Friday, August 22, 2008

one year in Winterfell: visual memories

Saturday 23rd, Winterfell will live the reopening of the village and everybody will be able to admire what Miss Serra have been working on in the past weeks.
Since it is just a bit more than a year since when I have found Winterfell and I decided to set my home there, this event has made me think of the last 12 month lived in this wonderful region.

When I first found Winterfell (as I have described in the PS of this previous post) the region was made by four sims : Winterfell, Haven, Sancturay and Reverie. Ebonshire would have been created just around those days. The village was a loop of cottages with nice shops and a few palaces around it. I have some memories of a Winterfell Palace but I was to shy too visit it. I also remember a circle of stones with a dancing pad where I ofter saw a lady dancing a daily ritual, but again, I was to shy to say hello :) It was possible to walk to Reverie from the village along a waterway and there were a few poseballs along the stream. I remember stargazing poseballs very well. It was the place where I took Mykyl the first time I took her to visit Winterfell :)

I was still homeless those days and I often used to sit by the water on the way from Winterfell to Reverie.

After a couple of weeks I noticed a group for cottages for rent just outside the village. I was tempted ... the cottage was cute, the rent fee affordable so, and after a couple of days of pondering, I contacted the person mentioned of the ad signs and so I met this dark - always in a hurry - lady : Miss Serra Anansi

I was very nervous to talk to her. Her profile indicated that she was born in 2004 ! But she was nice and, at the end, after some fight with a door that did not want to behave, we closed the deal and I had my first home.

The cottage lovely and I felt at home there. I regret that I have no longer idea where its position was. So much the sim has changed. I roughly remember that when I went out, going left I met a tent and after that what I later learned to be the Fillion/James estate.

After a couple of weeks the cottages around mine disappeared and mine was the only one left, then ... one morning ...

I have the habit to TP home before logging off and I was doing so even in those first days. One morning I found in my email a message from Serra. She needed to discuss something. I quickly logged in and I found my cottage, the day before alone in grassland, surrounded by buildings. Winterfell was growing and so was the village and the cottage was in the costruction area.

So Serra had to move me to a new location but she needed a few days to get a new sim ready. For a few days I was homeless again, and I started looking for a temporary accomodation. And it was in those days that I found Aurora Town. But that is another story and shall be told another time. :)

Those were the same days Winterfell increased its expansion rate, favoured by the availability of void sims: Breakwater, Fathom, Harbor and Undertow were born those days.

After a few days Serra came back with a new cottage for me placed on an island in Breakwater and she also started dropping suggestions about "deal that screams" and all the advantages of getting a plot for me rather than rent :)

The island was nice : beautiful seaview (and that had a lot of influence in my later tastes) and a lot of privacy. But I missed not to be at walking distance from the village, which, by the way, had become bigger and more beautiful, with some great shops tham made it interesting just to walk among them.

And there was that cute 1024 sqm riverside plot in Ebonshire ... :)

By then I was addicted, so, after a couple of weeks, I took the big step and I got the land. I was officially a Winterfell resident !

After a few weeks Serra gave me the opportunity to upgdade to a 2048 sqm plot, on the southern side of Ebonshire, bordering Winterfell and the village. I loved the idea to border the village and I took the opportunity. The addiction was worsening :)

The Winter and the end of the year came. Winterfell kept growing. The dark victorian Abisinthe was created in the south and, after a few weeks Caledon Cape Wrath. Winterfell was connected to Caledon. The Realm of the Roses was born.

A few weeks before that Miss Serra had built a new wonderful Winterfell Palace, overlooking and embedding the shopping village. The winter ball, held in the palace, was great fun, expecially when, under the weight of all the people there, the Winterfell server blew up and left a big hole. I remember finding myself, together with many people, in Ebonshire, on the edge of nothing, looking where the sim was :)
The excitment was high and I forgot to take pictures of that monent, and I still regret it :)
The evening nevertheless ended happily dancing in a still undeveloped Cape Wrath :)

A few weeks into the new year, my neighbours and friends Cas and Yez decided to move to create their own land and I acquired the little island in the middle of Ebonshire. New voids had been created at that time, Libris among them which was bordering Ebonshire on the west side and gave me access to the sea. It was possible to sail from home to Caledon and back !!! :)

Miss Serra helped me terraforming, creating a beautiful lagoon and a couple of weeks after I got the island I had my little harbor, Star Port, built.

Those beautiful Winter days were also peculiar because Winterefell was covered with snow.

