Monday, January 27, 2020

Club Furzona

By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich)

I recently happened upon a club that impressed me so much that I applied. Not only was I impressed with the design of the club and the lighting effects, I was also impressed with how friendly and inviting everyone was. I could tell that this was a passion project, so I had to also interview Game Wylder who is the club’s owner.

You can find the club here.


Cyfir: Can you tell us about the history of the club.

Game: Furzona was started back in early 2010, and has always focused on providing amazing EDM music and live DJ’s. We did this for a solid 5 years before going on hiatus, hosting large festivals like events, and providing a truly unique experience. We always have invested in our DJ’s, training them to become better. Hell, some of our DJ’s are actually making a living off of their work. It’s a prideful thing, as all of us were essentially family, we all cared about one another.

Cyfir: Why did you decide to bring the club back?

Game: When I first joined Second Life, I spent a few months figuring out what I wanted to do. I eventually stumbled upon Furzona. I don’t know what, but something enraptured me. It could have been the lights, the people, or the club itself, but something made me want to stay.
I eventually became a DJ at Furzona, and started out as a playlist DJ, just having stupid fun, but over time, I developed my skills and taught myself how to mix. Eventually, I found myself being promoted to Host Manager, and then eventually a Director.
About five years ago, the club went on hiatus, as the previous owner wasn’t able to dedicate any more of his time or money to keeping the club open. Around this time, I was already on a hiatus myself.
When I came back a year or so later, now about three years ago, things had changed in SL. Many clubs were focused around adult content, and the quality of music had died down. I spent some time club hopping, and resided to hang around a few clubs that somewhat reminded me of Furzona, but just left more to be desired.
Around this time, I suffered a house fire, and while no one was hurt, and everyone was safe, I became displaced while the house was being rebuilt. During this time, I had cut all ties to Second Life, as I wanted to focus on my own personal life.

After a bit of a rocky road in real life, I eventually got things settled down. One day I decided to log back onto Second Life in almost three years, and revisited the old hangouts that were still around. During this week though, I noticed that the problems we had before only got worse, with there being places where people just go afk and poseball. It didn’t sit well with me.
After someone random accidentally called the Club Furzona Group in SL, an old friend of mine and I started talking, and I had that crazy idea: Let’s revive Furzona.
Him and I just started talking logistics for a bit, and eventually, we decided to reach out to some old team members, we immediately got a yes from them, and once we had a handful of people, I reached out to the old owner, to see if we were allowed to use the Furzona name, and we got approval. At that point, there was no turning back, we decided to bring back Furzona for good.

Cyfir: What can patrons look forward to when visiting Club Furzona?

Game: We designed the new Furzona with some key features in mind. While music would be our number one priority, we understand the landscape of clubs has changed in Second Life. We decided to focus on making an awesome place to hang out as well as a place to listen to music.
While designing the new club, we pulled inspiration from many places, including our old club designs. In homage to an old design, we stuck with a Red vs Blue theme, with the left half of the club being Red, and the right half being Blue. This creates a visual distinction between the two sides, and allows us to be a bit more creative with our space.
Additional inspiration sources come from other real life venues, like the Franklin Music Hall in Philadelphia, and Radio City Music Hall in New York.

If you ever go to Radio City Music Hall, you’ll notice how the entire ceiling tapers down towards the stage. This not only looks amazing, but has a purpose, attributing to the acoustics of the venue, while providing a feeling of grandeur. We decided to replicate this in our own fashion, by tapering the ceiling down towards the stage itself.

If you ever go to the Franklin Music Hall (previously known as The Electric Factory), you’ll note that it has that warehouse club vibe. They utilize the dark interior to enhance the lighting effects performers use, as well as projection displays to enhance the theme of Benjamin Franklin, and the lightning bolt. Towards the back of the venue, they have plenty of seating area, with bars on both the bottom and top floors. We took inspiration from this venue to design a more ergonomic layout, allowing people to relax in the back, while still being part of the action.

This brings me to the lounges, which we took inspiration from previous iterations of Furzona. In every iteration, we always had an Ice Lounge, that would act as a separate area to chill and relax out of the way. In the Red vs Blue iteration, we had a Red and Blue lounge, which people loved. The Red lounge would always be where people went to have fun and talk on voice, while the blue lounge was more of a relaxed and cuddle kind of place. So, we’ve decided to bring that back, with the Red room acting as more of a gaming room, and the Blue room remaining the same, as a place to relax.

