365 days of SL, day 24. But oh, are YOU in for a big one tonight! moth_wingthane and I visited a place that kyroraz had recommended called Dinosaur Island; we explored for quite a while, too, and there were so many interesting things that I can't select just ONE screenshot. So instead, you get a whole boatload.
One more note: the area had its own Windlight settings, so I didn't modify the environment for these.
Getting started, this is where we arrived; a landing pad with lush vegetation, a barbed wire fence separating us from the actual park, and a cave leading inside.
Shortly after, we arrived at the main area. It looked and felt like a museum; the screenshot doesn't nearly do it justice. I still didn't know what the place was about at this point, and expected an actual dinosaur museum, basically the same kind you might encounter in real life.
When we started exploring the "Museum & Laboratory" area, we noticed two things. First, the whole place very much felt like it was actively being worked on and redesigned; and second, they really did have dinosaur exhibits. *s* There were a couple of empty display cases, too, intended for people to use (they even had timers telling you how long you spent in there), so for a short while, the museum acquired a rare live schneesaurus specimen. ^^
I don't have any more suitable pictures of the Museum and Lab, so the next one's already from the "Dino Mall". As expected, this was where you could get various kinds of dinosaur avatars, as well as accessories, both kinky and non-kinky.
"Feral" is an established term in Second Life for non-anthropomorphic avatars, BTW, and (by extension) non-anthropomorphic characters. I prefer "non-morphic" myself, or "four-legged" (or, in the case of fursuits, "quad"); but then I'm also the kind of person who'll still say "tinysex" instead of the more common "cybersex".
Some more exploring around various bends and into seemingly disused areas led to a double-door that revealed this corridor. It may look sinister, but in actuality, it turned out it was merely a sandbox.
To explain this for people who don't play Second Life — things you buy from vendors typically come in boxes that you then unpack. In order to unpack a box, however, you have to rez it, i.e. create an actual copy in-world instead of merely having it in your inventory, and most places do not allow everyone to rez objects, for obvious reasons. Since not everyone has a home of their own, though, and also for convenience, many stores and malls have special areas where you're allowed to rez objects after all, so in order to allow you to actually make use of your purchases.
Purchases made on the Second Life marketplace (formerly XstreetSL) used to be similar, but a new system was recently introduced to directly deliver objects into the buyer's inventory there. Before this, I think public sandboxes (not associated with any store) were quite common and popular; I imagine they still are, but I've never used one, so I wouldn't know either way.
Speaking of restrictions on rezzing, the Linden roads all have special rez zones at regular intervals, indicated by signs, intended to allow people to rez vehicles etc. for travelling on the road without the entire road having to permit rezzing. But I'm going off on a tangent here, so I'll stop now and move on to the next screenshot.
By the time we returned from that ominous-looking rez-zone, I thought we were done, actually, but moth_wingthane found another tunnel that led through another cave and then to the surface, into the actual dinosaur park that this place apparently used to be and may or may not be anymore.
In the above screenshot, a raptor is about to have a close encounter of the third kind. :)
There were other kinds of dinosaurs present, too. I wondered if I should include this screenshot, seeing as it's relatively redundant with the previous one, but I decided to go ahead and do it because it clearly shows how at least some of the trees are L-system-based.
What's more, like the above, it also shows the region's masterful use of Windlight settings to create atmosphere; the entire area very much felt like a "lost world".
moth_wingthane indicated that these broken domes we encountered may be a reference to the Jurassic Park movies. Apparently, some sort of dinosaur attack has occurred here; bits and pieces are strewn all over the place, the air is heavy with smoke, and there is a destroyed avatar vendor (!) lying in the back.
I'm really tickled that somebody actually went to the effort of creating a broken vendor for this. It also leads to interesting semantic questions: the vendor exists on an OOC (out of character) level, obviously, the level of people sitting at their computers playing a collaborative MMO game, but the dinosaur attack occurred on an IC (in character) level. This tension is usually ignored/glossed over when vendors etc. are concerned, but here, the question is made explicit and impossible to ignore: ICly, what was the vendor's purpose, and what, if anything, was it selling?
(As an aside, "ignored/glossed over" does not mean a character can't stay IC when referring to or talking about a vendor; the character simply becomes aware of their existence as an avatar in a virtual reality for a limited time and acts accordingly and acknowledges it. It's actually fun.)
We left the damaged area again and pushed on some more. Dinosaurs really seem to be running wild here, judging from the damage to (and message of) this sign. :P Of course, why would you want to say "Hello Dinosaurs!" in the first place? Or is it addressed at the park's inhabitants — "do not say 'Hello', dinosaurs"?
The rest of the area was sealed off by "under construction" barriers and high barbed-wire fences that you couldn't jump across; flying was also disabled in the region, but we managed to ledge-walk and cross into the forbidden zone, anyway. (If there's one thing that playing DOOM has taught me, it's ledge-walking.)
It turned out that there was much more there: a completely different take on the park, with gates, a visitor center and more. Most of it seemed reasonably finished, too, but it all had that air of abandonment about it, as if the park'd been run over by dinosaurs who ate all the employees, scientists and visitors.
The above screenshot was taken near the main entrance.
We poked around for some, and after a while came across this rustic, abandoned cafeteria.
The back of the cafeteria had an "employees only" door, but we're not the sorts to be stopped by that. I'm already in prison for life at Black Gazza, and moth_wingthane is a bad bad boy indeed. :)
Unfortunately, I took hardly any screenshots in the lab/research section that we entered, so the only thing you get is the other side of the entrance. There was an elevator shaft near by, and another two levels (at least) below; we were able to access parts of them with a key card I found, but other parts were off-limits to us. (Not that we couldn't have entered them in creative ways.)
Anyhow, all this seemed abandoned, too. Perhaps it's all an older build that's still lingering; or perhaps it's a new version of the park that's being worked on and polished while the old one is still in place. Given that the main part we initially went to also felt unfinished, and at times more so than this area, I'm not sure either way.
In any case, though, it was all a very interesting experience. We had to cut it short in the end, but it was a lot of fun.
Location: Dinosaurs Park (40, 134, 22)