SS Galaxy drops anchor at Bellisseria

The SS Galaxy anchored off of Bellisseria

In a surprise move over the last couple of day, The SS Galaxy, the iconic 3-region long static cruise ship, quietly weighed anchor and gently made revolutions to slip away from her long-term home adjacent to the United Sailing Sims, south of Blake Sea and then steam across the open seas to arrive off the west coast of Bellisseria, where she has apparently lowered her anchors once more, within (very long, admittedly!) eyesight of the houseboat neighbourhood I treat as my second SL home.

Dubbed The Queen of the Saggitartian Sea, the SS Galaxy was laid down in 2007, and has remained throughout the intervening years a stunning example of what can be achieves with the humble 10x10x10 prim when suitably sized and cut. Billed as “the largest build in Second Life”, the ship is split across three regions – Galaxy FORE, Galaxy MID and Galaxy AFT, and for the first part of her life served as a floating home for those seeking a more unusual place to live, (with furnished rentals running from cabins offered at L$35 with no prim allowance, to single and double suites (L$550/week with 200 LI and L$1,000/week with 300 LI) all the way up to the likes of the VIP suites and Captain’s suites (L$1,500/with with 500 LI and L$5,500/week with 1500 LI), with numerous public facilities and event spaces (swimming pools, club, restaurant, ballroom, chapel for weddings, skydiving, mini golf, etc.), as well as an on-board shopping mall.

SS Galaxy: the art gallery created by Frost Mole

In 2015 it appeared as if the Galaxy’s “cruising” days had come to an end. As I reported in SS Galaxy: a last cruise into the sunset (April 2015), it was announced that for various reasons (none connected with issues of tier), the ship would be closing and removed from the gird.

However, the announcement raised a lot of concern over the potential loss of such an iconic vessel and historic build, that the owners and Linden Lab got together to discuss the Lab to take over running the Galaxy as something of a museum piece, with the removal of all commercial operations (rentals and stores). I was able to break the news in SS Galaxy refits for a new role after the ship’s long-term owner, DBDigital Epsilon, sent me a note (also released on the official SS Galaxy website) that the agreement had been reached.

SS Galaxy

By August 2015, with the ship relocated slighted from her original position, the work in refurbishing the ship had reached a point where public access was once again permitted, and I was given something of a heads-up on the news and a tour by Frost Mole, who had been leading the work on the refitting (see SS Galaxy lowers her gangways to visitors once more).

At that time, much of the work had been completed, although Frost noted she was hoping to do more. In particular, a balloon tour had been added to the stern helipads and a hang glider to one of the forward helipads, while some of the private areas of the ship had converted into public spaces – such as an art gallery -, and some of the lower decks received things like a new bowling alley, with the mooring stations saw the addition of 7-Seas fishing and swan boat rezzers. Sadly, the skydiving system vanished at the same time – something I personally miss, as over the years, I’d used it to introduce a few people to the sport via the Galaxy; but that’s the way things go; but the top-of-the-hour firework displays are still active.

SS Galaxy: looking over the ship at Bellisseria

When the Lab took on the Galaxy, Keira Linden noted that the ship would be made available for public events, and while some were held there (such as a couple of impromptu Lab / Mole / resident get-togethers), nothing was ever really formally put in place to make it obvious residents might use the ship for events. Whether this will not change with her move to Bellisseria remains to be seen – but given the amount of social activity within the Bellisseria community, the liner could become a popular venue, and encourage a wider audience.

The news of the move has been spreading outwards for the 24-ish hours since the Galaxy arrived off of Bellisseria. Initially inaccessible immediately after the move, she is now once again open to public access. Thus fair the responses within various forum threads (see here and here as examples) has been positive, and there has been a fair amount of traffic onto and off of the ship.

SS Galaxy: one of the upper deck pools

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More hopping through Bellisseria

Everfaire Coffee Shop, Bellisseria

Back in May 2019, I produced a piece called On the Road in Bellisseria. At the time, it was intended to be the first in a series of “road tours” around the continent to various public places that form a part of the continent, and also a look at some of the public facilities – pubs, cafés, galleries, show homes, etc., that have been opened by Bellisseria residents.

