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Urban planning is much more fun in game form

Though Jakob gave me a pet wolf to keep me company when he’s unable to visit with me in Second Life, I didn’t open SL all weekend while he was in the hospital. The weather was gorgeous and I spent some time puttering in my yard or sprawled on the deck, enjoying the sunshine. I also needed a distraction rather than a reminder of Jakob’s illness.

Screenshot of street view from Cities: Skylines game

Enter Cities: Skylines, available on Steam. It’s how SimCities should have evolved but didn’t, and it’s an engrossing game. I found it frustrating at first while I learned the game mechanics — how to move the camera, how to build a bridge, how to place stops for a bus line — but it’s simple to enable mods for unlimited money and unlocked progression milestones and play less carefully while learning.

It’s exciting that there’s an active modder community, developing items from custom buildings to improved management panels for public transportation to color correction and different lighting models. One of the things I love about SL is the creativity of other residents and I’m a huge fan of user-created content. The company-created content is good, as well. While writing this post I discovered that both the CEO of Colossal Order and the Lead Game Designer are women. Woo-hoo!  That shouldn’t matter, but until it’s more common, I think my moment of celebration is reasonable.

 

Jakob remains in the hospital but his sister says he is stable again. This was a close call; he was too weak and confused after chemo to remember to check his blood sugar, which zoomed upward to critical levels. Living alone isn’t very safe. I have mixed feelings about our upcoming trip. On one hand, I’ll be with him, so I can get him care promptly. On the other hand, that’s a lot of responsibility, especially in a small mountain village in a country where I barely speak the language. Thanks to Google Maps I’ve located a hospital about twenty minutes from where we’ll be staying, and I can explain his illness in German if needed. Thinking ahead gives me a little more confidence.

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One Billion Rising 2015 – call for SL volunteers

One Billion Rising is in two weeks, with events around the globe and also in the virtual world Second Life. “One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history.  The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.  On 14 February 2013, people across the world came together to express their outrage, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.  Last year, on 14 February 2014, One Billion Rising for Justice focused on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence, and highlighted the impunity that lives at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. Events took place in 200 countries, where women, men, and youth came together to Rise, Release, and Dance outside of court houses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not.”

logo 2015 flickr

This morning I went to OBR volunteer training in SL and learned that we could use more support.  Do you have a little time on Valentine’s Day? The event runs for 24 hours, so there’s plenty of time to volunteer and still celebrate the day. Learn more about OBR in SL, and sign up to help.

Even if you can’t volunteer, don’t miss the events. There will be art, drama, music, drumming, and lots of dancing — and with danceballs, you don’t have to memorize the steps!

I’ve embedded two videos below: one from One Billion Rising in SL 2013, and another longer video that explains OBR in a global context.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Culture, Gender & Sexuality

 

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