Bellisseria’s third anniversary in Second Life

Bellisseria – when it opened in 2019 – blog post

Friday April 15th through Sunday, April 17th 2022, will see the Linden Homes continent of Bellisseria and its residents celebrate the third anniversary of the continent’s opening in April 2019.

Conceived as an enhancement to the Premium Subscription option for users and to replace the original (and smaller) Linden Homes and lands first introduced in 2010, Bellisseria was developed from the start as a means to both present a better product to Premium users and encourage the development of more of a community spirit among those leveraging their ability to obtain one of the homes.

The four styles of the Bellisseria Camper and Trailer homes, the first theme to offer a mix of 512 and 1024 sq m designs, June 2019.

The opening of the continent came with the release of “Traditional” Homes and Houseboats – the latter being perhaps still being the most popular (and most versatile) of the designed released to date. Initially sitting to the south of the Sansara continent, Bellisseria has grown over the last three years, generally as a periodic result of the release of new Linden Home themes. As such, it initially stretched south to connect to Jeogeot, providing the means to not just travel by air / sea from Sansara through Bellisseria to Jeogeot, but to travel down the entire western continents from Heterocera on down.

More recently, Bellisseria has extended east and north, not as a contiguous landmass but as what might be regarded as “sub continents” defined by Linden Home themes: Silt Homes, Fantasy, Chalet and Newbrooke. This has allowed the continent to form a bridge with Satori. As I and others have tracked through blogs posts and reports over the last three years, each theme has brought with it entire environments for residents to enjoy, local facilities such as swimming pools, themed community centres and individual features and updates compared to previous releases.

The Bellisseria railway has proven to be popular with locals and visitors

While the development of distinctly-themed environments for the various themes has been understandable, it has – combined with overall demand for individual themes – lead to Bellisseria as a whole becoming somewhat disjointed in form when compared to other continents. This is most clearly noticeable when looking at the continent on the map, where unfinished coastlines remain – something that will hopefully be dealt with as Bellisseria continues to mature and as the final planned themes are deployed, allowing the LDPWs to complete any remaining nips and tucks that might be needed.

In terms of inviting a sense of community, there can be no denying the success Bellisseria has attained – the Bellisseria Citizen’s group is one of the most active on my list of groups, and I’m aware of around 24 other in-world groups focused specifically on Bellisseria.

Community Centres have been at the heart of several of the released Linden Homes themes, including the impressive Fantasy Themes centre

The continent has also seen the Linden Department of Public Works and Bellisseria residents establish a mutual exchange of ideas; suggestions voiced by the latter from the start were taken on-board by the Lab and acted upon wherever possible; I well remember (and not saying I was alone in this or that it was my comment that caused it) passing a comment in the early days that Bellisseria could benefit from airstrips for those of us who enjoy flying – and a few days later, one popped-up just of the east coast. This plus requests for more rez zones in general and for things like home security systems helped cement the community / LPDW relationship.

The community has also given rise to its own ecosystem of activities, from the Bellisserian Bureau of Bureaucracy and passports, to people presenting their homes as local social centres, cafés, and boutique galleries – or simply opening them to the public as examples of what could be done with the different themes and styles in terms of general décor. It’s an ecosystem that has also extended to the Marketplace, with an expanding range of options and additions being offered to those wishing to modify or extend their homes.

One of the public spaces within the Victorian Homes regions

For my part, I’m not that active in the Bellisseria community, although I try to keep an eye on things. However, since the Homes first arrived, I’ve made use of three of the themes – the Houseboat, Stilt and Newbrooke – all of which I’ve found appealing and well suited to modding and making into comfortable homes. I’ve also written up some ideas for using rezzing systems to make using individual house styles easier and for quick swapping between styles. I’ve even been cheeky enough to model one of the house styles for my personal use!

Of the three, the Houseboat probably remains my favourite; in part because it offered the most flexibility for what I wanted to achieve, but also because I was lucky enough to grab one in a region of low density – just nine houseboats – and which didn’t seem to impact general performance. Next to this I’d place the Stilt Home, with the Newbrooke coming up third – but only because it’s the location that hits my viewer the hardest.

Third Anniversary

For the third anniversary weekend, events will be focused on the Bellisseria Fairgrounds, the venue for events and activities in the region. It will play host to a range of entertainment (see below), and also the starting point / location for a number of activities, including:

  •  How well do you know your moles contest? Name the moles (in their human form) as pictured on the board and win one of five L$500 Gift Card prizes.
  • Bellisseria Easter Egg Quest – win a Bellisseria anniversary cap.
  • The Moles special Bellisseria 3rd Anniversary Display Area.
  • Three different styles of Linden Home to offer suggestions for interior décor to residents – and to show non-Premium members what some of the homes are like from the inside.
  • Take a scheduled air tour of the continent, courtesy of H. Quimby Aviation.
A Linden Homes caravan is one of the style on display at the third anniversary celebrations

Schedule of Entertainment

All times SLT.

