Sunday, 31 July 2011

Deus Ex Machina?

It's been too long since I last posted to this blog - and for that, I apologise. I was swept off my feet for a fortnight, babysitting my younger brothers and looking after the house whilst Mum was visiting her other half in LA. Since I have no desire to turn this into a personal blog, however, I shall say no more on the subject other than that I was busy. As they say on the internet, TITS OR GTFO.

No, really - but I'm here now, and as my last post was kind of cynical, I decided I'd ease my way back into the subject with a softer, slightly more appreciative post. For all of the craziness (and trust me, there's plenty!) that goes on in SL, there are some absolutely fantastic things being created there, and I never cease to be amazed by how much attention has been paid to the smallest details. As I believe I have briefly mentioned, the crowd I fell in with, if you like, in SL almost seem to go out of their way to find interesting places to take me to. 

I logged in one day and was instantly messaged by Laertes. He'd found a sim to take me to that he thought I'd like, and once we got there, he asked "Anything look familiar?", like I was supposed to know where we were. If I hadn't realised that there was a sign proudly proclaiming our exact virtual location, I'd have been at a complete loss. 

Would you have recognised it?

In my defence, I've never been to Brighton Beach, but I still felt like I'd let him down by not recognising the scene. It was an amusing stereotype, however, that Laertes assumed that I, being English and living in England (and him being American, living in the US), would have been to Brighton; but the more I examine it, the more I feel ignorant about my own country, so I can't win that one, really.

Admittedly, the Brighton Beach sim isn't the most exemplary of sims when it comes to a discussion of intricacy and virtual art, but it was here that my understanding of the nature of SL and the things people create within it really began to take root. 

Take a moment to appreciate what you're looking at here. Somebody sat down one day and decided to re-create Brighton Beach. Somebody designed and built each one of those scooters, as well as the lamppost, the railing, the promenade, the pier. There are waves in the sea. There's a pattern in the asphalt, a texture to it, that somebody has taken the time to render. Stopping and taking note of these things can get you hysterical, and if you're not careful, you're going to end up in the front garden come dawn, marvelling at each blade of grass. The postman is going to see you in your pyjamas, staring at the grass all starry-eyed when he comes to deliver the latest batch of bills, and he'll call the nice men in the white jackets to come and pay you a visit. I don't want to be responsible for that.

But hold on a moment - we're not talking about muttering to a deity we cannot prove or disprove the existence of, here. We're not battling with Hawking and the Divine Plan. There's no belief, no faith, required. This Creator is human, and chances are, if they're spending their time recreating Brighton Beach, they're either unemployed or a real computer whizz. Maybe both.

Okay, so the cynicism is seeping back in. I'll get back to the positive. 

Whether the creator had too much time on their hands or not, the Brighton sim is pretty cool, and when I returned to show my mother (yes, I am that cool), I found out that you can even go for a donkey ride.

As if there weren't enough donkeys to go around...

Now that I've got you appreciating the miracle of individual asphalt particles, take a look at these. Bear in mind that my graphics settings are turned down low, as I run SL on my laptop, and that photos can be clicked to enlarge:

St Francis' Church

An underwater ballroom

"Labyrinth of Time"

An abandoned bus on "Hope"


  1. My first comment which was lengthy got eaten by the net monsters, so this one is short and sweet.

    I enjoyed your posting - it is well written (no surprise there) and it is interesting!

    Thats all I'm saying incase I get eaten again!



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