A Wild Edge in Second Life

Wild Edge; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Wild Edge – click any image for full size

“Welcome to Wild Edge. A calm and relaxing wilderness for you to enjoy, explore and escape” – thus reads the About Land description for the latest Homestead region design by the (still) delightfully named Funky Banana (FunkyBananas), and to which Shakespeare directed my attention at the weekend.

As regular readers may know, I’m something of a fan of Funky’s work (see The sands of Banana Bay in Second Life and A Butterfly Beach in Second Life for more), so I was delighted to take the opportunity to hope over and explore.

Wild Edge; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Wild Edge

Wild Edge is another largely rural setting, this one suggestive of a rugged, coastal region, perhaps in high latitudes where ice and snow sided mountains roll down to a cold blue sea. A rocky headland sits caught between the mountains and the sea, sitting just below a fir-tree buffer between it and the snowy slopes, cut by a deep finger of water.

Two cabins sit on this curve of lowland. The first is low-slung and built around a wooden deck, it has a very “male” appearance to it, both outside and in, somewhat suggestive of single occupancy. With the deep bay sitting close by, it might be a fishing lodge / hunting lodge, a suggestion added to by the rods and other equipment set-out on a deck at the water’s edge and, across the water, by the presence of an old hut in which can be found the paraphernalia of the hunter.

Wild Edge; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Wild Edge

However, a closer look around the cabin reveals a dining table is set for a meal for eight, while two Christmas stockings hang from the fireplace mantle. Thus it would seem the cabin is perhaps occupied by the couple, and that they are expecting company.

A single track runs west from the cabin, paralleling the channel to the left and a field of wild grass to the right. It leads the way to where an unsurfaced airstrip runs south-to-north. This is perhaps not the easiest strip to get in and out of, given the rocks, hills and tress that threaten to encroach on it. However, it is very much a working airstrip – as can be see by the presence of a small biplane and a mechanic’s shed, although the gasoline truck parked close by probably hasn’t been used in a good while.

Wild Edge; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Wild Edge

Facing the airstrip from across the region is a Christmas tree farm shop, nestled at the foot of the eastward mountain slopes. It seems a little incongruous given the lack of potential customers. Perhaps they come by boat from further up / down the coast.

Three stretches of sand also sit within the region, two of them offering places to sit. One of them is the fishing deck mentioned above, which also has the advantaged of being warmed by an open fire blazing on the sand. I also mentioned that there were two cabins on the region. The second can be found above the northern coast, a ramshackle, single-room affair that seems to be a place of study rather than a place to live, the kitchenette within it notwithstanding.

Wild Edge; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Wild Edge

A Wild, open setting, largely free from snow (outside of the mountains to the east and south), Wild Edge is another eye-catching region by Funky that offers a pleasing alternative to the more snowy themes that abound right now without being entirely divorced from winter. For those who take photos, the Funky Banana Flickr group is available as a means to share them.

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Inspired by Monet in Second Life

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug – click any image for full size

Annie Oh (Annie Brightstar) dropped me an IM suggesting Caitlyn and I pay a visit to Junbug, home of *{Junbug}* Fantasy and Vintage fashion, as the region had been recently redesigned by Minnie Blanco (Minnie Atlass), whose region designs we’ve always enjoyed (see here, here, here and here for more).  And I have to say that for anyone who loves artist – particularly the French Impressionist movement, this is a must-see location.

[It is] loosely inspired by Monet’s Giverny garden After discussions we agreed upon a garden across from water. All designing / artwork is a process and I take my inspiration from RL photos/art. I wanted to reflect Juno’s fantasy, vintage fashion designs with a romantic feeling water-scape in some way. Hence the romance of impressionism!

– Minnie Blanco on her design for Junbug, December 2018

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

Anyone who is reasonably familiar with Monet’s work will instantly feel they are inside one of his paintings on arriving in the region. Minnie has, through careful selection of plants (colour), design and windlight, fully captured the look and “feel” of one of Monet’s paintings, particularly, as Minnie notes, those that focus on his great life’s passion: the garden at his home in Giverny.

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

For example, the first impression (no pun intended) on arriving and looking over the water to the little bridge facing the store from afar was Monet’s 1899 painting, Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies.

As we continued to look around and walk along the path circling the pond at Junbug, further influences  – or perhaps reflections might be a better term – of Monet’s art came to mind. There’s the subtle mix of colour and blending in the blooming of flowers as seen in his 1900 oil on canvas Le Jardin de l’artiste à Giverny, and Garden Path at Giverny (1902), while the pond itself offers echoes of his extensive Water Lilies series.

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

A small, simple setting, the garden is completed by the presence of waterfowl on or near the water, and birds singing from various points around the path (such as the stone bridge close to the store) or hopping and flitting around the paths or circling overhead. In adding their voices to the scene, they increase the spring / summer feel to the region.

