Following a tip from from SL Newser, I'm now flying in a restored version of the soaring Lost Gardens of Apollo, a classic Second Life sim which went defunct around 2011, due in part to the real world housing crisis. It's now back under a new owner with a Linden Lab avatar name, and is listed as "The Lost Gardens of Apollo Historic Build". So if you haven't visited it before, or you have, and missed its absence, click here to see it in its new incarnation.
I've contacted Linden Lab and Apollo's original creator, Dane Zander, for details of this apparent acquisition. Dane did offer to sell it to the company five years ago, but reportedly got no offer then. (Linden Lab does occasionally buy great but defunct or soon-to-be-defunct sims, such as Svarga, the island ecosystem, so they can remain in-world.) And Apollo is definitely historic, created a full decade ago, years before mesh or fancy prims, its high towers and swooping lines showcasing Dane's great artistry building with basic primitives. (Below the break, what it looked like in 2006.)
Back in 2011, Dane described the labor (or maybe torture) of love he went through to keep it open as long as he did, without compromising its appearance -- a painful case study on the challenges of succeeding in a virtual economy driven by profit and consumerism:
“Sponsorship would mean commercial billboards and posters all over the place... With Second Life becoming increasingly commercialized and attuned to consumerism, the majority of my visitors have found the sheer lack of adverts and posters and signs... delightful.”
And that also made selling the sim difficult: “It would be pretty darned near impossible to sell off a sim to anyone, telling them: It basically has to stay ‘as is’.” Alternate revenue models aside, “it all comes down to me not being able to have this luxury on my bank statements anymore. At all.”
Despite this rising financial burden, “I have postponed this closing, and postponed, again and again... tinkering on this place for more than five years has earned it a special place in my heart, and in the hearts of those around me. Namely my very dear friends, who tirelessly, and for no pay what so ever, have policed, looked after and managed Apollo while I was off doing such mundane things as eating, sleeping, getting sick -- and getting well again. In sickness and in health... my friends have stood by me, all these years. I have been blessed in that manner. It has indeed been a happy union.”
Dane Zander has wrote to Linden Lab, and offered his region to them: “That way, it could perhaps stay open. Let us give them time to consider that, and see what happens.” But he’s understanding if that doesn’t happen: “Linden Lab has felt the crisis as well, so I completely understand their need to be ‘in business for the money’, and not do these things without due consideration.”
In the end, it looks like, Dane finally got his wish. More details when I get more (hopefully soon).
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