I swore that sometime in the years past that I’d written a blog post about the Haunted Ride or the Cornfield in Second Life because that’s a Halloween event that the Posse tries to visit every year about this time. But I can’t find a post about it, and that’s distressing!
Though the Haunted Neighborhood had one new house added to it this year, and the Haunted Ride had those silly animesh alien creatures finally removed (sorry to whomever put them in there, they were just immersion breaking), the one even that’s gotten our attention this year is the Great Trick-or-Treat Event in Bellisseria.
Folks who own a Linden house in Bellisseria can put out a candy bucket (shown above). Anyone else (land owner or not) can get a candy HUD and hunt down these buckets to earn a candy count for prizes. Of course, this led to the community trying to figure out a way to document and find the candy buckets because the area of Bellisseria is simply huge at this point.
I learned how to use Bellipins/Bellifind to mark my bucket and help people find it easier. This also taught me about the Bellibins – which is a fun roleplay in which you put garbage bins out at your Bellisseria house and allow other people to come by to empty them. Basically, it’s a way to help people find your Linden house and interact.
Beyond that, I discovered a new-to-me and very active community group for Bellisseria. So I’m finally starting to discover new fun things to do in Second Life that were already there, but I just didn’t know where to look.
This new group I joined actually has a “Master List” of houses that have a candy bucket outside – which you can add your house to in order to let folks know you have candy. But most importantly (to me) is that folks stop by and maybe visit my home and decorations for a little bit.
It’s been a LOT of fun to see how everyone has decorated their own places and the variety of homes that are out there. I’ve been everywhere from weird traditional houses (like above) to an amazingly decorated beach house turned into a neat beach dance club on a boardwalk (I was so impressed).
So if the goal of this event was to get people out into the neighborhoods searching and visiting, I think it did a good job of it. I’m always excited to log in and check how many people took some candy from my bucket… not to mention, explore the homes and collect candy of my own!
Since my main MMO has more or less skipped Halloween for two years in a row (I know… I know… limited dev resources, Covid and they will have the event, just way after Halloween this year), it’s nice to have an online place to delve into Halloween fun. Second Life never disappoints for this time of year!
However, I was too tempted by the new Fantasy themed houses when they came out in SL this year, and ended up picking one up for my alt, Amon. I have it all nicely decorated in his personality/style, and I’ve been meaning to post a walk-through of it.
But that will have to wait, it seems. Now the Cottage is decorated for Halloween!
That account doesn’t have a lot of Linden dollars stashed away, so I decided that I was going to visit the Second Life Halloween Shop N Hop to partake of decorations I could find in the free gifts that nearly every vendor puts out there.
That’s not to say I didn’t buy a few items at the shop, but only two of the decorations I’ll show here were purchased. The rest were freebies – very nice ones!
This is a combination of a number of items in the front yard. First, there’s the grave that has bats spawning around it, what looks to be a golden spider (?) on top and a ghost mourning the grave in that white mist. Hard to see unless you’re moving around it in person.
There’s bouncy spiders dangling from the big tree as well as a spider sack hanging from it. Who knows what is in there!
Some nice decorations near the front stoop including a wicked jack o lantern and some poison apples. I’ll probably keep the standard bales and pumpkins out through Thanksgiving.
On the front stoop we have more jack o lanterns and a really nice sparkly spiderweb. This came in a pack of nice webs much like this one and they look great at night!
As you walk into the house’s entry way…
These pictures were the only two decorations I actually bought. They are very impressive! They start out as nice paintings and then morph into spooky images that move quite well! I had to get the two of them when I saw them – they were also nicely priced.
The other side of the entry way includes a fancy bat container, jazzy silver pumpkins and a welcoming skeleton.
In the music room… Well, the music room always looks like this. Except for the orange crystal swan, which was the Halloween item. I’m not sure how crystal swans mesh with Halloween, even when orange, but I like the piece and will probably leave it out year round. It’s just the kind of thing Amon would put in his music room.
In the living room, I picked up this cute little Happy Halloween decoration for the coffee table.
Various decorations for the small bookshelf. The sleeping cat was a gift from one of my favorite shops, Jian. I like that the cat and the pillow can change colors, so you can make them look Halloweeny for a while, and then change them to normal colors when it’s not Halloween anymore. I can see myself keeping this out year round, too.
