SL18B: your pocket guide to the celebrations

SL18B Welcome Area

Update: details of the new Linden Homes Fantasy Preview have been added following their unveiling during the opening ceremony.

Second Life marks its 18th anniversary in 2021 with a week-long celebration of music, entertainment, art and more across multiple regions, eight of which are given over to exhibits from Second Life residents, and which include the companion Shop and Hop event.

The gates have now opened, but as there was not opportunity for any previews by bloggers, etc., in advance of the opening, we’re all scrabbling around trying to put things together. Hopefully, however, this will serve as a shorthand guide, and my apologies for any omissions.

The regions are, as usual, split between core event regions as exhibitor regions. The core regions include:

Key Events

In terms of major events, what does SL18B hold? Well, the best way the stay abreast of all that’s going on is via the official calendar of events, which I’ve embedded below. Use the Week / Month options, top right to change the calendar view. Major events are also summarised below the calendar.

Grand Opening

Patch Linden will be formally opening SL18B at 11:00 SLT as a Lab Gab special via the Second Life You Tube channel, after which Strawberry Linden will be hosting a tour of the SL18B regions.

Meet the Lindens

Meet the Lindens is now a staple of the SLB celebrations, and this year we’ll be hearing from – and putting questions to – the leadership team of Grumpity, Brett and Patch collectively and individually through the week at the SL18B auditorium, with things rounded-out by another session with the Moles of the LDPW. Catch the sessions as follows:

Day (Times SLT) Lindens
Monday 21st June
 Lab Gab SL18B Special with the Leadership Team (Grumpity Linden, Brett Linden and Patch Linden) via You Tube, with steaming into the SLB auditorium – Second life You Tube Channel
Tuesday 22nd June
Patch Linden, Vice President of Second Life Product Operations – Live Stream link
Wednesday 23rd, June
Grumpity Linden, Vice President of Second Life Product – Live Stream Link
Thursday 24th June
Brett Linden, Vice President of Marketing – Live Stream Link
Friday 25th June
Meet the Moles – Live Stream Link

SL8B Music Fest

The SL18B Music Fest will kick-off at 13:00  SLT on Thursday, June 17th, and conclude at 19:00 SLT on Saturday, June 19th. It will feature 25 artists performing at the SL18B Main Stage, with the line-up as follows:

Time (SLT) June 17th June 18th June 19th
09;00 Randy De Lucia
10;00 KATIA
11:00 SpiritLed
Noon Seli Blackmore Semina
13:00 Milan Zepp Toxie Skye Galaxy
14:00 Rogue Galaxy and The Tiny Rebel Band Staring At The Sun Fly Kugin
15:00 Oblee Dandy Pianoman Marqs DeSade
16:00 Maximillion Kleene Mimi Carpenter Dude
17;00 Erik Kottzen Ruvilyn Gatchie Effinjay
18:00 Joaquin Gustav Wytchwhisper Sadofsky Gabriel da Silva
19:00 Gabriella Rothschild
20:00 Kendall Jigsaw

Shop and Hop

Sixteen regions and 320 creators, all offering a 20% or more discount on items and a free (non-group) gift for shoppers, with the event running until July 6th,2021. Shopping SLurls below!

Aurelian Chickory Dahlia Frosted
Gleaming Gilded Golden Halcyon
Hollyhock Jubilant Lupine Poppy
Snapdragon Snowflake Sugarplum Tinseled

Note that Shop and Hop regions are rated Moderate.

A full list of participating creators with direct SLurls  to there S&H stores is available here.

Other Points of Interest

The Tapestry of Time

First presented in 2018, the region-wide Tapestry of Time presents visitor with a walk-through of Second Life’s history from 2003 through to the present day using images, text and videos. True, not everything has been recorded, but there’s enough within the region to be of interest to the historically minded.

SL18B Tapestry of Time with the Ebbe Altberg memorial

Of special note this year is a replica of the Ebbe Altberg memorial, which can also be found at Altberg Island (see Paying respects to Ebbe Altberg in Second Life for more).

