. Yes, we didn’t reach the Moon’s surface until 1969, but NASA was a child of the 1950s (officially formed in 1958), and July 2019 does mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic landing.
The community spaces offer attractions of their own: the lake and beach noted above, meandering parks, and spaces that can help take the load when dealing with large numbers of avatars bunching together in the core events areas. And here I might sound a little critical, but having become used to fantastical builds for the various stages and event centres over the last seven years in particular, the core builds – stages and auditorium – for Sl16B come across as – well – a touch bland.
Yes, I can understand the reasoning; some of the more fantastic builds seen in the past were doubtless resource heavy for both servers (with a scripting load) and – more particularly – viewers (lots of mesh and textures, for example, clogging up local computer resources). The builds here are a lot more economical in these respect; but while they do reflect the teens / 50s theme, they do seem to lack the attractive lustre and thrill of previous community designs.
Events and Activities
But in terms of major events, what does SL16B hold? Well, the best way the stay abreast of all that’s going on is via the official calendar of events, which I’ve embedded below.
However, there are a couple of significant events taking place which you might want easier reminding about – the weekday Meet the Lindens sessions, and the SL16B Music Fest, so I’m including a few notes on them here.
Meet the Lindens
Now a staple of SLB activities, Meet the Lindens features the opportunity to listen to and ask questions of, employees of Linden Lab at 14:00 SLT, Monday 24th June through Friday, 28th June at the SL16B Auditorium.
You can find out more about who is taking part this year in my blog post, SL16B: Meet the Lindens – when and who, however, the schedule for the sessions is given below for ease of reference.
Day (14:00 – 15:00 SLT)
Monday 24th June
Patch Linden, Senior Director, Product Operations
Tuesday 25th June
Oz Linden, Senior Director, Second Life Engineering and April Linden, Systems Engineering Manager, Operations
Wednesday 26th, June
Ebbe Linden (Altberg), Linden Lab CEO
Thursday 27th June
Xiola Linden, Lead Community Manager, and Strawberry Linden, Marketing Specialist
Friday 28th June
Meet the Moles – the Linden Department of Public Works
SL16B Music Fest
The SL16B Music Fest will take place on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st June, at the Main Stage at SL16B. Again, for ease of reference, the line-up of live performers is given below.
Friday, June 21st
Saturday, June 22nd
R4 Anne (oXoRyanneoXo)
Gabriel da Silva
Other Points of Interest
The Welcome Area
The best place to start your visit, the Welcome Area features:
A click-to-teleport map of the celebration regions that will deliver you to a destination (or the closest landing point to it).
Free gifts and free 1950s-style avatars to help you fit the mood of the celebrations (and potentially reduce your rendering impact on others visiting the regions, should you choose to use them).
An anniversary celebration is something the evokes memories and gives us cause to look back, and SL16B is no exception. Building on an event from 2018, this year’s celebrations include an expanded Tapestry of Time, a full region devoted to providing in words and video, the chance to look through SL’s long history from 2003 through to the present day. True, not everything has been recorded, but there’s enough within the region for the historically minded to find of interest.
Linden Homes Preview Regions
There are two Linden Homes preview regions.
The first – SL16B Stunning – presents the current crop of Traditional land-based homes, and the existing Houseboat type of home that can been found on Bellisseria, the Linden Homes continent.
The second – SL16B Spellbound – presents the upcoming trailer-style homes that will form (a part of?) an upcoming new Linden Homes release.
The Linden Trailer Homes are liable to be gaining a lot of preview coverage, and they are certainly an interesting idea. However, the preview comes with an important note from the Lab:
Please keep in mind this region is just a PEEK at content that is still in progress. The final live regions will be somewhat different and will have some variety built into them just like the previous themes do, but this gives a taste of what is coming.
Patch Linden will have more to say on these units during his Meet the Linden presentation on Monday, June 24th. Following his session, I’ll have a more in-depth look at these new trailer homes including comments from Patch.
SL16B Shopping Event
While not a part of the SL16B regions per se, don’t forget that running from June 20th through until July 8th, 2019 is the SL16B Shopping & Gift Event. This can be found in the familiar Second Life shopping event mall, covering 15 regions (five for shopping) and decorated in the SL16B colours. See SLurls and Links below for the region SLurls
Currently on display on the ground floor of Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) is a modest exhibition of landscape photography by Myf McMahon, a Second Life photographer whose work had previously escaped me.
With 12 images on offer, this is a small but comfortable exhibition featuring pictures of some of Second Life’s more popular public regions such as Ukivok, Author’s Point, :nostos deer:, Wild Edge and (I believe) Cold Ash. Each image is intended to evoke a feeling or sentiment – as indicated by their titles – And the end of all our exploring, That missing part that we are always searching for, etc., and each of them succeed in achieving this.
These are elegant images, showing the minimum of required post-processing to bring them to life. And while none of them feature avatars and few feature animals or birds, they are nevertheless rich in life: the toss of waves, the pressure of wind and breeze as signified by the bent backs of trees or the billowing of a windsock – even the casual leaning of a bicycle against a railing.
I understand from the notice outside the gallery that Club LA and Gallery may be under some renovation, and given I’ve not dropped in for a while, I’m not sure how long this little exhibition will remain, so a visit in the short term might be advised.