31 May 2013

Rock it, Steam it - Yay!!!

Seems I have a run! After goggles and (mad) hats I found a guitar would be a good idea too.
And here it is!

The Drow Science Steampunk Guitar

It features a working clock (using the script from my steampunk clocks), animated gears and lots of whimsical details!

Additionally it has also two playing animations and the option to add your own by simply using drag & drop them into the guitar!

You can choose between two versions: the playable version (with animations) and a version you can wear on your back for stylish traveling from gig to gig (without animations).

I'm really proud of it. All the shiny brass parts where the light reflects so nicely! It was a pure joy to make and the design just happened (and it happened the right way, never a bad thing!).

The design loosely resembles the Gibson classics like Les Paul and the ES-series, but has definitely its own personality (not only because of the clock!).

Check it out on the MP!

29 May 2013

Mad Hatter Drow!

I think most people who know me find it pretty suiting (if not inevitable) that I am eventually making hats now ;-)

When looking at these pictures of me wearing my top hats I get the feeling I look indeed quite like a mad scientist or some other kind of steampunk villain...

Steampunk Top Hat

Well, at least I seem to be a punctual one:

Steampunk Clockwork Top Hat

And Emma looks even more British than usual - perhaps I make her a tea-set-hat next...

Steampunk Bowler Hat - (not only) perfect for cute assistants!

The clockwork hat looks just supercute on her, doesn't it?

Steampunk Clockwork Bowler Hat

You can find all of these hats (and soon more!) in my store.

23 May 2013


I am happy to announce the latest Drow Science-product. A pair of lovely steampunky goggles!

Steampunk Goggles - Drow not included!

The goggles are made of polished and corrosion resistent brass and are decorated with gears on their sides. They also have very handy anti-slip rubber applications and are therefore ideal for aviators and (mad) scientists!

The lenses come with various colours: yellow, red, white, blue, amber, green and black.

Check them out!

20 May 2013

Dr. Some's ABC of Steampunk Part 6: P - R

P is for Pirates

This is not an air pirate-ship!
(Thanks to Zen Wickentower for the lovely craft!)
Yarr! Don't think that the only pirates nowadays are either Johnny Depp or Somalians. The steampunk skies are filled with dangerous air pirates!

Much like their 18th century counterparts of the Caribbean they have usually secret pirate lairs, hunt treasures, kidnap princesses, trade slaves and - board other ships!
Preferred bounty, apart from obvious things like gold, jewels and treasure maps, are exotic devices, strange artifacts and mad inventions which enable their owners to take over the world (which of course is always an excellent starting point for adventure-stories!).

A stylish not-air pirate!
They use usually well armed air ships, mostly in the classical zeppelin-style or as flying galeon (complete with rigging, jolly roger and stuff!), though there were sightings of pirates using airplanes too. The author of this lovely blog got even incarcerated and accused to be one by herself! (see here, here and here) Just because her red biplane did look suspiciously similar to one the notorious Red Baroness does use for her raids! Of course these accusations were untenable and resulted in a release from prison without even a trial! Just good that the booty was nicely and securely hidden, they didn't had any evidence *evil laughter* - Hey! Did write that loud???

Anyway, steampunk pirates are not only a serious threat to peaceful aeronautics, you also should not underestimate the impact the have on fashion! The dashing female air pirate combines useful equipment (the inevitable belts with guns, knifes and perhaps a cutlass too) with a sexy look, employing leather corsets, boots and skillfully omitting cover at just the right spots - delicious!

Q is for Queen Victoria

Me and Queen Victoria
One of the words you hear quite frequently when it comes to steampunk is "Victorian". This term comes from the "Victorian Era", the time when Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire with its colonies (which was all in all about 1/5th of the world's population. So yes - it was a big empire!).
The world of Queen Victoria is the ideal where steampunk builds upon (well, visually at least). Its literally impossible to think steampunk without at least a bit of its technology, fashion or design with its typical ornamentations.

