Friday, December 3, 2010

The Norrathian Research Library, Version 2

The original post was posted on the Norrathian Homeshow forums on December 3, 2010.
Ahh, so you came here to see a hint of what the Norrathian Research Library is all about, eh? If that's the case, I should begin at the beginning!

(Fair warning. When I talk, I talk a LOT. Feel free to ignore the big blocks of text, and instead scroll through to find the pictures scattered throughout )

The entrance of the Library, located at Aerie Kolmas in Kelethin, under Library. (If you take the world bell to Greater Faydark, there's a teleporter right near the globe you appear at. Take the teleporter to the Far Residential Aerie, right-click the Aerie Kolmas door, and type in Library) 

How the Norrathian Research Library -- or the Library for short -- came to be is a long and sordid tale. It involves angst, romance, daring rescues, and distressing damsels! Or is that damsels in distress? Either way, the short of the matter was, "I ran out of room in my house for books, since I insist on collecting every single book that comes my way. With the encouragement of Rakuno and Aurelis, I decided to build myself a Library. But not just any Library. I had just discovered the joys of the layout editor, and had stumbled upon the circle feature. With a little bit of fiddling with some erudite bookcases, I realized I could make a tower if I broke out!"

The original tower was a sort of flexing of untested muscles. I thought to myself, "No one's done a tower yet that I know of. I mean, I've seen places that claim to be "A Wizard's Tower" or whatnot, but never actually seen a tower with multiple stories. I'll steal Aurelis' cataloging system, and make a floor for each set of books!" Eventually I settled on 8 floors (Six for books, the bottom floor entryway, and a mid-point lounge.) I stumbled around a bit with the editor and came up with something I was pleased with, but not particularly proud of.

However, people kept praising the tower (likely because it's the only one of it's kind. Won't more of you please build towers so that I don't feel all alone in my ivory tower? ) To be honest, while I was flattered by the praise, it started to annoy me. I didn't feel the tower was worthy of praise. My house was so much more difficult to build, and yet people seemed to like the tower better. Plus, the ramps running around the interior of the tower -- while easy to navigate -- really cut into the useable room on each floor.

In addition, the tower felt incredibly dark with only the stained glass windows to make it feel less cave-like. And while I love the stained glass windows, they just aren't a substitute for the real thing.
So I decided to rebuild it. This time, with planning and diagrams and calculations to make sure I did it right.

*Ahem* To be honest, my diagram consisted of a vertical rectangle divided in eight. With a sloppily drawn 9th floor added when I said to Rakuno, "Oh, I'm debating adding a 9th floor, kind of an observatory maybe. Entirely walled in glass. But that seems like it'd be a lot of extra work." And Rakuno, that level-headed, intelligent man that he is, said to me, "Dooooooo eeeeeeeeet! You know you want to!" *siiiiiiiiiigh*

And my calculations... well. I let the layout editor do those for me. Most of the time. Aside from using the default calculator Windows comes with to occasionally figure out how high I needed to make the next floor.
And my planning. My planning consisted of me saying, "This time, I'll do it right!" 


So of course, the first thing all Libraries need (aside from the entry doors. You saw those above. They're exactly the same as the original, it's the one thing I didn't change. Well that, and the dimensions and shape of the rooms.) is a front lobby.

One thing about my original tower versus this one was I always wanted to put in a donor wall. A lot of people (Okay, maybe only about four) donated to the construction of the first tower. However, because of the ramps running along the inside walls, I didn't have room for it in the old tower. So I built one (and made sure it was promenently displayed) for this tower even before I started shelving books.

A closer view of the donor wall. The plaque I'm mousing over (which is the top plaque on the lefthand side -- the very first plaque) is for those people who wish to donate to the Library, but do not wish to be acknowledged in-character as it would be out of character for said person to donate to a Library. Or those individuals who wish to remain completely anonymous, but that I wish to thank publicly by letting people know that something was donated to the tower. So far, we've only had someone wish to remain anonymous ICly.

Here's a sample of what clicking on a plaque brings up:

I'm really not sure what I've done to deserve Sensqui's lavish kindness, but he keeps bringing me little gifts. At this rate, he's going to fill a book and need a second before the month is out...

Oh yes, and all those plaques on the wall? All but seven of them read "A blank plaque not yet engraved by Jazabelle."  I haven't had that many people donate to the library. Yet. I'm sure in a few years' time, with me constantly badgering people for things, I'll have to shrink the plaques down to make room. But not yet. 

I lied above. I also kept the exact same layout for the library desk and directory. In fact, it's so similar, I might even have saved that section with new-from-diff, dragged it over with the layout editor, and rotated it around the center of the tower to fit against it's new home! But of course, I didn't really do that. I'm just so good at rebuilding stuff, you think it looks exactly the same! In fact, if you counted pixels, I bet you'd find that everything is exactly the same distance from each other as they were before. (Because I'm lazy, I love that counter setup -- it looks like the library where I used to spend my summers as a kid -- and the layout editor makes it so easy to move things around, I did indeed drag it over with new-from-diff)

No, this is not the same exact screenshot. This time, instead of mousing over one of the Library Catalog "plaques," I'm mousing over the painting on the left. Amazing how it's an image of a tower-y thing.... and can it be that it says "Map" on that tooltip? What happens when we click the "map?"

Ahh! We get a really very badly done ASCII image of a tower.... with words telling us what each floor contains! How....neat?

Turn to look to the right of the directory, and you'll see a giant floor-to-ceiling window. Through that window, you'll see two unlikely lovers.

I truly blame the entire Homeshow channel for those two. Really. It's all your fault, Antonia_Bayle.Homeshow! Because you could not help me figure out a way to get Antonia and Lucan out there, and because you all started suggesting amusing things since I couldn't think of a female to use... these two hooked up while we weren't looking! (Yes, I know I could have used mannequins with the Lucan and Antonia masks. I did not like how they looked. Besides, the dryad keeps kissing the treant. Much more amusing!)

I tried to make it feel like you're in the cliffs above Kelethin. After all, you go through such a pretty little valley to get to the Library, and it doesn't make sense for something like that to be up in the trees. I know I didn't manage completely, but I tried.

The visible tooltip says it all. I've moved the sale of my fairy tales from my home to the Library. It just made more sense to me. Plus, this way the Library will (hopefully) get traffic from people coming to buy books. Who will then wander around, and tell their friends about this Library in (mostly) neutral territory that's easily accessable, and that has books on the shelves that you can actually read! Who will then tell their friends, who will tell their friends, who will actually stop by to read books sometimes. Maybe.

I found a use for the male and female mannequins I had intended to use as Antonia and Lucan! Meet Jazatwo and Jazifshewereaman! She's a librarian, busily shelving more copies of the Fairy Tales. He's a guard, posted to ensure none of the books wander down from the upper floors. This is not a lending Library, after all. Study to your heart's content, but do not try to walk off with any books, or he'll unsheath his scythe at you! ....or at least stand there and look stiffly.....not really intimidating.

The second use for the two mannequins is to scare the ever lovin' ....smelly stuff... out of me every single time I see them. I am not used to them being there, and I keep going, "WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE LURKING IN MY LIBRARY?!" If I ever get real visitors, I just may accidentally try and maul them out of startlement.

Moving right along! I'm not going to post images of every single floor of the Library. That's just too many, and aside from some decor changes, it doesn't really change that much on each floor, aside from the contents of the shelves. Suffice to say, I tried to decorate each floor according to what the book subject was. Rare Tomes has a rare statue and a tapestry made from a rare, Mythoi has Frostfell decorations -- yes, Frostfell falls into the "mythoi" category in my mind! -- and an Erollisi bow statue, Notables and Mortals has a Firiona Vie statue, etc. I'd like to put up a Venril Sathir painting, but I do not have access to one currently so!

This is Lands and Beasts. I thought it appropriate to stick a globe in the center of the floor for Lands and Beasts. Lands and Beasts also happens to be my third floor.

The sign telling you what floor you're on and what subject that floor holds. This is the catalog for the floor, divided up into the North bookcase, East bookcase, and South bookcase. Each bookcase is then divided up into shelves (five shelves per case). Hopefully that makes it easier to find the book you're hunting for.
Remember! Books are first divided by subject, then by bookcase, then by shelf. Finding the book on the shelf is up to you... (Although if you actually look carefully at the shelves, the books are pretty easy to find. First off, most of them highlight when you mouse over them. Only the oldest of them do not, and I'll be replacing the older versions with newer versions as I get them. The older versions will then be moved to Rare Tomes. Which currently has no books on the shelves, because every single "Rare Tome" I have is a duplicate of another book that's already on the shelf, and I was too lazy to put them up.)

As I said, I added a 9th floor to my tower. A few of you may remember that my 8th floor on the old tower had a lovely (I thought) glass roof. I decided I would one-up myself.

Welcome to the 9th floor Observatory.

Here is my lovely glass roof, transported all the way over to it's new home on my new tower!

And to give you an idea of the scale of the 9th floor room...

Jazabelle is small for a half elf, but still. To be honest, I myself did not realize how tall the ceiling was until I took this screenshot.

Now, some of you may be wondering "What about this 10th floor you were babbling about in Homeshow?" A very big thank you to Nef for offering to donate tiles for it. I am holding off on building the 10th floor until I can decide how I would like to configure the 9th and 10th floors, and what exactly I want to have on them. As someone else said to me, "You have all the floors you need, why would you build more? What would you put on it?" Plus, I started to work on building it, then realized it would actually take quite a bit of work to build it higher since I've put all these finishing touches in. And I need a break after cataloging, rearranging, and shelving all of my books. Not that I have even a drop in the bucket when compared with some of the others like Aurelis, Barx, and Maurna, but still. Over 200 books is nothing to sneeze at shelving.

And just because they make me giggle... a view from the second floor of the two lovers.

And a closeup that no one but a trustee will see, since it's outside the window, right by the lovers. I just had to show off my wicker picnic hamper. It's not really a basket. Hamper really is the best word. Thanks much to Toade for the two sides of the hamper handle! I'll get those dividers to you soon, I swear!

Awwww, she's leaning in for a kiss!

Thank you sooooo much for bearing with my incessant chatter. I hope you enjoyed the screenshot tour, and I do hope you'll come visit, if only to see the rest of the floors! (As Gracey says, "One of the neatest things about a tower is how the view out the window changes level by level.")

If you're all reeeeeeeeeally good boys and girls (and only if you're actually interested) I'll take a screenshot of the tower from outside and post it, just so you can see how tall and ugly it truly is. 

Alright! My ego is all huge and bloated from praising myself now, so I'm going to end this post before it segues into my entire life's story from the moment of my birth or something.