I’ve long appreciated the region design work of Talia (Natalia Corvale), having written about her designs for Broken several times. So it was with a sense of anticipation that I hopped over to Still Waters, a further homestead region she recently opened to the public at large. And as someone who appreciates open spaces and rural settings that can have some subtle quirks, I found myself instantly at home and appreciative.
Still Waters is a prime example of sensible region design, one in which consideration of layout, theme, and thoughtful selection of items give rise to a setting that is self-consistent and rich in detail but doesn’t unnecessarily tax the computer running the viewer. Multiple use of landscape elements helps reduce the use of unique high-res textures, whilst considered placement ensures the viewer is not burdened at any point by a mass assault of mesh demanding to be rendered.
The region sits as an island sitting within an almost entirely land-locked lake occupying a bowl formed by three-covered hills. I say lake rather than coastal inlet, as the ducks and swans swimming the waters would indicate they are freshwater, rather than of the salted variety. This water sweeps into the island to form a broad bay, the land reduced to a curved ribbon of green and autumnal hues, backed to the west by a ridge of uplands that broaden to the north to become a broad terrace of rock overlooking the bay, whilst dropping down to the south to become a low-ling headland.
The landing point sits at the mid-point in the curve of the bay’s shore, a wide deck built out over the water, a wooden lodge standing behind it waiting to greet visitors. The deck offers numerous places to sit, including in the rowing boat tied-up alongside, together with a small summer house sitting to one side between deck and lodge. The lodge is cosily furnished – as are all the buildings presented in the region – and visitors can wander through it to the back door, or around it from the deck, according to their preference.
South from the lodge, a wooden bridge passes over a narrow channel of water. This flows under an arched canopy formed by two lines of four plane trees apiece, standing on either bank of the channel. They serve to shade the channel and hide a small, comfortably furnished gazebo sitting over the water, warmed by its own fireplace.
The bridge leads to way to a meadow of long grass, the home of a wagon, horses and a tractor. Check the horses carefully, and you’ll find one is a Water Horse that’s available for a visitor to ride (if you have a wearable Water Horse or Teagle, you can also wear and ride that for exploration). Beyond the meadow, the grass shortens and two quirky tree houses await discovery and exploration, a winding path linking them.
West and north of the landing point, the land remains open and grassy before climbing up to the northern headland and its table of rock. Gabled gates mark the patch up to the top of these uplands, watched over by another open-sided pavilion offering seating before a stone fireplace, and a little garden chair sitting on the lip of the promontory above the path.
At the top of the path sits another wooden house, this one raised about the grass on stout legs, reached by steep steps. The interior of the house offers another warm welcome with places to sit and bric-a-brac to admire. Young pygmy goats frolic in the field next to the house, their presence an interesting contrast to the general autumnal feel to the region, suggesting as it does a time earlier in the year and the lambing season; something that adds an interesting twist to the setting.
Still Waters is a genuinely peaceful, gentle setting, rich in outdoor spaces (something sorely needed as many of us are once again feeling the pinch of 2020’s lock downs), and with multiple places to sit and appreciate the view and share it with others.
Completely photogenic and rounded-out by a perfect sound scape, this is not a destination to miss.
- Still Waters (Porter Islands, rated Moderate)