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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blue World Notes: Gorgeous Urban Squalor Rules in Blue Mars' Port Town

Before I came to Blue Mars, I mainly associated it with scenes of tropical paradise and settings that suggest lush, palatial estates. Those are definitely here, but when I asked readers to suggest Blue Mars cities worth visiting first, I was pointed to Port Town. Now Port Town is beautiful, but it's a beauty of another kind: Suggesting a small industrial shipping spot that's seen better days, Port Town is full of fine details that convey squalor and decay - dusty cobblestones, upended trashcans, boarded up buildings. (It distinctly reminds me of a map section from the Grand Theft Auto franchise.)

As the above screenshot suggests, the Port Town developers have made great use of dynamic lighting; as the sun makes its way across Blue Mars, sharp shadows slowly move across the streets. But there's signs off life in Port Town: In a building with a string of Christmas lights sadly twinkling, someone's opened up a small clothes and avatar accessories boutique.

Here's a time lapse look at the sun rising and setting on Port Town:

Know another place in Blue Mars I should visit next? Please post in Comments, or email me, hamlet at bluemarsonline dot com!


  1. What I like about this place is the way light has been treated as part of the design. There are two elements to this. Moxxi has used normal maps on practically every surface, as far as I can tell. This gives texture and depth. He has also worked on the sunlight, moonlight, and the interior lighting, to create atmosphere. The whole city is a good example of what can be done with the graphics capabilities of Blue Mars.

    Many of us are still often thinking in terms of SL, and unwittingly recreating the SL look in Blue Mars. Over time, as we learn more, this should change and the potential of this new medium can be realised. That's something to look forward to.

  2. Port Town is truly gorgeous, though I tend to quip about Moxxi having taken the idea of terraforming a bit far... he actually hauled the Earth's moon out of its orbit and brought it to Mars. :-) Which is nothing compared to Shade City though. There, they brought Earth itself into a Martian orbit, where it is now circling the planet side by side with Phobos.

    As for suggestions: Have you seen Digital DNA yet? Not much there yet in the way of buildings, but quite a fascinating jungle landscape with very interesting weather. I experienced my first Martian thunderstorm there yesterday. Impressive!


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