After many years of providing fun and delight to their fellow residents, in the form of their seasonal treasure hunts, Nani Ferguson and Ange Menges have decided to take a break.
Welcome to Snowind, on OSGrid and Metropolis. HG Addresses at the end.
The Hunts marked things like Easter and Christmas, which provided a convenient deadline to them, and a signal to us that there would be hours of fun to be had.
The signature of these hunts has always been rich pickings in a richly detailed environment.
Personally, I am less into the freebies and more captivated by the creativity and atmosphere, and the opportunities to photograph these splendid scenes, some of the absolutely best in opensim and probably most self created virtual worlds. I love the ancient feel of the buildings, the lopsided organic constructions that have a wonderful depth and warmth and invite exploration and admiration.
They met in Second Life, around the Paris 1900 build by the legendary Yadni Monde. Nani was one of the managers there, and talking to Ange and nani together about their history, you find that their mutual admiration and modesty are both refreshing and endearing.
Thirza Ember: How many regions have you built?
Ange.Menges: I can't answer, as I have not kept everything, but I have 62 oars on my server. First time I look, hehe
Thirza Ember: who is the harder worker? Ange or Nani?
nani ferguson: both
Thirza Ember: do you always work in harmony? or do you sometimes have different ideas
nani ferguson: always in harmony, more easy for working
Ange.Menges: Mmmm easy : Nani had the ideas and I work on them, so no pb - I explain : Nani has 5 ideas/second, me one each day
nani ferguson: ppfff
Thirza Ember: I know it is hard for a creator to play favorites, but is there an item on this build that you particularly love?
nani ferguson: maybe the boat, cos we can go away, but I really like the dragons
Thirza Ember: do you begin the build with a plan... or is it an evolution in 3D
Ange.Menges: Ah this is the Nani part....
nani ferguson: with my imagination, no plan , nothing just imagination i search a good idea. i can reate something one day and the next day, I delete all
Ange.Menges: She has first the global idea, then we search or build objects corresponding to the ideas I assume the mesh part Then Nani terraforms and builds the sim using if she want the objects we have. She modifies a lot of them. Then I work on the scripts and sounds... easy, no ? Only a lot of time...
Thirza Ember: lol easy to say, I do not think easy to do
nani ferguson: and then I can del or trash
Ange.Menges: if she is unhappy yes, she can trash a whole sim, and begin a new one
nani ferguson: easy :)
Thirza Ember: that is a great luxury we do not have in real life!
Here is an article Ange wrote a while back about Nani's building style and philosophy: http://francogrid.org/evenements/utilisateurs/453
From the arrival point, you wander down the sim into an old village, where you will find a little marketplace and an inn with line dancing. You aren't at the hunt yet, you're hunting for the portal to the hunt. It is easy to get distracted in the beautiful rickety shop, where you can find some nice winter items, including skates... which are bound to come in handy when you get to the skating pond. It was hard to keep up with Ange and Nani as they rushed around the - to them - familiar landscape. Whenever someone says 'follow me' my heart always sinks, since I am invariably camming out to take a photo, or busy writing a question, and don't have enough fingers to use the arrow keys as well... and then Mine Host shoots off in some undetermined direction, and I am immediately lost.
Thank goodness for Radar and the double click tp. I simply double click on the person's name on the Radar list, and just watch to see where they go... here is a shot of Nani and Ange flying across the region.
Eventually, whether you have help or not on Snowind, you'll find yourself at the Portal which leads to the next part of this build, the part with the presents. Speaking of gifts, and hunting...
Thirza Ember: how did you evolve the idea of building a region with a hunt? What is your main motivation?
nani ferguson: cos it's fun, we're not serious.
Ange.Menges: We are players, together, we play on MMORPG. So Nani had the idea to "import" the more easy facets of these games ...at the beginning, gifts were the only means to have a lot of people on SL, to the events. On opensim it's different. We had the idea to give what we own, but by the way of games, because it's more fun and this needs also some effort. I don't like too much the collectors who take every freebies everywhere. With us they have to search and deserve their gifts. This is our idea, perhaps we are wrong, don't know...
Once through the portal, you can cam away to admire the truly massive castle. It is interesting enough on its own, but there is more - it hides a series of tunnels.
If you have a very big avatar, you will not be able to move around in the tunnels, so you may want to check you are 'normal for opensim' in terms of height before trying to use the tunnels...
....here is an example of what the prizes look like, wedged into the ice wall of the tunnel... there are 100 so I will be amazed if you find them all, and this week on Safari, we only have an hour, which is really only time enough to look for the entrance. Lucky, the build will be open for the whole festive season, both on Metro and OSGrid.
There is so much to see here, it is bewildering, and you will soon be caught up in a delightful sense of the Great Outdoors, Indoors. Nani has managed to enhance the feeling of size even further, with some offsim mountains and so forth, so be wary of flying too close to the edge of the sim, you may get jammed!
If you are really smart, or (like me) you get Ange and nani to help you, you will find this wee beastie...
...... touch him and get a sled, and then whoosh! you are off on the Death Ride! This will you down into an underground town where the gift-laden frozen maze of tunnels is located.
So, it's their last hunt build open to the public.
They seem pretty certain about it, and of course I wondered why. Some of if is clearly a reaction to the more adversarial big-city brashness that has begun to filter into OpenSim on the backs of some of the new arrivals.
Many people deplore the idea of a big influx from SL for that reason; people coming in with little idea and no respect for the culture they will find here, although Ange and Nani are too nice to say so.
Yet much of their reasoning is to do with needing to take a break, I suspect. Builds of this size and quality take many months to put together, between sourcing, modifying and uploading the mesh, to designing the set and adding sounds and animations, and then of course placing the gifts in interesting locations.
Setting deadlines can be a great motivator, but it is also exhausting after a bit, and you suddenly wonder why you're making all this stress for yourself. Lord knows I think that every Wednesday lunchtime so it's probably the same for them. Add to that ridiculous people who do nothing for others, yet feel like they have the god given right to come in and nit pick or gripe.... well, there you have it.
Most of us came to opensim to make stuff quietly for our own satisfaction, and that sort of morphed into community... our gregarious human nature eventually gets hold of our best intentions. Is that a bad thing?
No, of course not. And Snowind perfectly exemplifies how that thrilling combination of personal creativity and generosity to others can come together in a celebration that will last on and on.
Snowind on Metro hypergrid.org:8002:snowind
Snowind on OSG hg.osgrid.org:80:snowind