Steampunk is a 19th century Victorian or wild west culture depicting a post apocalyptic future. It is based on fantasy and a science fiction hybrid sub-genre that features machines powered by steam, like spring propelled hot air balloons, steam engine trains, trolleys and other mechanical vehicles. Steampunk can also be associated with an artistic style in pseudo- Victorian fashion that incorporates mechanical parts, top hats, boots, monocles, pocket watches and digital gadgets.
The Station in Second Life is a sim dedicated to the Steampunk sub culture, created by Enigmatic Deir and managed by Sonrisa Seminario. Launching in September of 2013, this sim features lots of details and an assortment of activities generated by mechanical parts and steam. As you take a tour of Dead City, you will sense an eerie feeling of a post apocalyptic time as you walk down the foggy streets lined with old fashioned shops, a trolley station and carnival area. It may seem grim and rustic at first but there are secret ways to travel to different magical worlds by touching the gears that are placed around the sim. The Floating city including Miri’s Club is a venue that takes you to a whole new dimensional of the Steampunk world. It features live entertainment and a giant Tesla coil that rises from the floor of the club and generates an electrifying atmosphere.
I met up with Enigmatic and Kara Trapdoor for a tour of The Station and learned more about the sim and what it has to offer Second Life Residents.
Interview with Enigmatic, Kara, and Sonrisa
Lanai: Hi Enigmatic, Kara, and Sonrisa. Thank you for the tour of The Station. It looks like a lot of time was put into the design and mechanics. Enigmatic, can you tell me more about The Station, Steampunk and what inspired you to bring this sub culture into Second Life?
Enigmatic: Second Life is my escape from RL. This virtual environment allows me to express myself in ways that are not quite possible in other art forms. Essentially SL is a canvas which allows me to explode my creativity upon.
This sim was actually inspired when I was recently at a RUSH concert with my good friend Sonrisa. I prefer to build original ideas, rather than build upon someone else's idea. I searched SL and was unable to find a floating Steampunk Sim, and then after a few months decided, "Time for me to attempt a floating Steampunk build."
Lanai: How big would you say the Steampunk community is in Second Life, it seems like this genre is hidden behind the scenes. I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else.
Enigmatic: The Steampunk genre has been in sl for quite a few years now. I suspect that the fashion community in sl probably inspired this subculture initially. The idea of gadgets, gizmo's, steam engines, etc are appealing to many who are tech savvy in rl. It just seems like a natural fit.
As I mentioned earlier, I prefer my builds to be original, and I had not seen a floating Steampunk city prior to my build.
Lanai: The details on this sim are amazing, how long did it take you to design all of these steam powered objects and mechanical parts?
Enigmatic: Actually this sim really flowed. I started with a simple floating steam turbine structure which is now under "Miri's Club" and then just kept on going. There was no initial design or blueprint to the sim. The basic sim was built in under a month. Since then I have been tweaking, redesigning, and adding objects as time goes by. As for the mechanical parts, Previous to building sims in SL, I was primarily a scriptor. So essentially any idea I think up, I can build. My weakness is that I am color blind, and often have to invoke the aid of friends to make sure my textures work and look correct. As for some of the objects on the sim, if I see someone else has made an interesting gizmo, and I can incorporate part of that into my own design, then that is easier than making something completely from scratch. An example would be the Trolleys on my sim. The engine was designed by Aly, I took her sculpties and incorporated that into my trolleys.
Lanai: Do any of you live a Steampunk lifestyle in Real Life? If so, is there a difference between how it is practiced here in Second Life?
Enigmatic: In Real Life I do have degrees in Engineering, I am just a down to earth normal person sharing my artistic vision in a virtual environment.
Kara: No, my steampunk experiences have been all SL, although I've always been a sci-fi and Tesla fan. I actually was not very familiar with the steampunk sub-genre until entering SL and finding steampunk fashion and products, then explored and researched a little more.
Sonrisa: No, not on any serious level. If there is a steampunk event in my area I will attend out of curiosity. I think that all steampunk is influenced by the time and life of its author, just as is steampunk here in sl influenced by the designer. Often sims here are following a certain rl author. We didn't really do this with this sim. It is more whimsical. Plus, there is a certain amount of pushing the limits of sl that occurs here - just doing things to see if it can be done - such as the slingshot.
Lanai: What are the main attractions you have going on here at the Station? Who manages what areas?
Enigmatic: Well there is much to see upon initial glance. Then after you explore a bit you may realize you are merely scratching the surface. This sim is really an explorer's hunting environment. There are many hidden surprises to be found. I would like to think there is a bit of something for everyone on this sim.
The Floating City has:
· Miri's Rock Club
· The New Orpheum Theater
· The Fun House
· A Rube-Goldberg inspired Sling shot ride
· Many areas to relax, explore, and hang out
· There is a Floating Rail Road system connecting the Floating City
· The Skywalk Art Gallery
The Dead City has:
· An Amusement Park complete with bumper cars, roller coasters etc
· A Human Cannon Ball ride that shoots you up tot he Floating City and then becomes a Steampunk styled Glider
· The old Orpheum Theater which is now a make shift Victorian Styled Porn Theater
· The Dead City Casino & Hotel, where you can play casino games for free such as Black Jack & Roulette
· The Top floor of the Casino houses "Chev's Attic" which is a live music venue.
