I really appreciated Han Held’s response to my recent post imagining what government might be like in Second Life, because she pointed me to the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, or CDS. It sounded awfully appealing: several sims of people working together in an environment made up of harmonious sections, with themes like an alpine village and the Tuscany countryside.
So, after logging in yesterday, I looked for Neufreistadt, one of the sims Han had mentioned, on the map. I was disappointed to discover that there were only a couple of green dots in the region. Apparently it would just be a bunch of empty sims, though maybe with some nice design work … just like everywhere else in Second Life.
But I’m an optimist by nature, so I double clicked on the map at a spot that looked like it might be a kind of town center, near one of the green blips, and teleported.
I arrived in the middle of an empty blue sky. Oops! I’d forgotten about altitude in my teleport coordinates. I was teleporting from my sky house, and I’m not used to going places without a landmark, so I didn’t even look. Still, I’ve always liked the Alice in Wonderland feeling of falling into a sim, though the landings can be painful, so I let myself fall and spent the time trying to get a good picture of me tumbling through the sky. It’s kind of hard to get my camera to frame correctly in mid-sky, though, and when I did, everything shook. Anyway, I was distracted: while I was still falling, not yet in sight of the ground, I saw what looked like most of an Italian villa.
Now, I’ve always been the kind of person who can’t resist taking a look at places I’ve come across that might otherwise be nearly impossible to find, so flapped my wings, pulled up into a hover, and then flew over to take a look.
To my surprise, this was where one of the green blips actually was, and the name of this blip was Lilith. I apologized for interrupting, but she said nothing — I’m used to that in Second Life, of course — so I quietly walked back out onto the patio and jumped off. I decided to hover for a moment not far down, though, to see if I could get my camera pointing in the right direction for that freefall picture, and while I was there she IM’d me, apologizing and saying she’d been in Photoshop. So I flew back up.
Well, it turned out that she was building this villa for a CDS resident, but she put that aside, saying she could use a break, and I had a wonderful conversation with her about CDS. She’s about ten years old, the same as me, but she’s lived in CDS most of that time, whereas my homes have come and gone, just like the neighborhoods around them. Actually, except for Seven and Jen Shikami’s island, I’ve never lived in anything that could really be described as a neighborhood, and there I experienced the homes around me gradually vanishing as the residential area shrunk until it was just me and one other house, at which point I decided I should get out of Seven and Jen’s hair. To my surprise, though, the house was still there last time I checked. But there’s still no one else around.
I eventually left Lilith to her building, but I was encouraged when I jumped off the patio the second time. I never did manage to get a tumbling picture, because it wasn’t long after that that the ground appeared below me like an enormous flyswatter, and I didn’t hover quickly enough to avoid splatting against it. Thank goodness for immortality, right?
Neufreistadt was lovely but mostly empty, so I began trekking down its cobbled streets in search of that other green blip I’d seen on my screen. The town was lovely, but there was more to it, as well: it wasn’t like other towns I’d seen, which were either stores jammed against stores or else empty buildings just there for show, like in the very nicely-constructed but abandoned area around Fogbound Blues. What was different was that the buildings and places here seemed to each have a purpose. It didn’t feel like a build: it felt like a place.
It took me some time of wandering uphill, through beautiful and intriguing areas, before I came near that second blip, but when I did…well, but this post is long enough already. Why don’t I tell you what happened then in my next post?