  • Friday, April 15th:
    • 10:00 – 10:15: Patch Linden Opening Speech (have voice turned on but microphones muted)
    • 10:15 – 11:30: DJ Krys rocks the fairgrounds.
    • 11:30 – 13:00: Dj Floyd hits the stage for more party tunes.
    • 13:00 – 14:00: live music – Reality? Maybe.
    • 17:00 – 19:00: Hooten Haller Contra Folk Dance.
  • Saturday, April 16th:
    • 10:00 – 11:00: DJ Freddie starts the day of celebration.
    • 11:00 – noon: Mole versus Residents boat race.
    • Noon – 13:00: DJ Stephanie continues the festivities!
    • 13:00 – 14:00: The Greatest Showman Particle Show by Delain Canucci
    • 19:00 – 21:00: DJ Dulcinea will bring in the evening with some spectacular sounds!
  • Sunday, Aril 17th:
    • 10:00 – 11:30: DJ Chuckey brings in some Easter Celebration.
    • 11:30 – 13:30: Hooten Haller Contra Folk Dance.
    • 13:30 – 15:00: DJ Fuyuko picks up the tunes and the party rocks on.
    • 15:00 – 17:00: DJ Gabi will bring the celebrations to their height and close it out with fireworks.

The 3rd anniversary celebrations are open to all, not just Bellisseria residents. So, if you’re curious about the continent, its homes and its residents, why not hop over and join the fun?

Pumpkins: Digital Magic in Second Life

Beckridge Gallery – Pumpkins: Digital Magic

Diamond Marchant recently extended an invitation for me to drop into the latest exhibition at her Beckridge Gallery in Bellisseria to see a fun little exhibition of 3D creations that are a common element for the “Halloween season”: pumpkins and pumpkin lanterns.

Digital Magic is described by Diamond thus:

Fall brings pumpkins. In Second Life that means an endless variety of shapes, sizes, colours, embellishments, and carvings. Some are comforting, some horrifying… yet all are a product of digital magic. The exhibit includes the works of 37 pumpkin creators spanning the last 10 years. … Creators include 22769 Anachron, Andika, Apple Fall, ARIA, Ariskea, AVEC TOI, Candle and Cauldron, CELESTE, Cubura, Dark Secrets, Di’Cor, Dreamscapes Decor, DUST, Dysfunctionality , Fancy Decor, Finishing Touches, GOOSE, JIAN, Kres, LaFrayeur, Lilith’s Den, MudHoney, Organica, Ramen, random.Matter, Sass, Sau, Sepph, Soy, tarte, The Green Door, The Owl, Trompe Loeil, Vespertine, What Next, and Your Dreams.
Beckridge Gallery – Pumpkins: Digital Magic

The result is a house filled with pumpkins large and small, most carved for the season, some painted, some looking more like they may have been imbibing a tipple or two rather than being frightening, and one or two looking like they’ve been inspired by a Tim Burton movie. All are, however, quite endearing to see, and the house has been suitably decorated for the exhibition; such is the detail found within all of them, it is easy to see why this can be classified as an exhibition of 3D art.

While primarily aimed at Halloween, Digital Magic will remain open through until the end of November, potentially reflecting the popularity of pumpkins  – albeit pumpkins that have been more happily decorated or have been used to create a certain pie :).

When visiting, you should set your viewer to midnight to enjoy Digital Magic under the intended lighting (the environment hasn’t been set within the parcel). Otherwise – enjoy!

Beckridge Gallery – Pumpkins: Digital Magic


Owl at Hoot Suite in Second Life

Hoot Suite Gallery: Owl Dragonash, September 2021

Owl Dragonash is a genuine tour de force in Second Life: she curates art, organises events and artists across various venues; she organises music events (and arranges musicians for exhibitions and the like); she provides PR support to galleries and groups; she has her own blog with a focus on music, art and places to visit, and she brings an incredible amount of energy, shining enthusiasm and dedication to all that she does.

She is, in equal measure to all of the above, a gifted Second Life photographer-artist. It’s therefore a pleasure to be able to write about an exhibition of her own work she is self-hosting at her Hoot Suite Gallery in Bellisseria.

I always find visits to boutique galleries in SL a pleasure, as they offer compact exhibitions one can easily take in and appreciate. In this, Linden Homes of Bellisseria add to this simply because the fact that they are held within a house means they give a relaxed, informal air to exhibitions held within them (and the open “open plan” styles available in the Chalet and Fantasy themes potentially makes their use as exhibition spaces even more attractive).

