Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steampunk Travelogue: NeoVictoria

As those who are familiar with Second Life, many sims come and pass, often without acknowledgement of their hard work of their creative teams.  Some have worked hard and have established themselves as steadfast destinations of the Steamlands, carving out a unique niche from which they are able to flourish.  I have the good fortune of making the acquaintance of Miss Asil Ares, one of the many creative minds behind their exceptional works, which blend Steampunk and Machinima into unique endeavors.  In-between producing works, scripting, filming, running NeoVictoria's dedicated Ning, and many of the other demands on her time, Asil took time to answer a few questions for the Tribune...

 Steampunk Tribune: Could you tell me about NeoVictoria's origins?  

Miss Asil Ares: I’ve always loved Steampunk, and have spent my life devouring mythology, fantasy and science fiction, so when I dreamed about creating a world, it was those kinds of images that came to my mind.  I've also played roleplay games since I was a kid and wanted the possibility of a community whose roleplay wasn’t lost once the scene was over.  So NeoVictoria is very much a mixing of those themes and desires.

I think of the fae (or Sidhe) through the prism of the oldest of the stories and not the Magic or the White Wolf games which so many Second Life players consider authoritative. In the Eddas, we're told of the nine worlds (two of which are ruled by fae of the light and dark variety).   In the history of those ancestors, when their gods (the Aesir) were destroyed in apocalypse (Ragnarok), the bridges between the nine worlds collapsed and the cosmos was divided, allowing the age of man to began. In the dimension of NeoVictoria, however, the Sidhe did not fade from our sight ...the question becomes, why not?

In our fantasy realm, the queen of the dark elves saw the fall of the Aesir and withdrawal of the Vanir as an opportunity; she refused to fade ...instead she made her peace with this change in humankind's fortunes and harnessed us to serve her. Along the way, she has made many compromises, not the least of which is embracing our technology and using the old power-places in new ways.

[Brigid Ashwood's evocative "Locust Queen," is the 'official' portrait of The Queen and is used with the permission by the artist.]

This is why her Empire, Pax Britannica writ large, remains in the mechanical age of steam. Humankind, by entering into a vassal system with the fae received benefits (long life, a certain freedom from disease), but our science and technology is stagnant. Rather than harnessing the power of the atom, these people have learned to use magic …even to go so far as capturing the souls of men or the spirits of elfish prisoners to power their machines. There are no star-ships, but portals that link the worlds. No nuclear reactors to fill the cities with light, but golden spherical prisons beneath her cathedrals where supernaturals are milked for their innate power. For that is what humankind does …we use the resources of our environment to serve our needs; but here …in this reality …our fecundity is held in check by a nature that knowingly uses us. Humankind is her army, pouring forth through portals opened to conquer world after world in her name. We are legion, but we are also leashed.

The Empire is vast and contains thousands of planets.  The heart of the Empire is old Earth and that is where the Queen and her court live. However, NeoVictoria is not Old Earth.  Its a tiny planet in the Vico III galaxy, far from the seat of power; its full of ruffians and characters of questionable pedigree.  Chinese have a saying, "The sky is high and the emperor is far away" ...that's how a place like NeoVictoria can exist.  Neo is at the edge of The Empire's territory ...a backwater holds no strategic importance and is, perhaps, almost forgotten.  All societies need places like this ...places where people who can't work within the framework of civilization can exist.  Its tolerated by design, for its rulers understanding that all pressure-cookers need escape-valves.

The Physical Construction

The NeoVictoria Project exists in several places.  We have a community portal on the NING platform that chronicles the work our members do and a two-SIM estate in the virtual world of Second Life where people roleplay together.  When you first teleport into the Second Life simulation, you're on a skyplatform far above the land level where the roleplay occurs.  The Skymall is an out-of-character place where players can learn about the project, watch our machinimas, shop for period dress, weapons and gadgets, take photos, practice weapons and enjoy occasional out-of-character parties in the skyclub.

The land-level is where the roleplay happens and that space is always in-character. NeoVictoria is an adult simulation, players must be at least 18 years old in real life to play here. While not dystopic, we are a "dark" roleplay simulation. Demons, vampires, lycanthropes, creatures from other planes, rapists, serial killers & similar creatures roam the streets. This means *characters* often act in aggressive, predatory, criminal and/or plain uncomfortable ways.  We have an observer's tag people can wear, if they want to visit but not roleplay. We ask that observers be respectful of the work and dress to the theme (Gothic, Victorian, Steampunk).  There are free costumes on the skymall level if people don't have appropriate costumes of their own.

