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One of the wonders of Second Life, the S S Galaxy is a huge and elegant ship build, created by Bill Stirling, which stretches across three sims, and includes accommodation, shops, restaurants, a ballroom, and more.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking, and encourage you to pay a visit.


For even more photos, see my Snapzilla album.

If you have Second Life installed, you can teleport to the S S Galaxy.

Yes, I’m finally back. My computer is now healthy and happy again, though Second Life seems to be falling apart. No change there then. I managed to get on-line and stay on-line long enough to collect the pictures for this post, though.

Numbakulla Island has been around for some time, and I first came across it a couple of years ago (I think). I’ve been meaning to blog about it for a while, and have finally got round to it.

What is Numbakulla? Well, at first sight, it is a rather interesting and well-built island sim, and worth looking round just for its own sake. However, that is not its main purpose. In fact, Numbakulla is a Second Life version of a point-and-click adventure.

When you first teleport it, you end on the shore beside a shipwreck. The broken ship is half-sunk in the waters beside you, and books, suitcases, and scraps of paper have been tossed up on the shore or still float on the sea.


You are greeted by a notecard, which gives you some explanation about the game and how to play it. Beside you is an open chest and a small stand with a  notebook on it. When you click on the notebook, you are given a notebook of your own, which is crucial to the game. You wear this notebook (nothing visible appears, but once you start interacting with things on the island you will get messages from it), and start your exploration.

Chest and notebook

A cave is in front of you, and is the obvious direction to go in, but even as you do so, you come across a scrap of paper on the ground. Click it, and you get your first clue (such as it is) to the game.


Then it is through the cave, and out onto the main island, with its curious, plant-like buildings.

Main island

It will take a little while before you come across your first real hint of the goal of the game and the explanation of the island’s subtitle The Pot-Healer Adventure. In the meantime it is a case of wandering round the island — there is plenty to see — and looking out for things which can be clicked on and interacted with. Such as this pump, which is near the cave exit.

Village pump

It predictably pours water, and your notebook tells you that you need something to collect the water in…but I won’t say more, and so that I won’t spoil the game for you, I’ll refrain from telling you much more about the island, except to say that there is a lot more than just the area which I have shown here.

More of the island

I’ll confess, too, that I haven’t really begun to solve the game myself, and I intend to go back soon and explore the island properly.

I hope I’ve tempted you to pay a visit yourself. Have fun.

Arcana Nuevo

I thought I’d start the new year with an introduction to a place that I’ve been intending to blog about for a while, but haven’t got round to, at least until now. I was introduced to it by Saffia Widdershins of PrimPerfect magazine (thanks, Saffia!).

I’ve never played any of the Myst series of computer games, but I’ve seen plenty of screen-shots from it, and once played through part of a demo, so I’m quite familiar with famously attractive look of it.

Unsurprisingly, there have been attempts to recreate that look in Second Life (the creators of Myst themselves did, but only temporarily). This site, Arcana Nuevo, owned and created by Angelica Zuma, is one of the most successful that I’ve seen.

When you teleport in, you land at the telehub beside the shop (where you can buy furniture in the same style as the main building). Walking through the shop and out the other side, you come to the steps that lead up to the imposing entrance:

From here you walk through a corridor beneath a waterfall, leading into the main bulk of the castle. There is plenty to see and explore, and I’ve put together a Snapzilla photo album of some of the scenic views (see the links at the bottom of the post).

One notable highlight, at least for me, is the small ‘office’ that you find at one end of a corridor near the entrance. Apparently this is based directly on one of the locations in Myst:

The castle is definitely one of the places in Second Life that deserves to be visited.


Photo Album

SLURL for Arcana Nuevo

Shopping malls are two-a-penny in Second Life. In fact, in some places it’s hard to move without finding yourself in another mall. Most of them, let’s face it, are badly designed, or even not designed at all, being little more than a motley collection of stores all jumbled together.

