Rain down, rain down

umbrella time at furillen



Please could you stop the noise, I’m trying to get some rest

From all the unborn chicken voices in my head
What’s that…? (I may be paranoid, but not an android)
What’s that…? (I may be paranoid, but not an android)

When I am king, you will be first against the wall
With your opinion which is of no consequence at all
What’s that…? (I may be paranoid, but no android)
What’s that…? (I may be paranoid, but no android)

Ambition makes you look pretty ugly
Kicking and squealing gucci little piggy
You don’t remember
You don’t remember
Why don’t you remember my name?
Off with his head, man
Off with his head, man
Why don’t you remember my name?
I guess he does….

Rain down, rain down
Come on rain down on me
From a great height
From a great height… height…
Rain down, rain down
Come on rain down on me
From a great height
From a great height… height…
Rain down, rain down
Come on rain down on me

That’s it, sir
You’re leaving
The crackle of pigskin
The dust and the screaming
The yuppies networking
The panic, the vomit
The panic, the vomit
God loves his children, God loves his children, yeah!

Spring …

… has sprung at Furillen.


As I hope we will discover, the sim’s special atmosphere – that austere feeling, the monochrome look, the sense of space – will turn out to be every bit as interesting, and photogenic, in spring as it was in winter.


plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

latest Furillen news

One of the reasons for keeping this blog is to build a kind of memory board, or diary, because so much happens in such a short time in Second Life that developments often get lost to the memory simply because they are so fast.

So here we go.

First. I changed the sky and ground textures again.

new ground 01_001

Neither will be a long-term change, but I am exploring different settings ahead of a possible Furillen ‘spring’.

In response to my recent post on this question, many of you said you’d like to see seasons at Furillen. Some said you wouldn’t …


What you can be sure of is that the unusual atmosphere at the sim will be always be retained, if not the snow (although there is more snow than ever, right now).

new ground 01_008

As I’ve said before, this means searching for a combination between realism and something akin to hyperrealism or even surrealism. I usually know when a combination is right when I see it.

It’s never quite a eureka moment, but it is a little bit like this …


Second. One of the hotel rooms has been changed and I’ll be moving more things around in the next week or so, as time permits. As always, the rationale I follow is about making pictures.

Inevitably, perhaps, reflections are involved …

new ground 01_009

Third. The first Furillen art event, featuring portraits by Moon Edenbaum, happens this weekend. There will be minimum disruption, but it will be intriguing to see how the sim looks and feels with something going on there.

new ground 01_004

There may be one or two closures, just look out for group notices.

As always, please let me know what you think.

Fourth. A new Furillen gift has been left out for visitors, located next to most tip jars – just touch the prim and it will give you three items, the rest should be self-explanatory.

new ground 01_006

The gift is a beautiful album of Furillen words and pictures that was made – without my knowledge – by Anna, whose flickr stream is here. I am very grateful to her for allowing me to make this available to everyone who wants it.

Please let her know if you like it.

Fifth. I hope to feature some guest blogs here in coming weeks. If you’d like to write something, let me know. Anything Furillen-related or photography-related.


You don’t need to be a fabulous writer, I can edit what you do – and I’ll do the layout here. (Do you imagine I’d allow anyone else to do that …?)

And don’t listen to all that Hemingway shit …


Sixth. The competition seems to be hotting up. Please join in.


If you say you don’t want to because you ‘don’t like competitions’, think about this. I have made clear that this is a competition with a difference – less about the prize, more about the process; less about competing interests, more about community; less about one person or committee deciding on the ‘best’, more about people deciding together.

Very funny Humor Cartoon Jokes on Democracy

Having heard me say all of that, and if you still don’t want to join in … well, perhaps the problem isn’t really competitions at all …

So come on. Remember that great Ghandi line. It may seem cheesy now, and he was talking about somewhat more important things than a Second Life picture contest.


But I need to end somewhere, so I may as well end here.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

By all means prioritise alleviating world poverty, dealing with climate change and ensuring that there are no more wars. But by comparison, submitting a picture to the Furillen competition pool isn’t too big an ask.


Is it?

Enjoy your day, wherever you are. And see you inworld … you know where.


nothing but concrete

From photographs, the real Furillen looks like an industrial wasteland of rough shingle and grey concrete dust. There are plants, flowers and trees, but even these appear to be from the wrong side of an apocalypse. Just my kind of place …


Although few people pass comment on the ground textures at the Second Life version of Furillen, they are – alongside lighting and geometry – crucial to giving the sim its particular atmosphere and feel. What I did here was quite unusual, although certainly not original.

I went for complete uniformity.

Nothing but concrete, everywhere …

slag heaps 01_009

When designing a sim in Second Life you can set the texture of the ground at four different levels. I have the same setting on every level, using an identical concrete texture everywhere – even on the slag heaps.

The exact texture I use has changed over time. I started with a realistic concrete – very grey – but although this looked fine in some light, there was a repeat to it that looked too obvious, especially on low graphics.


Then, until recently, I opted for a creamier concrete mix, with a grungy tinge to it that was good in most light and graphics settings.

Although some people mistook this for snow – and why not, given that the stuff falls constantly at Furillen – it gave the sim a slight weirdness, an air of unreality, that was difficult to pin down.


When the light settings were changed recently, the subtle repeat in this texture showed through more: it looked stripy.

So I changed the mix. There is now a seamless concrete texture.

surreal land a

To me, in this light, the sim looks more surreal than ever.

grounded b

seeing the light

All Second Life photographers have a thing about light, it transforms what you capture in a more dramatic way than is generally possible in real life photography. For sim designers, too, light matters to how they conceive a build, which ground textures they use, the general atmosphere they want to create.

blizzard a

When I visit a sim the first thing I do is check the light settings the sim builder has used. It enables me to see a place through their eyes. I might then revert to my own settings to take pictures, but sometimes I stick to the intended settings because they were well thought out and work well.

Furillen 1

Two of the best and most reliable SL photographers who specialize in landscape and sim photography and whose work I closely follow – Ziki Questi and Loverdag – make a point of using the intended light settings. As Loverdag explains, it shows off the sim in its ‘correct’ light – and she is especially meticulous in explaining how her pictures have been processed.


Some of the most interesting and original light settings at Second Life sims have been created by Bryn Oh, whose The Gathering provides the latest evidence that she is a truly innovative and original artist who – alongside Cica Ghost – has taken the business of sim design to an entirely new level.

Until recently I was using a variant of one of Bryn’s past windlight settings – Immersiva Grey Dust – at Furillen. Initially I fixed the time of day, but then I created a day cycle of 20 stops. Each cycle lasts 6 hours, and represents a 24 hour period in the real world.

The result was wonderfully moody and dynamic.

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.

But there were drawbacks too. If you happened to visit the sim at one of the darker moments it could be off-putting. And the clouds were fast moving – a feature of the day cycle in Second Life which seems impossible to fix. It adds drama, but also lag. And it can be less than relaxing.

Seeking balance

Partly with these issues in mind, I switched to a different light setting this week. With January upon us and the days in the real world beginning the lengthen again, I have opted for a blue-ish light, which has an early morning sun casting a faint, white glimmer on the sea.

grounded bb

As usual, I have been asking for feedback from visitors, whether positive or negative. Once I have a better sense of this, I will think about turning this setting into a day cycle.

always dawn

Until then, it’s always dawn at Furillen.