Tackling an Evening Star in Second Life

Playing with the Evening Star Linden Houseboat. Note the additional “window” towards the stern and the spiral stairs

My playing around with the Linden Home houseboats is something of a matter of record in this blog. I’ve previously written about the result of my fiddling with the Windless (see here and here), and the Barnacle (see here).  In all, I’ve come up with half-a-dozen different interior layouts for three of the available houseboat designs (including the Wallower).

But there is one I’ve tended to avoid: the Evening Star. There are several reasons for this: of all four designs, it perhaps has the smallest interior space (although this could be a toss-up with the Wallower); the use of ladders to reach the rooftop deck really doesn’t appeal (nor does the narrowness of the gap between the ladders and the lower deck railings).

The Evening Star interior can be divided into two and the upper skylight area converted into an upper “floor”

I’m also no fan of the way the majority of the windows are crowded towards one end, leaving the “skylight” area at the stern of the design to provide a glimpse of natural light. Even the skylight itself strikes me as a “wasted” (if possibly small) space, and like the Barnacle, the Evening Star has a curved wall that I’m not particularly fond of.

But, these are the things that niggled me: could something be done to overcome them? As it turned out, the answer is yes.

Despite its apparent small size, the raising ceiling area of the Evening Star can be converted into a reasonable bedroom, and a spiral staircase reduces the amount of floorspace a staircase might otherwise need

Take that skylight space, for example. Small it might be, but it only takes a few prims to create a suitable for on which a bedroom can be established. Further, said prims can be extended to provide a non-plank ceiling for the deck below, if needed, Add a suitable spiral staircase, and you have a compact way to get between the two “floors”.

The same design of spiral stairway (which I’ve previously used on one of my Windlass designs) solves the problem of avoiding the Evening Star’s ladders by adding a copy to the front of the houseboat, connecting the open upper deck space with the docks I slipped in at water level. A pair of Anywhere Doors (also used with the Windlass designs) solves the problem of accessing the upper deck from the bedroom.

The new “bedroom door” to the upper deck (a Curio Obscura Anywhere Door pairing) and a couple of additional prims to “fix” the truncated window.

One of handy things about these houseboat designs is that as unique as each of them might be, all of them naturally lend themselves to using similar components like this.

Take Blush Bravin’s Party Boat add-on, for example. Designed for the Barnacle, I’ve used elements with both the Windlass and the Wallower. And with the Evening Star, the “brick” panel allows me to overcome that curved wall at the rear of the lower deck, squaring things off nicely for the kitchen (a combination of items from [DDD] ~ Dysfunctionality and Trompe Loeil). The addition of a faux doorway against this wall adds the illusion of there being a bathroom at the back of the boat. The slatted room divider from Blush’s kit also allows me to split the lower deck into two without leaving it feeling totally closed off.

One of the faux windows showing the “blinds” drawn from the outside.

Even so, splitting things can leave the back of the boat feeling a little “dark”. So why not add a couple of faux windows? Just 4 LI apiece and with suitable internal / external textures, and that can be made to look (from the outside) as if the blinds are drawn, and from the inside, they offer “views” of the “sky”. OK, so the inner and outer appearances of the windows don’t actually match one another, nor do the “windows” actually admit light – but they do help give a sense of brightness to the back of the houseboat. A quick bit of scripting also means the “inside” sky images are automatically swapped with images of the drawn blinds during the local SL “night”, avoiding the “view” from them clashing with what can be seen outside!

Dividing the interior into two isn’t necessary, but for me, it makes things a little more cosy and offers distinct living spaces – lounge and kitchen / dining. However, given the sheer amount of glass at the front end of the Evening Star, it leaves a small problem of where to hang pictures. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to add a couple prim walls to block-in two of the windows – and these can run back toward the rear of the houseboat, covering both the wall panelling on the inside (which I mentioned I wasn’t too fond of) and the weird black semi-circle on the outer walls.

The Evening Star showing my mods (forward spiral stairs, upper side door to the new bedroom area, new side walls and “windows”), compared to the original look, inset.

I think it fair to say the Evening Star  – like the Wallower – surprised me. What at first seemed to be a potentially awkward living space with limited options, is actually pretty flexible and capable of being modified in a fairly low land impact: 82 LI including all the ceiling, walls, lighting, pictures, kitchen, kitchen fixings and docks for my boats and planes (of course, a custom vehicle rezzer for the latter finished things off 🙂 ).

I continue to be impressed with these Linden Homes and the sheer flexibility they can offer. Put it this way, I now have a different houseboat for each day of the week 🙂 .