Maybe it was not totally consistent with the dark Winterfell theme, but it was totally consistent with the Winterfell name and I loved those days, with the white land and the light and Christmas decorations. It was a unique period of beauty.

I particularly loved what Miss Silver did in the plots west of my cottage. Aren't those images stunning ? :)

The Winter was also the period when Aianna and Magnus used to live in Winterfell Haven. They had a beautiful home there and many nights were spent around the fire there or on the top of their palace but eventually their dream of their own sim was filfilled and and they moved in the beautiful Alurel.

After they left it was a difficult period in Winterfell, with many plot left unrented. Miss Serra redesigned the structure of the sims and Winterfell Haven is no more , replaced by four voids, with Morigion taking the place on the grid where Haven used to be.

Many other sims were born after that Maldoror, Mithras, Amaranthine ... just to mention a few, and now there are 27 sims making up Winterfell .. and still growing :)

At a certain point Laudanum was born as well : I had always had a soft spot for the mixed residential/commercial dark victorian Absinthe. And I had thought for some time to have a small gallery to display my sailship pictures. So when Absinthe's twin sim was created I was not able to resist and I got a small plot there to have my Bright Star Gallery :)

During the last months of the Spring and the Summer great new beauty was created in Winterfell, as the new sims were populated by old and new residents. Too many parts of Winterfell are stunning beautiful to mention and display everything. What follows is but a little selection:

Isn't Winterfell wonderful ? :))

We have arrived at the present days. The palace and the village that I have loved so much in the past months will be gone in a few hours and a new breathtaking village will appear. I have talked to Miss Serra about saving in her inventory the old village. It would be a real pity to lose forever such a beautiful creation of her skill even if she has created something even more beautiful . I hope she will follow this advice :)

Good bye old village ... Welcome Taure En Lor, Grove of Dreams :)


Sunday, August 17, 2008


Time goes by very quickly in the virtual world
I have been an active avie for just more than one year but to me it seems much much longer

Friends that I have known for one year give me the feeling of a lifetime acquanintance, and places that I have known and loved have evolved, changed or are even long gone.

Maybe it is the speed of change of the landscape so much faster than in RL, that give this feeling of compressed time.

Look how much Faeria have changed in one year, for instance : I discovered Faeria looking for bookstores in search and my first memory of it is the old TP point and the old Booksmythe. They have both gone for months.

It is with some nostalgic mood that sometime still think of those first days, the poeple TP'ing in the old point near Lord Lisle's stall and the stairs going down to Huk under the change sim warning sign ... the old path to Nakji, going through that lost corner of paradise that was Princess' dream and around the ban lines ... the pub and Master Peck's shop in their old locations ... Hastings' and Lord Lisle's Galleries ...

The PHC saturdays in the old common area seem so lost in time already, and some of the people who used to attend are so much missed.

So many things has happened in these months : Faeria expanded a lot, got almost all the parcels embedded into it and allowed a more rational placement of buildings and shops. The forest expanded , growing even into Hwang and Rhee. The village has been modified first and and rebuilt from scratch then.

One of the not so happy moment is what I call the failed Invasion of Huk. It was a bold attempt to expand Faeria into the sim west of it , with the merchant fair and the galleries that started to be built there. And then the fall back, the sex club filling the space that was supposed to become part of Faeria, the village that had to be moved away from the border and the sad moments and the decisions that ultimately took Princess away from Faeria.

Now Faeria covers almost the entire Huin, a wonderful library is being built and the beauty has only increased ... yet ... sometime I miss that old TP point and the layout that now is only in my memory. It looks so far away in time.

so long


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the unveiling of the water witch

It was the 21st of July 2007. I had joined SL for a few months but I was not very active. I was mostly exploring SL in search of book related places. I was a homeless newbie, wearing freebie jeans and t-shirt, who took the AV to sleep on a bench on Book Island before logging off :)
That day, using the search tool looking for books I was redirected to a place called the Booksmythe. I ended in Faeria and my SL experience was changed forever :)

As soon as I rezzed there I met Aianna and Mykyl for the very first time. They were organizing a big event that same day : the presentation of Aianna’s first book of her fantasy saga: The Valley of the Ivory Swan: Warrior Princess. That evening I went back and I was witness to a huge success. Tens of people assembled in Faeria and other sims connected in streaming to accommodate more audience listening to Aianna reading excerpts from her book, and in the following days the event was blogged all over.

