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Author: xeriko

Xeriko enjoys exploring and landscaping in SL, and welcomes a nice chat anytime.

Trompe Loeil's Treehouse

Transformed

A thousand times. That’s the number of times you’ve seen Trompe Loeil‘s Treehouse Cottage since its release at Collabor88 a couple of weeks ago. But did you know that with a few modifications it turns into a nice beach house? I was afraid the fierce coastal winds would blow the upper level away, so I shrank it quite a bit to avoid disaster.

trompe loeil's Treehouse

The structure also went down from 100 LI to 41 LI and still has plenty of interior space to decorate. I haven’t done that yet, giving extra time to decide if I’m keeping this beach or head back to the swamp. I’m really liking this pre-Summer escape, though, thanks to the way the green mix with the sand (it’s a less boring ground texture that way).

Palm Shack

All other mesh elements –palms, rocks, papaya tree, lifeguard tower, and beach shower– are from Tiki Tattoo. The list also includes this pretty palm shack, but excludes Real Waves‘ reef (that one, you have seen before).

From the door way.

And now, to wait for Summer to arrive…

the end of the road

Kitty-cat at the End of the World

The recent trend in SL-related discussions is: what can be done to save the world, something like that. Most people fear that if SL keeps losing sims at the current rate, the end of the virtual world will come soon, not because we would face a land shortage of course, but because since LL bases its income on a land sales model, they won’t earn enough funds to keep it going. Lots of possible solutions are been suggested in all available forums, but as tradition dictates, nothing is heard from the Lab itself. Suggestions include lowering tier costs ASAP (as a way to quickly stimulate land acquisition and holding), requiring land to sell products in the marketplace (because it has become a process of output without input, of cashing out from SL without contributing to its maintenance in any way), charging X amount for inventory storage capacity (in my humble opinion, a stupid idea that doesn’t guarantee user retention at all, though imposing a fair inventory limit for free accounts sounds logical from a premium vs. basic perspective), etc., etc.

Obviously, LL needs money to operate its virtual realm, and the only way to accomplish that is to keep the world populated, that’s all I understand. What to change  or do to make it so is beyond my comprehension (meaning I don’t have time to ponder about that right now), but I would think the first measures to address should consider long-time residents’ requests, premium and non-premium alike, because we are the most likely users to return again and again, as we have done over the years –after all, our RL cash powers SL. Of course new blood needs are equally necessary, firstly as a way to bring in new revenue, and secondly to avoid fossilization.

The frequency of these doomsday talks today speaks of apocalypse, but how real or imminent that omen is basically depends on personal experience. As long as you don’t face the effects of this reality, you might think people are overacting, but when it knocks on your door you begin to wonder if it’s time to pack and fly away.

So it happened last night that after reading a few blogs, some of which presented posts related to this topic, I logged in as I do every other day. As usual, there were several IMs and note cards waiting for me.  One of them was particularly unexpected: It was from the Lionheart Estate team, the place I’ve been living in for the past two months. What did I do?, was my first thought. My rent wasn’t due yet, so there was no reason to get a reminder (their “rent-o-matic” system doesn’t send out reminders anyway, you have them right outside your porch when the time comes). I left no litter above or around my property, so I shouldn’t expect a warning of that kind either. I always try to be a good neighbor, so people living next to me shouldn’t have anything to complain about. It was none of those: it was actually some sort of eviction note. “Dear Xeriko,” it began, “Your Sim, Lionheart Rafiki, is scheduled to be closed on February 1st, 2013.”

Lionheart Estate is a relatively small region extending, on its current state, 19 full sims only. It will go down two sims in a week, and as the estate owner explains in the note card, he can’t discard more sim closings in the future: if they become unprofitable, they have to go. Both sims disappearing right now are classified as commercial land, if that gives you any clue.

It is actually this kind of small project the ones experiencing the effects of LL and SL struggling economy the most. I even wonder, is LL really aware of what’s happening in its own land? Is it looking away? Is this part of some plan? Do LL even care?

