Loki Goes to #SL9B

Last year i decided to create a Machinima video trying to capture the atmosphere of SL8B. A sort of souvenir of the event because eventually all the wonderful ideas disappear and the regions get repurposed. So this year i went back with screen capture software at the ready and spent 18 hours loving in and crashing then reloging and crashing all the while slowly recording as much of SL9B as i could before editing down to a 10 minute video. I probably missed a few.

 

Well done everyone who took part with their wonderful ideas, all the organisers and volunteers, the region donators and DJ’s & Live Performers. It was an epic display of content that you won’t see in any over VW platform.

#SL9B – doing things different

 

The Lindens chose to not organise the community anniversary expo this year. Instead they chose to highlight peoples creations on the destination guide, and while many might think this was Linden Lab trying to distance themselves from the community i saw it as an interesting experiment opportunity .

Every year we gather in  true community spirit. It’s probably the only time all that is done in SL can be glimpsed in one place and i love that. All the crazy quirky ideas from people around the world all dumped in one place for all to see, along with it the limitations of the Second Life platform, i.e.LAG. Yet the hard core of us brave the lag, we know what causes it, we know that thousands upon thousands of textures, Sculpty prims and heavy scoring avatars will bring our viewer to a crawl. But we love it!

So why did Linden Lab pull out of doing the SL9B expo? i have my own optimistic theory. I’m reminded of my game back in december that when advertised over christmas had a massive serge in visitors. The region slowed to a crawl just as it does when SLB first opens, and the game i was offering became unplayable. As a result i had to request the game not be promoted as such.

If Linden Labs platform slows to a crawl, then they’d be silly to promote anything that would show SL’s limits to a first time user. Fact is Second Life has its limits, just like any other Virtual world or MMO and it’s not a good idea for them to be sending people to places that are packed with people, the resulting experience is slow, laggy and off putting. So listing places that are celebrating SL9B on destination guide instead of organising one place seems a smart idea.

 

My Experiment

I placed my SL9B exhibit at the SL9B community expo while at the same time i placed a version also on my private island listed on destination. at the front door i placed a visitor counter to monitor the amount of visits in both places. I don’t know why i was surprised at the results.

Count of visitors started June18 and finishing June 26th

 Exhibit in SL9B Community Expo = 313 visitors in total

 Exhibit at escapades from Destination Guide = 706 visitors in total.

Standing with friends i observed quite a few Newbs arriving and checking out the exhibit. Each day there were three times as many visitors at my island until my destination place reached ‘drop off point’ in the SL9B category and suddenly visitor numbers dropped below that which i was getting at the Community Expo.

 

The Power of Destination Guide.

Destination guide is a powerful tool and Linden Lab are starting to experiment in how it can be used for First User Experience. They changed the new user experience to experiment with  places of interest on destination guide, reducing the chances of a newb arriving in a heavy populated lag infested abusive welcome area. They left SL9B to us as a community to organise while they herded Newbs via destination guide to lots of great places celebrating Second Life. But i’d like to see Destination guide expand even more to allow rating of destinations via SLfeeds ‘LOVE’ feature. To share or recommend places. Where Marketplace is iTunes Music store, Destination guide is basically the iTunes App store of Second Life.

#SL9B ‘My School Project’ or ‘Loki sucks up to Linden Lab’

Sucking up to Linden Lab? hardly. Im just fed up of the way we berate Linden Lab.

Walking around the SL9B community expo i see so much stuff that was not even possible this time last year. The huge Lake stage created using mesh with the new mega size that came with mesh and animating objects run extra smooth thanks to the upgraded physics.

The scale of the Lake stage is just awesome.

Creators have harnessed the DNA of Mesh to create stuff never seen in SL before. The Egypt stage area uses cell shading to get an effect close to that seen in the video game Boarderlands and the blowing dust sand over the dunes is just breathtaking.

This is also the first year where we have SLfeed and my friends are all posting awesome snapshots of their adventures and sharing their favourite places at SL9B. If you still are not using SlFeed, WHY NOT!???? Start by following me 🙂

 

My Linden Lab.

So my exhibit this year was a childs imaginative take on Linden Lab and what they do. While everyone else concentrated on their communities, i decided instead to make a thank you exhibit for the Lab. Recreating the famous front door and linden sign (complete with wonka’). You can visit it here at SL9B.

Hopefully people will wear the HUD, go in and come out not only having laughed out loud, but also maybe a new sense of the Lab.

 

SL9B OPENS!

So this was as hilarious as every year and those who have been around for a few years know that nothing gets done in the first 3 hours of SLB opening. I heard people saying things like ‘If this is a sign of how SL9B is going to be then I’m extremely disappointed!”. You have to realise what when everyone is trying to TP into a full region, you are effectively performing a sort of DDOS attack on the servers.

 

People arrive at SL9B into LAG HELL, as is tradition.

I had a race against jimmy to run down the street taking 5 minutes to move 3 metres, eventually Jimmy gave up and TP’d out so i guess i won WOOT!.

