Thursday, April 28, 2011

Official Recommendations: The Next Five

In a post yesterday I wrote about visiting five of the Ten Photogenic Spots in SL as recommended on the Official SL Blog. The next five, all but one being very darkly themed and executed, also include places I'm familiar with, including Innsmouth, an eerie role play region (SLurl) that is so darkly textured and darkly lit that you'll be tempted to switch on full Noon daylight just to get around. Don't. Anything that needs to be lit will be and viewing the region in brighter light spoils the atmosphere. You visit Innsmouth to be creeped out so roll with the darkness and you won't be disappointed. Just don't judge all of New England by this reconstruction. We've advanced some since then and aren't quite as ... um ... dark. Last Halloween I bought a copy of the Inn from Innsmouth and used it as the basis for my haunted farmhouse dark ride (Web).

I'd rather not see what is playing at this theater
The Vanguard Research Base (SLurl), the next stop on the tour, is also a role play sim, but it is much more brightly lit on the Official Viewer. Then again, it is the depth of winter when you arrive so you'll be too busy with the cold to notice the light much. Everything is beautifully textured in shades of gray so that you are easily immersed in the scene. If you have one of the third party viewers that automatically changes to the region's prefered Windlight settings, then it is even better because the texturing is greatly enhanced. If not, change to Blizzard (I'll let you figure out how) and start exploring. Winter is not my season and military role play is not my style, but the region is so well put together I found myself spending more time than I had planned. A couple players were concerned for my safety. I guess I should have looked harder for an Observer tag/titler to wear.

Easily navigated by the color blind if they are cold tollerant
When you first land at Farstar New Earth (SLurl), you are in a totally alien landscape. Then it gets bizzare when you ride the teleporter to the Parallel Worlds area. You can join the group to get a Cthulu which you can fly around or just explore on foot. Liquidy spheres are everywhere ... golden globules filled with organic shapes and amazing reptilian-insectoid-metallic textures in an oddly coherent riot of forms. No particular Windlight setting is recommended, but I instinctually switched to Midnight for my exploration and the pictures. Of the ten sights in my two blog posts, Farstar/Parallel Worlds is easily one of the top three "must visit" pieces.

I imagine the artist was a fan of The Beatles and Yellow Submarine

I was too awed to do my usual *click-to-see-how-they-did-it*

The scale is humbling.
After an hour I tore myself away to visit S.I.C. (SLurl), another combat role play region and one that my friends in the Lucky Kitty Crew seem to frequent. While it is yet another dystopian region in Second Life it is probably the best I've seen. You will immediately think about the movie Blade Runner (if you've seen it, and if you haven't then log out of everything right now and find this cultural masterpiece) and when you think further, you'll see that the true similarities are in the passion shown for creating an atmosphere. The little details make the build and you'll find them in every corner. The only thing that holds back this build is the limits of Second Life itself.

Ridley Scott would recognize this street.
The last stop on the official recommendation list is INSILICO (SLurl), a creation of the incomparable Skills Hak (I'm biased as I've known her for some time). Her singular vision and immense creation skills (pun intended) have long made INSILICO a top-rated attraction in our world. Though I favor harmoniously natural places in Second Life versus bleak, futuristic builds such as this, I can still appreciate the brilliance shown here. The scale is epic and can't be appreciated in simple photos. In fact, I got lost (again) and gave up looking for the best shot out of so many possibilities. I was lucky to be able find my way back to The Blue Ant to get a drink out of the 166 prim bartender (OMG the detail! The detail!).

Waiting for my Blue Ant Pilsner
Soon I hope to post about some of my favorite places that are not on the official list (or post again as I've written about many of them before). First I'll have to find my way out of INSILICO and back to a warm forest. In the mean time, set aside parts of your busy schedule to visit these truly deserving places.

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