Even a castle of learning can fall on hard times

I love visiting castles. We have a rich heritage (reflecting a bloody history) of castles in the UK, of which the most common variety beloved of picture postcards and Hollywood directors are the great Norman Castles.

I particularly enjoy visiting Northumberland in the North-east of England, as there are some famous examples of castles there: Warkworth, Ford and Etal, Norham (one of my all-time favourite ruins), Dunstanburgh, Chillingham, Bamburgh, Langley, Lindesfarne – and of course Alnwick. Some are in ruins, such as the aforementioned Norham or Dunstanburgh out on the coast; others are still in use today – notably Alnwick, which has perhaps most famously been used to represent parts of Hogwarts, together with Chillingham, Langley (today a glorious luxury hotel), and Bamburgh (which makes for a stunning backdrop to the beach which it overlooks and has agin been the subject of many a film and TV production, even if inside it is something of a let-down).

This being the case, I thought it time I visited the castle ruins at Frisch.


Described as a “German castle ruin” in the Destination Guide, Frisch offers-up a Norman-style set of ruins which are suggestive of a castle which saw much use over time, with some modernisation to reflect the needs of successive generations, prior to finally falling into abandonment, disrepair and collapse.


Fisch is interesting as it is owned by Governor Linden and it is actually an old orentation spot for new users, which has itself fallen into disuse – although evidence of its purpose can still be found; there are information givers, a few signs, including one with a LM to Help Island and one with LMs for the old Welcome Areas – not that I recommend you try the latter!


The castle build itself looks old in the SL sense of the word, but offers a lot of potential for the machinimatographer and photographer wanting an interesting and “historical” back-drop – although judicious use of Draw Distance is advised (or your viewer’s derenderer, if it has such a beast); there are a couple of eyesores which can stray into view if you’re not careful.


The castle is easy to explore, and a pleasant way to spend an hour; there are paths to follow through the ruins, and the surroundings (eyesore excepted) provide some prime vantage points from which to take-in the ruins themselves.

This isn’t a state-of-the art build, to be sure, but it is one celebrating the power of the humble prim. It’s also a quiet place to visit and just wander around. There are no windlight presets, and the lie of the land and style of the build mean that both are open to a range of interpretations – something which again makes the ruins an ideal candidate for SL photographers.


All-in-all Frisch and the castle offer an interesting visit; don’t expect to do much her other than wander, relax and enjoy. This may not be a historical representation of any single castle, but there is some history here.Why not go pay it a visit when you have a few spare moments?

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14 thoughts on “Even a castle of learning can fall on hard times

  1. This is such a neat build. It was, along with Arcana Nuevo, one of my earliest memories of SL life. It is, as you say, a wonderful representation of what can be done with nothing but prims, though I found myself wondering even back in 2006 if there were not more prims than a full sim can allow, being a Linden spot. (It certainly looks to be much more than 15K.)

    Either way, this was and is one of my favorite places in SL. It was a major influence on my desire to build my first castle on the mainland and also for designing Rustica once sculpties came out. It was one of those iconic builds that, to a noob as I was, really made you say, “oh, ok, this is what you can do with building here. This is how far you can take it.” It raised the bar in it’s day, and remains even now one of the finest examples of traditional in-world building. Arcana Nuevo, though sadly now gone, was as impressive to me and I eventually became friends with Angelica Zuma (the builder) and ended up building Rustica next to it!

    Thanks for spolighting this amazing build. It deserves to be mentioned and seen. I hope that LL sees fit to leave this build alone for the future residents of SL to enjoy. The longer it stays there, the more the ruinous aspect of it becomes integral to the build; As we have progressed from prims to sculpties and now to mesh, it really does become part of our ancient history in SL.


