By Netera Landar
Beyond the virtual terrain of Second Life are grids that nurture a close bond with its residents. They are best explored by registering to become a resident and interacting with those who have already set down their roots.
You won’t have far to look to witness the creativity, friendship and level of participation. One of these special worlds is run by a science fiction and pirate loving, totally committed to his grid man by the name of Bill Blight. Blight doesn’t just keep an eye on the servers for the best possible performance, he’s teacher, terraformer, DJ and he can wield a heavy pirate sword if he needs to.
“I’ve been in virtual worlds even before Second Life and then I was around when open sim came into being. I’ve run personal and private grids off and on for two years,” Blight tells me as he places his hands behind his head and his worn biker boots up on his desk. I gaze nervously at the pyramid of skulls in front of me thinking who else sat here before me. “Almost two years ago, I decided to create a public grid for people because I saw a need for a place that was just about the people, not about commerce, not about making money or going shopping. It would be just about getting together and doing things.”
Blight is aware that it has made the grid smaller, but with the potential to grow faster than some other grids. It also has it’s own set of issues, but he does it because he wants the grid to be a virtual gathering point on the digital landscape to touch base and have a great time with friends.
Blight said he first introduced his tropical life sim. Think Hawaiian sunset and swaying palm trees and beach parties. For about a month, he was alone to brainstorm a vast array of graphic settings and to build to his heart’s content. Slowly, he began bringing other sims online. When he grew tired of them, or they didn’t meet his expectations, he took them offline.
Other sims have found a home here. Blight had a Medieval Fantasy sim and a different welcome region. He estimates that there have been 50 sims that have been added and later taken down. Sweet Malta is one of the first malls here. Its been expanded over the past year. Luna, an exceptional builder, came in-world around June of 2017. Blight said a friend of Luna’s came in-world and informed her about it. She decided to rent a sim in order to build what she envisioned.
“Luna liked the fact that we were always moving forward with open simulator and not sticking with what we were comfortable with. She started to build and has been here ever since,” said Blight. “The ballroom was actually the first thing Luna built for the grid. It didn’t happen until October-November of 2017. Until then Luna was just building things for Luna because she sells things on the Kitely market and Second Life.”
When the first year anniversary of the grid rolled around, they decided to organize a “black tie” event. Since there was no appropriate build, Luna told him “I got you covered” and rezzed her building outfit on. Blight said that Luna enjoys building big and fancy and that’s how the ballroom came to be.
The grid will be two- years-old on Dec. 19 and that’s hard to imagine when you see the roots Blight and his team have planted, the illuminated and functional builds.
“We don’t do a lot of talking. We just get things done,” he said. “I try to give people the freedom to do what they want, as long as they don’t trip over their own feet,” Blight said, and then explained the importance of using prims appropriately so lag isn’t created. “It’s hard to fix a limit that doesn’t stifle creativity. I really want to let people be as creative as they can be. As long as they understand that at some point if they get out of control I’m going to have to say you’ve gone a little too far, let’s back it off a little bit.”
Then came Leighton Marjoram and Singergirl. Marjoram has this natural ability to create themed sims (He also has his own projects, Out and Proud grid and HG Traveller blog). Singergirl, who is the owner of Inspiration Island, is pretty much the life of the party.
“Inspiration Island is a entertainment mecca. Singer put together her art gallery and library. It has real world artists where you can see their work, possibly find the information about those artists and contact them. The first venue we built was Xanadu, which is inspired by the movie, but not meant to be a true representation,” he said. “I loved that project. I loved the meaning behind it.”
After a few brainstorming sessions, the building began. There were plans for several music venues, one of which was the Warehouse, which is a combination of a dive bar/grunge club and underground rave. It represents how everything can come together. The setting really doesn’t matter. The focus wasn’t who was performing in the venues, but about the people who were going to those venues. This cooperative effort, which included Terri Tam, has become one of the most popular meeting places for “Lifers”.
“The Warehouse was a model I found on a 3D website. I decorated the majority of the Warehouse and then Terri Tam spiced up the bar area,” he said and I added how wonderful her haunted house is on singer JohnnyB’s land. “Yes, TT is very creative and pretty much if she doesn’t have it in the inventory it doesn’t exist in any of the grids.”
Singergirl is a dynamic, well-loved, multi-talented singer and real life author. Like the other family members on this grid, she plays a major role. Blight said she’s been in-world for a little over a year now. Together they built Inspiration Island in two weeks. Within a month, they had the opening show at Xanadu, which Blight said he built in three days.
“Singer is definitely a major asset to the grid. She has her own projects. I try not to put any pressure on her to do things for the grid,” said Blight.
And what about Blight?
“I’m one of those people that if I decide to build something, then the rest of the world falls away,” he said. “There are several other grids that I help. The one thing that will make me mad quicker than anything is the grid vs grid mentality. Every grid has its merit. Every grid has it’s reasons for people being there. That’s why I don’t do membership drives and I don’t do specials. I don’t try to entice people to come here. If someone comes and they like what they see, I want them to stay.”
For the most part, you know when he’s around. He’ll comment on the movies we all watch at Inspiration’s drive-in. He’ll DJ in his sf-remake bunker. He’ll take back what you rezzed and can’t move and he’ll dance with you on a Friday night at the Warehouse.
It can’t get better than that.
–future posts will focus on all of the above plus Sweetface’s mall, Dragonshire, Essex, Pirate’s Bay and more!!