Saturday, August 21, 2010


Written 21-22 August, 2010


I was asked by the owners of the Ravenhurst sim to take a look at it, and, of course, I did.

So as to dispel any suspense felt by my readers, or by the Ravenhurst folks, I have to say the very first thing I saw won me over.

It was a hole in the ground.

I mean a BIG hole in the ground.

I mean a FRIGGING BIG hole in the ground!

I should say it was more than a hole in the ground. It was a chasm, an abyss, a canyon, a gorge.

It was a gorge, all right, and it reminded me of this one:

That's Falls Creek Falls, in Tennessee. Back in the day, there was an iron cable on the cliffs at the right side of the photo. My brother and I would use it to descend nearly vertically to the base of the falls. Nowadays people follow a winding path to the bottom.

So anyway, this is the gorge at Ravenhurst. It was the first thing I saw and I was impressed.

It was only the second such gorge I'd seen in Second Life, the other one being in the Wastelands

I took a bunch of quick snapshots of the gorge and went back home to develop them.

I teleported back this morning, landing in a swamp. I arrived before the ground texture did, and spotted some prims-- cubes-- under the land. They seemed to belong to one of the owners, someone named Sho Flanagan. They had no scripts in them, so I assume they're misplaced objects.

Sho, if you go to <25,> and peek around under the ground you'll find them. Yay, three or four more free prims for Ravenhurst!

Now, about Ravenhurst, reading from its elaborate history, available in notecards at the entry:

The time: the present. Ravenhurst is a village located on the coast of Washington State. The town has a dark history. Since its founding in 1580 (isn't 1580 entirely too early for a town in Washington? Seattle wasn't founded until 1851!) and an early massacre of the native population, one tragedy has followed another. Witch trials (hmmm, maybe we have the wrong coast here. Could Ravenhurst be in Massachusetts? No, guess not, the terrain actually looks like Washington State. But back to the disasters). Shipwrecks. Mining accidents. Tourists dead of exsanguination. A missing sheriff.

Ravenhurst is home to a role-playing community of humans, wereanimals, vampires, fey, and what-not. In a twist, everyone pretends to be human, showing their true forms only to those close to them. Moreover, characters must have some visible means of support-- jobs. I like this. No itinerant wereanimals, no vagabond vampires, just vamps who work the late-night shift at Wendy's and werewolves who ride the garbage trucks on mornings without full moons and fairies who work as blacksmiths. Cause jeez, SOMEONE has to keep the town running!

I know next to nothing about role play, so before I muck things up, I'll concentrate on the terrain.

Ravenurst would seem a fine place to roleplay. There's a town, and there are swamps, fields, hills, and waterways. It feels a big place, and the sim surrounds make it seen even bigger than it is.

The ground texture is dark and showhow seemed sparkly on Sweetie's video card. That actually sorta kinda translated to photos.

There was no end of hidden and secluded places. This waterway...

... concealed this portal:

There was nothing much behind the screen of ivy, but it would seem a good place to hang out if one were a vampire looking for tourists to exsanguinate.

I loved this grassy spot:

The views from the bridge spanning the chasm were spectacular.

The town was appropriately spooky. It looked as if it were haunted by the ghosts of the Indians murdered five hundred years earlier.

Flat isn't necessarily bad (witness the Versailles sims), but it often is. Much of Second Life is dead flat, ugly, and boring. With its great gorge, varied terrain, and sim surrounds, Ravenhurst is neither flat, nor ugly, nor boring. Thumbs up to its designers just for making that gorge!


Taibah Takahe said...

Thank you for visiting and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great article and pictures!

~Taibah Takahe

Starr Luna said...

Thanks for the review! Ravenhurst has such ambiance. I love the job they did with the build. Any minor historical indiscretions are explained by the fact that this is, in fact, an alternate reality. That's how we roleplayers roll! Hope you stop by again some time.. I'll be the Irish biker mechanic eying you from the garage. ;) Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Sho here :) Thank-you for your kind review and for finding some errant prims, much appreciated. In clarification as to backstory of the sim, we have taken some careful liberties with the location and timeline of events.

1570-1800: Exploratory European expeditions begin mapping the coast of the Northwest. Sir Francis Drake is the first and a number of explorers eventually follow, most being of Spanish, Russian, or British origin.

Also during this time, there was a worldwide mass hysteria related to witches / werewolves, and trials of supernaturals in RL were happening all over the place where europeans - especially the church - had taken root. It just so happens that we are most familiar with Salem, MA for trials but in fact this was but a very very small blip compared to what was happening world wide.

I think a small population in this area as early as 1580 is not out of the question particularly if there were folks drawn to the area and perhaps taking advantage of the relative obscurity of it. Geographically it is in the ideal spot to be ideal for trading (if desired), hunting, fishing, trapping, and accessible to the coast.

Thank-you again for your very nice review and pictures - I do hope to see you in RP :)

Nikolas said...

It's beautiful, isn't it? And the RP is great. Everytime I log in I have to take a while to just walk around out of character. It's a stunning piece of work.

Oh, I run the bookstore, btw. Come on in and grab a book!

Nikolas Macbain

Garrett Valdivia said...

Wonderful screenshots. Ravenhurst is definitely one of the best-built sims I've ever come across in SL.