Saturday, November 26, 2011

Second Life Photo Montage!

I've been diligently tromping around SL all evening, and just completed Quests 4 & 5 together, AT THE SAME TIME! I love to dovetail, and killing two birds with one stone has always appealed to me. Ok, so bad bird cliches....

BEFORE: I am so sad because I am so dull
AFTER: Look how awesome I am! Red hair and painty pants!

Second Life allows you to completely, utterly, fantastically, customize your avatar's appearance. As a girl who grew up with hundreds of Barbie dolls, (and Polly pocket dolls, American girl dolls, you name the doll, I probably had it), being able to dress my avatar up and change her appearance was very appealing to me. In games or virtual world settings (especially in The Sims games) I have always enjoyed creating avatars or people who looked like me. In Second Life, if you can dream it, you can be it. I've always wanted to be a wild child, have bright red crazy Ariel mermaid hair, and have tattoos. But since I'm on my way to being a teacher, this type of image isn't really what schools are looking for. My avatar in SL is everything I'd like to be if I could do whatever I wanted with my appearance. Just take a look at the drastic differences between my before and after photos! In the first photo, I am wearing some dress that a dear soul donated to me on my first day in SL. I tried to make myself look like I do now (well, my face at least), and that dress was a desperate attempt to escape the hideous default school girl clothes. In the second photo, my creative appearance. Painter jeans, black t-shirt with neon paint splatters, and a cool blue jacket that I think pulls the whole artist look together! There are also tattoos under my jacket sleeves, but you can't see those :}

When I was finally satisfied with my altered appearance, I teleported back to Dr. Z's (I was editing my appearance at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in SL) so I could grab a tour card and start "'splorin!" That's what my 4 year old cousin calls exploring. I went with the Ancient Civilizations tour, which I found to be very interesting overall. Unfortunately, the last 4 landmark cards, and their locations, did not exist anymore. I was unable to visit the Four Directions World Bazaar, the Minoan Empire, Island of Crete and Aegean beach, Egyptian Empire, and Nubian Empire. Sad day. But I did get to go to a lot of other fascinating places! I started out in the Apollonian Empire, which I found to be very realistic and full of places to run around and sit on, as well as a great representation of artwork and architecture from the time period. This would be a great place to take students if I were doing an ancient Greece literature unit, reading the Iliad and the Odyssey. Kids like to see where what they're reading has taken place! There I am sitting on a cobra throne in the middle of an ampitheater! And of course in a marvelous chariot, preparing to race! However, there was no one around to race me, so that fun was short-lived...

After Apollonia was the Hittite Empire, quite a bit different aesthetically than the previous. It was equally beautiful, and I found a variety of shops to peruse as well. For a powerful, feared empire of people, the Hittites certainly knew how to relax. In the first photo on the left, there I am lounging around in someone's comfortable home.
I left the Hittite Empire to teleport over to my next destination, Museum Island. This place welcomes visitors with opera streaming throughout the immense display of different landmarks and memorable destinations throughout Europe. I spent a lot more time here than I thought I would, just because the world was so well constructed, and the area was easy to navigate because there were nice little direction arrow signs, as well as information signs, all over the place! I saw a huge Greek statue that sort of reminded me of the Statue of Liberty (except it wasn't)....

I saw the Library of Nereus (which I wasn't allowed to fly up and sit on, much to my dismay), and I walked through all of its rooms and crevices. I think that this area is mostly a display for architecture, since there weren't any scrolls in the library itself, but it was still really beautiful. I have always wanted to travel to visit Ancient Europe, but I've never had the time or the money. Exploring these areas in SL made me feel like I was getting to explore those places, without even leaving my house! Anyway, here I am in front of the library.

I stumbled upon the Hanging Gardens of Babylon by accidentally flying into and falling on top of them. This area of the map was gorgeous! I even got to see the Law Code of Hammerabi, which looked more like a log standing on its side, but it was still interesting. People certainly knew about beauty in the ancient world, I wish I could have hanging gardens in my backyard.... but I think my landlord would be opposed. After the gardens, I visited the tomb of an ancient princess Neferteri, which was pretty creepy because it was subterranean and dimly lit, not to mention the minor-keyed opera blaring over the music stream. I just got a quick snapshot with the sarcophagus and was off. Also, you cannot sit on Nefertiri's tomb...

I left the Museum world area for ROMA, a world of roleplaying and re-enactments of Ancient Roman civilization. However, when I arrived via the teleport button, I was dropped into a hodge-podge of vendors and merchants, and had a hard time getting out of the maze of booths and signs, to the actual square. Once there, I recognized a lot of "Romanesqe" landmarks, such as the Colleseum, and gladiator rings, and a beautiful fountain. I also saw a lot of other avatars dressed in traditional Roman fashion, or in gladiator garb. It was turning evening when I arrived, and there were all these owls flying around...I have no idea why, perhaps that's something Roman? I talked to a few of the RPers in this area, and most were just looking to buy clothing or weapon attachments to get into simulating the gladiator fights. One of the individuals I met took me over to show me the ring where the fights happen. He also showed me the lions that are there (maybe for looks), but nonetheless, the lions made the Roman gladiator arena very realistic. Oh hi there lil' lion! 

ROMA was interesting, and even though it contained a lot of confusing mazes of vendor booths, and people asking me for my Lindendollars (like fountains and donation pots, and beggars), I moved on. My next (and what turned out to be final) destination was someplace the tour called "Blues in the Night." And the only way I can think that this location name can be explained is by describing what I came upon when I got there. I was thinking maybe I would arrive in a swanky night club, like somewhere in the 1920s (though that's not such an ancient civilization), because I was thinking about the song "Blues in the Night" written by Harold Arlen, and popularized by such legends as Ella Fitzgerald. However, I was mistaken. First, I was teleported into a vast empty space nowhere near the location point. I looked around and finally found an area nearby, which I noticed was mentioned in the landmark card, called "Delta Point." I have no idea what this area was for, or about, but I came across a lot of scary, obnoxious loud music, and a room called "The Dark Alter." Definitely gave me the "blues in the night" because it was rather terrifying. The tour creator mentioned that a nightclub in this area had parties where SL users could dress up, sometimes in ancient civilization costume, but I obviously missed those party invites. I wandered around, but could find no real information or objective, just more vendors selling random things I had no need for. Perhaps the previous club's location had been removed, which was sort of a travesty, since this was the last functional location in my tour. Note in the photo I am looking around in a very bewildered sort of way, at a puzzling glass building, into which I could not gain entrance.

Ah, the Second Life tours! I enjoyed this one for the most part, but was somewhat disappointed with the final location I tried to explore. However, I do see how tours like these could provide an organized outline for students in SL, especially if they were designed to enrich or correlate with a classroom social studies or literature unit. This tour inspired me to find places that were modeled after notable locations in literature, starting, of course, with the Shakespeare Globe Theater. Students could even create their own tours (like I'll be doing) focused around a certain location or subject, and take their classmates on a virtual world tour! I look forward to creating my own SL tour soon!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had quite a tour. I spent time replacing the non-working links in that list but apparently didn't upload the card and I can't find that card right now. Looks like I need to do it again.

    I look forward to seeing the SL tour that you will create.