For a variety of reasons, that idea didn’t go as planned, and given Bellisseria is a dynamic place, constantly growing in terms of physical size and population, offering a road tour isn’t easy. So instead, here’s a short list of places I’ve dropped into of late that might be of interest to those wanting to take a hop around the continent.

Many of the public places provided as a part of Bellisseria  – the Fairgrounds, for example,or Campwich Lodge, added with the arrival of the Trailers and Campers and the Bellisseria railway lines (see: Bellisseria: of Trailers, Campers and trains in Second Life) and original airstrip, together with the various bars, pool, beaches and undersea spots – are all reasonably well-known, so I’m again focusing on a handful of resident-provided spots.

Picards Wharf contains one of several undersea sites around Bellisseria, this one comprising the ruins of a sunken lighthouse in two parts, with accompanying undersea caverns (seen in the background)

These are perhaps a little harder to keep track of, simply because people have the freedom of choice with their Linden Home styles, that they can easily swap designs and purposes – so a house that might be a café for a time might later be switched back to being a cosy home, whilst a houseboat might switch from home to gallery and back again, depending on the owner’s desires. Nevertheless, the following were all current at the time of writing.

For art, two places in particular come into mind. There is Diamond Marchant’s Beckridge Gallery, and Ladmilla’s Gallery, which might be regarded as a “branch” of her much larger gallery, THE EDGE.

Ladmilla’s Gallery

Both galleries offer slightly different approaches to displaying art, with Beckridge offering a more “gallery” style environment at the time of my original visit (see: Celebrating Apollo 11 in Second Life and Sansar), where the focus is on the art, with minimal emphasis on furnishings. Ladmilla’s offers a more studio style of gallery, where her own work – including some of her images-with-poems, produced in collaboration with her SL partner, Eli Medier – is displayed in comfy settings with sofas and armchairs. Other galleries within the continent include The Little Gallery (RuffertasAlt), and Bellisseria Squirrel (Halo Rain).

Those seeking café or pub-style environments might be interested in Cain Wycliffe’s Bellis Blues Café. Taking full advantage of Chic Aeon’s add-on elements specifically for Linden Homes, Bellis Blues is presented as the continent’s only Blue-oriented café / club, and features regular events on Tuesdays (10:00 – noon SLT), Fridays (14:00-16:00 SLT) and Saturdays (20:00-22:00 SLT).

Bellis Blues Café

Staying with the café theme, those exploring the Trailer and Campers regions by train, truck or (most enjoyably) horseback might want to drop-in to Mitchel Torok’s Mitch’s Hideaway, a place that demonstrates just how versatile the trailer homes can be. An added attraction at the hideaway is the inclusion of a Teaglepet Animesh horse rezzer, allowing visitors to take a horseback ride on a choice of mounts – just remember to turn off your own AO!

Other cafés and pubs I’ve enjoyed dropping into are Soulgoodie’s Everfaire Coffee Shop and the Queen’s Head pub, run by North Crannock, one of the driving forces in the Bellisseria Citizen’s group, and which is modelled on an English country pub. A point to note when visiting resident created public places is that some may also include bicycle rezzers, giving visitors the opportunity to take a ride through the streets and along the paths of Bellisseria.

Mitch’s Hideaway

Further places of interest within Bellisseria include the The Drowned Mouse Arcade for video games, Jupiter Projects, promising “a series of limited engagement interactive environments” and the Pearl Dreams Business Compound, offering a “Surf Shack Café & Bakery, with Chopper Tours” and other elements. I can’t really vouch for any of these or how active they might, be as I’ve only paid them very brief visits courtesy of a landmark list provided by PrudenceAnton.

As with my previous piece on places to visit in Bellisseria, this article is hardly complete – and as noted, places may change purposes over time. However, whether you have property in Bellisseria and want to explore more or are simply curious about paying the continent a visit and looking around, hopefully what is listed here might help you. Those interested in events in Bellisseria might want to take a poke at the Bellisseria Citizen’s Group, which is free to join.

