Sunday, 15 June 2014

Dappling and Duplo

To become a celebrity in SL, you either need to be a blogger or a builder. In this virtual sandbox world, builders are deities and the bloggers are their prophets, sent among us to spread the newly-created word. I myself am a designated prophet of the shop MetaTheodora, and I prophestitute myself to spread the word of the work of builder sian who owns it (as you can see here - here! and here - here!). 

It makes sense. SL is set up much the same way as the first life in that everything you consume, so to speak, has been created by SL users - except for a handful of Linden-build homes, which I suppose are akin to council estates. Perhaps the deification of RL builders will happen when the Govt and the Environmentalists go to war against each other and it's left up to the architects, the brick-layers and the interior designs to make miracle houses that can spring up out of nothing.

When it comes to building in SL, I am what a five year old with a box of Duplo is to Christopher Wren. Nothing gives me a headache faster than attempting to align prims in SL using a grid that I swear to the builder-gods is wonky. People build some stunningly intricate things for Second Life, and I am still working out how to move boxes around.
For non-SLers: this is a humble prim in it's original state. All building done in-world originates from simple polygons like this that are then resized, hollowed out, twisted and distorted and textured however you please. Most SL builders use outside programmes like Blender to design and create things and then import them into SL. I am NOWHERE NEAR being at that level. Everything I make starts out as a virtual plywood cube or cylinder. Everything.
 Thing is, though, that I like my boxes. I like (for the first five minutes, anyway) building my own virtual home, and my latest attempt is, I think, by far my best and so I wanted to show it to you. If you click the "building" tag that will appear at the bottom of this post, you can take a look back through my various building attempts as logged here and judge for yourself whether or not I'm getting any better.

Here it is, floating in the sky - which, maybe, will be where we all live just as soon as we invent a RL teleport to match SL's teleport - my handmade virtual home:

View from the top
View from one corner -
- and the opposite corner
Obviously, I didn't build any of the furniture or the lights. I had help from my friend Osh with the roof, but it's been heavily edited since then, so please don't blame her for any shoddy alignment. The rooves, walls, windows, floors, skirting boards and floating rings were all created painfully by me. The textures are ones I downloaded from Google Images and uploaded to SL, purely to decorate my home. The courtyard area floor texture was given to me by Ruina - thank you Ruina :)

View into the courtyard
Steamy hottub
I wanted to make something beautiful that took into account my (lacking) skill level but also challenged me a little. I love to play with light, and building a home in which the main feature would be the light and shadows made me happy - so that's what I did. 
I used a windlight setting I had made myself to shoot these photos, but I built the skybox with the regional light settings in mind (that is, the default day-light cycle). I usually leave the default settings on, turn shadows on, and let the virtual Sun creep across the virtual sky and play with the windows and the roof. The different effects the regional light settings alone create are complex and beautiful. 

I love windows. Can you tell?
Somewhere to sit
If I can't be a god of building, perhaps I'll be a god of shadows, and all that is dappled shall be my dominion.

Everything in this image has been built by somebody, just the same as I built the skybox. Compare my skybox to my avatar's hair, her clothes, the chair she's sitting on, her eyes, and the little lambicorn floating next to her. Like I said, five year old with Duplo to Christopher Wren.


  1. I absolutely love the shadows the house creates. Great work!


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