Welcome to the newspaper for the citizens of Second Life's Bellisseria!
A Chat with Abnor Mole: The Future, the Past, and an Island of Crabs
Buttacwup Pwincess (seanabrady)
Whether you spot him in his default "Punky" avatar or stomping through the streets of Bellisseria as a T-Rex, Abnor Mole is easily recognized and quite a celebrity among the current and future residents of Bellisseria. And with good reason, since 2008 Abnor has worked as a contractor for Linden Lab in the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW). It's thanks to the hard work of the LDPW that we have Bellisseria and many of the other amazing areas on the Mainland of Second Life.
The LDPW is "a program focused on improvements related to the experience of living on or visiting the Linden Mainland." The team is made up of actual Linden Lab employees as well as a group of resident contractors, the Moles. Abnor wasn't sure where the term "moles" came from for sure, but he did mention that in the beginning they even had tiny mole avatars. I had the opportunity to catch up with Abnor this week to discuss his role in the LDPW and his thoughts on Bellisseria.
What is your role at the LDPW?
I help coordinate many of our projects across the LDPW. I also make videos like the ones for Linden Realms, Paleoquest and Horizons featuring Magellan and Punky. I also still make some content and help put things together. There are many different roles in the LDPW. Some of us specialize in certain functions, others (like myself) are more of a jack of all trades but master of none.
Do you have a favorite build in Second Life that is Mole created?
My favorite always seems to be whatever we are focused on at the moment. Right now that is Linden Homes. But for one that I made that still resonates with me, there is an old pirate-themed island on Kingpost I still enjoy. It's a bit primitive, but there is still something about it I just like.
Authors Note: I remember discovering this island for the first time while out sailing. It’s a perfect spot and home to the Salty Mole Tavern.
Do you have a favorite item you have made?
I think my personal favorites that I have done are the little easter eggs I put into many of our builds over the years. Not something you would notice right away, but if you did, it might make you smile.
What is your roll on the Bellisseria project in particular?
I took on a lead role in the Linden Homes project from the start, and it has been what I have focused on the most because it is simply that huge. It is the largest project we have done to date and draws on elements of probably every project we have done before, from road building on the mainland to swapping houses like Horizons to a community like Bay City to the assigned houses in the original Linden Homes. It is a convergence of elements from multiple different projects done over the last decade.
“We realized the pathfinding crabs we had put out might be a little too resource heavy... just for fun I pulled up a tiny little island in a region where there were no resident homes and covered it with them.” Abnor Mole
What about those scripted parcel markers that are used for marking the actual home areas?
We use them to lay out where the parcels will go. They also collect the parcel data from the location so it can be used by us in the house rezzing system and by the Lab in the parcel allocation system on the website. It's just one of many tools we use to build out Linden Homes regions.
When it comes to making a region for Bellisseria, how do you start?
We start with a general plan and vision of what the region should be. We decide what houses are going to go there and what the terrain should be like. Then we start the process step by step, building and letting the terrain and surrounding elements guide us. That tells us what fits best where and how it can all come together in as organic and natural an end result as we can achieve.
My favorite part has to be the community
that has taken root.
I remember watching you build the airfield in the early days and being so excited. Was it always planned or a response from the community?
That was a response to the community. The flying community had a very good point. A place for rezzing, taking off and landing aircraft made perfect sense. So we found a spot where we could add a simple strip that would service that need without negatively affecting too many residents or spoiling their views.
When you look around Bellisseria are their any areas you see that feel like you are "your" design?
Honestly, that happens everywhere for me. I did most of the rough layout and terraforming. So all the rivers and mountains and beaches have my fingerprints on them. But they aren't just my fingerprints anymore. It is all of the Moles working together that make every area what it is. So nothing anywhere is ever really or completely "mine" or all me. I can sail down a river and smile though, thinking back to when it was all bare and carving it out of flat terrain.
Although I have to say the one that does make me smile the most is the little island in Springhurst Gulf. We realized the pathfinding crabs we had put out might be a little too resource heavy to want to put in a region that has resident parcels. But just for fun I pulled up a tiny little island in a region where there were no resident homes and covered it with them. I think there is something like 40 of them all skittering about. Then I put a single bench looking out over the ocean. I originally called it "Crabby Island: Save a landmark and send it to your friends when they need a time out". I guess that didn't conform to the naming standard of "Protected Land" so it was changed. But that's okay. It will still always be Crabby Island to me.
What is your favorite part of Bellisseria?
My favorite part has to be the community that has taken root. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing gives me more pleasure than when I see people saying things like how it reminds them of what SL was like back in 2006 or 2007 when people were talking to one another and interacting and meeting new people and simply enjoying the company of others outside their little circle of friends and making new ones.
Anything you are working on for Bellisseria you care to share, even generally?
Obviously, I cannot tell you what is coming. What I think I can tell you is that residents have only seen a small portion of what is planned content-wise. And just like how we build the regions, the overall design is changing and evolving as we go as well. But there is a ton of new things already in the works with much much more to come.
Anything else you would like to share?
Yes. Please keep making predictions, guesstimations, and conjecture based off some little thing you saw somewhere and you think you know what it might be. As Moles, we find that stuff wildly entertaining. Sometimes you guys are close. Sometimes it makes us think "Hmmm." And sometimes we ask, "I don't know what they are drinking, but I want some."
We owe a great deal to each Mole that has put so many hours into making Bellisseria the special place we call home. Take some time to look around the community, appreciate what is there. Explore other areas of the mainland which have been created by the LDPW, there are a great many sites to see.
Pirate DJs of Bellisseria
Pictured left to right: Doc Rast, BJoyful, DJ Sophia, DJ Ribbon, and DJ Baphy
Since the very first Pickle Party joyously welcomed the opening of the Squishy Pickle houseboats to sunny Bellisseria, Doc Rast's portable DJ deck has inspired the music lovers in the area to plot ways they can keep the casual "just come together" spirit of dance and chill going strong anytime, anywhere. So *Pirate Djs of Bellisseria* came from that mother of invention: the desire to never let the party end. Ever.
I sat down with Doc and DJ Baphy to find out how the Pirate DJs intend to bring all of us aboard their ship of get down.
Doc, your portable DJ deck opens so many possibilities. What gave you the idea, and what were your early trials with it like? Did it work out of box or take a lot of refinement?
"The Portable DJ decks are the last in a long line of booths and decks I have experimented with. A lifetime of electronics hardware build, test, and repair (both audio and radio frequencies) made its way into SL. Trials have included an Openstage version, where the DJ sits on a poseball, then clicks and pastes their URL stream into the textbox. Upon standing again, the land stream reverts to a pre-decided default radio stream. I should sell it, because it worked well in trials."
Did the idea for pop up events evolve from the mobile deck, or did you and other DJs you know start talking about pop up events earlier?
"We, that is my host Bjoyful and me, just happened to be there watching as the Moles and Lindens completed preparation of the new lands at Pickle Beach. Patch Linden opened the beach with a sudden invite to 'Fly in'. Lots of happy residents arrived. It was a golden opportunity to test the wearable booth with its website linker function, which was fresh out of beta. Before we knew what was happening there were just six listener slots left on my DJ stream, and 4 slots for avatars on the Pickle Beach, before the sim was maxed! SUCCESS all round! The Lindens partied. The Moles partied. The Residents partied. It was peace love dove outta sight. Grins."
So, how do you think pop up events differ, in spirit, from a club experience?
"There is an impromptu nature to Bellisserian pop up events, and spontaneity is a beautiful thing to witness. It's done for pleasure, not for tip hunting. I think residents feel happier to visit pop up events knowing its NOT a money-making excercise."
In light of that, what do you think makes Bellisseria so good for pop up events?
"Beautiful scenery, beautiful people. Simples :D"
And do you think all this makes it easier for DJs to support each other and work together in Bellisseria?
"It makes finding new friends with similar interests much easier :)"
And one of those new friends is music producer and Second Life DJ "Baphy" Baphometrix, who is new to Bellisseria but a long time resident of Second Life.
You mentioned at last weekends beach party that the spontaneous community of DJs in Bellisseria reminded you of the producers collective you work with in first life. Could you elaborate?
"Sure. The music business has been rapidly changing in recent years, and a lot of artists in the EDM and Hip Hop scene have been banding together into collectives instead of competing with each other. In first life, I'm part of such a collective and it's frankly amazing how much we all support and mentor each other, and how we work to do shows together or get one or two members of your crew added to the roster of some event you're playing at.
I see the same energy and attitude has spontaneously cropped up among the DJs that live in Bellisseria. None of us care about tips or getting people to come see us at our clubs. We just party with each other and hang together and scheme fun ideas for making community and spontaneous parties happen around Belli. It's really great to see that same collective spirit here in SL too!"
Baphy tell me about your "high seas highjinks" parties you are planning.