The growth of Bellisseria

Pootling through some of the new Bellisseria continent regions by rail

It’s been a few months since I last wrote about Bellisseria, the Linden Homes continent. At that time, the trailers and campers selection of homes had just been deployed – and proven as popular as the Traditional homes and Houseboat ranges before them.

Since that time, as has been reported elsewhere, the continent has been expanded with a lot of new regions slotting into the southern side to fill out much of the “missing parts” when compared to the SSPE “test continent” used to initially develop Bellisseria’s layout.

These new regions have dropped into Bellisseria fairly close to where my houseboat is located, and I’ve tended to take the occasional look at them as things have been under development (see A little Culprit Moonwalking in Second Life, for example). However, as this a is quiet Monday, I decided to drop in to the regions at a time when I’m unlikely to get in the way of the Linden Department of Public Works (LPDW) as they continue to build-out the regions with everything from landscaping though flora and infrastructure to the Linden Homes themselves.

The new regions bring together a mix of Houseboats, Traditional houses and Trailers and Campers

The majority of the regions continue with the current themes of Traditional, Houseboat and Trailers and Campers homes. This means – on the surface –  that the new regions could be dismissed as “more of the same”, but as my Monday trip through some of them – by rail and horse – shows that while they may contain the same types of houses, they have their own unique character and look.

Take, for example, the Bellisseria railway. While this was introduced with the release of the Trailers and Campers, the extension to the continent illustrates it in not to be restricted to regions containing these types of Linden Home – as has been hoped would be the case. Within the new regions, the tracks pass from “camping” regions into Traditional homes regions, and back into “camping” regions once more. Along the way the tracks also branch for what I think is the first time, presenting two potential rail routes through the regions, and one of the new Traditional homes regions has markings for what might be a more substantial station than seen elsewhere (or at least one directly served by road).

The new regions see the Bellisseria rail lines extend into Traditional house regions

Given the continued popularity of the Houseboat styles, it comes as no surprise that the coastal regions offer more moorings for houseboats – some of which have already been populated. But again in what might be an interesting turn where popularity is concerned, the new regions offer an extensive reach of the camping parcels along the coast, presenting people who like the Campers and Trailers with the opportunity to enjoy coastal living, rather than being restricted to just the banks of inland waterways and lakes.

The new regions also offer the first real “blending” of Camper and Trailer regions and Traditional House regions. Until now, the boundaries of the two have tended to be denoted by water. With these new regions, the two types of Linden homes draw together more naturally, sometimes with just low mounds between them, sometimes abutting almost seamlessly.

Trailers and Campers move to being along the coast with the new regions

There are perhaps one or two little things that it would be nice to see. The rail tracks for example run through the regions, passing Campers and Trailer and houses alike running over and under bridges and through deep cuttings; but there are are no tunnels – it would be nice to see one or two in the more hilly areas.

Similarly, while the Traditional house regions and the Trailer and Camper regions do more directly abut one another, the roads of the Traditional house regions and the tracks of the Camper and Trailer regions never actually come together; rather they each end abruptly with a stretch of grass between them, it would be nice to a a more natural joining, asphalt gradually giving way to a narrower, rutted track, for example. Or at least have a fence and (open) gate between them, rather than curbstones, footpath and pristine-looking grass.

Food for thought for Linden Lab, perhaps?

Having a “well, duh!” moment with a Linden Houseboat

More changes for the Windlass version of my Linden Homes houseboat

As regulars here know, I’ve been playing around with the various versions of the Linden Homes houseboat designs on-and-off, creating and saving various interior layouts utilising rezzing systems, some of which I’ve bored people with in these pages – see: Saving your Bellisseria house designs for re-use with a rezzing system, More houseboat decorating in Second Life, and Still messing about in (house)boats in Second Life.