The Steampunk Tribune: There are numerous Steampunk sims in Second Life... What sets NeoVictoria apart from the rest?

Miss Asil Ares: Our commitment to machinima. The ultimate goal of NeoVictoria is to create a virtuous circle where role-play becomes filmed story and we support our machinimatographers with in-world tools and website resources.  The Machinima Tools  building on the skymall level has an in-world tutorial for the BijoCom Construction System (this is a prim-based tool that allows machinimatographers to control their camera in specific ways) and is the in-world home to the Second Life Machinima Artists Guild ( Our website has its own Machinimatographer's group to support productions.  So far, we've had eight machinimas made for the NeoVictoria project and all are streamed within the NeoVictoria estate in Second Life and on

Tales from NeoVictoria: The Iron Rose
Description: Sidhe, shades, dJinns, demons ... humans, werebeasts, dragons, vampires ... supernatural creatures off all ilk are here and these are our stories.  Visit NeoVictoria, the  roleplay simulation with the machinima twist!  Dark roleplay, steampunk style.
Parcel Page:
YouTube Link:

NeoVictoria presents Cammy Teardrop's No Monsters But Ourselves
Description: This machinima by Cammy Teardrop won the 2011 NeoVictoria Machinima Contest.  Visit this parcel to see it and to learn more about dark roleplay, steampunk style!
Parcel page:
Vimeo URL:

NeoVictoria presents Tikaf Viper's The Kiss 2
Description: This is Tikaf Viper's submission for the 2011 NeoVictoria Machinima Contest.  Its based on our roleplay.
Parcel Page:
Vimeo URL:

Tales from NeoVictoria: Demoria Arrives
Description: Using the immense powers the Cathedral of Air and Darkness harbors, Manes seeks to bring over his lost love and wife from his home universe to NeoVictoria.  >> This machinima was created from our roleplay and made Linden Lab's October 2011 Month of Machinima award program!
Parcel Page:
YouTube URL:

Tales from NeoVictoria: The Kiss
Description: But what if dreams came true? >> This Steampunk love story was made from our roleplay.
Parcel Page:
Vimeo URL:

Tales from NeoVictoria: I Will Find You
Description: Friend yearn to reconnect after eons apart. This steampunk love story by Lilac Collas was made from our roleplay.
Parcel Page:
Vimeo URL:

Steampunk Tribune: What are the most notable part of your sim (e.g. architecture, events, etc...)?

Miss Asil Ares:  On Machinima SIM, we have the Machinima Tools building on the skylevel and a CCS-enabled maze on the land level that people enjoy.

In-world Premiere of "The Kiss, by Miss Asil Ares

On NeoVictoria SIM, we have our fantastic skyclub and on the land-level, the Cathedral of Air and Darkness dominates.  This 3,000+ prim build touches the cloud layer and it an integral part of the world-story, containing many unique elements, scripted elements and original builds.

Steampunk Tribune: Are there regular event which people can visit and enjoy your sim?

Miss Asil Ares: We usually have a least one event scheduled every week.  Sometimes its an out-of-character party or an in-character event.  We post scheduled events to our website ( and send notices via the in-world NeoVictoria Roleplay Group (

Steampunk Tribune: Is there anything else you'd like to mention about NeoVictoria?

Miss Asil Ares: We use the Community Combat System (CCS) as a roleplay tool; I cannot stress this enough, for us CCS is a tool to aid the roleplay, we are NOT a first-person-shooting type combat SIM.  You do not have to wear the meter to roleplay in Neo unless your roleplay is violent.  The CCS meter is free (there a givers on the skylevel) and we do periodic training on how to use.

NeoVictoria has a lot to offer and sometimes new players find it overwhelming.  With that thought in view, we designed an online brochure which gives a brief overview (a "wearable' version is available in-world). If people have questions, they can contact me directly (asilemail-neovictoria [at] yahoo [dot] com) or speak with one of our staffers in-world.

My thanks to Miss Ares for a comprehensive insight to NeoVictoria, and to learn yet more about NeoVictoria, please consider visiting...