However, we’ve done something different for this iteration of the club. About 500 meters above, outside of voice and chat range of the club, we have The Mainframe. It’s a place where people can go to relax, that is completely out of range of chat and voice, allowing them to still relax and enjoy the music, without having to leave the club.

Cyfir: What does Furzona offer that other clubs may not?

Game: Our goal at Furzona is to provide a nice place to hang out that is focused on providing an amazing music experience. One thing that you’ll find we discourage is Adult Content. While nudity in our club is allowed, all of our furniture is PG. We want people to enjoy the music and the atmosphere, and hopefully to meet like minded people.
With that being said, what we pride ourselves on is our featured Live DJ’s, who actually mix music live on the air to make a custom set experience. Furzona has also always been known for our light shows during these sets, allowing DJ’s to sync the lasers up with the music itself. In the old days, this was done with prims, and made it difficult to navigate a camera around, but this time we’ve upgraded our display to be mesh, which means it doesn’t interfere with moving your camera around.

Combine this, with the attention to detail that we’ve been keen on, and we’ve made a club that really works well to use the advanced lighting models of the Second Life engine to provide a really amazing looking experience, while at the same time, making sure that older machines don’t miss out on the cool effects we’ve done.

Additionally, the sim we’re on gets restarted every week, ensuring that our sim is running at peak performance each week. We want all people to be able to enjoy this club, no matter what hardware they may have in their computer.

Cyfir: Who all helped make the comeback possible?

Game: The entire team we’ve put together was vital to making this whole project a success. Most of us were from the original run of the club, and decided to come back to revive it, and all of us have developed individual skills that are vital to the project. We have an in-house mesh modeler, an Audio Visual technician, programmers, artists, designers, you name it. Each and every person involved in this project has been a vital part of the feedback system we’ve implemented.

I’ve told my team that no idea is a bad idea, and just needs to be tested to see if it fits. With this process, we’ve tried hundreds of different ideas, and gave each one a chance. The ideas that worked are what we stuck with, slowly building upon one another to create a cohesive feel to the whole club.

Cyfir: What have been the challenges of re-opening the club?

Game: The biggest challenge we’ve faced is bringing people back. All of us have had changes happen in our lives, making it difficult for us to dedicate more time to this project, but that’s where the passion drives us forward. While we don’t have all the time in the world to build this place, we’ve put our resources together, and within 15 days, we had a club ready to open.
We still are looking for more people to join, as most of our DJ’s and other staff members have drifted away. If anyone is interested, they can go to,
Additionally, we had roles that we simply never had before, such as a Vendor Manager, and Host Manager. These jobs used to be handled by the General Managers, but I decided to open those up as we were restructuring things.

Cyfir: How did you overcome those challenges?

Game: We began reaching out, and asking around to see who was interested in these positions, we found people who are absolutely willing to go the extra mile, and cross off all the checkmarks. This allows us to delegate tasks much easier, allowing the rest of the team to focus on smaller adjustments and tasks so we can get just another step closer to opening day.

Cyfir: You also run a MarketPlace store. What products can users look forward to finding there?

Game: I sell a lot of gestures and little accessories I've made back in the day. They’re really cheap, and available for everyone. One of my favorite items is the kindred mask that I give out for free, but my absolute favorite is the leaf umbrella that I worked on. I made the umbrella without any references, and absolutely no knowledge of texturing, and yet it turned out great!

Cyfir: What is your favorite part of being part of this community?

Game: The Furry community is an interesting one to say the least. It’s one of those communities that is made fun of in the public eye for being different, but I like that: being different. Normal is boring, weird is fun. I have met so many creative people within this community, and while I don’t fully consider myself to be part of it, I really appreciate the love and attention people have put into it.

Full disclosure: I now work at Furzona. While I haven’t had the time to settle in to my role yet, I should have more free time in the future. As I’ve written about in past articles, I’ve struggled to find a community to call home since leaving communities that I’ve been a part of in the past. This may end up being my new home.


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