Thanks to a tip from Tao Takashi, I have my first flying SLURL, a place in Second Life seemingly designed with the power of flight in mind. It's not that the Lost Gardens of Apollo are entirely airborne-- indeed, the landscape is just as inviting, as are the courtyard areas along the water-- it's that the space is open enough that it makes more sense to fly from place to place, and there's no sacrifice of context, for doing so. You don't start flying because you get frustrated by trying to walk up narrow stairs, for example; you fly from high tower to high tower because that's what seems, well, most natural. More on Apollo's creation after the break.
The island of Apollo is owned by Danish resident Dane Zander, who created the Gardens in a whirl of creativity over a six week period, working full time.
"I was dreaming prims," he tells me, grinning.
Not a 3D artist by trade, Dane works in graphics production and advertising. His inspiration for the garden is from the gay-friendly myth of Apollo and Hyacinth, a male lover the god took for awhile, and after his demise, created a flower in his honor.
"I wanted a mature place, adult per se, but one free of sex," Dane tells me. "I have nothing against sex, but it is so very well offered already all over SL. I wanted a place to be together... without worrying about sex. Also, it was important that it would welcome all genders, shapes, creeds and colors in here. And if Mature with a specific sexual direction, that would not have been possible." Instead, he's created a place with all kinds of nooks and crannies, like secluded pools high up in there, where two or more of any orientation can non-sexually cuddle and enjoy the surroundings.
Appropriately, the main source of funding for Apollo comes from the renting of Dane's wedding chapel in the sky, where several ceremonies are performed every month (three ministers are on retainer and available for services.) This will become even more important when Linden Lab finally phases out Developer Incentives at the end of this month, stipends the company pays to a select number of talented content creators. After March, the incentives end and these creators will need to find new ways of funding their projects and the land they're on.
Dane's already set up donation boxes, for visitors who enjoy the Gardens. "People actually donate," Dane Zander says, perhaps a little surpised. "I get a lot of appreciation here... and every little bit helps, whether it's L$5 or L$500."