Walton F. Wainwright (Faust Steamer), the co-owner of [ContraptioN], is also the world builder of the Faireland of Auxentios’ Pass. He shares what it was like to build a Faireland for the first time, what it is that he loves most about the Faire, and also reveals the lore and history of Auxentios’ Pass.
This is your first year sponsoring Fantasy Faire, and you are also the world-builder of Auxentios’ Pass. What made you decide to do this? Was there anything in the Faireland-building process that surprised you?
I saw Fantasy Faire as an event that plays an integral part in Second Life culture, and always made a plan to visit it every year with my friends. Everything there is represented: elves, dragons, beasts, mermaids, warriors, and surprisingly in more recent years, steampunk and all its subgenres therein. Two years after opening up my store in 2011, I made it part of my Second Life ‘bucket list’ to build a sim for Fantasy Faire, but never found the courage to build a fully functional shopping region until after I gained some experience through Second Life Birthday and the Engine Room event.
My experience in building for Second Life Birthday, thankfully, gave me the experience needed to know what to expect when building for a high traffic event like Fantasy Faire. Very little surprised me on the technical side of things, and I knew what was required of me when I was working on it, however, what did surprise me is the community behind it. I had the pleasure in being able to interact with the other world builders, get to know them, and learned that building a Fantasy Faire sim isn’t a competition: it is a collaboration to make the best experience possible for everyone, and to make something beautiful.
This level of collaboration brought up my spirits like no other event has done before, and instead of building entirely alone, I had the aid of those around me who are more than willing to work with me in trying to blend my rather jarring, industrial snowy wasteland to fit the border with the others. I will admit I am quite shy (and not in the ‘cute’ way either), so I have trouble IMing anyone to ask for things unless I really had no choice, so Sharni Azalee, the builder of Lunafae, kindly extended her hand to help speak with another neighbour to collaborate in making our borders work together. She even went ahead and took the time to blend her border so that it suited the snowy walls of my sim! I am ever grateful for this effort, and it certainly did give me an excellent impression of what the Fairelands Worldbuilder community is like. Afterwards, everyone is wonderful and energised, despite how tired we probably all are trying to finish up our sims by the opening.
To sum up: everyone is understanding, we all made sure we didn’t miss out on any announcements or updates, and it was all around far better than the ‘build in your own corners and never speak of it’ experiences I’ve had in the past. I admit I’m still a wallflower in everything nor can I ever change it, but it is wonderful when there are those who understand my social behaviours immediately and reach out to ensure I don’t miss out on anything.
How did you begin building in Second Life? What inspires you to create?
I first began learning to build the moment I first started in Second Life. I saw ads about it and assumed that it was some sort of ‘Sims-like’ community game, only to eventually learn that it was a creative playground where you can build whatever you want. My avatar first spawned in Caledon Oxbridge, where my wallflower behaviours ensured I was never to be guided by any kind teacher that lingered there, and learned the basics of building from the information boards before giving that a try at the bottom of the ocean on sim; breaking apart freebies to see how it was made, and tried to figure out how things worked by myself (until I was caught and ran away to another region without responding to them).
When I first cobbled together my first ever robot helmet, I was ecstatic and aimed to recreate the various characters I’ve designed in my head in a three dimensional space. Seeing my first ever character come to life in what I thought to be the impossible encouraged me to do more, and the rest is just me trying to make things according to the stories I write and the roleplay I do with friends.
What are you bringing to the Faire this year?
This year at the faire, we’re bringing one brand new items and two special edition recolours of previous items. To begin, we have the *Auxentios* edition of the Noble’s Tailcoat and the Atreus Frock: two essential items recoloured and given a look that best suits the culture and look of Auxentios Pass. These two tops are specifically chosen for their unisex feature and are fitted to popular male and female bodies at the time they were created!
Our brand new exclusive is the Hyland Gramophone. This Gramophone is a fully animated musical machine with interchangeable records that can be collected and played. Right now, we’re just introducing the first of our third generation series, but with time, there will be more records to collect and swap in the future. It also has a dynamic preload system, so that your friends just teleporting in to hear the music will catch the preload and listen in sync with you! We’re proud to also note that this gramophone’s operation isn’t simply a ‘click and play’. You will need to crank it up and drop the needle to get it to start playing the music, which makes it quite immerse and fun to use.
The one crowning feature of all our musical machines is that they have original music composed in relation to the worlds and stories we create. The Hyland Gramophone features a record that plays the main theme song of Auxentios Pass to further your immersion in the Fantasy Faire Sim we’ve built for you all to enjoy!
