Thursday, February 17, 2011

Child Avatars

I'm been planning this post for a while, because I've always felt that child avatars on Second Life was a somewhat... touchy subject. I was there when Linden Labs tried to ban child avatars after they separated the teenage and adult grids. Back then, it only affected me because I was in the Hogwarts role-play, and my child avatar was seventeen (actually, thirteen, but after the stigma on child avatars, I aged her up) and that was the only place I had a child avatar anyway.

Getting back into the game now, though, I find that there a lot more children on the sims, which at first surprised me until I realized that they merged the game again, and that there are a lot of child-friendly places. Adult content (which was rampant years ago) is a lot more moderated and on the adult regions, which can't be access by anyone who can not prove their age, anyway. And while a lot of places don't want child avatars, but of the rules are lenient enough that they don't want child avatars engaged in certain behaviors rather than not wanting them at all.

Well played, Second Life. I do congratulate this leniency and how everyone's adapted to the changes, because to the quite honest, I love seeing child avatars around. Not everywhere, of course, but seeing a park with children makes me smile. And seeing places built just for children... well, that's a whole new glow right there.

And I have to admit, with the stigma gone, one of the first things I did after I realized that was create a child avatar. Who doesn't want to be a child again, right? All hearts and rainbows and candy and fluffy bunnies. It was fun being a child, and on Second Life, you can do so again... as long as you handle it responsibly. Obviously, don't take your child to a sex sim. But that should be common sense.

And I would love to talk about some places for children in this blog soon as well. This is my introduction post to that, because sometimes I do go exploring in my child form... although that's usually when I'm looking for pastry cafes and amusement parks. Later on, I'd love to get into more detail for Prim Hearts, which is also another destination guide, but with many layers to the place including an Undercity for child role-play that is based off a world where all the adults suddenly disappeared (a little like Jeremiah, right? For the oldies who have watched the show, anyway). They also have a link to an adoption centre and orphanage, and a community for families. I personally have gotten my child a home at the adoption centre where she has her own beautiful room and and friends who room right next to her.

Also, there are great kid-friendly parks around in Second Life. We went racing on floaties! Picnic areas, playgrounds, amusement parks... there are also so many stores for children's clothing that I'm amazed at how well each of them hold up. Do we really have that many children on Second Life?

But then, according to me, we do. And everyone's quite generous to children... free clothing, shoes, animation overrides, skin, shapes... as long as you know where to look, you don't have to spend a cent on getting your child ready for their Second Life. Just take them out to play on the swings, the jungle gyms, swimming, and even trampolines. This is SL, after all, if you can imagine it, it's probably been built!

To be quite honest, I even have a child avatar for role-play... if my child has reddish-brown/black hair, I'm using her for normal things and exploring and just being a kid. If she has white hair... well, I've got an entire story behind her!

She's not a real child, she's a role-play character. All the other children around I take as "real children"-- normal, everyday, bratty kids. Cute, sweet, and complete brats. This kid is named Laila and she isn't your normal everyday child. She's somewhat demonic and belongs in role-playing sims.

Hope this was a good introduction to my kids. There's the normal girl, and there's Laila. They'll be around to help document more beautiful and mindboggling places on Second Life!

Friday, February 11, 2011


Not gunna lie, I think dark urban settings on Second Life are some of the most beautiful. You've seen my reaction to Barbee, and while that region combines dark and urban with beauty and whimsical fantasy, S.I.C. claims to have been inspired by Blade Runner, of all things.

Doesn't make it any less beautiful in my eyes, even if I can hardly remember that movie. From my standpoint, it looks like a science fiction standpoint for Tokyo-- most of the items and areas here are in Japanese, and the alleyways are tough places to survive in.

There are little treasures hidden everywhere. For example, and area of the city that constantly rains. I had to wait there for a while, trying to find my umbrella to walk under that torrential downpour. The streets are broken and uneven, with roadblocks placed just about everywhere for danger zones. Streetlights shine in every corner, and if you don't look closely, you'd think it was just like a real life urban center... until you get a good look at their technology.

S.I.C. spans more than one region... and I'll admit, I still haven't managed to explore the greater area of it. I look forward to doing so and perhaps reporting more gems back, but for the moment, I'm so excited to see this place that it had to be blogged.

Who doesn't want to see mechas and fighting rinks and great urban distopias, right?

