Friday, December 26, 2014

Phaze Demesnes to Close


By Bixyl Shuftan

It was a few days ago when Bay Sweetwater announced that the Phaze Demesnes sim would soon be closing down. Wondering what the place was like, especially as some of the goods it offered were now for free, I headed over to see what I could find.

Although the provided landmark for Phaze Demesnes (217/207/23) was for the northeast, I ended up in the middle of the sim instead, which was a better starting point in retrospect. I was handed a notecard with several locations. The next thing I noticed was a group of pigeons that would take off when I approached, then landed back down. Right next to me was a dock where a whale would occasionally stop and wait for a passenger. Getting on, I was taken for a ride through the river. Most of the trip was underwater, so in real life such a trip would have meant holding one's breath for a while. I didn't have my view focused on my avatar when the critter took off, so I ended up going into first-person mode, which showed quite a ride.

Not far away to the northeast was the castle, described in the notecard as "the home of the Blue Adept and the Lady Blue." Outside it looked well done. On the inside, it looked quite exquisite, with many decorations and furnishings around. In the center of the place was a cuddle couch. There was also a freebie painting there (if there were others, I missed them). Further in was a wedding chapel, as well as a dungeon, though I never did venture down to see them. I never did see the free teddy bears described in the notecard.

Leaving the castle and walking on to Dragons Isle, I never did find the freebie dragons described in the notecard. What I did find was a few figures, including a stone fighter, an ogre-like being, and something demonic, around a portal entrance. This led to an area with a red floor with a pentagram etched in. One is invited to pick up a sword and shield, either green or blue. Whether or not you do, demons soon appear, with one set up numbers representing your health, and another for theirs. They head to you, and every time you whack them, their health goes down while the number for your health drops when they touch you. When theirs reaches zero, they vanish and after the last one disappears another round with more monsters begins. If yours reaches zero, the game ends. I didn't do too badly when I fought one at a time. But soon they were coming at me two at a time, so I tried to keep away from one while fighting the other. Three at a time, and it was soon game over. Maybe they didn't like losing to a mouse avatar dressed up in Christmas red and green (grin).

The notecard described a "silversmith game" underneath the castle, so I used the landmark provided, and arrived at a smithing area, with an anvil and tools along with a few silver objects on the counter. It turned out this was a puzzle, and one had to click on things and do a few actions in a certain order. The reward was a box of goodies that contained vases, bracelets, cloaks and a silk, and other items.

There was an underwater dome, "Translucent Demesnes:  a beautiful underwater world ruled by the Translucent Adept." Getting there, one had to figure out how to get inside. While drowning was not a worry, one is warned about hungry sharks and piranha in the vicinity. To those who figure out how to get in, they're invited to sit on the throne.

Other places included the Proton Dome, "a science world full of unique free items," where the notecard stated one could pick up a free translator and "free birds that perch on your arm, fly with you, and live in your homes and gardens." There was also a fairy area described with a magic potion game and a unicorn ride. Another area had free equine mounts, as well as free coats.

The sim was created by Ferd Frederix (Fred Beckhusen) and Wavingirlsav Voom (Debbie Edwards). For those who wish to keep up with their work, they will be soon opening their own place in Opensim. They also have a blog at http://www.outworldz.com/secondlife/ (caution, some nudity and language).

If you're reading this article while new, once again, you can get there by clicking the SURL (here).

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Areo Pines and Icewater Village


By Gemma Cleanslate

My next favorite area to visit for the season of winter is Aero Pines.  I have been coming to these sims for longer than I remember at one season or another. Winter is wonderful. The skating pond is lovely and nearby there is a shop and at the entrance you will find lovely skating outfits for both male and female for free. I think  that outfit was my first winter skating outfit from at least five years ago and I still like it! In fact I think this is the first place where I learned to skate in Second Life. The Nutcracker is there too! Jump on a dance ball and join the performance! 
 
This year there is a darling Santa ‘s workshop to visit. Sit on his lap and ask for your heart’s desire. There will be activities going on until the end of January. There is so much to see in these sims, Besides the skating pond, don’t miss the carnival area that has fun rides, or take a balloon ride over the region. Horse back riding is always great fun on the snowy surfaces up and down the hills and valleys or you can rezz a horse and sleigh to ride the snow covered roads. Enjoy!   
 
