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History of sl :: Aley aka Arcadia Asylum interview by By DrFran Babcock
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Oldbie Project – Aley aka Arcadia Asylum
are some residents in Second Life™ that fill me with awe and admiration.
Arcadia Asylum is one of those people, and her legacy is sprinkled across the
grid in the plethora of builds that bear her name. Almost everything that she
has created is available free and full perm. Everyone is encouraged to rip
apart her masterpieces, change, improve, use parts, and admire. Arcadia left Second
Life™ some time ago, but has always been around with some name or other. She is
currently using the name Aley.
very own Gemma Cleanslate wrote twice about the Aley’s LEA build in April of 2012 (http://slnewserdesign.blogspot.com/2012/04/sea-of-aley.html ) and the Arcadia Asylum library in August of
). She is compelling and cannot seem to
stop building. Her current build is the underground amusement park: Seaview,
that I have visited already several times. There is a lot to do there, and I
had to come back a few times to take it all in. I brought friends each time,
and they delighted in the offbeat humor of the constructions. At the urging of
my co-worker Gemma, I asked Aley if she would consent to an interview, and she
was more than gracious in agreeing. When I first teleported into Aley’s
underwater sandbox, she was playing with a build of a shrimp boat. A few
visitors came and went to pay regards during the interview. Aley was always
friendly and welcoming. She admitted that she could chatter on forever, and
that seemed to be what happened. The interview that follows is candid and
interesting. Was she pulling my leg…I am not sure? I will report what I
witnessed, as that is my responsibility as a reporter.
me as we visit with a Second Life™ original:
Aley: This version (of the shrimp boat)
will be able to net scoop stuff and, there’s the nets deployed. I'm going to
sail around the Blake Sea and catch more mermaids.
SL Newser: It is common knowledge that
you are Arcadia ?
Aley: Yups. No need to look for the name; just follow the
thousands of full perm freebies.
Newser: When did Arcadia come here?
Aley: Oh, Arcadia wasn’t my first account
[smile]. I first heard of SL in the late 90s when it was barely in Beta. Linden
Lab was getting some web news and real life news about them trying to start a
virtual world. Well, SL sounded like a huge dot com scam deluxe: “Pay exorbitant
rates to rent server space and call it land.
So, I followed SL before it was open to
the general public. I wasn’t about to “pay” to look at it. When SL opened free
accounts, I started one. I think my first account was named Bubbles. I goofed
around a while till that account was fried by glitches. You could totally loose
your account due to the bugs back then
let’s see when I started the Arcadia account I was miffed and let some time
lapse. I started hanging out at the old Calleta Hobo Info Hub, and got into
open sourcing there.
I got sick of SL bugs and semi-quit for two months. When I tried to log back in
LL had deleted my whole inventory. The eventually restored it, but I was pissed
off, and stayed away as best I could. Back
then Linden Lab was scrubbing account data if they were dormant for a month.
Those were the wild old days in SL
whole grid would semi regularly be crashed offline by organized griefer
could fart and crash a whole sim offline for hours. Building stuff was tricky,
as a crash and rollback would even remove back up copies from your inventory. SL
had deadly bugs for a decade, but is way more stable now.
this point we were visited by Heather, a mermaid, and she hung around for a
while begging Aley to write a book of her life. Aley said it would never
happen. Instead, we started talking about gender in Second Life™.
I use pretty gender neutral avatars. At my age I'm more asexual than anything
Heather: Asexual is good. Less time
fending off idiots.
Aley: It unclutters alot of life.
Well, to change the subject…why do you offer so much for free?
Aley: I was retired all through the SL business,
and wanted nothing to do with clients
and stuff anymore. I have social security and a small pension, and I live like
a church mouse.
How did you learn to build so well, Aley?
Aley: Oh, I was a CAD engineering
draftsperson for probably 20years, so I could fart out 3D models. My whole
family was into construction. My youngest sister is a professional welder. My dad
was an engineer at a huge contracting corportation that did the NASA contracts.
SL Newser: What was your favorite build
from those days?
Aley: I have no favorite builds, just
favorite projects. I live for big projects. The old slum city project was great
). The sim owner eventualy turned the sim into a BDSM porno sim, so I deleted
it all. As if SL doesnt have enough of those already. I had anger management
issues back then, but I’m better medicated now. Better living through
psychiatric pharmacology. Current therapist hasn’t a clue what to do with me.
How to you write a treatment plan for a nutcase with no common craziness issues.