Back in the music room, the tea tray has a murderous little visitor – a raven sitting on a skull with a knife in its beak. I dunno. Thought it was well-made and this was the best place I could find for it.
And the final shot, not decoration at all. The Jinx shop is giving out a free companion (as they tend to) which is a little witchy sheep. She bounces along with you as you walk and has several really cute animations.
I had a great time at the Shop N Hop and came away with much more than this in free gifts for decorating the Cottage. I just didn’t have the prims to put all of it out there!
Once Halloween is over, I’ll get some shots of what the Cottage looks like normally and write a post about that.
I’ve been exploring the Second Life Fantasy Faire this week and ran across a wonderful maker of men’s wear that is just about perfect for Amon’s style. I’ve been looking and looking for good fashion for Amon for quite a while, but it’s not always easy to find stuff for male avatars in Second Life.
So when I found this, I went all out and picked up several pieces for a new outfit – including gloves and even new glasses!
I also made some tweaks to his head/face shape and a bit to his body shape as well in the middle of all this. It’s been a while since I tried to tweak his face in particular, and I like the small changes I’ve made to it at this point.
Tonight, when I was exploring the Faire some more, I ran across a nice eye shop and picked him up a new set of eyes. These were surprisingly nice Bakes on Mesh which means I could do away with the two mesh eyes I’ve been using and one alpha layer. Less complexity is better! And I think they look pretty sharp. I got the previous eyes for free and while they were nice and more realistic, they were never quite orange enough for me!
I’m pretty pleased with this avatar for the time being. I can’t see myself needing much more other than a big fancy hat if I can find one. But I think that might be overkill in the long run. He’s going to look odd enough fishing out on the docks in this getup! 🙂
Sometimes when I need a break from FFXIV, I visit Amon in another universe.
I’ve been working on the appearance of this Amon bit by bit since summer of 2020. I admit, he’s a little funky looking (but he would be IRL by design), and I couldn’t find hair that fit him (especially around the ears), so I had to settle for a short pony tail.
Despite that, I feel like I was able to capture the more serious side of him…
As well as the goofier side of him, too!
Sometimes, in his explorations, he gets to be an actual travelling bard. Chocobos aren’t a staple in this world (though I’m sure I could find an off-brand if I looked for one), so he must make his way through it on horseback.
Though most of the time, Amon spends his time chilling out around the fishing holes, snagging a bit of cash here and there.
Any idea what world this Amon is from?
This is an Amon avatar I’m developing for an account in Second Life. 🙂
It’s finally that time — I broke out the Christmas decorations for my Linden Home in Second Life! Unlike Halloween and Thanksgiving, a number of the older pieces I had for Christmas were still low prim and looked appealing enough to use this year. I did add a few new pieces to my decoration collection, though, one of which I’m pretty excited about.
It’s a little harder to do a winter theme in Bellisseria because the neighborhoods there are enterally green (or whatever color the area is – some have rock or sand instead of grass). Technically, you’re allowed a “light dusting” of snow, but you’re not supposed to go all out and turn it into a winter wonderland.
I tried to keep within the limits by only putting a light layer of white over top of the grass – though I did drop a snow mound as decoration. I also couldn’t resist stringing lights up along the roof, and (while you can’t see it here) frosting the windows slightly to give the feeling of a chill.
What I was most impressed with was an outdoors projector – just like the kind you can get IRL (I want one). It projects a neat image on the outside wall of your house. But the cool thing is, it comes with a HUD where you can adjust brightness, color and choose from something like 20 different holiday images. It’s super cool and looks great in person!
Aside from that, just a number of fun outside decorations.
Inside, is the fun traditional decorations – tree, garlands, stockings and different foods.
Happy with how it came out considering I only had about 50 prims to work with!
I knew the holidays were going to be fun for decorating my Linden house in Second Life, and I have been right. While it’s no where as fancy as what I had for Halloween, I’ve pulled down the spooky and put up the turkey.
I had almost no decorations for Thanksgiving upon looking at my inventory, so I went out and did a little shopping on the SL Marketplace. One of the things I knew I needed was a live turkey in the front yard, preferably one that wanders.
The Jian turkey fit the bill, though it’s a bit high in prims. This creator always makes lovely animals of all types, so I was willing to sacrifice a bit of room for a really nicely animated turkey.
