WARNING THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS STRONG ADULT LANGUAGE. Viewer discretion is advised.
This means there is swearing and adult subject matter. But I don’t think you would get the full effect if we censored the content.
Watch: Celebrity You Tuber Bored With The Sims Quickly Becomes Queen of Second Life, Basically
Ms. Carmen King is a gaming YouTube celebrity with nearly 1 million subscribers, and earlier this month, an amazing thing happened.
“If you’ve watching my channel lately,” she announces, “I’ve been talking about how bland the Sims 4 has been getting — that Star Wars pack did not make it any better, bitch.”
But rather than switch to a recent game, she reaches all the way back 17 years to launch Second Life:
“I’m not here to troll or make enemies or anything I like that,” she begins, in a nod to YouTube’s many a-hole SL trolls, “I genuinely want to do stuff in SL like create myself in Second Life, go shopping, find me a man, go to a strip club, get pregnant — and I’m not even kidding, you can literally get pregnant in Second Life and literally deliver a baby, like straight out your cootchie deliver, I’m not even joking,”
… which should give you a taste of her girl gamer-meets-Cardi B charm and NSFW Rabelaisian patois. What follows is more or less the “WAP” of game streaming, adventures in avatar enhancement, apartment hunting, and later on, road rage in a diamond pink car. Yes:
Maybe you thought Second Life was conceived as a virtual Burning Man or the birth of the Metaverse. Whatever we once thought, it’s Carmen King’s world now, and we just live in it.
Have a great week From all of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands.
Returning to Second Life in 2020 – How to get started from scratch
So, I’ve been away for some time. Work and circumstance brought me to the real world for a few years. But it is now a new decade, almost exactly a decade since I first entered Second Life, so I thought I would create a new avatar and start from scratch, just to see how life is for a newbie in 2020.
For this excursion, I will have voluntary amnesia. That is to say, I will willfully forget everything I know about Second Life. Quite easily done, as I haven’t been there for over 3 years and I am starting with a new avatar with no attachments at all and so much have changed.
First up is the registration. Very straight forward. Go to the site and click “Sign Up”. Very much like Facebook, give some rudimentary information about yourself, like email and age and your preferences for your starting avatar, then you’re on your way. It gives you a link to download the official Second Life Viewer.
The Second Life Viewer looks sleek and has a very self-explanatory design. None of the buttons has labels, instead, they opted for icons. Some of them might be hard to understand for newcomers, but if you hover over them, a label will appear in the language you selected. Very hard to break things, so just click about if you’re unsure.
First time logging in, I ended up in some form of a training area, showing me how to operate the controls and interact with the environment. I had picked the option for “non-binary gender” as a starting avatar, just to see what that would be, as I have seen both the starter male and female before. Not sure what I expected… Did not expect a clearly female avatar in a bowler hat though. Linden Lab dropped the ball with this one, I think, but luckily for everyone out there who describe themselves as such, in Second Life, your looks are only limited by your own imagination.
At the end of the tutorial, you get to the Map Dome, which shows you a map of the entire Mainland, the interconnected landmass of Second Life that comprises the majority of the virtual world. A teleporter takes you to Social Island, so I guess that is where I’m heading next.
Arriving at Social Island, a hud immediately attached itself to my screen, offering more tutorials. This time about how to earn cash prizes. Another hud attached itself displaying my current cash prize balance of 0L$. I was both worried and intrigued, so I followed the siren’s call down the steps. As soon as I entered the next tutorial area, the HUD let me know that the shops on the island only accepted “Tutorial L$, not ‘real’ L$”, and I understood what the “game” was about. I looked around to get an overview of what they offered but quickly moved on.
The tutorials taught a lot of good things I already knew from before, and you could get some good basic avatar customization items as rewards, but I did not feel like going through all that for some hair and a pair of shoes. For the purposes of time, I pretended I had gone through the tutorials and ignored them. Wanderlust got the better of me and I wanted to get off this island.
After ending up going in circles around the island, which felt like a maze at times, I ended up in a literal maze. Using the camera tools to zoom out, I accidentally stumbled on the Portal Area, which is the actual way out. Once you know it is there, it is hard to miss, but since everything looks the same and there is no way point and no signage and no instructions, you end up running in circles. Anyway, this concluded our introduction to the world of Second Life, now we’re prepared to take on the world. So now we can see if we can gear up.
I jumped into the portal marked Newcomer Friendly and suddenly I was on the Mainland in a place called Caledon Oxbridge. It is a university in the heart of Caledon and it has not changed a bit since we last wrote about it. It was still the lovely place I remember. But it only reiterated the things I already knew from Social Island, so I headed towards the more populated area and asked around for help.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time near the newcomer friendly areas of Second Life knows this is an invitation for immediate spam of the best kind possible. Within minutes, I was well equipped with landmarks, note cards and tips. My newcomer avatar was now up to speed with my decade-old Morphman avatar when it comes to knowledge, and it only took about 30 minutes from the account creation. Let’s see if we can get there in terms of fashion as well.