During Queen Victoria's reign (from 1837 till her death in 1901), the industrialization was in full flight in the western world and it affected people's life significantly. In a way like the Internet does today. Steam engines allowed mass production and mass transportation: Factories were mushrooming, dragging millions from the countryside into the big cities on the search for work whilst steam-powered trains and ships shortened transportation ways, making the world a significantly smaller place.
Being the technologically leading nation in that "industrial race", Britain was the most important political and economical player of its time with trade routes and colonies all over the world.

Socially however the British Empire was faced with inner tensions. The industrialization didn't bring wealth to everyone. Huge fortunes did exist next to mass poverty and people working under terrible conditions (sounds a bit like today's China, hm?), there were riots in the colonies and the moral standards of the Victorian Era war from being progressive - especially regarding the role of women in the society.

So its a two-edged sword. Visually its a great time, giving sheer endlessly inspiration for creative people, but I don't think nowadays humans would feel well in that world - just think: no premarital sex!

R is for Robot

Robots seem to have not really much to do with steampunk and they occupy indeed rather a niche there. However a quite interesting one.
They are at the first glance typical inventions of the 20th century. First in science fiction, then in reality (where they are mostly doomed to be either be silly blinking or barking toys or weld together cars). But thats just one part of their long and peculiar story. Lets start with their earliest predecessors, the golems:

The golem (which first appeared in the 12th century) was of course a rather simple creation. You take a piece of clay, give it roughly human shape, do your secret rituals (likely found in the Jewish Kabbalah) and finally put a slip of paper under its tongue with some magic words written on it, much like a modern day operating system (lets do a neologism and call it "Clay OS").

China Miéville (see "L is for Literature") picks up the idea of the golem for his novel "Iron Council" where one of the main characters learns to create them, eventually leaving the medium clay far behind. He creates railroad spike golems (which try to hammer themselves into the track), wind golems attacking airships and finally even a time-golem!

Much more technological than the golem and therefore closer to the general understanding of what a robot is, is The Turk.
The Turk was Invented in a time where the understanding of nature was a mechanistic one and therefore all living beings were - in a sense - machines.
Invented in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen The Turk did amaze its audience: It was an elaborate high-tech chess playing automaton in the shape of a human (in this case a Turk, I'm sure you'd never guessed that!), sitting on a chair before a chess table. After its human contender made a move, The Turk (capitals make its name look more pompous, you know) rattled, reached out its arm and moved its piece like by magic, driven by its elaborate calculating mechanism.
Of course it was a hoax, with a small human (not necessarily a Turk) chess-player hidden underneath the table performing all the moves, as they found out only 50 years after its creation. Silly humans.

The Turk did prove two things, which are still valid today: 1) Its very easy to fool humans, and 2) its somehow expected that a robot looks at least roughly like a human being. Especially in science fiction you will hardly find a robot, which is not looking humanoid. If its the mechanical Maria in Fritz Lang's masterpiece "Metropolis" (1927), the robot in the series "Lost in Space" (1965 - 1969) or in Isaak Asimov's Robot-Stories like "The Caves of Steel" (1954).

Robots (or sometimes called "Clanks") in steampunk are - which will surely surprise you to hear - usually steam driven and possess a mechanical brain contrary to their electronic counterparts of the modern world. They are often operated via punch-cards (which is an interesting analogy to the golem) and are ideal for mad scientists like Dr. Steel to form great armies of them to take over the world!
Robotic body parts are also very popular, especially for villains who lost a limb or two by unspeakable experiments (or plain foolishness). Also its handy for them to have, if its not a heart of steel, at least one made of corrosion-resistant brass.

16 May 2013

A Hello and A Thank You To Z&A!

...for the kind words about my Steampunk ABC! We gladly come over to your party! I might actually have one suiting outfit or two ;-)

Here are the space-time coordinates - hope to see you there:

Date: Saturday 18th May
Time: 4pm to 6pm SLT
Where: Raven Park
Music by: Eve Terr 

15 May 2013

A Living, Breathing Steampunk Metropolis - New Babbage Part 4 - Port Babbage

After having recovered from my bizarre diving accident in the Vernian Sea, I went on with the discovery of Port Babbage, the city's spacious harbor located at its eastern coast.
Oh, and I wasn't alone at my explorations. My faithful - luggage case - did accompany on my wanderings through this peculiar and charming place.

Me and my luggage case starting our journey at the pier of Port Babbage.

What a lovely sunny day!

The Skyline of Port Babbage!

Firstly I decided to stroll around in the back-streets. You often find interesting spots there which usually would get overlooked. In this case it was a cemetery though (and I always thought dead steampunks get recycled by mad scientists!).

Enjoying a bright sunny day in New Babbage...

...ooh! did the lid just open? Well, its obviously a Sunsonite case!

Hmmm, "Boat and boiler repairs" I wonder if they refit my luggage case into a small steamboat...

They didn't - what a pity! However just a few steps later I became the witness of the high degree of interactivity an ordinary Sunsonite-case is capable of:

Cute! It grabs freebies!

"Weird Tales" - I think H. P. Lovecraft did publish there too.

Thats what I love on this city. You just step out of a building or a narrow street and you get such lovely sights - just so :-)

Self-portrait of your favorite blogging Drow!

Port Babbage Skyline - Part 2

And so does that scene looks from the ground.

An interesting looking structure at one of the piers did caught my attention.

Curious looking Drow with a curious looking case. This looks almost like...

...an elevator!

It leads to the bottom of the sea.

The glass tunnels lead to the underwater station in the Vernian Sea.

W is for "Welcome"!

I figured that this funny blinking machine is a teleporter device. Too bad that I was already where I wanted to be. So I didn't use it.

Back on the surface I continued with exploring the shops. Unsurprisingly commerce takes a big part in the harbour district. Luckily the strict building conduct saves the city from eyesores - very nice!

A prefab store is selling this pub furnishing. It looks really fine - however sitting on it...

...showed some room for improvement!

Another store had something I haven't seen in sl before: A Paternoster!

Yes, most stores really look fine here.

And have funny freebies! Souvenirs from Mars and cheese guns - true must-haves!

This seems to be a kiosk for prospective citizens of New Babbage. Lots of information about the city there.

Wandering along the quay wall turned out to be quite entertaining:

Want learn building? Get your ass up and take classes :p

*gets  suddenly  some funny ideas about applications of wax*

No comment ;-)

One last look at Port Babbage - the next episode will feature its eastern neighbor Clockhaven!

I can't say it often enough: New Babbage is really worth the journey. I guess the sheer amount of pictures I took betrays that ;-) Its obviously that a lot, lot energy and creativity was put in this city. Well done!

Taxi to Port Babbage

14 May 2013

Dr. Some's ABC of Steampunk Part 5: M - O

M is for Movies

Movies played a big role in defining the distinctive steampunk look. One of the earliest is the Jules-Verne adaption "A trip to the Moon" from 1902 (here is a german dubbed version).
The 1950s and 1960s saw a number of big film productions which picked up the now retrofuturistic theme and made it accessible for a whole new generation, even if the invention of the term steampunk was some 30 years away still.
These films were mainly (more or less close) film adaptations of the stories of the "godfathers of steampunk" Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Movies like "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" (1954), "The Time Machine" (1960, my first contact to something steampunk!), "First Men in the Moon" (1964, turned into a hilarious comedy about the space-race) and "Captain Nemo and the Underwater City" (1969, not a purebred, but quite the fun to watch nevertheless) featured a lovely whimsical setting, which became a blueprint for what we know today as steampunk.

Things became quiet after the 1960s however and it took until 1990 that people saw something notably steampunky on the big screen again. I think many will remember the final scene of "Back To The Future III" where Doc Brown flies off in his steam train time-machine (together with his wife and his sons Jules and Verne - quite the insider-joke, isn't it!).
"Edward Scissorhands" from the same year showed us some steampunk-elements too. Together with a modern variant of the good ol' Frankenstein-theme (Edward's creator was none other than Vincent Price in his last role!), which is actually much more in the spirit of Mary Shelley's original story than the millions boo!-scary-monster!-movies usually adapting the story.
The french film "The City of Lost Children" (1995) also features strong steampunk visuals, together with a lovely oddness, which made already "Delicatessen" (1991, both by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro) a deliciously weird classic.
After the 90s were getting ahead pretty promising with innovative and fun movies, Hollywood decided to make a big big steampunk production with a big big budget. Luckily "Wild Wild West" (1999, yes - that movie) didn't do lasting damage to the genre.

