In stark contrast to the first location I chose (MeltingDots) the second location I visited could not have been more loud or ostentatious. I was greeted by Marilyn Manson music blaring, the strangest looking avatars imaginable, and surroundings that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Steven King novel.
I’m not sure what else I could have expected from a place called ‘Death Row Island’ but rest assured I was unaware of the name of the island before I visited.
Why I chose it:
I found out about this place, once again, by looking at the Second Life Destinations Guide (link). The first location on the Editor’s Choice list was an event called “Who Killed Humpty Dumpty?” which runs annually from March 27th – April 3rd (to coincide with Easter). I’ve always been one to enjoy a murder mystery so naturally I jumped right in.
I also wanted to find a place that directly contrasted with my previous location choice, which was a very calm, peaceful place, and this felt like it might fit the bill.
What functionality it provides:
Aside from the annual festivities, the island is filled with various shops selling very Gothic themed outfits and accessories for your avatar. There were quite a number of other users in the area so it looks as though the game is quite popular.
Clicking on one of the many ‘Who Killed Humpty Dumpty?’ signs that are scattered throughout the island sends an instructional note to your inventory. The note explains that the object of the game is to find as many of the hidden eggs as possible which will provide you with certain clues and free gifts from many of the shops that are set up on the island. I managed to collect a few free outfits although I doubt very much whether my avatar would suit the heavy metal-look.
How it looks:
In my own personal opinion: awful. That isn’t to say that it isn’t well designed. I think the design achieves perfectly the kind of look you would expect from a place named Death Row Island, and being there really makes you feel like you are in a place that has no hope. I found myself not wanting to spend an awful lot of time there.
There is a near-total absence of colour; almost everything on the island is brown or grey. I found it funny that the island has such a intimidating feeling to it, but the instructions for the treasure hunt (presumably written by the creators) was filled with smiley-face emoticons and encouraging sentiments.
Shape and types of prims used: If you look at the first screenshot in the post you can see that the buildings on the island are by no means artistic masterpieces. I think the most difficult part of the island to sculpt would have been the mountainous terrain. There are very steep slopes leading up to places like the prison, just as in real life prisons are kept far away from the public.
Textures: It seemed to me as though most of the prims in this sim used the same or very similar textures. You can see from the screenshots that there is not much variation in the island, but I think this was a very conscious choice on the part of the designers. The same drab design on each of the buildings makes for a very spooky atmosphere.
Interaction and scripting: Again, I am not the best person to comment on this as I have little-to-no knowledge of scripting in Second Life, but the island contained few of features that I hadn’t seen previously. I was unable to access an entire quarter of the SIM due to me not being on a ‘guest list’, but other than that there wasn’t much I could see that set it apart from the rest.
My overall impressions of it:
When I first teleported to the island I absolutely hated it, but over time it has started to grow on me. As I mentioned earlier, I decided to submit it as a location for Assignment 1 because I wanted to have 2 very contrasting locations to show that I have explored more than just one area on Second Life.
I think it is a great idea to set up an event like this which really involves the community and encourages people to have fun. I haven’t completed the treasure hunt yet, but as soon as I finish writing this post I’m going right back to it!
- Second Life Destination Guide: http://secondlife.com/destinations