Linden Homes Fantasy Theme Preview

During the SL18B opening ceremony, Patch Linden revealed the next theme for Premium Membership linden Homes will be a Fantasy themed series of four styles, and the preview area at SL18B was opened to visitors. See Previewing the Linden Homes Fantasy Theme for more.

The Linden Homes Fantasy Theme preview at SL18B

The Gifts Areas

The SL18B Gifting Areas offer gifts from the Birthday exhibitors and from merchants participating in the Shop & Hop event.

Exhibitor Regions

As is common for SLB events, the mix of content is varied, and the representation of interests broad. Role-play groups, arts, communities, are represented across the eight regions open to exhibitors; some are static, others are interactive in nature.

Direct links to the exhibitor regions can be found below:

SLB Amaze SL1B Astonish SLB Captivate SLB Electrify
SLB Incredible SLB Pizzazz SLB Sparkle SLB Stunning

Information / SLurls for individual exhibitors can be found in the SL18B Community Experiences pages of the Destination Guide,  and I hope to visit and write about some during the week.

Explore the SL18B regions via the automated pod tour cars, courtesy of Yavanna Llanfair

Advice On A Better Experience

The SL18B regions – celebratory and Shop & Hop can get exceptionally busy. To help ease the pain for you:

  • If you have a high draw distance, reduce it to  as low as is comfortable for your enjoyment.
  • Turn off shadows in your viewer if you usually have them enabled.
  • Go to Preferences → Graphics and reduce the slider Max # Non-Imposter Avatars to a minimum.
  • Remove texture-heavy HUDs to free-up more texture memory.
  • To assist the simulator, remove unnecessary scripted attachments.
  • If you are using Firestorm and still encountering issues, try going to Preferences Graphics → Rendering and:
    • If you are running a 64-bit version of the viewer, make sure Restrict Maximum Texture Resolution to 512px (will require a viewer restart).
    • Use the Max Texture Quality Level drop-down to set texture rendering quality to Mid.

Destination Guide Links

The calm of Bella’s Lullaby in Second Life

Bella’s Lullaby, June 2021 – click any image for full size

Bella’s Lullaby is the name Bella (BellaSwan Blackheart) has given to her Homestead region design I had occasion to visit in June, courtesy of another pointer from Shawn Shakespeare.

A quiet, natural setting of two main islands surrounded by off-region hills and embellished with a subtle and fitting sound scape, this is a delightfully tranquil setting that sits easy on the eye and most likely will soothe troubled nerves.

Bella’s Lullaby, June 2021

The larger of the two islands is home to a variety of trees scattered across its low form – Scots pine, fir, oak, linden, and so on, giving it a temperate feel. Between the trees, and occasionally shaded by them, is a smattering of small buildings – cabins, sheds, Tuscan style house – that give the suggestion this may once have been a farm smallholding, but which has now become a retreat of some kind.

Nor do the trees or buildings dominate the island; there is plenty of open grass where the young shoots of the rapeseed plant (which tend to be called by their Japanese name nanohana) freely grow, giving a sense of open space and room to wander and breathe.

Bella’s Lullaby, June 2021

The smaller of the two islands sits to the west, separated by a shallow channel marked by rocks that rise above the water, and by snakeweed and water moss. Devoid of trees, it is home to  more nanohana and grass, curtains of shrubs partially lining the low hump of its pate like hair on an old man’s head.

This smaller island is dominated by an old warehouse unit – what role it might once have served now lost, although the passing trawler suggests that perhaps, once upon a time, it may have had something to do with local fishing. Now it sits as another isolated retreat, partially furnished, a little (static) boat with outboard motor sitting at the dock apparently the means to travel back and forth to the large island.

Bella’s Lullaby, June 2021

The southern end of this smaller island forms a slender finger, edged by rock, a place where the nanohana gives way to poppies and daisies and other meadow flowers that offer a splash of colour to the island and which wash around the feet of the oblate water tank atop its sturdy tower.

