Thursday, August 6, 2009

Armada Burns

I mentioned in an earlier post that the fantasical steampunk sim Armada Breakaway was going to be going through some restructuring, and that the intrepid Armadans were planning an "Armada is Burning" event on August 2 to bid adieu to the sim as I have always known it, sweep it clean, and bring in the new Armada. Last Sunday was August 2…and the "Armada is Burning" extravaganza? It was a doozy.

Avatars gather on a floating glass platform…
where it's rumoured we might be "safe" from the coming storm.

For folks not familiar with Armada Breakaway, the premise is that it's kind of a small town floating in the sea, a haphazard collection of hulls lashed together and intertwined into a kind of neo-Victorian steampunkish vision. And that's just the surface—above airships grace the sky, and beneath the waves merfolk hold sway. The idea was that Breakaway was a part of a much larger floating city that had broken loose in a storm, and now had to fend for itself as a small town. Armada Breakway wasn't exactly a role-playing sim—I can't exactly dress steampunky and play a character, and I was always welcomed enthusiastically—but it wasn't unusual to find folks going around in character…and the place seemed to have an ongoing story and set of colorful personalities that were always fun and new. And the sim was gorgeous: glorious textures, crazy nautical-via-Victoriana architecture, weird gizmos, bizarre avatars, fantastical airships, and—yep—even livestock. I don't think I'll ever recover from being assaulted by Albus's sheep.

I don't quite know why Armada Breakaway was broken up—as with many things in Second Life, I suspect real-life money had something to do with it. A new Armada is being born, with folks owning individual parcels of the sim and many of the same principals involved, so I look forward to seeing what Armada becomes. But last Sunday…well, the mood was of resigned celebration as Armadans and their friends gathered for a last word from Armada's creator, to raise a toast—and, as it happens, raise fire extinguishers, as dragons suddenly began raining down fire!

One of three dragons laying waste to Armada Breakway.

Maybe I just haven't attended enough sim burnings—honestly, the only other one I've ever heard of was Tableau being razed back in February—but…wow, the Armadans do it in style. Aramada Burns wasn't just some dragons flying through, some smoke and particle effects, and everyone having a good chuckle. The sky turned black, then erupted with flame, smoke was everywhere, and the sim itself seemed to be coming apart as fire engulfed everything and airships exploded and fell from the sky.

Armada engulfed

Some folks (like me!) stayed on the safety of our floating platform while the sim collapsed—others dared to try to fight fires and ward off the dragons, saving what they could. But they did so at their own peril, as parts of Armada literally began trebling, then shifted apart and sunk into the sea.

An avatar dashes for safety as part of Armada's fish market
tilts and begins sinking into the depths.

Others danced while Armada burned—a few joined in the destruction, morphing into dragons of their own or running about Breakway with torches, setting alight anything the dragons had missed. Eventually signature areas of the sim vanishes beneath the waves, and a massive explosion took out the stone tower that (somehow) had been built atop the hull of a large wooden barge.

Armada's flag still fluttering over the smouldering remains.

I'll miss the Armada I knew, but even as the Breakaway was burning, I knew a new Armada was already taking shape, and hopefully the sim will be reconfigured soon and I'll be able to pop in and openly gawk at all the clever stuff. Because there certainly was a lot of it, and Second Life would be much the poorer without Armada.

Folks curious about the old (and new!) Armada should check out Mako Kungfu's Armada Flickr pool—more images from the Burning, but also everyday Armada and its cast of characters.


  1. Great post, Lou! I'm going to post it on the Armada Ning site at so the other Armadans can be sure to take a look. And the pics are awesome, I'm going to post that link as well. Meanwhile, I set out a table and two chairs for you on the topmost deck of my shop today. Tea parties can commence at your leisure. ;)

  2. Ahoy!

    Well told!

    I'm pleased you had a good time and made it through the chaos.

    Aye, Armada Breakaway is returned! What ships we had left are in place and other refugees from other climes have joined us. Thought the storm and fire was terrible we have pulled through and looking to a new dawn.

    Hopefully see you soon!


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