For me, it would be important to hear from LL what it thinks of all the ideas floating around about the SL future, and people’s suggestions on how to change direction and help the economy as well. LL needs to listen to old residents because that’s the hardcore crowd that has made what SL is today. LL desperately needs to listen to newcomers if it expects to attract and keep most of them. All I know is that the remedies should come fast or tomorrow will never come.

Lionheart house 001

Rethinking the lion (from within a Bamboo refuge)

About a year ago I began to write a blog post –that never got completed and was put into the trash can, where it still is I guess– about how alienating living in a stand-alone sim and then faking mountains around your property to stand up for less aggressive privacy lines was turning to be. I stopped writing it because that’s what most people look for, it seems, or those big pseudo-estates with hundreds of sims dully distributed in giant waffle-like expanses wouldn’t be so successful. I prefer to have neighbors –good ones, let me be specific– and having sims to walk through and see what other sentient beings like to create and call their own. Yes I know you can TP anywhere and all, but adjoining sims offer another kind of experience; even the interaction with people living in them is more vivid and rich. Or that’s the way I see it, at least.

Lionheart main building

So that’s why I moved to Lionheart Estate, searching for that sense of community… and then you know that it kind of went the wrong way. I am persistent, though, so I got back to my little plot in there to try and do something… enjoyable for the rest of the time remaining on the tier meter. Thanks to a quick New Year’s snow melting process (or should I call it sublimation), the readaptation was gratifying, to the point that I may be giving the estate another, more durable, chance.

First, there’s no landscaping involved in this new setting. That’s why I don’t like pre-fabricated –a.k.a. themed– regions that much, because they generally restrict what you can do with the land. Lionheart is not a themed region per se, but as to secure the consistency and well being of the estate and its residents (what Mainland have never had nor done, and so why it’s such a large obnoxious patchwork) strict rules have been put into place. But that’s ok; it actually becomes a challenge: to see what you can do within what is permissible. Second, this is a more… contemporary look, unlike anything I’ve done before, so it was refreshing. Third, I tried not to disrupt my immediate neighbor, building up walls around the yard to keep that which my eyes don’t appreciate away from sight; I solved that “issue” using some nice bamboo to function as natural “privacy screens”. Maybe that’s the antidote to remedy Mainland’s suffering: to enforce bamboo plantations between limits, lol.

{ Items } I’ve already given slurls for some of these items in recent posts, so I’m listing those that haven’t gotten any mention yet. Nature & Garden: 3D Trees, Bamboo. Buddhabeats, Bamboo 2011. XED Design, Dracaena in terracota pot, Snake plant (garden). Culprit, Lotus (from Lotus barrel). Ossanha Gardens, Stepping stones (that link is to the Marketplace because I don’t know if the sim is still there; saw it as on sale as of this writing). Organica, Stepping stones (mossy). Landscaping by Felix, Rock (from one of his prefab landscape sets). nonino, Chouzu-bachi. || Architecture: Breno, Mars (Sunny). drobak, Hako house (this one may not be available anymore; this little cube house dates back from 2009, and I think I got it from a lucky board as well). || Furniture: One Grid, Wall tree with lamp, Deco birds. Bazar, Privacy screen & Entrance rug (from Arizona set). Cheeky Pea, Rue Abel loveseat.  MudHoney, Meredith chair. LISP, Anna prints. what next, Flyaway wall art (Dandelions & Birds). Tatty Soup, Tall lily vase. POST, Votive (candles) & Tivoli birdbath (modded). ililo, Eiffel slat table. Art Dummy, Idle (pompom flowers and vase). floorplan, Pallet couch (available at FaMeshed right now, that’s the slurl to the event, not the main store). MMGraffiti’s, Wall decoration – Picture frames (blue). PILOT, Larkin set vase. GiornoBrando [GB], Nodategasa (red).

Backyard in Lionheart house

So I’m staying in Lionheart a little bit more, and won’t rush payments anymore and go a week at a time. Now, if only those big signs of an expiration notice weren’t so intruding…