It’s been a little over three years since my last visit to Ashemi, the ever-evolving Oriental-themed region designed by the team of Ime Poplin, Jay Poplin (Jayshamime) and Shaman Nitely (see: Ashemi: an Oriental reprise in Second Life), although I believe for some of the intervening period, the region may have been absent from Second Life. So, when Shaman kindly dropped me a line to renew my acquaintance with the setting, I was happy to accept.
As with its past incarnations, Ashemi offers a busy urban setting primarily designed to be seen under night-time conditions – witness the huge Moon hanging in the sky! – although it also lends itself to daytime settings as well, as I hope some of the images herein demonstrate. I’ll also note a couple of things up front, as they both help with any visit.
The first is that you really should have local sounds enabled. This is a cityscape that offers a rich sense of depth through the use of a rich sound scape. Not just cars, cicadas and so on, but the sounds of people as they hold conversations indoors and out; the echoes of shouts and laughter along train platforms, the clatter and chiming of crockery and glasses – all of which gives further depth to the setting.
The second point is that Ashemi really is a place that can clobber performance; under the default EEP and with shadows enabled, I was looking at around 4.5-6.7 FPS on average on my not-top-of-the-range-but-reasonably-OK system. Flipping to my preferred EEP settings, and so often seen in my images (as they tend to get attached to me for travelling), this clambered its way to 9-10.8 fps. So, if you are on a mode-to-lower-range system, you might want to toggle shadows on when needed and otherwise leave them off.
This is a setting that carries with it echoes of earlier iterations of Ashemi, whilst at the same time offering something entirely new. The lightness of touch with the familiar – for those who remember past versions of the city – may help prompt the imagination to consider that we are within the same metropolis, but a different district or prefecture. Or we can accept what we see as an entirely new setting. like those past iterations, this is a busy place – not in terms of textures, mesh etc.), but in style. The ambient sounds suggest a place where people work, live and relax. The buildings offer a mix of outer high-rises and smaller, inner buildings that include places of business and entertainment as well as transit points and homes.
But whereas the Ashemis of the past tended to feature water within them, here is has been pushed outwards, as if roughly shoved away to make way for humans. Nevertheless, whilst waterside walks may have vanished, this setting carries with it places where a degree of peace and relaxation might be found – although one in particular may require a little effort to find, while others may have their solitude poked at by the noise of the unruly masses.
There is also, perhaps a sense of age here that may not have been quite so prevalent in previous iterations. Older, more traditional houses have been converted to places of business, whilst the concrete blockhouses common to the latter part of the 20th century peer over fences and wall as if to see what is going on. Sad to say, as well, that such is the age of this district, it appears to have become something of a littering ground, as can be seen within the local cemetery; clearly no longer used, it is home to unwanted bodies of metal, plastic stone quite aside from the souls who might still be interred within. And as one wanders, so might the slow lament of a violin be heard – or perhaps it is a kokyu.
Some interesting references might also be found here for eyes that seek and feet that walk. For example, outside of one place of work there might be found a certain car awaiting the call of lightning; down another street you might prompted to ask who ya gonna call? Throughout all, NPCs further bring the setting to life as they work in garages, await a train or walk down pathways.
Rich in detail with assorted opportunities for photography, Ashemi remains an engaging visit – if one a little hard on the system, as noted, although this should not stand in the way of any visit.
My thanks again to Shaman, Ime and Jay for the invitation to visit and explore once more!
- Ashemi (Remarkable, rated Moderate)