Thursday, May 4, 2017
Dawn's Promise comes on you like spring - at first gradually and then all in a rush. It is studded with brightly shaded sitting areas that somehow blend into the pinky misty backdrop while still giving the scene an air of play. Everywhere you look is a new spot for delight, some other living thing breathing alongside you. The path is meandering but easy to follow, going between buildings and over bridges with reckless abandon. Everything is slightly worn and slightly off-center - roofs have beams exposed and tiles missing, plaster has worn off to show the brick underneath, and the textures are rough, as if painted by watercolors. I love when creators take the extra step of making things worn; in Second Life it's often easier to make things perfect and uniform, so the extra effort to add cracks and breaks are striking. Little details are tucked into those irregular areas, like a ghost haunting the attic of one store under the watchful eyes of a crow, or a bathtub full of flowers spilling out into the landscape. Off to the edges, small gathering areas float on stone islands - offering privacy and beauty all in one.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Alia's builds are almost always one of my favorites, and I adored The Rose the second I set foot inside of it. I have a major soft spot for Venice, and this sim really brought that city to mind, from the houses with their stoops ending at the waterline, to the gondola style boats floating on the water. The hues are gentle shades of pink which set off the mint water that was the default windlight beautifully. It grows up rather than out, the outer edges facades while the stores grow up the middle and curve around in a confusing and delighting manner, all the way up to the dance stage on the roof of the central building. I loved the layers and details even while cursing every time I got lost! Rose petals are everywhere, and here and there a black mask lies discarded as if from some party the night before. I was most startled when I crossed a bridge, looked to the side, and realized there was a watery tunnel all the way through! Fantastic!
Stepping into The Spirit Pool is like stepping into a cool past made out of marble. Built along simple and neo-Classical lines, the sparsity broken up by lovely potted plants in a vivid shade of yellow-green, The Spirit Pool is a balm to souls over-wrought by the excesses and overwhelm of the Faire. Built around a central square, the covered store area gives way to an open air courtyard protected by high walls. The scale is enormous, especially when you look up to see the somber statue presiding over it all, her arms outstretched. Similar, but smaller, statues dot the walkways holding lamps aloft to guide the way from shop to shop. Water flows throughout, adding to the sense of cool calmness and drawing the eye toward the deep pool which makes up The Spirit Pool. I particularly like the effect of the long banners cutting up the smooth white with a stream of patterned blue. This is also one of the few builds with regular seating, in the form of lovely marble couches with curving arms tucked against the outside wall of the promenade.
Mudrana is a fascinating build at the Fantasy Faire, built in an 'S' shape which centers in front of the Frog King with the curves of enormous lotuses serving as both barrier and building. Reeds of various shades, matching lilypads, and even differently tinted water add a three tone effect while separating the build not exactly evenly. The decor here is for sale at the Dandelion Daydream Factory, and it's striking; divided into "corrupted", "Unseelie" and "Seelie", the similar shapes are remade through colors and glow to bring a different mood to their sections. My favorite touch were the frogs, however - some of them sitting, others climbing, still others peering into the depths. It was fun running across the ones with horns or wings perched on a lilypad or halfway up a stalk of cattails. The use of movement was fantastic as well - flies buzz around the head of the Frong King, tempting him to snack, and in the depths of the water you can see enormous tadpoles swimming as they waited to transform and join their parents on the surface.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Opal's Flight is a sea of whites and cream with the flash of glinting bright creatures strewn throughout, much like the hues of a milky quartz in the sun. Like last year's Haveit Neox and Lilia Artis build, it has an organic and quirky design - even the whites mottled with texture - and there's a sense of movement even in the still pieces. There are moments both grand and small - one of my favorite details was in the meeting of a metal flamingo from Fallen Sands with a Neoxian Paper Goose, complete with a gear gift. Its a subtle but endearing touch, bridging the edges of the disparate Fairelands with the shade whimsy of the Faire itself. What was most transfixing, however, were the leaping fish and cetatean riding octopi, rendered in gorgeous hues of bright purple, warm orange, and lime green. They leap among the relics of enormous coral, many of their leaping speeds sufficiently off from each other so that the tableau is ever-changing and unpredictable. Capturing the full effect is impossible in still photography, but I had fun exploring the angles of various leaping things as they moved in and out of view at a dreamlike pace.