Category Archives: My Bits

Teeing off in Second Life

There are many, many activities you can try in Second Life which you may not by able to participate in or enjoy in the physical world. For me this has meant – among other things – playing the odd round of golf (a game I am not overly fond of outside of SL!).

I first tried my hand at a full 18-hole golf course in 2014, when I visited the AERO Golf Club (you can read about that visit here). As I hadn’t been golfing for a while, I suggested to Caitlyn we give it a try together. Given the last time I visited AERO was in mid-2015, it seemed natural for us to head there.

I have no idea how many golf systems are available in Second Life, but the one employed by AERO is very easy to get to grips with and enjoy.  The course itself – the work of Kaja Ashland and Marcus Bremser – is very well laid-out, and was last redesigned in (I think) 2015. Visitors arrive on the east side of the region, on the front terrace of the clubhouse. A quick walk through to the back terrace will take you past the pool and to the golf shack tucked into a corner where you can pick-up your clubs, HUD and scorecard.

There are no fees for playing at AERO, but you will need to join the in-world group. When you have done so, touch the golf bag in the hut to receive your club (actually three in one), HUD and scorecard. Wear / add all three, and you are set to go! The first tee is just a short walk from the hut; a par 4, it takes you down the length of the canal which almost cuts the course in two.

AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn tees off!

AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn tees off!

Game play is a case of selecting your teeing spot between the two markers, selecting your club type from the HUD (driver, obviously when teeing-off), and then taking note of the wind speed and direction (indicated by a particle cloud which appears next to you when you select your club). The LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys can then be used to adjust the angle at which you will strike the ball (indicated by a pointer on the ground) to compensate for the wind and get your ball down towards the green. Then it is a case of making sure the cursor is over the ground and then clicking and holding the left mouse button to both commence your swing and select the force with which you hit the ball (indicated by a power bar). Releasing the mouse button completes your swing.

AERO Golf club: about to chip the ball onto the green. Note the wind speed cloud and direction pointer

AERO Golf Club: about to chip the ball onto the green. Note the wind speed cloud and direction pointer

The flight of a ball is indicated by a line. By default, this is white, but you can use the Settings option on the HUD to select a preferred colour – handy when playing in a group. Additional strokes are played the same way, with the option of using a wedge for chipping up onto a green or getting out of a bunker, and a putter when on the green. Throughout it all your scorecard will track your shots and keep score.

The holes themselves vary in difficulty – and shorter par holes are not necessarily easier than those with a dog leg or other obstacle: the shorter par needs a steady finger on the strength of your swing or you can end up well into the rough on the far side of the hole!

The eleventh hole has a wicked shot across a bay which cuts into the course, requiring you select your teeing-off spot with care. Should your ball fall into the water at any time, the easiest thing is to remain where you are and try again.

One might argue that it would be nice to have a wider selection of clubs – particularly if you are a golfer – than just the driver, wedge and putter. But the truth is, these are more than adequate and mean that a round of golf is enjoyable without becoming taxing or complicated for the occasional / novice player.

I do have a couple of very small tips: if you use an over-the-shoulder camera view by default, you might want to centre your camera up when playing to get an more accurate view of the ground pointer. Also, if you have double-click to teleport enabled, you might want to turn it off; I carelessly mis-clicked on a putt and ended up attempting to teleport on the spot and lost a stroke.

AERO golf club: Caitlyn makes the putt!

AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn makes the putt!

As well as the 18 holes, AERO offers a poolside terrace and an indoor bar for socialising after a game. The cliff-sided bay I mentioned above has a small beach offering deck chairs and loungers, and there are several points around the course where you can take a break from play and enjoy a chat. You  can also break-off from a round if  the physical world or other requirements intrude; your card will retain your score and progress. However, the clubs are time-limited; should you return and find they have expired, simply obtain a new HUD, club and scorecard from the golf shack, and use the clubs / HUD with your “old” scorecard, and you’ll be able to finish your round.

Should you enjoy your time at AERO, do consider making a donation towards the upkeep of the course, and if you end up playing regularly there, you might want to purchase the pro scorecard – again, the fee goes towards the course.

AERO Golf Club is one of several scattered across Second Life and offers a fun way to enjoy golf in Second Life amidst gorgeous surroundings. Other clubs can be found in the Sports & Hobbies section of the Destination Guide (and doubtless elsewhere in the DG as well!).

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Celebrating the Oscars at Caitinara Bar, Second Life

The limos start to arrive at the spotlights roam the skies outside Caitinara Bar

The limos start to arrive at the spotlights roam the skies outside Caitinara Bar

On Wednesday, February 8th, we opened the new look Caitinara Bar with our monthly Music With Anthony theme night – an opportunity for friends and guests to dress up and come along to the bar and have a little extra fun and conversation.