There is also a touch of French flavouring to the garden and store – the latter has the presence of a grand maison, for example. Meanwhile, a number of the selected elements in the region, such as the pavilion and the little rowing boat, have French-leaning names / pose systems.

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

For those seeking a place to sit and enjoy the setting, the rowing boat offers a mix of individual female and male poses, while the benches along the waterfront near the store offer a mix of individual and couples sits, as does the bench in the pavilion. A further bench can be found close to the little wooden bridge, but using it will require getting past the grass growing around it, which interferes with direct clicking.

Set under a tranquil sky suggestive of a mild spring early evening, this is an utterly delightful setting, a painting made real, if you will, and well worth the time spent appreciating it. And given the inspiration behind it, I hope you’ll forgive my attempt to render it as a painting! Our thanks again to Annie for passing on the details.

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

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The seasons at Bay of Dreams in Second Life

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams – click any image for full size

Bay of Dreams is the Full region home of Valor Poses Mainstore and Photo Sim, operated by Keegan Kavenagh (AlexCassidy1). As the name implies, the region offers both a base for the Valor Poses store, and the opportunity to explore a changing environment beyond its doors.

In February 2018 Caitlyn and I visited the region whilst the region offered a summertime look and feel (you can read more about that visit here), so with the end of the year approaching, I thought I’d drop in again to see what had changed.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

Now designed by Adalynne Romano (AdalynneReed) working with Keegan and Tessa Kavenagh (TessaGrace51), the region presents something of a mix of seasons, all within walking distance of one another. For the store, which forms the landing point, and its surroundings, there is a decidedly springtime look and feel.

Occupying a table of land in the south-east of the region, the store is surrounded by a garden setting. The trees and flowers are all in bloom, the grass lush and green, visible through the windows of the store, inviting patrons to step outside. Those who do will find a richly mixed setting, one complete with ruins of different ages and pieces of art – notably by Mistero Hifeng – while horses and deer lay dotted across the lawns.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

The store looks northwards over a low-lying headland dominated by a broad board walk and pier that stretches out over the water, a narrow ribbon of beach running around the north and east side of the headland adding to the feeling that this is the “summer quarter” of the region. Volleyball can be played on the grass, while the board walk and little pier include places to sit and enjoy refreshments.

Between the footbridge leading back to the store and the board walk, a track runs off to the west, following the bent finger of land, serpent-like in its narrowness. This ends in a bridge leading to a small island that in turns links to the south-western side of the region, a grassy quarter clearly caught in the gentle embrace of autumn. Here the trees are rich in golds, brown, oranges and reds. Pumpkins lie on the ground, while the single large barn offers a greeting of Happy Fall.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

The final quarter of the region, reached via “autumn” hosts, appropriately enough, winter. Crowned by a rocky crenelation, this is another plateau within the ring of rock, the land is covered in snow, complete with a frozen pond and with a snow blanketed wooden house of impressive size. This offers plenty of seating inside and out.

Finding your way around the region is simply a matter of following the paths and using the bridges. All four aspects of the setting perfectly present each of the seasons, with a fairly neutral region-wide windlight used for all four. This also works well, but it did have me wondering about how a setting like this, with four different regional settings will look when EEP – the environmental Enhancement Project – has come into common use.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

There are one or two little rough edges – path segments not meeting one another or the landscape here or there; some floating trees together with the odd plain prim or semi-floating rock. But, by-and-large, the design comes together to offer a visually interesting setting. Those wishing to rez props for photograph can join the local group.

For those who might be feeling they’ve seen a little too much snow in Second Life, or who wish to revisit their preferred season, or simply want to experience an entire year in a short walk, Bay of Dreams perhaps offers the perfect visit.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

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Two snowy visits in Second Life

Hollyee; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Hollyee – click any image for full size

There are lots of winter themed regions to visit at this time of year – I’ve already covered a number in these pages for 2018. So many in fact, it’s easy to end up with a mild case of snow blindness :). There is often a tendency to use many of the same elements in such builds – the DRD Polar Express train being one such example. So for this write-up, I thought I’d offer a couple of suggestion that are just that little bit different to the others we’ve visited thus far.

Hollyee is a homestead region designed by Agaras, offering a remote, wild winter setting. Surrounded by tall mountains shrouded in snow and mist, the central feature of the setting is an oval large frozen lake, its surface glittering like a star field and broken by a couple of islands.

Hollyee; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Hollyee

The lake is set within a low-lying, wooded landscape, devoid of paths and get trails, but open to wandering under tree and over snow. The entire feeling is that of a remote mountain lake, well away from any major centres of population – but not so far away as to be totally in the wild.

