Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Omega and the Alpha

I have occasionally lamented that vast swathes of Second Life seem to be little more than the virtual equivalent of stripmalls—often complete with strippers. But while the grid might be replete with oversized, boxy buildings painted with garish over-saturated textures and (seemingly) no thoughts for aesthetics, there are many places in Second Life that demonstrate tremendous imagination, creativity, and…well, vision. I'm pleased to report that one of my favorite builds in SL, Omega Point, has just completed a period of reconstruction—and it's seriously cooler than ever.

Clouds and mist and mystery at Omega Point

Omega Point is the work of the Japanese creator Sweetlemon Jewell; the sim was originally billed as a "dark cyberworld," and wow did it live up to that description with tentacles and monsters and robed hooded figures and even a chapel where lucky avatars could preach and (if I remember) dance in blood—all taking place in an environment where scifi technology has been grafted to edifices that seem to be millennia old. The new Omega Point is less dark, more baroque, perhaps more overtly digital, but an even more elegantly organic place than its ever been.

But but but! Hold off on all that. What immediately impresses about Omega Point isn't the theming of the build but the sheer scale of the place. Where most builders do a little terraforming and splat some prims around in the shapes of buildings or rocks or trees, Omega Point is massive like you've never seen. To appreciate the scale and design many visitors will probably have to increase the draw distance on their Second Life client software to see what's happening. The whole build seems to live in a massive crater, with elegant arcades and towers and walkways and staircases suspended over it like gothic lace…and over that, massive stone arches like the ribs of some long-dead leviathan. Like the old Omega Point there's a brand ballroom where, I imagine, exceedingly cool avatars shall engage in a little dancing. And below it all, a kind of sub-basement that's half church, half store, half digital, and half mystical. (Yes, that's four halves. I can add.)

Underneath it all…


Shadow of the valley of death?

Where the previous Omega Point was dark, broody, and vaguely menacing, the new Omega Point is golden and arcane and glorious. Sweetlemon embraces megaprims and sculpts and rich textures in ways unlike anything I've seen elsewhere in Second Life—and she's fast: speaking with her (via a machine translator; my Japanese is non-existant) the entire rebuild took her only a couple months. (For more gorgeous images of what she's been up to, check out her Japanese-language blog.) I've been working on one of my little tiny scripting projects almost as long, in calendar terms.

I did most of my reconnoitering of the new Omega Point while it was still under construction, so my images don't quite match up to the completed build. But Sweetlemon graciously left the sim open during the construction, relocating the sim's two stores into the stratosphere while she worked on the lower levels. I've been meaning to get back to the upper echelons of the sim to see if the temporary stores are still there—if you flew up into the balconies of one of them, there was quite a display.

In the rafters of one of Omega Point's temporary stores

Omega Point features two stores, one of clothes and cyber-goodies from Sweetlemon, and another of almost cyber-steam-baroque-abstract clothing and accessories by Kariwanz Felisimo. Both are highly recommended, but Omega Point is worth the full tour (check out the little pod crafts!) regardless of whether any of the virtual goods hold any appeal. There are also a few tip jars scattered about the sim…if you like it, drop a few Lindens in one.

Kariwanz Felisimo & Sweetlemon Jewell

I expect the story of Omega Point to continue evolving. For one thing—and I'll just drop a hint—there's something brand new developing in a sim next door: Alpha Point.

2 comments:

  1. I gotta get back here... haven't seen it since the early days of the old incarnation. Awesome post, Lou, can't wait to revisit this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Lou, for the pointer. I couldn't quite get used to the old OmegaPoint; too dark for me. This sounds and looks much more upbeat.

    And I too get tired of SL places that look and feel just like RL places.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated. You can use some HTML tags, such as <b>, <i>, <a>. If you'd like to contact me privately, use a blog comment and say you don't want it published.