Aside from that, I pulled up all the flowers and put down leaf covering. I can’t control the color of the grass, so scattered leaves for the fall feeling is the best I can do. I suppose I could put down a large mega prim and texture it, but that would lose the natural feeling of the area around the house. So leaves and various other decorations it is!
Inside, I added some decorations…
But mostly the standard food-type things.
I have had some visitors at my Linden house the past month as the Posse has been back into playing dice games. I already owned a Greedy Greedy, but then came the request for a Pentadee table as well, so I picked one of those up for the backyard deck.
I might add a few more things to the house decoration-wise, but they would have to be very low prim if I did. I think most of this is going to have to do for Thanksgiving. Absolutely looking forward to what I can do with it for Christmas!
Though we usually spend some time on the haunted house ride and in the cornfield in Second Life for Halloween, this year, the Moles created something new to entertain us.
I’ve been writing here and there about my Linden Home, which is part of the newer Bellisseria neighborhoods, and much better than the old Linden Homes you once got with a SL subscription. This year, they took an entire neighborhood of homes in Millbank and decked it out in Halloween style.
When I say they’ve decorated for Hallween, I don’t mean putting some pumpkins on the porch. Each house in the neighborhood is themed around something – from a spooky lab, to a Cthulhu shrine (complete with a Cthulhu sighting), to a house that “murders” you repeatedly in different ways, to a cemetery with many surprises to discover.
The starting point also offers free flashlights that animates your character in Scooby Doo style and a red balloon (straight out of IT) tour of the entire grounds. I’ve been through the grounds a couple of times with different people and discovered something new each time – like the creepy porcelain doll named Annabell who followed me down the stairs from the second story of a house and out on the freakin’ porch! I should have taken a screenshot, but I was too busy shooing her away!
It’s really nicely put together and lots of fun to explore! Nice job SL!
One of the things I’ve been looking forward to with the string of holidays coming up is decorating my Second Life cabin this year. Living in one of the Linden neighborhoods, there are some rules about how soon you can put decorations up and how late you can leave them up – no Christmas lights in March, folks!
Friday, I sat down and started poking through all of the Halloween decorations I’ve stashed away for years in SL. I discovered that most of these were the freebies that the Lindens give every year in a pack. These are nice enough, but more high prim than I could afford with the amount of decoration I’ve already put towards my cabin.
So I went on a Halloween shopping spree and came up with a number of really cool things on the lower prim side. I still have room for a bit more, but I generally don’t like to use every last prim if I can help it — need to have some rez room, after all!
The outside got most of my decorations, naturally, from the awesome fog covering that hovers over the ground to spooky trees that chuckle darkly to black cat light strings and a welcome mat with a sound bite from the Haunted Mansion. This was all great fun to put together!
What else are you gonna do with giant overlook windows for Halloween but something like this!
The inside also got some new pieces, but most of this was pretty toned down compared to the outside.
I invited the Posse over to check out my decorations this past weekend. We dropped a few dice games on the back porch and also romped around the new Haunted Neighborhood, which was really cool. That deserves a post to itself, and so it’s on my to-write list!
I had second thoughts about keeping my Second Life sub going earlier this year, but now I couldn’t be happier with my Linden house cabin and the overall neighborhood structure we’re getting on the grid.
And then there are some things I own in the world, such as this memory-cat of my late Sebastian, that have sentimental connections to them now.
Anyhow, looking forward to doing some holiday decoration shopping for Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas, too. For now, I’m pretty content with the setup I have for Halloween!
I mentioned in a previous post that I was reassessing whether or not I’d pony up for a subscription renewal for Second Life this year. I wrote about how the price hike for the sub was a bit of a turn-off. Though to be honest, if you pick up a year’s sub, you’re only paying $8.25 a month for a premium account, which isn’t all that expensive as far as MMO type games go. It used to be $6 a month, though.
I also discussed selling off my old land, going to a rental plot, and playing around with claiming one of the new Linden homes. Seeing that owning land is the major perk I pay a sub for, it was really going to come down to how much I liked the Linden home that came with the sub.
I tried out a traditional house style, and it was alright. I was curious, so I released that house to try one of the Victorian house styles — this was a bit cooler with some wall coloring features the traditional didn’t have. But really, Victorian is not my vibe.
