Saturday, 8 June 2013

Absent places

In part three of my 'Absent' series, I remember some SL places.

The Greenies home

Stepping into the Greenies home six years ago was like stepping into an entirely new metaverse, one where everything basically didn’t look like printed out pictures stuck to the sides of variously shaped cardboard cereal boxes.  Next to today’s mesh buildings and objects, I will grudgingly admit that this wonderful sim of a giant 1950s lounge-kitchen overrun by miniature Little Green Men probably wouldn’t look quite so stunning as it did back then, but it would still measure up pretty well.  This was pre-mesh, pre-sculpty technology; knowing what I know now about building today, there are still things about that place that I can’t work out.  How, for example, did they line up all those prims without the joins being visible?  Even in firestorm now, with its extra decimal points for X, Y and Z location, this is still an operation that ends up making me want to punch myself repeatedly in the face.  And the texturing – oh, the texturing.  How did they do that Coca Cola flowing out of the tipped-over bottle?  How?

If you never visited the Greenies sim, you have missed out on a treat.  Starting under the floorboards and emerging from a mouse hole (later, the starting point was moved to one of the kitchen cupboards), your mission, as such, was to locate all the little green aliens in their various humorous locations around this scaled up house – which, in its 1950s decoration, was the very embodiment of the science fiction B-movie.  You found them dizzy on the turntable, you found them in the kitchen drawer and driving a remote control car and down the back of a picture frame.  You found one sitting on a vibrator.  Enjoying it.  The detail was staggering; the build quality exquisite.  The atmosphere (in particular, the repeating black and white sci-fi clip on the TV if you had stream turned on) was extraordinary.  The Greenies was a glimpse of the graphical future potential of the metaverse, one which we are now becoming acquainted with through mesh – and already starting to take for granted.


I’ve lived in a skybox over the same spot of mainland now for nearly six years.  For most people living in such circumstances, the flow of neighbours in and out of your region is fairly constant, as it was for me for the first six months or so.  And then a lady called Lorene moved in and bought up what she could (nearly half of the sim) and turned it into Sawtooth Mountain Resort.

Sawtooth was a peaceful community of rented log cabins, with space allocated also for communal areas: a camp fire, a paddock with grazing horses, a small river, a greenhouse, a church and a pond.  I was happy for my own land at ground level to be a part of this as an open space, since I’m not keen on living on the soil; my concrete brutalist building would have looked quite out of place down there and it was perfectly happy floating at 200 metres on its atomic motors (you do realise that’s how skyboxes float, right?).

I got on with Lorene, but a year or so after she’d established Sawtooth, she decided SL was not for her and moved on.  Perhaps she wanted to leave a return open to her, however, because she left Sawtooth in its entirely.  For something like three years, the resort remained untouched, the cabins completely unoccupied.  I used to drop down from time to time for a peaceful wander in what became over time in my head my secret personal relaxation zone.  

Compared to modern mesh builds, there was nothing especially remarkable about the constructions in Sawtooth, but taken as a whole, the resort had a tranquil cohesiveness about it.  Lorene eventually realised she wasn’t coming back and, about a year or so ago, she got rid of the land.  I’m back to the flow of neighbours in and out, now, but I’ll always remember Sawtooth as something special.

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