The Neo-Victoria Ning, at:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

State of Steamlands Destinations...

As one has likely noticed, the blog has been a bit sparse over the past quarter, and though I've have a few locations in the pipeline, so to speak, for the time being, I'm establishing a small list of destinations in the Steamlands.  Some have unfortunatly been de-rezzed, or simply no longer available, but as always, if you happen to know of a location which merits listing, please do contact the editor at !

Large Steamland States (and SLurls to their capitals) [Five sims or more in size]...

The City-State of New Babbage - ( )

The Independent State of Caledon (Victoria City) -

Legacies 1891 -

Mieville -

New Toulouse -

Steelhead -

Winterfell -

Smaller Steamland States [Four sims or less]...

Angelino Heights - Steampunk Music Venue, at:

Armada Breakaway - An aquatic Steampunk destination )

BlakOpal - Home of BlakOpal Designs, at:

Clockwork Kingdom -

The Forgotten City -

Haven Township -

La Boheme - Steampunk & Vampires ( )

New Baritaria - No longer Steampunk Themed
(changed to a Western RP sim, renamed "Mother Load Mining Camp")

Neo-Victoria - (Neo London) - Home of Dark Steampunk Roleplay & Steampunk Machinima (

Paris 1890 -

Rendervisions Island (Curio Obscura) -

Rosser's Landing -

Steampunk - (A private sim by the name),

Steamshine Slade - Romantic Steampunk Hangout, at:

Steeltopia - Nautical Steampunk Stronghold, at:

Titus Groan -

Whitechapel 1888 - Appears to have been derezzed as of October of 2011 (still investigating)

Unzipped (Steam Powered Nuts) -

Verdisgris (The Golden Oriole) -

1888 - Thimery Island -

** New Locations not yet reviewed **

Port Kasra, Steampunk pirate haven - (however... its mostly non-Steampunk shoppping at this locale)

Mythopoeia (The Curious Prim) - Well designed sim with Steampunk elements

Wretched Hollow - Just in time for Halloween!

Victorian Village of Desire

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Steampunk Travelogue: Armada Breakaway, circa 2009!

A view of Armada, facing southward

[Editor's Note - Armada has had two incarnations since its inception, with this being the earlier version of the sim.  After some economic reverberations, it emerged similar but with a different economic structuring.  I'll touch on that later on, but for now, welcome to Armada, circa 2009!]

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to acquire a new computer, meaning an upgrade in graphics performance, and an opportunity to toy with SL’s environmental settings. Visited a number of places, which unfortunately failed to impress for my photographic endeavors, but then remembered a new Steampunk locale had been under development. Though I promised to maintain my silence about it as its construction and last details are added to it, I finally received the go-ahead to publish a small bit on it… so I present “Armada”!

The Merchant's Square, in view of the center portion of the town's Oak tree

Armada is not a Stemapunk or Victorian sim in a literal sense, but is perhaps better described as a mixture of Steampunk and Neo-Victorian-ism, with a peppering of piracy, airships, and other nautical aspects. As such, a bit more leeway is provided from the stricter adherence to genre appearance (e.g. a more rough and tumble, and of course, nautical, demeanor).

One of the older abodes aboard Armada

As one can see, Armada isn’t the traditional land mass with streets and houses – it is quite the opposite. Floating on the “Bones of Boats” (hence the website address), it is an entity constructed from the hulls of boats drafted into new and unique duties, with a littering of seaworthy vessels and airships surrounding it.

Enjoying the peace and quiet before the onrush of merchants, sailors, and visitors

I’ve only included a few snippets of this impressive structure, but be assured, there are plenty of ‘nooks and crannies” to explore at Armada. Additionally, it will have an RP aspect which is currently in development.

A few ships are huddled around the main mercantile area - some inhabited, some abandoned

Another aspect of Armada will be an active mer contingent - including abodes for the nautical denizens who inhabit the the aqueous region below the airbreathers.

Yes, there is even a converted pasture for equine visitors!

Though it is slated to open on March 1st, to garner a more extensive view of this new sim, please visit:

or its associated Ning site, at:


There is an extensive system of hidden passageways the traverse the entire city!

