I do like a challenge, especially when I’m at a bit of a loose end and looking for something to do. I’ve often had an opportunity that I can throw myself into turn up at exactly the right time, and then keep me happily occupied for anything from a few days to several weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty that I could be getting on with anyway – half-finished projects, plans that have never managed to get off the ground and a hundred things that I really should be getting around too. A new exhibit at The Gallery is well overdue, and I still haven’t decided what to do with my latest land acquisition, ‘Marmalade Skies’ – both are something that really could do with some attention at the moment, but as is the case with so many of these kind of things, I sometimes lack the motivation to really get started.
So when something a bit different comes along, prompted by something other than my own thought processes, it makes a pleasant change. Give me a brief to follow and I’ll happily rise to the task, content with being in the position of not having to be too original or self-directed – I have to do enough of that in RL, heaven forbid that I should spend too much of my time inworld doing the same! The other thing that I find refreshing about this sort of project is that they tend to be quite challenging in terms of achieving the outcomes expected. Take building for SLB, for example; although you have the freedom to interpret the theme in any way you wish, ideally you’ll do so in a way that stays true to that theme, not forgetting that you also have to work within a number of physical and technical constraints that can, in themselves, pose some interesting challenges. It’s fun.
My latest project turned up unexpectedly and is quite different from anything I’ve ever done before, with a design brief that I’ve found particularly stimulating and enjoyable.
It all came about from a conversation with a friend who owns a club – he does suffer rather a lot from some good natured ribbing about the build quality of the place and his ‘reluctance’ to shell out on modern fixtures and fittings, but nevertheless he runs a tight ship and everything works extremely well. Testimony to this is the fact that the club has been around for getting on for six years now, has a fiercely loyal following, is always well attended and prides itself on the quality of the artists and atmosphere that can always be found there. Even so, if this was a club in the real world, the local council would probably have shut it down under health & safety and building regulations!
So it came to pass that in the course of the normal banter, he unexpectedly threw down the gauntlet – ‘go ahead, punk – rebuild my club!’
It was an opportunity not to be missed – I was champing at the bit to replace all those inefficient, outdated prims from 2004, optimise textures and give everything a much-needed makeover, but it wasn’t going to be quite that simple. Firstly, the club is a weird construction – it has random angles and overhanging bits of ceiling and floor; some are functional, some are just oddities of design. Put together in its entirety, those same weird dimensions mean that it just won’t fit nicely into my build space, so I’m going to have to put together some parts of the build at 90º to how they’ll finally be deployed, just so i can fit them in. It’s also far too big to join all the linksets and it will eventually have to fit back into the space where the original sits… but all of that is the easy part.
Here’s the tricky bit: When the new club is finally in place, visually it should look just like the original, as similar to the old design as possible; more importantly, I want to retain the atmosphere of the place, so the whole thing is more than just an exercise in building, its as much about lavishing care and attention to the details and preserving the ambience and character of the club, as it is to get everything perfect too.
The end result, I hope, will be – to the average attendee – a near-perfect replica of the club they know and love, (albeit without the holes, gaps, dodgy seams and acres of unnecessary bloat); hopefully they won’t notice the difference, other than to pause a moment and wonder why the whole place seems to load so much faster, is less laggy, and is – somehow – better than ever before.
I like a challenge!
I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go
The Beatles – Fixing A Hole