    1. Oh, Arcana Nuevo! I still shed a tear whenever I think about it.

      You may not realise it, but it’s because of Angelica that you and I met :). I was a regular “ghost” at the house, usually to be found way up on the roof, in the tower there, sitting and thinking and watch SL sail by. It was seeing Rustica on the map – and dear Lagnmoor – which got me curious and wandering over one day :).

      Glad you liked the trip down memory lane :).


  2. It might be memory lane for the two of you, but it’s a welcome bit of information for me. As a grid latecomer that’s actually something I need to see. The kinds of things that I do see are far ranging along the bell-curve, so to speak, but are narrow fielded.

    Your screenshots bring out a very good view of the build and it looks impressive, despite the descriptive dating you’ve put on it, you’ve made it look amazing. The aerial shot shows a very thoughtful design and I’m going to have to bring it to the top of my list of things to go see and do. There looks like a lot feeling and sense of space to absorb and inspect.

    I can see I’m going to have to article crawl through your destination tag. You’ve just made my day. 🙂


    1. Welcome to SL!

      I’m glad you’ve found the piece informative, and thank you for the feedback on the snapshots :). The aerial shot was a must in order to capture the layout reasonably – and also because it’s how I frequently find myself looking at castles, but digging up aerial photos people have grabbed of them :).

      You might like to explore Fourmile Castle as well. It’s a much more extensive build, inspired (but not modelled on) Warwick Castle here in England, and which itself has an interesting history.

      If you use the “Virtual Destinations” tab at the foot of the article, it should pull-up all of my travelogue. You can also use the REVIEWS tab at the top of any page, and scroll down the menu to VRITUAL DESTINATIONS, then off to the right to SL IN-WORLD DESTINATIONS, which will give you a simple index of place names (which link to articles in the blog). When I get the time, I’ll be updating this a little more with a one line description of each place.

      Enjoy your explorations!


  3. So far, I’ve taken a look in person at the mentioned Frisch site. Impressive, not the least bit disappointed. In the four years I’ve been on and off SL, I don’t recall getting this excited about a prim build. The landscaping touches and very well orientated and chosen prim cuts for the rubble and worn wall trimmings are inspirational. And the scale, for something so huge, deals with both my ~1.8-2m avatar and the “camera bubble” very well—without it feeling overly spacey. It feels just right, actually, and the multi-tiered landscape is something I run into here and there, but not enough of.

    Almost feels a shame to have the sense that it’s kept historic.

    Going to have to check out the Fourmile Castle you’ve mentioned, next.


    1. Glad you enjoyed Frisch Castle. The design is very well done, particularly the way the “collapse” of wllas has been handled, and the stone piers inset into the walls, which are a common sight in castle ruins which act (together with great square “sockets” calso found in walls) as a visual reminded of where long-gone wooden floors once sat, allowing the mind to build an very personal interpretation of how the castle might have looked in it “heyday”. This is one of the reasons Frisch reminds me of Norham Castle in England’s Northumberland. The two are very visually unlike, Norham is a place where my imagination also takes flight.

      Fourmileis a very different experience – hope you enjoy it as well.


  4. To be succinct, I am envious. Through sporadic geneaological research, I’ve links to castles in the Northwest, especially along the River Tweed (I’m a Somerville, a Tweedie, and a Fraser, among others)… They’re all piles of stones atop their motts now; I live on the far side of the Pond, likely never to see them except in photos. You, lucky person, can visit them.

    And I am envious for another reason: I hadn’t yet found a reference to Frisch in any of the SL historical records — which demonstrates, once again, how negligent and slipshod Linden Lab has been on the subject. That, at least, I can fix.

    Thank you (and Max).


    1. River Tweed? Methinks you mean the North-east :). As a part of the English / Scottish border region, the Tweed has some notable castles – The Castle at Berwick-upon-Tweed, Norham (again!) being two I love visiting. The region is also rich in Bastle Houses.

      The other thing I’ve not mentioned vis-a-vis Northumberland, which makes any visit a double joy, is its rich Roman history – including, of course, The Wall, together with famous sites such as Corbridge, Housesteads and the wonderful Vindolanda.

