The 21st Term Dawning

The Confederation

The Confederation of Democratic Simulators

Have you ever thought about alternatives to the most common model of land ownership in Second Life? Typically there is an estate owner, also known as land baron, who rents parcels to the residents in his (or her) sims. He is the dictator, feudal lord, boss, master or whatever word you prefer. If you want to live in his land, you better try keep good relations with him. If he dies, who will inherit his land, or does it vanish overnight without warning, erasing all your group-owned items?

If you don’t like this kind of model, you may be interested in knowing, that there are alternatives. You can move to Linden-owned mainland or rent a tiny Linden home. Many are not happy with the almost unlimited freedom of mainland, which is often misused, and the Linden Homes lack customization options.

Democratic ownership of land is an interesting option. All the decisions are made by the community itself, that represent the whole population. You can affect to things, or at least have an illusion of that. Democracy involves always politics, that can be challenging from time to time.

City wall of Neufreistadt

City wall of Neufreistadt

The oldest democratic community of the Second Life is known as the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS), which was founded in 2004 by group of virtual democratic pioneers. Originally it started as Neualtenburg in the Anzere mainland region, but later was moved to a private sim, called Neufreistadt. Linden Lab turned the settlement in Anzere into an infohub, which can be visited even nowadays. On course of time new sims have been added one by one, and now the confederation consists of five sims with three three or four themes.

Region Theme Founding Year
Neufreistadt Bavarian 2006 [1]
Colonia Nova Roman / Italian 2006
Alpine Meadow Alpine 2007
Locus Amoenus Tuscan / Italian [2] 2008
Monastery Alpine 2010

[1] Neufreistadt was founded in 2006 by moving Neualtenburg from mainland. Neualtenburg itself was settled in 2004.
[2] Originally Locus Amoenus was of the Roman theme, but was converted to Tuscan in early 2014.

One of the founding principles of the CDS is, that the citizens build the public infrastructure by themselves and grant to the community ownership over their creations. Naturally this means, that talented artists and builders are needed in the community. Privately owned parcels can naturally have any building as long as they are in harmony with the building code of the local covenant.

New Guild planning Alpine Meadow in 2009

New Guild planning Monastery region in 2008

Events are another nice dimension of the CDS. There are annual events for inaugurations of new Representative Assembly (the parliament of the confederation), Octoberfest, Floralia and some others. Despite of the themed festivals, the CDS is not about role playing.

Floralia planning meeting

Floralia 2014 planning in chancellor’s office

Political year of the CDS consists of two terms. Elections are held, to choose the Representative Assembly (RA) and the chancellor, who is a kind of prime minister of the community. The term starting in June 2014 will be the 21st term of the confederation. There are some excitement in the air, because a new region may be added as the economic depression is over and the community has started to face overpopulation. It will be interesting to see, what the future brings for the CDS!

Grove Country Club Estates

Have you seen too many tropical sims with beaches, palms and tiki houses? If you have, Grove Country Club Estates, owned by Umberto Giano, may have something new for you. The estate has Mediterranean theme, which is dominated by beautiful villas, cypress tree, high stone fences and ponds. The heart of the place is the Country Club, with different events.

Casablanca Bay

Grove sims form a continuous landmass, which has its own infrastructure of roads and waterways. Especially the roads seem to be very convenient way of getting around and many of the residents seem to have sports car in front of their houses. They also officially encourage sailing and Casablanca Bay is an impressive dock for sailboats. One of the sims is 100% water, that helps sailing, but most of the waterways are narrow, clearly more like features of landscaping than channels for boats. Still, my impression is, that the estate is quite young still and it will be seen, how their landmass will develop. Their waters seem to be open for residents only, even if you can find some parcels, where public rezzing is either intentionally or unintentionally switched on, that allow you to try boating.

Mediterranean villa

There are several special spots in the estate. Casablanca Bay is a beautiful dock for boats and a great place to look around. If you own a boat, you can rent a slip for it in the bay. Next to it is The Grove Country Club with a ballroom and Club Nine, which is a gay nightclub. In the sky over the club houses, there is a stadium and athletic center, where football is been played.

Grove Country Club Estates has two standards for parcels: 8,192 m² with 1875 prims and 16,384 m² with 3750 prims. All the parcels are interconnected by the road network, but have shoreline too. The covenant has almost 6,000 words regulating all the aspects of life and behavior in the estate, that is probably essential, to keep to the look and feel of the place in harmony with the vision of the creators. Medieval castles, forts, ruins, tree houses are explicitly not allowed. Maximum height of houses is 45 meters, but with an approval, you may be able to build higher. Skyboxes are allowed above 1,000 meters, that those of us favoring long drawing distances should appreciate.

Luxury is clearly a word, which describes Grove Country Club Estates well. Their builds and landscaping are of really high quality. Some may count it as downside, as new landowners must be approved, minimum standard parcel size is 1/8 of sim and waterways are open to the residents only. On the other hand, land prices are not too high at all. Grove has a special charm and is a unique gem among other estates dominated by lonely tropical islands. If you love Mediterranean style and have no problems on living in the neighborhood of a gay nightclub, this could be a good home for you.

Name: Grove Country Club Estates (slurl)
Theme: Mediterranean
Building code: strict
Common areas: roads, waterways, harbor, shopping district
Attractions: Casablanca Bay, Grove Country Club, Club Nine (for gays), Cheval de Mer, Stadium & athletic center, shopping district
Landmass: 10 isolated private regions connected to 5 commercial ones
Parcel ownership: residents
Tiers: about L$8.0/prim/month, payments in L$

Park Drive

Goombah Estates

In Second Life there are many wonderful places to live with different strengths and weaknesses. There are countless isolated regions forming a chess board like spray in the world map, but there are also some places, that value continuous landmass offering their residents some common land or water for activities like driving, riding, sailing or flying.

Channel in Dollyville

Map of Goombah

Regions of Goombah Estates form a unique ring-like shape allowing anyone to travel around the estate without teleporting. According to their covenant, they offer waterways and trails with drawbridges to allow horse riding and boating in their area. I decided to rez my Trudeau LeetleCat II in one of their sims and try sailing there. It was quite seamless experience despite of some parcels, where scripting wasn’t allowed. Still, it must be said, that Goombah waters are quite narrow and shallow for sailing. My boat was stuck on sand couple of times, but fortunately raising the center board helped to move on.

The general impression of the place was very positive. Even if they don’t have a strict building code there, most of the houses looked very good and the environment had natural feeling with all the waterfalls, waterways, trees and hills. According to the covenant, architecture and landscaping must be kept sympathetic to the area. My impression was, that riding is more popular in there than boating, but still some parcels had piers with motor boats. Probably kayaking might be the most enjoyable water sports in this area.

Name: Goombah Estates (slurl)
Themes: tropic and grass
Building code: moderate (“sympathetic to the area”)
Common areas: waterways, trails, drawbridges, horse track
Attractions: horse track
Landmass: 36 isolated private regions
Parcel ownership: residents
Tiers: about L$8.5/prim/month, payments via PayPal