Return to Bayou

Black Bayou Lake is back !

Jade Koltai and I have collaborated on a lot of sims – the first summer version of Furillen, Furillen City, the winter version of Khodovarikha, Black Bayou Lake, two versions of La Digue du Braek and the Isle of May, Rummu, Chesapeake Bay, Ukivok and North Brother Island – and when we discussed working together again recently, we wanted to start by returning to an old favourite, Black Bayou Lake. There’s something we always loved about the atmosphere and light of this sim, but we felt that we could squeeze a little more out of it.

This is exactly what we’ve now done, and version 2 of Black Bayou Lake is now open.

I wrote quite extensively about the real Black Bayou Lake back in October 2018 so I won’t repeat myself here. The most iconic element of that sim, the walkway …

… is still there. We’ve added a railway bridge – the Cross Bayou Railroad Bridge, aka the Kansas City Southern Railroad Bridge – which we believe adds to the coherence of the sim, making it easier to walk around.

In reality this bridge is located around 100 miles from Black Bayou Lake. It straddles the Twelve Mile Bayou (spelled ‘Twelvemile Bayou’ by locals), which is part of the Cross Bayou, a tributary of the Red River of the South. The bridge was built in 1926 and abandoned during the 1980s. We like the A frame (or upside down V) shape that also makes the walkway so distinctive. This central truss was based on an 1894 patent by John Alexander Low Waddell. It was common throughout the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf and St. Louis Southwestern railroads, and also became a standard feature of crossings along Japan’s Nippon Railway.

When I wrote about Black Bayou Lake last time around, I said that it ‘seethes with life’, and this is even more true of the new version. There are just too many varieties of birds to list – good luck finding them all! – as well as alligators, wild boar and raccoons along with dragonflies. The soundscape echoes all of this. The music stream also fits with the sim’s atmosphere – as does the EEP.

As always, the sim won’t be open forever. Enjoy it while you can, and do please share your pictures in the Flickr group, we love seeing them.

Goodbye Dyrhólaey

It’s been almost a month, so the time has come to bring the short life of the Dyrhólaey sim to a close – I’ll be turning off the lights at some point over the weekend. I enjoyed designing this sim, and although I was generally pleased with the way it turned out, I somehow doubt that this will be the last time I try to recreate some of the wonderful scenery of Iceland on the grid. Thanks to everyone who visited, posted images in the Flickr group, wrote reviews, or signed the guestbook. You might be pleased to hear that I’ll keep Furillen open for a little while longer, I realise that it’s a bit of a home for some people here.

So what next? All I can say for now is that I’ll be working on something with an old friend …