Editor's Note: The carnival area's pretty fun, with it's roller coasters and bungie jumping. Just remember on the latter to pin down any hat you might be wearing.  Booooooiiiiiinnnnngggggg .......
 
 
 
Another treat is Icewater Village. I love the quaint little town with its shops with fun items. Fishing is going on all the time here with weekly 7seas fishing contests so you always find fishers hanging out. Friendly dogs come sniffing and asking for petting. Right now there is a delightful sleigh ride that takes you high in the air so you can view the whole region. Skating here is fun on a large pond. It is decorated for the Christmas season at this time so don’t miss it! 
 
Icewater is always outfitted for winter with builders working on it all the time and there are added attractions now. While I was there I sat down for hot chocolate with Spinnetje Jewell  , one of the builders. The other builder,  Tolsen Decycla was busy building, or sleeping.
You can catch the sleigh here at the rezzer .. click the snowman!   
 
 
Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Trotsdale Library


By Grease Coakes

Many people think of a library as a quiet place to use the computer for a short while or to borrow books or moives. However in the pony sim of Trotsdale it serves a very different purpose.

In a real life library you might get shooshed if you spoke above a whisper by a librarian or someone wishing peace and quiet. Instead the pony library in Trotsdale encourages talking to tell stories over voice chat. Just like open mike in book Island the Trotsdale library is an excellent place for aspiring writers to read their literary works out loud. Or if you choose you can read your favorite book to entertain your friends as your share the book that really wows your imagnation.

As you walk in the glass door with unicorn heads by the sides there's a reading chair towards the front and plenty of pillows on the floor. Sit on the classical looking chair if you want to read something in voice chat. But if you want to spend your lazy afternoon listening to one of your friends or an author you haven't met yet. Feel free to sit on a pillow and listen away to let yourself be whisked away into the world of the story. Don't be shy even though Trotsdale is a MLP sim you can show up in any avatar you wish. Just remember Trotsdale and Nisa nearby are G-rated sims, so use common sense.

Being in the library a few times before I heard Amehana Arashi read her favorite story "Rojuun by John H Carroll." The story itself sounded richer with many engaging characters in a fantasy environment involving dragons and magic with Amehana's reading. She also told me, "After I finish that one I'll be reading 'A Rosary of Stones and Thorns' by M.C.A. Hogarth." I myself read my children's book outloud and chapters from a book that i am working on. A few ponies showed up to hear my stories and Amehana's reading of Rojunn.

Not only is the library a great place for hearing people read out loud but there is also excellent artwork based upon the show "My Little Pony Friendship is Magic." The ceiling artwork shows Celestia,Luna,and Twilight. On the top floor there was also banners showing MLP related artwork. Sadly the bookshelves don't have any books, but they add to the atmosphere of a library even if they just are prims.

On a Sunday night at 7PM SL time, Milo the white pony, AKA Decitrex Resident, read out loud his story about a poor guy called "Hard Luck Hank Screw the Universe." Milo read in a dramatic voice read out the characters dialouge and described the scenes at a good pace. Hard luck Hank had ragged clothes and dealt with mutants down in the sewers in a space station. Milo did a great job doing various voices as a Irish rogue voice or a tough guy. He put lots of emotions into his voice as if they were right there in the library. When he finished reading, his main character Hank wasn't comfortable doing something even though a lady character offered him a  great deal of cash.

There's a schedule to the right of the reading chair that showcases locals and ponies who read  at certain times on the schedule. For now the schedule seems light. One of the events is also a music show. Maybe in the future more ponies, humans, dragons or whatever might fill in more slots to add flavor to the library.
Even if you're not a brony or pegasister the Trotsdale library is open to all who wish to try something new whether to test your story out to ponies who are eager to listen,or if you want to sit on a pillow and listen to exciting new worlds. Just like in MLP you might meet new friends as well. Even if you're shy like Fluttershy.