      Now there would be a Virtual Worlds project worth seeing: the recreation of somewhere like Houseteads or Vindolanda …


      1. Well, it seems my Borders geography needs a little work 😛 For instance, here’s Drumelzier: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drumelzier] and Oliver [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Castle], both more-or-less south of Edinburgh.

        I’ve got connections to the Orkneys, too… has anyone built a Skara Brae in SL?

        Visited Frisch a bit ago; learned one reason why Anglophones may not have heard of it: it (was) dedicated to orienting German resis in their own language. There’s an adjacent sandbox region called Rilke, too.


        1. Skara Bare is indeed in SL – but has no similarity with its RL namesake (it’s an Adult region, and the last time I popped in, it was sci-fi themed).

          Yup, Frisch was primarily for German residents, although some of the help areas were in English (and a couple of the remaining signs still are!).


  5. Frisch, is the place i were “born”.
    Some developed the style of sitting around there the hole day.
    As we sat there usually, sometimes i garbed me a newbie and pulled Him (in consensus) over to the next sandbox for learning basic building. Its said that there are still some continuous building basic chairs and so 😉
    But one evening everything went strange and newbie after newbie rezzed in this kindergarten. After interviewing some there were a TV-Report on SL.
    Ppl asked for the “rule” of the “game” and how to make all the money to get rich.
    Even such it were a nice place and time from which i still have some ppl on my friend-list. 🙂


  6. Frisch is a well-made place, but visitors have to fly over the wall, there’s no gateway. and any landing point is long gone. Also, the two LM givers at the top of the high tower only give an LM to their own location.

    Mont Saint Michel is also worth a look, the French fortified monastery. There’s a quite well-done shopping street, it looks like the sort of old buildings holding modern shops that you see in such places, and as you go up the slopes there is a maze of paths and stairs and passages, topped by the abbey church.

    I cannot guarantee how close it is the the real place, but I can match views with some photographs of the reality. The real place needs a very slight compression to fit, it’s a little too large, east to west.

    There used to be an adjacent region modelling the RL car oark on the sands, but recent RL changes have been matched. It has gone in both worlds. Mont Saint Michel was almost not an island any more, until the French took action to encourage the tides to scour away the sands again. No Google Streetview, how could they get their cars in there, but the various maps and pictures suggest the SL version is pretty good.


    1. Frisch LM givers: the two at the top are designed to go to places no longer in existence, hence why they appear to go nowhere – and why I recommend in the article that you don’t actually use them :).

      Mont Saint Michel is indeed worth a visit, I covered it in June of 2011, and it sits in the DECOND LIFE DESTINATIONS link on the right of this page (is that actually obvious in it’s placement to people? I’m thinking about revamping things there), and the destinations index page which can be accessed via REVIEWS > VIRTUAL DESTINATIONS > SL DESTINATIONS (again, not sure as to how obvious the (functionally limited) menus are at the top of the blog pages).

      The Mont is a reasonable facsimile, all things considered and allowing to the question of physical region size, avatar scaling factors, etc. I often pop back (as I do with all places featured in this blog) to see what has changed. The SL version does have one thing the real life version very much doesn’t have – but it is worth going and looking underground for yourself to see what that is :). On my last visit (about 5 months ago), the car park was still there, but there was a notice to say that this would be changing in light of changes made to the real world Mont and its car park – so good to know that has now happened.

      Just realised I don’t have a Flickr slideshow for the Mont. Will have to root through the images I have and perhaps go make another visit to grab some more and put one up :).


      1. What you said about the size, I’ve been checking on Google Earth again. The real Mont Saint Michel comes out as about 260m north to south, a little more east to west, which is roughly 6 hectares (about 15 acres for the Americans). A single SL region isn’t very much smaller.

        Yes, Avatar scaling is more of a problem.


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