Monday, 26 May 2008


I think this one has been around for quite some time, so apologies if this is all Old News to you. In fact, my chum VeeJay mentioned it back in November last year on his Mindblizzard blog. At that time the site was not open, so he could only go on information released by the build company. Since then I've tried a couple of times to get in, without joy. Today, however, while randomly scanning the map, I happened upon the sim again - and found it open. It has been open, as far as I know, since at least February - judging by this post from Nic, at Kzero.

And the sim? It belongs to Dutch football club, Feyenoord.

The club, based in Rotterdam, was founded 100 years ago, although it went through a couple of changes of name before settling on Feyenoord in 1912, taking its name from the city district where it was founded. It also settled on its final team colours, of red and white shirts and black shorts. Despite being one of the 'big boys' of Dutch football - along with Ajax and PSV - it has just finished a disappointing 6th in the league, though this was offset by winning the Dutch Cup. It is due to start work on a new 100,000-seater stadium, but this will not be ready until 2016. Until then, fans will have to make do with their 50,000-seater.

Rivals Ajax opened a sim last year, as I reported at the time. Although according to VeeJay, that site was apparently created by supporters, not the club. The Feyenoord sim, on the other hand, is official. It has been built by the Dutch virtual world branding, business development and construction company, SLionhead, who have also created a launch page at the club's website, from where fans can create new Second Life accounts.

The sim itself falls into 4 component parts. First is the arrival hub, at the end of a walkway projecting out into the sea. From here you can walk up to the first building: the club shop (clearly they have a view of their priorities!). In the shop you can acquire a club strip, club scarfs and even club animations (though I am not sure of the relevance of a rock'n'roll guitar hero animation here). What is slightly surprising is that all of these items appear to require parting with the princely sum of 1 Linden Dollar. This is as close to 'free' as it is possible to get, without actually being free. So why not give away the items? I mention this because of the use of the registration API on the club website, and implication that newbies will quickly arrive here. And those newbies are going to arrive penniless, more often than not. So does it really make sense to charge them for club "freebies"? I can't see the point.

After the shop we arrive at the main building. It has a bar and dancefloor downstairs, and meeting rooms and an extensive history of the club upstairs. I don't know if this building exists in RL, but I found it terribly dour. Oh... I admire their use of textures, and the depth of field achieved - but the place is very grey and moody, bordering on the gloomy.

The last component is a slice of stadium, with a goal and a larger-than-lifesize photo of the team. Advertising hoardings separate the various tiers of the stadium, offering punters the opportunity to have their name (or their company's) emblazoned here. Beyond that, I am not clear about the point of the goal. Is it there to allow you to practice penalties? Or have a knockabout with your mates? There didn't seem to be anything to tell you. The same applied to the team photo. Was the idea so that you, too, could be part of the team photo? That'd be a nice idea - but it is simply not set up to make that option viable.

So all in all, a slightly odd site. The actual build is solid, with some great textures. But overall, I felt it just missed. As ever, I have a few snaps for you to ponder:

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