Beq Janus and Elizabeth Jarvinen (polysail) are the world-builders of Anansi, our worldling cradle. Anansi also hosts the roleplay of The NeoVictoria Project and has a set of stores, making it our nearly-eleventh shopping sim. Beq shares with us her reasons to return to Faire-building, the story of Anansi and the worldlings, news from her life and her wishes for the Faire.
You took a break from world-building last year. Did it affect how you approached the task this year? Did it feel different?
Not directly, but I think the reasons I took a break are still there. so that changed my approach, I had not even planned to be here this year really. In early 2015 I lost my father to Cancer, which made my Faireland Aurora and my RFL build that year all the more poignant. So by July I was burned out emotionally and creatively. I pretty much left SL alone, with other RL pressures too there was no way I had the creative energy to build anything. It wasn’t really until April 2016 that I returned properly, in large part cos of the Faire. I came to the Faire as a visitor and recharged. I still had not planned to return to the Faire this year, but Asil (the sim sponsor) asked me to return and I quickly failed to say no.
However, all the RL pressures remain, with a family, career and a part time degree I had no idea how I would squeeze in the time it takes me to form an idea and move that to a Faireland. I don’t work with others well, I’m horridly fussy and awkward, but luckily Liz somehow operates at my same resonance most of the time and just gets my ideas. She agreed to help out. Liz is an outstanding creator, and while probably 2/3 of the custom mesh in Anansi is mine, it is her texturing skills that made them look awesome. She also made the massive spider/boat/caravans that helped shape how we ended up looking and of course, the sinister grinning figurehead of Boaty mcClownface…
What have you been up to in Second Life lately?
Uhm but…this is a family show right?….
Seriously, build wise not much. I am very lazy when it comes to doing stuff for myself. I spent a chunk of time last summer writing up various detailed blogs on mesh creation on my non-fiction blog. All kinds of things get covered, from good practice and design proper LOD shapes, to answering weird questions about mesh physics. At some point, I decided that the tooling for Mesh creators using blender is awful and so I’ve been working on a Blender addon that will hopefully make things a lot easier.
As part of all the Mesh stuff, I focussed on a long outstanding bug in SL and submitted a patch to the Firestorm team. Over the rest of the year, I got more involved in the viewer code and somehow got myself on to the Firestorm development team. That’s been amazing actually, the Firestorm team are incredible. I think people assume there are lots of developers working on Firestorm and all the other viewers for that matter. The truth is that there’s really not that many and they do an amazing job. Same goes with the support teams and testers etc. without their voluntary effort there would be a very different experience here. Of course, I had to put all that on hold to be here, but I will be getting back to helping out there and learning my way around the vast code base. I also plan to get more building blogs done and more progress on my blender tools, I just need to find an extra 12 hours a day really.
What is a worldling cradle?
The worldlings were news to me too. They were trialled last year and considered successful so this year the project was scaled up a little.
What is a worlding cradle, and what is a worlding? That depends on who you ask. They are glimpses of future Fairelands, perhaps of Fairelands to come or of Fairelands that may never be. Baby worlds being nurtured. So when our glorious leader (Fantasy) came to speak to me about hosting those worlds it was clear that they’d need care and attention and so the worlding cradles became real.
Originally these were to be regular stores like on the other regions, so when I realized I was to house nascent worlds I pivoted the design and swung towards the incubator/vivarium design, each tent having air and water and “sunlight” to support it. Then as the whole Anansi idea came to fullness and through Liz’s spiders etc we settled into the bug theme that you see today giving us the glowworm/dragonfly hybrid cradle carriers.
How was Anansi born? What inspired it, what is its story?
Anansi came rather late to the design. Rather too late in a way, I had not intended to spend as much effort or tie up Liz as much as I did in bringing Anansi to fruition.
I tend to work from stories, for both my previous Faire builds Asperatus and Aurora, I had a story that guided my creation. Anansi was called something else entirely at first. Asil had come to me with her plan for a circus based RP. As fun and rich as the circus may be, I really could not get myself into the story. I had lots of ideas of how it would look. I knew right from the start that the centerpiece airship would have this giant creepy clown face but that was about it. I thrashed around on ideas and some of them stuck. the boat shaped hull of the “spider caravans” for example. My original design had shorter stubbier legs, more lizard-like with claw-like toes for gripping the rocks, but Liz was feeling lazy (*giggles*) and steadfastly refused to make toes. It was around that time that we were asked to accommodate worldlings, so after batting ideas back and forth my thoughts began to coalesce around the Anansi creation myths and making it core to the large store design. We had always had this notion that the tents were held aloft my arms from the large stores and so the spiders helping give birth to new worlds all suddenly began to come together into a cohesive theme… Well hopefully.
The story of Anansi is therefore really a reinvention of the African story of Anansi the spider. In my version Anansi stole or tricked his way into stealing the seeds of creation from the god and now he fleas through time and space busily encouraging new Fairelands to grow and thrive before casting them out into the voids to become standalone realities of their own.
What are you looking forward to most this year in the Fairelands?
Same as I always do, the same thing that I think brings us all back year on year…..
The Faireland people; the brilliant extended family, from the wonderful creators who fill the Fairelands with goodies to the bloggers and photographers who communicate it to the masses, to the storytellers and readers to the dancers and singers and entertainers, from the execs who think they run the show, to the pawlice, who really do.
I love the silly stressed out banter of the world makers as we struggle through 48 hour shifts to push the standards to new levels each year, I mean the other worldmakers of course….
It is a privilege and an endless source of pride that I get to build with and for all of you, so most of all I just enjoy seeing people exploring and having fun. Cancer is not a fun subject, but we show that fighting it through fundraising as we do, can and should be a lot of fun.
Thank you, Beq, for taking the time to talk with us. Thank you both for bringing us a Faireland!
Beq’s previous interview: 2015