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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spotlight on the Highlands of Scotland sims

There are so many interesting stories in Second Life and here is another one.  This story is how the Highlands of Scotland sims came to be in SL.

First of all let me wish the sims and the management team of the Highlands of Scotland congratulations on your fifth year in SL and wish you many many more.

Lauraclaire Benelli is the main face ( read CEO) of the Highlands of Scotland these days, and is very much a true Scottish lass through and through. She joined SL on 28th February 2007.

Lauraclaire’s RL daughter was having a party at home one day and sent her packing to a hotel. Laura picked up a magazine to read and in said magazine was an article on Second Life.  The article intrigued her so much that she downloaded the viewer on her return home and she has been here ever since.

However, the arrival of the sims is what I want to concentrate on.  They were originally started by one Gerald Wylie, with their roots in the Nessie Hunt which started in October 2007.

The original purpose for the sims was to Promote an interactive Board Game.    The backstory to that goes like this …. Tony Harmsworth (Gerald Wylie) created a board game, similar to monopoly, called Nessie Hunt.  In the 1980's Nessie Hunt was voted the best new product at the British International Toy Fair, but it was never distributed worldwide because of the lack of a marketing budget and the production costs being too high. Producing this game today would cost in the order of £30 (to produce, not its retail price). In the shops the retail price would be likely to be in the order of £100 and although families will pay that sort of money for a computer games console, they would not consider it for a board game.

The challenge had long been to produce a Computer version of Nessie Hunt and after one aborted attempt, when an IT company tried to turn it into a "shoot-em-up" game, they tried to do it themselves using a computer training system called quest. They got the game to the point where everything worked, but it was boring to play. The whole project then got put on the back-burner until Lauraclaire discovered Second Life in October 2007. Their aim was to create something similar to where many users could come online and play. They wanted it to be enjoyable as well as interesting.

But Gerald retired from SL at the start of June 2011 and the game had to be removed.  The management team now concentrate on promoting the Highlands in SL through Music, Culture, Rentals and a Warm Highland Welcome. The management team is made upt of 3 Scottish friends Lauraclaire, Lesley and Magnusand an American Accountant Gren Mocha.

The sims are currently made up of 2 sims, namely Inverness City and Urqhuart.  Urquhart is fully residential while Inverness City is a typical City with Designer shops, a Church, the Inn, Nessie's Pub and The Caledonian Ballroom at the lower level of Brody Castle.

Shops that can be found there are  SF Designs, Antiki Taki, Twin Souls, ElCee's Emporium and The Tartan Shops all of which have been with the Highlands since the beginning plus UK Couture, MMDzign, Priory of Roses, Hinterland, Lacys Fashions, Aylas Garden and Furnishings and Stitches Creations.

There is an endless list of events presented on the sims from  Celtic Rock, Scottish, Folk, Ceilidhs, 50's, 60's 70's etc.  Classic Rock, Classical, Baroque, Ballroom, Burns Night ….   and much more.
The Highlands of Scotland team aim to continue to bring a touch of the Real Scotland to SL., to be a safe area for Newbies and a place that others want to visit.


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