They released some really cute campers, and I would have loved that style. But the problem was, these were only 512 lots, using only half your land allotment, and gave you half the prim count. Sure, I could have gotten two at that rate, but I’ve always felt more prims was better, and would have rather had my full 1024.
So, as it was the last time I wrote, I was still up in the air about what I was going to do.
Along Came the Cabins
The day after I wrote that post in February, the new log homes were announced for Second Life. This caught my attention as it’s much more the style of home I was interested in. However, it wasn’t until April that the log houses were actually released, so that was a good month of waiting to see if this was something I wanted, and hoping to even get to snag one at all.
Well, I was fairly lucky in that when they released cabins, instead of being a trickle of areas like it had been for the others, they pretty much dumped a huge amount of land all at one time for people to claim. It actually took a few days for people to snag these houses, though now you won’t find any again unless someone has abandoned or there’s a zone release.
I abandoned my Victorian and did a bit of hopping the first day — you can only claim 5 houses in a day, so you have to be careful how many times you abandon. I even hit my limit that day — some of the log houses were nice, but either I didn’t like their location (sandwiched between two other houses) or the name of the area.
I was a bit worried that there wouldn’t be houses left in 24 hours, but thankfully there were. That’s when I got my lot at Chuckle Pond. I love the name of the area, first of all, and I lucked out to actually have a nice natural pond across the trail in front of my house. The lot is also on the corner, so I have a bit of privacy.
All in all, I was happy with my catch, and have sat on it for a few months with only some sparse decoration. Then, June rolled around and before I knew it, I was facing the question of whether I was going to release this house or sub again.
I guess the title of this post clued you into what happened. I decided to keep it. Not only that, but I decided I was really going to go all out in decorating it, too.
While I’ve owned several places in SL over the years, I can’t say that I ever really customized and decorated a house in full. This was because my prim limit was often taken up by things like breedable pets or a little shop.
That’s not the case this time. While I do have a few pets on the lot, I’m not breeding much anymore. And Linden homes are residential, so you’re not suppose to set up a shop.
Therefore, the total prim count can be focused on decking the halls. And that’s just what I did.
Welcome to my cabin at Chuckle Pond!
And that was a quick pictorial walk through of my cabin in Second Life!
I’ve been subscribed to SL with a premium membership on and off over the time I’ve had an account here. I made my avatar back in 2004. The most recent subscription streak for me has been since I returned in March 2018.
But that may be coming to an end this summer.
What happened two years ago that brought me back to SL? They doubled the amount of land tier afforded to premium members. Since the major aspect I love about SL is owning land and decorating it, this was a huge draw that pulled me back to sub instantly.
I picked up my first parcel in a rather historical area of SL in Gandymede. Then, when my next door neighbor sold the lot right next to mine, I picked up a second lot, for twice the amount of land. You can see that pictured in the header.
Now, to own double the land meant that I paid my sub and some cash monthly on top of it. But at the time, I was paying $7.50 a month (with a quarterly sub), and grandfathered into a good weekly stipend of L$. In fact, I almost broke even on my sub from the stipend alone should I have cashed out the L$ for money — something that was the case for many, many years.
I then discovered Bento avatars and eventually Water Horse rideables. There was a fun community of folks surrounding the Water Horse product, and I learned how to make coats and accessories for the horses and unicorns. I set up a shop in the mall, and started to do fairly well at moving product.
I was pretty happy with my land setup and a creative outlet that would more than support what I wanted to do in game.
Second Life Price Hike
Last year, SL dropped the bomb on premium members that there would be a substantial price hike. They tried to pad it by saying they added more value to the sub through more groups and IMs and whatever.
I’m not a super social person in SL — as I said, land owning and creative things are my draw there. So I don’t care about the number of groups I’m in or how many IMs get capped (others might care, of course).
My quarterly sub just jumped up $10. That means that SL would cost me $40 more a year. Plus, they’re trying to phase out the quarterly sub on top of it. Monthly and yearly alone really aren’t good options.
But to further soften this blow, they allowed current members to lock in the old pricing for one more renewal. I opted to lock in a year at $72. But come July, I’m going to get hit up for $99 if I choose to sub again.
The first thing I did when I saw the price hike last year was sell half my land. Since they were going to hit me up for an unexpected $72 dollars for a yearly sub (I never sub yearly to anything), I opted to drop the extra land fee. This was about $7 a month on top of the sub — so that almost came out even.