In particular with the last article, I wrote about converting the raised section of the Windlass design in a bedroom. This involved putting in a false floor and an additional stairway. While it worked to a point, having two staircases inside the houseboat was a bit weird, and while other things took me away from the houseboat (truth be told I barely set foot in it between that June 2019 article and the end of October), the issue nagged at me.

The problem, in short, was the “hard” stair railing that blocked any access to an upper floor put into the Windlass from the existing stairway – the stairs being intended purely to access the houseboat’s upper deck. However, in hopping back recently and swapping from my use of the Barnacle houseboat to the Windlass, I had one of those embarrassing “well, duh!” moments: Why even keep the existing stairway leading up to the upper deck?

Top: the June 2019 build, showing the added spiral stairs while the “fix” stairs remain usable behind the kitchen walls. Bottom: as revised – just the one spiral staircase, the “fixed” stairs now boxed in to created a “bathroom”, while the cubbyhole under the stairs has been opened to create space for a galley-style kitchen

In the June design, I had already partially walled-in the fixed stairway, boxing-in the cubbyhole under the stairs in the process, to provide a “back wall” for a kitchen area and a false space to suggest a bathroom. By opening this out again, but keeping the stairway hidden behind a curved “ceiling”, and then completely blocking out the bottom end of the stairs allowed me to:

  • Hide the existing stairway and create the impression of a bathroom tucked into a corner of the houseboat.
  • Extend the “bedroom” space the full width of the upper section of the houseboat, while keeping the stairway door as a mean to access the upper deck.
  • Relocate the spiral stairs serving the bedroom so they don’t dominate the floor space of the houseboat so much.
  • Use the re-exposed cubby hole under the “fixed” stairway as the home for a galley kitchen.
  • Open out the rest of the available space for a roomier dining space (so much pace, I’ve yet to work out what I want to do with bits of it!
Extending the new bedroom floor both provides more space while allowing the upper part of the “fix” stairway to serve as an access way to the roof deck k(seen on the left)

The exterior view of the houseboat, vis window placement, doesn’t quite align with the interior layout (the stairway is marked by two large windows) – but dropping the blinds on these tends to help hide this, although I did toy with blocking the windows out complete. On the flip side, general access to the upper deck isn’t lost this way – it’s still possible to reach it via the simple expedient of an external stairway, as seen in the top photo, one easily accessed from the lower floor of the houseboat and the docks I dropped in for mooring my boats.

All of this isn’t a genius move; doubtless others arrived at the same solution well ahead of me – hence referring to it as a “well, duh!” moment. But it at least makes me happier 🙂 .


Bellisseria: of Trailers, Campers and trains in Second Life

An aerial view of some of the new Trailers and Campers units, showing how residents have taken to using the outdoor spaces they provide

On Monday, September 16th, the first batch of regions containing the much anticipated Linden Homes Trailers and Campers arrived in Bellisseria. While they took a while to set up, they were made available on Tuesday, September 17th – and were all gone within 24 hours, demonstrating their popularity with Premium users.

Given I’d only taken a quick look around in my preview piece First looks: Bellisseria trailer and camper homes, I hopped back on Thursday, September 19th to take a more detailed look on horseback and, for the fun of it.

Peeking inside an unoccupied Trailer Home

Travelling the regions via the many trails – grass and track – and by following the railway lines, the first things that struck me was the care with which the regions have been laid out – particularly the blending of landscape between the Trailer and Camper regions and those for the Traditional Homes and Houseboats. There are no unnatural boundaries of “empty space” as witnessed with the “old style” Linden Homes, or abrupt switching of one style of landscape and terrain for another. Instead, and has been demonstrated throughout Bellisseria’s development, everything flows naturally from the more “suburban” areas of the Traditional Homes and coastal buffers of Houseboats into the more open countryside environment of the Trailers and Campers.

This might seem an odd thing to point out, but it’s important as it demonstrates the commitment from LL’s Land Team to make Bellisseria a genuinely contiguous, natural environment where there is a sense of place, rather than just a conglomeration of houses lumped together. This helps to make Bellisseria somewhere people can live, breathe, share and joy, and have plenty of encouragement to explore and participate.

