Imagine a place where a global community comes together to roleplay life experiences in a detailed simulated virtual world. That is the definition of Second Life.
We all rezz here to create our own story and experience cultures from all over the world. Within each of our stories we meet people with their own. We learn from and share our innermost thoughts with each other. We experience things that we may or may not have the opportunity or courage to do in our real lives. That is what makes SL such a unique timeless place.
One thing we can do here and not in the real world it change our stories at any time, engage in adventures that would require an income of a millionaire or realize our own creativity. We can build our worlds around us based on our own imaginations or see and play directly in the creativity of others.
No two communities are the same. Cumberland City is one of many in Second Life where dreams and creativity is shared among the residents. What separates it from the others is the heart and souls of the people who concentrate on making it as realistic as possible. This great community is also a proud supporter of the American Cancer Society - having donated over 150K L$ this year.
This 27 sim community is based on a real community along I-90 in Maine, USA. With government services such as a Capital building, district court, Department of Children & Family services, houses and businesses, Cumberland City offers community members the opportunity to start a business and thrive in a SLife where neighbors are friendly, helpful and care about their environment. Best of all the creator is not absent. She is as immersed in the daily activities just like everyone else who call Cumberland City their virtual home.
The SL Enquirer met up with Traci Gassner , the governor of Cumberland City.
Hi Traci, it is a pleasure to interview you. Can you please share with our readers how you discovered Second Life?
Traci: That’s a fun story… I have always been involved in IT related things all my life and collaborating with peers globally for work and was in a IRC chat room one night back in January 2007 when one of the people in the chat room discussing some perhaps boring IT stuff says OMG I found this thing called second life it’s like a chat room but your a “Cartoon!” you and be this thing like a character and see others and chat like in a virtual kind of thing… I was like .. ya ok .. sure.. and got the information logged in made my avatar and was a certain thing in me sparked to life. An entirely different way to interact using a computer. I grew up in the computer revolution and finding SL has helped define me and also to help me reach out and help others.
What inspired you to create Cumberland City?
Traci: I never intended to own a thing quite like Cumberland City. I stumbled into it more than I set out to create it. Ive in me tenure in SL taught people to create, build and share things… I ran into the community role play scene and instantly found it a way to share, help people and help myself. Several circumstances led me to taking the lead of a community and growing it that I would rather say became circumstances of “fate” and one I embraced with the assistance of very many along the way to “Create” what is now known as Cumberland City. Its motto is “Unique by it’s people” Past present and future.
A 27 Sim community is impressive. It has to be a labor of love for you and your team. Can you tell me about your team and their roles within the Cumberland City community?
Traci: Goodness, is so many who contribute. I am more or less just a guidance counselor to what the melting pot we call Cumberland City has become. The team of builders and managers - the Residents mostly who provide input and ideas is what makes Cumberland City special. We are not a single “owner” like community who controls all things. Yes the buck has to stop on my desk but I doubt you will find many who see it that way. I love and encourage my team and the residents to take up the charge to create what we all share as a common goal. A inclusive, safe, diverse open minded role play city.
What can visitors expect to experience here?
Traci: First I would like to think a warm welcome. The residents here are simply amazing. I’m biased and would like to think say they are warmest in SL for this genre. One the imagery as you have seen is welcoming, Cumberland is a very well made quality visual experience that we are constantly working on. Nothing about this is easy and the community has suffered setbacks but it just comes back stronger and more resolved. You will find as a visitor here very dedicated team of management and painfully loyal residents who have big hearts and willing to take new people in and help them become Cumberlonians!
A government within Second life may seem intimidating to those who prefer experiencing Second life without a set structure. How would you describe your community and how government plays a role in daily Slife?
Traci: Good question - Cumberland is amazing to me in how it is a micro democracy that works. It is very rare an issue actually makes it to my desk as unresolved. We pride ourselves in fact that most of the time our system functions in a open minded manner. No system is ever perfect but even with our system of Government and covenants in place people are very free to express and live here with security and a sense that the Cumberland has their best interests in mind. Those few over the history that fail in seeing that are usually met with applause when they leave. That may sound tacky but reality is not every place in SL is for everyone but the majority here find our system comforting.