The place is very beautifully rendered, and it's worth every second of waiting time to come see it. Even the puddles are wonderfully rendered so that you can see the reflections of the buildings in them... the only thing I'm slightly disappointed in is that you can't see your own reflection in them (maybe we're all vampires), but I suppose the scripts for that haven't come out yet. Either that, or no one's figured out how to do that yet because I haven't seen anywhere on Second Life that acts as a reflection for your avatar. Do feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

I have to admit, I spent a long while just trying to find all the little niches in this place-- bars, restaurants, pose balls. There are some very interesting pose balls in the back alleys, from people helping each other to beating each other up. There's a particularly cute one in where you've being blown away by a giant fan.

What I'd love is for this place to have a role-play I understand. They do have a HUD for it, I think (not entirely sure on this), but it's in Japanese and I don't know any of the rules or group. If there's some other urban fantasy role-play going on here (I'm looking at you, Dresden Files fans) where there's a combination of magic and technology being played out, I'd love to be in on this. Especially here.

I dare each and every person out there to find me a better place for dark urban noir /science fiction / fantasy to be played out. I have a handful of characters in mind that I want to play out, despite it being years since the last time I managed to role-play on Second Life.

Bring yourself, bring a friend, and check out why this place was a Destination Guide pick. With winding streets, construction areas, a fighting rink, hospital, and even a picture booth in the welcoming area, S.I.C. is definitely a place to at least check out. The background is fantastic.

...Oh, and before I forget: make sure to watch where you're walking. After spending about half an hour running around the sim, I heard honking right before I got hit by the bus.

Yeah. The bus. So watch yourself when you cross the street!

Extra pictures:

Monday, February 7, 2011


Ever come across a place online that you probably wouldn't set foot in when it comes to real life, and yet after you've explored it, all you want is to find somewhere just like that in reality?

Welcome to Barbee on Second Life, a sim where reality starts falling apart so beautifully that you just know it's possible for it to happen in real life, but can it ever be found?

You arrive and the first thing you see is that you're at a train station- surrounded with beautifully monochromatic plants and the train rails itself are covered in water. Think an overgrown, post-apocalyptic Venice. The mists over the water just add to the mysterious beauty of this place.

Leave the station and you walk down narrow alleyways flooded with water, half sunk and the other half dark, dirty, and dripping. It's like the back streets of Tokyo, and if you look closely enough, you may find some hidden gems lying around. Stops of artwork and cafes. The entire sim is surreal and beautiful, misty and enveloping. It's easy to fall into the illusion that this place may exist and yet not exist at the same time, just eluding your senses somehow.

I was set to explore every nook and cranny I could find of this place when I first found it on the Destination Guide, and Soran came to join me soon-after. I admit, I was probably a lot more enthusiastic about the find than she was, as Soran is more used to wide spaces and large areas rather than the small restaurants I was bent on finding.

Barbee is a small sim with only one shop that I could find, and it's half drowned in water. The effects are tantalizing to the eye, and should I find a place like this in real life I probably wouldn't be dressed so casually to visit-- rain boots and waterproof materials may be more appropriate than what I had been wearing at this sim. In fact, should I find a place like this in real life, I may be more hesitant to explore, seeing as it seems quite seedy and may be filled with people I would probably not want to associate with. And yet, on Second Life, I would attribute this to being one of the more beautiful places online, with the creators not erasing the dark atmosphere this place exudes, but rather incorporating it into the mystique.

Other images:

Thursday, February 3, 2011


It's been a very long time since I've been on Second Life again, mostly due to the fact that my computer was outdated and couldn't play it, and then it broke down completely for years while I used my little netbook to get around.

Now, however, things seems to be back up to normal, even if this old desktop isn't top of the line. So the blog I wanted to do four years ago might be started now!

Now a lot of people go on Second Life for the shopping, the fashions, the nightlife, or even the sex life. I go on to explore. There are such beautiful places hidden away in virtual space that I feel the need to find just because someone spent the time to build it out of their imagination. Four years ago on Second Life I spent the majority of my time in clubs and role-plays, finding mazes and puzzles. Old habits die hard, I suppose, but now I'm looking for the beautiful and the bizarre. And I understand that a lot of people can't play Second Life-- I was one of those people for four years!

This blog is because I want to share the places in virtual space online with other people, because every time I mention Second Life to my friends, I get scoffs and strange looks. Why am I playing? Why, because of these little treasures, of course.