Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Elegy for a Lost Sim

I don't know if you are a regular reader of this blog, but if you are then you may recall seeing some of these pictures before. A few weeks ago I wrote about stumbling across this island, while out on my routine rambles in the virtual world of Second Life. For reasons I don't intend to go into, I removed the post in the hope that this island would be allowed to stay. But it seems it is not to be.

So what was it that I liked about it - and why I will miss it, now it is all but gone? I will take you back in time a couple of weeks, to my first arrival on the island. The first picture illustrates the arrival point - a sort of "mission control", with a bank of computers and large status displays. Taking pride of place was a display showing some kind of palace, and an invitation to step through the screen.

On doing so I found myself suddenly immersed in a sort of digital Narnia... snow on the ground, a frozen lake (fed by bottles of a now unnamed vodka), flurries of snowflakes falling out of the sky and in the distance, the ice palace. The transition from 2D in the control centre to 3D as I stepped through the screen was a real "Wow Moment." For a few dollars I could have availed myself of some ice skates. Instead I headed over to the palace where I found a large dance floor, seating for groups both large and small, and the biggest bottle of vodka I have ever seen, endlessly pouring into a huge, ice-filled glass.

The attention to detail and the quality and flair of the design impressed me enormously. But sadly, this marvellous construction was only going to last about as long as real world ice sculpture.

By last weekend, only the Ice Palace remained - and a number of people who had heard of its imminent demise came along for a final send-off. Today, it is just a snowy desert, devoid of all the artistry and subtlety that had made this such a fine build. Even the snow has stopped falling.

It may sound a bit pretentious, but I was reminded of a couple of lines from Elegy Written In a Country Churchyard, by Thomas Grey:

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds...

It appears to me that the sim fell victim to confused marketing from the parent company, who are due to launch their own global corporate island in the near future. I believe this sim was built for a regional business unit, who may have been unaware that the corporate parent was already in the advanced stages of a release in Second Life. It would not surprise me to find that this was spiked to align with the central marketing policy and avoid "stealing the thunder" from the parent build when it eventually launches. A real shame it had to go... but I hope it will not be the last time I see this place. In the meantime I will await with interest the launch of the parent's islands, to see if they come close to the quality of this one.


centralasian said...

A wonderful, truly elegiac post - and a well-spotted crack in the marketing game.

Slip Barrett said...

Great post. Especially the part where you said it lasts about as long as a real ice sculpture. And it's true. It's a beautiful sim in which the parent company seemed a little jealous that this sim was nicer than the other.

Such is marketing and politics I guess.

Anonymous said...

truly an elegy for a fleeting moment in the early days of the Metaverse...

Here's my comic:

Aleister Kronos said...

I liked your Koinup comic, but on this occasion your interpretation of this island's demise is not correct.