It was also interesting reading the SIM co-ordinators battling with the influx trying to keep the sims afloat. I don’t think many release just how hard and frantic those first hours were for the Team behind SL9B, Kudos to them all.

 

LOST COUNT

Leaving the mayhem of SL9B behind i teleported back to my Escapades Island where i had a duplicate of my SL9B build. I discovered that some Lindens had found my exhibit fun and had told the rest of the Lab. I sat with my friends by the camp fire and we started counting the Lindens as they appeared. We lost count after about 20 and just enjoyed the variety of Avatars they popped up as. Giant birds, a Mole, a wolf man, matrix man, a burning bush, and some very well dressed Humans. So that was a crazy first for me and after the influx of Linden lab employees died down i then decided to check out Sl9B before bed.

 

Quite a crowd gather to watch the rather rare event

 

PARTY TIME!

One of the things i love about SL9B and Burn2 is the festival atmosphere. Ive said it before that you don’t get it with any other virtual world. I went to the Lake stage and listened to Lindimoo’s live performance. She was a great giggly acoustic performer who had me laughing out loud. She sounded like she was really having fun which spread to everyone there.

After Lindimoos set i went to the awesome Egypt stage where i hung out with a large group before ethe viewer crashed leading me to decide at 3AM it was time for bed.

 

Lindimoo laughing in the middle of a song made it all the more special

The significance of SL9B for me

I grew up in a quaint small village with three pubs in england.

Time was slower and annual events sparse and big with history and tradition. These were events the community would get excited over together, it was not a nationwide commercial celebration, it was local and we made ourselves. Sainsburys did not stock up on cards or flowers or gift boxes for these events like they do for every holiday we see nowadays.

Flower & Craft shows, harvest fairs, Carnival processions in the november night, it all sounds mythically pagan now but i still remember vividly the smell of burning hessian torches, locally made brown toffee apples and the contrast of the cold november night with the warmth of activity in the busy streets.

All that has mostly gone now with  health & safety, Accident Claims and Neighbour Stranger Danger. But the memories remain and i think the creativity it inspired in me to build and create spectacle has transferred into the digital realm. Right into my teenage years i would help build carnival floats of recognisable icons. We built a huge replica of the Disney Castle which got stuck under a low bridge. We built the Batmobile, Full Size Jabba the Hut, F1 Race Car, and Full Size dragon. There was no concerns over copyright infringement back before the internet.

In the last three weeks i have been feverishly working away on my SL9B project. SLB is the anniversary celebration of Second Life and for me it feels a hole left behind from the days of local carnival celebrations. I might not get the smells burning hessian torches, but when in full swing and walking around the exhibits i do get the same Local community feeling. All these ideas and personal expressions of creativity and interest are from the same group of people, Second Life users, and even though they are spread across the world, they all share a locality within the SL Grid. Thats what we celebrate, and since 2006 i’ve taken part, it is important to me.

Im very grateful to the people who came together to form the SL9B Expo this year in light of Linden Labs rather sudden departure from organising such an event. Although i do believe major events should be done by the residents for the residents and not Linden Lab. SL is a community and just like a real world community it needs events like these to bring us all together. It is important.

With my SL9B build finished, I’m looking forward to exploring the surrounding exhibits on SL9B expo and also checking out those listed on Destination Guide!

If you bump into me say HIGH FIVE! :-p

Undercity

Undercity Urban jungle

Some places you know about but rarely visit. You know who runs them and hear what goes on there and you wish you had more time to sample the atmosphere. The best places in SL are the ones that story and community grow up around and Undercity is one of these places.

Undercity is the vision of my friend Rai and i have always admired his vision and look to Undercity as an inspiration for what I’m trying to achieve with Escapades.  At it’s heart Undercity is a role-play region set in a gritty urban setting. Unlike the majority of kid avatar regions Undercity had a darker more mature atmosphere set in a city where all adults mysteriously disappear and a big brother computer system called S.A.M watches over those left roaming the streets in William Golding style tribal gangs.

As all role-play communities can tell you, Drama is unavoidable and Undercity was no exception in its heyday and as Undercity weathered the storms of internal role-play dramas it’s underlining concept and visionary kept it going for four and half years.

On Saturday i and some friends Joined Rai at the Suite 15 DJ club on Undercity for the last time. It is to close very soon and be derezzed because Rai simply can’t afford to keep it running due to new directions in his life and lack of interest by others inworld. These are reasons becoming more and more common across the grid and discussed repeatedly across the bloggisphere.

I’ve always admired the idea of a place that held people together with its story. Places like New Babbage are more about the themes of steampunk and rely on the the people to keep things interesting. In Undercity it was the underlaying story that gave people common ground to launch stories from, an idea that i myself are slowly trying to establish on Escapades.

Rai expresses his sadness of having to let go

Derezzing a region is not like taking down a website. A region as old as Undercity has memories stored in its textured prim walls. Memories of friends, adventures and stories from the past four years. So it is no surprise that Rai will feel sad and distraught to see it all vanish. But he should be proud of what he has built and take those memories with him to what ever he goes onto to do next.

Undercity is important and we won’t forget it.