Trotsdale Heights (22, 156, 24)

Grease Coakes

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ravenlock's Xmas Zone


by Locke Esgal

The holidays are here once again. Snow is falling across the grid, holiday avatars and Christmas clothing are being seen everywhere and parties are being planned to celebrate the season. Gifts are being given, eggnog is being drunk and many sims are putting up the holiday decorations. Even my home sim of Ravenlock is breaking out the yuletide cheer! Today, I'm going to take a look at the festivities close to home with a look at Ravenlock's Xmas zone.

When I first entered the area, a massive Christmas tree was there to greet me, with tons of neatly wrapped gifts nearly the size of a person, some even larger then that! Santa has a little hut from which one can purchase Pokeballs to catch the little festive Pokemon playing in the snow outside, though as I write this, I can glance out the window of Santa's hut and see an angry Mewtwo in a holiday scarf, so little might not be the right word for it. I managed to grab a winter skin for my pokeball catcher, so in case his rage gets turned my way, I should be fine!

There are also some traditional winter activities, such as snowball fights and sledding down a hill. There's even a pair of skates for use on the nearby lake right on the stand where someone could grab a snowball thrower and a mug of choco for winding down after a day of sledding, getting hit with snowballs and fleeing from angry Mewtwos. I'm not sure that last one is part of the activities, however. Maybe I shouldn't have mistaken my snow-ball themed pokeball for an actual snowball. Either way, it seems the spirit of the holidays is alive on this sim and I look forward to exploring even more to find other fun things to do this Christmas!


Ravenlock (75, 65, 1044)

Locke Esgal

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seagull Island Park


By Bixyl Shuftan

Several years ago in 2008, JamesT Juno's Second Life Newspaper wrote about the Germania sims. Among them was Seagull, owned by Angel Baxter and her partner. There were a number of them, with numerous places for boating, underwater ruins for mermaids, old castles for exploring, wilderness areas, and a residential and shopping area. Seagull then was a mix of shops on the oceanfront, and houses further inland. Today. the Germania sims are gone, but Seagull remains, as "Seagull Island Park." I recently met up again with Angel, where she showed me around the place.

Angel told me the sim had been completely redone. Her partner had in mind the goal of making it look like a Norwiegen fjord, with tall hills. But there would be no snow and ice here, not even in winter. Angel told me they found changing the place over would be too much trouble.

The area intended as the entrance is the docks, which has a pier area with a few buildings, including a general store, and some seats and chairs. Some of the chairs on the pier are for a fishing game there, with a caught shark on display not far away for decoration. This is not a 7Seas game, but there are cash prizes given out every so often for the three biggest fish caught. A few birds and dragonflies are also there, either flying around or standing on a pier post. There's an ice cream stand and a fish n' chips stall where one can pick up a snack. Strangely enough, there's also a Bloodlines mini store where a vamp short on blood can pick up a quart. There's also a short stretch of beach and a one room beachhouse to the east.

To the northeast is a small nude beach, the only place on the island where public nudity is permitted. It's fenced off at ground level with a sign warning against peeping and oggling. Besides lying in the sun and swimming, there's also dancing available at this spot. Just offshore is a lighthouse. Angel told me her partner based it off a real-life one, but didn't know it's history.

Not far from the beach are some ruins, presumably of a castle or similar structure, which are ideal not just for sightseeing, but also to take pictures of. There's also an ancient circle of stones, and a build resembling Stonehenge somewhat. There's also a lookout tower.

Around the sim are several cabins, which can be rented on a weekly basis. They range in size from small and basic to having a separate bedroom, kitchen, and living area. Some of the buildings have a roof of sod and grass, which acts as a natural insulation. There's also a campsite reserved for the Second Life Boy Scouts.

Around the sim are various critters. These are not static, but wander around a little. They include weasels, sheep, crows, cats, and others. The sim is not flat land, but very hilly, with streams and waterfalls. In places there are log bridges and wood walkways. One walkway leads up the hill to the high point of the sim where there's a vacation house with a deck. Near one corner is a humming noise. It turned out to be from a hornets' nest. Not good!

