Tag Archives: Exploring Second Life (2017)

A Shot of Tequila and a Love Story in Second Life

Shot of Tequlia

Shot of Tequila – click any image for full size

I received two invitations almost simultaneously recently. The first came from Krys Vita and the second from my region finder extraordinaire, Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla), and both were pointing to Arol Lightfoot’s recently opened Shot of Tequila.

Those who have been around Second Life for a while may remember Arol’s Just Another Tequila Sunrise (which you can read about here). Shot of Tequila occupies the same region, Isle of Love, although Arol now shares the region, with Shot of Tequila occupying the northern half.

Shot of Tequila sits under an overcast sky (set by default by Firestorm, or use Annan Adored Dusty to get the effect Arol intends with the windlight), and presents a scene which carries some of the essence of Just Another Tequila Sunrise, although the environment is clearly very different.

Visitors arrive on a lush, largely open and flat space, where the grass grows long and trees scattered around the periphery. A large house sits to the north, backing on to a steep fall down to the water. To the west, the grass descends more gently down to a beach, overlooked by a stone terrace and wooden deck build to one side of the house.

Facing the front of the house and close to the shade of tall trees, sits a converted greenhouse, with an old caravan and pick-up truck close by. Eastwards, the land also dips slightly, this time to a small body of fresh water, before rising to more rugged scenery, topped by a flat plateau, home to a little summer-house.

It’s a simple, elegant setting marked by the presence of wildlife: bears wander the edge or the watering hole, possibly vying for fish with the cormorants that are cautiously watching them. Goats and deer graze on the uplands, observed by an eagle perched in a tree and looking quite regal. Closer to the house, stoats and raccoons play, while birds wheel overhead or sit on branches, their song filling the air.

Throughout all of the landscape are little touches which may take time to spot, and visitors have plenty of opportunities to sit and relax or cuddle, be it in the summer houses, in the back of the pick-up truck or at many of the hang chairs and beds or benches scattered across the land.

Sitting on the southern side of the curtain of cliffs which split the region east-to-west, is Love Story, designed by Lauren (Daisy Kwon) and lit by the springtime skies of the region’s default windlight setting. Also open to the public, it again presents a decidedly rural environment, but this one with a touch of the Mediterranean.

To the west, and overlooking another beach (which is not connected to the one at Shot of Tequila), sits a Tuscan villa, which also overlooks tidy ranks of vines as they descend a gentle slope towards  the stream which cuts diagonally through the landscape. This is feed at one end by a fall tumbling from more cliffs, while at the other it joins a long ribbon of water nestled under the dividing cliffs, also fed by a waterfall.

Bright with colour from plants and trees in full bloom, this is another place where animals both domesticated and wild, abound. Horses, sheep and pigs graze in a paddock, watched over by cats and an enthusiastic puppy – as well as a nearby young fox. Ducks waddle along one of the two tracks and swim on the water. And this is just the start.

Follow one of the tracks up into the copse of fir trees, and more wildlife awaits, including several endearing bear cubs, one of whom seems to be playing peek-a-boo while another goes all Baloo Bear as he enjoys a back scratch. Hares, foxes and raccoons can also be found here, as can be one of the romantic cuddle spots. Climb the hill to the west of the copse and another such spot can be found, watched over by a red squirrel, while a blanket is spread nearby on the banks of another pool of water.

Both Shot of Tequila and Love Story make for an engaging join visit, although you will need to teleport between them, as there is no obvious path connecting them. Both require a keen eye to spot everything that’s going on, indoors and out (keep an eye out for the raccoon playing hide-and-seek), and together they make for an enjoyable visit.

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Isle of Love is rated Moderate.

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Sera’s Lost World in Second Life

Sera Bellic has re-opened her Oyster Bay region with another new look for visitors to enjoy. Sera uses the region to help promote her business of region design, and as such periodically changes its look to offer people a new glimpse of her skills and ideas. For this design, she offers visitors the opportunity to go all Cousteau and take a dive – literally – into The Lost World; so swimsuits are advised!

Visitors arrive to find the majority of the island has been flooded; a single sandbar, richly shaded by palm trees lies to the north-west side of the region, while a small volcanic island smoulders in the diagonally opposite corner. Other than a couple of rock formations peeping above the water, these comprise the entire landmass. There is, however, a glass walkway leading out over the waves brushing against the sand, leading the way to a modern, white cylindrical building sitting on a circular platform. It bears the legend The Poseidon Complex  – but the strap line suggests this might be more than the name of a project ;-).

Drop through the diving hole within the cylinder (touch the door if it isn’t already open), and you’ll enter an undersea world of ancient ruins, schools of fish, roaming sharks and undulating stingrays. Across the sandy sea bed stand numerous ruins and statues, with coral beds and the wreckage of ancient chariots scattered between.

Could this be a part of the fabled Atlantis? Possibly. The statues and some of the buildings seem appropriate for the legend; but travel to the great rotunda and pass inside, and the paintings inset into the upper walls of its great circular chamber appear to be from a far later period than history normally ascribes to Atlantis. Thus, a little riddle exists within the ruins.

But it is outside, beneath the waves, which perhaps holds the attention the most. Fish flicker and gleam in the rays of the sun as they break through the sea above, casting rays of light down towards the sandy floor. The majestic rays swim singly or in pairs, “wings” rising and falling almost hypnotically, while sharks also patrol, also individually or in pairs.  Between they is plenty of room to swim or walk. For those who prefer, there is a mini-sub rezzer (be aware that the sub will appear and then move overhead, so you may have to cam up to find it), which adds a little additional fun to visits.