Hoot Suite Gallery: Owl Dragonash, September 2021

With Owl hosting her own exhibition – simply entitled Owl’s Photos – this sense of relaxation is further enhanced as the visitor wanders from room, simply because it is Owl’s work offered within her own informal space, one of the rooms and the garden lightly furnished, encouraging the sense we’re being invited it to spend a while visiting. The front room of the house has been given a gentle décor of flower that lead the eyes naturally to the single image within it; an image Owl has cleverly framed so as to suggest it is a doorway (or portal) leading to a world awaiting discovery  – thus perhaps offering a touch of metaphor to passing through the doorway of the viewer and into the world of Second Life.

This is a portfolio that indicates Owl and I share a common love of images that feature both water in SL and Second Life wildlife. More to the point, however, it is a collection that naturally demonstrates Owl has an eye for capturing a moment in time on her travels, and has developed a deft touch in post-processing her images. In a couple of cases, they also show she is not afraid to experiment with her work (Playing, located in the back garden, and Half Knit on the upper floor), adding to the depth of her work.

As they do cover places Owl has visited in her travels, these are pictures that remind us of the richness and diversity of our world, featuring places such as Bellisseria and Elvion, and which stand as a reminder of places now passed into history (such as Serena Falls and Veneta Silurum), and and personal view of those that endure as timeless, beloved locations, such as AM Radio’s The Far Away, which is featured in a stunningly atmospheric image by Owl.

Hoot Suite Gallery: Owl Dragonash, September 2021

Mixing landscapes and topics that lie close to Owl’s heart, and offering a rich demonstration of her talent as a photographer-artist, Owl’s Photos will remain open through until October 1st, and is a recommended visit.


Diamond’s views of the Moles and Lindens in Second Life

Beckridge Gallery – Diamond Marchant: Work Look

Second Life’s 18th anniversary is, at the time of writing, almost over. The celebrations have come to an end and the regions themselves will be closing to public access on July 6th, 2021.

I mention this because the SL18B regions are part of the broad-ranging work that comes under the remit of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW), and the contractors – the Moles – who are employed by the Lab through it.

As well as the SLB regions (this year put together with the assistance of residents like Walton F. Wainwright (Faust Steamer)), the Moles are also responsible for – as we all doubtless know – the likes of the Mainland infrastructure, Bellissera, the Linden Portal Park and associated experiences / games, and more. All of this is in part celebrated with the annual Meet the Moles session at each year’s SLB celebrations, when we get the opportunity to see many of the Moles all gathered together as the answer questions and talk about their work.

Beckridge Gallery – Diamond Marchant: Work Look

However, for her summer exhibition at her Beckridge Gallery in Bellisseria,  Diamond Marchant presents another opportunity for us to see the Moles. Work Look, her new exhibition, presents a series of portraits of many of the Moles (and some of the Lindens) as they go about their work in-world preparing the SL18B regions for the 2021 celebrations.

Mounted on the walls of the gallery and the attached greenhouse are around 27 portraits of the Moles (Dion gets to appear twice, to make the total number of images 28), together with portraits of Grumpity, Strawberry, Brett and Patch Linden with a surprise appearance by Philip Linden, who looks to have dropped in on the celebrations as well.

Beckridge Gallery – Diamond Marchant: Work Look

So, if you fancy taking another look at the Moles and celebrating / recalling SL18B, the Beckridge Gallery might be the place to visit!


The Slender Man gets arty (and more) in Bellisseria

Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery

An entry in the Destination Guide highlights for July 2nd, 2021 pique my curiosity: the Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery.

He has visited your home. Have you visited his? Come and experience the Very NICE & Very EVIL home and art gallery of the Bellisseria Slenderman. If you can find it, take a ride on “Slender: The Eight Pages” THRILL RIDE!

– From the Destination Guide

For those who may not be aware (are there any?) the Slender Man is a fictional supernatural character created by Eric Knudsen (aka “Victor Surge”) in 2009 on the Something Awful forum.  It has gone on to become an Internet “folk legend” spanning multiple narratives – as well as becoming a focus of controversy when fiction connected to the character was connected to a number of physical world acts of violence in 2014,  including the Slender Man Stabbing.

The Slender Man in the skies of Bellisseria

The character also became the inspiration for an independent  first-person survival horror video game now called Slender: The Eight Pages.

It is this game that in turn forms the inspiration for this new Second Life experience, located within the Log Homes regions of Bellisseria, and which forms a further chapter in the Slender Man’s involvement with Bellisseria, something that commenced in February 2020.

