I’ve been enjoying working on a new island for a little while now, so I thought I’d give an introduction here! I’m streaming this island over on Twitch, and it’s been a very pleasant island to stream because of its asymmetry (feels like finishing an area is like solving a “vibe” puzzle) and its theme that is personally very significant and inspiring to me, that I’ve even had a bit of fun imagining the beginnings of backstories for.
The theme is ‘changed by time’ or admittedly, sort of post-apocalyptic. Beyond that, I’ve also tied a few personally significant references from media special to me, several of which tie into the ‘changed by time’ theme in strange ways, in addition to coming from art I’m passionate about.
I’ll start by going over some of these areas one by one, a mixture of complete, almost complete, and WIP!
Fawnhollow’s entrance: a lonely small town bus stop
One of the first builds I did in Fawnhollow was its entrance, which I made into a small-town bus stop, overgrown with time. It’s inspired by the atmospheric bus stop from Netflix’s Dark, which as weird as it sounds, is a very emotionally charged place for me. It really means a lot to wander by it every day that I play in Fawnhollow, and be reminded of my favorite show. On a more mundane note, I love the line of trees in the back, how they rise and fall and display such a variety of different colors.
The ramshackle marketplace
Just a short walk away from the bus stop is a rough-and-tumble marketplace, where people of the post-apocalypse can come to barter and trade, and to sell scavenges and anything that one can manage to get a hold of in these more difficult times. This area makes use of both my Nooks and Ables, and serves as a town hall entrance, all of which are things that I struggle with when it comes to island-building, because of the required nature of them, and lack of freedom in comparison to a build you can dream up in your head. So I was glad to get these necessities out of the way early, and even moreso, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved how it came out! It was inspired a bit in style by the slums from Final Fantasy 7’s Midgar. I don’t think pictures do this area justice; it’s so warm and cozy with just the right color combos. I always love walking through and seeing my villagers browse the market, which they do a lot.
Check the matching outfits on me and my girl! This was sort of a happy accident! The outfit happened to be on sale at Ables on a day that someone from my Twitch chat redeemed an outfit change with channel points. And Melba’s outfit was suggested by my chat on her birthday, April 12, when I mentioned wanting to give her a more edgy sort of outfit to match Fawnhollow! This moment was brought by my community, how sweet is that…
The process of getting the right picture was full of adrenaline:
Apocalyptic, makeshift campsite on a baseball field
For the area next to the market, I thought it would make sense if a band of post-apocalyptic “survivors” (gosh that sounds too dark for Animal Crossing) lived nearby in a messy, lived-in campsite. My first thought was a campsite in a forest, then for some reason a baseball field popped into my head! I was quite proud of this idea — it feels a little less like sculpting something perfect and beautiful (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I love that), and more like worldbuilding something gritty and realistic. But not *too* gritty, it mostly feels lived-in and kind of cozy in a way. I wanted it to feel like you could see into the lives of the people who have made a home here, with their personal possessions lying around.
This area has also inspired the most amount of daydreaming for me. I love to imagine a warm, hazy sunset, survivors grouped around the fire, some chatting, eating, and a few playing music as fireflies dance around the flickering light… I even have an OC in mind as like my protagonist who lives here, and I’ve ‘cosplayed’ her on stream a few times. (Her name is Sadie, with red hair and a fearless personality, who wants to head off in the world and not remain at the fenced-in campground her whole life.)
River of Time
I want to wind a river through Fawnhollow that I will call the River of Time, inspired by the lyrics from Joanna Newsom’s “Time as a Symptom“, a truly stunning song: “In the river of time, time moves both ways”
The foliage throughout is also inspired by Joanna Newsom in a different way, by the cover art of her album Divers. I want it to feel less urban over here, the wilds of the post-apocalypse. I plan on putting at least a few villager houses along the river of time, so it won’t be totally isolated.
