We last visited On The Other Side in February 2019, when the region – designed by xxMichelle20xx and Indrielx – was all set for spring (see: Back On The Other Side in Second Life). But given it does change with the seasons, we decided to go and see what the winter months might have brought forth – and it turns out that the region has been transformed into a marvellous rural winter wonderland.
Surrounded by a range of mountains, On The Other Side forms a little coastal area or island setting, watched over by a red brick lighthouse and within which the buildings are few and far between, the majority of the landscape being a haven for assorted wildlife. Even so, there are some echoes of past designs to be found, some of which might be easy to spot by returning visitors, while others might require a little searching out.
As with past designs, the landing point is underground – in this case a wintry cavern decorated as a (perhaps chilly) reading room. From here the way out into the region gets a trifle foreboding – a drop down to a lower cave via ladder brings visitors to the remains of five unfortunates lying in the snow and a ghostly figure, palms aflame, apparently pressed against the frosted exit to the cave. Step through this into the region proper, and then next surprise awaits: a large bear, angrily rearing up on his hind legs at you.
While all this sounds menacing, once you’re past the bear (who is actually quite harmless, giving rise to the temptation to comment “Why, Paddington! What big teeth you’ve got!” when passing him), you’ll find yourself in a marvellous winter landscape where admirable restraint has been shown in putting out falling snow (often a performance killer) and which keeps itself predominantly as a landscape in winter, rather than a frame for all the usual seasonal trappings for the end of December.
Most of the region looks open to the public, although there is a high table of rock to the south-east topped by a small cabin that might well be private: there is no obvious path up to this, and we weren’t going to start forcing our way up the one obvious slope to reach it for fear of trespass were it to prove to be so.
The cabin looks out across a gently curving bay, its sand dusted in snow, to where that lighthouse rises from the north-eastern headland. Both cabin and lighthouse have a little comic reflection of Santa on roof and chimney, while the lighthouse is open to the public as the region’s Christmas hang out.
But it is the lands between and to the west of these headlands that holds the attractions of the region. Marked by rocky uplands with snowy trails winding around and between them, and in places marked by paths and steps climbing their slopes, the region here feels more expansive than its 65,536 sq metres. This is a landscape blanketed in snow and home to a mix of fir trees and naked oak, birch and maple, their trunks an boughs well whitened with hoarfrost.
Across the setting there is much to be found, with the animal life mixing domesticated cows and sheep with horses, wildfowl, deer, reindeer, wolves, seals, penguins, raccoons, otters, jaguars, pandas – even a giant turtle!. Most of these form scenes-within-scenes across the region, awaiting discovery and photographs, gathered together in a little vignette that stands both on its own and as a natural part of the whole. More are set out quite naturally – although the pandas clearly have the right idea for dealing with the cold!
Everywhere across the region, from the southern seal cove to the northern cave (home to Ganesh, who has also featured in past iterations of the region) are places to sit and spend time. These range from chairs set out on decks or along the eastern beach (which offers surfing for those feeling like they need a cold dip!), to a cosy huts and blanket-laden carts and sleighs people and huddle and cuddle within to keep warm. For those wanting to escape the snow and cold, a barn and the Christmas Hangout offer more places to sit and enjoy the warmth of a fire (we were also appreciative of the hot cider as we explored!).
Previous versions of On The Other Side have included more eclectic elements to them, aspects that offer a little twist of fantasy. This is also this case with this build: anchored to the ground by a stout rope and held aloft by magical runes circling below it, floats a tiny island. Reached by climbing the rope, it offers another place to sit – and quite the high point to view the region as a whole; however, getting back to ground level in head-first descent can be a little dizzying!
Beautifully designed, accompanied by an ideal sound scape and filled with detail, On The Other Side once again offers a delightful, highly photogenic region that should not be missed.
- On The Other Side (The Horizon, rated Moderate)