Interview with Ayla & Bedrich Panacek-Guisse

They invested time, patience, resources, but above all, they put their soul and built, step by step, what many of us call today: my SL home, my place. They are welcoming and open to creative ideas, always ready to come up with something new.

Ayla and Bedrich own Ville de Coeur and they are our “9 Questions Interview” special guests! – I`m taking another sip of coffee and … here we go:

Moga – You put in a lot of work and invested just as much in Ville de Coeur – what this project really means to you? What determined you to start building it?

Ayla: I think the incentive was that we see it as an outlet for our creativity – with time that didn’t change but people were becoming more the focus. We then noted that a community started to develop and that it was becoming quite important to people. We learned a lot about some of our residents and the reasons why it is so important for many of them to be part of this community. So we cannot – and do not want to rest on our laurels and we are constantly updating the SIMS and creating events in order to keep it interesting.

Bedrich: The foundation of Ville de Coeur was the Duché de Coeur, which was originally based on concepts from Angélique – The Marquise of the Angels, by Anne Golon & Serge Golon. This book was a historical fictional novel that took place in the mid-17th century. The duchy became the “countryside” view of life in the regions of Provence and Languedoc. Languedoc Coeur was the first region and Provence Coeur and Poitou Coeur soon followed. My view of the project was to explore the history and people of France from all sides, but particularly outside of the nobility.

Over time, the duchy grew, but while I was exploring the Canal du Midi, road construction, and architecture, many people simply wanted to act like the nobility and wear the fashions. Eventually, the role play became uncomfortable for most and it became necessary to find an alternative.

Moga: You started with 3 sims: Aquitaine Coeur Nord, Poitou Coeur and Normandie Coeur – Was is different then than now? How was a day at the Ville de Coeur in 2015, for example.

Ayla: Bedrich can explain the background here better – but our first job was the development of Azur – and back then we obviously tried to gain members – we started off with 86, if I remember correctly – back then a day would be building and discussing new ideas and also starting our first events – which was quite painful. I remember our first St Patrick’s Day – we had 6 participants – that included ourselves and the DJ.

Bedrich: Obviously, Ville de Coeur has grown steadily to answer needs for venues and rentals. Some areas like Alsace were built because I think it is the most beautiful city in France. Most of that is because of the way the community makes it appear as opposed to the architecture. In 2015, Ayla and I were working to deemphasize the opulence and attempting to make places like La Place des Lumieres into a modern day music performance area (Lumieres was a commons area where various people like Stormy kept their cows and pigs). 2015 would have been a happier time for Maryse and Ayla because there were only carriages and no trolleys.

Moga: In present, Ville de Coeur is open to anyone who wants to spend memorable moments in fantastically made settings. I have no doubts that you cherish everything here – still: what is your favorite corner on these sims?

Ayla: For me it is Bourgogne- this is where I can relax. A) Our home is there and B) I love to hang out in the stable yard, the Thirsty Horse.

Bedrich: My favorite place is definitely home in Bourgogne. While we were designing Bourgogne, it was a remote island where we spent our honeymoon. It therefore has lots of wonderful memories. I also like Vieux Colmar (Coeur d’Alsace) because it is a showcase of flowers in the spring and summer and wonderful events in the winter. It also has numerous activities and shops. I still enjoy Aquitaine because of the complexity, i.e. changes in elevation, multiple venues, caverns and tunnels, etc.

Moga: What are the biggest challenges you met while building Ville de Coeur`s sims?

Ayla: Hummmn – I think I was a challenge – to Bedrich and myself. Bedrich is very analytic, organized and straight forward and very conscious of the land impact – I on the other hand can get carried away. I am the detail freak – a plant here – a pigeon there – table accessories, magazines – and so on – in other words – I am the clutterer, but apart from that we have been always singing from the same hymn sheet.

Bedrich: The biggest challenges for me have been often related to legacy issues. For example, SL was originally designed for lower end computers and things were built simply and out of scale. Architecturally, this meant that rooms had to be 3-4 times larger than in RL. This worked okay with the opulent houses of nobility, but significantly limited what could be placed in a region and made scale unrealistic. In addition, everything you can interact with needs to be “active”, i.e. it needs a script. We therefore run thousands of scripts in every region, sometimes for things as simple as a door or grass blowing in the breeze. Through time, we have made things smaller and more complex, while trying to balance the need to ensure that Ville de Coeur still looks good on low end computers.