This latter fact can be attested to by the presence of fresh hay that has been left out on the snow, offering horses places to eat, rather than leaving them to  forage under the snow for grass.  Whether the hay has been put out by a local farmer possibly living just beyond the landscape, or by whoever might live in the little A-frame cabin located in the south-east corner of the region, is up to visitors to decide.

Hollyee; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Hollyee

The horses aren’t the only animals to be found scattered across the landscape. Wander through the snow as you circle the ice and you’ll find deer, rabbits, wolves and even polar bears – the latter both real and made from snow! Birds circle overhead while a lone owl hunts between the trunks of the trees. All of them serve to give the region a feeling of added depth, as does the local sound scape.

A skate giver is available close to the landing point, although if you have your own, you can obviously wear them. There are also skating poses available for use for singles and couples skating, while scattered across the landscape are a number of places for sitting and cuddling.

Hollyee; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Hollyee

The second location I want to mention is Winter Dream. located over the home of Solo Arte, it is once again the work of resident artist there, Terrygold. Like Hollyee, Winter Dream presents a wilderness setting, beautiful in its snowbound, rugged beauty. It’s also another place where having local sounds on is essential to a visit.

Also like Hollyee, central to the design is a frozen lake, a flat expanse of ice from which the occasional hump of rock rises, and towards the middle of which a lone tree stands sentinel, boughs raised as if trying to ward off the steadily falling snow.

Winter Dream; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Winter Dream

Around this lake is a rocky landscape, stepping upwards towards a surround rim of low cliffs. Two structures rise from the snow, the largest a two-storey stone-and-wood cabin, facing the landing point across the lake. Closer to hand, just to one side of the landing point and watched over by two snowmen, sits a wooden pavilion. A fire is blazing in the hearth here, with wooden chairs ranged before it, but the open sides suggest it might not be as warm as the fire might otherwise suggest.

The most direct route to the cabin is across the ice – but it’s also the boring way. It’s more interesting to head either north then east towards the cabin, or go east then north. Both routes will lead you via points of interest: deer at a feeder, outdoor seating areas,  – including an old Ferris Wheel (although it could perhaps benefit from blanket to help keep those sitting in it warm! 🙂 ) and so on.

Winter Dream; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Winter Dream

The eastward route will take visitors over some of the ice, which extends around this side of the landscape. So if you have your own ice skates, you might want to make use of them. It also offers a slight climb up to the cabin – but so does the route running north then east from the landing point. Once inside, the cabin offer a place to dance and a break from the weather by the fire places.

Both Hollyee and Winter Dream are quiet, winter settings waiting to be enjoyed. Both are well presented, although each has its own small niggles. Hollyee has a few floating trees and rocks that can make themselves known when taking photos, while the volume of animated mesh snow in Winter Dream can impact performance (particularly if you run with shadows enabled). So do take note when visiting – but don’t let either put you off.

Winter Dream; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Winter Dream

Really, if the snow hasn’t gotten to you too much, it’s worth grabbing your skates, wrapping up warm and enjoying either of these quiet wintry corners of the grid.

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Exploring Mesmeric Cove in Second Life

Mesmeric Cove; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Mesmeric Cove – click any image for full size

Mesmeric Cove is a full region designed by Yosh Shi Juan (Macximuss Zsun) and Duckie Pops Juan (CandyHarlequin). It is described as:

An idyllic seasonal RP community sim with picturesque views, vacation and rental homes, honeymoon, restaurant, hangout, scholars hall, ballet theatre and more.

Mesmeric Cove; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Mesmeric Cove

Currently decorated for winter, the region presents a pleasant small-town feel; a coastal location backed by high, snowy mountains., and with plenty to see and enjoy while exploring – but visitors should keep in mind a number of the houses are private rentals, and so care should be taken to avoid intruding into private properties.

Visits start in the town, located ton the north side of the region. On arrival, visitors are greeted with text that has the making of a mystery story:

As you step off the train, a rush off warm steam brushes your face. You make out the faint shadows and glows of light of what looks like a quiet town, or is it? Your curiosity impels you too travel deeper. Can you unlock the history of Mesmeric Cove.

Mesmeric Cove; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Mesmeric Cove

I assume this is intended to invite a spirit of casual role-play, although quite what form the role-play might take is unclear to me.  But even without that knowledge, the greeting adds atmosphere to the start of a visit.

The train in question is the DRD Polar Express locomotive, shrouded in snow and emerging from a snowy tunnel. Th track it sit on splits the little town in two, forcing visitors to walk around a little coffee-house to reach the second street.

Close by, at the nearer end of the town, a footpath rolls gently eastwards down to a clock tower and the impressive bulk of the Mesmeric Scholars Hall and the Bonne Nuit Theatre.  A broad road separates the hall and theatre and from a little rows of houses which appears to be some of the rentals, as it curls to the waterfront and a cold-looking ocean.

