I meet Felixx Sheperd, the man behind the Garden of Da Vinci, at his build. If you haven’t seen it, then well you should for not many are as beautiful or complex as this incredible sim. From golden spires, to castles, to fireworks, an undersea complex, a desert tent and of course his space odyssey, it is unrivaled in beauty and design.
Pooky Amsterdam: I am amazed constantly at Kalepa’s depth & beauty.
Felixx Shepherd: I did it for people like you, so you can use it.
Pooky Amsterdam: Felixx you have created this masterpiece and retreat here on SecondLife- what made you initially want to do it?
Felixx Shepherd: I think there never was an initial point - it grew step by step.
Pooky Amsterdam: Where did you begin?
Felixx Shepherd: My job brought me here.
Pooky Amsterdam: In what way?
Felixx Shepherd: I’m a journalist, and I worked for a radio station and I tried to build up a presence for that station but unfortunately the station went bankrupt.
Pooky Amsterdam: You didn’t end that gig you began a new one then, were you going to do an inworld on air report for it?
Felixx Shepherd: I designed a few things for them here and I liked it and many people said that they liked my style.
Pooky Amsterdam: Funny how SecondLife can also bring out what one is most adept in, things you wouldn’t necessarily know unless you come here.
Felixx Shepherd: Yes, right.
Pooky Amsterdam: So you were encouraged by that. What was it that you built?
Felixx Shepherd: The first big project was the castle with the domes.
Pooky Amsterdam: Here on Kalepa? The castle does look like a great hub - the center of your atom so to speak.
Felixx Shepherd: No this was still in Apfelland - that is a German hotspot in SecondLife but soon I needed more space.
Pooky Amsterdam: Very soon I would think.
Felixx Shepherd: At first only a little part of Kalepa was mine. But piece by piece I conquered the whole island
Pooky Amsterdam: How did you come to Kalepa?
:Felixx Shepherd: I came here by destiny mmmh: I came here searching for a new parcel for me.
Pooky Amsterdam: Why here?
Felixx Shepherd: mmmh I can’t say exactly but I think it was really the best for me: since I was able to grow here and the land owner also liked my style: so I made a deal with her: I designed a sim for her - and in return she gave me Kalepa for a good price.
I bought a part on the corner of Kalepa and there I started building the castle with the domes. But this was just the end of one year of my SecondLife career
Pooky Amsterdam: Why those?
Felixx Shepherd: The pictures in my mind become reality, prim by prim - that is what fascinated me. When I was a child I made castles out of LEGO. Now I do the same with prims.
Pooky Amsterdam: And you let your imagination move forward then like so many rezzing prims. So when did you realize you had few if any limitations here in building?
Felixx Shepherd: Good question I have a picture in my mind: then I try to come close to that picture, I try and try.
Pooky Amsterdam: Do you sketch it out in any way other than your minds eye?
Felixx Shepherd: Just in my mind.
Pooky Amsterdam: You must have a clear mind.
Felixx Shepherd: Sometimes when I’m not satisfied I’m getting somehow angry and tear everything down I made for hours or days.
Pooky Amsterdam: As if the prims have a life of their own?
Felixx Shepherd: Haha yes maybe.
Pooky Amsterdam: Does that feeling of tearing it down also feel cathartic to you?
Felixx Shepherd: Sometimes lol, but there is something strange I build something and think it is ok then I go to sleep and wake up the next day and see it with other eyes: and find it ugly
Pooky Amsterdam: Do you wait till after you have breakfast for your final decision?
Felixx Shepherd: Hahah no
Pooky Amsterdam: So you sketch by actually doing it?
Felixx Shepherd: I don’t think long: I’m very impulsive then but no fear I’m not an aggressive type
Pooky Amsterdam: Do you think in some ways we are like gods here in that we can manifest what we imagine in our minds & make it real? Because the level of creationism is both rich, detailed and varied?
Felixx Shepherd: Yes, if you like to put it this way …yes, yes you are maybe right For me an important point is: To have the possibility to share my creativity with people from all over the world. I can also be very enthused about things others have made.
Pooky Amsterdam: Your favorite SecondLife sights then?
Felixx Shepherd: Yes but I have to confess I’m not far traveled in SecondLife since I build most of the time.
Pooky Amsterdam: Limitations, if any?
Felixx Shepherd: mmh limitations? Scripting was a thing that was the hardest part for me as what my dreams concern, so far I was able to convert all my childhood dreams into SecondLife 3d reality. Sometimes it was hard, sometimes easier.
Pooky Amsterdam: How early did rebuilding Da Vinci’s telescope enter your childhood dreams?
Felixx Shepherd: Hahah
Pooky Amsterdam: Well I have to ask, from a young age then- 8-11?