Walking back down from the house was a path of stone steps, with a few circular stones along the side of the trail. I think Angel told me they were for some puzzle way back. There was also a huge stone scuplture set into the rock of the hill. I think Angel told me it was supposed to be a troll.

Eventually, Angel's tour ended where it began, at the pier. She told me that a friend of hers would soon be opening a club in the area, but in a skybox far above the sim. This would be an adult-rated club with strippers on dance poles: a contrast between the park atmosphere of most of the place at ground level.

So if you have a moment, stop by and have a look around. This is a sim that stands out.

Seagull Islands, Seagull (168, 167, 22)

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Avatar Fitness Club


By Wesley Regenbogen

Avatars can actually work out in Second Life!
I recently found the “Avatar Fitness Club,” which was unexpected place to find in Second Life. Owned by Thynka Little, the place was created in September 2012 as part of the project of Cooperative Extension a non-formal community education network run by universities around the USA. (http:// www.extension.org). The place is located across the Reality Check CafĂ©. When visitors come from the pub across the street, they get the message with options on how to burn the consumed calories again. High-energy Internet radio stations play tunes in the club, though it is suggested residents turn it off before entering the Yoga room. In the lounge area where people can relax, it turns off automatically.
There’s a swimming pool as well and also a room where you can work out on many work out machines. At the entrance there’s a large trampoline ( or springboard ). You can’t look near it. There are seats when you enter the club as well.
The owners have two professionals who give programs at the club : Leia Kedem, a registered dietician from University of Illinois Extension, and Jason Jarred, an exercise physiologist from Australia. They motivate people to “work out” their avatar by giving L$ 1 every 20 minutes. In January they will together be offering a 4-week series of classes called Post-Holiday Shape Up. Registration information will be posted in the club later in December.
 I later talked to Thynka Little. She said to me, ”Cooperative Extension in the USA is a nationwide network of universities offering research-based community education on various topics, such as: nutrition, agriculture, small business, youth development and personal finance. Their educational programs are delivered in traditional methods, such as workshops, publications, and broadcasts; and also new ways such as social media and virtual worlds.”
The place was developed by 3DFox Design. (http://www.3DFoxdesign.com). Readers can find more information through these channels : SL events calendar, Google calendar, club signage, group messaging, Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/avatarfitness ) and on YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO-WM3TwIMo ). Residents can also contact Luann Philips, by emailing the project manager luann.phillips@extension.org.
Personally, I like this fitness club very much, but I must admit I haven’t “worked out” there yet. The fact that this place is part of real life research, makes this project very interesting.
You can find the place at this location : http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Morrill3/208/94/24

Wesley Regenbogen

Friday, December 5, 2014

Noel at Calas





By Gemma Cleanslate
 

Noel is the place to go for a total Christmas experience. I promised to let you know when it was open! Here is the Christmas region created by Ty and Truck at for the Calas G.... group , friends and the general public.
 
I landed at the entrance and a few meters away found the sleighs waiting . I hopped in and off we went. One  sleigh holds up to four persons and there is also a cuddle sleigh if you come with your honey. The path lead through the woods along the river and lets me experience the whole winter glory along the way to the Pavilion. Remember to turn on your music to hear the Christmas music. I advise you to use the recommended lighting which is the region windlight. 
 
The trees are glittering not only from the winter snow but also with pinpoints of colored lights. Animals are along the side of the roadway . And then, the sleigh arose into the air for a ride up and around the Pavilion. I found it so peaceful to drift higher into the sky over the region with soft flakes floating down around the sleigh while  listening to Christmas music.  I  will let you look at the pictures of the Pavilion and go there to experience the whole venue. Don’t miss any of the gifts! 
 
Outside the Pavilion I went ice skating on the extensive pond and frozen waterways passing more animals and birds and glorious trees and snow glistening everywhere . You don’t want to miss this region ! It will open to the public on December 1 and will stay til after the holidays so plan ahead! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Breakfree/236/240/22
 
Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Enchantment Island: A Sim Close to Closing




By Fritter Enzyme

There is a place that we are going to lose in Second Life.  There are many if we don’t support the sims we go to for our entertainment.  The average amount given to Ronald McDonald a week, by those who enjoy a certain sim, could run it, expand it, and pay for advertising it.  You can make your own coffee and sandwich in the morning, but most cannot make a wonderful virtual experience for so many to enjoy.

