Monday, 2 June 2008


As we move into June and start hurtling towards the Summer solstice, it seems appropriate (OK, it feels like stretching a point) that my rambles should take me Northwards, to the Land of The Midnight Sun. Well, to one of them, at any rate. Tonight we are off to a Norwegian sim, belonging to the banking and finance group, DnB NOR.

DnB NOR is Norway's largest financial services group, formed in December 2003 through the merger of the financial services groups DnB and Gjensidige NOR (Union Bank of Norway). It has more than 2.3 million retail and 198,000 corporate customers, and is behind Norway’s largest Internet banks, and, which have more than 1.4 million users. It also has one of Norway's largest private art collections, with over 12,000 works of art dating back from the end of the 1800s up till today. A tiny fraction of this is available for viewing in Second Life. According to the notecard I picked up: "these are works which normally decorate the many DnB NOR offices and meeting rooms at home and abroad, and are a source of pleasure to both the Group’s staff and customers."

This is another sim where I appear to be about a year late (D'OH!). Mindblizzard, and many others, covered it at the time. Still, I am here now - so I shall plough on, undaunted.

The sim is terraformed as a number of small islands. From your arrival point you can elect to use a large teleport map to move around, or take the more leisurely option of waiting for one of the small ferry boats to stop and pick you up. I opted for the latter and sat back as we chugged between the islands. I disembarked at the presentation auditorium, with its ultra-polished floor that - as with all other such "shiny" surfaces - reflects the furnishings and surroundings, but never the people. Are we all vampires?**

A glass walkway takes you to the next island, which plays host to a large floating sphere. Here you will find formal meeting areas, links to the company website and, if you fancy it, a free coffee. The next island houses the art gallery, which I found a little confusing. It seemed to feature no more than a dozen fairy mundane art works - from an even smaller range of artists. Am I missing something? Outside the gallery there a casual meeting area, though not quite as casual as the camping ground, where you can sit around a campfire to warm up, after taking a quick windsurf among the islands. The final feature is the Nobel Peace Centre, reflecting the real life centre that exists in Oslo, where you can experience and learn about the various Peace Prize Laureates and their activities. AS you will gather, itis supported by DnB NOR, among others.

The implementation is by Norwegian agency, Design Container, using contractors for much of the build. And I have to say, I think they've done a pretty decent job to get so much in, and provide a pleasant sunny, Summer's ambiance to the place. I have no idea if the island is actually used though. I'm guessing not - because it has a number of minor glitches that would normally get sorted if there was much feedback. Simple things like overlapping textures that lead to a jittery, "migraine-y" look; too much repetition of the same texture, when it only needs sliding slightly between prims to make them look different and a more up-to-the-mark teleport system where you don't arrive rotated thru 90 degrees. Anyway, here's my slideshow. The fact that there are 9 pictures suggests I do like the place!

** BTW, I do know how it's done really. That's why the island on which the auditorium sits is also, by no coincidence, the highest land on the sim. ;-)

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