Friday, December 8, 2017

Montecito Bay

By Bixyl Shuftan

I was recently contacted by BekNos (Becky Nosferatu) about a new city-themed sim in Second Life: Montecito Bay. Going over, I appeared at a beachfront area, with the ocean along the west edge of the sim, with the sandy beach and a disco dance floor and DJ booth on one side, and a street and buildings on the other. Although disco floor was clearly in a style of the 1970s and later, many of the buildings had an older appearance about them. BekNos described some as having an "Art-deco style." The sim was designed for a few things in mind, stores, clubs, housing rentals, and perhaps roleplay. BekNos told me they wanted something different than "grungy urban, post-apocalyptic, or sci-fi," which she felt "happens to be the main theme for cities."

Becky had a few people with her, and were soon joined by others. Another person involved was Moff (MoffettMephit Resident), "I've always been an art-deco fan and I dig an urban scene. But that's really all I had, a vague design idea. I also had the theater behind you, the fabulous Magnum Opus, which Klo, Dok, Six and I built and put on mainland. So I wanted that theater to be the centerpiece of the city. It wasn't really until this great team got assembled that the sim really started getting built up. This is one of those things where, you know, one person cannot do it all. A cityscape is dynamic. So with the help of this fabulous team, the ideas flowed and pretty soon, the city did as well....and if you walk around, you can see how dynamic it is. I think my favorite thing about it is, it's not perfect. It's not all shiny and new and, well, perfect."

Of building the place, Moff told me, "We've had building and design input and landscaping from Bengt and Moni and Chieko....Lem and Emorald helped with building. Mateo tested the hell out of our streets with his go-kart (grin). Baja and Lem helped build up our emergency services." Of how long it took to built the place, Moff told me, "I bought the sim in June and we opened, October? Hehe, I was not in a rush. I don't think anyone was. We wanted to move forward and make progress, but there were very few of us who wanted to jump right into something 'full time', so to speak. We kind of just messed around and decompressed for awhile.  I think that's something that helped in the long run. Because there was no 'pressure', so to speak, we, as a team, could have fun with this build. We weren't racing the clock." BekNos commented, "Because there was no clock. It was an idea that unfolded as we worked."

Lem Aiko (LemonPledge Resident) was considered the mayor of the sim, and made decisions with a "city council" of four advisors, Moff telling me, "They are Becky, of course, Ink, MagpieHyena and one current open seat."

Not everything built was modern day in style. Beknos told me that earlier, "we had an event for Prehistorica, who released an excellent dragon and we built up a medieval village for the dragons to burn down. (grin)" She told me it was the first big event in the sim and an avatar release party, "We built the village in a span of a few days and it housed about 50+ dragons. Wanders was just so moved by our build and everything we did for him." The villiage of course was in a different place on the sim than the city, in a level high above out of sight, Moff saying, "That was Becky's idea, to use a tiered building system. So at various levels, we can build whatever type of setting might be needed." BekNos added, "And Moff went from there, a club of ours, the graveyard, and our rentals are in the air." Moff went on, "We have three permanent entertainment venues with the capability of throwing an event anywhere on sim with our modular venue. The graveyard and the Avagora are two places where we can throw special events."

One thing they were proud of was their Avatar Avagora, BekNos telling me, "It's a sim-wide store we have about 700 meters in the air, dedicated to avatar makers and modders. It gives them all one location for people to shop; remember Northstar or Rocket City? That was my inspiration for it. I've not seen another mall like them in the past, and since Modding has become such a go-to, I wanted to offer people the option to revist a store again, in world." Of the graveyard, she told me it had, "a neat little exploration that I hope to make a full time hunt system for people. There are caves under it, and I hope to find a scripter to help me set up a hunt system for it." Emorald Resident commented, "those caves were both fun, and a pain to set up."