Armada - city of mystery and adventure, and only a TP away!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Steampunk Travelogue: Steamshine Slade

Most Steampunk sims are urban recreations, along with a few Nautical Steampunk sims.  However, there is always an innovative idea that comes about, and a Steampunk getaway could certianly be counted as one of them!  As I was researching sims to add to the Travelogue, I came across one sim which was unfamilar to my "vast knowledge" of Steampunk sims - so obviously, I had to pay a visit!

The sim in question is Steamshine Slade - a beautiful Steampunk-themed beach escape nestled in a small corner of the virtual worlds.  At first blush, it is a central meeting area, with an intimate dance floor, seating, and a nice radio feed (which also has the listing of the song being played - always a nice touch).

I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Johnathan Slade and his partner Ms. Shiny Cristole, who greeted me upon arriving at Steamshine Slade.  They explained that one of their goals was to provide a relaxing get away, with a Steampunk flavor - which they have most certainly accomplished!

In addition to their dance floor, they also have beautiful waterfalls, and even a Steampunk-themed Merry-Go-Round, which I have to admit taking a quick jaunt on (the lightbulb, if I recall correctly).  From a bit of exploration at the sim, beyond the observatory and airship, I did happen to see a few more projects in the works at Steamshine (such as a small theater), so every effort is being put forth to ensure Steamshine Slade is a destination of first choice.

I would most certainly recommend a visit to Steamshine Slade whenever one desires a getaway from the urban environment.  To do so, please take a trip to your new destination, at:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Airship Caravan photojournal from Flickr...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Though I attempted to take a few photos of Airship Caravan back when my photographic skills were much worse than they are now (not that they are necessarily dramatically improved), I felt that I would attempt to do the sim a bit of justice and put the sidebar photo-feed "upfront" - on one can truly see AC in its magnificence!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Steampunk Travelouge - Airship Caravan, Derezzed 2009

Airship Caravan

[Ed Note - One of my favorite Steampunk destinations, from the "Classic SL Steampunk era", (say 2006-2008, and yes, its completely arbitrary), Airship Caravan burst onto the scene for a few brief months, then disappeared just as quickly.  A unique, high quality build, I was never able to contact the builders, as I had hoped to obtain a version of it for New Babbage.  Alas, it remains, as many distant gems, only a memory, and a few photos here as well.  However, there is a Flickr slideshow for Airship Caravan, so if one cares to see a few more images, look no further than the side bar!]

Came across a very unique Steampunk build today, a different concept by a different culture. Airship Caravan is a stunning build consisting of a series of airships tethered to each other in the sky, comprising of residential and commercial properties.

Initial TP arrival point

Its owner is Japanese, and though I have attempted to make initial contact with him/her, I foresee that it will be a challenge to find out more on Airship Caravan in this manner, so I’ll work with what I have.

Walk through the corridor...

The initial tp arrival point is a circular metal deck, that leads into the main ship directly ahead. Upon passing through a corridor, one finds a park, with pools (a challenge to get out of when you fall in), columns of light, planted trees, and benches to relax upon (no built in poses on those benches, however).

... and a small piece of nature, artificially enhanced, awaits

Continuing forward, the helm is quite interesting, as it includes three columns with (decorative) controls: One navigational, one with a giant telescope, and one with the Ship’s wheel along with two grouping of gages.

Tapping the gages on the ship's helm

As I wandered about on the rope walkways, I noticed a good number of vacancies here, along with ads for rental opportunities in the sim. I’m gathering that the build is still in its infancy, due to the number of empty locations, and it appears that majority number of its residents are Japanese themselves.

Flying dolphin or Flying Crescent anyone?

Not exactly sure about the adherence to the Steampunk genre, as there is a lot of neon and what appears to be electronics and holograms, but there is a good bit of traditional gear work (not much steam, unfortunately). Additionally, the twist put on the tech (i.e. mechanical flying dolphins, metal moons that one can also fly), add a refreshing change to the typical Steampunk flavor.

One of *many* flying adverts - at least they're upfront!

Unfortunately, the prices charged for rentals seems a bit high, leading to a bit of apprehension about the future prospects of the sim. Nonetheless, it is beautiful, and by all means one should at least visit the Airship Caravan.

Inside the bowles of the factory ship!