"The League of The Extraordinary Gentlemen" from 2003 was some kind of best-of-19th-century-adventure-literature-mixtape, featuring well known and lesser known characters like Count Dracula, Captain Nemo, Allan Quartermain, Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide and many, many, many more. And it was quite fun, as long as you didn't took it too seriously.
Also notable is the Japanese anime "Steamboy". A very ambitious project which was 10 (!) years in the making (never a good sign btw.) and failed to reach its audience when it was finally released in 2004.
Visually much stronger (and also much cheaper in the production) are "The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" from 2005. A series of short GC-animated films which really shows some potential. The first part of Jaspers Expeditions (which have quite the Lovecraft/Poe lacing) has been released on Youtube, to get its viewers addicted and wanting to buy all episodes.

More recent live-action productions with steampunk-elements are "The Golden Compass" (2007 also including cheesy Narnia-like fantasy) and Martin Scorsese's amazing "Hugo" (2011), featuring lots of gears and automations and a really touching and fun story.
Yes, there is a number of films I didn't cover - but just might not have credited them with enough importance to be mentioned here ;-)

N is for Nemo

The world's most famous submarine - the Nautilus!
Captain Nemo, commander of the submarine Nautilus in Jules Vernes famous "20,000 Leagues under the Sea", is one of the strongest and most interest characters in steampunk literature and perhaps in the literature of the 19th century as a whole. He is somewhat time-less. And thats the virtue of his character: His past is an enigma (if we ignore the dispensable and anachronistic 1874 sequel "The Mysterious Island"), his actions are driven by revenge and the deep feeling of being an outcast from mankind and his crew is willing to follow him and his goals till death.

Nemo and the aura of mystery and darkness which surrounds him are a strong contrast to the otherwise quite lighthearted "20,000 Leagues...". He appears as a man who's dark past has driven him to the absolute limits of his existence. He is a victim of great injustice - losing his family by the hands of a suppressive regime. A broken and grim antagonist and quite a modern character still, but not a villain.  Nemo doesn't seeks power or wealth. To the contrary: money wont give him peace and the sea supplies him with all he needs in abundance.

And thats the key to his personality: being commander of the Nautilus gives him and his crew the absolute autonomy. No law, no government - nobody can put hands on him. Captain Nemo is the absolute free individual; living after his rules and following his values. Yet of course Nemo is at the same time a slave too. His thirst for revenge, pushes him into a war against the world - a war not even he can win.

Nemo is a doomed character. He is struggling with his past, with dark moods leading him closer and closer to his own downfall.
Facing the truth that his crusade for revenge only brought death to his faithful companions he steers his Nautilus into the Maelstrom, a giant whirlpool to seal his end.

The iconic character of Captain Nemo is inspiration for countless characters - often plain villains who want to overtake the world with futuristic machines. But that won't do him justice. He is terrorist, explorer, freedom fighter and sensitive philosopher. A character with real depth and an impressive statement of its creator Jules Verne.

O is for Overenginieering

This is not overengineered!
To add more simplicity I offer this article in two variants. The short variant "A" and the more extensive variant "B". Feel free to choose as convenient.

A: Overengineering doesn't exists!  Everyone who claims Steampunk is over-engineered is just a ignorant moderner!

B: As you (hopefully) know by now, steampunk loves complex machines with lots of gears, valves, pipes, drive-belts and vacuum tubes which are all happily turning, pumping, rattleing, steaming, buzzing etc. etc. When constructing a steampunk engine you best follow this simple rule: If you have two mechanical parts you need to connect with each other, don't choose the most obvious solution. Just add a random number of parts in-between to make it look interesting! If its inefficient - who cares? If it looks messy and chaotic - who cares? If its noisy and perhaps randomly emitting steam - even better!

Our friend Wikipedia says about overengineering that it "(...)is the designing of a product to be more robust or complicated than what is necessary for its application (...)". I admit this may sound quite reasonable, but in a steampunk context you better forget that definition quickly!
Fact is: Steampunks expect their products to be strange, whimsical and extraordinary. Don't be shy to make them look the part!