The Lost World is not an extensive build – which is actually what makes it  pleasant, easy visit. There are places to sit down and rest, both on the sand bar and under the waves, so if you feel like spending time there, it needn’t all be swimming, walking or sub driving.

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Visiting Hobbiton in Second Life

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton – click any image for full size

“Mae govannen! So good to have you here with us!” Zephira (Gidgette Adagio) greeted as Caitlyn and I explored her homestead region, Hobbiton. “I must confess, I am still working on texture terrain in Region details. I am a noob to this, but have wanted to do this for a long time and finally got the courage to try!”

Truth be told, Zephira undersells herself. Hobbiton is a picturesque region beautifully brought together and welcoming to visitors. Inspired by Tolkien’s Middle Earth, it contains many touches and nods towards his tales without actually being specifically placed with a single realm of Middle Earth. So it is that Hobbit holes sit alongside (and beneath!) wizard’s towers while the houses of Big Folk can be found amidst the green, rolling landscape I have little doubt Tolkien would regard as being a slice of Middle Earth were he able to see it.

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton

This is a place of delight and natural beauty, full of little touches which make careful exploration a must. Light role-play is allowed (but not required) and the region is home to one or two people – so don’t be surprised if you bump into locals who are in character. As well as Zephira, we had the pleasure of bumping into Robin Brandybuck, a second cousin (once removed) to the famous Meriadoc Brandybuck!

Visitors are advised to use the region’s default windlight when exploring, and this casts the landscape into the shadows of evening, giving it an added air of mystery. However, such is Zephira’s design, it is well suited to a range of windlight settings, and for the purposes of the images here, I used one of my preferred pre-sets.

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton

There is no set path for exploration – simply follow wherever your feet take you. As the region is home to some, there are one or two places that are off-limits to visitors, but the majority of the land is open to wandering, whilst there are also several places where visitors can simple sit and observe the comings and goings of others.

Some of the highlights of the region are easy to find: the wizard’s towers, the Hobbit holes, the follies, and so on. However, when wandering, keep an eye out for all the little touches which both bring the landscape to life and reflect the tales which inspired it.

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton

For example, Smeagol can be found in one direction, hunched on a rock and wearing his Gollum face. Elsewhere a walk through the more wooded parts of the region might lead to an encounter with an Ent or two – although at least one (Treebeard himself?)  – can easily be missed if you hurry by too quickly. Elsewhere, a little mine reminds us that Middle Earth is the home to Dwarves as well, while a dragon stands watch on a rocky peak, and – across the waters – a single Eye stares out from the high tower of Barad-dûr.

Hobbiton makes for a delightful visit. My thanks to my region spotter, Shakespeare, for passing on word about it, and thanks from both Caitlyn and I to Zaphira for both sharing her vision with Second Life explorers, and for the warm greeting and time spent with us during our visit.

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Hobbiton (Thunder Dragon Island, rated: Moderate)

A NonStop visit in Second Life

NonStop, NonStop; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrNonStop – click any image for full size

NonStop, a homestead region by Cherish Demonge, is presented as “Second Life’s ultimate forest”.  I’d personally regard the setting as more coastal / rural than “forest” – while there are trees aplenty, they mostly look and feel more like woodland, occupying the more rugged parts of the region and offering pleasant glades and walks between them, while leaving the low-lying parts of the region open for habitation.

Be this as it may, there is no denying the region is beautifully put together with an eye for detail, presenting visitors with plenty to see and enjoy.

NonStop, NonStop; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrNonStop

A visit begins in a little hamlet surrounded on three sides by rocky plateaus, and on the forth by an inlet with a narrow channel beyond, leading between distant peaks to the open sea. Wooden decking has been built out over the water from the narrow footpaths in front of the hamlet’s buildings, offering a makeshift town square  – a meeting point for new arrivals.

This would seem to be an eco-conscious community: rising from the waters of the inlet are the slender fingers of wind turbines, their blades quietly turning.  North-east of the hamlet lies a small farm, sheep grazing on tall grass, hay neatly baled, and a little market shack sitting at the end of the unpaved road leading out to it. Three more wind turbines sit out in the waters to the north, indifferent to the wreck of a fishing boat beneath them, or the second boat lying at anchor.

NonStop, NonStop; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrNonStop

Facing the farm across another inlet, this one watched over by a squat lighthouse, sits a camp site amidst the trees at the top of one of the plateaus. Reached via a set of stone steps set into the blunt shoulders of the rocks, it offers a setting which feels genuinely isolated and forest-like.

To the west, and reach via a set of wrought iron gates, a cobbled path leads the way to a little trailer park. Or, if you prefer, a board walk hugs the foot of another plateau, pointing the way south to where a long-abandoned chapel sits on a tiny breach of land rising from the water, its only company an ancient tree and tall wild flowers.

NonStop, NonStop; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrNonStop

Northwards, beyond the rocks safeguarding the trailer park, the woodland marches up the slope of a hill denuded of grass, sandy earth laid bare, reflecting the autumnal hue of the leaves on the trees. A similar stretch of sandy earth lies to the west as well, more golden-leaved trees marching across it and over the flat top of the rocky uplands it abuts.

Caught in a late summer or early autumn frame, complete with matching windlight, NonStop really is picturesque and decidedly eye-catching. There are numerous places throughout where people can sit and chat or play games, as couples or in groups. There are also indoor spaces to explore – such as the houseboat alongside of the hamlet, although there are one or two little oddities to be found as well, adding a touch of cursory intrigue to the little town.

NonStop, NonStop; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrNonStop

Adult rated, NonStop can be the home of some colourful language among the locals, but is nevertheless welcoming and more than worth the time needed to explore. My thanks, as ever, to Shakespeare for the pointer!

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