Catena et Cavea in Second Life

Catena et Cavea, January 2020 – click any image for full size

Catena et Cavea (literally “chain and coop”, but better translated as “chain and cage”), is a Full region utilising the additional 10K land capacity to present a setting of multiple elements, some of which may not suit all tastes given their adult leanings. Held by Ororeia, who designed it with Kyra Nachtigal, the region is described by them both as:

Our home, and at the same time a big playground for everyone. It’s adult, so please no under-age avatars … Feel free to explore everywhere, but please be respectful if we are at home. If a door opens on touch, you are welcome to enter.

Catena et Cavea, January 2020

In this instance, “adult” refers to BDSM activities (as some may well guess from the English version of the region’s name). However, the greater portion of this aspect to the region is located underground, and so while there are more visible elements scattered around, they do not interfere with more general exploration / photography. In fact, I’d say viewer / system performance might be a greater cause of issues than anything BDSM related: this is a region with so much packed into it I had to disable shadows, drop draw distance, etc., in order to be able to move comfortably, my viewer was working so hard.

The best way to describe Catena et Cavea’s layout is to note it can be split into some readily-identifiable areas. The south-east corner, for example, comprises a coastal fun fair with some of the rides in a warehouse. Bounded to the east be a ribbon of sand and on the west by a small, rectangular harbour, it almost forms a little headland raised above the sea.

Catena et Cavea, January 2020

A paved road / path runs up towards the beach from the harbour, separating a second warehouse from the rest of the fun fair. The road forms the landing point for the region (where an information board is available for those wishing to learn more about it – just click for a note card), while the second warehouse has been been converted into  a beach house.

North of here sits a terraced vineyard stepping its way up to a shoulder of the island’s rugged centre. Topped by a cemetery and a summer house and garden space. North of this, the land slopes gently back down towards the coast and a circle of standing stones watched over by further ruins inland. A slender finger of rock also extends outwards from the high parts of the region, pointing out to the north-east and distinguished by a rocky arch under which the beach passes, while the flat top of the rock has been pierced by the tip of a giant sword that stands over the arch as if guarding it.

Catena et Cavea, January 2020

The sword is one of several artistic statements scattered throughout the region. These include the sculpture of a giant hand sitting close to the sword, and which converted into a seat, and smaller statues marking the footpaths running around the west side of the island.

This side of the region takes the form of an almost region-long plateau running south-to-north, home to a large house that may be a private residence when Ororeia and Kyra are present, so again some caution in exploring might be advised when approaching it. The house shares the space with a summer house at the southern end of the plateau and a large circular arboretum, which together with the gardens and paths, appear to be open to the public.

Catena et Cavea, January 2020

More houses sit below the plateau to the south. These do not appear to be rentals, but rather available to those wishing to have a little indoor privacy. However, I’m not entirely sure on this, so they are perhaps approached with caution out of respect to how they are being used, if occupied. They are connected to the plateau by a set of steel stairways that ascend the cliffs, passing the entrance to a bar cut back into the upper reach of the cliffs as they do so. This is very much more BDSM-oriented than the visible spaces on the region, and forms the entrance to underground play areas for those interested.

The north side of the uplands running eastwards from the large house, offer a small bar / play area backed by fenced fields for cattle and sheep. Behind this, the region climbs to a peak and a large pavilion area, the path to which lies on the south side of the island, switch backing its way up from the little residential area or via the shoulder with the cemetery. It’s a path that has a secret of its own – the BDSM tunnels are not the only underground element to the region, as the introductory note card indicates. I’m not going to give the secrets away; suffice it to say not all cliff face rock is necessarily just cliff face rock, and you might need to follow the clues in the introductory note card to find your way to the teleport that accesses the caves.

Catena et Cavea, January 2020

As noted, there is a huge amount going on in the region, rendering wise, and this can really hit performance; with shadows enable I was lucky to get much above 6-8 fps), and even with shadows disabled, there were a number of places in the region were my system was still struggling on single digits. If similarly hit, people might find the region an issue, however, given the photogenic edge to the setting, making allowances for the region’s load might be worthwhile.

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