SL Newser: Awwwwww. I am not going to
write about this…
Aley: Please go ahead. I was never in
the closet about being a mental patient. I want it out and known that you can
do pretty well with your life with mental illnesses, if you get help and work
lost track, what was I rambling about?
SL Newser: What 3D software do you use?
Aley: Now? SL is my main 3D software
SL Newser: So, you are not making mesh,
but using sculpts ?
Aley: I have fiddled with stuff like Maya,
etc., but LL punishes mesh. You get more vertices with sculpts then equivalent
mesh, and no size penalties. I use a dozen in world tools. Here’s the thing: I
worked for around 20 years hunched over auto CAD and, I’m NOT going back to
that hell. In SL I have direct interaction. I can model and play and chatter,
and best of all get direct feedback and help. This isn’t a job, it's a social hobby
to me. Little, if any of my work here is truly original. I pester everyone around
me for ideas and bits and pieces. As i don’t sell anything and give it all away
free, few have any qualms about playing.
SL Newser: So, tell me about your
current build, Seaview, the underwater amusement park. What was the inspiration
SL Newser: Yes, in fact, a friend of
mine asked me to ask you what happened to it ?
Aley: LL happened. That ended during M.
Linden’s mis-management. The idea behind it was to fully utilize a whole sim,
to build up to the sim ceiling. You see, people in general think in two
dimensions—out of sight; out of mind. I wanted to experiment with making something
that would force people to think up and down too. A few caught onto the idea.
There was a place called Starbase Alpha, or something that was based on the
concept after I worked it out.
SL Newser: Thanks.
The Blake Deeps is 13 sims and owned by Hollywood Rentals. They own and manage
about 200 sims. Well, I started hanging out with the local pirate and sailing community
about three years ago, and rented that plot where Flotsam Town (another Blake Deeps
build by Aley) is located. I started guerilla decorating the seabeds in these sims,
meaning the owners dident know what i was up to.
up Flotsam in Blake Diego boosted its traffic a dozen fold, and the little sneak
stuff i did here boosted general boating traffic.
SL Newser: So, they kept you.
Aley: When Fanci passed away and her
properties were at risk the main owner of Hollywood Rentals bought them up, and
made four new open water sims named after Fanci. This time they asked me to
decorate the place on purpose [laughs].
owners wanted to expand from just pirate and age of sail theme to the mer community,
so we started a crazy experiment to see if you could combine rentals underwater
with events on top of the water, and
keep waterway clearance for sailing
percent of these sims are homesteads with a quarter of the prim allotment. I
developed ways to develop homesteads by pirating LL owned ocean sims. There’s a
glitch, or was, where some rollouts
could reset auto return to zero. That made it extra fun (smile).
prim counts for all the underwater stuff in each sim is around 200 prims. That
leaves 300prims for passing ships, boats, and planes, and the rest go to the
renters. Detailing 80% to 100% of a sim wide seabed in 200 prims is a major
challenge. The Blake Sea ocean homestead sims use around 1,000 to 2,000 prims
for their seabeds, and you have seen how barren they all look
Mark (Hollywood Rentals) wanted to bring in mermaids, and I was the only one
around who was developing homestead seabeds, so I volunteered to get in on this.
We dragged in the Safe Waters Foundation to help with community building
Park is the result of being totally out of ideas for what more underwater stuff
to make. I tried to make an arctic underwater area but ran into all kinds of
problems, so I gave up. Ardo (Ardour Allen) said: “Make an amusement park.”
desperate enough for anything, so I told Ardo to start building it. It ends up
as a nice Victorian era amusement part. I managed to drag that project out to
almost three months, and now it’s done.
interested in lower prim impact then perfection
SL Newser: No one complains about your
Aley: Sure they do! I closed down at least
five marketplace shops. Some folks can't compete with freebies, especially when
there a fraction the prims. SL is a sort of social game. My game play is less
prims and free
this point we sort of drifted off into talking about other content creators and
how scultpts were superior to mesh. At times it seemed as if Aley was impatient
with me because I didn’t know enough about her body of work, which was true.
haven’t put in all that she told me, but probably more than I should have. Aley
is a remarkable person, at turns confident and proud, then a bit less so, as
when she told me that the builder of the Nemo sims’ textures made hers look
like crayon drawings.
is too, too much information out there, for me to give you a list of resources.
You can go and see recreations of actual builds at an Arcadia Asylum Museum.
Aley herself has a marketplace store full of full perm freebies, and the grid
abounds with lore and goodies all from this prolific woman.
Do spend some time learning what you can, and if
you see me in Fanci’s Deep at the Seaview Amusement park, say hello.