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About Bay City

January 31st, 2011 by Marianne McCann

NCI in Bay City

I’ve written about Bay City more than a couple times on this very blog. But I’ve always gone from what might be an erroneous assumption: I don’t need to explain what Bay City is, as that’s already known.

I’ve recently talked with several friends about Bay City, in light of the likely move of the former Teen Grid Bay City regions to make up the westside of the current Main Grid Bay City. What surprised me is how few really had heard of it, or knew much about it. So without further ado, an introduction.

Bay City is a parcel of regions to the west of the Nova Albion City sims and the Ahern Welcome Area. These regions were the first product of the Linden Department of Pubic Works’ attempts to redefine the mainland, and as such provide a large amount of mole-made “follies” and open parkland, as well as canals, roads, and other bonuses.

Also, thanks to the large amount of open parks and such, the Resident parcels in Bay City are “double primmed,” meaning that a 512m parcel in Bay City has the same amount of available prims as a 1024m on most of the mainland (Nova Albion, Nautilus City, and some parts of Kama City on Zindra also enjoy this bonus).

The area is lightly themed. As announced on the Second Life blog, Bay City is themed as “the American urban experience, between 1940 and 1965, perhaps best typified by Chicago circa 1950 and marked by a distinct deco influence.” I say “lightly” because it is mainland, and landowners are welcome to build whatever they wish. Many do, however, stay within the basic spirit of the city.

There is one great barrier to life in Bay City, however. While much of the mainland has seen skyrocketing abandonment and prices in the basement Bay City has always been known for being some of the priciest land on the grid. Most parcels start from around L$50k and go upward. On the plus side, it is likely to remain so, as it has weathered even the tough inworld economic times of Mid-2010.

Toy Boat

In exchange for the cost you not only get double-prim land, likely with more than one protected side, and nice views of Linden-owned parks and follies, but you get access to a network of roads and canals, the possibly of a boat dock in New Port, and nearby access to the SLRR and the Hau Koda airport. For those who sell, you have two infohubs in the city (and two more within a 5± region distance), free advertising space at the Bay City Community Center, and several other stores within relatively close proximity.

You also gain the Bay City Alliance, a group made up of Bay City Residents and other interested parties who work together to provide events and foster community in the City by the Bay. I’ve had the pleasure of watching this group mature over the last two years, and see a strong group dedicated to helping make the city a success. They’re one of the big reasons I’m there.

I hope, as the area heads to its third anniversary in May, that you’ll opt to join us. If you are looking for good, quality mainland, think Bay City.

A Second Life heresy

January 6th, 2011 by Marianne McCann

Gasp!

Okay, let me start with a heresy: Second Life needs to be more like Facebook.

Now, before your get that tar up to boiling, and before you collect a sufficient amount of feathers, let me explain. I don’t think Second Life should be any less involved or complex as it is now. I certainly don’t think it needs to be a Zynga game. It does not necessarily need to be a web-based thing (though Project Skylight does look good). I don’t need to send data from Second Life to Facebook. I don’t need Mark Zuckerberg & Co. to data scrape my avatar. None of that.

But there are features that I would dearly love, and those features are the sort of things I see on Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, and elsewhere. I think these features would revolutionize the way we connect in Second Life, would be useful for both wide-eyed noob and jaded oldbie, and would make Second life be far more (dare I say it?) fast, easy, and fun.

Let me give you a couple scenarios from my own SL experiences, so that maybe you can see what I see. In the Summer, I do a weekly fireworks series every Saturday night. At current, I have the following ways to tell my friends about this event. I can start a conference chat a couple minutes before to let everyone know, I can send a group notice, and I can send each of my friends an IM or notecard about the event.

But people don’t always appreciate conference IMs. Many don’t want the intrusion or me and my other friends suddenly plopping into their space. Likewise, even a 40 group limit is not going to allow people to really join groups to find out about events, and group notices are also, shall we say, spammy. Finally, sending the 750 people on my friend’s list individual IMs about such things is a monumental amount of work. None of these are good solutions.

Rather, if there was some way that my friends could see a status message from me — at their convenience — it take all that pain away. They could see at a glance that I was going to have a fireworks show (or whatever), click the SLURL I put with it, and be on their way.

Second example. I might want to connect with my friends beyond just knowing what event their hosting. I might want to know what they’re up to, how they’re feeling, or just a bit about them. I want to connect with them. Again, I could IM them, and often do – but with the size of my list, again, it is a chore, and people do fall through the cracks.

It would be that much easier if I could pull up a status feed and see, right there, that Mary Resident is at a cool concert (Maybe I should check that out?), and Bob Resident just finished building a tree fort (Maybe I need to check their store!), and Alice Resident is Flying her biplane (which means that IMs with her are likely going to be hit and miss). Heck, it would also help me to know if Ralph Resident is off on vacation, or what have you — all in a glance.

Imagine this as the response to the perpetual noob question of boredom, and see this as a way for each of us to be a bit closer. Think of it in terms of the “like” button as a way for us to show our friends a place we thought was a “must see.” And imagine being able to do this without leaving the Second Life interface to go off to some other place on the web.

That is the way I’d like to see Second Life be more like Facebook. I want those tools to serve my digital self, within Second Life, the same way they serve my flesh-based form in my first life.