The new regions offer even more space and opportunities for horse riding

In keeping with this is the way the parcels for the camper vans and trailers have been set out; as with the homes and houseboats, these are not simply cookie-cutter arrangements stitched together into a simple patchwork; each region has been landscaped to provide a natural environment, with balance between protected land and camper / trailer parcels and finished with a sound scape that enhances the setting, while the trailers and campers have all been more-or-less individually placed so there is no sense of simple repetition across different regions.

Within the regions, there are also plenty of public spaces. The most obvious of these at the time of writing is the Campwich Lodge. But there are also assorted lakeside piers and decks, camp sites, and cabins (the Premium gift Winter Cabin re-purposed), scattered throughout the regions.

When is a trailer not a trailer? When it’s a home. The Williamsburg

Not all the units that have been claimed have been occupied – something that is true of the Traditional Homes and Houseboats – but those that have are being enthusiastically decorated in much the same way as the homes and houseboats were, with a lot of happy chatter on the various Bellisseria related in-world groups. It’ll be interesting to see when / if pictures of people labours start turning up in the forums, such as in the Linden Homes photo thread (although at 60-ish pages, perhaps a new thread is needed!).

During my ride / walk through the regions, I tried avoid nosing inside the trailers and campers (they people’s homes / alternate homes after all!), but as expected, much use is being made of the outside space with people setting down just about everything you can imagine that’s in keeping with the theme: hot tubs and home pools, decking and seating, awnings and tents, picnic spreads and barbecues and – yes – even pick-ups and 4x4s.

A Michie Marine DB101 pootles along the Bellisseria rail lines. The cabin in the right foreground is not a Linden Home style – it is the Premium Gift Winter Cabin, a number of which the moles have re-purposed as a public spaces in the regions

For train enthusiasts, the railway lines – although incomplete pending the arrival of further public regions (some of which are currently in development) –  offer a rez zone in the (at the time of writing) yet-to-be-named SSPE260 region. It’s seen a fair amount of use already, with a variety of trains from steam locos to electric train cars to trams appearing on the tracks. In particular, a lot of people have been picking up the Michie Marine DB101 “line security loco”, which is available for no charge on the Marketplace and using that to ride the rails.

As I’m not a major train enthusiast, I initially tried the Premium Gift rail handcar (circa 2012), but found this no longer wanted to function – so I grabbed a copy of the Michie Marine myself. A nice touch with it is that the drive is automatic; set it in motion and you’re free to appreciate the scenery; no need to keep a key pressed. I assume other rez zone will be added as the railway is extended, but given the location of the one at SSPE260, it’ll be interesting to see if a boat rezzing area will be provided on the waterway close by, as the region is built-out. Doing so would certainly make sense.

A Newport camper

And talking of waterways; one of the neat things for me personally is that given the location of my houseboat, it’s possible to cruise to Campwich Lodge by boat, making it an ideal place to visit by water whenever the mood takes. I’m far from alone in this – care has been taken to ensure that the lodge is well connected to many of Bellisseria’s bodies of water and waterways.

In terms of which design seems to be the most popular among those moving in to the new regions, I would suggest that overall, it would appear to be the Williamsburg. While by no means an accurate indicator of things, overflying the new regions did seem to reveal the distinctive split-level roof of that design appearing a lot more frequently overall than the other designs. By the same “standard”, it would appear the Newport – possibly the smallest of the designs available – is the least popular at this point in time.

Following one of the trails back down to Campwich Lodge

Eyes will doubtless continue to be on the new Bellisseria regions for a while – particularly given work has already started on extending the railway lines into some of the surrounding regions. In the meantime, kudos once again to the Moles and the Land Team for their work.

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First looks: Bellisseria trailer and camper homes

The new Trailer and Camper regions arrive in Bellisseria – but are not currently available to users to claim, as more work in the regions is required

Monday, September 16th, 2019, marked the deployment of the first batch of trailer and camper regions to the Bellisseria, the Linden Homes continent.

