Dipping into a Sugar Mine in Second Life

Sugar Mine, November 2020 – click any image for full size

Sugar Mine is a Homestead region I learned about from Annie Brightstar. For those who are not aware of Annie’s work, she curates information on places to visit – regions, art exhibitions, installations, and events – and provides information on them through her Scoop it! pages and via her Twitter feed, which I tend to drop into from time-to-time as it is an excellent reference for things I may have otherwise missed.

The region is the home to Tomster Starflare and his gardener Gioia Sautereau, with the majority of it open for people to explore – providing visitors only attempt to reach those areas accessible on foot from the landing point or via the the teleports. The latter come in two forms: teleport discs and also experience portals (be sure to accept the experience when offered) that take a number of forms: mirrors, doorways, floating portals, stairways, and so on. The “on foot” aspect of visits should be kept in mind, as there is an adjoining region that’s part of the same group, but not necessarily part of the same setting.

Sugar Mine, November 2020

As a region carrying an Adult rating, there are aspects of the setting that lean towards BDSM – but nothing particularly overt (in fact, it’s so subtle, you might actually miss it). It is also a place that’s a little hard to describe; carrying a strong industrial thread, alongside something of a deco / steampunk vibe in places, together with hints of dystopia and of futurism. All of which makes for an engaging mix.

Many of these elements are evident at the landing point: an industrial wharf watched over by a steampunk lighthouse, whilst a hover truck floats under the arch that marks the main road  away from the wharf – although there is a route for those on foot that goes via the nearby beach and stairs up the neighbouring headland.

Sugar Mine, November 2020

Both the footpath and the zig-zagging road lead the way up to a plaza built on top of tall, deco-style and high-rise buildings. On its way to the plaza, the road offers a view out over one of the more dystopian aspects of the region: a semi-collapsed Eiffel Tower (of which more anon). A hover barge floating off the shoulder of the hill facing it offers a futuristic counter-point.

The plaza itself has buildings on three sides, with the fourth largely open, presenting a view across the waters below to a island that matches the plaza in elevation. Water tumbles from a dam-like outflow to drop unimpeded to the waters below, passing the double lines of tram tracks that appear from a tunnel as it does so. This water drop and other elements at the top of the hill  continue the industrial theme, whilst the three buildings each offer a deco-esque look. One of these forms a cinema,  another a large saloon club, and the third appears to be purely decorative. A  steam-power motorcycle and British Moran Plus 4 add a further mix to the setting.

Sugar Mine, November 2020

The club offers a its own rich mix of themes: sci-fi, retro, and more. It is also the place where the fun may well begin, depending upon how you find your way around. In one corner is the image of a flight of stairs. Walk into it, and you’ll be teleported to a building some distance away that might otherwise be an annexe to the bar. This in turn offers two further teleport points – stairs (you’ll need to look for them) back to the main bar, and a doorway to the fallen Eiffel Tower.

The stairway in the main bar is not the only teleport portal to be found there, there is a second that leads to a further room below ground, which also has its own portal. There are more portals to be found elsewhere (notably on the old Eiffel Tower),  but I don’t want to give too much away about where they lead. Suffice it to say that some may be one-way, leading you from point to point (including across the water to that other tall island with its own water tumbling from multiple outlets on hight, and marked by the sliced hull of an old Soviet-era submarine).

Sugar Mine, November 2020

However, the portals are not the only means of finding more places to explore – at the landing point, the plaza and elsewhere are teleport discs that offer the means to hop around. most notably, these will also offer the means to reach the region’s caversn – just left-click to select your destination, then right-click and teleport.

For those who wish, dances are available at various points, while the high, flat top of the smaller island offers a semi-natural retreat with a large body of blue water and places to sit. This island also offers a way down to the ground-level buildings that support the high plaza. These have a curious Japanese aspect to their signage , adding a further twist to things, although most are just façades for the most part.

Sugar Mine, November 2020

Genuinely unique in its approach and design, Sugar Mine makes for an  engaging visit edged with a sense of being a magical mystery tour.

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