Felixx Shepherd: Astronomy is one dream Ancient times another. Leonardo does combine so many things. Yes I think that was that age.
Pooky Amsterdam: What was your biggest scripting challenge? AND do you think that scripting takes up another part of the brain than the eye & the hand of the builder?
Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I think I am more the creative, not as much the information scientist but I want to have these functions and so I had to learn by trial and error.
Pooky Amsterdam: But you took on the great challenges, I am amazed by this.
Felixx Shepherd: Yes, the rocket was my biggest challenge.
Pooky Amsterdam: The rocket…. tell about this part you have created now paradise on “earth”
Pooky Amsterdam: What made you decide to go to Mars?
Felixx Shepherd: If I would have been given the chance I would have been an astronaut who travels to Mars and builds up there a station. I can not do that, but I can do it here.
Pooky Amsterdam: You said astronomy was an early love.
Felixx Shepherd: I like secrets, I want to know WHY.
Pooky Amsterdam: What did you want to know the why of when you built Mars?
Felixx Shepherd: mmmh maybe this is only part of the dream.
Pooky Amsterdam: You built also life on Mars I finally discovered the cave. You know the Phoenix has discovered water on Mars now. Do you think we will find life there?
Felixx Shepherd: Surely not the life I have on my Mars but maybe in the depth underneath. We know from Earth that on the surface, life has conquered all corners, why not on Mars?
Pooky Amsterdam: & even in miraculously harsh circumstances.
Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I gave my Mars mushrooms
Pooky Amsterdam: & why mushrooms Felixx?
Felixx Shepherd: They are one of the toughest beings on earth. They even live in the reactor of Chernobyl and are able to get their energy from the radiation.
Pooky Amsterdam: Mushrooms that grow on radiation? *eyes cross* what do you mean?
Felixx Shepherd: Yes there are black funguses that use the radiation like plants use the sunlight. It is really astonishing I have written an article about that.
Pooky Amsterdam: You have also created a Jules Verne experience. Are there any mushrooms in the sea?
Felixx Shepherd: No, that is not their habitat but they have conquered every part of the surface.
Pooky Amsterdam: I am also fascinated by the sea world you have created here.
Felixx Shepherd: Yes mystic things, and the sea is also mystic.
Pooky Amsterdam: Mushrooms are magical, yes?
Felixx Shepherd: Also yes.
Pooky Amsterdam: You looked to recreate the fantastic, the fantastic voyage so to speak
Felixx Shepherd: My undersea area is dedicated to Jules Verne.
Pooky Amsterdam: Yes why is this? Was he your 19th century hero then?
Felixx Shepherd: He also was a man with visions and many things he had in mind became true.
Pooky Amsterdam: If Leonardo was one of an earlier time
Felixx Shepherd: That is the case for both yes, and both artists too.
Pooky Amsterdam: You are also an artist most have to conquer one medium though- you have conquered many.
Felixx Shepherd: ;( Haha it would be somehow blasphemy to compare me with them, though I wonder what they would say to SecondLife. Sometimes the future is much more astonishing as you have thought of in your weirdest dreams.
Pooky Amsterdam: Who did Verne admire?
Felixx Shepherd: I don’t know but the one who built the first helicopter, he was a great fan of Verne. Imagination is the always the beginning of the future.
Pooky Amsterdam: Well you said it before, that you wanted to realize your childhood dreams too. Do you think actualizing them made them richer for you?
Felixx Shepherd: yes it gives me so much life quality, but I think I did not loose my real life. I also sell my creations, but the main thing about that is not that I’m so keen on money It is rather like being a painter who can sell their creations. This is telling me someone finds my creations so beautiful they are willing to spend money on it.
Pooky Amsterdam: I was about to ask on the monetizing aspect of this for you.
Felixx Shepherd: It started with my first castle. Someone came to me one day and asked if he could buy it and so it all began that I created new things since people wanted to have them.
Pooky Amsterdam: I have every free thing you made here. I love every single one of them & often go on my feather for a ride. You are unbelievably generous & have given us all who come here incredible gifts: the submarine, the helicopter, the diving gear.
Felixx Shepherd: mmmh some say I’m expensive but I want my things to be a bit exclusive.
Pooky Amsterdam: Everyone on SecondLife is concerned with monetizing their content. Any challenge Felixx?
Felixx Shepherd: mmmh it turned out to be a real job
Pooky Amsterdam: Hahha
Felixx Shepherd: I was on holiday for 10 days, and as I came back I had over hundred IM’s.
Pooky Amsterdam: for product?
Felixx Shepherd: Not all, but many of them are kind words about my work which I do appreciate much. Of course I answer all, but many are about products yes.
Pooky Amsterdam: Where do you find beauty & your sources of inspiration from here on so to speak?