As February is the month of the Academy Awards, we’d decided to have our own celebration of the music and songs from award-winning films over the decades, as well as music and songs from this year’s nominees. To help set the mood, we did a little decorating as well: spotlight swivelling across the skies outside, a red carpet extending from roadside into the bar, complete with photo backdrop for those wanting to grab a snap or two (we kept the paparazzi outside!), and Oscar himself adorning the walls.

Ylva, Patti and Kerena

Ylva, Patti and Kerena

As people began to arrive, so the music started to play – Anthony had selected some of the more recent hits from major award-winning films, and as more arrived so the requests came in as well. Of course, there were the classics, like Moon River (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), When You Wish Upon A Star (Pinocchio), Windmills of Your Mind (The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968), to the songs we perhaps grew up with, like Up Where We Belong (An Officer and a Gentleman), through to more recent ballads, such as Adele’s Skyfall – and many, many more.

Everyone took to the evening in style, the gents looking dapper and dashing, the ladies glittering in frocks and gowns, and the conversation flowed around the music. sadly, we didn’t get the red carpet photos we’d hoped, but the sekrit camera was floating around the dance floor, allowing me to capture the odd shot or two :). If you’re not included in the pictures here, my apologies – I’ll make sure to catch you at the next event!

Bou, Anthony, Sam and Sister

Bou, Anthony, Sam and Sister

If you couldn’t make it to this month’s special event, our next is on Wednesday, March 1st, when we’ll be featuring the music of the New Romantics.  BUT! Don’t forget we have music and dancing at the bar every Wednesday and Friday, from 4:00pm through 6:00pm SLT on each evening, with Anthony Westburn providing the tunes on Wednesdays and Joy Canadeo playing them on Fridays.

So, why not make a note in your diaries and come along and join us? And don’t forget as well, Holly Kai Park is always open for visits, complete with our regular art exhibitions and displays.

Caitlyn and I pause for photos on the red carpet!

Caitlyn and I pause for photos on the red carpet!

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This article also appears on the Holly Kai Park blog.

Changes at Holly Kai Park in Second Life

Holly Kai Park - with the new north-east design to the right

Holly Kai Park – with the new north-east design to the right

As many readers of this blog know, I both curate the Art at the Park exhibitions at Holly Kai Park, and help to look after the park itself, taking care of landscaping, layout etc. In addition, Caitlyn and I run a small music venue there – Caitinara Bar.

Earlier in the year, Nber Medici, the region’s owner, asked me if a part of the park could be altered to provide room for some of her collection of 2D and 3D art which she has put together over the years, making it something of a Second Life art archive. After some discussion, we decided to re-work the north-east corner of the park, which has been home a quiet art garden and the beach with Caitinara Bar.

The steps up from the Art Park to the new plateau

The steps up from the Art Park to the new plateau

Unfortunately, I can’t really do “small” changes … so what started out as the intent to keep things much as they were quickly became a major brainstorming session, which in turn culminated in an extensive rebuild of that corner of the park. Hence why, for a time recently, my blogging activities dropped off for several days!

Anyway, the larger part of the work is now done, and the new build is in place. If you’ve visited Holly Kai Park in the past, or if you’re a regular to the park or Caitinara Bar, the changes are pretty obvious, being marked by an extension to the Park’s rocky plateau.

This new rocky outcrop, higher than the main elevation in the park and linked to it by stone steps, will eventually be home to the Medici Collection, featuring both indoor and outdoor displays of 2D and 3D art from Nber’s collection. Right now, the footpaths and buildings are in place, but we’re still sorting through the art, so it will be a little while longer before things are in place and the landscaping is finished.

Going underground: the entrance to the new Caitinara Bar

Going underground: the entrance to the new Caitinara Bar, with steps up to the level above

Directly below this, and accessed via a cave-like opening, is the new Caitinara Bar, which grew out of a suggestion from Caitlyn that we try going underground. It’s a little large than the old beach side bar, with arched brick ceilings and walls, new seating  – it even has an actual bar at one end!

We’ll continue to host our Wednesday and Friday night music events at the bar with our DJs Anthony Westburn and Joy Canadeo. In fact, we’ll be christening the new bar on Wednesday, February 8th with a special event celebrating the Academy Awards, so there’s an excuse to don gowns and evening suits and come on over and see the place for yourself!

The north end of the area, reached via an extended Park Walk, will now offer interactive 3D art displays, including Reflections at Midnight, donated by Frankx Lefarve.

The Holly Kai River now sports a new set of falls

The Holly Kai River now sports a new set of falls

We’ll be re-starting the Art at the Park series very soon. But in the meantime, if you fancy visiting the park, you are more than welcome to do so, and Caitinara Bar offers a warm, friendly greeting and great musics every Wednesday and Friday, between 16:00 and 18:00 SLT. Hope to see you there one evening!

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