What a Feeling …

Wednesday’s party in the Iceberg Lounge was a big success – lots of people there, and a really good set from Jero. The setting was perfect, as can be seen in this spectacular shot from Magic Marker …

Hip check

Next up, on Tuesday, we’ll be holding a party to celebrate one of the greatest movies of all time (or of April 1983, at least!) …

flash

… so get your leotards and leggings out of the closet and get ready for some of this …

Partly for the occasion, and also because we like it, we have installed a new venue, right next to Chinatown where the boxing hall and pizzeria used to be. We called it The Dork Knight …

dork knight_002

… and it’s loud and bright – inside, at least. This is the second new building from Nomad that has been installed at the sim during the past week, the other being the beautiful Stockholm-inspired Mjölnir Kompaniet, which fits perfectly on the ground and seems true to the Swedish origins of the sim …

new building at furillen

And just in case you missed it, we are also planning a mega-event, dedicated to The Beatles in general, and specifically to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This will be held during June, and although we’ve hardly even started the planning, it’s likely to be on a similar scale to the previous events devoted to Bowie, Radiohead and Pink Floyd. It will therefore involve transforming the ground part of the sim, so expect a few days of closure during late May.

Meanwhile, to celebrate our new building – and to show we don’t take this Batman stuff too seriously – I leave you with this …

 

Sgt. Pepper comes to Furillen

The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt. Pepper album was released. In every city in Europe and America the radio stations played [it] … and everyone listened … it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. For a brief while the irreparable fragmented consciousness of the West was unified, at least in the minds of the young. (Langdon Winner, Rolling Stone)

On 1 June 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, and we will be celebrating its fiftieth birthday at Furillen with an event whose scale will match those we dedicated to Bowie, Radiohead and Pink Floyd.

pepper at 50 C

This was a great – epic – record. It was described in The Times as “a decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation”, as “a historic departure in the progress of music” in Time magazine, and in Newsweek, as a “masterpiece” whose lyrics rank alongside literary greats such as T. S. Elliot, Edith Sitwell and Harold Pinter.

Just look at the tracklist …

the-beatles-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-7-cd

… and then remind yourselves that two of The Beatles’ best-loved songs, Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane, were recorded during the sessions for this album but released separately as a double A-side single – and you begin to appreciate the hot creative streak that the band must have been on at this time.

Besides the songs, the concept – playing as an alter-ego group enabled the band to experiment musically – together with the artwork

Making The Cover for Sgt Pepper_s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1)

… and the influences …

mrkiteposter

… give the album such richness, depth and quality that the hyperbole surrounding it seems quite justified. This was – truly – a great record.

As always, we’ll be turning the entire sim into a tribute: to the group, their albums and songs and the artwork associated with them, and – of course – to Liverpool itself. It’s a city I know quite well: the first house I bought was right here on this street …

penny_lane

So, to get you in the mood, here’s Take 9 of the title track, which contains some speaking at the end and will be released as part of a special anniversary edition

Arkham Asylum

arkham asylum

For a city with so much villainy, one might be forgiven for wondering why there is no prison in Gotham. But given that the criminal justice system in Gotham usually deems criminals to be ‘mentally unfit’, this role tends to be played by the city’s hospital, the Williams Medical Center … while those who are regarded as especially dangerous end up in the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. All the great Gotham villains have been incarcerated here – the Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Harley Quinn, Clayface, Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, Mr Freeze, and of course Scarecrow. And at some time or another, most of them have escaped …

The asylum – which made its first appearance (albeit only as Arkham Hospital) in Batman #258 (published in October 1974) – was founded by Amadeus Arkham. Elizabeth, after whom the asylum is named, was his mother. She suffered from mental illness and was alleged to have committed suicide, although it later emerged that she was euthanized by her son.  The Arkham name itself comes from H. P. Lovercraft, who should be well-known to SLers through the brilliant and long-standing Innsmouth sim.

The asylum’s best-known staff member is surely Dr Harleen Quinzel, who was seduced by the Joker while trying to treat him, and subsequently became Harley Quinn. Psychology is of course a big deal in the Batman series. Another famous villain, Scarecrow, started out as Dr Jonathan Crane, a psychology professor with a gift for producing mind-bending chemical agents.

As dark as it is, Arkham Asylum has been treated to some beautiful artistic representations, most notably by Dave McKean in the highly-acclaimed Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, which features images like this …

arkham mckean

arkham mckean 2

arkham mckean 3

arkham mckean 4

Arkham’s biggest role in movies comes in Batman Begins, where Crane/Scarecrow is depicted as a high-ranking staff member, and is brilliantly played by Cillian Murphy

All of which is simply an excuse for letting you know that we’ve installed a new Arkham Asylum on the sim – it’s bigger, darker, and altogether more Gothamesque.

“Furillen City Is …”

exhibition 2

Furillen City has been open since the beginning of April, and as ever, the Flickr stream has been busy, with some excellent pictures taken by some very talented visitors. We decided to mark the first month with an exhibition of our favourites, which will open in the massive Trident Intercontinental Shipping Hangar – quite radically modified as an exhibition space – next Tuesday, 2nd May.

We will be holding similar shows for pictures of the ground part of the sim  – and will be re-opening the gallery on that level specifically for the purpose when the time comes – in the near future. Look out for notices about this, and if you are a photographer yourself, an invitation to participate.

