Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For the past few days I've been laboring over a tiny little model of the island. After poring over as much concept art and photos of landscapes and interesting architecture as I could get my hands on, I started sketching out a basic plan. Planning is something new and odd for me, as my masks and designs don't tend to have any more design steps than sketch->sculpt. Yet, that's currently what bothers me most about my island home, is that there was no planning involved and no forethought at all. I'm trying very hard to reign in the urges to wipe a spot clear and start building the new design, because I know as I keep working on the model, new problems and new ideas are going to spring up.

The model is just adorable though, seriously. Tiny little trees, tiny little columns, tiny little paths and tiny little views. The wonderful thing about planning out the sim in prims is being able to actually move my camera down into it, and see exactly how a view will be from any given spot. Right now I'm playing with the pallet of colors and textures, but here is my plan so far:

The basic layout, clockwise from the top left: my store (temple), market, fairy grove (alternate event area), towers (homes), old courtyard (fishing area and sandbox) bonzai island (my sandbox), and out on its own grand little cliff is the event hall.

There are still little bits of wood in there, because obviously it's not finished. I have grander plans for the columns and architectural details, but this is just an idea of the style and size of each structure.

That border around the upper part of the island is going to be a huge stone wall, like a levee, which is just going to drop off to a sheer cliff. I especially like the enclosed, cozy feeling a very large island can get when it's walled in, considering that an open island can feel a bit vulnerable. I also like the excuse for a slope, without a mountain.

This is by no means a surefire "the island will look like this" plan, but so far I managed to cram in a lot of fun stuff and I've accomplished most of the goals that I wanted from it. Feel free to offer feedback and suggestions on things you want to make sure I don't miss :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ack, ok.

Well, my brain is like a badly trained terrier. When it grabs hold of something it will rip and tear at it despite possible harm to itself. Until something else shows up to grab and tear at.

So yes, I put a lot of work into the tree houses. A lot of work into the island. A lot of work into my event hall and my current store building. And guess what I can't let go of? I want to tear it all down.

Ok before you get scared that what you love will be gone forever... take a moment to breath and have faith that whatever I do make will still have my aesthetic. It will still have the same feel and the same mood, and the same peace about it. I intend to keep the same pallet and feel of golden stone and forests, but I intend to make it a bit more overgrown and more integrated.

What bothers me now is that most of the island was designed when I only had half of it, and despite my efforts, it still feels divided. It doesn't feel cohesive. It doesn't use the land efficiently and there's a lot of wasted space. Meanwhile, again, my abilities have improved and I have more landscaping tools at my disposal. My goal is to finally have a unifying theme that will work for all of the buildings that I need. My main store, event hall, homes, and limited commercial rentals, all need to work together with my pretty spots and a fishing area.

I've been looking at a lot of concept art, and I've decided even though more extreme things (like an elven swamp, or an underwater Atlantis) seem like a lot of fun, and I could certainly make them, they're impractical and this needs to be something I could live happily with for more than a year.

So I asked myself a question. Would you guys want to move in to the treehouse for two months, to have the sim be rebuilt during January, or just wait until you see the final product?

I've wanted to change the sim ever since I first had it transferred to my name, but without time or planning I threw something together so I wouldn't just have empty space. My brain tends to be so devoid of architecture and landscaping, I couldn't do it without heavy inspiration, planning and forethought. I built the tree houses because I was so sure I would not be able to handle tier on my own... but as I worked on them, my ears and pirate sets carried me through and I realized I could handle it. I break even on my expenses vs income from SL, but in the tough times to come I have the urge to start making enough profit to start saving, and for that I need rentals. I've been blessed with this time to be able to start serious planning, and to build floor plans and models and pieces ready for setting up through January.

As for the Christmas season, I'll be putting out my christmas coats and hats again, and I'll be finishing up a few random projects just to keep releases coming. I hope you guys aren't too worried about the island, really it'll be for the better.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm sure you've gotten used to my sort of patterns of a flurry of activity, followed by a long silence.

In that long silence, I'm dickying around and doing absolutely nothing productive, which is why I am silent, so that you don't hear about how proud of my Guild Wars character I am or how I ate mashed potatoes (mmm potaters). But I feel I do need to post about a few things.

Nyx Linden has started a regular office hour on Wednesdays at 12pm SLT, at his place in Borrowdale (I'll post a slurl when I get a chance). The focus is completely on content creation, and tools and suggestions that would make owning a business easier. Things like per pixel shading, mesh import, inventory controls or permissions systems are high on the list of discussion topics, so if you have anything you'd like to see in regards to content creation, maybe you should swing by next week :)

Also, there was some news about open spaces recently. For folks who don't really know, Openspace sims were introduced some time in April as an alternative sim for people who couldn't afford a full region at $1000 and $295 a month. They sold like delicious home made pancakes in an Amsterdam kafe and now, half a year later, LL decided to raise the price on them to a point hardly anyone could afford. Despite some haggling and some "compromises" they're pretty much still going through with the price hike. With this current bad news and with the knowledge a few of my friends and loyal regulars might soon be SL homeless, I've decided to open the tree houses to inquiries about rentals.

After being able to support myself on the sim this long, I've decided to go a little easier on the prices. The looming recession we're about the enter into had a little to do with it as well. As I've mentioned before I'm going to have both lofts and full apartments, and the difference will be size and prim allotments, and of course price.

I haven't figured out anything solid yet, but I'll get back to you when I have the actual numbers. You can start contacting me in world though, if you know for sure you want a spot. If you're still not sure until you actually see the prices, then don't worry, my next post should be a more detailed description with pictures of what you'll be getting.