Currently open for group members to enjoy, and shortly to open to the general public, are the 2019 Calas Christmas regions. Once again, Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith and the Calas team bring a Christmas winter delight for all Second Life residents to enjoy, spend across two regions of snow-bound fun.
The regions once again feature all that we’ve come to love about a Calas Christmas: the Christmas Pavilion, entertainment, sleigh rides, skating, and balloon and reindeer tours. However, this year introduces some new twists to things.
Rather than being at the ground level, the landing point is located high over the regions., on an icy, snowbound plain where polar bear play with their young and a snowman dances in greeting. Follow the candy striped arrows to where the mouth of a tunnel beckons (be sure to pick up a note card of landmarks from the candy cane at the cave entrance – you can use them to return directly to points of interest in the regions). The tunnel leads the way down to what might seem to be a shallow cavern – but be careful as you step forward into it; the floor is not what it seems!
The cavern is in fact the entrance to a series of tunnel s that lead you through (and past) other caverns (including Santa’s grotto) and, in reflection to past Calas holiday builds, to a portal that will deliver you to the ground level of the regions. This sits with a snowy tunnel of rock, the traditional automated sleigh rides to one side. These offer a choice of rides for couples or for up to four people to share, and we thoroughly recommend them, as they provide an easy way to discover the sights of the regions, which can then be visited on foot or via horseback.
If you prefer not to take the sleigh rides, you can either opt to follow the path they take northwards out of the tunnel, and thus around the northernmost of the two regions, or they can take the southern exit from the tunnel, and a more direct path to the Christmas Pavilion and the ice skating.
Those who have wearable horses might want to wear them when exploring the northern region – although there are horse rezzers to be found that will provide you with a marvellous Shire horse to ride, and with kit in keeping with the season; just click the sign, accept the attachments, and you’ll be ready to go – use your usual movement keys to direct the horse (turn off your own AO!), and use double taps on your forward key to cycle through the walk, trot, canter and gallop option (your “backwards” key will step down through them).
As well as the sleigh rides, there are also flying reindeer tours (located along the trail of the sleigh tours) and a balloon ride (located to one side of the Christmas pavilion, just above the ice skating lake). All of the tours drop people off at the Calas Polar Express, where a meal and drinks can be had within the carriages – but don’t expect a ride home – not until “sometime after Christmas”, at least!.
A brisk walk down the slopes from the station will bring you to the lake and the pavilion. The latter is perhaps the most noticeable change from previous years, being of a new design for the regions. The main hall offers a stage and dance floor (look for the golden deer on two of the pillars for dances), while the two wings offer the traditional lounges and Christmas tree, but in a brighter finish than past years. I believe the Pavilion will be home to this year’s entertainment within the regions. Nor is this the only place to enjoy a dance – a smaller pavilion sits on the far side of the lake, also waiting for visitors.
As is always the way with the Calas holiday regions, there are a lot of little details to be discovered: a nativity scene here, penguins sliding and skating on the ice, reindeer awaiting riders – look far enough, and you might even spot a yeti / abominable snowman and a nod towards the Calas Halloween region designs! Group members should also keep an eye out for the group gifts (one per avatar).
The Calas team always bring us visual treats to enjoy through December to the New Year, and have done so again for 2019. However, when visiting, there are some rules and notes to keep in mind:
- To help lighten the load on resources, it is requested that active scripts are kept below 100Kb. So please, do remove unnecessary HUDs and accessories.
- The regions can get very popular – and avatars can place the heaviest load on the viewer – so your own experience may be affected in terms of performance, by the number of other visitors in the regions (there is also a lot within the regions to render, so other than for photos, you may want to reduce your Draw Distance and turn off render-heavy options like shadows.
- Given there can be a lot of people wanting to visit, be aware that if you go afk for more than a few minutes while visiting the regions and one is particularly busy, you may be asked to make your way to the other, or sent home if there is no response.
- Calas Galadhon Christmas 2019 (Sea Myst, rated: Moderate)