April saw some excitement / concern over the future of one of the longest-running public spaces in Second Life, when news surfaced that Japanese Tempura Island looked set to close its doors. Calls were made for Something To Be Done – and fortunately, the Lab was able to step in and add the region to its growing list of spaces preserved under its Second Life Region Preservation Society (SLRPS) banner.
I confess that while I’ve visited Japanese Tempura Island on numerous occasions in the past, I’ve never actually blogged about it. The main reason for this is because during those visits (back in around 2010-2013), the system I had just couldn’t handle the load, and while my present system has the “umph”, I have to admit that it fell off of my “destination radar”. However, while the recent news has brought the region sharply back into focus, I’m actually not going to blog about it now; I’ll reserve that for a future article.
Instead I’m going to focus on another Tempura region – the Tempura Project. Initiated at the time when Japanese Tempura Island’s future was in doubt, the aim of the project was initially to offer a setting that emulated the original’s look and feel (whilst using mesh to replace some of the original’s older prim elements) and preserve all that made the original so popular among Second Life residents.
The project has been led by Tribish Tammas, whom I first got to know through The Muse region (see: Finding The Muse in Second Life and A new Muse in Second Life for more), and while the original is now being preserved, by the time this was confirmed by Linden Lab, more than 70% of the region had been completed. As a result, the team decided to push ahead and complete the first stage of their work.
From day one it was never meant to be a duplicate of tempura but take the elements that made it such a peaceful place to relax. So people will have the classic version and something a bit more up to date to choose from 🙂 . Our focus is on places to relax with people you care with. Also great for taking photos. Certain elements are fixed in place – the bridge, tai chi , meditation, and the ball room; others will evolve over time. Hence the project name.
– Tribish Tammas
Given the original goals of the project as stated above, and the fact so much of the work had been completed prior to the original coming under the protection of Linden Lab, it should come as no surprise that Tempura Project does reflect the original in general look and feel. However, this does not mean the Project should be in any way dismissed. If there is one thing that has been noticeable with SLRPS is the fact that, as good as the project is in preserving regions, it actually does little to retain their original broader functions and the activities that were once organised within them (an example of this can be see with the SS Galaxy, once a healthy venue for events from weddings to mini-golf to skydiving and clay pigeon shooting contests and so on).
As such, Tempura Project is designed to be a living space, evolving in reflection of the uses to which it is put by visitors and the suggestions they pass on for possible additions and activities that are in keeping with the overall aims for the setting.
Those familiar with the original will recognise the inspiration for the landing point, bridge and dance hall, together with the two small islands bracketing the bridge. The latter continue to offer tai chi to one side, while the other round island sits as a Zen garden set out for yoga. The great hall might not be as big and impressive as the original, but it holds its own secrets beneath its dance floor that offer opportunities for swimming, message, the luxury of a steam room and more.
This is not the only underground element to the setting – but finding the other will take a little ingenuity. All I’ll say is: look for the wall with the Tempura mural. Elsewhere, much of the landscape retains the look of the original but is also smoother and a lot “cleaner” in form; much of the glow that permeates the original is absent from Tempura Project, and I feel that this is to the better. The landscape also offers more in the way of seating and cuddle spots waiting to be found by explorers. Elsewhere – and also awaiting discovery by the keen-eyed – is an underwater walk, whilst the wizard’s house offers both an excellent view over the lake to the grand bridge and forms a further cosy retreat.
With enough of its own touches combined with those aspects reflecting Japanese Tempura Island, the Tempura Project offers an engaging alternative to the original, the features unique to it clearly adding to its appeal. Given the popularity of the original, and the fact it has always tended to remain constant, rather than gently evolving, Tempura Project may well offer those looking for a quieter sense of relaxation with the tonic they are seeking.
My thanks to Eliza Cabassoun for first informing me about Tempura Project. Note that the images here are not using the region’s sunset EEP setting.
- Tempura Project (Sweety Bay, rated Moderate)
Published by Inara Pey
Eclectic virtual world blogger with a focus on Second Life, VR, virtual environments and technology. View all posts by Inara Pey