· The Cattleman's Social Club where you can test your abilities on a steampunk Mechanical Bull, play Greedy, or even Strip poker.
· There is what I call the Immerse Interactive Theater, which is a virtual environment theater inside Sl itself.
· There is an underwater dance are called the "Aquarium" and also there are sunken treasure ships where you can explore wearing a steam-punk styled Diving Suit.
· Connecting everything is a Trolley system which gives visitors a great tour of the Dead City and its contents.
Kara: Enigmatic is always creating something unique and new to add to the sim. He covered the highlights, but there is much more. There are also shops and residences to rent very inexpensively so that it can be a fun place for anyone to reside.
Sonrisa:I am constantly amazed at how much Enigmatic has accomplished within the prim limit! We have areas to visit on the land, under the sea, and in the sky. Our main managed attraction right now is Miri's club - managed by Mirianette. They hold 2-3 events per week. We also have other venues that are open for use by artists. Please contact either Kara or me for more information.
Lanai: There are gears placed around the sim, can you tell me what they do?
Sonrisa: I equate the gears on the sim to those that are always spinning in the mind of Enigmatic. But here on the sim, they are how we transfer the energy from the coal-fed steam boilers to other areas of the sim.
Kara: Sonrisa speaks of the gears, Enigmatic and energy, but don't forget about the gear boxes, many of which will magically teleport a visitor to various hidden places.
Lanai: Is this considered a Role Play Sim or is it open to anyone?
Enigmatic: You can Role Play here if you like, but it is not required. The sim is a great spot for adventure, exploring, thrill seeking, and romance. Our Moto is "Good Tunes, Good Friends, Good Times" and we simply want to build a community of like minded individuals looking for the same things.
Sonrisa: Our aim is to develop of family of fun, smart people who enjoy coming here to to socialize. We believe that people will come to a sim to explore or see a show, but they will stay and return because of social engagement. We want people to want to be here and call this sim home.
Lanai: You have an elegant opera house aside from Miri’s Club, what type of music genre and live entertainment do you feature at these venues?
Enigmatic: The Orpheum Theater is meant to give the visitor the impression of walking inside one of those grand old opera houses that have vanished over time in real life. It is a venue where any group or individual is free to put on a show. For example, I would love to see a burlesque group or other type of performance group to utilize the theater. My managers and I like to support the arts in sl, this venue is available at no charge to such a group.
Kara: As far as live music on the sim goes, The Station currently has Monday open mic nights at The Attic which is also available other times for musicians to use. Using this week as an example, Josie Anderton sang live at The Skywalk Art Gallery Sunday for a new exhibit opening, and Friday AMFORTE Clarity and Savannah Coronet sang live at The Dead City Amusement Area top of the Barge venue. A tribute band is schedule for the theater and there will be ongoing events in the sim. Miri's club offers a variety of djs and genre with emphasis on classic rock and current and classic top hits.
Lanai: Sonrisa, you are the manager of The Station, how often do you plan live entertainments and events? Who are the live talents residents can expect to see?
Sonrisa: We are looking for artists who would like a free venue in which to perform. We are interested in new and unusual acts as well as more standard crowd-pleasing fare. If anyone has any fun ideas, please share them with us.
Experimental acts are welcome.
Lanai: Do you have a calendar of events?
Sonrisa: In theory, yes. There isn't currently much listed! We will maintain a schedule at www.thestationsim.com .
Lanai: Are you currently hiring? If so what type of employees are you looking for?
Sonrisa: We are always on the lookout for talented artists in any format, audio or visual or completely different. Anyone who is looking for a venue to show their work can contact either Kara or me.
Kara: Miri is also hiring DJs in the club.
Lanai: Is there a group that residents can join to be informed of Steampunk activities?
Sonrisa: Though none dealing specifically with steampunk, however we have several groups that live on the sim.
Station Game Group: Open for those interesting in playing the games such as Greedy, Pictionary and Poker which reside on the sim. e932d9ac-246b-104f-9237-a5166645542d
The Station Club is our DJ event club group
The Dead City Residents is open to people who make a home here. 43b984bf-7a69-0172-7c24-307798500a29
The Station Club
Dead City Hotel and Gambling Hall 82f778a3-e74a-8d75-0066-afef5710fe82
Lanai: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Kara: The sim has hosted 2 art exhibits thus far with more to come, premiering last month with Bryn Oh and Sina Souza's Technochory. The sim has also already been featured in the October BOSL magazine, is up for the Avi Choice Awards, has been seen in many blogs, and has been in the SL destination guide and featured events. There are also some fun freebies around the sim for explorers to find.
The Station & Dead City
For more information contact: Enigmatic, Sonrisa, or Kara