Funky Banana is a region designer with a keen eye for detail and an imagination capable of presenting settings which can attract and enthral. I’ve covered his work a number of times in these pages, going all the way back to 2016. However, it has been a while since I’ve made any visits, so when Cloud Edge popped up on my radar screen, I decided to set things to rights once more and hop over to take a look.
The last couple of times I did write about Funky’s work was in covering Wild Edge (in 2018) and Summer Edge (in 2019); designs which clearly share a common element in their naming with Cloud Edge. Both of these designs offered much for visitors to appreciate – and so does this one, but in a very different way; in fact, I’d go so far to say that in its disarmingly simple design, Cloud Edge is one of the most imaginative region builds I’ve seen of late.
It is a setting more than adequately explained through its About Land description:
Welcome to Cloud Edge.
A high ground environment based above the clouds, surrounded by mountains. A place to escape, relax and enjoy the views.
And so it is that arrivals find themselves in the mountains, surrounded by high, snowy peaks and lower, snow-free ridges not so far above or below the tree-line that whilst the majority of their vegetation is moss on the rocks and hardy shrubs and bushes, a few stunted trees deformed by wind and cold into krummholz manage to survive. Between these ridges and peaks and the much higher surrounding mountains is a sea of white, the tops of clouds obscuring everything below from view and giving the impression that the peaks, ridges and mountain tops are islands sitting within an ocean of fluffy white.
The landing point is set on a broad wooden deck, also rising above the cloud tops (which are formed using Fluff Clouds by Satomi XOXO), and moored to a slender ridge of rock by a single wood-and-rope bridge. Watched over by a single crow seemingly unaffected by the altitude, the bridge provides access to a rocky path as it skirts around a small peak to run along the spine of the ridge to a second peak, passing the krummholz tenaciously clinging to its flanks.
A further bridge stretches out over the hidden abyss at the end of this path, guarded by a young eagle that periodically takes the air before settling back on a rocky perch. The bridge itself extends out over and into the clouds, vanishing before connecting to land once more. This it does by way of a finger of rock of a semi-regular shape suggestive of interesting wind patterns flowing around these peaks, and which is in turn connected to a further pinnacle of rock via a second bridge.
This bridge is allowed passage through the rock by means of a natural-looking tunnel burrowing its way through the flat top of this peak, which rises higher than the rocky finger to which it is linked, but not as high as the peak at the southern end of the ridge with its footpath. Beyond the tunnel lies a shoulder of rock on which a further deck has been built, offering superb views of the remaining peaks within the region’s boundaries, both of which are isolated from access by foot, and the largest of which features a powerful waterfall facing the deck like a shimmer curtain as it drops into the clouds below.
One of the things I’ve always appreciated with Funky’s region designs is the degree of minimalism he employs. Where others would be tempted to add life to a setting with – say – the addition of birds or animals or further flora, Funk keeps things such that there is know to give life to his settings and no more.
Thus, while it might have been easy it add trees hither and thither, or add mountain goats to “enhance” the sense of elevation, Funky resists, offering only those trees and birds required to underscore the sense that we are indeed at some altitude, allowing the surrounding clouds to speak for themselves. Similarly, the soundscape for the region is kept to the perfect minimum of the lonely moan of wind over exposed rock, the occasional cry of a crow and the slow growth of water falling over rocks as you approach the deck overlooking the falls.
Beautifully conceived and executed, Cloud Edge is visually impressive and offers plenty of scope for art and photography. Those who do so are invited to add their images to the Cloud Edge Flickr stream, whilst visitors are invited to claim a small gift from Funky’s Marketplace store.
- Cloud Edge (Echo Mountain – rated Moderate)