Wednesday, March 25, 2015

FFL 2015 - the epic conclusion

So last night we did the last four sims of  Fashion For Life 2015, starting out in FFL Berlin.  This centres on a not entirely authentic reconstruction of the Brandenburg Gate...

Engrish also spoken here
... surrounded by, well, enough Bauhaus style modernist architecture to make your monitor bleed.  We are talking straight edges here, people.

Several big stores in the glass and concrete boxes, booths for smaller ones under those big ramps.  I picked up some interesting-looking clothes at Ghee.  However, the Spartan design of the sim rather accentuates the fact that, well, the organizers didn't fill all of the available spaces.
Onwards and upwards - very upwards - to FFL Los Angeles.  Here, we find that the spirit of the city is epitomized - there's that word again - by, well, a giant skyscraper shopping mall with a rocket engine at the bottom, hovering over a beach.
The transparent column thing near me is a teleporter - it's the only way (well, apart from flying or point-to-point TP) to get to the flying tower, or to go from one level to another on the tower, unless there's an emergency stairwell or something that I didn't find.  It struck me as a bit of niggly restrictive design, that.  Especially as the teleport system is very trad-SL - I think the scripting is older than I am.

Anyway, once you get up, there are shops, and decorative palm trees.  That's kind of about it.  And then you get to the top...
I don't know what's going on here.  That central tower is just empty... there are a couple of decks inside, connected by spiral staircases, and there is a massive and impressive futuristic chandelier.  And apart from that, there is nothing.  My best guess is that it's a function space, which wasn't in use for a function while I was there.  I hope I'm right.  The alternative would be that someone bought the centrepiece space on the sim and then just didn't bother to fill it.  I don't know who or what "Zaoldyeck Kselva Magazine" is, but on past showing - as I pointed out to Tali - they could have been trying to spell "Los Angeles".
Anyway.  I TP'ed down to the southern exit, planning to make my way on foot into the next sim, FFL London, only to find my way blocked by a barricade of abandoned red telephone kiosks.
Only in SL... A few seconds and a point-to-point TP later, I had joined the other, cleverer catlady you can see in the middle distance, and was investigating what seems, to me, to be the stand-out build of this year's FFL.
What we have, surrounded by floating phone boxes, is London's Tower Bridge, basically.  The "main store" is the roadway of the bridge, and it is lined with a plethora of gacha machines.  I will confess to a faint irritation with the now-ubiquitous gacha thing.  I am old and tired and would prefer just to buy what I want, instead of playing a lot of silly games in the hope of getting it, or getting something I can swap for it.  Perhaps I'm in a minority.  I don't know.  I do know that there is nothing much in SL that I actually need, any more, so when I am attracted by something on a gacha's display, the irritation factor usually outweighs the attraction factor to the point where I don't spend any money.
But I digress, because you can, and probably should, avoid the ranked gacha machines, and instead follow some little floating arrows that lead up one tower and across the walkways at the top and down the other tower.  With occasional outbreaks of RFL and other vendors along the way.  And lots of Victorian ironwork on display.

To my way of thinking, we should have had more of this sort of thing.  This is an impressive flight of fancy using a very recognizable London landmark.  Excellent attention to detail, judicious use of invisible guiding prims so visitors don't fall off at inopportune moments.  (The sort of technique I've used on my own *ahem* landmark in Caledon Burroughs.)  I do not approve of the gachas, but I most definitely approve of this sim.
Though there was room, still, in those towers for more RFL vendors than were actually there... and this issue becomes even more apparent in the final sim, FFL New York, where there is an entire derelict street of empty brownstones...  and one more store where there is a sign over the door, but no trace of actual occupancy.
This sim's basically downtown New York.  There are skyscrapers.
At street level, there are shops.  There could be more shops, but the ones that are there are OK.

There are more of those trees with the twinkly lightbulbs in.  I like those.
There are other nice touches of sim decoration - there is a bridge in the distance, for instance, and there are eating places like that diner, too.
Just down the street from that diner is a sweet little stand-alone building that's a cake shop.  It's the sort of out-of-the-way, charming little spot you could imagine existing in the real New York.  Given the brief to summarize the experience of the real-world cities involved, the designers here have always at least made a creditable stab at it, and some of the building work here is truly excellent.
Having said which - it's depressingly empty.  I don't mean just the vacant storefronts, too.  Apart from that first night, when CentralPark North was frozen for me at about 2 fps, it's been very easy to get around, because there have been entirely too few visitors.  Possibly, the emphasis this year is on events, at the venues in the CentralPark sims.  But, frankly, the sims and the shops could use some loving, too.  There is some nice stuff to be had, here - I may have to post some piccies to prove it - and it's an excuse for me (and, dear readers, you) to buy nice clothes in a good cause.  (Gentlemen are not excused, there are several menswear shops around the sims too.)
This is worth a look, and RFL is a cause worth supporting.  FFL goes away on the 29th of March, and I'd urge anyone to stop by and check it out before it does.

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