Moga: Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.

Ayla: There is no particular situation. I have spent a lot of time in France and I love the country and the lifestyle. Ville de Coeur is a mirror of our experiences and dreams- it is the way we would want to live – I think I can say this for Bedrich too.

Bedrich: When trying to find an alternative, I visited Quebec City in Canada. It is probably the most old European looking city in North America, with a castle-like iconic building surrounded by numerous buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries and French as the primary language. And yet, the city is alive and modern with shops, restaurants, events like bicycle races and concerts… A city that is very much alive and welcoming to both the Québécois and the English speakers in the rest of Canada and the US. I came back from Quebec with a dream and asked my favorite merchant at the time, Ayla, if she would be willing to help me transform my part of the duchy into Ville de Coeur. Fortunately, she enthusiastically agreed!

Moga: Imagine yourself 3 years from now: what do you hope will be different about Real Life – and Second Life – then, compared to now?

Ayla: In RL? Hummn – what I want can’t be achieved – it is beyond my control and I would like to leave it at that. IN SL- now – apart from technicalities like rendering, TP etc. I would wish for people to be more active and especially proactive. It can be extremely frustrating when you create and organize activities and it is met with merely a yawn. A lot of people in here need spoon feeding, don’t bother to read messages and instructions and if it requires some activity – they just can’t be asked. We are having a lot of creative members who are having fun in actively contributing to events – photos, filming, dance groups and much more- that’s great to see- and this is what creates the community spirit and brings the SIM to life.

Bedrich: Hopes and dreams are different. My dreams are likely to stay virtual. As far as hopes in RL, I hope that people realize there needs to be limits on Freedom of Speech, especially when it comes to deliberately telling lies or making up unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. I hope that more people wake up and see that we are a global community and isolating your country or even oneself isn’t going to make things better. I hope that the global community seriously works towards reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

In Second Life, I hope that some persistent technical issues are resolved. For example, the Lindens broke the search function in inventory and it has become frustrating to use, yet it has been broken for more than 1/2 year. Likewise, maps are not working properly, adjacent regions often do not appear, rezzing is sometimes painfully slow taking 15 minutes or more.

Moga: What are the most memorable thoughts you received about Ville de Coeur? (Don`t be too modest!)

Ayla: We receive a lot of praise – and we are grateful each time. I think the most rewarding moments are when somebody tells us that Ville de Coeur is their escape in times when they need a break – or – when people meet here and there is a happy ending- RL or SL.

Bedrich: Ayla and I usually share what we hear from people so our answers are likely to be very similar. We are very happy when we hear that Ville de Coeur is a place that people want to go because it is stable and welcoming. From other sims or especially from RL, we are elated when people tell us this is a safe haven.

Moga: What`s your most cherished family tradition? Why is important?

Ayla: A sore point – I do not have any family- and when I still had one it was a very small and not a very close one- and no traditions. I suppose it is one of the reasons why I am trying to create some of this here in SL.

Bedrich: This is difficult because I have a very small family in RL. However, we could say that goal of leaving SL each day at 2 pm SLT is a tradition, and it is important because it helps to give me structure. Otherwise, I would be spending all night here with Ayla!

Moga: If you had the power to solve one – and only one problem in the world – what would it be, and why?

Ayla: Oh dear – there are many problems on my mind – a heap of problems actually – but frankly – if problem solving would be teamwork and each team member would have an allocated task – I would want to fight against animal cruelty, hunting and poaching.

Bedrich: If I had the power to solve one problem, it would be something I have no interested in doing personally. I would find a way to have the news media to have less focus on entertainment and more focus on quality presentation of factual information. The reason for this is that we came very close to total instability in the Western world and the certain news media fed this and nearly created a disaster and made many people very depressed.

Moga: Thank you for your promptness and for all these memories you have shared with us. In the end – would you like to send a message, a thought to our readers?

Ayla: I think I can speak for both of us- we are extremely happy about our growing number of members- and especially those who communicate with us and are an active part – but also those who love to explore silently and make use of the facilities and enjoy.

We can create beautiful places – but our members and guests are the ones who are bringing Ville de Coeur to life.

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