We’re all familiar with the news of regions that disappear from Second Life – I’ve reported on a few that have announced closure myself. These disappearances can often be high-profile, leading too public upset and, and times, a reason for some pundits to blog about how they are further signs of SL’s “demise”.
What often goes unnoticed, however, are the regions that endure, sitting quietly tucked away, offering a place for people to visit year-on-year, unsullied by time. They remain a constant in the face of change over the passing of time, but can so easily pass notice by bloggers as we rush to seek the latest or new region design or setting.
Take Wizardhat Studios, for example. I made my first visit to it almost seven-and-a-half years ago, in October 2012 (see: Wizardhat: dance, explore, contemplate, admire). At that point in time the region was already entering its fourth year, and it became a place I tended to jump back to semi-frequently over the next few years – although I confess that other than that one 2012 blog post, I’ve never actually written about it again in detail.
This fact had been playing on my mind over the course of the last week or so, a nagging feeling that as it’s been about 4 years since I last dropped, I should pop over and take another look. It’s a thought that was reinforced when reader and friend Miro Collas poked me via Twitter about the region. So, off I hopped.
Designed by Karencreek Melson as the home of artist Wizardhat Mornington, the region is an atmospheric mix of reality, and fantasy, making excellent use of region surrounds and off-sim elements to create a great sense of depth. The default Windlight is perhaps a little bleak – I again found myself flicking to one of my preferred custom presets, but that’s about the only “complaint” I have with the region.
This is a place of coastal castles – one a home to Wizardhat’s photography and art, the other set as a home (but open to the public), where rough-faced cliffs climb to one side, water tumbling from them in places. This cliffs form a semi-circle enclosing the lowlands, their waterfalls forming streams that split the land with its mix of woods, flowers, and cart tracks, as the waters make their way to the sea.
It’s also a place of whimsy: a steampunkian flying submarine floats alongside one of the castles, its interior perhaps triggering thoughts of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus and its vast undersea voyages. Not far away, polar bears take a moment in the sun, stretched out on the western beach; apparently the benefactors of a lottery win. Other animals roam free in the form of scripted agents, some of whom I recall from past visits, such as Happy Camper, others of which may well be new – or at least, relatively new. They wander about the lowlands and / or frolic in greeting while birds wheel overhead.
The animals are not the only perambulating occupants of the region. As you explore, you may notice that a couple of the trees appear to be locating themselves. Wait long enough, and you’ll see this is precisely the case, as one or another of the pair calmly uproots itself and goes for a wander, both of them again being scripted agents. It’s clear that these arboreal wanders are an accepted part of the landscape, as an owl is content to sit in the boughs of one as it takes to its roots and scurries across the land.
What is particularly attractive with this region is that while it retains almost all of its original looks (for those of us familiar it from past excursions), it is also home to subtle changes that both maintain its look and appeal whilst also in part renewing it and making it worthy of return visits. Take the hillside turret to the north; once it looked out towards a storm that seemed to be approaching, now it faces stern-faced faced mass of rock sitting just off-sim.
Eclectic, rich in detail, with lots of opportunities for exploration, photography and dance, Wizardhat Studios remains an engaging visit, one given the added fact it is a place now into its 13th year in Second Life.
- Wizardhat Studios (Rated Moderate)