I was lucky that my neighbor bought the plot up really quickly. Sometimes when selling mainland, you can sit there and wait and wait and wait for months before someone buys. The only other option is to abandon it — you get no L$ because you didn’t sell, and then the land goes into this limbo of being owned by the Lindens until it gets parceled back out to use again.
I am waiting to see if LL will do anything to make a price increased sub worth it to me this year. So far, they haven’t. It’s February, and I have until July. However, as I noted before, selling land can take a long time to come to fruition. So, in preparation for going free to play, I sadly put the last of my land up for sale last week.
My plot cleared and up for sale:
I’m going to miss the good times we had there, but really, we haven’t been using it all that much the past year or so.
Luckily, my neighbor again snatched it up within a few days of putting it up for sale. She’s now got it rebuilt into a nice forest path. So I’m glad my plot will be enjoyable to someone else.
Cashing Out for Free to Play
The second thing I did, after putting my land up for sale, was cash out a significant amount of L$ I had in my account. This turned out to be $453 worth… which they took a chunk out of in fees (oh yeah, they also upped transfer processing fees during this price hike).
So in the end, my PayPal got a nice $428 credit after all of the products I’ve sold and monthly stipends have built up over the last two years. I think that mostly pays for what the sub cost was… maybe even a bit of a profit (though that was never my intent).
The Future of SL for Me
I still rent out a shop at the Water Horse mall, which is a fairly reasonable weekly cost. As long as I continue to sell products that cover the cost of my rent there, I will continue to sell there. I’m not sure how long that will be.
After the redesign of the mall last year, traffic has significantly dwindled. I don’t know what all happened, but it seemed to be some kind of upset in the community… I just know there’s hardly anyone there when I visit, and there’s more shops vacant than in use now days. However, I’ve still been earning enough from shoppers to make it worth my rent there. So I will stay.
I still want a place to put down a house and sell a few kittens. So I did some searching and found a nice land rental platform at a place called Fernynook. The cost vs. the prims is acceptable. While I haven’t fully decorated just yet, I have put a house down, along with my virtual cats.
Since I still have a few months left to my sub in which I have a land allotment, I decided I might as well use it. One thing I’ve wanted to look into, but haven’t had a chance to until now, are the new Linden homes.
These made a pretty big splash last year, especially since the supply didn’t meet the demand for these houses. They’re quite nice, fairly customizable, the land around has been nicely formed, and most of all, there’s a strict HOA type set of rules of what you can and cannot do with it. So no gaudy flashy floating prims all over the place allowed.
But also no shops or commerce — which is why I needed a rental somewhere else to sell my kitties.
These houses are pretty hard to get your hands on. You have to stalk the Linden Homes page and refresh, hoping that someone who currently owns a house will release it.
Well, I lucked out. Not even half an hour after I realized my land had sold, I managed to snag a new Linden Home. I haven’t fully explored the area yet — it’s on a corner lot right across the street from a forest campground that I’d like to ride through one day.
I’ve done a little bit of decorating with it, and I’m happy with the location and how the neighborhood looks. But I’ll be honest — I was hyped about these houses last summer. Now that I have one, I’m going to be very seriously weighing whether my sub is going to be worth this house… as it’s the only thing I will lose when I go free to play.
Right now, as nice as the house is, it’s just not going to be enough. I can release the house with no pain on my part since it’s not like land that you have to buy and sell — Linden Homes are free to your account as long as you have the land allotment to use on them. If I ever wanted to sub again, I can just pick up another house after I hunt one down.
I’m really sad that it’s come to this, to be honest. I know there are hard working people in SL, like the Moles who are diligent in bringing out new Linden Homes. I know that they’ve continued to try to improve SL with things like bakes on mesh and animesh releases.
But for a rather aged and often laggy system, I’m having a hard time justifying a $30-$40 price hike each year. Especially given that I pay a sub for FFXIV, and that’s not going anywhere. On top of things like Netflix, etc…
Now, if they surprise my by July with something that absolutely delights me, I might still reconsider. But as of this time, I’m on a track to drop my sub come this summer, and just keep my shop and rental platform with the L$ that I still have stowed away from selling my land. That will keep me doing well enough for quite a while.