An addendum...
The SLurl for this locale is:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Steampunk Travelogue: Victoriana, Derezzed 2010; Revived, 2010 in InWorldz

Downtown Victoriana in the afternoon

[Ed Note - Victoriana, while not exactly Steampunk, was certainly one of the more notable era specific sims in Second Life during its existence.  I ended up obtaining a small storefront in the port area of Victoriana, and eventually relocated to a very nice domicile in Victoriana Carnivale, before the infamous Linden Labs de-rezzing of the entire block of sims.  Below is the initial write-up of Victoriana - after the article will be further links regarding the event and aftermath of the LL event.]

Bit of a stressful time in RL & SL, so I decided to return to a location that I happened to find a couple weeks back, and was later written about briefly by Duke Pearse while accompanying the Duchess of Argylle in a new and quite impressive Neo-Victorian sim.

Facing east (I believe), towards the residential district

That sim is Victoriana, a relaxing locale that quite successfully intergrates the turn of the century atmosphere with a number of unique aspects making it an enjoyable location to visit (or stay, depending on the circumstances).

A relaxing fountain just outside Grand Central Station

As with many sims, one arrives at a tp point, and in Victoriana Square (the central sim of Victoriana), you land in its Grand Central Station. Although the numerous Christmas gifts are long gone (Mr. Lindsay is Australian, so it was the appropriate time for him – and quite fun personally, as it is quite warm where I’m at in RL), the layout is quite convenient, with a board of tp locations to merchants, a SLexchange machine nearby, and a regular train that will take you to the reaches of the sim (every 30 seconds, if I’m correct – quite enjoyabe to ride!)

The Welcome area in the main train station, with TPs to merchants, Tiny Victoriana, and an SL exchange machine, among other items.

The layout is quite easy to navigate, with merchants concentrated in the city proper, and the numerous homes surrounding its "downtown". Checked on the prices, and they do appear competitive with the standard (after the great linden land de-evaluation), and I do believe that there are a few spots left. (In the Grand Central Station, there is a projected growth plan for the sim, including extensions of the train lines).

Entrance to Tiny Victoriana, enclave to the dinumitive denizens of the sim

Another unique feature is the "Tiny Victoriana". Not exactly my "cup of tea", so to speak, but it is the first dedicated location for tinies (that I am aware of). I do know this particular genre is popular in Caldedon, but I’m not sure if there is a "dedicated" place for them (again, not something I deal with much). However, if one enjoys tinies, "Tiny Victoriana" (in Victoriana Square) merits a visit.

A view inside the Golden Harp, a watering hole in the city proper

Having trains that run on time is always a good thing, and the two train lines in Victoriana run frequently. Rode one until the end of its line (where I was encouraged to disembark – ride the "Great Northern Rail", and you’ll understand). Also, free coach rides are available just outside the Grand Central Station, providing a tour of the sim.

Waiting for the train to visit the other side of the sim

Finally, the small inlet is a relaxing location to simply get away, watch the ducks swim, and just address business at one leisure. Been doing this a bit more lately – mostly for RL. Quite a nice place – watch out for the seagulls!

Posing on the dock of a picturesque pond

I’ve included a SLurl to Victoriana, and a link to its website. I realize that this location isn’t "Steampunk", but it is (Neo) Victorian, well within the genre. Do pay it a visit – it is a classically built Victorian sim, a worthwhile stop for any Neo-Victorian or Steampunk individual.

I have my eye on you Mr. Seagull - no "accidents" like last time, thank you very much!

To visit Victoriana, please turn to:

or to visit their website, please turn to:

Ed Note #2 - In 2010, Mayor Ducky had some technical issues with LL, which eventually led to demise of this picturesque development.  You can see it play out at these following locations:

The Alphaville Hearld (do take a moment to read the excellent commentaries regarding migrations to other grids...)

Fortunately, Mayor Ducky moved to InWorldz, where Victoriana still lives on!  InWorldz isn't as well travelled as SL, but certainly provides much more prims, and better pricing than SL.   For more informaiton about the current incarnation of Victoriana, please review these articles, and consider a visit to InWorldz!

iCNN Report on the return of Victoriana

Victoriana's Website

South Alabama Educators in Second Life

The Steamlander (Caledon's excellent forum) thread on Victoriana InWorldz

Four Winds Blog (an excellent purveor of Victorian abodes)

To visit Victoriana, please turn to InWorldz, located here: