Steam Center & Plaza


Inspired by Town Center of Virginia Beach, this area was developed from 3D models from Google Earth (generated via satellite views) and Google Warehouse from which I developed a steampunkafied version.



  • This was the first building I did and it became the home of Wabbit (aka Mr. Hamilton) and include his hidden lair.  The elevator does not work in the hostel due to them having no more cogs (aka gears) to use to run it.
  • The building was brought in as mesh, but had missing faces.  So I traced the building with prims to make a Second Life prim version.



  • This is a takeoff of the building where I attend art school and includes a reception area, dean’s office, and classroom (to learn history of steampunk) on the first floor, an art gallery (which includes free versions of my black & white real life art) on the second floor, and a fun surprise on the roof (from the dean who was a dirigible pilot and still enjoys a flight now and then)





  • The plaza has a two-headed Siamese twin heron, which is a takeoff of the twin herons in the Town Center Plaza in Virginia Beach.



  • Darnels (which is loosely inspired by the Sandler Center of the performing arts), and Steam Center (based off Town Center in that area of the city).  The Darnels is a place for the upper class to discover their creative sides – while Trigger and Stomper would love to see such shows, they could never afford the entry price!  A bit of a statement on the social classes and how the poor and the rich will reside side-by- side in some instances.


Town Center in Maya 9 Aug 2013

Part of this project is developing the environment in which the Steampunkables story takes place.  For this, I decided to pick a real world location called Town Center, which is in the growing downtown district of Virginia Beach.  The tricky part of this will be in conceptualizing the build not once, but rather twice.  For It will first be drawn out for what “Steam Center” looked like in a Victorian type era (aka 1800s) and then project it into the future (year of 2525).

The photo above shows the the work I am doing bringing the 3D models from Google Earth into Maya 2014 as I start on the first run of the plan outlined in the map shown below to plan which key buildings I will place in the virtual world of Second Life on the LEA23 sim.

Steam Center Layout 01

I built the Twines Hotel from prims in Second Life on 8 Aug 2013 using the Google Earth model as a guide, but it was missing some sections and I simply mirrored some elements from left to right sides figuring it would be fairly symmetrical in design.  Here is what it looked like in basic prim form (but I need to think hard about scale to nail this down first before bringing all of it into SL and to decide if it should be made from prims, sculpts, mesh, or a combination of elements.

Twines Hotel prims in Second Life

Here are some reference photos of Town Center in Virginia Beach, which is being used as inspiration for the following:

  • Westin Hotel for the Twines Hostel
  • Town Center to influence Steam Center
  • Town Center Plaza to provide some aspects (textures and fountain) of Steam Center Plaza
  • Sandler Center for the the Performing Arts to inspire Darnels Centre
  • The Art Institute (Ai) to inspire the Academy of Illumination (Ai)


Town Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by Day
Town Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by Day
Town Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by Day
Town Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by DayTown Center by Day

Town Center by Day, a set on Flickr.

Reference photos for Steam Center taken during daytime.


01-Art Institute-Closeup02-Art Institute & Town Center03-Town Center-BBT04-Art Institute Entrance05-Art Institute Awning06-Town Center BBT Corner Architecture
07-Town Center BBT Awnings08-Offenheimer Architecture09-Street Shot10-Red Star Tavern Signage11-Cosmopolitan and Shops12-Cosmopolitan Signage
13-Town Center Main Building14-Pizza Restaurant15-Plaza Corner with Clock16-Clock Face17-Clock Base Side A18-Clock Base Side B
19-Clock Base Side C20-Clock Base Side D21-Clock Face Closeup22-Plaza Long Shot23-Plaza Medium Shot24-Plaza Street Lamps

Town Center at Night, a set on Flickr.

Some of the other photos provide a feel for this area (like street lights, clock, shops and signage) which may provide a feel for the real life location.  Hopefully that will provide a bit of reference during the build for inspiration.  I especially like the Cosmopolitan entrance and may try to work that into the build somewhere (maybe for the front of the Twines) with it’s circular form even though the building for the Cosmopolitan (which are apartments) are not part of Steam Center.  Also Towne Bank has some nice architectural parts to it that may worth considering as we Victorianize and Steampunkafy buildings.


3 thoughts on “Steam Center & Plaza

  1. I often toy with objects in world, thinking about how virtual world design might inform that with augmented reality; such as what is taking place at sites like Layar, Wikitude, and particularly with the new Google Glass. I have a mega-prim floor that i rez on such occasions (link to post, below), it has an aerial image of the downtown area near my home…edited to scale, approximately. I wonder, as you are working on the Steampunkables project (especially when you employ “a real world location”), do you find yourself “mashed up” between meatspace and virtual, augmented reality?

    • Augmented Reality has a lot of potential, especially as the technology becomes more of a transparent part of our world. I think when we no longer notice the technology and it simply becomes part of the fabric of our daily lives, it has much greater potential. There has been much work done with the concept of “Mirror Worlds” where there is a direct correlation between virtuality and reality. Sixth Sense from MIT Media Lab shows great potential as does Google Glass. As to your question, I think what we do in virtual can impact the real world. I hope to one day be able to host some real world events (or possibly mixed reality events) for the Steampunkables. Perhaps some of the Tinker’s story will impact man’s plight in the future too. Only time will tell…

      The link you gave on Google+ does not work for some reason, Azwaldo. If you find the working link, please repost here as I would like to see the mega-prim floor you mentioned.

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