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 …

SONY DSC

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.

Furillen

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.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132404444@N03/22587218923/in/pool-furillen/

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

minimalist

Most visitors to Furillen comment on the wide open spaces. Some see the emptiness as beautiful, while others see it as desolate, dystopian or even depressing. But all agree that this sense of space defines the sim and explains its impact. Look beyond this, however, and there are other sides to Furillen, such as those found in the rooms of the main building. When I first built the sim, these were designed as standard hotel rooms, but this quickly became quite repetitive and predictable. While one or two such rooms remain, the other rooms have been given up to small-scale ‘installations’, usually featuring furniture of one kind or another alongside other objects that are less likely to be found in a hotel.

Everything here is about simplicity and detail: the precise arrangement of objects in a tightly defined space. These are, I think, the perfect counterpoint to the vast empty spaces elsewhere on the sim.

To me at least, these are like two sides of the same – minimalist – coin.

the cutting room 01_010