Linden Homes came about some time after I’d given up my original Premium account and when they first arrived, I wasn’t overly impressed. I found some of the regions unimaginative, and most of them rather crowded. However, as I’m back on Premium, I thought I might as well exercise my option of having one, if only to see what the process is like.
For those unfamiliar with Linden Homes, and to save repeating things here:
- You can find essential information in the knowledge base
- There is also a more extensive FAQ
- Information on the houses themselves can be found in the Linden Home Reference Guide
- Finally, you can view the Linden Home covenant on-line.
So…what’s it all like?
Before You Start
Before leaping-in and selecting a Linden Home, it is worthwhile preparing the ground:
- Read through the links above – especially the knowledge base article, the FAQ and the Linden Home Reference Guide
- Visit the themed regions before you decide on which theme / style to go for – first hand experience outweighs leaping in blind and then finding you’d rather be elsewhere. Get a feel for the look of each theme and a taste of how the regions perform on your computer; view the various styles first-hand (while respecting people’s privacy!). You can reach the themed estates via their info hubs:
- Meadowbrook Infohub – modern look apartment-style units, minimal landscaping
- Tahoe Infohub – A-frame houses in a more rural setting
- Elderglen Infohub – fantasy environment with a strong lean towards Tolkien
- Shareta Osumai Infohub – Japanese theme
Once you are suitably informed and have an idea of the theme you’d like, hop over to the Registration Page to select your preferred home theme / style.
The main registration page is in two parts: on the left is a drop-down list for the various themes, with previews of the available styles shown below it. Click on a given preview image, and it is displayed in a larger size on the right of the page, together with further images you can flick through.
Again, some points to bear in mind:
- As stated above, it’s worth seeing the various themes in situ, rather than relying on the images along, if you’ve not already done so
- Not all the styles for a theme may be displayed (for example, Meadowbrook has 9 styles, but it appears rare for more than four or five to be displayed in the registration page at any one time)
- If the style of house you’re seeking isn’t displayed, try reloading the page a few times – this can cause the listings to update
- If the style you want still doesn’t appear, leave the page a while and come back to it.
Once you have selected your preferred style, enter a name for it and click NEXT. A confirmatory page is displayed, outlining your choice, with the nine covenant rules relating to the use of a Linden Home. You need to tick the check box relating to these rules and click the ACCEPT button in order for your order to be processed, or if you have a change of heart, you can go back and changed things before accepting.
The order processing takes a couple of minutes to complete, after which a final page is displayed, listing the region in which your house is located, together with a SLurl, together with assorted additional links intended to help you get started with your new home. An e-mail containing this information is also sent to you as additional confirmation.
And that’s it! All that remains is to log-in to SL (if you’re not already) and go see your house!
So, What did I Get?
In the end and after careful explorations, I opted for the Tahoe theme purely on the basis of performance; I found this theme to be the least laggy for my PC. Firestorm also handled it somewhat better than the other theme regions, where I’d invariably crash after about 15 minutes of moving around – a novel experience for me when using Firestorm. Viewer 3 did tend to manage things better – but with appallingly low frame rates.
My specific choice of Tahoe house was the Aspen (my thanks to @SecondLife on Twitter for getting Aspen actually back onto the registration page options!). This, to me, offers the greatest flexibility for customisation.
Linden Homes can be customised in terms of textures and appearance via the web-based house control / configuration options. These present the textures specific to your house style and make applying them very easy. If you want, you can also load the texture sets for other house styles in the theme and try those out.
For the intrepid of mind, there are also texture packs available from the local info hubs that allow you to use the textures common to your house theme to make any additions of your own more readily match your chosen decor.
For my Aspen, I opted to understake a minor make-over, adding an additional vertical interior wall, net curtains on the end windows for add privacy without having to shutter the windows entirely, and a galleried bedroom loft. This claimed a total of 16 prims from my allowance of 117.
To get a feel for the place once furnished, I “borrowed” my PrimPossible furniture and added a few of my own. These gave me a comfortable home, complete with piano, pictures, some lighting of my own and a potted plant, all for a grand total of 23 prims.
The process for obtaining a house is well-designed and easy to follow; the only potential issue being the fact that all the styles for a given theme may not always be available. Patience tends to win out when this does happen – most styles eventually turn up over the course of a day or two.
There’s nothing particularly eye-catching in the Linden Homes; build quality is good, but not especially outstanding; texturing is kept to 512×512 for better loading, so can appear a little blurry and flat when seen up-close. Houses with upper floors tend to have ye olde ramp rather than stairs of any description, which gives them a very dated feel. As they are intended as a “first step” on the property ladder in SL, much of this is possibly deliberate to encourage people to move on to bigger and better. So the best way of describing the Linden Homes is “workman-like”.
One point worthy of mention is that given the way houses are crammed together in some of the themes, it’s probably worthwhile invoking parcel privacy (if your Viewer supports it). This prevents your own chat being overheard from outside, and protects you from overhearing others.
As for the house I now have – well, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. It’s no substitute for my “real” SL home, true enough. But on the other hand, now it’s sorted out, it’s not actually too bad. I also like the idea of having a little pied-à-terre I can use on occasion, so I might hang on to it for a little while!