For anyone who’s been a resident in Second Life for more than a few months, it’s very likely that you’ve become familiar with Aero Pines Park, a picturesque park spanning several regions. It’s so large that exploring it in its entirety isn’t possible in one log-in, unless you spend more time in SL than RL.
At Aero Pines, snowmobiling is a fun way to explore the nature trails.
The park, celebrating its eighth year in SL during 2014, is owned by Cindy Bolero. It offers a wide array of activities for any SL outdoor enthusiast, including hiking, bicycle and horse trails, miles of canoeable canals, an airport where visitors can rez a seaplane or helicopter, rezzable jet skis, hot air balloon excursions, and much more. I even discovered a replica of a native Indian village where I weaved a rug for the first time.
Guests can enjoy rug-weaving at the native Indian village. Photo courtesy of Vulcan Viper.
Siren of the Seas -- at the Mermaid Lagoon.
In addition to the year-round recreational offerings mentioned above, the park also hosts a wide variety of annual events including the Metaverse Music Expo, a Fourth of July celebration complete with fireworks, a Valentine’s Ball, and a virtual horse rodeo. Over the years, the park has also collaborated with and hosted virtual conferences and events for a number of real-world organizations, including NASA.
Ruby Racer demo at Aero Pines Park. Photo courtesy of Vulcan Viper.
Firefighters train to work near power lines.
During a recent interview, Cindy Bolero discussed her thoughts with me on the use of Aero Pines as a virtual training center for real-life fire fighters. “Hosting and observing the firefighter training was a great experience. It’s the best use of virtual worlds I’ve seen so far,” she said.
In fact, she says she was so taken with the work she did, that she has set her sights on a new and ambitious project: to revolutionize the way people perceive and use virtual worlds. “I am going to the next level with it in another game engine; higher resolution, better physics, white labeling capability.” She explained.
The new game engine, she explained, will be playable in web browsers, tablets, and even on Facebook.
“Think outside the box,” she explained passionately. “Don’t think “grid” - don’t think “viewer.” Think more like, embedded 3D experiences on web pages. Single player or multiplayer. Think education modules built in 3D.”
When asked what the future holds for Aero Pines in SL, Bolero said the park is only keeping open as “many regions as the sponsors are willing or available to support.” She goes on to reveal that the park was downsized at the beginning of 2013, with the deletion of the Northern mountain range canyons.
Despite downsizing, in terms of land capacity, this doesn’t mean that Aero Pines is on its way to being past history in SL. In fact, Bolero is planning to build 400-4000 meters worth of new terrain, and 6000 meters of new ocean.
Popular annual events such as Winterfest, the Fourth of July celebration, Valentine’s Ball, and Halloween extravaganza are all slated to continue as well in 2014, and beyond.