One week in Louisiana

walkway final

Black Bayou Lake opened just one week ago – with no advance notice – and the sim has been busy ever since. Given that the grid is currently in the grip of Halloween fever, this is a nice outcome. Thanks to everyone who has visited so far, and especially to those of you who took the trouble to leave a comment in our guestbook.

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Apart from the intrinsic satisfaction to be had from trying to recreate real locations using the somewhat limited resources available to us in Second Life, the two main reasons we put sims together are, first, to give visitors an immersive experience of ‘being there’ – hence our focus on a convincing windlight and soundscape, for example – and, second, to give the large and active community of photographers something new to take pictures of.

Black Bayou Lake

After one week, the sim’s Flickr group is fast approaching 300 pictures, and it is always intriguing to see how others choose to ‘see’ what we put together: the angles they choose, their light settings, favourite details, and so on. I have been struck so far by how many of you have chosen monochrome …

Please just take me with you when you go

Keep The Streets Empty For Me

We have also been surprised by how many photographers have focused on one small detail that we added right at the end, almost as an afterthought: these old sneakers, hanging from the hammock, and from a boat …

" Saving nickles, saving dimes "

Dancing Shoes

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As expected, the sim’s wildlife has been popular …

Black Bayou Lake

It's a Canadian thing....

Black Bayou Lake

… and I have enjoyed seeing images that use the walkway for perspective, to create pictures that remind me of Furillen’s old pier …

To lose in the fog...

Black Bayou Lake

Finally – as with every sim we’ve been involved with – some of you are simply very good at making images that are downright moody …

Golden Bayou

The Beast in the Swamp

BBL

Bleak

There have been very positive reviews from Inara Pey and Maddy Gynoid – both are experienced reviewers and it is always interesting to get such feedback. But the ‘review’ we are always waiting for – with baited breath, it must be said – is from anyone who has actually visited the places we try to recreate. I remember some fascinating conversations from people who had visited the real Furillen and the Isle of May – although, alas, nobody I met has ever visited Khodovarikha. As for Black Bayou Lake, we had our first conversation with a ‘local’ reviewer last night. This is how it went …

[18:08] RM: just wanted to say WELL DONE! I am a Louisiana native and I’m positivley sweating and batting away mosquitos while standing here LOL
[18:08] JK: Ohhhhhhhhh nice :p
[18:08] RM: you def captured the essence for sure
[18:09] JK: ha ha ha we were waiting people from louisiana to have their opinions, you’re first and that’s very coool to hear 🙂
[18:09] RM: the ambient sounds, everything…perfect
[18:10] RM: GOOD JOB

Black Bayou Lake

Black Bayou Lake – the inspiration for our latest sim – is located in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. The lake is part of an 800 acre nature reserve – there is a factsheet about it here – which seethes with wildlife: there are many species of bird, insect, reptile and fish, along with a variety of trees such as cherrybark oak, cedar elm, ash, hickories, willow oak, shortleaf pine, loblolly pine, mockernut hickory and post oak. It’s a stunning place, which attracted us because we had not yet tried designing a sim that consists mainly of water.

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With bare trees growing up out of the dark lake, this place has a somewhat creepy feel, and we tried to capture this spirit in our recreation.

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In some ways this sim is a throwback to Khodovarikha, in which nature was characterized by a rawness that many visitors found inspiring. But unlike that desolate Russian weather station, Black Bayou Lake recalls our most recent sim, Isle of May, for its abundance of wildlife.

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As ever, we’ve done our best to make the sim feel alive: there are plenty of birds, from eagles soaring overhead, ravens and crows, owls and woodpeckers, osprey and kingfishers, along with a variety of water-based birds such as egret, geese, cormorants, ducks, cranes, brown pelicans and herons. You’ll hear most of these birds in the sim’s soundscape. All of them, so far as we are aware, can be found in and around the real Black Bayou Lake. There are alligators, too, ominous and threatening from just beneath the water.

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The dominant structure at Black Bayou Lake is a large walkway used by visitors who want to venture out onto the lake, and for fishing. The walkway has an interesting feature, a ‘bridge’ section that looks like an upside down ‘V’, and we have recreated this although we have no idea what its purpose might be, other than to offer a more elevated viewing spot.

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As for human habitation, we have added shacks and a houseboat that we believe are typical of the Louisiana Bayou.

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For music, a blues-based soundtrack seemed like the best choice.

As with the Isle of May, what you see is what you get: no parties or exhibitions, no tip box and no rez rights (we always run out of prims, so please don’t ask) – and it won’t be staying open for long. So enjoy Black Bayou Lake while you can, and post your pictures here.

Important Announcement

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing some thinking and have reached the decision that Furillen has gone as far as I want to take it. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing this space with so many interesting people, and will remember the events held at the sim for a long time. There is no reason behind this decision other than the simple fact that I’d like to spend time doing other things. Many thanks to all of you who have visited the sim and contributed to its upkeep in direct and not so direct ways. Thanks also to readers of this blog. All in all, it has been great fun …

… but now you know why I built that EXIT door …

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So that’s it. Let me finish with the song that, for me, defined what Furillen meant to many of us …

Goodbye !!