Sunday, 13 January 2008

Italia Vera 3D

In the Summer of last year you might have noticed a flurry of Italian sims arriving in Second Life. In fact, SLNN carried this article back in July, in which it highlighted the work of Italian builders Italia Vera 3D. At the time, they were planning to develop an ambitious 24 sim presence in Second Life, modelling it on a map of Italy. The original plan, according to SLNN, was to have the whole thing finished by November.

While that target has come and gone, development appears to have continued. I was peering aimlessly in the North East corner of the Second Life map when I espied a large group of Italian sims - some connected to form larger land masses, others standing alone or in pairs, to form an extended archipelago. A couple of these sims showed signs of occupation, so I hit the teleport button and went to have a look.

I settled on the Romagna Veneto sim as my starting point. There was not a whole lot happening at ground level, but at much higher altitude I found an Italian town under construction. This town happens to be a recreation Marostica. At the heart of the town of Marostica is the Chess Square, the Lower Castle and The Doglione. Each September of every even numbered year, a human chess game is played in full medieval costume on the Chess Square, in a festival that lasts for 3 days. These signature features of the town are being reproduced here.

Nearby - and higher up - I also came across work on virtual Milan. A highly-detailed rendering of Milan Cathedral seems to be the main work in progress, though building is also proceeding on Castello Sforzesco and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It strikes me that there is an enormous amount of work still to do, but I took some pictures to give you some idea on progress to date:

Given the huge amount of care being put into this, not to mention the huge amount of money, I have to wonder about the approach being taken. It strikes me that the recreation of RL buildings in SL, while it can initially seem like a good idea, can become an obsession. While it is great to build somewhere around which SL Italians may wish to form communities, I am struggling to see where the return on investment is coming from. This is a large, complex build - and one which cannot be easily throttled back if finances are constrained. It is either a "faithful reconstruction" or it isn't - and the latter is not an option.

On the plus side, if and/or when it is ever completed it will be an amazing series of showpieces.

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