Broken – click any image for full size
On the surface, this is an elegantly simple design, a place – at the time of our visit – dusted with a light fall of snow through which the grass raises fields of weary heads under an ochre sky held aloft by the trees scattered across the landscape.
Cut by a stone-banked stream running outwards from a small pool and by the long finger of an inlet, this is a predominantly low-laying region, a single hill rising from its otherwise gentle undulations. It’s a place which at first glance might be mistaken for a residential location: sharing the region with its trees, grass and water is a series of houses and cabins. However, each and every one of them is open to the public and offers a place of rest. More spots to sit, either on your own or with company, can be found outdoors as well, from a horse-drawn sleigh, through swings suspended under stout boughs or on verandahs to waterside benches and benches on wooden decks.
Devoid of any sound scape, the land here is quiet. As one who always appreciates the added depth given to a region through the use of ambient sounds, I have to say the lack of any here does detract from the setting in any way; if anything it adds to it. Not only does the silence (there is no audio stream either) give the impression this is a place where the snow lies as a blanket absorbing everything, it also sits perfectly with the intent of the region.
This is because while Broken undoubtedly a place lovers and friends can enjoy – numerous couples poses abound in seats, beds and benches – it is also very much a place of solitude and introspection, as Talia herself notes in describing the region: “for anyone who’s ever lost someone”.
“Lost” in this sense doesn’t necessarily refer to having suffered the passing of someone close; rather it encompasses the separation born of a relationship – be it as lovers or friends – that has run its course and which now lies behind us. It is a place we can come to and give memories and thoughts – happy or sad; with freedom or regret – release. Thus, this is a place that can be both new to visitors and yet personal.
This is clearly a personal design for Talia as well – as indicated by the dedication she gives with the region’s Pick in her profile. There is also a certain subtle aspect to the way things are placed in the region that perhaps reveals something of her own personality – which is also hinted at in her profile notes.
Take the positioning of the houses and cabins, for example. Their placement makes them both a part of the landscape – but the spaces between them set them apart from one another, allowing each to maintain a distance and individuality within the whole. This – to me at least – seems to reflect the sense given by Talia’s profile notes that she is (somewhat like me) someone who enjoys company, buy tends to keep slightly apart, even when in that company. Or perhaps I’m just projecting!
Broken also has something else about it. As well as projecting beauty and peace, there is also an air of strength about it; of endurance captured in the wintry setting and the hard lines of the wooden buildings. Thus, the region offers an appeal on multiple levels, its design touching us whether we visit whilst feeling lost, or in the company of those closest to us or simply out of that desire to explore and discover in Second Life.
I would perhaps like to see scripts enabled within the region, simply because any need to relog during a visit then requires a jump elsewhere and back to re-enable any worn animations such as scripted AOs, but this really is a very, very minor point. The beauty and peace of Broken speak for themselves, making any visit more than worthwhile, no matter what our mood.
- Broken (Farron, rated: Moderate)