Thermae’s gentle beauty in Second Life

Thermae, May 2020 – click an image for full size

Thermae generally refers to Roman imperial bathing complexes featuring heated baths and that also formed a centre for socialising among the better-off. Within Second Life, Sage Allegiere – famed for Gardens of Absentia (see: The Garden of Absentia on Second Life) – uses the name for another of her public region creations.

The name is not in any way inappropriate; this is a place where visitors can literally bathe in a creation that reflects nature at her best – although the major structure to be found on the main island might admittedly at first be taken for a spa or similar offering. The setting is that of group of temperate islands  – quite where is entirely up to the imagination – with the outlying isles protecting this, the innermost of the group, as it sits lower and perhaps otherwise more vulnerable to the winds and storms that might otherwise pass.

Thermae, May 2020

The landing point sits just off of the centre of the region, on the slopes of one of its highest reaches. An inlet cuts into the island on the far side of this hill, a balloon supported bridge crossing the landward end of the the gorge it forms. Down the slope from the landing point sit a cosy cottage with a wild flower garden guarded by a wrought iron fence. find the opening in  this fence and a gentle grassy path will take you down to a shingle beach, one of four scattered around the island’s coast.

Most of the island is crowned by young trees – although there are some that have reached maturity awaiting discovery along the ruggedness of the island’s back. In fact, so rugged is the island, that there are few laid paths – exploration is a matter of finding the lesser slopes in the grass that lead down and around the rockier parts of the island.

Thermae, May 2020

This means that finding your way around the island is a matter of careful exploration – and given there are multiple possible paths, this adds to the richness of discovery through exploration. One of these paths leads to a rock arch that also passes over the inland end of the southern inlet to join with the bridge mentioned above.

The path from here leads fairly directly to the large house mentioned above. Sitting on a high, flat table of rock, it has a open garden and an inner terrace. The garden is set as if for a party, the terrace as well, although at other times it might make for shaded conversations. Inside, the long rooms of the villa are comfortably furnished, one wing forming a lounge, the other a bedroom, the corner between them a rustic-style kitchen.

Thermae, May 2020

A second garden sits below this villa, nestled into the south-west of the island. Further around to the north, a second inlet has been formed as a result of water breaking out from a table under the the rocks to splash down over the rocks. A further shingle beach runs around the far side of this inlet, lanterns floating gently over it and the the bay formed by inlet and falls, although reaching it is a case of finding more of the paths running between the trees and the islands cliffs.

The north side of the island is home to another beach, a broad swathe of grass rolling down to it from the uplands of the island, suggesting water may have also once flowed down it to the sea.

Thermae, May 2020

Off the coast from this side of the island are three smaller isles that form a line running to the north-west. The outermost of these three looks to be a private home, so straying by air in that direction is perhaps bed avoided so as not to risk invading privacy. A further knob of rock to the north-east is home to a light house.

Sitting beneath a setting Sun, Thermae makes for a high photogenic setting with much to enjoy and plenty of places to sit, in gardens, on benches, on the water and under the trees. In all, a highly pleasing visit.

Thermae, May 2020

SLurl Details

  • Thermae (Thermae, rated Moderate)

Second Life Premium Plus roll-out postponed

I was unable to get to the Web User Group meeting on Wednesday, May 5th, and it is taking a while to catch up with things. However, one item of discussion that I’ve been made aware of  – with thanks to Lucia et al – is that of Premium Plus.

This is, as most know, the new subscription level, placed “above”, so to speak, that of Premium, that Linden Lab have been working on.

No specifics as to what it might include have to date been released, making it the subject of much speculation in forums and at things like the Web User Group meetings, but it had been indicated that the roll-out of Premium Plus would follow some time after the deployment of Name Changes, which happened in early April (see Linden Lab announces “the return of last names”, and some notes).

Indeed, updated server-side support for Premium subscriptions – including Premium Plus – have already been deployed, and updates to more easily handle data relating to subscription benefits have also been made to the viewer, and will filter out to  TPVs over time.

However, the plans for the formal deployment of Premium Plus have now changed, as first revealed at the May 5th Web User Group meeting; the change, and the reasons for it were further confirmed to me by Grumpity Linden on Tuesday, May 12th.

We have made the decision to delay the deployment of Premium Plus based on two key factors:

  1. We want to be focused on our Uplift project (move to the cloud) and to minimize distraction for our development, QA, and Ops teams. While we’ve laid a lot of groundwork, quite a bit more still remains to finish Premium Plus.
  2. The pandemic has brought a lot of financial uncertainty to people all around the world and we know many of our Residents have been hit hard.

We are very happy that SL has provided an outlet for people where they can connect, escape, engage safely, and earn a living or supplement their income as well. But we also realise that introducing a higher-priced service level in this time would be really ham-handed.

– Grumpity Linden, May 12th, 2020

As to when might we see Premium Plus – or something like it – made available? Grumpity continued:

I don’t know that there’s a whole lot more to say. I can’t promise a time line, but early 2021 is reasonable to expect. If we find ourselves in a position to move up that time line, we’ll certainly explore that. Without any actual plans to that effect, we may find, for example, that a different type of service level than Premium Plus is a better offering for the times we find ourselves in come Fall.

Given the current global economic  / income environment,  delaying the deployment of the new Premium level is a sensible move, for the reason Grumpity states. As and when there is further news on Premium Plus, I’ll endeavour to provide an update – and in a more timely manner!