Part 2: Enter the residents
Eventually, LindenWorld was to be no more. By December of 2002 or so, Linden Lab was lining up investors to take their idea to a new level.
The project was re-branded as "Second Life."
As an aside: for a brief moment, "Second Life" could have ended up named "Sansara." Robin Linden suggested the name for this early virtual world, but "Second Life" apparently won out. Of course, now Linden Lab produces a second virtual world of a very similar name -- but I digress!
In the earliest months of 2003, Second Life begun to allow beta residents into the world. Steller Sunshine, who rezzed into existence on the 13th of March, 2002, is widely considered the first Resident of Second Life, and she was followed by many others who got to choose from a select list of last names when cresting their digital persona: Apple, Jones, Sandgrain, Bach, Smith, Leviathan, and more.
One of those early beta participants was Wednesday Grimm.
Wednesday's Second Life rezday is 9 January, 2003 -- nearly a year after Steller's avatar touched digital terra firma, but still well before the end of Second Life's beta in June of 2003.
Working in the Tehama region, Wednesday banded together with many other beta participants on a sizeable project: the first cooperative "themed" build in Second Life.
That build would be Lindenberg.
(Lindenberg, pictured in January 2003, primarily consisting only of its roads and fences at this point)
The name was chosen by its residents, a play on words from the German airship, the Hindenburg, because the city -- much like the airship -- "goes down in flames every night." It's unclear if the name was also a deliberate reference to Linden City from the beta, or simply following what may seem an obvious theme.
Nevertheless, the idea of a grand city was hatched and formed within the Tehama region, not far from a Linden-created path that may have travelled through a handful of those original 16 regions.
Wednesday Grimm was dubbed the mayor of Tehama.
(Lindenberg in February 2003)
The city consisted of a "U" shaped main road, complete with concrete sidewalks and green lampposts. Fairly simple businesses lined the road, owned and operated by many other early beta residents. A newspaper was created, the Lindenberg Times, edited by ramon Kothari and then available at Tehama (220, 117).
While an innovative concept, Lindeberg wasn't without its issues. Perhaps related to the aforementioned fire issues, many complained about the use of rockets around the city, while others wished for the city to be a "no fly zone" to prevent the use of jet packs.
Both were popular in these early, pre "Second Life Server 1.0" times, as both the Lab and its Residents worked with particle effects for the first time, tested physics, and – as one could not yet directly teleport to a location -- used modes of travel such as jet packs.
This all added to the biggest issue in Lindenberg, however, and the one that would eventually lead to its destruction: lag. Ever the issue, in those early days, numerous prims and avatars concentrated in a small area -- for example, a densely-populated city -- could bring a region to a standstill.
Even just 4-5 avatars in one place could bring the area to a crawl.
A month into Lindenberg, and it was already being called a "ghost town" due to lag issues. Some sought to change the layout, adding a central park or pond, setting it up across a "four corner" layout, or even making a "new Lindenberg" as an indoor shopping mall or other form.
Lindenberg didn't last much longer, a short-lived but important part of Second Life's early history, and the first real "city" in those days.
Many parts of Lindenberg ended up boxed and provided at the YaDnI Monde's old "Junkyard," itself now long gone. There are, however, a few other remnants you can spot.
Hunting around Tehama, you can still see the last remnants of that early Linden path that connected the Tehama region to other early areas, such as the Newbie corral in Natoma. It's visible in the above photo in the upper left hand side of the image. You'll see it inworld at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Tehama/117/98/23.
Be gentle, those prims date back to January 2003.
Be gentle, those prims date back to January 2003.
(A main road in Lindenberg. Many items in this photo were formerly available at YaDnI's Junkyard, including the yellow Bannister, the street lamp, and the sidewalk.)
Finally, look close in that photo at the street lamps along the road: Built by Richard Linden, those lamps would later be revised and used to adorn the streets of the Shermerville suburbs just Northeast of Bay City: perhaps a last final nod to Lindenburg still inworld today.
In Part III, we'll talk about the early Linden "themed community" project, and how one early city changed Second Life forever *while* creating the very "Blue" print for what Bay City would be.
Reporter/ Historian Marianne Mccann