north opens today

North, covered in a soft blanket of snow, opens later today. Heavy snow falls on the mountains, but the valley remains clear. While much is still the same as it was, there are also some new additions that I think contribute to an overall sense of cohesion on the sim. Two buildings were added to the cluster of houses in the center and all of them are now snugly contained by walls and fences. There is a pavement with streetlights and a road. The new North abandoned motel is facing the ocean. Christmas decor is minimal on the sim, most notable is a large christmas tree by AM Radio in the courtyard from which stretch strings of light. As the astute observer may also notice, the waves have been turned properly (they were facing the wrong way before lol). The new North music stream is up and a new North windlight in the making. None of this would have been at all possible without the generous help of Toxx Genest, Mich Michabo, Bay Addens, Sasaya Kayo, Livio Korobase and others. It dawned on me once done with the makeover, the greatest part of it was the work we shared. Thank you ♥

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

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north updates

North has been up for almost two months now and there is a steady stream of people visiting the sim. It is not yet listed in the Second Life Destination guide, which to me is a good thing since it would ultimately just bring large crowds of visitors, something I am hoping to avoid. The North Flickr group is flourishing and pics are posted daily. I take great pleasure in seeing how you experience and interpret with your photographs North and, truthfully, every time I see a new image posted my heart beats a little faster. I will continue posting the five North Friday Pics on the board next to the skateboard rink and announce them via the North inworld group every week.

I would like to continue keeping North simple. I am reluctant to bombard visitors with messages when they arrive at the landing point and thus just provide the most basic information. People who have joined the North inworld group for rezz rights have mostly been great at removing their objects when done. Thank you for that. Some of you have asked me why there is no “tip jar” and the answer is that I am not looking for donations. I want people to enjoy the environment without feeling pressured to pay.

Moving forward I would like to work on getting a proper North windlight and also a unique North music stream. As many of you know, I am itching to transform the sim for winter! I already started removing and adding little things here and there, but there will be a major transformation in a few weeks. I will then close the sim for a week or two. The North foundation will remain the same, but I imagine the general ambience will end up being a bit more raw and austere.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

north is open

I’ve been working on North for about two months now. There are still things that need to be finished, like windlight, music stream and some tweaking here and there, but I am more or less done. What started off as a desire to depict the Shetland Islands, over time turned into a northern landscape themed contemporary space. One trusted astute observer noted that “it’s an odd mix of city and country.” I think that is true. You will find on North wide open spaces, nature and ocean, but also a scruffy skateboard park and a garbage dumpster which at some point may turn into an anarchist headquarters (kidding). Still, overriding all this is a northern theme meant to induce an experience of something unspoilt, raw and serene. For optimal experience when visiting North, please set draw-distance to maximum and make sure that the LOD Factor is not too low (Advanced – Show Debug Dettings – RenderVolumeLODFactor), it should be between 4 and 8. Join the n o r t h inworld group in order to rezz (20 minute auto return). Feel free to post pics from North in the North Flickr group, would love to see your photographs.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

North

draw me a sheep...

I am putting together a new sim called North. It all started as an inspiration based on an ever-stronger desire to live away from the big city and move to rugged nature somewhere in the remote north. I created two other places a few years ago, one was Winter and the other Leka, both of which, looking back, I think I put together too quickly. So I knew I wanted to take my time with North and I have.

Inspired by the Shetland Islands in Scotland, where Scotland meets Scandinavia and the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, I envision North as raw, serene and still. While I want it to be as true to the original islands as possible, I am not set on having it be a perfect replica. Open space, remote buildings, nature, and ocean are themes, not part of a perfectly constructed reproduction.

I learned going through this virtual sim creating process that there are both practical and emotional aspects involved. The tangible characteristics require some virtual world technical expertise, like, for instance, terraforming. The emotional aspects of sim building have to do with introspection and personality.

Those of you who put together sims already know what the practical initial tasks at hand are; terraforming, ground textures, layout. Then the adding of objects; rocks and stones, grass and flowers, buildings and objects, animals and animate objects. It is important to me that the sim is unique and different and this, truthfully, becomes the greatest challenge of all. I keep reminding myself that less is usually more. If I can avoid it, I don’t use popular objects that are immediately recognizable. Not always possible, but I try. I am also selective when it comes to the quality of the items I place on the sim. This involves digging deep into my inventory and also a lot of running around looking for things that might fit.

Taking time to create provides the opportunity for things to enfold. Just like when creating a painting, or when editing a virtual photograph for that matter, things look different on different days. There are days when my imagination seems to know no bounds and my creativity flourishes. These are the days when I excitedly add to the sim an incredibly detailed sewing room or a dilapidated urban skateboard park. Then there are other times when I am overwhelmed by the entire process and just want to throw in the towel. On those days I seem to just be aimlessly shuffling things from one place to another.

When putting together a sim and the practical and emotional are thoughtfully integrated, I think the end-result becomes a meaningful and inspiring sim ambience that in one way or another reflects the creators persona. I hope to get this project done soon and I look forward to sharing it with you then.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf