Wherein I Question The Lab’s Efficiency

Flying around today I came upon the Former Site of Campus SL (SLurl), a prime-location region simply sitting about with no particular use at this time. It is attractively landscaped with rolling hills and the old school yet still miraculous Linden plants (just one prim? really?). Near by are two Help Island Public regions and an Orientation Island Public plus plenty of other Linden land.

With many Second Life-themed blogs decrying the decrease in Resident landholders, the economic down-spiral this means for The Lab, and other virtually apocalyptic news, a more-or-less empty region like Campus makes me wonder how efficiently The Lab manages its own lands. Yes, yes, yes, I’ve written about this before (notably here and here) so the concern is not new. But with Second Life 10th Birthday (SL10B) celebrations cranking up, I wonder how much money The Lab is spending on regions that lay fallow such as this one. Surely, moving this one to lend it out for a month to the SL10B organizers isn’t practical (there’d be a void where it was, for one), but if the cost of simply leaving it there is neglibile, why can’t The Lab donate regions for the celebration’s use or for charitable events such as Relay For Life?

Sorry, but going there wasn’t really my intent. If you are a writer, you know how thoughts get away from you. The first thought that occurred to me as I explored this region was more like “How could The Lab let Residents use this rather than leave it empty?” I guess it is nearly the same thought, but less specific.

Certainly, there are many, many regions that have been set aside by The Lab for recreational purposes. The Coastal Waterway (read several of my posts about it here) and the Blake Sea among them, plus a host of special places created by the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) almost litter The Grid. Just walk around Bay City sometime and you’ll stub your toe one one in just minutes.

And I’m not going to get into the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) regions. I don’t know enough and there is just too much behind the scenes for mere mortals like me to understand. I refer you to Honour McMillan (and her blog) for that.

Campus and similar regions strike me as special cases, however. They were once important to The Lab but for one reason or another no longer serve as originally intended. Simply abandoning them is rather inefficient, I imagine. So what can The Lab do, particularly to enhance revenue?

As I mentioned, many of these lands are in prime locations. Sell them. There are still land barons in-world that covet well-travelled land near population centers. Set up guidelines such as successful “governed” communities such as Bay City, Nova Albion, and the Blake Sea have and sell them.

Or rent them. The Lab has had a little-known program to lend out retail space in Luna’s Luna Oaks Galleria Mall (SLurl) to Residents via lottery, though based on forum posts, I doubt the program is active (but if you visit you’ll see active shops though most vendors date to 2008 …. this is something I’m investigating). Why not renew this idea but for pay? A merchant can pay another Resident for shopping mall space or they can pay The Lab. Tie it into the Second Life Marketplace somehow. I’m not the only one thinking about this (see here). Rent space to retailers, big corporations, or just Residents, but rent out the land.

Give away the land. At least for a short period. Reward active Forum users or prominent community members or simply by random chance, lend out the land someone. This could be a great Premium Membership perk … a chance to have some free land for a fixed period (a month, six months, a year?) just because you pay an annual membership fee. Give every new Resident, Premium or not, a small plot of land to call home for a fortnight on a sim that has a tutorial-based infrastructure. Teaching Residents to use Second Life and helping them start out and retention might be higher.

The land can always be deleted. It’s just electrons, after all. Kill the sim, move others around to fill the gaps if need be, and free up that server space. Or move Residents from the hinterlands to these unused Linden lands, much as the big move to Zindra was accomplished. Remember that? Owners of adult-themed businesses such as strip clubs and such were moved from parcels that were about to be zoned as safe for folks under 18-years of age to lands where visitors needed to prove they were of adult age. Then the newly empty lands could be deleted.

Any of these options would be far more efficient than just letting the land lay fallow, though I do admit that it is rather pleasant to see a well-landscaped region in the chaos that often rules the Mainland. Perhaps there is a value after all.

Zyx the Booshtopian

My “big pixy” alt, Zyx Resident, has invested in a pre-order of Booshies, a new (and still in closed Beta) breedable pet game system (as seen on my blog here) so she was thrilled when Booshtopia opened for preview visits today (SLurl). She sent me some pictures and a few comments:

On my first visit today I wore my Girecko Booshitar (a Girecko booshie avatar) so I could blend in with the natives. I think I blended in too well as I don’t remember if that was me on the left or on the other left. As the critters breed, other colorations and physical features may result so I will stand out better.

Later I bought a Relay For Life (RFL) version of the Felitera Booshitar, the purple/white one on the left. I met this wild Felitera and we hung out for a while. She wasn’t very talkative, but she kept nosing me. Physical examples of all the current critters are razzed on Booshtopia for you to see.

Behind me in that big tree on the Island is Menchy’s Goods Galore, the shop in which  you can buy Booshitars (some benefiting RFL) and collectibles. Eventually the shop will stock goodies used in the game.

The shop also sells some plants, like this 6 prim mesh Fuschino Flower I found in the forest.

Here I’m flyihg over Booshtopia in search of more areas to explore. The forest is magnificent, and you can see it for all the trees. Technically speaking, the game can be played entered via the HUD, if I understand things correctly, so you never need to rez a physical pet, but if you visit Booshtopia, you can rez a pet for adventures that can gain you points, food, and friends. Finally, a pet that I can do more with than cuddle or feed.


Tough days, too many malted milk balls, and a lack of sleep can lead to “creative” decisions. My big pixy alt Zyx bought a Booshies starter kit — a note card essentially stating “When our product is ready to launch, we’ll send it to you.”

Booshies a new ‘breedable’ and game in SL. And I bought the lizardy avatar for from the Relay for Life vendor at Fantasy Faire (SLurl), paying more than the tag value, of course. I may throw away money, but it’s often for a good cause..

I spent a fair amount of time looking things over at the display (SLurl) and found quite a bit to like:

  • No land needed as you don’t ever need to rez your pet — its all done via the game HUD.
  • Its actually a game! Meeroos came close to being one, but it seems to have devolved into a breeding festival much like those stupid bunnies (okies, confession time … I loved the bunnies and I made a fortune, but the Head Bunnies screwed a lot of my friends, hurting them deeply. But that’s another topic).
  • There’s a promise of “adventures” with your pet as an actual companion. When I Beta tested the Meeroos, I longed for one that would follow me as I explored. Even the Meepet ones that no longer breed are tied to a “home” spot and food. Here’s hoping I interpreted the excellent Booshies guide correctly.
  • You can play solo or team up for more than just earning “points.”
  • Once you have a critter, its free to play. You don’t ever need to buy anything. Food for the Meeroos kept me broke since I wasn’t selling off the herd.

Yah. I was tired. But it still looks pretty good. Whether it turns out to be bogus or brava, I’ll post something. Leave a comment if you joined (the pre-order period ends with the Faire, I think) and let me know what you think.

Fantasy Faire 2012

It looks like the Fantasy Faire for 2012 is now open! Visit the Official Web Site for official information such as maps, lists of vendors, and of course, vital information about the charity, Relay for Life.

I’m not an official blogger, but I’ll try to post my favorite sights and purchases. Don’t forget to check my Second Life Profile Feed now and then for some pics with direct teleport links, too.

Remember, everybody, this is for fun and for charity. Let’s make this a big win for everyone!