Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Nifty Find

Sometimes I'll just look around on the map to see what interesting-sounding sims are nearby. While doing benchmarks for the First Look viewer, I saw some interesting — but unfortunately inaccessible — sims with names like TextureTest, Bug Island, Island for Misfit Toys and Danger! Danger!

Looking to the west of First Look Isle, I saw a block of six sims with German names, one of which looked like it had a fort on a promontory of land.

I had to check it out — and I'm glad I did! Sitting atop a large hill, surrounded by a lush trees, was a haunting ruined castle, like one of King Ludwig the Mad's notorious projects fallen into disrepair.

As I walked upon the broken stones, avoiding the sporadic rubble, I espied some familiar objects. Glowing hands atop pedestals. A parrot. An eye-chart. In a courtyard at the bottom of the castle, a sign read Willkommen in der Orientierungs Burg, which even my pathetically rusty German could recognize: Welcome to Orientation Castle.

I've heard mention of a new Orientation Island; I wonder if this is what they will look like. It's certainly a lot more compact than the existing ones, taking up maybe a sixth of the sim. And the beach ball has been replaced with a well, into which (I think) the notecard says you're supposed to drop a large rock. There is a "physical" rock on a nearby staircase landing, but it's locked; I can't move it.

I've been looking around for a similarly upgraded Help Island, but so far haven't found one. There is a cluster of German-language, standard Orientation Islands just to the south of Frisch, though. I wonder how many other languages have their own Orientation Islands?

In sadder news, the Dynamic Reflections option has been removed from the Client->Rendering menu of the most recent First Look build. :( I can still enable it through the Client->Debug Settings dialog, but it crashes the viewer on my Windows machine immediately. (It still works on my Linux box, but that's not as powerful.)

It looks like most of the rendering improvements will be put into the official viewer soon! :) Get ready for smoother motion!

No comments: