Thursday, May 3, 2018

Last Week of Fantasy Faire 2018

The Faire usually ends the last day of April, but it has been extended until around May 6. I made a film about it which you can see by clicking HERE. 



Lilia Artis and I built the arts and entertainment sim, which we named The Story Well. If you read this post by May 7, you can visit our installation by clicking HERE. While at the Faire, there are 15 sims to discover, which I highly recommend visiting. After May 6 or 7, all the sims vanish. Fantasy Faire is an annual event which only stays up about two weeks, not nearly enough time to see everything, but a destination where you really can't go wrong with any of the choices you make to see.

STORY:

The Story Well
     There’s a little island in the middle of the vast sea. It emerges from the water like some verdant whale back of enormous dimension. Here, there are no cars, no electricity, not many conveniences… but there are walkways to follow, and other paths not so well defined, which are the preference of children. They make good use of the trees for their games. They also skip into the galleries of paintings, because everyone on the hill seems to love pictures, and there are no doors to prevent curious children from enjoying these. 
     Just in front of the Blue Palace which dominates the summit of the hill is a well. It is simple, but the people consider it magical. From it, each day, people fish up children’s drawings. Where these drawings come from, nobody knows. How they survive the currents is equally perplexing. Nevertheless, the pages arrive in a continuous flow, and from this resource, parents fashion tories to company the pictures, reading them to their sons and daughters.
     A particular sister and her brother have the curiosity of a cat. Every day these two children sneak to the well when no one is around, to peer down into its dark depths. Today, they can almost see something in the darkness, like stars in a misty night sky. “What do you see?” they ask each other. “I see thousands of fish jumping out of the ocean to attack a ship”, says one. “I see giant children surrounded by clouds of floating pages” says the other. “Where?!” says the brother. “Where do you see that?!” says the sister. They were both bending quite seriously over the edge of the well. All it would take was the gentlest of breezes to make them loose their balance and fall headlong down the well’s shaft. And this soft breeze is provided by a little bird in pursuit of a plump fly, whose path zigzags right past the children. Down they go, screaming in terror. An echo returns the voice in its watery amplitude, was if a thousand children are joining in. Suddenly, they come to a soft landing onto a flexible surface which gives in with their every move so that it is nearly impossible to remain standing. When their eyes adjust to the darkness, they can see the interior of a large cave with crumbling remnants of an ancient civilization, whose walls are covered with very active light bugs. The wobbly surface they landed on is a paper raft, a large drawing of a ship upon which they now ride. All around them in the water are more pages of children’s art. Looming close by, is the top of a spiral staircase, extending below the waves. More distant, is the grotto’s entrance leading out to sea. As the raft drifts on its way in the direction of the entrance, it will pass right next to the staircase. “I want to walk down those stairs to see where it goes”, says the boy. “But I want to see where this trail of drawings comes from”, says the girl. There was not much time to decide whose idea is better, so each child chooses their own desire. The boy jumps off the raft to the stairs. The girl remains on the floating page which takes her on a current of artworks floating atop the ocean. Looking back toward her island, it patiently becomes smaller. Looking ahead, she sees a never ending trail of pages seeming to be born of the eternal sky. Then the sister turns once again to face the tiny dot of her island. Her brother is somewhere there… below the sea which was as enormous as the sky itself. What will he find there? What will she find at the end of the trail of drawings? Their prospects seem to her as exciting - as they are lonely.


Written by Haveit Neox and Lilia Artis

Saturday, March 3, 2018

PARK PLANNING




Sitting comfortably at the highest elevation, toward the end of the crescent bridge


Anyone who knows the city of Accentaury on the ACC Alpha sim, may be familiar with the periodic remodeling of its existing structures and parks. Recently I’ve been watching films by architects who address the question of what makes a city enjoyable for its inhabitants. Naturally, I want to apply many of these concepts to areas where I feel improvements would make a difference for the visitors. Accentaury is an old city established in early 2010. Its historic layering makes applying new ideas an interesting challenge in such a complex setting.




The old carousel from 2010, never having been removed from its
present location, but what changes it has seen all around it for years!
THE CAROUSEL

My focus is now on opening several areas which could feel more inviting to the visitor. Public spaces should feel comfortable but also be a place where people congregate. Previously, the park benches at Plateau of Man faced interesting views, but they were distant from each other. I removed most of them, and brought in new benches in closer proximity around the carousel. This area has challenged me for eight years now. What was missing was the human scale. The old carousel was there to be ridden, but the area around it did not feel inviting enough. The placement of seating is key, as are the paths in a park. Before adjusting the landscaping a bit and adding the benches, I would have enjoyed walking through such a space were it in RL, but now with the changes, it is a place I would want to sit down and stay a while.




Looking onto the crescent bridge from Maze Gardens
THE CRESCENT BRIDGE

The same energy went into the crescent bridge at Maze Gardens. For years, a lone bench at the end of the walkway delivered the visitor to the cello statue, overlooking a dangerous precipice. It had a sense of adventure, but the path was quite Spartan. Rethinking the structure, I decide to increase the benches to three, and have two face the museum, and one face the ocean. They are flanked by plantings, and the path now bulges wider in front of them so passersby can continue on their way without encroaching on the space of seated visitors. The bulged terraces are ideal places to stand and look out at the view as well. People like being around others, and still enjoy having their own space. My hope is to increase the sense of comfort across the sim.

Aerial view of the remodeled pathway atop the crescent bridge



TRANSPORTATION and SPORT

This is one of the reasons that the transportation system was built. People tell me that it is easy to get lost on the ACC Alpha sim. They like the adventure, but they have no idea how much of the sim they have seen. Train lines make most of the sim accessible. When we think of rails, buses, and trams in Second Life, they usually are for show, and quite slow. You could walk here or there far quicker and more easily. However in Accentaury, the railway is practical since the sim does not have a predictable layout, thus making it so easy to get lost. Whether you actually click on a vehicle to ride, or just walk along the rail tracks, you will find your way around as if you’d dropped bread crumbs to mark your journey as did Hansel and Gretel. There are very few streets on the sim, so the train tracks are your best bet to keep on a path.

The train tracks have another function as of tonight. I just purchased a bicycle rezzer that either one person or two people can ride. You will need to develop skill to cycle around the ACC Alpha sim, as it has its share of unforgiving terrain. However, it can be done. I tested it tonight, and had a good deal of fun in the process. I recommend staying on the train tracks, as some areas are impossible to climb without them. It will be difficult enough to stay on the narrow tracks. Biking is now considered Accentaury's national sport! If you want to try it, as of today there are two places to find a bicycle. You can hop on a bike at the Museum, or at the Darkrodin pier by the Flea Market. If you want some practice first before tackling the difficult terrain, ride the bike at the museum, and peddle along the North Shore (east of the Museum's North wing). It is flat there for a little distance. It then becomes a dirt road with rolling bumps, but still easier than other parts of the sim. Once you get the hang of it, it's a good way to explore the sim with some added adrenaline. 


Following your path






XXX

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cabinet of Curiosities Court

The exterior of the Cabinet of Curiosities.
I began the current remodel of the main interior room on Jan. 16th.


     The Cabinet of Curiosities was a copy of the house I made for myself at Sparquerry, and placed on the ACC Alpha sim in early 2010.  This old structure has seen many remodels, though the bones remain in place with some original walls and textures. The floorplan has been expanded over the years, but the old rooms remain fairly intact.  Had I traveled in time from 2010 to the present, and seen this new version of my old Sparcurian house, it would have been a shock, yet I would recognize the space.

   
     From private home, to a merchant establishment, to a cabinet of curiosities, the building now becomes the first seat of power at Accentaury: a royal court… a rather small but functional palace.

The interior: a red court sets a brighter space than the dark textures from the
past few years. A large well was excavated in the middle of the room which
reaches down to the water table. While digging, I found a lost plywood cone
I rezzed in June, 2010. I encased it in an outer shell without having moved or
altered it. Such archaeological finds on the sim are preserved.



     The Quing* of Accentaury has an important role to perform. That avatar is the representative of the sim, and must be a curious appearing and acting soul, and must be equally curious about the outside world. The throne, after all, stands within the walls of the Cabinet of Curiosities, and this relationship dictates the role.

On one side of the pit's rim, is an arcade with stools which face the throne
across the 'pond'.




*Quing – the mix of king and queen. Neither is dominant over the other. It is pronounced kweeng. There has yet to be a coronation, as I have not made a crown, nor decided which avatar(s) is best suited to the role for the present. If there is no coronation, and no avatar to fill the quingship, then an empty title will ironically fulfill the curious requirement. In that case, the present Quing of Accentaury is a collection of unrealized but imminent pixels. 



Notice the tail behind the second throne chair on the lower level. The 'pond'
can be seen below the thrones. Wearing the celery crown I made today.
Chairs and thrones by Silas Merlin.




UPDATE Jan 17 2018

     Silas Merlin made the chairs for an upcoming Gatcha that I added to the court. When I showed him a picture of the room in progress, he said the armchair didn’t come across as a throne. That night, he had made a regal variation of that armchair which serves as a perfect throne. He gave it to me as a gift and said if I wanted it to be uniquely at the court of Accentaury, he wouldn’t put it up for sale. In response to his generosity, I said that such a gorgeous chair should be made available to whoever would like it. It’s more than enough that I got the first one! When I saw Silas’ new chair collection, I instantly knew they correlated perfectly with my new project for the court. In fact, the reason the new space is red themed is due to the upholstery on the chairs. I took this shot at an angle so you can see a little of the side of the second throne… the chair has a tail. The back has wonderful detailing as well. Silas asked if I had a crown, to which I realized I didn’t have an appropriate one. So this morning, I hopped onto Zbrush after getting the idea to make a stylization of a bunch of celery stalks topped with their leaves. Being a vegan, I felt this was an ideal kind of crown.

Reworking some of the textures: I replaced yesterday's back wall with one I made
for THE PLANT, a past installation by Eupalinos Ugajin where he had invited
others to participate. I felt this texture blended well with the architecture of the court.

UPDATE Jan 18 2018

Shameless selfie. Still working on my outfit, buying clothing items that seem
to fit the style of the ACC Alpha sim. I made the towering 'celery' crown,
and painted orange strands at the base to make it appear some of my avatar's
red hair trails up into the crown, like little flames.


UPDATE: January 21, 2018

Silas Merlin magically transformed into a jester, sporting the hat he made a while
back for one of his statues. He rides a jester donkey I'd made for a past event, and
he nearly insisted I make a scepter for my Quing outfit, which I now hold in my
hand, and a copy I gave to Silas which he made glow blue. The scepter is topped
by the same donkey upon which Silas rides.
 We stand here in a neighboring sim hoping to get into the event where he is showing his newest
creation, a furnished belvedere. That's where I got the chairs in the above photos.









XXX