The Magic and the Mousetrap and the Tiny Racing Snail at #SL8B

Dhughan Froober's Tiny Snail Makeover

Mr Dhughan! You are a tiny but very fast snail with a top hat and wand! Magical!

Mistletoe covered some aspects of what’s going on with this year’s #SL8B celebration – she’s systematically discussed some of the features of the best and weakest exhibits or builds. It’s a huge deal in Second Life, and there are a number of different sims with many 1024m plots. For all that, some builders achieve amazing things with a little, and some builders achieve… less with too much. I’m pretty much in agreement with Mist on her points, including:

The Best Builds:
Immediately answered the question of “How is this magic?”
The theme of this year’s celebration, of course, is The Magic of Second Life. And the very best exhibits made that theme clear without question. They would either transport the visitor to another time and/or place, do unexpected things to make you think, “I’ve never done that before!” or otherwise made the jaw drop.

Lame Builds…
Were obvious advertisements and little more. They only related themselves to the theme by sticking “magic” in the name, but not explaining what was really enchanting about it. And along with that, the only freebies if any offered were a t-shirt with their logo on it. Weaksauce.

I will say that it’s possible to do a commercial-type exhibit in an impressively jaw-dropping way, so that the observer is amazed, dazzled, and mystified as to how it’s done or how it was conceived. But I’ll agree that some of the obvious “slap a magic hat on our trade show booth” concepts were definitely heavy on the weaksauce.

via SL8B: The Awesome and the Lame « Mistletoe Ethaniel’s Blog.

I wandered around ONE sim last night, Astonish, and was… astonished.

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

Commercial, but dramatic – the phoenix flaps its wings a bit and blows fire and smoke (Phoenix is a popular third party viewer). It’s pretty awesomesauce, actually, and they had… people to talk with!

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

Mousetrap! I was magically transported back to my childhood – and it works. I grabbed a free red rat avatar so I can play it later.

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

Time for a giant catnap. Not magical other than everything was freakishly huge. I liked it because… GIANT KITTIES!

Honey Swamp

Honey Swamp, one of the most celebrated builds in the whole shebang, widely commented and photographed already. Deeply unsettling and beautifully textured, it’s truly magical.


Second Life Celebration: SL8B

This was a fun and very tall build by a community that was called Emphatic Eccentrica. It climbed up very high over about 6 levels, with fun gifts on each, and to get from level to level you had to first whack a mole coming out of the ground, then more moles, then touch something to be animated up to the next level. It was fun to watch, as it used camera control, custom animations, and good particle effects. This sculpture at the very top depicted the community-based nature of collaborative creativity (I think) with marvelous things happening as a simple prim is transformed.

I could tell you how basic and simple some of the techniques used are, but they help to create the magic that is Second Life. Too profound? I may have to blow the Whistle of Pomposity, or the “Ozillator,” on myself.  This build was awesomesauce.

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

This is Crap Mariner’s build, the hands move around and there’s music, storytelling, and a poem to read. It’s very cultural in a weirdly evocative way. He says on his blog that it was inspired by a sculpture in his home city.

Behind it you can see a big magic hat with FC*K YEAH KITTIES!!!

I IMed him to comment on his build and a few minutes later, he ran by, very fast, wearing one of the hands-holding-a-violin-bow as an avatar. It was like a drive-by conceptual art thing. Except for the running.

Only later, it occured to me to ask him “Slow down, where’s the fiery violin?”

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

Not sure, appears to be a media display so maybe I wasn’t seeing the big picture. Need to tell Crap that one of his hands is missing. But it’s sprouting a DNA Sequoia.

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

This one needed a bit of explanation – it was conceptual art of a kind that is not possible in First Life, but a given in Second Life.

It’s clearly a deeply personal reaction to the events in Japan after the earthquake and the tsunami, using a lot of interesting visual and textural effects to evoke feelings of loss, destruction of the familiar, and to find a sense of peace or inner harmony. In Japanese, this inner harmony is called wa and I believe I found it after wandering around in the exhibit being buffeted by waves and tripping over ruins; a teleport was offered to an unexpected place of respite.

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

On clicking a simple “sit” or position marker, your avatar is launched into a floating dance inside this semi-transparent sphere. As it happens, it’s one of my favorite dance animations: you’re alternately curled in a fetal position,and unfurling into an ecstatic leap into the sky (I think it’s commonly called “dream-dance”). It made for a nice break from the tidal waves downstairs.

Now that I think of it, it’s very womb-like, but I also like it.

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

This was a less-successful build – it did cool things to your avatar, once you figured out what the trick was to get “in,” but then the exit mode wouldn’t work and to escape, I had to resort to an old anti-griefer trick: click an object outside the one I was caught in and “sit” on it.

There were other sims I dropped in on, briefly, but lag was bad and I wasn’t taking photos before I crashed. Dhughan also went around a bit on his own and bagged a nifty little magical racing snail that he can’t wait to customize. Full size racing snails are also available at the Giant Racing Snails exhibit, which of course highlights the Sunday races which are free to attend, and available to watch later via He then went on the Virtual Rail Consortium dark ride (he’s a little obsessed with trains) and ran around bumping into people before the Gods of Lag smacked him down and sqwuz him like a bug.

Second Life Celebration: SL8B

This one sim from one of the corners of the group was mostly parkland and residential-commercial looking; thought it might be one of the big landowning estates that sets you up in a gorgeous house you rent, or you can buy it to rezz… not sure, I teleported in at the back edge and missed any official entryway or sign.

This general store interested me because it’s so MUCH BETTER than my poor little run-down Coastal Indian long house in Steelhead St Helens, and yes, I loved this sign.

AND THERE WERE FREE KITTIES!!!! Moooooooooooom!! Can I have one?

I’ll be heading back to SL8B to wander around more sims later – it runs for 2 weeks – to see what else there might be to astonish, enlighten, or do-whatever. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Lelani Carver is a Steampunk resident in Second Life who blogs a little about everything, and about nothing of any importance.


The Magic and the Mousetrap and the Tiny Racing Snail at #SL8B — 3 Comments

  1. It’s a good ride, but now Dhughan will be whining about laying track to nowhere in Tintafel.

  2. The train was really clever; I-as-Petal enjoyed it immensely. Also, I had a grand time at the Bay City Rumble last night, and I finally tried out that roller coaster that everyone’s going on about.

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