The charming whimsy of a Lightning Bolt in Second Life

Lightning Bolt, February 2021

Lightning Bolt is the name selected by Valarie Muffin Meow (Zalindah) for her latest region creation. It’s an interesting name that appears to be less connected with the region’s presentation than with the fact that it is likely only to be around for a limited period of time, as the About Land description notes:

Made for a special wolf. A temporary nature escape to explore & spend time with love ones. Full of animal friends to hug.

I assume the wolf in question is Dice Starlight, Zalindah’s SL partner – but the region is going to appeal to anyone who appreciates the more unusual, and / or places with a focus on animals and / or with a lean towards the oriental and / or who enjoy whimsy and a twist of fantasy.

Lightning Bolt, February 2021

Those who visited the now-closed Kintsugi – which I wrote about back in May 2020 –  will know that Zalindah very much the eye for creating environments that are captivating and which can, as with the now departed Kintsugi, tickle the grey matter.

With Lightning Bolt, this eye for design and attention to detail is very much on display through the setting, although rather than tickling the grey matter, this is a location intended to simply delight the eye and lift the spirit, and it does so quite marvellously.

Lightning Bolt, February 2021

Forming a curving island that captures within its open arms a north-facing bay, the landscape rises from the landing point on the western headland to the hills enclosing the bay, before dropping gently down to lowlands on the eastern side.

From bamboo groves to walks between tall fir trees and over razor-backed ridges and through grass and wetlands and with a mix of building – some with a Japanese lean – scattered throughout, the setting offers a lot to take in without even getting to what makes it even more appealing to eye, heart and camera.

Lightning Bolt, February 2021

This comes in the form of a series of animal-focused vignettes, each of which exists within its own space and can be taken as being independent of the rest whilst also being fully a part of the overall setting. From lions to deer to cats to dogs, with pandas, otters, pine marten  foxes, rabbits, bears, red panda lynx and orca, all in the mix. Lightning Bolt is even a place where we can even say, “here be dragons!”, as witnessed at the landing point and up on the hills above the bay. And,of course, there are the wolves.

Not only do these animals come in a multiple of species, they also come in a wide variety of forms, large and small and even entirely plushy and  / or cuddly. The best way to see them all is to follow the path from the landing point as it winds up through the bamboo and fit trees and thence around the hills.

Lightning Bolt, February 2021

Doing so with introduce you to the lynx, lion and the first of the dragons, before moving you on to some of the smaller critters – and be sure to take a careful look at the stone tiers of the garden on the slopes below to catch the otters.

From the top of the hills the path curves onwards past the strangest collection of sheep you’re likely to see, to dragons that look to have a hint of gryphon blood in them. The route then drops down to the eastern side of the island, where more awaits.  A nice touch is that as you explore, you’ll more-than-like encounter collision triggers that will use local chat to display a description of the vignette you are about to enter.

Lightning Bolt, February 2021

Within the buildings spread across the region are further scenes to appreciate. These range from the cosy / romantic and little places simply to sit and pass the time, some of them including their own little critters to appreciate.

There are also numerous outdoor spots to visit, from the wolves in their ruins through a little bamboo pond of koi, to my favourite the piano (surprise!) on its own little island where you can play to an appreciative red panda, enjoy a cup of tea and watch the orca in the bay.

Lightning Bolt, February 2021

Throughout its design, Lightning Bolt offers a tremendous amount to see and enjoy. No specific region environment has been set, so I do recommend experimenting with your EEP setting as the region’s depth can be greatly added to with a well selected Fixed Sky setting.

Given its proposed short-term availability of the setting, I strongly recommend that if you haven’t already done so – hop along and pay visit.

Lightning Bolt, February 2021

SLurl Details

A little Edelweiss in Second Life

The CONVAIR Edelweiss Chalet at Isla Caitinara with a Trompe Loeil pavilion on the deck

In December 2020 I picked up the CONVAIR Bridge House by Tobias Convair for use on our main island home in Second Norway (see: A Bridge House in Second Life). It’s a nice looking house with a good internal layout and it fits well with the Second Norway environment, having something of a Scandinavian feel.

It is also a design that gave me something of a taste for CONVAIR builds. So when we recently visited The Redwoods (see: Exploring The Redwoods of Second Life) and saw another CONVAIR build being used as the park lodge, I started getting the itch to see how well it might fit as yet another alternative for our house – and as it turns out, it does so fairly well.

The design in question is the Edelweiss Chalet, a two-storey design with wood exterior and exposed beams and woodwork inside. Unfurnished at purchase, it is priced at L$2,200 both in-world and on the Marketplace, and is supplied Copy and Modify. While delivered boxed, it doesn’t come with a rezzer. Instead, the entire 99 LI building is a single item that can be pulled out of inventory and positioned as required.

The layout comprises a single large main room on the ground floor with two smaller rooms at one end. the upper floor area is split between a bedroom and gallery overlooking the main room and one end and reached via a staircase, with a loft-like space accessed via a ladder located at the other end of the house. This sits over a broad verandah that also continues along the length of one side of the house.

The CONVAIR Edelweiss Chalet at Isla Caitinara with a Trompe Loeil pavilion on the deck

This verandah is one of the attractions of the house. As it is raised on stilts, the house can sit partially over water, making the long arm of the verandah – with suitable modification – ideal for mooring boats.

Having said that, the slits were something we needed at Isla Caitinara, as the water’s edge there is sufficiently elevated. This allowed me to locate the house at ground level, the verandah neatly forming a part of the existing moorings while also allowing me to remove the eternal steps leading up to the verandah and to the two doors leading into the house on the other side, together with their attendant transparent prims. Making the space available to boats was then a simple matter of removing the railings guarding the edge of the verandah.

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In terms of living space, this is a house that really has a lot to offer: the main room has plenty of space for use as a living / dining / kitchen area, as I hope the slideshow above demonstrates. The two additional downstairs rooms could be used as a separate bathroom and toilet or as a small bathroom / toilet and second bedroom. The upstairs bedroom has a reasonable amount of space, although given the slope of the ceilings, fitting taller furnishings might be a little difficult.

I particularly like the gallery overlooking the main room; this both offers a lower ceiling for a kitchen area helping to make it feel cosier, whilst also offering a nice location for one of my pianos so that it isn’t crowding out the main room – but the space could just as easily be a little office area or similar. Across the main room, the “loft space” is similarly very flexible – it could be a little reading space with books or – as we’ve done, a little snuggle spot, made warmer through the addition of a wood-burning stove that uses the main fireplace flue.

That said there are a few niggles with the build. There is a slight over-reliance in the use of transparent prims. The main floor,for example, uses a mesh and two transparent prims – so why not simply forego the former and make the latter visible and texture hem? That’s what I did. The use of baked shadows can also be an annoyance when modding the build. Again, replacing the main floor solved this in part, although I had to retexture the exterior walls in order to get rid of other nuisances. Finally, some of the textures are disappointingly blurred: I’m still fiddling with options to replace the texture used for the wooden beams.

A mug of hot chocolate before bed, after outfitting the new house

Fortunately, there aren’t insurmountable problems;  as noted above, I solved them easily enough, allowing for fixing the texture blurring. I will admit I felt this let what is otherwise a very capable and worthwhile design down. certainly, the interior mesh faces are more than sufficient to allow comfortable re-decorating of the walls if you wish (I did!), and as noted you get a good deal of space in which to make a home – indoors and out.

Link and SLurl