Right now I am at Enchanted Island, one of my favorite places.  It has a main landing site to lead you to a plethora of places to explore and have fun.  Most are one of a kind.  My favorite museum is there, the Museum of Surrealism.  And the Museum of Illusions, for those interested in magic tricks.  Learn about your favorite magicians and their tricks.  Participate and purchase props for your own.

All the building are beautiful prim works, some with reflective floors and fine chandeliers.  A Tornado Gallery in an over turned house.  A Marine Superstore, low prim and price, with a pirate’s cove and treasure hunt nearby.  A ride to an Egyptian skybox is there, look for the reed boat and sail away.  It is also home to the Mega Bubble ride, the largest one I have seen in Second Life.  Many of the things you see are for sale, and there is a store with great animated signs gearing towards Halloween and cat lovers.  A unique animated mesh jacket is there, very nice work on that.  I bought it, might go back for the fat pack.  Several places to shop are offered.  Tiny animated worlds in a bottle, prices are very reasonable on everything.

There is a Haunted House, Star Wars land, Lunacy Joke Shop, Nutty Fireworks, Goblin land, Tiki World, more than I can mention to be seen, but only if you come.  And it will only last if supported.  BambiTwice Nitely, the owner and creator of much of it, with help of others, is making it known that it is failing.  Lack of funds will shut it down, the same reason many wonderful  sims have. 

Second Life can be free.  If you want nothing to do or see there, keep it that way.  If you want an immersive, imaginative world to play and explore in, then you need to buy less hamburgers and give some lindens to those who work hard, and pay out a lot to keep us entertained.  I urge you to come see Enchantment Island, and please, to support it.  Nothing can replace the sims we have lost.  Help stop these horrible loses.  Import some money and give lindens to those that give joy to you.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Enchantment%20Island/108/119/36 

Fritter Enzyme

Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter at Calas Galadhon Park



By Gemma Cleanslate


Get your winter clothes ready! The season for winter sports is already here. I will be visiting many ice skating and skiing venues throughout many regions during the next few weeks. There are numerous sims that change their decor and activities with the seasons. It is fun to see what they have done. Some are setting skating and skiing to enhance their sims for visitors and have winter and holiday items for sale which is great if you are looking for decor. Some are just for fun! Most of the skating areas have free skates for you to take and ski and sled rezzers  so you don’t have to overload your closet. I hope you will enjoy the choices I have found. 

For my first venture I  went over to visit the marvelous winter sims at Calas Galadhon Park. Four sims, Calas, Dimrill, South Farthing and Glanduin are a frosty, sparkling delight. The farmers have even decorated the barns with lights and garlands. I took a skating tour of the frozen waterways just to see the animals along the way, passing under bridges wearing wreaths and bells. Many were already using the skating poseballs placed for single skaters and couples. Others were on the road in the sleighs. Some sat and relaxed in viewing areas on benches or were dancing. A couple had stopped into the restaurant for lunch. I came across three drunken singing snowmen in South Farthing who invite you to join in with them and I did!  

This area is just the beginning. December 1 the long awaited Christmas sim will open up to the public. I have seen it and it is as wonderful as it was last year. I will give you a description of it in a few days.   Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith, the owners of all Calas make a special effort to please not only the members of the group, but any visitors that make their way there. 

One thing that impresses me about these regions, there are no commercial ventures anywhere and no rentals. The sims are there for the pure enjoyment of all who come. The lovely buildings are open to explore and relax.  You will see posters or snowmen around where you can donate to the maintenance of the area. It would be wonderful if you could make even a small donation so the sims will continue to be there. The group will notify you of the fun events that take place weekly . Here is the entrance to the Park. From there you can TP to various places  or just start wandering. There is a balloon ride near the entrance too. 
Even though I visit Calas once in a while, I forget the full beauty that is there.  When you find the sleigh ride rezz it and hop in with your honey or alone .

  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Calas%20Galadhon/188/221/24

Gemma Cleanslate