They soon offered to show me around. Lem offered to take us around by bus, but others suggested we just walk, "You may wanna make sure your life (insurance) policy is payed up, Bix, before you get on a bus with Lem driving." The street near the beach, Moff told me, "This is Sunset Blvd. The 'Main Drag' so to speak. Little bit of shopping, some entertainment, but really built to project a, setting or atmosphere." BekNos added, "We don't have a lot of shopping just yet, but we have plenty of rentals up for anyone who's interested." We walked some distance north to what Moff called the "Corner of Sunset Blvd and Palm St. Got the Sunset Diner, some beach shop rentals, and the building that gets you to the Avagora. ... Cabana and Mission. You can get a good look at a custom building I had commissioned for this place., The Fox, and its counterpart on the other block, The Crow." "There's a lot of unique buildings here," BekNos added.

Moff led the group around the street intersection, "Now heading east. You're going to feel the city begin to change, where, you know, you could identify the beachfront as the 'tourist area' .... the nice, shiny, pretty part. Now it's going to change into more of a city feel. It's a city. It has its city things and its city issues. Fuel station, for example." It wasn't long before we were on the Eastside, "So, here we are, the 'older' section of town. It's not so pretty. Not so clean." Beknos responded, "But it has some of our favorite clubs." He pointed to one building, "Here's one of our venues. Envy Nightlife. It's for some of our more mature shows." This wasn't the actual club, but rather a "prop building" that would teleport people to the actual place four thousand meters in the air. Although some friskiness was allowed in the club, "you can't have open sex. That boils down to them renting the hotel room. ...we stay within the bounds of an 'M' sim."

If one was looking for a motel, there was one nearby, "Here it is. Our seedy motel (grin). I am reminded, it needs a marquee sign stating that it has 'Color TV'." I noticed one of the doors had police tape. BekNos responded, "Yeah, uh... don't go into that room." Moff went on, "Well OK, there is some lore here. The police are still investigating, but, umm, a bad thing happened there (grin)." Lem commented, "There was a fridge monster in there." Moff responded, "I have no idea (about that). What I do know is that there are giant spiders in room 3." "(The) spiders must have eaten the fridge monster." Next, Moff pointed out a small street corner shop, "S-Mart convenience store, complete with 'Clerks' reference and porn (grin)." "Porn is the best part," joked Lem, "They don't take cards. They have an ATM though." For those who don't know, the "S-Mart" was the store in the movie "The Evil Dead."

We then came up to what looked like a statue of Cthulu, Moff saying, "You might notice this weird spot right in the middle of the street. Would you like to hear the actual story, or the lore?" I asked for both, and Moff told me, "The lore is, this is a weird spot. We don't like messing with it. It felt wrong to build here. Every time we tried, it just didn't work out. It's weird. We don't know why. It's feels weird to go here. There's just something, WEIRD, about it!" He then looked over, "Lem get off the plant." Lem did so with an "Awww." BekNos added, "We don't need the statue coming to life again." I asked about that, and Moff answered, "The statue just showed up. Who knows what these eyeball plants are about. We just.... We put a fence around it and went about our merry way." BekNos remarked, "It's best not to question this spot."

"Now, the actual story?" Moff offered, "When the sim was empty and flat, Twocoin studied the ground cover and noticed this spot here was a little barren. the 'sim bald spot' so to speak. He put a fence around it, and then proceeded to take, like, a month off of Second Life (grin). Nobody had his edit rights, so it could not be moved. And I don't like returning things. So for the hell of it, we came up with the 'weird' story and built around it." BekNos commented, "And, I used it as my excuse to build the graveyard; the prim around the statue will teleport you to it, which also allowed me to make it creepy."

They then showed me something that looked much more normal, a city park with a baseball field, Moff saying, "Now over here, is our park. Some team members missed having plant life and stone walkways. And truth be told, every good city needs a great park." BekNos commented, "Hey, there's a GREAT barbecue spot, okay? You can grill and watch the baseball game!" I asked if they played games there, and BekNos answered, "It's actually our sandbox. haha," Moff continued, " And from here, as you face the park. To the right is our police station which is a fully functioning RP type police station. And to the left is our fire station. And again, fully functioning (smile).  And, dead ahead is our sandbox, the baseball field (smile)." Lem joked, "We use the heads from dead trolls. Kinda like stickball but more intense." BekNos informed, "Magpie gave me the idea to make the sandbox a baseball field, a play on 'sandlot' I'm sure. I liked it enough, so I made a texture for it."