In the months following that first event Aianna’s readings have been taken place in many places: Faeria, Alurel, Winterfell, the Guild of UK Writers, and others, some of which no longer exist. Aianna is a fantastic storyteller : listening to her voice telling her tales is a magical experience.

Now, after weeks of hard work, Aianna has finally imported into SL the second book of her saga : the Water Witch.

The book will make its SL debult in Faeria Village, Huin on the 15th of August, 4-6 pm SLT. Aianna Oh will be reading excerpts from the book live on stream. The event will also be streamed in five other sims where Aianna has been reading in the past year:

  • Alurel Market
  • INKsters on Cookie Island
  • The Library in Winterfell Palace
  • The Stone Circle in Milk Wood (Scotland Plarmigan)
  • The Garden of the Muse in Dreyfus

Aianna will share the stage with CelticMaidenWarrior Lancaster a magical voice and charming personality, she is well worth hearing as well.
Reading and singing will alternate during the two hours of the event.

I hope to see a huge happy crowd listening to these gifted Ladies. I personally look forward

So long


P.S. Since Faeria is a fantasy themed region, between that first meeting and the reading, that took place a few hours later, I went looking for fantasy clothes. Again I started using the search tool and, being an avid reader of George RR Martin, I choose a shop called Pretty Magic in a region intriguingly called Winterfell. I visited the shop and I stepped out of it discovering the SL Winterfell, where my home has been ever since.

21st of July 2007 … a truly remarkable day in my SL experience :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Travelling in SL

As I wrote in the “about me” section, I like to explore SL, either by land or by sea.
During the past week Mykyl and I spent 4 days sailing with my new boat, the “Morning Star” from my Home Port in Winterfell Ebonshire to all the way down to Lovelace, South of Caledon, circumnavigating Caledon and then back to Ebonshire. It was a great trip : I love the “Realm of the Roses” and sail its waters among so much beauty. It was also an adventure : there was a collision with a train, and a very aggressive Watch-Catfish in the Southern Waters that did not like the boat to sail in the area that was protecting :)

Despite the beauty of breathtaking regions like Winterfell and Caledon and the little adventures one can find there, there is no doubt that exploring the mainland, with all its variety and diversity can give a different kind of satisfaction.
A large portion of mainland is surely wasteland, but it is always with a great excitement when one can discover wonderful regions where residents have created beauty with much work and love.
I may write about few of such places in the future: they are definitely worth being mentioned.

A few month ago, Mykyl and Aianna and I crossed the Southern Continent, from Aurora Town in the West to Faeria, in the East, on opposite sides of the Korean Canal. It was actually our second attempt at the crossing: the first time we choose a random path and it was very frustrating because of so many forbidden areas protected by ban lines, and eventually we failed the objective when a security orb hit us and sent each of us to the respective homes just a few sims from the destination. The second time we followed a Linden Road and we were able to complete the trip.

A few weeks ago we tried a similar trip by sea, starting from a fjord in the beautiful Swiss/German Town of Sternsberg. The idea was to discover a passage to the Korean Canal and from there see where we could get into the Eastern peninsula. We discovered beautiful places along the way, but once more the experience was very frustrating, because of ban lines and security orbs. At the end we failed and had to give up on the shores of the Korean Canal. Added frustration was due to the fact that it was almost always impossible to re-rezz the boat, even in open Linden Waters, if it was returned to the L&F folder.

Of course the need for privacy is understandable, but overkilling solutions that deny the possibility to explore and go across full sims take very much away from the potential of the SL experience.

Wouldn’t be a great improvement for SL mainland if the waters were fully open and sailable and many places where it was possible to rezz boats were provided and charted ?

until the next time …


Sunday, August 10, 2008


Following Torley I installed Vollee on my Nokia N73

Vollee is basically a client that allows Second Life to run on mobile terminals, included some cellular phones.

I was impressed : it worked ! I logged in and I was able to move around quite smoothly. The required bandwith is not bad either.
Unfortunately the user interface is not very friendly and typing without a QWERTY keyboard is really a pain. After a while, looking at the small screen ot the phone my eyes started to pop out and I had to terminate the session.

Yet, despite these shortcomings, I was highly impressed: porting the client on such small devices was a great accomplishment and I am sure then on a bigger device, such as a PDA, it is going to be a much better experience.

Should I go shopping for a new toy ? ;-)


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hello World !

I am not really sure why I have created a blog and if I have something to say, but, well, now I am here, so ... stay tuned :)



P.S. Tomorrow is my RL birthday : Happy birthday to me :)