But wait, there’s more! In the charitable World Builder Gacha, we are offering a SPECIAL version of the engineer’s top in the *Auxentios* edition. You will see it there in the top left corner. It too, is also unisex and rigged to the popular bodies at the time it was made. This version is exclusive to the Fantasy Faire World Builder Gacha.
What calls you to fantasy? When was the first time you encountered the genre and realized you enjoyed it?
Fantasy had always played a part in my life, especially in my childhood where I did oodles of innocent LARPing in the playground and watched every single animation available on television and on VHS. The exact ‘what’ started it all is a bit blurry to me unfortunately, but I do know I loved dragons as a child, and collected everything that looked vicious, scaly, and interesting. My mother is a superstitious woman as well, so she used to tell me tales of real black magic, ghosts, read fantastical stories from books she had on hand, and watched television shows that often involved mythology with them. Her religion as well, is quite fantastical, so it helped pull me into these stories of grandeur with gods of various purposes and creatures and spirits to be aware of.
Do you have a favourite Faire memory? What are you looking forward to most this year?
That’s difficult to answer, but as a shopper and explorer I unfortunately didn’t do much Faireland activity like I should, instead, My friends and I soaked in a lot of the worlds built by the worldbuilders. One activity I particularly enjoyed (and this was back when sim crossing is a dubious endeavour with no guarantee for survival) is seeing who crashes and who survives upon a sim crossing during peak Faire times. Needless to say, it became a contest to crash the least every sim crossing attempt.
For the Faire, I looked forward to the literature festival and some of the activities like the bus rides. Those were a lot of fun now that I finally gave it a shot! I was surprised by the enthusiasm behind the litfest tours, and while I came rather under prepared, I was able to answer questions to curious lore hunters about the sim. I think I will do this again next year with more preparation, if I’m able!
Tell us all about Auxentios’ Pass! Lore, stories, world building process, all the things!
When I was first approved to work on a sim for Fantasy Faire, I knew that the first thing I wanted to do had to be something steampunk. Though there were a few steampunk sims in the past, I was given a chance to show what sort of things I can spin with that theme in mind, since the greater majority of my work in Second Life revolved around it. I was in talks with a few friends about what concepts that can inspire us, and one of the things I enjoyed is a game that revolved around a post apocalyptic winter occurring during the industrial age called ‘frostpunk’, and from there, I started to play with the idea of the industrial age in winter. Instead of going with a post-apocalypse setting, I wanted to focus on a more real possibility: a mining hotspot by mixing the concept of the gold rush in history, an active and enthusiastic industrial age, with inspiration from the game ‘Frostpunk’ for its snowbound aesthetic.
It came with questions like, what if explorers found a valuable source in an inhospitable place? How far would industrialists and entrepreneurs go to attain it? How will they survive in a place so inhospitable during this age? What technology could be used in an anachronistic science fiction world? How will the people feel? What would compel them to stay here? Auxentios’ Pass grew from these many questions, and turned into a town born from a ‘gold rush’ attitude that could only be pushed forward by the leading industrialists of the age, with the money and influence to be able to forge machines able to turn this frozen pass into a functioning town forged and kept alive by the volcanic activity deep under permafrost and rock.
Everything in Auxentios’ Pass is imported from the main cities countries away, and all the people within are workers, overseers, and engineers all putting in labour to carve out the valuable things the pass offers. Their stories can range, but their attitudes remain sombre: they are all there to earn a living and become founders of a to-be city, however, should they decide to stop, they will find great difficulty in ‘leaving’ the place behind as it is their only home with nothing else but ice and snow stretching hundreds of kilometres around them. The town’s system and dangerous climate has brought its people to rely on their industrial masters: the ones with the wealth whose goal is to invest in the town to gather the materials they seek within the mountains. Should the people decide to stop working, no one will survive the frequent blizzards and storms that plague the mountain pass.
Auxentios’ Pass is a slice of this world, and though it bears the look of a snowy steampunk wonderland with machines trailing throughout the town, it is a symbol of the hardships and imbalance seen in the industrial age fueled by progress and invention: all material possessions. What is often romanticised in steampunk is done away in Auxentios’ pass, with its gloomy greys and whites, frozen buildings and pipes bending the natural order of an unforgiving environment. It is a triumph of humankind able to bend mother nature and occupy a place thought to be uninhabitable, however, it needed to come with a costly purpose.
Thank you, Walton, for taking the time to chat with us. Thank you for sponsoring and bringing us the chance to experience Auxentios’ Pass!