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My little parts of SL8B

June 26th, 2011 by Marianne McCann

Now that I’ve discussed some general feelings, I want to introduce my own parts of SL8B

With the passing of BlueGin Yifu last year, the task of doing a birthday build representing the Bay City Alliance ended up in my lap. I wanted to do something that would serve both as a memorial to some of her ideals, while also fitting Bay City’s theme and attitude.

Bay City at SL8B

First and foremost, I wanted it to be a largely open space. BlueGin was very particular about this, pushing for an open air meeting space, and doing an open air build for SL7B. While it was important o reflect the urban nature of Bay city, I also wanted to have trees and fountains, both things that were highlights of her own spaces.

Carrying the Bay City, mid-century theme, as well as a metaphor of the SL birthday events being akin to a “World’s Fair,” I dug up images from the 1939 New York World’s Fair. For the main parts of my inspiration, I looked at the circular entranceway and tall uprights of the Gas Exhibits building, the rotunda atop the League of Nations building, and the color and spire of the Electrical Products building. The fountain was further inspired by numerous fountains at the 1939 and 1964 fairs.

I produced a simple machinima for the interior of the rotunda, focusing on what makes bay city so magical, and asked residents to offer both quotes and banners to decorate the building. There are also a few whimsical and hidden touches throughout, as well as a retractable dance floor on the second floor where we held a couple parties featuring Marx Dudek and Holocluck Henly’s DJ talents.

Overall, I’ve every pleased with the way the build came out. You can find it at SL8B Exhilarate, near the “entrance” to the birthday event.

Keeping with my roots in birthday builds, I also did work on the Second Life Children build. The concept and much of the execution was Pygar Bu’s, but I did provide textures, a notecard, some scripting help, and a few other odds and ends.

SLC at SL8B

A whimsical build featuring a giant, walk-in jello mold, it carries a lot of the themes of previous SLC builds, focusing on fun as well as stories related to why people play kids, and what they do while here. It can be found in SL8B Spellbound.

Both will be available through the 2nd of July.

A few thoughts on SL8B

June 26th, 2011 by Marianne McCann

I find I did much the same last year, finally blogging about SL8B as the event wound down. There’s still one more week to see the builds, though, so please, by all means, do so.

I want to talk about my own builds, but first I want to talk about SL8B in general. This year, the overall mood of the event was much brighter than it has been for years. Probably back to SL4B. That was my second SL birthday event, and one I still look back at fondly. It had this whole basis on history, with two sims (one moderate, one general) for every year SL had been around since the end of Beta. I got to see a lot of cool, old stuff.

It is probably what made me an SL history nut and – given my druthers, I wish I’d had the chance to go back and see it all again. I’m sure there were things there that would only be relevant to me now.

Then SL5B hit, and I don’t think I need to even mention what a drama that was. I think it was bad for everyone, not the least of all for Second Life as a whole.

SL6B was on a dark, always-nighttime asteroid. Cool, but not exactly a cheerful birthday party due to the very nature of the theme. Also, it happened right at the height of the big Zindra/Adult content move.

SL7B had its own dramas too, not the least of which was Linden Lab shedding a large number of staff members and losing their CEO during the buildup and run of the event. That really cast a pall over the event, as people went to the graveyard in Rogue rather than celebrated.

This year is different. While it is not without its dramas, including the loss of more Linden staff members, a content theft issue, and other troubles, the whole mood is a lot more positive. This is reflected in the builds. While the last couple years contained some a few grains of wheat amongst a lot of chaff, this year is full of many good things worth seeing. Everything from trick performing dolphins to builds that form before your eyes. Brilliant and beautiful stuff. It’s not all home runs, but you’ll find a lot more of them than  you might have in previous years.

If I had a complaint, however, it would be this. Much like Lalo Telling said in his own blog, there’s a lack of history to the event. One of my builds is next to the time capsules, which haven’t really been promoted or mentioned, and which last the creative display of some of those time capsule’s alluring contents. There’s nothing to thank those who came before for getting us to where we are today, nor displays that show where we came from.

I’d also love to see some attempt at grouping similar builds together. There’s four kid-themed builds, but they’re each in different, not nearby, regions. The Bay City build is some six regions away from the Nova Albion build, when these sister cities could mutually benefit by being closer.

That said, these are relatively minor issues, and I don’t offer them to tear down what is/was the best SLxB is many years.

One thing I don’t think of as minor, however, was the lack of front-facing Linden involvement. Yes, there was some, sure, but I think it would have been better for Rodvik to make a speech of at least some nature. Cheer us on. Ditto Kim, who’s somewhat rushed-feeling 90 second speech was a shock to many, given the much longer presentations by Philip Linden and others in the past.

The Long Balloon Trip

June 12th, 2011 by Marianne McCann

So I took a long, long balloon ride.

The Long Balloon Tour

I actually did it over a couple different days – May 30th and June 12th – and in four “sections” so that I would not really “over do.” It was a total of 126 regions crossings. I had to rerez my balloon twice (not counting at the planned breaks), and recovered it from near-calamity two other times. Overall, not that bad.

My vehicle of choice was the Terra Cirrus hot air balloon. it is a slow but stable flyer, and easy to manage. I roughly plotted a course that would take move over protected land for the majority of the trip, only deviating at Abbotts and Cowell. I could likely have stuck to protected land there, but Cowell is such a beautiful spot to fly over.

The slower you hit a sim crossing the better – usually – so the balloon was perfect for this sort of trek. If I was in a speedboat or something, my results would be a lot different. My graphic settings were on high, with a 128m draw distance (I did increase it sometimes for photos, and decreased it in a spot in South Channel that tends to be rough for me)

I started off from Promissa, in the upper waterway on the Heterocera Atoll continent. In retrospect, I wish I’d started from a more northerly location, but I’m not sure I could have stayed to a “protected land” route if I’d done so. Anyway, I found one person’s dock ’round there, rezzed out and move into the waterway to start my journey.

Start Off

The waterways through this first section of the Northern Continent were pleasant, without having to do a lot of wiggling about. There were even some nice open waterways where I could fiddle around with IMs or check my map while in flight. This was fine until I hit Cepphis. My balloon decided to ail on without me there, and I had to do some backtracking to find a spot to re-rez and continue. A lot of the old protected regions – and some of the new ones – seem to lack rez zones, so this was tricky.

I then flew over the walkways of Iris, and then into the lower end of the atoll. This spot remains one of the more picturesque you’ll find on the mainland. The temple is always so pretty.

Passing Iris

The waterways there are a bit trickier and tighter. I did make one wrong turn around Tuliptree, and had to briefly back up and get back on track, but it was no more than a 20m deviation.  I also picked up a passenger briefly here, dropping him off at my first scheduled stop in ANWR.

The prim derrick does not have good facilities for lunch, but thankfully I brought a sandwich and a couple cookies with me, and enjoyed a little break there. The derrick is always fun to explore, especially if you ever wondered where all those plywood cubes come from.

I picked up my journey after locating a rez zone nearby and heading on. The next part of the trip started through the new northern passage which has been the bane of more than a few intrepid explorers. The crossing from Hildegardre to Lothair can be especially rough. but it was fairly smooth sailing as I headed into Theodrada, even shouting an “Ahoy” at a sailor below.

Theodrata

And then both he and I failed at that crossing. Thankfully, I was able to recover and even grab my balloon and continue on. A trick: sometimes when you get stuck at the crossings, you can sit on the ground to recover. Also, for some reason, a “stop all animations” can help you get unstuck.

I continued into familiar territory, passing by the Suburbs (I coulda almost seen my house if I’d dared turn my draw up that high!), Nova Albion, and Bay City, then into the new Southern Passage. I welcomed no more mishaps on the way to Abbotts, and met my brother on the tarmac. Well, him and also some role players shooting up some zombies on the runway.

