The sheer longevity of the Batman characters is one of the things I’ve enjoyed most when building Furillen City. Take Poison Ivy, who is by no means an ‘old’ character in the series but first appeared in Batman no. 181, published on June 1966 … which makes her exactly fifty years old.
Poison – originally Pamela Lillian Isley, a botanist – is essentially an eco-terrorist. She uses plant toxins and pheromones to fight a battle whose ultimate goal is to protect the natural environment and preserve endangered species …
Really, what’s not to love about Poison …
Despite sometimes being a romantic interest for Batman, Poison has had a number of villainous associations over the years, working with Two-Face in Batman: Dark Victory, the Injustice Gang, the Secret Society of Super Villains, and in The New 52 Batman reboot, Birds of Prey. Her best friend is Harley Quinn, with whom Poison is sometimes linked romantically.
In the 1969 serial, Batman and Robin, Poison teams up with Bane to renovate the Turkish Bath House, which they use as a hideout … and this is what we’ve referenced in the latest addition to Furillen City …
Our version may lack the ‘grand foyer’ and ‘long winding entrance’ of the original, but it’s green, lush and creepy, which is exactly what Poison would have wanted. You’ll find it right next to the Gotham Gazette HQ, where the Steampunk Museum used to be … until, somewhat appropriately we feel, it was vaporised by Ms Ivy.
The sim has been busy with visitors throughout the past week. It’s been intriguing to see the numbers divide roughly half between ground and city. Those who have enjoyed parking their avatars on the ground for hours on end continue doing so, while some of the city’s more secretive spaces are slowly unveiling themselves to visitors with a little more patience and a willingness to explore.
The refinements keep on coming, too, even though we keep saying ‘enough is enough’. The old apartment block near to Chinatown has given way to several new buildings, including a weed cafe and blues bar, and an extravagantly priced coffee factory (check out the chalk board outside). The Chinatown area itself has also been expanded and improved, as has the area around the gym and the walkway (‘Poison Ivy’) behind The Cat Mews.
There have also been changes underground. Having rewatched Christopher Nolan’s amazing Dark Knight Trilogy, I felt that we had to install a chemistry lab, and you’ll find this right next to Sionis Industries. We also managed to connect the two tunnel systems – the sewer system and the bank vault tunnels – and you can cross from one to the other by passing on through the lab.
Finally, and well over a week ago now, we found a spot for our version of Wayne Tower. This had been part of the city from the beginning, but gave way for a while because I wasn’t happy with the skyline where it was. Now it sits behind Arkham Asylum, giving height to that corner of the sim without overshadowing other tall buildings. It’s huge … so teleport to the top, set your draw distance to the max, and enjoy the view …
Talking of views, here are some recent highlights, taken from both ground and city during the past ten days or so. The sheer range and variety – and consistent high quality – of the images on display here underlines that the sim offers incredibly rich pickings to photographers …
It’s been a week since Furillen City opened, and we’ve had around two thousand visitors. Having said “that’s it, we’re finished” a few days ago, we immediately went and changed one or two things. The old, atmospheric but somewhat ‘primmy’ Trident Intercontinental Shipping building has been replaced with a mesh building that has a smaller land impact and better textures. It should make a good gallery, and we’ll be arranging an exhibition or two in due course. I also replaced the road system – again, a combination of more efficient mesh and (marginally) better-looking textures were behind this. The new roads look very similar otherwise, most people wouldn’t even have noticed. The guestbook has been quite busy – entries are published here – and I wrote an updated city guide with more information about the reasoning behind this build.
There have been one or two comments about lag. On the one hand, lag is inevitable whenever there are a lot of avatars on a sim, and once the numbers rise to around fifty nobody should be surprised by it. On the other hand, having so much stuff in the sky, with so many textures, will generate some issues, and we are tracking those down and dealing with them one by one – whether the problem is a script or clashing textures, or over-sized prims.
Having made the changes just mentioned, I would say that lag problems are minimal now, certainly in tests we are getting very good time dilation and frames per second stats. As this blogger points out, there does seem to be a periodic ‘freezing’ issue, and I think this usually coincides with an avatar landing at the sim. I tried tackling this by removing the orb that tracks visitors and sends greetings, but this does not seem to be the problem. It may just be the server, and I will investigate this next.
We held the ‘official’ opening party a couple of nights ago in the Iceberg Lounge and there were some great costumes. I decided to be Scarecrow (see Mareea’s picture right at the bottom of this post), we had a mini-batman, a few examples of Harley Quinn, and plenty of other comic book characters including a rather sleek and shiny Superman. My favourite costumed visitor so far was a splendid Penguin, which I wish I’d snapped at the time. I think the avatar wearing it was on a photo shoot, and I’ll link to what they took if I find it. (Update: I found a picture of this avatar here.)
Talking of pictures, here are the highlights so far …
So we’re done building Furillen City. For now. And as this great picture from Wurfi shows, it looks pretty good.
But of course, we never really finish. Just today, we added the art studio behind Cat Mews, filling in the last (lateral) ‘dead spot’ on the main sim platform at 3400 metres. We’ll surely add more, and tinker with what we have. But for now, that’s enough … and we hope you enjoy visiting this place as much we enjoyed building it.
Having spent most of the spare time I had during three rather intense weeks putting the city together, I must admit to feeling some trepidation when we opened two nights ago. This was mainly trepidation at suddenly having to share the space! But in fact, seeing people beginning to occupy the city, visiting some of my own favourite spots, and just hanging out on the streets – sitting and watching – brought genuine pleasure as everything started coming to life. Long may this continue.
So … what now?
Well … in the City itself, we’ll be taking advantage of the higher avatar limit by holding music events (including live events) and exhibitions at the various venues we’ve created. We have identified where the exhibition space will be, and there are at least four spaces where music events can – and will – be held. This starts on Tuesday, when there will be a batman-themed party – what else? – in one of the sewer rooms. So get out your costumes and avatars and come along. And actually, any superhero or comic book character will do – just bring whatever you have.
And watch this space for news of more events.
Meanwhile, having barely visited the ground at the sim for the past three weeks, we dropped down today and installed an old favourite from La Digue du Braek, Maison du pendu loon-plage, which I wrote about here. It means losing the ferry for a while, but nothing stands completely still … even at Furillen.
Here are some maps I made today. The first is at the city’s main landing point and gives an approximation of where everything is … above ground.
You’ll notice one or two changes from the information contained in my last post, as some buildings have been removed (e.g. The Stacks & Wayne Tower) to make way for some last minute but significant additions (e.g. Joker’s Funland, Gotham National Bank, Glucose Park, Bakery). We also moved the hotel.
Then there is the underground map. This has been drawn like a subway map, and besides seeing it at the landing point, you’ll find this map in various locations below ground.
We’ll be opening soon!
As we approach the opening of Furillen City to visitors, I thought it might be interesting to make a list of things you’ll soon get to see.
The city basically consists of a grid of two major roads (Burton Boulevard & Sprang Way) running North-South on either side of the main subway station, These roads cross a main street – 1st Street – that runs East-West alongside the main square. This grid more or less divides the city into several distinctive zones – I’d call them quarters but there are rather more than four.
These zones are:
- Civic Zone – Gotham Square, Gotham City Hall, Gotham Cathedral, Monarch Theatre, Natural History Museum, Steampunk Museum, The Daily Planet HQ
- Mansion Zone – Wayne Mansion, Magic Shop, bookstore, Espresso Cafe, hotel, antiques store, Rabbit Hole, The Cat Mews, Robinson Park
- Car Park Zone – apartments, Bring N Buy store, barber shop, crackhouse, pizza restaurant, gym
- 1st Street Zone – 54 1st St. (the Harvey Dent Campaign HQ), Gotham Warehouse, subway station, beer garden, Kane Bridge
- Industrial Zone – Trident Intercontinental Shipping, Chinatown, the Baker Enterprises Textile Factory
- Entertainment Zone – Gotham Studios, Fun Haus amusement arcade, Ballz of Steele bowling alley, Finnigan’s pub, the Iceberg Lounge, Billiard Hall and Casino, boxing hall, skateboard park
- Market Zone – the covered market, vinyl record store and cafe
- Slum Zone – The Ready Player Stacks, Greasy Diner, basketball court, abandoned store
- Court Zone – courthouse, Arkham Asylum
While we would have built further outwards if we could, one advantage of building in the sky is that is makes subterranean building very straightforward … so we added the following underground builds, many of which are interconnected:
- The famous Batcave (underneath Wayne Mansion)
- The city’s subway station (on the corner of 1st Street and Burton Boulevard)
- An underground car park, leading to
- A massive sewer system, which contains
- a secret room,
- Penguin’s lair
- the huge sewer room, and
- My Alibi, the city’s underground club.
I’ll have more to say about these places – and I’ll publish a map – as time goes on. But as you’ll already see from this list, the Gothamesque angle is quite consistent – although the Ready Player Stacks and one or two other places have nothing to do with Batman, we just like them and think that they fit.
The build continues – we have one or spaces left to decorate as well as others that need to be finished properly – but we are close to opening time now. There will be an event when we do so – so watch this space.
This has been an epic build.
I’ve been putting together a sign post for the landing point at Furillen City today. Here’s how it looks …
… and that, essentially, is why the “couple of days” I said it would take us to finish in my last post became a week.
And we’re still going.
But the end seems to be in sight now, so watch this space for an announcement in …
… well …
a couple of days.
As previously announced, we’ve been busy in the sky above Furillen, and as I’m sure the eagle-eyed have spotted, there is a new cityscape at 3500m. This has taken around a week to build so far, and I would estimate that we’ll be opening this area in a couple of days. Thanks to everyone for leaving us in peace up there, and please continue doing so. As usual, the opening will be publicised through the inworld group.
So … what kind of city will this be?
Again, some of you may have noticed telltale signs … the Monarch Theatre … a tower with a giant “W” on … a billboard advertising “Wayne Enterprises” … a monumental Justice Hall … newspaper offices … a seedy bar … a rough-looking neighbourhood where a boy might so easily witness his parents being mugged and killed … a mansion … and a cave …
We’ve watched the movies and read the comics, but visually speaking, what you’ll find is no direct copy, so for obvious (and quite notorious) legal reasons, we’ll probably just stick with “Furillen City” as a name.
It’s been huge fun to build so far, and once it opens, I hope that you enjoy visiting the city as much as we’ve enjoyed piecing it together.