This is a realistic community based on Maine, USA in real life. Is anyone welcome to be part of the community or do you have guidelines for becoming a resident, excluding fictitious character?
Traci: Cornerstone of Cumberland is diversity. We are inclusive. Generally we are a human reality based community. We are furry friendly and Neko friendly as well. I would say such things as “super-human” or para-normal will not fit in here by nature of the genre… Aside from that we are a warm welcoming community.
The Cumberland City community prides itself on family roleplay. What type of amenities aid in the realism of the environment?
Traci: We have a full menu of City services such as Police, Fire and EMS depts, a hospital, DMV, Court and city government. We like to role play things out, for instance road work we have a Dept of Transportation to do road projects and when it snows you will see them out with snow plows. Trash collections, phone service and soon to be mail delivery system. We plan weather events and alerts for various role play events.
Do you create community events where families can come together? If so tell us a little about them.
Traci: Absolutely, we have an events staff that sets up a variety of events from casual get togethers to full scale carnivals and festivals. We will do Holiday events, dances and fun things like paint ball, car shows, fireworks shows, organized shows and impromptu random things and always open to ideas! Flash mob anyone?
Second life is a constantly changing landscape much like things change in real life. How do you keep your community members actively engaging in the city?
Traci: We make changes in the community as well from seasonal changes to also from time to time taking a moment to recognize things that happen in RL we can all share here in SL - come together and celebrate and mourn even things like a real life community. The key thing I like is our ability to adapt. I listen to people and get the team and residents involved and if there is something people want to see and do … by all means will try it.
Cumberland City is a mix of commercial and residential opportunities. Do you currently have homes and business space? If so what do you have available?
Traci: Oh yes we have plenty of both - we just conducted a remodeling effort to kind of freshen things up and are many shops and homes for residential and commercial. As many are aware LL just upgraded the prims we have available we just did a rebalance on the cost and prims to give more to our resident as a benefit of that change without trying to cram more parcels for the sake of “profit” Cumberland City is purely not for profit community.
Jobs are also an important part of sustaining a home and lifestyle in second life. Do you offer your residents job opportunities?
Traci: All of the “jobs” here are purely role play volunteer based aside from some of the managers who get a modest discount - even they however are here purely for the fun of it !
With a mix of adult and child avies, how do you monitor your sims to keep griefers and SL criminals from causing problems within your community?
Traci: All eyes and ears on deck is the answer. We have a brilliant base of long term residents and eagle eyes managers and dept heads and some pretty cool systems “watching” things for us to keep an eye on things. Is a few “skunk works” things that keep our community safe.
With the new year fast approaching. Are there any new projects in the works?
Traci: Well one is concluding - we are finishing up a massive remodel effort and some of the centerpieces will be set in place by end of the year. After 1st of year our focus will be full bore into role play - the winter seems to be the time when the role players come inside and Cumberland is perhaps the best canvas in SL for reality based community role play - certainly the largest.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about Cumberland City?
Traci: Cumberland City is kind of like … a community that has seen a lot a of up and downs and challenges but it fights back and its people is what matters. The spirit of the City is what matters. I am simply a keeper of accounts.. I even removed the role of “Owner” from the titles here. I am not the owner of Cumberland - the people are. I am responsible of course for it financially but what makes this place with is “you” - if you want want role play come here and make it happen - your story.. your ideas are welcome in Cumberland City and fresh faces are something we embrace.. the long term residents here for whom I love dearly will help mentor anyone who comes here looking for a reality based role play community. I am a firm believer in that people will often not recall what you did specifically in SL but they will recall how you made them feel and we sincerely want people to feel welcome here - that’s my vision and “our” desire.
Thank you for adding your creativity to Second Life and sharing your time with us. We wish you and Cumberland city all the best.
Preferred contact: Traci Gassner