First previewed at the SL16B celebrations in June (see: A Look at the Camper and Trailer Homes with Patch Linden), the trailers and campers have long been anticipated, and while the new regions are not quite ready for release to users, their arrival in the live version of Bellisseria means the availability of these new home types has moved a step closer. Further, the regions include a number of new facilities and features for the Bellisseria continent – including the much talked about railway system.

The new Trailers and Campers sit within parkland regions similar to those people may have visited during the SL16B celebrations in June 2019

As previously noted, the Campers and Trailers are provided in four styles apiece – the difference being that of size – the trailers are somewhat larger than the campers (or caravans, as we call them in Europe) – although both are being (initially, at least), made available on 512 sq metre parcels.

In keeping with the preview regions as SL16B, the trailers and campers are located in a park / wilderness setting, with plenty of hills, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, a forest and more. trails wind through the region, offering both a means to explore and a way for those who come to occupy the campers and trailers feel as if they are part of a community.

A view of the new lodge, one of the public spaces in the new Trailers and Campers regions for Bellisseria.

One of the new public areas is an impressive parkland lodge. It sits with its back to a sweeping curve of rocky hills down which waters tumble and bubble through a brook. Overlooking a decently-sized lake to the front, it has moorings extending out from one side. These demonstrate a lesson well-learnt from the early days of Bellisseria, as they include rez zones for boats.

Inside, the lodge offers plenty of interior space on the main floor, complete with a coffee bar. Above this are two galleried sitting spaces, while outside a large deck offers further seating. Behind the lodge, up on a shoulder of one of the hills sits a little railway stop serving the lodge. Those who prefer a more daring means to arrive at the lodge can always try the zipline close by!

Inside the lodge. Patch sits at the far end of the hall with Mystic Mole at the coffee bar on the right, enjoying a little peace and quiet before the inrush of local residents

I can’t see too much about the railway itself – Patch and the Moles were taking questions in the Lodge, but given the volume of people there, I opted to keep away. What I can say is the layout is extensive, forming an open-ended loop around a major part of the new regions that varies between single and double tracks.

The one train I managed to spot on the rails was – unsurprisingly – a steam loco. However, whether it was one of those intended to ply the tracks, or simply there as a test vehicle, I couldn’t honestly say (as I didn’t check ownership!).

One of the new train stations serving the new Bellisseria regions, with trailers visible in the background

It’s important to note that this is only the initial deployment of these regions – as noted above, the Trailers and Campers are not   – as of the time of writing – available to users. As to when the new parcels will be made available, it will be Really Very Soon Now™, with Patch Linden noting to me:

We’re working through all of our final tests, like any of the large scale releases we’ve done, we’re in that state of, it could be in an hour, it could be tomorrow, hard to say if something doesn’t pass, we’re delayed like a shuttle launch trying to lift off. xD

– Patch Linden, Monday, September 16th

As I understand it, the release cycle for these new parcels will be an initial large-scale release, similar to those first seen with the Traditional Homes and Houseboats. After these have occurred, releases for Trailers and Campers will be plugging-in to the Monday, Wednesday, Friday rolling release schedule that w’ve seen since June. All releases will be via the Linden Homes registration page.

Nor is this all – there are to be further types of home made available in the future – with the next promised to be previewed at the RFL Christmas Expo towards the end of the year (see: 2019 SL Christmas Expo registrations open with a special announcement).

With a much smaller footprint that the homes and houseboats so far released, the Trailer and Campers offer more outdoor space for use, even allowing for the 512 sq m size of their parcels

As I’ve previously noted, the Trailer and Campers offer considerably smaller interior living space than the Traditional Homes and Houseboats (hardly surprising, given they are trailers and campers!). However, this is compensated for by the amount of outdoor space available. Even when considering these are 512 sq m plots, it adds up to a far amount of room.

This space, coupled with the overall landscaping of the new regions could actually – and in difference to the doubts I expressed in June – potentially make these new Linden Homes offering potentially attractive (as witnessrd by the (premature) abandonments of homes and houseboats seen ahead of the region deployments).

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