Mesmeric Cove; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Mesmeric Cove

On the far side of the hall and theatre to the houses, the land is split by a narrow stream. Beyond this, the region has a wilder, unsullied look, the houses more remote as they face out to the sea to the east and south. To the south and west, the land climbs is rocky steps, a mix of paved footpath and wooden steps offering a way up. At least one of the houses here appears to be a rental, as might be the case with the house on the highest peak, even though the cable car rising from the north-west side of the town below arrives  alongside of the house.

Whether visiting for photography looking for a home, Mesmeric Cove could well be worth a visit. For photographers, paying the group fee of L$100 will provide rezzing rights, and there are a number of place to enjoy for avatar photography while the region offers many vantage points for landscape images. There are a fair few places to simply sit and relax to be found scattered around – including a static hot air balloon, and when it comes to photography, there is also a Flickr group for those who wish to share their pictures.

Mesmeric Cove; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Mesmeric Cove

All told, a pleasant spot to visit and appreciate.

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With thanks to Shakespeare and Max for the landmark!

The Forest’s Winter Wonderland in Second Life

The Forest - Winter Wonderland; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
The Forest – Winter Wonderland – click any image for full size

The Forest – Winter Wonderland is a seasonal location sitting high in the sky over a full region. Designed by Alexis Rose Wilson-Versailles (LexxiHudson) and Mark Wilson-Versailles (exde) under their brand Delicate Designs, it presents a charming Alpine-like setting that offers plenty to see and enjoy.

Surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks, it’s a place rich in detail, offering a predominantly low-lying, valley-like location that rises to meeting the mountains to the south, the land climbing in rocky steps, although a slope to the east offers the opportunity for sledging.

The Forest - Winter Wonderland; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
The Forest – Winter Wonderland

From the landing point – which includes a handy map of the setting (one of several to be found at the stations along the tram route) – visitors can with explore on foot, or away the arrival of the local tram and take a ride. This clatters its way along tracks built and sedately circling the landscape, passing under trees and climbing board walk slopes up to the higher locations before swooping down into the “valley” once more.  Along the way, it passes all the points of interest, allowing passengers to hop on and off as they wish.

For those who prefer exercising their pedal extremities, paths through the woodlands are marked either by wooden or wrought iron fences, leading visitors to the various locations they might appreciate. These include a coffee-house, ice skating, a little Christmas village (although the shops are mostly for show), a Christmas tree farm, Santa’s farm (share your soup with Donner or Blitzen or Comet or Cupid or Dancer… I’m actually not quite sure which one it is 🙂 ), and a wintry carousel.

The Forest - Winter Wonderland; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
The Forest – Winter Wonderland

Travel far enough to the north-east and you’ll find the cable car ride that runs up to the southern highlands, passing over the tram tracks in the process, while for those feeling the need for further exercise, stone steps set into the snowy slope offer a the opportunity for a brisk climb.

These uplands are crowned by the North Pole Toy Co. (which seems to have relocated, given the southern setting!), wherein warmth can once again be found. This appears to have perhaps once been the main landing point for the setting – inside a sign board offers information on the setting, including how to rent the cabins that are available, as well as presenting visitors with seasonal gifts (a similar board is also to be found near the current landing point).

The Forest - Winter Wonderland; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
The Forest – Winter Wonderland

The rental cabins referred to in the information note cards are scattered over the southern highlands, so do be aware that they may be occupied when exploring and resist the temptation to step into any of them, particularly as the tram ride will take you past them. Those wishing to rent a cabin can do so for (at the time of writing) L$1200 per week, which also awards them 400 LI to play with. See the note cards for more on this.

The slope over which the cable cars climb is also where sledging can be enjoyed – there’s a sign close to the North Pole Toy Co that will rez sledges for you. Rezzers are also available from sign boards at the ice skating pond – although visitors can use their own skates if they prefer.

The Forest - Winter Wonderland; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
The Forest – Winter Wonderland

Wandering on foot will also reveal all the little touches that have been added to the setting, from the little critter’s village through to the Eskimo igloos  with their huskies, to the chance to photograph yourself on a husky sled or snuggle on a horse-drawn sleigh. Those taking photos are invited to submit them to the region’s Flickr group if they so wish.

Given all that is going on in the region, those who normally have shadows enabled might find things a little heavy going and might want to disable them, other than when taking pictures. However, the default eventide windlight actually helps with this, as it can mean not too much is lost visually want exploring with shadows turned off.

The Forest - Winter Wonderland; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
The Forest – Winter Wonderland

With its festive setting and with the surrounding off-sim mountains nicely integrated into the scene, The Forest – Winter Wonderland makes for a delight and photogenic visit, one that definitely invites playing with your local windlight settings when taking photos (as can be seen in this article, I opted to run with a more daytime setting, simply because I love the look of a snowy scene when viewed in sunlight). Should you enjoy your visit, please consider showing your appreciation via the available tip jars.

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