On Wednesday July 9th, Linden Lab announced forthcoming changes to their Skill Gaming policy, which were due to come into force as from Friday August 1st, 2014. They would bring with them stricter control enforced over the operation of games of skill in Second Life, and see the introduction of a new region type – The Skill Gaming Region – which will only be accessible to those Second Life users who are of sufficient age and are located in a jurisdiction that Linden Lab permits for this kind of online gaming activity.
However, on Tuesday July 29th, 2014, the Lab issued a blog post stating that the new Skill Gaming policy will not now take effect until Monday September 1st, 2014, pointing to the number of applications received as being the reason for the delay.
The update on the introduction of the revisions to Skill Gaming in Second Life reads in full:
As we recently blogged, we have a new policy for Skill Gaming in Second Life. In short, skill games that offer Linden Dollar payouts will be allowed in Second Life, but each game, its creator, its operator, and the region on which it’s operated must be approved by Linden Lab.
Today, we are changing the date that the changes described in our previous blog post go into effect. Instead of starting on August 1, the updated Skill Gaming Policy will go into effect on September 1, 2014. The original blog post and the FAQs will also be updated to reflect this new deadline.
Since our original announcement, we’ve received many applications from Second Life users who want to become approved skill game creators and operators. By moving the date back, we’ll be able to process a larger number of applications and also offer creators more time to make necessary changes to their games.
If you would like to apply to become an approved skill games creator and/or operator, you can do so through Echosign.
Infrastructure support for the new Skill Gaming regions has already been deployed to the main grid as a part of the server deployments of weeks 28 and 29.
Seeing Liara’s materials-enabled build of Le Botanique made me realise that, push comes to shove, I’ve not been entirely satisfied with the current layout of my little corner of Second Life I call home since the last time I messed around with it. In particular, I’ve had a feeling for quite a while that the garden lacks something.
While I didn’t want to try to emulate Liara’s work – I’m under no illusions that my creative skills could ever extend that far – there is no denying that the layout of Le Botanique went a fair way in inspiring me to re-vamp my parcel (well, as much as the need to keep with the overall theme of the estate would allow!).
The first thing I wanted to do was re-arrange the house so that it made better use of the land. While I’ve always liked the stepped design of the place, the fact is that on so small a parcel it leaves a reasonable chunk of land going to waste behind the lounge area, and which is really only good for plonking down a tree, as anything else would be all but obscured. Fortunately, due to the modular approach I’d taken to designing the house, updating it only required a couple of minutes. All I had to do was slide the lounge back behind the bedroom, remove a pillar and two wooden sections, and then lengthen a wall. Simples.
Next came a shameless bout of “borrowing” from Liara in the form of sitting the house on its own little “island” bounded on two sides by water and the other two by the wall along the parcel boundaries.
This allowed for the splitting of the huge terrace which lay to the front of the house (and which saw little use anyway), so I can have a smaller, more functional terrace acting as a jetty for boats, linked to the house by a wooden bridge. On the west side of the house, in another shameless bout of borrowing from Liara, three stepping-stones offer the means to cross the water and reach the revamped garden.
These stepping-stones lead directly to my Piano Terrace which, oddly enough given the name, is the new home for my faithful piano. This sits under a wood lattice supported by four stout beams hung with lanterns, sharing the space with a patio seat, a set of wrought iron chairs and a table offering a place to play backgammon (a game I very much enjoy in the physical world, alongside carrom, which I started playing as a result of our many visits to Sri Lanka), and a large mesh fireplace (my apologies to Cory Edo for tearing apart a copy of her lovely mesh Rustic Pavilion in order to create this!).
Beyond the walls surrounding the terrace is the rest of the garden, a mix of flowerbeds, wild flowers, shrubs and ferns, through which a couple of grassy paths wind. One of these links the terrace to the wooden helipad (no home should ever be without a helipad and helicopter!), and the other linking the helipad to the jetty. Lilies and cattails help finish things up, floating on the water around the house and hugging it edge.
I’m not going to pretend the finished result comes anywhere near Le Botanique in terms of beauty or appearance; that really isn’t my intent. But as something which has more of a natural look as feel to it, and which (to me at least) looks a far more inviting environment in which my little collection of Morgan Garret’s marvellous birds seem more at home, I’m pretty happy with the “finished” look. Because helicopter blades and trees tend not to get on together very well, I perhaps haven’t added quite as many trees as might otherwise have been the case, but I’ve included enough to provide some shade over and around the house and close to the piano terrace.
The land capacity for the parcel is 800, of which I’ve used 635 – 159 of which belong to the boat and helicopter. Take these out along with the helipad (5 LI), and there’s obviously a lot more scope for flora to be added should I want to go further (no spinning rotors to worry about for a start!). As it is, mesh and the use of convex hull helped keep down the overall LI, and as two of the great pleasures of living on Blake Sea is the amount of space it offers for boating and flying, I’d rather have the boat and helicopter in-world than garaged in inventory awaiting use; so I’m reasonably happy with things as they are for now.
Which is not to say I won’t still be fiddling with things this time next week!