Tuesday, August 23, 2011

and what does a mirror show you, can you see the gray?

I want to state this clearly and distinctly: I have been very mean to very many Lindens over the years, but Soft Linden is now one of my personal technological deities for this. Dragging this particular JIRA issue into the archives was both masterful and completely worthwhile; the conversation is, by and large, applicable as both a historical record of a Second Life era, and a discussion of the technological issues involved. But leaving it open to the now endless backbiting and petty arguments involved between the participants who had hijacked the thread for their own devices...Well. As I said, Soft Linden is, at least for the next small while, a hero to me. Thank you, Soft. You did a very, very good thing.

Tonight, we visit Bentham Hollow, another stop on the Peaster's Hunt.

(from the scavenging album)

There's a path designed to draw you deeper into the mists, so that you can discover what you seek, the key held by the lost child. But along the way there are whispers in the woods and chanting in the underbrush. What happened here? What went wrong?

(from the scavenging album)

The eye in the water watches as you come in, appearing from mist, walking into mist. The palette is muted, greys and blacks and white of moonlight and fog, which forces into sharp clarity the oranges and yellows of fire-lit hollow trees, and the glowing fungus that rises from the damp ground.

(from the scavenging album)

A tumbledown shack at the end of a path, with a very unfortunate traveler tied to a cross. He appeared to be burned; I didn't move closer to check.

(from the scavenging album)

Little lost child, counting to ten, adrift in the cold and the damp. And the whispers surrounding each blade of black grass, each timber slowly rotting to the core, each skeletal branch reaching for the dead sky.

(from the scavenging album)
Nearly everything has eyes, red eyes, orange eyes, glowing eyes, floating in the mist, animating trees that should be still, lurking in shadows and in hollows. And the whispering, the chanting, the occasional howls and scuffling of large beasts that cannot be seen...

(from the scavenging album)

Some of the lost children are lost entirely, being face-down in various pools of water. (A side note; the same sculpt was used for all the children, made by Lauren Bentham, yet how each child was placed tells us different things. It's the same image, so to speak--but placing it face down, or against a tree, or simply standing, tells our pattern-seeking brains that different situations are happening with that child. Interesting.)

(from the scavenging album)
How many reaching hands out of the darkness? How much rustling in the underbrush? Can we move fast enough, can we escape soon enough, can we stop what we hear and what we sense?

Are we finding the children, or losing our way out?

(from the scavenging album)
And they are everywhere; counting or standing, crying or weeping, dying or already dead, they are small dreaded yellow figures that never seem to be where we would expect.

(from the scavenging album)
Following the path is no better than walking through the underbrush; while the path is lit, the lights match the eyes, match the glowing mushroom spectres made out dimly on the horizon. The lights do not lead us to safety.

(from the scavenging album)
And even where there is fire, and spaces clear of monsters in the dark, we do not feel as if the children are safe, and warm, and free.

(from the scavenging album)

The rising and falling mist obscures our feet, and can also obscure the key we seek, regardless of how well we follow the rules--if we follow the rules at all. If we are diligent, if we are not led astray by whispers, or spooked by howling in the dark, we can find the key. We simply must keep looking...and not be led out into the dark.

(from the scavenging album)

For if we are...Well. If we get lost in the dark, we can be reasonably sure what will find us. Eyes first...teeth later.

All in all, Bentham is a wonderful sim to visit, if you're like me and semi-embrace being creeped out. It's well done, and the sounds are nine-tenths of why--don't mistake me, the decorations are well-chosen and appropriate, but the sounds are what made the hairs on the back of my neck rise. And even walking through to take these pictures, I kept glancing fearfully over my shoulder, wondering if something was moving...that shouldn't be.

And I'd say it, like the Epic Toy Factory before it, deserves a visit whether or not you're on the Peaster's hunt.

4 comments:

Serenity Semple said...

Sweet find. Thanks for the sharing!

Emilly Orr said...

I've actually been fairly impressed with the Peaster's stores. There's at least one more I want to cover in its own entry, and maybe a couple others in a two-fer.

Edward Pearse said...

I popped over to the sim today. Brilliant. While it's a very static sim, the sound effects give it a feel of things moving in your peripheral vision.

Thanks for sharing.

Emilly Orr said...

Absolutely. I think the soundscape is what makes it so stellar--because if you think about it, it's the same ground sculpts, child sculpts, tree sculpts, everywhere you go, with only a few points of difference. As you said, static.

But the sounds...