"Since Doc's DJ technology allows us to DJ from anywhere at all (not just on a plot for which we control the audio stream), I thought it would be a fun idea to throw the occasional "popup rave" party out in a stationary flotilla of boats somewhere around Bellisseria. Imagine a message out of the blue in the Belli community groups that there was a secret flotilla rave party going on, and the challenge is to find the rave and party with us! We'd encourage people to bring their boat, or to fly and cozy up on someone else's boat. It would be like old school warehouse raves where you have only vague clues like "we're somewhere off the northeast coast of Belli", and part of the fun is trying to find the rave and be part of it. When people arrive, they join the floating landscape of yachts and sailboats and dance and swim while the DJs spin. A really nice advantage of this idea is that there are several totally empty full-ocean sims around Belli, such as between the northeast coast and the squishy pickle marina. Hosting huge parties out in an empty water sim doesn't cause temporary lag for anyone's parcel in Belli."
Good parties and good neighbors don't have to be incompatible, then? Fantastic. And you had some ideas for for charity DJ events, too, right?
"Well, none of the pirate DJs ask for tips, because we do this for fun in a non-commercial, community fun spirit. But I think it could be worthwhile to occasionally throw a big themed event (scheduled ahead of time and planned for a specific location around Belli) that is some huge pirate DJ party specfically for a worthwhile charity cause. Ideally we'd have some donation tech where the party attendees could donate directly to the charity itself and there'd be some type of visible counter in world showing how much was collected so far during the event. We could even tie in this idea with the 'popup rave flotilla' idea too, making it part game and part charity event."
I love the idea that DJs can take the stream whenever and wherever with both planned events and "the mood strikes".
And the best way for people to know about what the Pirate DJs are up to?
The Bellisserian Welcomes You Raffle!
Kaos (Baphometrix) & Bryce Sun
Several of our readers are homeless while they wait and click F5 on their browsers for any homes or house boats that come available. The Bellisserian wants to help!
We have one Bellisserian Houseboat and one Hetercera Houseboat available for temporary housing for 2 lucky raffle winners for one month!
1st Prize: The Bell Dwell Guest House: Dockside (77,19,22)
2nd Prize: The Bellisserian Shelter: Increta (7,40,22)
RULES AND INFO:
1st Place prize: Stay at the Official Bellisserian Guest Houseboat in Bellisseria for a month (or until your F5 mojo coughs up a permanent home in fair Bellisseria)
2nd Place prize: Stay at our second Bellisserian Guest Houseboat in Heterocera on a protected waterway (hey, it's a chance to practice living in a houseboat & it's free. You're welcome :p ) and we look forward to having you as our neighbors!
Both are unfurnished and you have 351 prims to use at the Bell Dwell and just a few less at Heterocera since we are providing the housebaot and some privacy. But they are yours to use as you like for that month!
Click below with the account you want to enter, one entry per month, contest running all summer!
Deadline for Round 1 is Friday, June 14th 11:59 SLT.
The winners will be announced Saturday, June 15th and will be able to move in that day and stay for 30 days!
Then we do it again!
Round One Closed
Winners are being contacted in world!!!!
Bebe Crannock (fairlyprincess)
Grid Wide Whopper Report Week of June 2, 2019:
The Squishy Pickle Seychelle is continuing to produce big fish, contributing 2 of 3 whoppers to this week's contest. Falconbridge, Blake Sea is producing big fish in addition to numbers. Willow Tennage held her early week lead despite a persistent effort from Elizabeth Lethecus. Karl Herber landed a big swordfish in southwest Pickle, congratulations all!
Photo of Willow Tennage holding her record fish:
1.Willow Tennage Atlantic Salmon 49.85 lbs. Sea of Ruby, Pickle
2.Elizabeth Lethecus Chinook Salmon 49.23 lbs. Falconbridge, Blake Sea
3.Karl Herber Swordfish 48.82 lbs. Getthe Point, Pickle
Northern Operations Fishing Tournament Results for the week of June 2, 2019:
Are fish having region crossing problems in Blake Sea too? They're jumping out of the sea and into the hands of Elizabeth Lethecus
and Jym Wolf in Falconbridge! Bellisseria regions report good fishing too, as Willow Tennage makes a strong showing. Good bite, congratulations anglers!
1. Elizabeth Lethecus 5605.95 lbs.
2. Jym Wolf 5320.97 lbs.
3. Willow Tenage 2513.57 lbs.
4. DanielS Bluebird 623.63 lbs.
5. SquirrelyTE 571.59 lbs.
6. Blaise Mistwalker 361.26 lbs.