There are exceptions. Pixel Dreams, owned and created by Tya Fallingbridge, is one of them. From the very first glimpse that you get, you can tell that this is something a little different, a little more stylish than the usual mall:

First glimpse of Pixel Dreams

Rather than a disparate collection of differently designed shops, Pixel Dreams shares the same basic ‘look’ throughout. The Girls’R’Us shop adds an appropriate dash of pink (!), but the rest of the shops share a similar black and white color scheme. The interiors are more varied, but still equally attractive:

Pixel Mode interior:

Pixel Mode

And when you have finished your shopping, you can dance the night away at Pixel Dream’s own dance club, Schmooze:


There are more pictures of Pixel Dreams in my Snapzilla photo-album — see the link below.


Photo Album

SLURL for Pixel Dreams


I sometimes go for a random wander around Caledon (my home country in Second Life), just to see what I can find.

Today, I found this:

Caledopoly Board

I was completely agog. It is still under construction, but it seems that it is intended to be fully playable.

You can already roll the dice:

Caledopoly Dice

And take a Chance:

Caledopoly Chance Card

It is being built by LittleBlackDuck Lindsay (what strange names people have round these parts), and for myself, I can’t wait to play a game!

If you have Second Life installed, and want to take a look for yourself, you will find the board here:

SLURL for Caledopoly Board

This is the last of this series of blogs from Better World Island. I have spent this vacation in a house specially build by Riversong Gardens, the owner of Better World Island, so it seems appropriate to conclude with a brief tour of this extremely attractive house.

Starting at the outside:

House front

The clean vertical and horizontal lines, combined with the use of a dark wood texture, give the house its distinctive and appealing Japanese look. Builders will probably also note that these simple lines help to keep the prim count down!

There are two sets of doors, one set opening on the living area, the other on the bedroom. A couple of views of the living area first:

Living Area (1)

Living Area (2)

Once again, the clean simplicity of the lines gives the room a consistent look, relieved by the Japanese prints and bas-reliefs. This same approach extends to the furnishings, which are again minimal but attractive, and show the attention to detail that marks a good build:

Furniture (1)

Furniture (2)

 Going through the side doors we enter the bedroom:


The bedside lamp and the patterned bed cover prevent this from looking too austere or uncomfortably angular. Instead, there is a relaxed, peaceful feel to the room (and indeed the whole house), which fits well with the intent of Better World Island itself.

If you like this house, Riversong Garden intends to start selling it from her store — I’ve included the SLURL for the store in the links below.

And finally

I’ve had an excellent vacation on Better World Island. It’s been fascinating, informative, and engaging. If you’ve been following these blogs, I hope I’ve given you a taste of what Better World Island is all about. If you’re a resident of Second Life I hope I’ve encouraged you to visit it yourself!

I’ll conclude by thanking Saffia Widdershins of PrimPerfect for providing this prize, and Riversong Garden for providing a lovely house and a fascinating island.

My vacation might be over, but I don’t doubt that I shall be paying return visits to Better World Island in the future. I hope to see you there!


Photo Album

SLURL for Riversong Gallery @ Secret Smile

Riversong Garden’s blog

PrimPerfect Magazine web-site

SLURL for Better World Island

My time on the island is drawing to a close. There are still places that I haven’t covered, so I thought that for this blog I would take you for a quick run round the island and point out some of the other areas.

If you teleport to the island, you will arrive at the main hub, which conveniently has local teleports to some of the main areas. Instead, though, step onto the wooden walkway that runs round much of the coast, and follow it counter-clockwise.

Not very far from the hub, you will pass a windmill, and just beyond that is a large blue-walled building. This is Quixote’s, a relaxing place to sit with your friends, listening to the Spanish guitar and eating burritos. There are tables downstairs, and comfortable sofas and chairs upstairs.


Leave Quixote’s and continue along the coast. Just across the sea to the right is the small island of the Center for Water Studies (see my earlier blog), and on the left you will see the Peace Tiles project (and a small wishing well just up the hill).

Further along the coast you come to the back of the Centre for Performing Arts. If you wish, you can leave the path and explore the centre, though at the moment there doesn’t seem to be much to see there.

Centre for Performing Arts

As with a number of places on the island, the Performing Arts Centre overlooks the central lake. On the far side of the lake you will see, the independant news broadcaster.

The lake itself is well worth a stroll around, just to enjoy the peace and stillness. Try not to disturb the deers!