I started at the Marketplace, the Second Life official website for creators to sell their wares online. It is hard to find good quality free items there since the archive stretches back through the entire history of the platform and the filters leave a lot to wish for. And it does not help that many people do use some rather shady tactics to get you to click on their items. Another thing that makes it even harder for freebie hunters is that there is no section for demos, so demo items are strewn in with all other items.
But I have a trick for that: you can set the filter to “up to 0L$” and the results to “96 items per page”, then search in your browser for “demo”. That will highlight all the demo items, and you can quickly see which items are not demos.
Some heavy scrolling later and I got myself a bento-enabled mesh body and a biker outfit. Now I need myself some hair, better skin and some shoes. Let’s hit those freebie and Midnight Mania groups. Just searching for “freebies for men” and “midnight mania” in groups should yield plenty of groups to join for free. But we don’t just wait. The right offer might not pop up for a long time, so we search in Places for “Lucky Chair for Men” and hop around the stores listed to see if we can snag a freebie or two while waiting.
After about an hour of combined effort between searching and looking out for group messages, I had managed to find enough Midnight Mania boards, group gifts and lucky chairs with my letter on it to get myself a half-decent avatar. It has a Bento Mesh body with baked skin, mesh hair and mesh clothing and a customizable animation override, just like the top-of-the-range paid-for avatars of 2020 does.
It might not look like the prettiest avatars do, but it looks a lot better than I expected, and miles better than even the top-range avatars did when I was a newbie the first time around.
All in all, being new in Second Life in 2020 is not that jarring of an experience if you get some guidance. Luckily, there are plenty of helpful people there, and then you got sites like The Torch: Entertainment Guide to help out if those people are not around. We have a wide backlog of articles on the subject to help you through those trialing first steps, especially if you are on a tight budget, or just don’t want to spend any money before you know what it is all about.
Linden Lab is pleased to announce the Second Life Endowment for the Arts (SLEA), a new community arts initiative developed in partnership with Tansee and Hannington Xeltentat.
What is the SLEA? SLEA is the spiritual successor to the former Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA), a decade-long partnership with the arts community that aimed to help new artists, cultivate art in SL, and foster innovation, collaboration and education. Due to open to the public in January 2021, the new SLEA is a multi-region experience that aims to provide opportunities to further fuel interest in and spotlight the work of both established and emerging artists in Second Life.
It is hoped that the creations and art featured in SLEA will help draw attention to the overall arts community in Second Life including driving both traffic and awareness to many of the established artists and exhibits found across Second Life. In addition, SLEA would like to reach out to new residents of SL and help them to discover the arts in SL and all the creative tools that are offered so that a new generation of creativity will unfold.
Pictured: A map of the seven-region SLEA experience including central hub and related art regions and sandbox. (Image courtesy of Tansee and Hannington).
Since LEA ended in late 2019, many members of the community have expressed an interest in reviving the idea of establishing another official showcase hub for the arts in Second Life. In particular, both Tansee and Hannington led a grassroots effort to revive LEA that resulted in the formation of the Hannington Endowment for the Arts in late 2019. That initiative, which has drawn the interest, respect and participation of many artists in SL, proved the concept and the demand from the arts community in Second Life. SLEA promises even more access to engaging events, exhibitions and experiences in the arts for the Second Life community. It is anticipated that the HEA will continue as a separate entity for those who wish to participate in its activities
At the heart of the SLEA presence in Second Life will be a new central landing and information hub featuring a teleport station that will help visitors easily discover current exhibitions, as well as a public park, “art challenge corner,” arts education center and SLEA Theater.
Here’s a peek at the work-in-progress layout:
Image courtesy of Tansee and Hannington.
How can artists and creators participate? Specific details of how the community can get involved in SLEA will be revealed in the near future. Keep an eye out for the application where artists and creators can apply for consideration for use of full or partial regions at SLEA. There is also a new SLEA group inworld that interested parties can join, too. To learn even more about SLEA, tune in next week to a special episode of “Designing Worlds” for an insightful interview with Tansee, Hannington and Linden Lab execs Patch and Brett Linden.
Image courtesy of Tansee and Hannington.
Note: Linden Lab and the SLEA wish to express our deep gratitude to all in the community who have supported and promoted the arts in Second Life over the years. In particular, we want to express thanks to the many volunteers who contributed to the original Linden Endowment for the Arts during its almost decade-long run from 2010-2019. We are grateful for your ongoing passion and support — and we can’t wait to see what the new year brings with SLEA in 2021.
Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands.
This week’s featured artist is Holly Giles (pronounced ‘Jiles’), a smooth crooner with an eclectic style hailing from Australia. She likes to sing country, rock, and pop from classic to contemporary and can be found at her venue ~No Strings~ each Tuesday and Saturday at 8pm SLT. (slurl for venue: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Areumdeuli/226/27/80)
Please check out her music on her website as well as this video.
Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life? A: In 2011 I joined an online chat platform called IMVU due to some personal stuff that forced me to be at home and unable to work. I ended up staying for 5 years. I heard about SL from some people at IMVU who were trying to convert some of us over, haha. I created an SL account in 2015 and kinda used both IMVU and SL for about a year until I decided that SL was more to my liking, with people around my own age. I was in SL for about 2 years before I even KNEW there was a Live Music Community lol, so once i discovered that, I gave away my IMVU account to a friend and I have never looked back.
Q: I really enjoyed your renditions of classic country songs. What drew you to that genre? A: My music is actually very mixed genre, with country music only taking up about one third of my song list. I was raised on classic country music with my mum having her own band in my childhood, so I learnt my love of country from her and I always say that classic country is my soul music lol. But I do love all music so I tend to sing what I love, from classic country, classic rock, 90’s pop and country, through to modern pop like Lady Gaga.
Q: As with any artistic style, country music has evolved so much over the last century. Which decade/era is your favorite, and why? A: Oh that’s easy. I love the old country. The Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn era of country. These country legends are like storytellers. Every song has a story. Every song has a purpose to it. I don’t know how else to explain it. I can have my heart broken and find my story in a classic country song. I can feel overjoyed about something and find my happiness echoed in a classic country song. While I love all music and listen to even the most modernist of pop music, I personally just don’t get that feeling from it. I get the happiness of an awesome beat, or well-written lyrics but yeah, not that feeling.
Q: If you could open for any musician (alive or deceased), who would it be? A:I think a lot of people who follow my music would expect me to say Dolly Parton right now, and I thought I would too, but you know, I think I would LOVE to open for Bette Midler. Wow, what a musician she is. I think if I opened for Bette Midler, I could sing anything I wanted to before she took the stage. I could sing some James Brown, followed by a Dolly Parton song, followed by some Credence lol. I wouldn’t be restricted to one genre, like I would be if I opened for Dolly, I feel.
Q: Do you ever get stage fright before performing in SL? Describe your pre show ritual. A: OMG. I only started singing, I mean really singing in Second Life AND real life 2 years ago. The reason I never sang before is that I suffered MASSIVE stage fright. I would freeze up and my voice would go shaky if I tried to sing in front of anyone. It took a lot of help and compliments from online friends for me to get the courage to sing in Second Life. My very first show I was so nervous that I felt sick. But by halfway through I suddenly forgot that I was nervous and I just sang. I found the talking part a lot harder than the singing part lol. Now, I don’t feel any nerves in Second Life, but am working on my nerves in RL lol.
Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you? A: Without a doubt, the part I enjoy the most is singing a song and seeing in local things like “OMG I love this song!” or “Oh wow, I haven’t heard this song in years!” I love getting requests, I love sharing my love of music with others. I love talking about how my mum used to sing this song or that song in her band while I slept under tables at the local pub. I love that 2 years ago I couldn’t sing this song or that song, but that now with some practice under my belt, I can blast that song out like it’s nothing. I love just being able to sing and the fact that people want to hear me sing still blows me away every time I open my mouth.
Thank you, Holly!
Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands
Tech Worker Quarantined at Home Builds Co-Working Space in Second Life
“I built an office for those of us working from home during the pandemic,” Annabelle Chimpton recently announced on Reddit, “complete with music, coffee, and a TV for breaks.” Replete with a fire pit, garden, and Koi pond, it’s very much the kind of cool and casual co-working space that tech workers in Santa Monica and other hubs are missing nowadays — except that this one only exists in Second Life: Chimptonck Click here to teleport.
Working from home herself, Annabelle wanted a place that recaptured her pre-pandemic office environment. “I think the big thing I’ve missed is the random moments of ‘water cooler’ talk throughout the day so hopefully this can help replicate that,” as she explains.
Unveiled just a few days ago, people also working from home have been showing up to work in her virtual space from all over, she tells me:
“From everyone I’ve met so far, it tends to be mostly tech workers who have all had to go remote at the beginning of the pandemic,” Annabelle tells me. “I think most are from the USA, but at least one other person is European. It’s been really awesome meeting everyone! Truly it almost feels like an office at times.”
Second Life isn’t an ideal co-working space for everyone, of course, but if you’re already familiar with the interface and have a powerful enough computer so that you can multitask between it and your other work programs, it could be a lovely respite from your home office.
Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands
“Lab Gab” is a live-streamed variety show that showcases events, destinations, and different talents across Second Life.
Join our host, Strawberry Linden, as she speaks with Cilian McCullough, who runs The Dive Shop in Second Life, which is a platform for training scuba divers in the physical world. Cilian and his team have created scuba equipment, fully functional dive computers, and oxygen analyzers. They have been approved by PADI, the world’s largest diver training organization, to use these simulations in Second Life to meet the practical application part of the PADI Enriched Air Diver course. Watch as he gives Strawberry a one-on-one lesson in diving!
Real Soon we will be working to get some of this rolling in Fruit Islands I will be personally working on this and many more programs like Sailing Instruction ,Pylon Air Racing, Flight Instruction and so much more.
Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands