Click here to visit Hakone, because it's a Second Life sim with a massive sky pirate town that's floating in the air way above the sea. And I do mean large: While you can't quite make it out, that's a fullscale galleon at the far right. (And that dot on the far upper left is me.) Not pictured: a working train that cuts in and out of the town interior, and a working water wheel. Pictured, but not in motion as it should be: That smaller airship you see has automated guides. This is really one of the most amazing builds I've seen in Second Life, if you have the graphics capacity to see it in its full glory (and fortunately, I have). If you don't, watch this video tour by Kawanishi Yana.
Click here to visit and experience the latest SL installation by acclaimed virtual world artist Bryn Oh, "The Singularity of Kumiko", which opens today. But first, you should probably read her introductory notes, both technical and artistic, on her blog. For instance: "[T]he best viewer to use is Firestorm as it has the most effective WindLight and shadow settings available... Some things that can help with the immersion is if you are able to turn the lights down low in the room as you explore, as well as turn up the ambient volume. Essentially you will need a special WindLight, shadows enabled and a headlamp."
Image of Byrn and hat tip to Kara Trapdoor, who has some thoughts on the show on her blog. And watch a machinima preview by Bryn below the break:
Opening Today: "The Visitors", Where You Can Interact with Whimsically Animated 2D Figures in a Beautiful 3D Town
Click here to visit "The Visitors" by Cica Ghost. a whimsical new art installation in which stick figures come to fragmentary life in an old Italian city. Opening today, Ms. Ghost is the creator of the Ghostville experience and other beloved sites. Ziki Questi has a good post on what you can expect from your visit to the land of Ms. Ghost:
Last night I floated high above a beautiful Second Life sim called Ancient Alexandria -- (map location and SLurl right here, please go visit yourself ) -- and yes, it looks like this, with the graphics turned up full: less like an ancient Greek city, but something out of Skyrim, but with a city square with air ships and such which overall seems more steampunk. (Skyrim mod idea: Steampunk Skyrim.) And now that I find myself with more time and opportunity to explore more in Second Life, I find many old beloved sims are long gone, but others remain, and still others have risen as well. Many of them are fully mesh-made, and so seem to remake Second Life anew, so that it can (as you can see here), visually compete with the best that 3D gaming has to offer.
Along those lines, what others should I see in my next few visits?
Strawberry Singh's latest blog meme makes for great browsing this weekend: She invited fellow SL bloggers and Flickr photographers to share their favorite places in Second Life, and some fifty folks have done so in her comment thread, which you can peruse here. There's many classics, like The Far Away by AM Radio* (SLurl teleport here), and even a quick skim of Strawberry's thread turns up some cool spots I haven't seen before: Like some of those featured here in a blog called Pics by Peep, and in this one aptly named WindLight Photography.
It's been awhile since I saw a good Second Life machinima, so I was pretty pleased to come across this one by Erythro Asimov -- a montage tribute to Ghostville, the lovely and innovative sim created by Cica Ghost. Watch, watch:
Song is "Elphant Gun" by Beirut, which is perfectly chosen, given the setting, where stick figure drawings in a rustic town seem to come to life:
Avatars in Motion has the news of a strange and beautiful Second Life sim called Black Kite that's usually private but is now open to the public for a limited time. I love the house rules:
"The only rules are don't fly over 100 meters and don't go in their house (it's the one with the bed)."
Creations for Parkinson's, an SL Sim & Support Group for People With the Disease, Their Caregivers, and Researchers
Click here to directly teleport to the Creations for Parkinson's site on the Second Life sim of Solace Lake, which is the place that Barbie Alchemi created for her real life mother, Fran Seranade, who reports experiencing some physical recovery from her Parkinson's symptoms as a direct result of using Second Life, as I wrote about yesterday. Barbie's place also hosts a support group for others with Parkinsons' and their caregivers, often hosted by Fran herself. To join the support group, search for and join the group "Creations for Parkinson's" in Second Life.
As I mentioned in the post, the sim is also now connected to a research project led by Donna Z. Davis (PhD), an Assistant Professor at University of Oregon (avatar name: Tredi Felisimo), studying how virtual worlds like Second Life might help others with Parkinson's. "We also have a group called 'Fran's Fans. That will be for the people who are participating in the research, specifically," she tells me. "We'll be adding another sim, exclusively for research, that will have to remain closed for privacy. I hope to have the research sim up and running by mid-March and expect to start recruiting new folks for the research at that point." But if you're interested in participating now, search and join the Fran's Fans group in Second Life.
More about Creations for Parkinson's -- where to go, what to do, and who to meet -- below:
Drama Libre on the sim of Ravenswood (SLurl here) is a Second Life club that operates on a very clever premise: "We rebuild a set every week to match a theme," as co-owner Peachy Sassoon explains. This week, as you can probably guess from the above, the theme is Escher (or as they're calling it, "Art! For Escher's Sake!"), but next week, just in time for Valentine's, the place will be totally changed:
"Hi Hamlet," Sphynx Soleil begins, "you covered the Dwarf Hamster avatar a few weeks ago on your site. Thought you'd like an update: suetabulous Yootz is keeping the hamster Gatcha permanently in the Beetlebones shop." I love that only hardcore Second Life users can understand the last two sentences. In case you're one of them, and you have a hamster hankering (and really who doesn't) click here to teleport to Yootz's shop in the Beetlebones region.