Hello again, Dimensionerds! If we can set the overall feel of a dimension by the sky, lighting and landscaping, it’s the small details that really bring a theme to life and tell more of the story we want to express than some grand, sweeping entrance. Which isn’t to say that a grand, sweeping entrance is a bad thing–it’s not, and sometimes, it’s what a theme might call for.
When I build for myself, I get extremely frustrated when I don’t manage my items well and the details I put inside a place–usually a house–don’t quite live up to the idea I want to express with that particular home. Fancy windows are nice, but windows that are 30 items each in a 2k limit dimension eat up a huge chunk of the item budget, particularly if the house is a rather large one (which I seem to have been building a lot of lately). Sometimes, fancy windows are good to cast the illusion of that there are things filling up space, by distracting visitors with the views outside. At other times….well, there’s no hiding the desert of emptiness.
When I tour, I look for small details, or something that ties the build itself to the name, especially if it’s a house. A well-built, immaculate house without an ounce of clutter isn’t really that interesting, and it doesn’t say anything about what the house’s potential owner is like, or what was in the builder’s mind when they made it.
What constitutes good clutter? Well, that’s as subjective as what makes a good dimension. I can only give things I look for and build in (my opinion, in other words, because I haven’t shared that for a while) my own dimensions. I’m also pretty much of the opinion that any clutter is good clutter.
If all of that above seems like nitpicking, I suppose it is. During normal touring, I don’t sweat little details like that too often, but for contests…well, attention to detail helps. It can help a lot. The point is that none of the examples shown above really added anything additional to the item limit. Three White Smoke effects and a three-item dirty pan will not break an item limit in all but the smallest dimensions.
Bathrooms and kitchens are two of the things I despise building more than anything else, but they are the easiest to make detailed. You don’t have to make towels from building blocks, of course–pillows and bedrolls suffice quite well, and a shelf like that shown in contrasting wood tones helps to trick the eye while it eats up a lot of real estate on the floor.
What’s in all those bottles of stuff? Well, visitors can leave that up to their own imaginations as to what kind of soap, lotion, body wash, conditioner, shampoo, or whatever might be in the jars–and those jars, which are all from the jar scratchers, are not empty. Some have limestone or some other material of sphere in them, others have poles. The glass disguises the texture of whatever you’re putting inside the jar, so it doesn’t have to be expensive water blocks, whatever your minions brought back will work just as well.
Another way to disguise deserts of emptiness is to pull in the areas with darker colors. Personally, I like rich, warm colors, that’s why you see so much red, brown/orange, and dark wood/mahogany in my own builds. Dark colors absorb some light, and make areas appear smaller, so even when a room is big, it doesn’t look that way. In addition to that, by papering the walls with red or orange carpet (and the orange carpet is actually a brownish color that I like pretty well), things that get put on the walls tend to stand out more, which makes it a bit easier to allocate items to other areas, and pinpoint light on things you want to draw attention to.
My current project is Home Sweet Home—again, because that’s one build where I continually struggle to find the vibe of a place where Feendish (my rogue, not myself) might live. I’m not big into RP and never have been, but on each character, I do like to give them an actual in game house. Home Sweet Home has always been Feendish’s, for a number of reasons, but primarily because I like the in-game book A Bahmi in the North. Feendish is, of course, a big ass Bahmi, as tall as I could make her. Because I like Iron Pine Peak and because of A Bahmi in the North, Feendish’s house is always in a snowy area. The first versions of Home Sweet Home were always in Kestrel’s Cry Ravine, but 1200 items for her cozy log cabin just aren’t enough, so I’ve relocated her to Everywhere. This go ’round is about the sixth time I’ve built this place, and I hope it will be the last…for a while.
The story about Feendish was probably way more than anyone wanted to know, but it also helped to demonstrate that a lot of details that might have meaning to a builder are not going to have any context whatsoever to a random visitor, and that’s why we should always–ALWAYS–build for ourselves first.
As always, experimentation for the colors, textures and feel that’s right for you is the most important thing you should take away from this. And if the goal is to build a magnificent palace with all the rooms open and empty…well, I hope you’ll reconsider and strategically close off some rooms to have the open areas add context and warmth.