A Second Life
The Big Grey Prefab and Alternatives
OK, the last post was all problems, and there really are solutions. First I wanted to see if Marco had created the prefabs. He is a designer/manager, whatever. One quick check showed he hadn't. They were Novacaine Grey's creations. I went to Inside where these things are for sale and had a look around. When I finally found the prefabs, it was bedlam. People were rezzing them, trying them out, and it was crowded in the evening. I had houses disappear under me several times. Iyoba felt seasick. I still think the designs are awful. Maybe people are looking and not buying. Maybe they are buying, and there is no accounting for taste. Too many prims. Too many gotchkas as in scripts and furniture included. Not enough ability to customize. Too much house. Too large a footprint.
And also not enough of what makes a place special. I got to really inspect the prefab now that I can see mesh. The bed on the second floor (It has a second floor) is ugly. It is a plain, Hollywood bed with a black coverlet and white pillows. Now remember that avatarim in Second Life use beds for doin' what comes naturally with the aid of a pose ball. For starters, I could not even sit down on the bed. It said "No surface on which to sit." A sitting or lying down pose ball (not one of it's juicier cousins but why not one of its juicier cousins) would have been a nice edition. Even without the sex moves, the bed was a disappointment.
Quite simply, if I want a bed for even lying down, I want one with more personality. Why not a four poster, something with a mosquito net, a heritage quilt, a leopard skin rug, a camp cot or two of them pushed together to make a double bed. For single beds why not a day bed, a divan, a captain's bed. Then there's the old time brass or iron bedstead that always stands in good stead.
Likewise the bathroom was utterly devoid of personality. It had a tub and a shower. I had yet to try them out. I have had a bathroom with a claw foot tub, a sink, and a toilet. There was no toilet in the prefab and yes, my toilet had a peeing and wiping animation on it. Laugh if you want to, but even avatarot need to go. They also get dirty and like to wash. Cleaing your avie feels good. I need to try out the tub and shower in the prefab. I bet they don't do anything.
And do I have to say the prefab does not have a kitchen. It doesn't. It has an office with a computer. Uh...we're all ready on a computer in Second Life. I can understand offices with computers on academic sims, but in a private prefab! OK, maybe this is a "guy thing."
But the point here when I started out was this could be a lot better. If Marco doesn't want to build his own house, there are better prefabs out there. Because this is a seaside sim, I am stuck on stucco or more probably adobe. I've seen lots of cute adobe structures in the teaching sims. These would make comfortable houses with a lower prim count and an attractive appearnce to which users could add with furniture and plants. You can even retexture them (as in painting them with nice fresh adobe in a variety of colors) to make them spiffy and bright. You may have to add doors to some of the models, but fewer scripts mean a faster sim. I like plain old phantom doors and one way windows, but hey that's me.
I also think I could build a cute little (not so little 40-60 prims instead of 337 prims which is the size of Marco's monstrosity) adobe, but it would look rough in the way a lot of my structures do, so I went hunting for adobe prefabs. Did they exist? Were they attractive, smaller, simpler. The answer is YES!
Let's start with the not so humble adobe by L&K Prefabs. It's 43 prims and looks like it needs doors and furniture. It has nice wainscotting and the online illustration shows it on grass so it is a go-anywhere adobe. I'm not sure what happens when you repaint it, but the size and simplicity and atmospherics look good. Modifications mean that all three prefabs don't have to look alike. The price is 139L each so even if you had to buy three of them, it would hardly put you in hock. I have no idea what Marco's prefab cost him. I guess I can go and find out.
Sculpty works has a 33 prim adobe for 1500L. That's a steep price. They don't show any interior views, but it is classic with climbable ladders, and you can repaint or retexture it so they don't all look alike. Again, I think this one is a bit steep.
Wild West Games Development has an 84 prim Old Adobe Mexican Guest House. You have to add doors and look past the paint job and lack of setting. You can retexture it in fresh plaster and brighter wood for a fresher look. It has a deck which I really like and which makes it perfect for a seaside setting and in a fresh pastel with clean walls, this has classic good looks and lines.
I particularly like this Distressed Western Adobe Building by Kimmee Babii. It is a bit expensive at 399L, but the prim count (23) is good, and remember you can retexture it to look brighter, fresher, and more spiffy. I like the graceful awnings on the porch and the flat roof is a plus. I'd add doors and a stairway/ramp to the roof to make yet another useable outdoor space. This is an all around winner except...
Wild West Games and Development Old Adobe Annex House is a winner at 200L each. It's 54 prims with a porch and a useable porch roof. A coat of fresh plaster can ditch the beat up look. It does need doors, but you can get free door textures or sculpties and a well fitting phantom prim does the job.
I'm not sure which of these adobe homes I'd choose. Probably one of the last two if I couldn't build my own. I can get free adobe textures and modify them to be any color I want. I have a lovely striped texture for the cloth awning. And yes, I'd paint them each a bit differently. No one wants to live in a cookie cutter, but I think a cozy adobe cottage by the sea would be a big hit.
Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba BatOni -- April 5, 2012
All of This Still Hurts to Write
This ought to be a happy time. Monday night on a lark, I installed the latest beta version of Viewer 3. I am in exile from Viewer 2/3 or rather I was due to the fact that my minimal video card did not play nice with mesh. That meant I was running Second Life on a third party viewer and on borrowed time. Sooner or later I thought they were going to move up the specs. It's easier than fixing the problem, just fix the user. That's a fairly standard remedy. Still, my landlord's designer had put in three mesh based houses and is trying to rent them out by the week. I hate the idea of prefabs. Any one can throw together a structure that will serve most of their needs so why buy one. The one you build will have fewer prims. Stop me now!
The prefabs were mesh and I saw how blind Iyoba and I both were. They seemed lovely and graceful and round, but it was hard to find the door. Iyoba had to camm in and sit on a couch and then just remember where the door was to leave. This was frustrating. I realized that Iyoba and I were being left behind. I also thought the latest Linden Labs viewer would crash. We went with the beta since betas tend to work a bit better on older machines. They just do.
I installed it, ran it, hit login and waited. It logged in, intialized world, did a few more things, loaded clothing and I thought: "just get this over with." I'd been through this before, more times than I could count and I knew how it would end, but this time, the viewer did not disappear! Iyoba was an egg and everything was grey. Her clothing was taking forever to rezz etc... but, I had a connection. I screamed out an epithet in shock and joy. Then Iyoba's clothing appeared, everything rezzed, and it works. It has a few weird glitches, mouse sensitivity, a borked translator, but we've both seen a lot worse.
As of late Monday night, Iyoba and I were no longer mesh blind, adn the first thing we did was to see our landlord's designer's new creations. They were not round or sleek. They were perfectly ordinary looking smokey grey prefabs with built in furniture. They were modern and had somewhat more ornate gables and porch steps and a round window and lots of gee-gaws. They feel a bit dark and cramped on the inside. They come with swimming pools which is pointness since with a bit of terraforming, an avie can swim in the canal. They don't have a bath tub or shower. Marco has even picked out the picture on the wall.
The taste in my mouth was disappointment. I had really hoped for something extraordinary. This wasn't it and no I'd never rent something like this, but if I were in the market for a house, I surely would not rent one like this. I'd go for something vernacular in style, clap board with way fewer than 337 prims and which takes up less space on the lot so I could garden or keep breedables. I'd also like a hand in selecting my own furniture or else want a spinning wheel and a braided rug or jute mat, soft colored distressed wood, or floral wall paper.
What is the point of using fancy technology to do more of the same thing? I asked myself that and then I wondered if these things would even sell? Part of me said they wouldn't. Most people who rent ready made, prefurnished homes will not rent them close to a club or a mall. They like the illusion of privacy. They are NOT new urbanists. Are there any new urbanists in Second Life besides me?
Worst of all, my landlord would like me to advertise these things. Maro, the designer/manager has me paying rent. That means I'd be working for free, and yes I'd be pitching a product that I would not touch with a ten foot pole on a bad day and a twenty foot pole on a good one. That's not fair! I don't even think it's doable!
Now all of you can ask what has happened to me. That is the fun part of the story. The last time I wrote about any of this, and I planned to do it last month, I talked endlessly about Lily Frogs and they are doing just fine. They have not retired and are still making two eggs a week. Thank you Dragoness Rage. Of course it was fine to write about a misspelled message on a Lily Frog egg. It's not so easy to write about losing a landlord and gaining another one.
Back in late January/early February Walter, my favorite landlord and my employer for whom I worked inworld for free land vanished. A piece of Iyoba's and my identity went with him. Edde, who co-owns the island took over. I made nervous inquiries, fearing everything I had would come home in a box. Edde asked me advertise land. He cleaned it up. He said he just wanted to monetize the island to break even. He has a huge store in which I never see any one but he could be selling a lot of stuff at the Marketplace web site. Anyway, he pays $300 a month for the island and he needs renters.
Three weeks ago, after enduring spam lists and sending out numerous announcements and putting my Second Life on hold we filled the island. One of the tenants were pigs with a security orb. They left. Then their neighbor and another tenant left. One of the tenants that left was a huge club that never had a dance party. I saw the place whch was a prefab and thought: "Epic Fail." Residential tentants are more stable.
Enter the mesh houses. Enter paying by the week. Enter Edde asking me to work for nothing. I think once he sets payment, I'm going to have to try and sell these things though I think they are just godawful. Now, that said, I don't have any idea what sells in Second Life. I could do some research. Even with out the resarch I could suggest Marco try three different kinds of houses. We have one blank 2048 so that would be the blank land. I remember my joke about cat tails. It's not really a joke. Cat tails and willow trees, a wetland motif, might be a nicer novelty that those ugly smokey grey mesh prefabs. I hope they are prefabs. I think Marco did "beautiful work" with less than beautiful results. If it were up to me, I'd use the oggie house or not-a-handsome house with moveable partitions inside so that owners could set up the layout themselves and move the furniture around. Now there would be a real novelty, and it would be low prim.
I wish someone at least took me seriously. I really don't want to be a paid Girl Friday. I guess that is one step above a peon. I'd rather be a rent paying tenant and work on my volunteer project for CVL. In the end I get real world prestige and recognition and supply a really valuable commodity, information. If Edde, Marco, and I had information on what sold, imagine how much better off all of us would be. I know we don't have it. I don't think any one does.
Eileen H. Kramer -- April 4, 2012