Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Life Cycle of an Island

By Grey Lupindo
 In August, 2010, my community of Syzygy decided to expand.   We had been a large community surrounded by water, and the expansion gave us more islands and even more water.   Many of us liked to fly and to sail, and the expansion would allow us to do both in style.  

 An island named Corvus was created, and I was fortunate to be able to build my fantasy home there.   It was an exciting day when the frozen land emerged from the sea.   For about two weeks, I watched the island go through an ice age, a volcanic era, and finally a cool down phase.    While this was happening on Corvus, other islands were being built and land expanded on the original Syzygy.   New people moved into our community, too.   We had great parties, and many of us created temporary exhibits to showcase our art and interests.   It was a heady time.

For over two years I lived in my dream wilderness home, the Aspen Loft cabin from Stonewood Homes.  I filled the land with wild animals from many creators in SL, too.   It was exactly what I wish I could have in RL, which is the wonderful thing about SL.   Here I could walk among the wolves and not worry about becoming their dinner.

 Unfortunately, the last year brought health, financial, and time challenges to many of the residents of Syzygy.   In January the community was faced with the prospects of closing down totally unless some adjustments were made.   One of the residents, Celtic Infinity, took up the challenge of trying to keep as many of us together on Syzygy as she could.   With the help and assistance of Samantha Glume, our long-time CEO, Celtic raced against the clock to protect and save our island community.   

 For a while it didn’t look like anything could be done.  I spent many hours last month looking for a different place to live.  At first I thought I would take a long cruise to get over the loss.   But I soon realized I couldn’t afford to do that.   So I began looking at other communities, and I was amazed at the diversity on SL.   There really is something here for everyone, although for a long time I wasn’t sure there would be anything for me.  

I enjoy Steampunk, and there are a couple of great communities in SL for that.   But my wolves weren’t going to be happy there.    Too much clanging of metal and hissing of steam vents.   I looked at renting a boat dock and living by the water.  But the industrial ones were too scary, and the resort ones were too hot.  

I began looking at apartments in beautiful foreign cities, but they didn’t seem like home.   I looked at apartments in cities more like home, and realized that I just don’t like cities.   No matter what country they are in. 

It was a sad Sunday morning when I logged into SL and found that Corvus had totally disappeared.   I knew it was coming, and I had packed up all my things a few days before.   But it was still a sad and empty without my island.   I missed the birds singing and peacefulness that I felt when I walked through the woods and listened to the waterfall.   Most of all, I missed my friends. 

So I was very happy when Celtic told me that she and Samantha had a plan to keep at least some of Syzygy alive.   They are working on the details now.   I’m not sure how much or who will remain there.   But as of today it appears that I will be able to move back to the original Syzygy.  My neighbors will be my very good friends-- Grjandomore Greene, whom we call Gri, and Muse Nishi.  Gri and I were neighbors on Corvus, and he is a great person to share land with.   He never once complained about my wolves howling or disturbing him.   Muse Nishi was the first person I became friends with in SL, many years ago.   She’s very creative and fun, and I’m glad she will be a neighbor.

The island of Corvus was a wonderful place while it lasted.   I will always have happy memories of it.   Until my new place on Syzygy is finalized, I have rented a temporary apartment in a place that seems to be much more suited to me—a tree house in a forest.  I’ll let you know how the wolves adjust to live among the branches.
 Grey Lupindo

Monday, February 11, 2013

Laura Liberty’s Valentine Town

By DrFran Babcock

You may, or may not remember my story about the wonderful Christmas Town that I wrote for this esteemed publication. ( ). Well, it seems that Laura Liberty, a builder I have admired for many years, does a build for most of the holidays, with themed building activities, and shops. I figured it would be worth it to see what she had in place for Valentine’s Day. I was not disappointed. Valentine Town ( Town/151/170/36/ ) is a joy for all whether or not you have a loved one.

The Build

Laura Liberty is the creator of Valentine Town. Of course, the color palette is what you would expect, reds, pinks, purples and baby blues. What was uncanny to me is how well Laura works with her prims and her colors. I was sure that the cartoony houses that surround the perimeter of the sim were made of mesh, but I was told that was not the case, as I found out. I had the great fortune to run into Laura Liberty when I dropped in to do my story. I gushed like the fan I am over her work, and asked her what program she used to do her meshes. Here is the exchange:

DrFran Babcock: what do you use for your 3d software? Your stuff is always so coordinated and well done?
Laura Liberty: I use Photoshop Elements, and thank you.
DrFran Babcock: But the 3D??
Laura Liberty: 3d textures?
DrFran Babcock: no the building It's not all regular prims, is it? It has to be mesh.
Laura Liberty: the buildings are just prims and some other bits are sculpts. I think I have one or two small mesh things.
DrFran Babcock: you are even more amazing then.

You simply must come to Valentine Town to see this build, and tell me if you thought it was mostly regular prims. The secret, I suppose is in the carefully thought out color scheme which cannot help but lift your spirits and feed your eyes.

The Activities

There is a lot to do at Valentine Town once one is through wandering around and admiring the look of the place. In the center of the village square stands a huge gumball machine spitting out giant colored spheres. There are two ways to dive in here. You can sit on any of the dark maroon gumballs and “mosh pit” your way around, or touch the sign and get a bunch of free, floaty gumballs. On my last visit, an international assortment of residents was rolling an laughing all around.

You can also leave your mark on Valentine Town by taking a photo of yourself there, and sending it, full-permissions, to Laura Liberty. She will put it up on the Snapshot Board located near the giant gumball machine. In addition, you can get a free face emoter HUD, so you can be smiling in all your pictures.

There are two fountains in the central square, and both of them have great animations for hanging out and chatting, or taking pictures to give to Laura. I spent some time dangling my feet in the water while I tried to speak Italian with a handsome guy.


Valentine’s Day is a day that is often about gifts and flowers, and jewelry and lingerie, and…love. There is no shortage of all of this at Valentine Town. Absolutely anything that you can think of that relates to Valentine’s Day is on sale here: Animated furniture with models to try, full perm textures and sculpt texture maps of valentine-related shapes, flowers, landscaping, decorations, clothes, lingerie, sweets, balloons and cards. Everything you’d expect, but with a special twist. My favorite store was the LOL Anti-Valentine Gifts. There’s a certain someone who is going to get the blow-up doll with curlers that is in the shop.

Are you pining for someone, still in love with your ex, or do you have a secret crush? Well. Laura Liberty has a solution for you. No, she won’t get that person for you, but you can send them an anonymous gift. All you have to do is buy something on the sim (just about everything has transfer rights), put it into a folder along with a notecard with the recipients name and the date you want it delivered, and give it to Laura Liberty. Gee, I think I have about five of those to send out.

But, Wait, There’s More

When you love someone, sometimes you hold on to a little suspense to keep the tension going. Therefore, I will wait for another time to tell you about the little corner of the sim, hidden away and cloaked in yellow, purple and green. Can you figure what holiday uses those colors? Stay tuned for more about this astonishing builder, and the holiday sims she features.

DrFran Babcock