Taking off from Abbotts

My next leg of the trip took me off from Abbotts and east into the interior of Sansara. There were some areas there that I’d not travelled in a long time. Indeed, some Im not sure I’d ever visited. As much as people mock Mainland, there are some lovely spots. Cowell Village, A little village in Myrtle. The East River Community, the Riverwalk, the canals of Lakeville — each examples of what dedicated Residents can do when given a chance. All very beautiful.

I did run into trouble in Atlas. It looks like one big lake, but there’s a patchwork of Resident parcels in there, making the route treacherous. I ended up against the 1-2 punch of no object entry on one parcel, and ban lines on another. So I again had to find a spot to rez, and continued on my way around.

There are plenty of Linden and Mole made things to see along the route, too. I already mentioned Iris and ANWR, but this route also took me over the asylum, near the vehicle regions, through Ice Bay and the Sea of Fables, over the dam in Ganymede and the Mimas Bridge. All worth seeing.

Over Ice Bay

Speaking of the Ice Bay, brr.  I wish I’d thought to not wear shorts back in Abbotts. Thankfully, much of my trip skirted the colder parts of the snowlands. Only Ice Bay proved daunting. I welcomed the warmth of Lakeville, and the Sea of Fables.

There were many spots where I came across automated tours along my path, By the way. Of course the “scourgemobiles” were about, me even almost doing a “touch and go” off one of the buses near Clarksburg. There’s the planes in Abbotts, the “pods,” and even Qu Qi’s old ferry boat in the ANWR passage. But I had no idea that the old Lost Lakes Balloon was still in service ’til I passed it in Hudson.  It made me smile to see it still offering tours all these years gone. I IMed the creator – who was on – and took a moment to thank him for still running it after all this time.

Passing the Lost Lakes balloon tour

At one time, the Lost Lakes balloon was pretty much the typical “style” of balloon in Second Life, featuring a large, glass bottom gondola and seats around the perimeter for looking down on the land beneath. One of my earlier memories of exploring the mainland came when a friend of mine took me out in a similar balloon and showed me the area around Dowden. Somehow it just seemed to remind me a lot of those times, seeing the old balloon tour while only a few sims west of the Dowden area.

It was time for my next stop, and I landed in the big inlet to Poseidon’s Island, in Bohol. Again, dining options were pretty slim, but the scenery made up for the lack of a warm meal.

Posiden's Island

After another break (and some time spent helping get a stuck region of a friends to be a lot less stuck), I headed off again, heading north. This would take me through Linden Village, which feels a lot less busy than it once was. particularly in Ambleside. The big “temple” like structure is still in Kirkby though, and Waterhead is still, well, Waterhead. old physical cubes littered the waterway, but did not hamper my trip.

I mentioned the beauty of some parts of the mainland, but it can still be hazardous out there. The aforementioned crossing in Atlas was difficult, and I had to clam on the proverbial breaks in somewhere around Cook, saving myself from ban lines as the very last moment.

I would prove to not be as lucky when I made my way through Derwent, and accidently went up the wrong waterway. While trying to correct course, I ended up crossing a private parcel — and their security orb. 6.0000000 seconds later, I was at home, and offered a notecard to get my own little orb of joy. I declined and teleported back, rescuing my balloon from the otherwise empty parcel, and continued on my way.

it wasn’t long after until I entered the last of my waterways, and into the protected land of Bevel. I actually backtracked a bit from there before finishing, making a safe landing in Langdale — but not before one last picture.

End of the Run

It was a fun float, and I had a blast doing it. I hope that, maybe, this will inspire you do to the same. Maybe you’ll take a boat, or a train, or a car, or maybe you too will balloon or otherwise take to the air. either way, explore our world. There’s a lot to see out there, and no time like the present to go and see it.

Oh, to see all of my pictures from the trip, visit Snapzilla. Enjoy!