Felixx Shepherd: This holiday… I was in Italy. Everyone who knows some of my builds knows what I mean. They are inspired by ancient architecture but as you know I have started building space environments, I already have seen beautiful space creations in SecondLife.
Pooky Amsterdam: Yes Inspire Park is wonderful.
Felixx Shepherd: It surely is, yes.
Pooky Amsterdam: What are you most excited about building now?
Felixx Shepherd: I would love to create a whole space themed region, unfortunately time is a constraint. On the other hand it is great for me as I start a new job, as a matter of fact next week.
Pooky Amsterdam: Well if you can get that mega time prim into your real life inventory, & expand the day to 26 hours, or 36 more like it.
Felixx Shepherd: A pill to replace sleep, but sleeping can be nice And it gives fresh ideas
Pooky Amsterdam: Your new job?? Tell us please, I am sure people want to know what real life is like for Felixx.
Felixx Shepherd: I work for a scientific journal in Germany, it is an infotainment journal.
Pooky Amsterdam: You should mention the 2nd QuestioN! in it.
Felixx Shepherd: We convert the articles into radio format and these radio clips can then be used by radio stations for free with the branding of the journal of course - that is the concept.
Felixx Shepherd: I also plan something for children, I hope this concept will work, there is a radio station just for children. I would like to produce a science show for children. Infotainment for children
Pooky Amsterdam: The 2nd QuestioN! Is for adults who need to remember what it is like to be a child of wonder - Disney knew you needed to entertain to educate as well.
Felixx Shepherd: I definitely want one thing: That it should be interesting for adults too, a good crossover thing that parents will watch it with the kids.
Pooky Amsterdam: You have to have their eyes & hearts & the minds will follow
Felixx Shepherd: Yes that is the main idea
Pooky Amsterdam: You really must, if you have time, to come to the Naked Scientists tomorrow, the BBC radio show as it brodacasts also live in SecondLife at 10 AM SL time.
Felixx Shepherd: Yes I would love to.
Pooky Amsterdam: What is your favorite part of Kalepa? Is it a fair question? Or like asking a parent who is your favorite child?
Felixx Shepherd: mmmh hard to say, haha, it depends on my mood. You see I have taken you here since I think it is an atmosphere that fits.
Pooky Amsterdam: Object owned by Felixx Shepherd gave you ‘Tropical dream cocktail’Good answer.
Felixx Shepherd: but there is one thing.
Tropical dream cocktail whispers: MMm MMM good!
Felixx Shepherd: I love to be in my tree, lying on a branch and listening to the wind. It is 53 prims, I can show you my tree.
Pooky Amsterdam: Have you ever seen Botanicals?
Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I like it.
Pooky Amsterdam: oh yes please do show me the tree.
Felixx Shepherd: Let’s go there by canoe.
Logboat: Ready to go! If you don’t board me, in about a minute I will disappear.
Felixx Shepherd: My flying fish, see?
Pooky Amsterdam: I love them, wonderful, this is just so rich.
Felixx Shepherd: Please right click the tree and sit. Can you see me?
Pooky Amsterdam: Yes I just took a picture and I am now also in the tree
Felixx Shepherd: Yes I see you, I was very happy as a child in trees
Pooky Amsterdam: Did you build this tree?
Felixx Shepherd: Every prim on Kalepa, nearly
Pooky Amsterdam: You just opened your mind to learning it all?
Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I think I like this place most. A whispering tree is one of the most beautiful sounds in nature. I use a radio sound data base …
Felixx Shepherd: Did you already use my new rocket tour? To Mars?
Pooky Amsterdam: I really enjoyed it.
Felixx Shepherd: And the trip to the station near the sun?
Pooky Amsterdam: No I didn’t do that yet. I have now 3 last questions, your hero today- someone you find heroic in the present day, what is a perfect day for you? & what would life have been like without Secondlife.
Felixx Shepherd: Three difficult questions
Pooky Amsterdam: Not so much so!
Felixx Shepherd: I will try
Pooky Amsterdam: Thank you
Felixx Shepherd: Maybe a strange answer…: some days ago I was in the underground train. A bit away from me there was a woman, elegant about 50. The door opened and a homeless came in and he started talking to that woman. He was ugly but somehow not unfriendly. She began talking to him, very friendly and polite with nothing that gave him the feeling he was someone of less worth. She made this man very happy I think
Pooky Amsterdam: I understand Felixx- her talking to him equally brought all of us up a little bit, the greater humanity she showed spoke well of all of us.
Felixx Shepherd: That’s it. For me there is something very important and that takes us back to SecondLife. To react to people without prejudice, the same respect to all people and in SecondLife you even are not able to have prejudices.
Pooky Amsterdam: I also think prejudice says more about the person who is prejudiced
than the object of their scorn.
