The photogenic fantasy of Crimarizon

Update, December 2013: Crimarizon and Crimarizon 2 are both temporarily closed.

I’ve been getting suggestions for places to add to my SL Virtual Destinations for a while now – and appreciate receiving them. One that has come up on three occasions recently (thank you, Ella, JB and Ayesha!) is that of Crimarizon; so I decided to take a look.

The region is the work of Megan Prumier, and is described as a “Photogenic fantasy spot [which] features an eclectic castle housing the Pixel Panic Gallery” – and it lives up to its reputation in every sense. Featuring facilities for live entertainment, the Pixel Panic gallery curated by Dixmix Source, Crimarizon offers the SL explorer with much to see.

Arrival

I used search to teleport to Crimarizon, and did find the coordinates slightly off – I arrived on the wrong side of the land area, ankle-deep in water. In case this is an error with the build, rather than a SL glitch, you might want to use this SLurl. The arrival area itself is a stone walkway over the water, situated in a lush landscape, lit by ornate lanterns; before you stands a magnificent tower / archway.

Where you go on arrival is up to you – there are no set paths here, just the opportunity to wander and marvel. Walk away from the tower and follow the walled path to the water’s edge and you will spy ruins through the trees, sunlight dappling them. The walk to them may result in wet feet – but is well worth it.

Ruins

Follow the path under the arches of the tower and you’ll come to the magnificent structure of the Crimarizon castle (although “castle” seems too dull a name for it), shimmering amidst the trees and water. This has a strong oriental feel to it, although it appears to be a fusion of influences.

Castle entrance

The castle offers much to be explored, halls an galleries and gardens, all with their own unique touches. Here lies the Medusa Masquerade hall, a venue for costumed events, and the Pixel Panic gallery which, at the time of my visit, featured the works of CapCat Ragu and Meilo Minotaur.

Medusa’s Masquerade

Wander the upper levels of the castle and you will come to stone walkway supported by great trees, lit by lanterns, leading you on to other wonders and places such as a market high in the trees, views out over waterfalls which have their own secrets to explore. Walk on through the market and the evolving landscape of Crimarizon 2, the sister sim currently under construction, beckons – but you’ll have to wait to explore it.

Market in the trees

There are also hints of dark goings-on somewhere: a pile of bleached skulls near the market, what might be altars tucked away in corners; a gibbet complete with noose standing in a dark hall… Mysteries that may have an answer or lend themselves to a machinima tale…

As someone with an abiding love of Sri Lanka, I couldn’t help but be reminded of that beautiful island as I explored. Not so much because of the great statues of elephants (which are African, rather than Asian, in origin), but because of the feel of some parts of the build. The stone walkways and the Marketplace, complete with boulders and outlooks from under stone eaves, remind me of places like the Boulder Gardens, while the gilded halls within the castle put me in mind of gilded stupas and gold-coated Buddhas rising from lush forests. Even the ruins, for some reason, put me in mind of Anuradhapura, even though there is little actual resemblance.

But then, that is the skill in creating an immersive environment; to create something that is at once new and unknown but which at the same time triggers memories and feelings of familiarity which draw one deeper into it, increasing the desire to explore – and to come again.

Other elements of Crimarizon are entirely other-worldly, woven in fantasy and a joy to see – although you may have to spend a little time seeking them out.. and all is not in plain sight nor necessarily on the obvious paths.

I spent well over an hour today wandering through the region, capturing snaps and enjoying the evocative feel to the place; I’m thoroughly intrigued to see what emerges from the development of Crimarizon 2. What is there already is enticing, and hints at yet more in the way of an alluring fusion of styles and ideas that will enhance the region’s appeal enormously among photographers.

All-in-all a marvellous place to visit and explore, and another on my list of personal favourites.

Visit Notes

I made my visit to Crimarizon using Firestorm (rather than Exodus) with deferred rendering (lighting & shadows and ambient occlusion) enabled. For the most part I operated with a draw distance of some 200m, pushed up to 520 for the longer, across-sim, shots, with sun set to region time.

While running with deferred rendering is not a necessity to enjoy the region, it does enhance a visit if you can enable lighting and shadows. If you can’t you might like to try setting your sun to sunset or sunrise, or try a windlight preset to gain another unique feel for the region.

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