In building Furillen City, we essentially wanted to create a city that:
- is located on a sky platform (this is by necessity – the main Furillen sim is on the ground);
- takes advantage of its sky location by having subterranean levels;
- is highly detailed, with every lateral space ‘filled in’ (from side to side, end to end, corner to corner) with buildings, streets, squares and pathways, and the rooms in those buildings properly decorated;
- makes sense as an urban space, with distinctive but overlapping ‘zones’ – each with their own character – and most (or many) of the key buildings and spaces one would expect to find in a city;
- is sufficiently detailed and complex to feel like a city;
- has a distinctive identity – a narrative that adds richness and depth to the detailed decoration.
(There is also a Gothem – note the ‘e’ – in Gotland, the island on which the real Furillen is located – and I can definitely say that our city has no connection with it!)
We have not tried to replicate the exact look of the batman cities, partly because this would involve using high-rise buildings that are both difficult to find and almost impossible to use convincingly within the parameters of a Second Life sim, and also because there is no ‘one’ cityscape one can associate with Gotham or Arkham. Having looked at various series of comics that feature both cities, and studied images from the movies as well as the television series, one can represent the city – from the warehouses to the factories and squares, the houses and Wayne Manor itself, through to iconic buildings such as Monarch Theatre (a cinema in the movies, more of an opera house in our version), Gotham National Bank, Trident Intercontinental Shipping, the Iceberg Lounge, the My Alibi bar, the Batcave, Harvey Dent’s HQ, Arkham Asylum, Joker’s Funland, Sionis Industries, and so on – in a number of different ways. If there is an aesthetic that runs through most of the representations, it would probably be Art Deco, but this usually gets mixed up with Steampunk, Gothic and plain old urban grunge.
The city we came up with features some of the places one would expect to find in any Batman-inspired city, together with other bits and pieces we felt might work well, such as Robinson Park, Glucose Park, the museums, movie studios, and so on. Many of the street names are also Batman-inspired.
For example, Finger Alley is not – as some visitors have commented (!) – a reference to sexual shenanigans that might take place there, but a tribute to Bill Finger, co-creator of Batman. Likewise Kane bridge references Bob Kane (the other co-creator), while Joe Chill Street (appropriately, where the courthouse is located) is a reference to the guy who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, in Detective Comics #33, originally published in November 1939. You can also find The Cat Mews (loose reference to Selina Kyle’s place, which is right there, full of cats), Poison Ivy, the alleyway just behind The Cat Mews, Burton Boulevard (after Tim, of course), Carmine Place (named after Carmine ‘The Roman’ Falcon, Gotham’s Mafia chief), Metropolis Street (Metropolis is a city in close proximity to Gotham), 1st Street (the Harvey Dent HQ), Sprang Way (after Dick Sprang, the great Batman illustrator), Klein Place (after Todd Klein, the comic book letterer who worked on a number of Batman series for DC), Wayne Avenue (named after Bruce Wayne himself, of course), and Riddler Road (named after Guess Who?). We have even created Robinson Park – complete with kids’ fairground rides – as a tribute to Lenny B. Robinson, the Batman impersonator who visited children’s hospitals as an entertainer and became famous when a video of him being pulled over by police in his batmobile went viral …
As for the layout of the city, we began with the Manor and Gotham Square, with the Batcave under the former and the main civic buildings clustered around the latter.
We then developed zones, more or less as follows:
- Civic Zone – Gotham Square, Glucose Park (incorporating the Plant House, Yoghurt Bar and Cafe in the Park), City Hall, Gotham National Bank, Gotham Cathedral, the Monarch Theatre, The Gotham Gazette HQ
- Manor Zone – Wayne Manor, the Magic Shoppe, bookstore, Espresso Cafe, antiques store, Rabbit Hole, The Cat Mews, Cafe Joie, art studio, Robinson Park
- Car Park Zone – laundromat, barber shop, tattoo parlour, Furillen Coffee Factory, The Blues Club, ‘The Joint’, pizzeria, gym
- 1st Street Zone – Natural History Museum, 54 1st St. (the Harvey Dent Campaign HQ), Gotham Warehouse, subway station with contraband market, beer garden, Kane Bridge
- Industrial Zone – Trident Intercontinental Shipping (which will probably be used as an art gallery), Chinatown, Kowloon apartment, the Baker Enterprises Textile Factory
- Entertainment Zone – Gotham Studios, Fun Haus amusement arcade, Ballz o’ Steele bowling alley, Gotham cafe, Finnigan’s pub, the Gotham Hotel, the Iceberg Lounge, the Billiard Hall Building (incorporating a casino and lap-dancing club), boxing hall, skateboard park, Joker’s Funland
- Market Zone (‘Hipsterville’) – the covered market, vinyl record store and cafe, Poison Ivy’s Turkish Bath House
- Slum Zone – Greasy Diner, basketball court, abandoned store
- Court Zone – courthouse, Arkham Asylum, Wayne Tower
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 by tunnels:
- The famous Batcave (underneath Wayne Manor), accessed by elevator and a teleporter from directly above, and by a secret teleporter hidden somewhere in Wayne Manor;
- The city’s subway station (on the corner of 1st Street and Burton Boulevard), which leads into
- the Sionis Industries Warehouse, and on through to
- the chemical lab, bank vaults and tunnel system;
- An underground car park, leading to
- A massive sewer system, which is connected to the other system via a linking tunnel just before you reach
- Enigma’s secret room, followed by
- Penguin’s lair,
- a huge sewer room, and
- My Alibi, the city’s underground club.
Here are the maps:
No doubt we will be updating the city as we discover what works and what doesn’t, find new buildings and have new ideas we think would work well … and / or we get bored!
One final note: we did not use a cityscape sim surround. As much as these can create that ‘closed in’ feel of being within a larger city, they standardise the look of places (this is a common problem in SL with rural sim surrounds, too – how many sims do you see using the Dolina surround, lovely as it is?), they can interact badly with alpha textures, and make custom light settings difficult to manage.