Felixx Shepherd: Human beings are somehow only the avatars of their souls, I do not mean that religious.
Pooky Amsterdam: I actually saw that so clearly one night, this man transformed into like 20 avs, all beasts etc & I thought well the skin, the ava is just a soul wrapper isn’t it
Felixx Shepherd: I like that, anybody can be freed from the chains of his Real life, sex, appearance colour…. and that is great but on the other hand also a source of danger.
Pooky Amsterdam: mmmmmmmmmmm what do you mean?
Felixx Shepherd: Since some become addicted to that to escape from their Real life.
Pooky Amsterdam: This is indeed a selected life & that begs a great question of course, if your life on SecondLife is somehow more satisfying than your real life, do you- leave SecondLife & try to make your Real life better or do you enjoy & maximize your life here?
Felixx Shepherd: In my case it is a bit different I think
Pooky Amsterdam: Tell me how Felixx
Felixx Shepherd: I’m very much myself here, I feel Real life here, not someone else. I even tried to make my avatar look very much as I do. But I do not say that this is the right way.
Pooky Amsterdam: Does it mean SecondLife has fewer emotional pitfalls then? Possibly?
Felixx Shepherd: Yes I think so.
Pooky Amsterdam: Fewer conflicts, very interesting that point.
Felixx Shepherd: It seems to depend on the character, for some it could be great to be a fantasy person here.
Pooky Amsterdam: Yes I think so too, if someone really feels at home in their skin- even the skin of a dragon or wolf or panda.
Felixx Shepherd: I think I could be a furry too since this is then something totally different.
Pooky Amsterdam: What furry would you be? An experiment maybe? Haha okay what animal?
Felixx Shepherd: I think a tomcat, I like the feline way of being.
Pooky Amsterdam: I would be a kitten *waves tiny paw* *chases imaginary mouse* *gets stuck in tree*
Felixx Shepherd: Hehe yes and being so happy to lie in the sun
Pooky Amsterdam: I am very happy person, I love being alive and now for the last 2 questions
Felixx Shepherd: I sometimes would like to be happier, I’m sometimes melancholic
Pooky Amsterdam: What do you think about that makes you sad?
Felixx Shepherd: I can’t tell.
Pooky Amsterdam: You know no rain makes a desert
Felixx Shepherd: its character I think
Pooky Amsterdam: There is so much trouble in the world today- you have depth & soul, blue eyed soul.
Felixx Shepherd: right
Pooky Amsterdam: You can’t solve the problems of mankind yet know what could be made better at times it is frustrating. Yes, is SecondLife an escape or a beautiful refreshment of spirit?
Felixx Shepherd: But there are such times and those times, haha, that sentence also fits on that hahah. If I create something I forget all that, it is a nice thing but I am happy that I can say that I’m not addicted to that.
Pooky Amsterdam: Happiness is an achievement and not a constant state; we all like to feel good. That is it, isn’t it- if this makes us feel good we want to do it.
Felixx Shepherd: The ten days of holiday…also from SecondLife…were really nice, Pooky Amsterdam: That brings us to the last question then what would life have been like without SecondLife?
Felixx Shepherd: Do you mean for me personally, or generally?
Pooky Amsterdam: Well both then….
Felixx Shepherd: For me personally it is a little wonder, I can be creative and I get much positive feedback.
Pooky Amsterdam: & from all over the world & you could not possibly know 800 people in Real life could you?
Felixx Shepherd: For some I seem to be able to brighten their time here.
Pooky Amsterdam: oh yes Felixx you have given so very much.
Felixx Shepherd: What more can there be? And generally I think it is comparable with other media developments such as the first books, radio, television and internet. In each case some people had fears that this would be harmful but all has two sides and mankind will be able to adapt.
Pooky Amsterdam: How do you see mankind evolving in the next 100 years? Bonus question, S;-D
Felixx Shepherd: Hehe, I do think that virtual relationships will be totally normal and enrich our communication I hope so.
Pooky Amsterdam: Well they already have- letters are also not exactly virtual as people for hundreds of years wrote letters.
Felixx Shepherd: Yes I’m really thrilled what will happen to SecondLife I hope SecondLife will develop to a sort of 3d internet, I hope that no other portal will replace it.
Pooky Amsterdam: Yes me too, it is funny but I call this home now & feel I must defend it.
Felixx Shepherd: Mmh it will never completely replace physical meetings.
Pooky Amsterdam: No, people still need to hug.
Felixx Shepherd: Haha sure.
Pooky Amsterdam: & for business they need also to meet in Real life at some point.
Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I hope people realize the potential since many people meet also in Real life.
Pooky Amsterdam: It is a great thing to be able to meet & talk here. I do value this opportunity to talk with you. I know that people will be enchanted with the man behind Kalepa.