Better World Island lake

With that, I will end this tour of Better World Island. I am going to do one more blog relating to the island, because the house that I have been staying at deserves a post all of its own.


As before, here are links to my snapshots from my own visit to the center, along with the other areas of Better World:

A Better World Island snapshot album

And to visit the Better World Island itself (if you have Second Life installed):

Better World Island SLURL

The Peace and Justice Center

Colours to the mast: this particular blog entry was a little awkward to write, because although I sympathise with the sentiments expressed in this area of the Better World Island, I don’t actually agree with them. For what its worth, my own view is that the US and UK should never have gone into Iraq in the first place, but now that they are there it would be wrong to just pull out (I believe that if they do so, Iraq is likely to collapse into civil war, making the situation even worse than before). If my blog comes over as less than enthusiastic (I hope it doesn’t), this is the reason.

The Peace and Justice Center overlooks Better World Island’s central lake, a peaceful location that only underlines the message of the center, which is that the world — and at this specific moment, Iraq — is anything but peaceful.

Along with the calls for action (although some of these seem to be out-of-date), there are many, many notecard givers with extracts from on-line chats and emails with ordinary people in Iraq. To read them is to have a glimpse of what it is like to live in such a war-torn country. They do not make easy reading — which is, of course, the whole point. The center is not designed to make you feel comfortable, it is designed to make you think, and to think hard.

A nice touch is a small area of cushions inside the center, for the express purpose of letting you sit down and think.

Whatever your views on Iraq, you owe it to the people who live there to read what they have to say about their life, and about the profound and painful impact that the past years have had on them.


As before, here are links to my snapshots from my own visit to the center, along with the other areas of Better World Island:

A Better World Island snapshot album

And to visit the Better World Island itself (if you have Second Life installed):

Better World Island SLURL

Ha Makhata

On the far side of the Better World Island is an area that is rather less dramatic in appearance, and less attention-grabbing in content, than the others that I have blogged about, but which deserves a thoughtful visit.

This is the Gardens of Hope area, dedicated to a schoolhouse project in the African state of Lesotho. To describe what it is about, I think I can do no better than to quote from a website about the project (there is a link to this site at the end of the blog):

Near the village of Ha Makhata, Mamello Lehlotha has been working since the year 2000 to give a safe haven to the mentally and physically handicapped. As founder and director of the Phelisanong Disabled HIV-AIDS Orphans and Vulnerable Children Community Project , she oversees a resource center for disabled adults and children, several HIV-AIDS support groups, a farm, a pre-school, a handicraft cooperative and an outreach program that serves twenty villages in the area.

These kind of self-help projects, whose good effects can last not just for years but potentially for generations, always engage my attention. It is hard to explain precisely how I react to them, but let’s say that they strike me as the best hope for a better life for those involved.

The island area itself may be undramatic, but it is very well put together (the wandering turkeys amused me!), and if you notice a wheelbarrow…well, that is my own small contribution!


The Ha Makhata Schoolhouse Project

As mentioned in my previous blogs, there are snapshots from my own visit to the island, along with the other areas of Better World:

A Better World Island photo album

Better World Island SLURL

Center for Water Studies logoIn contrast to the previous two locations, the Center for Water Studies was a much more relaxing time. There is a still serious intent behind the area, though — the word “Studies” should be a clue to that!

The Center for Water Studies is dedicated to increasing the understanding and appreciation of water habitats. There are several builds here, each depicting a different water system, from the ocean (surrounding the island) to a mangrove swamp. The main island is quite small, if rather rugged, and you quickly move from one habitat to another – each one signed with floating text to let you know what area you are now in.

The builds are very detailed, and active. Badgers swim round their dam, ducks paddle round the pond, dolphins and shoals of fish swim in the ocean, and if you look up you will see birds circling the island.

There is also an event venue – a platform floating above the ocean just beside the island.

A notecard is available from the beach area which gives much more information and background about the Center – don’t miss the chance to read it. And if you visit the event venue, do make a donation there for the work of the Center.


As usual, there are snapshots from my own visit the island, along with the other areas of Better World:

Better World Island photo album

And of course you can visit Better World Island if you have Second Life installed:

Better World Island SLURL