Hello my lovely virtual goddesses and gods! Today’s post is very special, because it is about one of my favorite sim building projects and its talented creators. Pandora’s Box of Dreams is as much an ongoing art project as it has been a bevy of beautiful places to visit. Owner/Creators Mizaki Cupcake Verlack and Lokhe Angel Verlack have gathered a pretty loyal following with their sweet Dreams, who happily anticipate the next Dream in store.
What the heck are you talking about Prettyflower? What are these Dreams?
I’m so glad you asked! Pandora’s Box of Dreams is not one sim, but a collection. In SL, one’s art can be addictive, and it seems builders gotta build. Pandora’s Box of Dreams allows Lokhe to do just that. The Pandora Resort is the latest incarnation of his imagination, and it is Dream #6. Way back when Dream #1 was unveiled, I found myself wandering through a paradise of Sakura blossoms, on a cliff overlooking a sea with floating candles to light the way for those who prefer a boat ride to a hike. Pagodas atop the hill overlooked the beautiful view. Then one day I came to visit and it was gone! I was heartbroken…until I learned that Dream #2 had arrived, complete with dreamy fields, waterways and places to chill with friends as we explored.
Like dreams, these beautiful builds would come and enrapture us, give us the escape that we need, then fade away, and then a new dream would come. Pandora’s Box of Dreams had been planned that way all along! Dreams #2 and Dream #3 retained some little hint of what went before while being vastly different builds and experiences. Dream #3 was one of my favorites, no land to be found, a water world that was a visual feast for photographers and wanderers. Dream #4, Del Mar Dream, brought us to an island paradise and you can read about it here in this blog post from July 2015. Dream #5 was a brightly colored autumn paradise, and that brings us now to Pandora Resort, Dream #6, which opens on Sept. 16 to high anticipation by the folks who have become addicted to these beautiful Dreams. I have been an enthusiastic fan of these Dreams from the beginning, and Miza graciously rewarded me and a few other loyal fans with the great honor and good fortune of visiting the sim before the opening date for a sneak peek. Many thanks, Miza, for this wonderful and generous honor! ❤
Before We Take the Tour – Mesh, Mesh and More Mesh
Everything in this Dream is made of mesh, and I found the rendering of so many fabulous textures to be a hard task for my poor old late 2009 iMac. Because I was taking pics, I wanted better than low graphics settings, and with the higher quality settings on I had a hard time just moving around inside the train station or inside any other buildings. Exploring outside was a little easier, but every time I wanted to take a good high quality photo, I either had to wait a long time for the textures to rezz, or had to TP out of the sim and back in to get out of the building I was in, and I crashed a couple of times. My date crashed too, and had to re-install his graphics drivers. As much as I adore the quality and beauty of mesh objects and textures, they can really take their toll on my older machine. So when you go, do pay attention to how awesome your computer is, and if you’re on an older one take precautions, you may need to use lower graphics settings. When I finally gave up on the pics I wanted and settled for using my low graphics settings and just had fun exploring, things went more smoothly. Now that this tip is out of the way let’s get on with the tour 🙂
The Pandora Resort Adventure Begins
I decided to take my visit as a tourist would, having read some of the info being leaked out by Miza and Lokhe and reading the history notecard obtained in the landing area. According to it, the Pandora Resort is hoped to be the revitalization of Iron Hill, a war era mining and lumber town whose time had come and gone. The lighting throughout the realm is somewhat gray and slightly foggy, a town nestled in a mountainside that always has a bit of wispy cloud clinging to it and a sky that wants to snow, and is evocative of its mining and lumbering history. The landing area is a train station complete with an audio track. With music off and sounds on, the station comes alive with the voices of travelers coming to town.
That the soundtrack is always an integral part of the Dream is one of the things I love about Pandora’s Box of Dreams, and I gladly obliged when the welcome notecard suggested turning off my music. Upon landing, I was immediately greeted by a friendly, helpful staff member named SapphireJolia, who offered great tips for enjoying the Resort, and encouraged me to IM her if I should have any questions.
The train station opens to a quaint mountain town with tree lined streets filled with storefronts. Vendor carts, courtyards, animals blend with the scenery to offer photographers lots of opportunities to snap pics to their hearts’ content.
The buildings here on the ground were mostly empty, and I can’t help but wonder if the sim owners will be looking to rent them out to creators to sell their goods. I stopped inside a wooden building with benches, it looked to me like it could be used for community meetings or as a chapel. Inside, though it was mostly bare, what it did have were absolutely stunning textures, from the worn, paint chipped wooden columns and window dressings and lace curtains, to the woodgrain texture and pretty pattern carved into the wooden benches.
Back outside in town, pretty courtyards were plentiful and offered benches to sit and admire the views, or quietly chat or snuggle. The couples poses throughout the sim are family friendly yet romantic snuggles, making this a great place to go solo, with friends, or on a date with that special someone who gives you butterflies in your tummy.
Throughout the sim, the audio soundtrack greatly added to the experience. In this courtyard, we heard the birds singing,occasional yips from the playful puppies, and background noises of people in the distance, the travelers coming and going at the nearby train station.
At the opposite end of the town from the train station is a path that leads you a short way up the mountain to a wooded area where you’ll find a Pandora Resort lodge, a small white building complete with sunroom perfect for an intimate breakfast or coffee with a few friends or a date, and a tram station where you can catch the tram to take you the rest of the way up the mountain.
Here the buildings are furnished and comfy, and again resplendent in their decor and textures. Little critters are everywhere, and it all adds up to a place where happiness is to be had, good cheer, smiles, fun times and bountiful photo opps.
Taking the tram up the mountain you are treated to a beautiful view of all the sim has to offer. I rode it several times, because once was just not enough to take in all the sights. Explorers who disembark at the first tram stop halfway up the mountain will find a cozy trellis shelter with a hanging chair where they can snuggle with their sweetie to keep warm while being serenaded by the howls of wind and wolves. Have I mentioned how much I love the auditory experience? I’m pretty sure you will love it too!
This is about as far as I got in my explorations of the Pandora Resort thus far. I’ve been to this Dream now 3 or 4 times, and I have only experienced a smidgeon of what this awesome build has to offer to explorers, photographers, friends, and romantics. I am enjoying my visits and looking forward to finding all the nooks and crannies I’ve yet to discover. And also to more snuggling along the way 😉
Be sure to check out the Pandora Box of Dreams Flickr group for more sneak peeks of the Pandora Resort, and be sure you go visit it when it opens on Sept. 16, 2016. I’ve been checking out all the fabulous photos coming out this far and they are getting me all excited to go back again and again.
Miza, thank you SO MUCH for inviting me to preview this Dream! I’m having so much fun doing so 🙂 And many thanks also to the oh-so-handsome Sprinter Shepherd who willingly posed for as long as it took for me to get these pics, and smiled the whole time. Now that’s patience, lol.