There are a couple of tiny islets that also make up the setting. One is a flat-backed slab of rock, is home to a small lighthouse; the second is a little more robust, a rocky table with its own sandy-shale beach. In difference to the rest of the region, this little corner sports palm trees that grow alongside what appears to be an old rail carriage long ago separated from its bogies and converted into a cosy two-roomed shack.

Bella’s Lullaby, June 2021

These two southern islets are overlooked by the region’s main landing point (although this is not enforced), sitting on a square deck built out over the shallows surrounding the main island.

Close by is a sign that draws on motto of the Baltimore Grotto: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints (the motto itself continuing Kill nothing but time), itself a variation of a phrase from the “Leave No Trace” philosophy of naturalist all over the world. It’s a perfect sentiment by which to start an exploration of the region.

Bella’s Lullaby, June 2021

From the landing point, a rough track runs north between several of the island’s little buildings to the Tuscan style house. It’s a natural way to start explorations, although the  cabins either side of the path are liable to tempt feet away from it.

Not that this is a bad thing – there really is much to discover here without the region feeling an any way overcrowded. As such, roaming freely (if under the watchful eyes of the local cats!) is the best way to proceed.

Bella’s Lullaby, June 2021

From landing point to old ranger’s tower, and from water tower to east side patio, Bella’s Lullaby has been beautifully crafted to offer a place to explore or to sit and enjoy company and comes rich in opportunities for photography.

SLurl Details

SL18B: Meet the Lindens – who and when – UPDATED

SL18B Meet the Lindens will focus on the leadership team of Brett, Grumpity and Patch

Update: Monday June 21st: well, I did say some aspects of SL18B may cause me to eat my hat, and the first Meet the Lindens session is one of them! In difference to the opinion voiced at the end of this article, the first of these sessions  – Meet the Leadership Team will feature board member and Executive Chair, Brad Oberwager (Oberwolf Linden).

A staple part of the SL Birthday celebrations over the past few years has been the Meet the Linden sessions. Featuring selected members of the Lab’s management team who appear each day on stage, either individually or in pairs and groups, to discuss (almost) anything related to Linden Lab and Second Life, the sessions are a popular source of information straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

2021’s SL18B continues the tradition, offering another a week-long series of Meet the Linden events. These have now been formally announced via a blog post from the Lab, which provides information on them and other streaming events that will be taking place during the week commencing Monday, June 21st.

Featuring the core Leadership team, this year’s Meet the Lindens events kick-off with a special Lab Gab Live Stream on Monday, June 21st, and the complete line-up of sessions is as follows:

Day (Times SLT) Lindens
Monday 21st June
Lab Gab SL18B Special with the Leadership Team (Grumpity, Brett, and Patch Linden) together with Executive Chair Brad Oberwager (Oberwolf Linden).

You Tube Link

Tuesday 22nd June
Patch Linden, Vice President of Second Life Product Operations.

You Tube link

Wednesday 23rd, June
Grumpity Linden, Vice President of Second Life Product, who will be discussing several Second Life initiatives including recent efforts focusing on growth, a stronger, more balanced economy, movement towards better community cohesion.

You Tube Link

Thursday 24th June
Brett Linden, Vice President of Marketing, who will be talking about recent user acquisition and retention efforts for Second Life including advertising, public relations, content strategy, and social media.

You Tube Link

Friday 25th June
Meet the Moles. The Moles are builders, scripters, and content creators employed by Linden Lab to work in the Linden Department of Public Works.

Live Stream Link

You can watch any of these session in two ways:

  • By being a part of the live audience in the SL18B auditorium,
  • By following the You Tube live stream links above at the time of the event.
    • In addition, the Tuesday through Friday events are listed on the Lab’s Meet the Employees page on You Tube, together with pass SLB and Lab Gab sessions.

I confess to being a little disappointed that we’ll not be introduced to / hearing from Executive Chair Brad Oberwager (Oberwolf Linden) or Chief of Staff Cammy Bergren (Cammy Linden); it would have been nice to hear from one or the other, even if via a Lab Gab session. I certainly hope there may yet be an opportunity for such a session in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, I hope to have summaries of all this year’s Meet the Lindens sessions available through this blog as soon as possible after each has taken place.