Centred on a gallery images that record the character’s visitations / appearances within Bellisseria that is spread across the three floors of the house, the Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery includes a number of interactive elements, as indicated in the information note card available at the landing point:

  • A roller coater ride, reached via a “hidden” teleport.
  • A “hidden” basement awaiting visitors.
  • A hunt based on the eight pages that are at the heart of the the game – except there’s no trying to avoid the Slender Man (unless he happens to pop-up!), but instead offers various prizes.
  • For those with a Bellisseria passport, the opportunity to have it stamped (or maybe “unstamped!”) by the Slender Man.

In addition, the experience makes uses of the parcel as a whole, with various elements indoors and out to make it more a atmospheric setting. These include a dedicated EEP setting that is well worth seeing if you don’t have your viewer set to use shared environments by default (World → Environment →  Use Shared Environment).

To be honest, locating the teleports for the roller coaster and basement isn’t that hard, but be aware that not all teleports are referenced in the introductory notes, so careful mousing is recommended.

However, locating the eight pages in the hunt will take a certain amount of patience and careful camming / exploring (unless you’re using a viewer with Area Search and opt to cheat!). The prizes they offer are varied and clearly designed to appeal to a wide range of recipients. I admit to liking the Segway (and its instructions: “Say yes to any animation requests and turn your AO off so you don’t look like a big goof”!), even if it looks as if it has been designed for someone around 10 or 11 foot tall, rather than scaled more towards the “average” avatar heights commonly used nowadays.

Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery

My attempts to summon the Slender Man via the HUD failed miserably whilst initially exploring and working through the hunt.  However, when returning to the setting to take photos, he surprised me by popping up unexpectedly, and we ended up playing “let’s photograph one another”, as can be seen here and here on the Slender Man forum thread.

Meanwhile, the roller coaster makes for a smooth ride, and is best enjoyed in Mouselook. Taking it will provide hints on what to look for with the hunt’s eight pages for those who haven’t started / completed it; while those not so enamoured of hunts, etc., can wander around the back of the house and either climb to the seating platform on the roof or avail themselves of the bumper boats rezzer and mess around on the lake behind the house.

Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery

I admit, I’m not a great one for horror, and the idea of embracing a character that has in the past been controversial in inspiring acts of violence does cause a frisson of discomfort. However, what I do find fascinating about Bellisseria Slenderman Gallery is actually not so much the experience itself, but the fact it has allegedly been built by “Mouse Mysterious”.

This is a character who uses a Profile image / logo that has a certain similarity to that of a nonagenarian mouse logo used by a certain studio. I’m not aware of any link between said studio and the makers of the game from which the experience takes its inspiration, so no idea if this is purely coincidental or a possible hint of something in and of itself. Perhaps time will tell on this – or not!

Anyway, the experience is there to be discovered, and I’ll leave you to do so as the mood takes you.

SLurl Details

Shameless self-promotion in Second Life

Hoot Suite Gallery: One if by Land, Two if by Water

The reality of this post is that it is a piece of shameless self-promotion,  something I actually try not to engage in, lest my ego gets out of the biscuit tin I try to keep it in and starts running around yapping for attention…

Towards the end of 2020 Owl Dragonash very kindly invited me to exhibit some of my blog images at her Hoot Suite Gallery in Bellisseria. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked to exhibit my work – but each time I am, I feel a mix of emotions – notably nervousness and a feeling that it’s not really something for me; as I’ve often – and genuinely  – note I don’t consider myself anywhere close to being any kind of artist. However, Owl is a good friend and someone I admire tremendously, so I felt doubly honoured in her extending the invitation.

Hoot Suite Gallery: One if by Land, Two if by Water

I decided to call this exhibition One if by Land Two if by Water, an  admitted play on Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride. People might want to read something into this, and that is their prerogative (although I admit that in the wake of the disturbing events leading up to and including January 6th, 2021, my thoughts have oft turns to how fragile the American Experiment really is).

However, my decision to paraphrase Longfellow’s words was drawn more from the facts that a) as a photographer of regions in Second Life, my work inevitably involves views of land and water; b) Owl uses a two-storey house as her gallery, giving me the opportunity to split this exhibition loosely into two halve. On the ground floor (or 1st to use the American way of counting floors in buildings) the pictures are land-centric, whilst those on the 2nd have a focus on water.

Hoot Suite Gallery: One if by Land, Two if by Water

It’s not a large exhibition – but that’s the attraction of Hoot Suite – and at 12:00 noon SLT on Wednesday, April 28th, we’ll be having a little party at the gallery to mark the mid-point of the exhibition, which will run through until May 15th.

I hope you’ll join us.

SLurl Details