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:

http://www.onthebonesofboats.com/

or its associated Ning site, at:

http://armada.ning.com/


.

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:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/airship%20caravan/13/127/268/

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.

http://victorianaesthetic.blogspot.com/2008/07/antipodean-winter.html


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:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/victoriana%20square/126/84/33/

or to visit their website, please turn to:
http://www.nationofvictoriana.com/

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...)
http://alphavilleherald.com/2010/03/mayor-of-victoriana-30000-wasted-lindens-killed-the-dream.html




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
http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-482255


Victoriana's Website
http://www.nationofvictoriana.com/


South Alabama Educators in Second Life
http://saeslgroup.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/visit-to-inworldz-victoriana/


The Steamlander (Caledon's excellent forum) thread on Victoriana InWorldz
http://steamlander.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=282&t=3050
http://www.steampunkwiki.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=282&t=3090


Four Winds Blog (an excellent purveor of Victorian abodes)
http://kosharimahana.blogspot.com/2010/08/victoriana-now-in-inworldz.html


To visit Victoriana, please turn to InWorldz, located here: http://inworldz.com/

Friday, July 1, 2011

Steampunk Travelogue: Sybirya, Derezzed 2008



Front courtyard of Sybirya

[Ed. Note: Sybriya was the brain-child of an exceptionally talented Miss Cleamtide Oyen, who built this gem at the time (back in '08), which if I recall accurately, catered to an Euro-centric Steampunk crowd.  Very inviting and enjoyable, as she was a talented DJ, but alas, as things happen in SL, it was simply "gone" one day.  Sad, but at least Sybiya has its outpost in the pages of the Travelogue.]

During my explorations of SL, I happened upon a very unique Steampunk build, with many of the classic Steampunk elements that I have seen in the past, but... with a tinge of a difference. Aside from the music (more along the lines of industrial and/or techno, depending on your definition), and familiar touches of JD Steampunk architecture, I realized what exactly the difference was - no English!



The lounge across from the bar - nicely done and quite spacious

As I wandered around the arrival courtyard, I was approached by a pair of nice young ladies of Italian origin, and one of them, a Miss G. Broome, offered to show me around the sky mansion (it certainly was not a box!)


She explained, as I followed, that Sybirya was a new entity, owned by one of the best known Italian SL DJ's, Miss Cleamtide Oyen. Her vision was to have a destination that was more than just a "club", but a platform to display further works of art and design, in a Steampunk / Victorian / Fantasy setting.

I was ushered onto the main dance floor, where (to the best of my limited French), a good crowd was busy enjoying the playlist and the company.




The game room (the Una game table is to the center left), overlooking the equally large dance floor

I was invited to engage in a game of Una (Uno - but regardless the name, I was still terrible at it), and after being soundly beaten by Miss Broome and her companion, they bid me good night, as it was about 4am CET (Central European Time - Italy, naturally), and only about 10 EST (for myself).


A stunning view of Sybirya's back courtyard (the walkway is just below)

I took the opportunity to explore this magnificent build further, and must admit, was quite impressed with the design and effort, especially with the attention to detail paid to the the Steampunk nuances. (I must admit, I have never seen a SL Steampunk washroom... until I arrived at Sybirya)!


The elegant washroom - with spa included!

Later, I attempted to meet up with the charming Miss Oyen herself, and happened to catch her during the end of one of her sets. She tp'ed me to her location, and frankly I had never seen as many avatars in one location since Gvr. Shang tried to crash a sim last year on purpose (to test its supporting capacity, if I recall correctly). Her associate had stated she was popular, but Miss Broome obviously had a gift for understatement!



Overlooking the distance from the Control Center

Due to technical difficulties, we were not able to conclude our interview, but with a bit of luck, perhaps in the future I shall be able to impose on her for more details about her vision of Sybirya.

[One note, however - she does operate on CET, which is about six hours ahead of EST, and nine ahead of SLT. If you wish to catch one of her impressive concerts, please take this into account... and take your Babbler along, just in case!