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Valheimians interviews Sorcha Azura

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This is an interview with SorchaAzura the winner of our Black Forest Build Contest!

Where did your inspiration come from while building Haunted Victorian mansion and mysterious clock?

I really wanted to do a Halloween build, and Victorian houses are sort of the classic haunted house. Almost stereotypical. I also love the intricacy and visual interest of Victorian architecture. I don't think any other period put as much effort into the aesthetics of their housing. The clock came from my own existential crisis. I'm almost the same age as my dad when he died, my kid is growing so quickly, and it just seems like time is going by faster and faster. Time is the eventual doom of all things, including the universe itself. There is a fundamental element of horror in it, and I wanted a visual representation of that.

Share your creative process with us! (Did you draw your vision first, or dive right in, etc?)

I started with a ton of images from google, and broke things down into pieces. I like the footprint of this house, the entryway from that one, the turrets from another one, etc. After that, it was a matter of trying to get all those elements to play nice together. I didn't draw anything out. I just messed around with each piece in game until I didn't hate it lol. There were a LOT of false starts. I didn't actually start with the intent to make a story out of it. That came when I tried to figure out what the inside would look like. Who lived (or used to live) in that house? What happened to them, and why is it haunted now? That's when the idea of the house being a trap started. I had a vague idea of a big clock early on, but it was supposed to be inside the house. I quickly realized there wasn't enough room to do that, so that's when the portal happened, the clock got absolutely gigantic, and the story suddenly came together in my head.

Approximately how long did it take you to build?

It took about a month of work. A lot of that time was just staring at the screen, doing mental mapping and discarding ideas. As for actual build time, I couldn't even hazard a guess lol. The clock took the least time to plan, and by far the longest to actually build. Getting the spokes perfect was Maddening. I wound up making a mockup with a rotation mod, and copying the placement by eye on the real thing. It took So Freaking Long lol.

What challenges/obstacles did you face while building?

Apart from the afore mentioned clock struggles, Victorian architecture doesn't play nice with Valheim build pieces. The turret was the most difficult to integrate with rest of the build. I just had to find ways to disguise the awkwardness of the angles. The other thing I struggled with was the back of the first floor. I could not figure out what the heck to do with that space, and the maze was the "I've got nothing. Screw it!" solution lol. I googled a random maze generator, and modified it to fit the layout.

What is your favorite part about your submission?

I am in love with the clock, but think my actual favorite part is the glowing garden in the first room. It's so simple, but it's beautiful and atmospheric. 10/10 would use again :)

Is there anything you would change about your submission?

I'm not happy with the back of the building. I put so much effort into the front of the house, and then the back is a big nothing burger. I wanted to have balconies, porches, and more turrets, but I just ran out of time to design them.

When did you start playing Valheim?

I think it was around April/May 2021

How many hours have you put into the game?

1,848 hours playtime, according to Steam.

Have you played Mistlands yet and if so, what do you think of the update!?

I took a quick look around in creative mode, and messed with build pieces a bit, but my current survival run is nowhere near ready for Mistlands. I'm running with a friend, so scheduling makes it a bit slower than if I were running solo. It will probably be a couple weeks before we make it there. And then there will be Death LOL. It looks like the difficulty jumps significantly for the new biome, so I expect it to go very poorly at first.
I will probably start doing creative builds with the new stuff very soon, once IRL stuff eases up on my brain meats. The new marble is gorgeous, and I am super excited for lights that don't need fuel :D
Also, I NEED a pond stocked with angler fish.
Need.
It.

What are you hoping for in the next update?

I'm always hoping for new build pieces. Nothing particular, just new stuff to play with. Specific to the Far North, I hope that they make it a bit more visually distinct from the mountain biome, apart from the perpetual twilight.
Penguins. I hope there are penguins. (Yes, I know penguins are south pole. Don't @ me lol)
For Ashlands, I Really REALLY hope that they keep the current lighting effects. Current Ashlands has the best atmospherics in the game IMO.

What other games do you play? Do you prefer PC or Console?

Console by preference, but there are a lot of games I love which are better on PC. I love narrative games, particularly fantasy and historical genres. I've played the Witcher series, all of the Assassin's Creed games (even the crummy ones), every Lego game that Travellers Tales put out, Fallout 1 through 4, Oblivion, Skyrim, A Plague Tale, etc. Zelda will forever have my heart, because Zelda. I occasionally dip my toes into horror with things like Dead Space, and Phasmophobia.
I also dabble in Dark Souls.
I am not good at Dark Souls...
Stray is a fabulous game that every cat lover should play. Period.
More recently, I've been getting into sim games. House Flipper and Powerwash Simulator are favorites.
My most recent obsession is Raft. I've been playing the heck out of Raft for a few weeks, and I have a lovely mansion in progress, because Of Course I do lol.

Do you have any other hobbies aside from playing video games?

I'm involved with The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), which is a medieval recreation society. Their emphasis is more on the crafts, traditions, and technologies of medieval times, rather than on role playing like renfairs or LARPS. Perfect for my crafty side. I was a dancer, before my health dictated otherwise, I sometimes paint, and I love jigsaw puzzles, reading, and tabletop boardgames (not Monopoly lol)

How does it feel being the winner? What was your first reaction when you saw the results?

It felt really good. I was coming off a pretty isolating bout of depression that had lasted for years. Putting myself and my creativity out there again was really scary. Having people be so positive and supportive about it is an amazing feeling. I love the Valheim build community for how enthusiastic everyone is about other people's stuff. The joy of making cool things should always be encouraged :)

Your build aside, was there any particular build in the contest that caught your eye? If yes, what did you like about it the most?

Dragonfly Manor by Create and Inspire. I honestly thought that would win. It's such a gorgeous build, with a lot of time and love in it. It's a perfect, realistic recreation of a dragonfly, and that is really impressive.

Who, in the Valheim Community, inspires you?

Is Everyone a valid answer? lol
Seriously, the amount of creativity in this community is off the charts, and every time I turn around, I see something that makes me go "Ooooooh! Pretty!!"
If I absolutely have to pick, the first two that made me really sit up and take notice are MythicBuilds and GH05T. When I first started searching Valheim YouTube, theirs were the first builds I saw that made me go "Holy S**t! You can do that?!?"
And the rabbit hole went from there :)

I’d like to know more about the story of your entry. What happens next? Is it over? Is the protagonist really dead or did you consider making it part of a series?

My storytelling skills are sadly sporadic. I would love to do more story vids, but the inspiration does not come :(
As for my unfortunate protagonist, she is caught in an eternal death loop. I'm really not sure how I could write her out of it lol. Perhaps rescue could come from outside.
Stranger Things - Valheim edition ;)

Anything you’d like to add?

Just a big Thank You to you and the community for being Awesome. Much Love <3
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