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