12 May 2013

Dr. Some's ABC of Steampunk Part 4: J - L

J is for Journey

Steampunks travel with style!
A central theme of adventures (and steampunk takes a lot from adventure-literature) is the journey. No matter if the dashing adventurer is traveling by balloon, submarine, train, ship (swimming or flying ones), is getting shot to the moon, rides a horse or is on foot - the star is often the journey itself and the means of transportation rather than the person who does it.
In the the 19th century steampunk-literature (yes, I know that term didn't exist back then - It was simply sci-fi!) the dashing explorer often remains as a pretty blank canvas with not more than a basic characterization. It allows the reader to literally "slip into his shoes" (and shirt and pants - and sometimes even underpants!) and experience the adventure first hand.

These adventures were primary scientific or technological - with sometimes quite a strong fantasy-stroke. They did often extrapolate the current state-of-science into a what-if-scenario where protagonist is confronted with strange machines, way ahead of their time, or discovers fantastic places. The palette is pretty colourful: From airship captains trying to take over the world, to expeditions to lost cities like Atlantis, to remote plateaus with prehistoric fauna and flora, to the North-Pole and Antarctica, to the center of the world, or even on the moon, where the hero gets chased by militant natives, cavemen, prehistoric fauna, giant squids, the Yeti, monsters or aliens!

Sometimes - especially in newer works - the journey is not only a geographical, but also a mental one. The protagonist is more complex and has a inner life the reader needs to discover. As the story advances, the protagonist's challenging adventures reflect on his character. A good example for this are "The Scar" and "Iron Council" by China Miéville.

K is for Kraken

These peculiar creatures play a fun role in steampunk-culture which shouldn't be underestimated. Giant Kraken, perhaps better known as octopuses have their first appearance in Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" where a group of them is attacking the Nautilus and has to be fought off by its crew.
Kraken, and their relatives, the squids, were also a source of big fascination by another "founding father" of steampunk: H. G. Wells, who used them to model the Martians from his famous novel "The War Of The Worlds" after them.

Kraken are due to their strange appearance of course the ideal animals to symbolize everything alien and dangerous. No surprise that H. P. Lovecraft (who had some influence on steampunk for sure) used them too and gave his dark cosmic god Cthulhu an octopus as head.

A dreadful Air-Kraken sneaking up on some innocent airships!
They not only haunt the seven seas or are jobbing as models for alien creatures. Adventurers have also found a large and quite aggressive aerial sub-species: The air kraken! Not much is known about these creatures yet. They are more than 10 meters in size (including their tentacles), live usually in groups and seem to have large amounts of helium or hydrogen in their bodies, which allows them to fly. Air kraken are fearless and dreadful creatures which attack peaceful airships relentlessly. They are regarded as a serious threat to aeronautics and are therefore often the target of hunting parties trying to keep the air-ways safe.

L is for Literature

Ok, this is going to be a long one. So fasten your seat-belts and put on your aviator-goggles!
Literature plays an important role in steampunk. It can actually be regarded as the origin of the genre and its main source of inspiration.
The roots of steampunk literature go back to 19th century fantasy and horror stories like Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein - or, The Modern Prometheus", published in 1818 (that mad-scientist-creates-monster-thing, remember? Well the original is actually much less like that.) and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Especially his 1835 published story "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" where a human flies to the moon - in a balloon!
Poe was maybe not the most cheerful fellow under the sun, but his adventure stories are sparking with weird and brilliant ideas, mixing the genre with horror and fantasy-elements as in  A Descent into the Maelström" (1841), "MS. Found in a Bottle" (1833) "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" (1838). His literature is obviously quite influential when it comes to the strange things steampunk adventurers might encounter on their journeys.

Jules Verne had a much more scientific approach though. No matter if he shoots humans to the moon with a gigantic cannon ("From the Earth To The Moon", 1865), takes a marine biologist to a underwater journey around the world ("20,000 Leagues under the Sea", 1870), or is leading an expedition to "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1864). Every story was based on the scientific facts of its time. In fact, some passages in his works read quite like textbooks! To his defense I have to say that he usually keeps a good balance between lighthearted fun, serious social criticism and scientific facts, which makes his books still accessible and fun to read.