City lost to time
What better area to jump to than another one inspired from a Joanna Newsom song? This overlook of a city lost to time, modeled somewhat off of New York City and its signature apartment buildings, is inspired by “Sapokanikan.” Sapokanikan is a song that describes many things that used to exist in the place where New York city now stands, from a trading ground with the Lenape Native Americans, to a burial ground from the yellow fever epidemics under Washington Square Park, to fairgrounds placed overhead. (If you’re interested, you can read about the lyrics’ references)
At the end of the song, Joanna sadly sings “Look and despair, the city is gone, the city is gone.” A testament to the power of time that eventually washes everything away, even the greatest of empires. This line is a reference to a famous poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley called Ozymandias, written about a statue of a long-fallen king found in endless sand:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1818)
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
In the music video for “Sapokanikan”, Joanna Newsom is walking the modern streets of New York city as she sings of peoples and places which used to reside there. And at the end, she sings “the city is gone” as night falls in the city. To me, it’s a haunting reminder of the transience of even the greatest things in the enormity of time. In contrast, I believe “Time as a Symptom” is about how the joys in life and the ways in which we affect others’ lives will reverberate through time long after we’re gone. Two different, and yet similar, messages and moods. It’s a train of thought that some might find depressing, but I’ve actually found an odd comfort in it myself, during times when I’m worrying about things that I probably shouldn’t. In my love of Astronomy, I often come across many reminders of the enormity of space and time, so the theme of passage of time in Joanna Newsom’s Divers is one I find intriguing, as well as a theme I find fun to explore in this post-apocalyptic island with so many references to things I love!
An abandoned lot
The way I usually build is I focus on the overlook first, and then I figure out what will “lead up” to it. I love me my overlooks and prioritize the “lead up” a little less usually. I tried my best with this abandoned lot and lone car to create a fitting lead up to the city overlook shown previously.
Spirited Away-inspired train station
The abandoned lot, through inclines, leads down to a train station inspired by Spirited Away. The train tracks run into the water, which both works for my post-apocalyptic theme and also pays homage to Sixth Station, one of the most beautiful and emotionally affecting animated scenes.
As always, I do the overlook first (in this case, the Sixth Station-inspired area), and then I do the area that leads up to the overlook, which here is a pedestrian bridge. It’s nothing super meaningful, but it does feel like a bit of believable city planning: a bridge over a river, which goes into a tunnel with a pedestrian bridge overhead that leads past a road below. Something interesting about this area was how difficult it was to find the right furniture pieces to compliment it, and I have to give a lot of credit to my community for giving me ideas for pops of blue to make the blue iron bridge look less clashing with the red iron fencing and inclines! We were so hyped when we saw how well the blue oil barrel and trash bags helped bring it together. 💙 I still have to do lots more arranging and detailing in pretty much every other spot around this area though, whoops
Nuclear power plant
This is my newest under construction area, another reference from Netflix’s Dark! This area is a street intersection with nuclear power plant cooling towers that can be seen above the treetops. The plant itself can be imagined as the building fenced in nearby. The scale of these things in relation to each other and the trees around can appear kind of wonky, but I think the idea itself is cool enough to forgive that, and that the scene as a whole doesn’t look too offputting. At least, it won’t look offputting once I’ve finished all the details on the ground, and finished the panel designs for the cooling towers (I just blocked out the basic shapes to see if it would work, editing face-cut out standees is very annoying).
This gas station inspired by an Edward Hopper painting isn’t in my island anymore, but it can always come back if I feel inspired, and it was a fun thing to try!
Lastly, some inspirations!
My pedestrian bridge was originally inspired by this stunning build by giaw99 on Reddit! I also looked up pedestrian bridges in search engines and found so many irl results, what a genius idea to incorporate it into Animal Crossing ❤️
I have lots more in mind for Fawnhollow (seriously, I have a lot of space left still), but thank you for reading about my builds and WIPs so far! I like to work on this island often while having cozy community chats on Twitch, If you want to see more of this island come together while hanging out on stream.