Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Winter Content of our Continent

By GUNNAR OLSEN
SecondLIFE Magazine

A storm hit Second Life in July. With it came alterations to the landscape that left some residents marveling in wonder, others dumbstruck, and yet others deftly preparing to capitalize on the awesome changes.

The storm, or to put it perhaps more aptly, the onset of a new climate, was of course the appearance of snow. Heretofore, the weather throughout Second Life generally resembled a balmy Southern California summer day. Now residents have the options of tramping through a tundra wilderness, schussing the slopes from the top of a chairlift station, or warming their digital digits by the fireplace of a winter lodge.

Lying in the southeast region of the world, Linden Lab has christened new sims with evocative names such as Chamonix, Garmisch, Kitzbuhel, and Zermatt.

Rumors had begun to circulate on the forums about an impending winter region and by Tuesday night residents were proclaiming their joy at the winter wonderland. On June 29th Magellan Linden had reported that indications of a "...place where snow and ice have taken hold of the land, where even the trees shine white in the heatless rays of a mocking, cold sun. I will endeavor to find this frigid land and, fates be willing, report back to you."

As with any environmental change, entrepreneurs were quick to capitalize on the new reality.

Some, such as Adam Zaius (apparently prescient though actually benefiting from previous inside intelligence), presented their new wares to the new and rapidly-developing market of winter lovers. Saying he had known about the snow for "about a month now," Zaius told us that "Maxx Monde suggested it would be a good idea to make some snow-related items for the new sims when they come up."

Zaius displayed a line of snowboards that were a cut above the public domain model offered by Linden. Currently, Zaius has in development a set of skis that will be available to the market soon.



Artemis Fate was overheard to say, "Someone would so make a killing off of winter clothes now."

So began the rush to market of clothing for cold climates.

By Wednesday afternoon, designer Cydonia Llewelyn was offering a line of apparel that would have made any Nordic or Alpine citizen comfortable. She said "I spent the evening looking up stuff online and creating them, taking pix in the snow sims, then worked on boxing it all up and throwing it into a vendor...was up very late that night, but I wanted to get them out so people had clothes to wear."

Asked about how many units she had sold, Llewelyn said "Let's just say I made back my uploading costs within a few minutes of the buy/sell event."

Hip businesswoman DragonChiq Therian had set up her vendor stand at the top of the mountain snagging snow enthusiasts with a line of cool clothes that promised to keep one warm. She is also a charter member of the Snow Bunnies, a group that will "just plan to have fun and ski or snowboard down as many mountains as we can find and have fun as a group!"



Events planner, Madison Blanc is already developing new ideas for her business. She mused that "it would be wonderful to have some events here ... in fact I could see a Winter Wonderland."

Model Talla Guillaume is moving to France in real life and posed for SecondLIFE Magazine against the winter backdrop. She mentioned that, "Yes, I will maybe do a bit of skiing in the French Alps this winter."

"They stole my idea!" proclaimed Takan Hannibal seemingly more in good nature than in wrath. Hannibal, who had been pining for something more than eternal sunny paradise had previously created "Christmas in July" and was mountainside showing his snow machine to any who asked.

(Rumors that Hannibal will bring suit against Linden Labs for a royalty on every snowflake that falls had still not been confirmed at press time.)

Another resident had also apparently missed something more than constant sunny paradise. Commented Gracie Greenacre, "I own a forest in Federal and we turned it to snow at Christmas but wasn't the same as here."

Other reactions to the wintry sims were varied and almost exclusively positive.

Zeke Casanova "loved it" and Darwin Appleby exulted: "I love them, they're amazing."

Some, though, warned of the perils of overdevelopment that are always present.

Baccara Rhodes called them "very beautiful," but mentioned her hope "that at least some of it is left natural and not sold off."

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