Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sustainable Second Life Living

So this post is going to be a slight deviation from the norm, since it's not so much about places and outfits as your own place and what you can do with it. To me, a great deal of what to do on Second Life isn't just to do with shopping or stepping about willy-nilly, but also creating my own virtual space to relax in. Sometimes you just want to invite people over, after all, or have a nice place to hang out and talk that's completely your own. So today I'm going to talk about having your own place on Second Life: or in specific, my place. That's right, welcome to Shamera's skybox.

This place is, basically, a one room studio apartment on land that a friend was kind enough to spare for me (knowing my obsession with having a place of my own). She has the generic 117prim land that comes with SL premium members on the mainland, and has a tiny place of her own down on the ground for a landing area and changing station.  The rest, as it goes, ended up being my own little playpen.

To start off with, let's talk prims and land impact and just how much space you can play with. If you're willing to pay the big bucks... well, you're probably on an island somewhere with your own castle or manor hosting grand parties and leasing out places. But if you're trying to find a nice place with just enough space and prim allowance for you to not look like a college student who just moved out... well, sometimes it's a fine line. Just how much space do you need in order to make a virtual space look like a space you'd actually want to be in?

That all depends on your preferences. On my part, I like a place to look -- cluttered. Lived in. That makes it hard because I used to rent areas in the game, and I never wanted to pay for more than 200prims of space, since that would be $200l a week or more (and that certainly adds up!). Of course, years and years ago, this amounted to very little prim space so I would make do with basic furniture, some rugs, and some paintings on the wall. All in all, still a decent living space in my mind. Nowadays, though, I find myself much more picky with the improvement of graphics and mesh have taking the majority of the market in furniture designs. Suddenly, instead of one circle being one prim, you can have an entire bed with multiple pillows, shapes, contours, nicely carved wooden posts, blankets, and shelves underneath amount to 6 land impact. (1 prim = 1 land impact, but mesh aren't actually prims, so they count by land impact.)

Not only were they much more beautiful graphics-wise, containing better details and allowing for better textures, but it manages to condense the land impact enough that suddenly people could fit a lot more items in a smaller space. Suddenly, I could rent a place with 50 prims and actually have a decent room! Of course, without the clutter, but I'd be able to fit all the basic furniture.

Let's not to say that owning a home in Second Life isn't an investment. There's not only rent but picking out furniture and what you'd have lying around as well. I have a very large inventory under my 'Homes' folder, ranging from folders of collected and bought houses, skyboxes, outdoor items, and then furniture all according to what rooms they would belong in. I regularly visit major gachas and interior decor stores for sales. I comb through Collab88, Fifty Linden Fridays, Neighborhood, etc... It's a lot of collecting.

In the end, it's always worth it to me. Clutter and personalized touches are what I do best: pictures everywhere, typewriters, video games spread around, books and papers scattered all over the ground... I feel very at home in my tiny skybox. While most people only have a bedroom and perhaps a living room for entertaining guests, I managed to convert this one room studio skybox into something I felt more fitting with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, living area, and even a spot for sewing (as I actually have half the living room in my real life home carved out for a sewing room). Some areas are cluttered and cramped, while others are spacious and allow for interaction (such as the kitchen and living area).

This allows for people to come over and chat as well as dine, just like friends would in real life. Pretty neat, huh? I also liked the idea of mismatched furniture -- if I'm to have a tiny studio apartment, the common consensus would probably be that I won't have enough for too much high-brow furniture. Yes, I might have bought the entire set on Second Life, but the mismatch is what makes it fun... not to mention, a lot of my mismatched furnitures when up free since they might be from hunts or gifts.

Everything I have in this skybox, including the skybox itself, comes down to 87 land impact. That includes every detail -- the rice cooker, the drumsticks in the shelf, the video games, the record player, the books and bottles on the ground... everything. Five years ago, 100 prim limit wouldn't have gotten you any details at all... maybe some couches and a bed, maybe a table with some chairs if you're sparing with the prims on those pieces of furniture. But that was before the days of sculpies, and before the days of mesh.

Now we're a bit spoiled, and finding your dream home on Second Life won't cost you an arm and a leg on prim space, which makes things nice and sustainable. Want to have your own farm? Easy enough. Your own tavern? That's a piece of cake! Perhaps an apartment complex, or a cafe? You might need a bit more than just 117LI of space for that, but I can guarantee that you can definitely do so now much easier than it would have been five years ago.

Look at your prim allowance. If you're renting like I usually did, then think about how much you want to spend per week on your own space. Is what you're willing to spend going to afford you 100LI of space? 200? Or maybe just 50? I've done 50 many, many times and it's usually worked out just fine. Now look at how much you're willing to spend on mesh furniture... they don't come cheap, but it's going to be worth it in the end for all the land space that you save week after week. Maybe all you need, like my friend, is a small and private space for changing and winding down. Maybe you'd like to have people over all the time. Maybe you just want your own place to call your own. Either way, it's all possible on Second Life. Your dream home really is waiting for you to build it.

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