Another great influence are the works of H. G. Wells, which are today as strong as they were more than 100 years ago. Most notably "The Time Machine" (1895), "The Invisible Man" (1897), "The Island of Doctor Moreau" (1896) and "The War Of The Worlds" (1898). Unlike Verne, who relies heavily on existing technology and simply extrapolates it into the future, Wells spins the wheel further: He shows technology which is for a big part just as much science-fiction, as it was when his stories were published. His novels feature anti-gravity (the famous cavorite, loved by all airship constructors!), light refraction in order to achieve invisibility, genetically enhanced animals with human intelligence and - you surely guessed it - time-travel!

Apart these authors there is a number of others, who were at least in parts influential on steampunk as we know it today. For example Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, the same who created Sherlock Holmes) and his book "The Lost World" (1912, where an expedition discovers a plateau where prehistoric animals have survived), Robert Louis Stevenson's "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" (1886, the mad scientist again!) and in the works of H. P. Lovecraft, who's stories often deal with doomed expeditions  ("At the Mountains of Madness", 1936), strange experiments ("Cool Air", 1928) and supernatural horror (of course "The Call of Cthulhu", 1928)

Important modern writers are Michael Moorcock, China Miéville, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.
Moorcock's Oswald Bastable-trilogy ("Warlord of the Air", 1971, "The Land Leviathan", 1974 and "The Steel Czar", 1981) features a hero who is time-traveling through various alternative histories of the earth (and occasionally dropping out on opium) and was heavily inspiring for steampunk-technology.
"The Difference Engine" (1990), by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, is set in an alternative 1855: Charles Babbage's calculation machines (hence the title) have led to an Internet-like revolution and steam-technology progressed rapidly, making things like steam powered carts and mechanic computers a common sight.
On the weird-side of steampunk fiction is China Miéville and his brilliant Bas-Lag series ("Perdido Street Station", 2000, "The Scar", 2002 and "Iron Council", 2004), which is set in a colourful yet bizarre universe, combining both steampunk technology and (non-Tolkien) fantasy.

9 May 2013

The Prometheus Has Taken Off!

This is a very special post for me. Not only because the Prometheus is the largest build I did so far. No, its also the most complex and most refined - and doesn't it looks simply great? :-)

Prometheus-Class Aircraft Carrier

We put a lot work into it since we started the project in mid February: Meshing parts, developing scripts, tweaking the design and finding the best solutions, which both save space and look good - and I think we did fine!

The Prometheus with landing strip extended.

Allow yourself to be transported back to a bygone age that never was, with the Prometheus-Class Aircraft Carrier. The Prometheus comprises a spacious hanger level with a scripted extendable runway, linked to a comfortable living quarters below and a viewing gallery above by a smooth, automated elevator. Custom built using mesh technology, the Carrier boasts excellent attention to detail whilst ensuring the whole package has a land impact of just 98 prims.

The Air Carrier can be rezzed unfurnished or with an optional main engine at the lower deck, and also comes with our steampunk-style lamp, globe, clock, a carpet, chairs and a table to help furnish your airship to a high standard. Ideal for use as a home or party venue, the Prometheus also makes a wonderful base for aerial exploration, and we’ve even thrown in a Steampunk Monoplane to launch from it!

Dimensions (landing strip retracted):
lenght: 43 meters
width: 27,25 meters
height: 16,75 meters


+ Prometheus-Class Aircraft Carrier
+ Steampunk Monoplane (Guestable)
+ Steampunk Globe III
+ Steampunk Clock III
+ Prometheus Table, Chairs and Carpet
+ Steampunk Lamp

The hangar with a Steampunk Monoplane rezzed (included)

A bit of Star Wars: the cockpit.

The main engine. Fully animated with mesh belt.

It is menu-operated, with several speeds. The propeller outside change their rotations accordingly.

The engine-deck fully furnished

Ready to take-off!

The ship is currently on exhibit at Lancaster Castle and of course available now at the Marketplace.

Oh and here is a video where you can see it in action: