To continue my quest of finding interesting places at SL6B, I randomly teleported into a far corner of Nucleus and ended up between a bunch of very colourful and slightly psychedelic mushrooms. Taking a further look at the organic trees and structures with wild patterns and bright colours, I immediately recognised it as Soror Nishi’s exhibition, “Flora Virtua Exotica“. This beautiful garden reaches quite far up into the air and you shouldn’t miss the lotus leaves and trees up there!
Flying a bit further, I saw a pretty little pavillion from above and decided to take a closer look. After I had landed in what had to seemed an empty building, I was in for a big surprise.
This pavillion was inhabited by big glowing tentacly creatures – and they all seemed to need a cuddle rather desperately! While a bundle of them piled up on me, I managed to get some information about the exhibit, which was described as an “Exploration of Artificial Life & Intelligence in Second Life” by “Progetto Paperella di Gomma” (the Rubber Ducky Project):
“Intended as one of the more ambitious projects in SL we are making a modular system for Artificial Life and Intelligence in Second Life. Using a modular system allows us to have creatures that exchange parts, information scripts and anything else we want including objects, sounds, textures and note cards and it allows the creatures to “build” their children thus causing evolutionary possibility’s that would be more challenging otherwise.” The information pack included a notecard with landmarks for artifical Life projects in Second Life and I can’t wait to check them all out!
On my way out I decided to take a shortcut through the pool in front of the pavillion and suddenly fell down deep. I absolutely wasn’t prepared for what happened next. As soon as I had landed on ground of the water, the creatures followed me and floated up and down, came very close and left again, like a surreal water ballet.
Watching them I became so immersed that I experienced a variety of emotions, which were amplified by the calm instrumental music stream of the parcel. I was totally fascinated and amazed by the beauty of the whole spectacle, the dynamics of this artificial life and how it seemed to come back to me and seek closeness. At the same time there were moments I felt a bit scared. Now this is the bit that might sound silly or cheesy, as no avatar can be seriously harmed or die in Second Life. But the scene in the pavillion, when all these creatures started to surround my avatar and rushed to be very close to it, momentarily freaked me out. I had no idea about their intentions, if they were designed as pets or as dangerous creatures and if they would behave friendly towards myself or would start nibbling on me.
Similarly, when I was standing deep in the water observing them in their movement, I was astonished and amazed. Yet suddenly one of those big orange tubular creatures literally dropped on top of me and put one of his tubules over me, as if it wanted to assess or inhale me – and that freaked me out so much that I had to move a few steps back to get free.
Standing at the pool and watching the creatures dipping into the water and floating up again, I took some time to reflect and summarise my thoughts. Something about these creatures had evoked unexpected emotions in me in a way that rarely happens in Second Life and only happens when I am so immersed that I forget everything around me. My worst experience was entering a small house at a murder mystery sim, which suddenly was alight with fire and accompanied by the screams of the girl being murdered. I was so freaked out that I was shaking after I had managed to teleport out. My most treasured memories include the unfortunately now closed Privateer Space sim in which I could lose myself for hours while exploring space in the legendary “swine cruiser”, or the new “Empress and Hierophant” sim (which I still need to blog about) that contains everything I love in a a landscape, from a wild coast to scattered sheep.
For me, this is the future of virtual worlds. Being able to explore environments which might only exist in virtuality so far, maybe never will exist in the real world, but which are so immersive that they make me forget my immediate surroundings. Interacting with creatures that are purely virtual but behave in such an unpredictable and maybe even intelligent way that I don’t see them as static “accessories” but start assigning emotions and maybe even character traits to them. And – which brings me to the rest of Nucleus, and thank you very much if you still are reading this – being able to change ones shape to whatever the fantasy of avatar creators allows, admiring plants not possible in real life and exploring all this in an UFO rather than on foot.
The “Synthetic University” has put together a selection of free obscure avatars including this funky “chnuchi” avatar. To my delight I discovered that they also had a giant tube ride (pictured in the background), although I unfortunately got stuck somewhere on top of it – at least this gave me the opportunity to admire the view from above.
At “Dallier’s Mission” I found a collection of plants and animals in glass domes and let’s just say that I was quite glad that some of them were behind glass! Top Tip: Clicking on the creatures leads to some good photo opportunities. Don’t forget to grab the freebie flowers and kites.
“The Vehicle Laboratory“, a spin-off of the Particle Laboratory, has a beautiful building and when you step into the glittering beam, it brings you up to a platform where you get this very cool UFO.
Stay tuned for the next part of “The Dork’s Totally Incomplete Guide to SL6B”!