For geeks, the title of this particular show is a reference to the very first page of the very first volume of one of the most successful recent ‘resets’ of the Batman series, and one of my own personal favourites, The New 52. Here it is …

gotham is

Joker’s Funland

funland 01_001

I rather like the fact that every Batman villain has his or her own origin story – sometimes several – which explains (but rarely completely justifies) how they turned villainous. The Joker is a case in point. His backstory is brilliantly told by Alan Moore in The Killing Joke.

killing joke

Originally a lab assistant and then a failing (and therefore poor) stand-up comic, he agrees to help out in a heist to steal a million dollars. On the day of the robbery his wife dies in a freak accident along with his unborn child, but a distraught Joker is forced by the mobsters to continue. The job goes wrong, with our fledgling villain tumbling into a vat full of chemicals, which disfigure him forever. At the end of the story, The Joker says to Batman …

There is no difference between me and everyone else! All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.

The Joker’s point is that Batman, too, had a bad day himself once – well, we all know that he did, when Joe Chill killed his parents –

… and it drove you as crazy as everyone else – only you won’t admit it.

Predctably, Batman does not agree –

… maybe ordinary people don’t always crack – maybe there isn’t any need to crawl under a rock with all the other slimey things when trouble hits.

This is one of several origin stories for The Joker. As he himself says of his past:

Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another … if I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!

The Killing Joke ends – appropriately – with a joke, told to Batman, who listens in ominous silence …

killing joke last

The Joker’s main base throughout the Batman series tends to be Funland, which is a massive amusement park surrounded by flashing lights and full of weird, scary rides – such as the ghost train, on which his victims are tortured or executed.

ghost train

Our scaled-down version of Funland – which I have just finished tweaking a bit – is a chaotic, ramshackle affair, stuffed full with broken rides (although the ferris wheel, bungee jump and drop tower work just fine), dry weeds and an irritating clown who tells terrible jokes. You’ll find it on the ‘Hipsterville’ corner of the sim, just behind the boxing hall.

funland 01_002

Incidentally, for visitors who don’t enjoy walking, we installed 28 teleport points around the city. So, if you prefer, you can take the weight off your pixel legs on your next visit.

Poison Ivy’s Turkish Bath House

462594-ivy_int1

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 …

poison ivy eco

Really, what’s not to love about Poison …

Poison_Ivy_037

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 …

poison ivy's bath house one

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.

poison ivy's turkish bath house three

Furillen news and views

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 …

Midnight at Furillen City

Still Feel Like Your Man

Untitled

Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Between Fantasy & Reality

Every Moon needs the Sun...

Furillen City

Lonely landscapes 1

Fogbound off Furillen

wandering_world485

Open sea

Furillen city

Abandoned Cars.. @ Furillen City

City Night

At the coast

On The Cat Mews Street

séparer par un mur

Furillen

Somewhere in the night

2017-04-07- Le jardin déglingué (Ramshackle Garden)

Krack

Chinatown

I am Catwoman. Hear me roar.

wandering_world487

Furillen

~Furillen~

The Janitor

Ankle injuries

I've got your back...

wandering_world488

Tessellate

the window II

No taxi

Sabrymoon wearing E-Clipse Design Jin Suit and Gloves @ The Black Fair 2017 and Chemical Princess Pantalone Mask @ Bodyfy event

we are...

wandering_world489

This  smile is  a mask

Good company

Someone I don´t know

darkened truths

Running up that hill

You Don't Own Me

Babel

crossroad #youarehere

Endless Night

Lost in a daydream

Last Tango in Paris

12042017

a little unsteady

wandering_world491

Looking Through

W

Life Leaver

Vic Taur

Painted on canvas

Only Flaw

Always look on the bike side of life

wandering_world492

Still Life

Into Shadows

:.  all at once  .:

flashback

"Czasami  mi Ciebie brak,choć nawet nie jesteś mój..."

Scrolling the retro Ipad...

In The Dark Corners

Hit Willie

~ εmo ~ *274 @Furillen

Quiet...

◦

Not a single day goes by...

Captive

My Sweet Song

Red Woman

Update from Gotham

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 …

Favorite place to hang

He couldn't resist

Naxos Wayne

wandering_world477

Untitled

Dining Room, Stately Wayne Manor

Incy Wincy Spider

The City

Piano Grande

Papa Emeritus

HARLEY QUINN

Dancer in the dark

observing the new area...

wandering_world478

Furillen City

Joker ... is here 1

Joker ... is here 2

Humanity...

Furillen

Antiques

Joker... is here 7

Gotham

Baron Eidolon

Untitled

Being. Jax.

...is Missing

T-Rex is coming to the City

Back Room

Just An Illusion

Gold

The Beast and The Beauty

wandering_world480

Walking with a Ghost

Furillen

End of a tunnel #myass

furillen, SL

Joker ... is here 4

Gotham Furillen City

2017-04-02-Furillen

Furillen city. Pandora Empire. (the Pandora' box is still closed)

furillen, SL-artist's studio

"However dark and scary the world is right now, there will be light." Gotham TV Series

Courtyard Cafe

When my feet get bored of travelling

Furillen Grand Prix

Wasted...

Furillen city. The stage

Memories of a room

Wayne Manor @ Furillen

There is no justice among men...

Super Freak

Let's Dance

The Enormity Of It All

Furillen

The Master of Ceremonies

Next …

So we’re done building Furillen City. For now. And as this great picture from Wurfi shows, it looks pretty good.

Furillen City

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.

maison furillen 01_006 copy

Mapping the city

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.

furillen city map borders centre

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.

tunnels with no you are here

We’ll be opening soon!