We soon got to a brick building with "Studio 86" painted on the side, Moff saying, "Now here we have another one of our 'on the ground' venues. Let's go inside and sneak a peak." Inside, there was a club that was a combination of bright lights, graffitti on the walls, and Greco-Roman style statues. Moff went on, "This is a prefab from Z.O.E., but what a great party venue. The building is called 'Mix Tape' from the creator, but we call this place 'Studio 86'." BekNos stated, "his is by far my favorite of our venues." I asked how often it had events, and Beknos answered, "Practically every weekend, it tends to be one of the favorites." Lem added, "It gets used through the week too." Moff told me, "Our entertainment staff has a choice of venue and time. We try to get every venue in once a week. As we are new, it's tough to fill up a venue during the week. So weekends are our best party days."

After leaving the club, we started heading back west. We saw one building with a snowflake decoration, and several palm trees around it. Moff commented, "We're starting to decorate for the holidays. Being a tropical environment means few pine trees and lots of palms (smile). For the record, we still need staff to decorate the tree in there." I asked where was the city located, and Moff answered, "Think, like Key West or Tampa, Florida? It's a western beach, so....either there or California. But I lean towards a Florida like location," BekNos commented, "I'd go with Flordia; cause Lem is our Florida man." Moff then pointed out two other buildings, "And here we have City Hall ... and this big ugly building that's slated to be razed."

After that, we headed back to the corner of Sunset Blvd and Palm St to the small building that teleported us to a large mall area, BekNos telling me, "Welcome to Avagora. It's a full sim-sized mall dedicated to makers (of) all kinds." There were a large number of shops, though most were empty, at least for now. In the middle was another baseball field, presumably the sandbox for opening goods. One board had a list of days of the week with information on each, BekNos saying, "This is showing our upcoming events, while the tall (board) behind me is our directory and recommended / affiliates. Each store has a modder or their business partners in it. Naturally, since this *is* dedicated to modders and makers, it's main spot in the center is the sandbox for easy modding." She pointed out another building, "I run the Avatar Maker's Guild. This is the AMG headquarters. People can come and go as they see fit to talk about avatar making and modding, and I plan to put up a bunch of tips for people to use, as well as resources." She grinned, "Mind you the sign has sharp edges, be careful with that." Explaining further, she spoke, "The top level was originally for avatar makers only, but as they seem to be a bit harder to find, I just went ahead and let modders have them too. ... This took me, what, two months to build?" Moff grinned, "It was open well before the sim was."

Moff also told me, "This year, we're going to feature an advent calendar. Every day from 12/1 through 12/24 there'll be a gift!" BekNos remarked, "That's the one I told you that Zombiecandy is running, Bixyl." Moff smiled, "I was hoping someone knew more than me about it!" BekNos added, "She's got the whole thing going. Well, I mean, that's the extent I know, heh. I don't know who all is going to be giving out the event prizes, but they're going to be modders from all over. (grin)"

With the tour mostly over, people began heading to bed as it was late in real life, Lem saying, "If I haven't annoyed you enough make sure you come back often!" But Moff had more more place to show me. We went back down to the city, clicked on another building's TP point, and ended up in a club with a distinct sci-fi look with lots of green lights and holographic displays, Moff saying, "And this is Envy Nightlife." I remarked, "Well, this is definately after the mid-20th Century." Moff grinned, "Well, ya know, that's how the nightclub scene is. We try to have at least one show here a week. It's a popular venue."

With Envy Nightlife, the tour was pretty much over. Moff did say part of the beach was "clothing optional," and that the sim had a VIP group, as well as a group on the Discord computer chat program. It was also added besides more merchants, they were also looking for hosts, DJs, and security for the clubs, details in the City Hall building, Emorald saying, "You can tell we are a pretty chill bunch."

And that was my introduction to Monticito Bay. The place is new, but the people are friendly, creative, and have big plans. We'll probably hear from them again soon.

Bixyl Shuftan


  1. As of this coming up; we are all still hiring and offering rentals. Bixyl, thanks so much again, for doing this cover for us. You'll certainly hear more from us in the future!

  2. It's MontEcito Bay, if you're searching for it :)