Fantasy Faire 2020: dates announced and merchant applications open

via Fantasy Faire

Fantasy Faire, the largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, will take place in 2020 from Thursday, April 23rd, through Sunday May 10th, 2020 inclusive, with the scheduled activities programme running between April 23rd and Monday, May 4th.

The theme for this year’s event has yet to be formally announced, although at the time of writing, the banner still displays the 2019 theme – but this may change. In the meantime, merchant applications for this year’s Faire opened on Wednesday, February 12th with the following announcement:

Have you been reloading this page for months, waiting for this moment? Have you been having nightmares of waking up in May and realizing you forgot about the Faire? Did you become a Fairelander last year and now cannot wait to become a bigger part of the annual enchantment?

For all of you struggling with the Faire-withdrawal, the moment of that first step of the spring is here.

As with previous years, Fantasy Faire 2019 will comprise multiple shopping regions offering space to Second Life’s top Fantasy Creators, offering the most comprehensive opportunity for fantasy shopping. In addition, there will be further regions focusing on entertainment, the Fairelands Quest, art and more.

The Shrine Tree, Fantasy Faire 2019

The merchant opportunities run from L$2,500 for a Themed Store with a 300 Land Impact allowance through to L$60,000 to sponsor an entire shopping region with (among other things) a store with 1,600 LI, plus merchant name in the region’s title and landmark, and region crossing recognition.

Merchants interested in participating in this year’s Fantasy Faire should visit the guidelines and applications page for full details on the available opportunities.

As always, I’ll be doing my best to provide updates and relay news on Fantasy Faire through the pages of this blog – but to keep right up-to-date on things, be sure to visit the Fantasy Faire website, and follow the event via the social media links below.

Additional Links

Finding The Muse in Second Life

The Muse – The Library, February 2020 – click any image for full size

The Muse is a new Homestead region design that has recently opened to the public to offer “a place to find your own muse”. It is a group build by the wonderfully named United Nerds of Building, led by FenrisJohnson, and offers a series of interlinked settings available for exploration, photography, romance, dancing and relaxation.

In all there are six core areas within the region to be explored, with the landing point – which is not enforced – routed to the region’s sky platform; the remaining five being at ground level within a contiguous landscape. These five locations are: the Library, the Elven Ballroom, Gypsy Lane, Nemo’s Rest and The Pond, and all of them are connected to one another and the sky platform via teleport boards – but exploration on foot is the best way to appreciate those on the ground.

The Muse – Elven Ballroom, February 2020

The Library sits close to the centre of the region, adjoining a mesa that rises above the otherwise flat terrain. It is reached via a curving stairway that rises from a point just around the corner from the teleport board serving it, the path to it running between the sheer face of the mesa and a fast-flowing stream that runs outward from it and to the sea. The building is one suggestive of great age and with a fantasy lean. And while the Library may not have a plethora of books for avid readers, it does present a cosy retreat with views out over the landscape to the surrounding off-shore (off-sim) islets.

A walk along a narrow viaduct to one side of the Library and then between tall trees, will bring you to the Pond, a broad body of water occupying the top of the plateau that feeds four falls that drop into narrow streams to cut the landscape into four unequal quarters, each stream crossed by an identical humpbacked bridge, a mix of footpath and rutted track connecting them.

The Muse – Nemo’s Rest, February 2020

Two of these bridges are reached from the steps leading up to the The Library. Go north along the west side of the path, and crossing the bridge in that direction will deliver you to the arches and circle of the Elven Ballroom, the arches forming a pair of walks leading to and from the circular stone dance floor that is ghost an ethereal light by spheres hanging within the boughs of the surrounding trees.

Eastwards from the Library’s steps, the path passes over another bridge and to low grasslands bordering Nemo’s Rest, the home to the grounded wreck of a submarine, its hollowed-out shell of its hull forming a cosy hideaway.

