The ghosts of castles past

Ghost Castle

During my SL travels, I may have mentioned I have a love of castles. So when I learned that Fuschia Nightfire, in association with Italian Square Gallery & Tanalois Art, was opening a new installation which takes England’s once mighty Corfe Castle as its inspiration, I was immediately intrigued.

Corfe Castle was established by William the Conquer in the 11th Century to command a gap in the Purbeck hills of Dorset (where Fuschia also lives in RL), and it was one of the earliest castles in England to be built using stone when the majority were built with earth and timber.

During a long and distinguished history, it served as both a royal fortress and later as a private residence. However, loyal to the crown in the English Civil War, the castle was besieged by Parliamentarian forces and eventually betrayed from within in 1645. Following its capture, Parliament voted to have it demolished, leaving a striking set of ruins atop the hill where it once stood.

Corfe Castle, Dorset (image: The National Trust)

Ghost Castle, Fuschia’s new installation, which opened on Wednesday April 16th, presents an interactive means of exploring a Norman castle. From the landing point, the visitor – assuming not too many people are already exploring – is presented with the castle ruins much as Corfe is seen today.

Ghost Castle as it appears in ruins

Ghost Castle as it appears in ruins

However, as you draw close to the ruins, things start to happen, with the gate house and curtain walls materializing before you, presenting vistas of the castle as it may have appeared in its heyday. As you pass by them, climbing up towards the keep, they fade away again, new sections of the castle appearing as you pass over or through them.

But as you approach, parts of it are slowly restored as they materise before you

But as you approach, parts of it are slowly restored as they materialize before you

The nature of the installation does make navigation a little difficult, as elements of the castle are necessarily phantom. This being the case, I recommend walking up to the curtain walls and then flying up to and around Henry 1′s great keep. Make sure – as the introductory notes at the landing point advise – that you have draw distance up relatively high and have set RenderVolumeLod (debug settings in the viewer) to around 4.00; both will be necessary for camming out to get good views of the castle.

Work with other visitors, or go in a small group, and you can reveal more of the oritinal structure

Work with other visitors, or go in a small group, and you can reveal more of the original structure

This is a novel and interaction way at viewing historical pieces in Second Life, one which could offer significant opportunities for things like educational recreations. It’s also an installation worth getting a small group together to visit, or while spending time working in cooperation with other visitors is worthwhile, so that you can work together to render more of the various elements of the castle simultaneously and so get more of a feel for how it might once have looked.

If there are enough of you, the full reichness of the castle might eventually be revealed

If there are enough of you, the full richness of the castle might eventually be revealed

 Related Links

 

About these ads

One thought on “The ghosts of castles past

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s