The Muse – Gypsy Row, February 2020

Beyond both Nemo’s Rest and the Elven Ballroom sits Gypsy Lane, a row of three large Romany caravans sitting under the lee of the plateau and between it and a coastal woodland running along the north-east side of the island. Each of the caravans offers another cosy place to spend time, each one far enough from its neighbour(s) to invoke a sense of privacy.

The skyborne part of the region offers a large dance floor encircled by floating islands set against a backdrop of deep space. The dance floor has an animated wave-like finish to it and coral garden at its centre, while the islands surrounding it are connected one to the next by rope bridges and steps leading down to the first from the dance area. Each of the islands has its own small attraction – places to sit, Tai Chi, etc., – whilst floating a short distance away is a little space station that presents a further private space, while the local blue whale offers rides around the platform for those so inclined.

The Muse – Space, February 2020

A setting that is ideal for easy exploration and offers much for avatar-related photography, The Muse is a nicely designed and serene in setting. Our thanks to Liss Beattie for pointing us to it!

SLurls

Peaceful Play, the home of The Muse is rated Adult.

  • The Muse Consensual Kinks, rated Adult)

Sansar: lay-offs, rumours, and confusion

Courtesy of Linden Lab

Update, February 21st: please also see Lab seeking a “plan B” to secure Sansar’s future.

Update, February 13th: Linden Lab offered a statement on Second Life that references the lay-offs. I’ve posted separately on that with some additional notes on SL. See: An Update About Second Life (Linden Lab) and Linden Lab provide statement on SL in the wake of Sansar lay-offs.

On Tuesday, February 11th, Ryan Schultz reported a claim that Linden Lab had shut down development of Sansar, their Social VR platform, and that there had been a large number of lay-offs (up to 40 of the remaining staff of approximately 60-75 people).

Unsurprisingly, the news gave rise to a lot of speculation on the platform’s status and future. I have a request for information in with the Lab, but due to time differences, I’ve yet to receive a reply (the major reason I had thus far held off on writing about the matter – assuming I do get a reply. But in the interim, here is what has been stated:

  • The Lab is rumoured to have shut down Sansar development.
  • Some 40 staff are rumoured to have been laid off.
  • Some staff are rumoured to have been transferred back to Second Life.

The only official word in response thus far on the matter is a Sansar Discord post by Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg:

So, I’m only going to say this tonight as it’s late. We can pick up the conversation in the following days. Yes, there were lay-offs today. A truly wonderful group of people. But as you can see Sansar is up and running. We are still in discussion about next steps. Including with the wonderful group of people. More to come. Don’t give up yet. Go create and have fun. Not much point in speculating until we can tell you more.

So it would appear the rumour of lay-offs is accurate, if not necessarily the number. There is always a temptation to dig into potential departures, but I would rather not unduly add to speculation on that front until more is known via official sources.

In terms of Sansar staff transferring back to Second Life, it is worth noting that a number actually did so in late 2019 (or at least, some transferred back while some may have resumed splitting their time between Sansar and SL – Monty Linden, for example resumed posting to the SL forums on topics at the end of 2019, while one of the rendering team moved back to SL from Sansar). So, at this point, it is not clear if there may have been further moves from Sasnsar back to SL, or whether the current rumours on on such moves is the result of people picking up on last year’s shifts.

As it is, Sansar currently remains accessible to users (I’m in Sansar as I write this), and events through until the end of March 2020 remain active in the Sansar events page. However, this should not be taken to mean “business as usual”; until the Lab comments further on the matter, nothing can really be taken for granted either in terms of Sansar’s continuance or otherwise.

On a general note, I would hope some form of clarification / statement of intent regarding Sansar is made sooner rather than later. This is because news of lay-offs + rumours and speculation, particularly coming on top of the lay-offs at the start of November 2019 and the shift in emphasis with the platform that occurred at that time, tend to rock confidence for those actively engaged in Sansar (and there are a fair number of creators very active within the platform), and can also easily result in FUD and rumour spreading well beyond the platform, potentially to its detriment.

As further information becomes available I’ll follow-up on this post with either updates or additional articles.