An Alpine touch for Linden Homes in Second Life – updated

The new Linden Homes theme on preview at the SL Christmas Expo 2020

On Friday, December 4th, Linden Lab unveiled the next Linden Homes theme which – I assume – will follow along behind the much anticipated Stilt homes, and this time the Lab has followed popular request, and turned their attention to home styles from outside the continental United States, going for what is a decidedly Alpine feel.

I’m particularly pleased to see the move, as when reviewing the Stilt Homes I made mention that it would be nice to see the Lab cast their net of house designs a little further across the globe, and also made mention of European designs in the forums (not that I’m saying this selection of homes has anything to do with that comment – I was far from alone in making it, and I’m pretty sure Patch and the team has picked up on requests for European style homes long before I put fingers to keyboard on the subject).

The Alpenrose style of Linden Home
As with past themes, this preview  – I’m unsure of the official title, so I’m just going with “Alpine” – comprises four house layouts, whilst the default exterior finish displayed at the preview is such that you might just get away with calling them “mock Tudor”, allowing them to be seen as a more English village style of home.

The four type of house – referred to as “chalets” are:

  • Matterhorn: 2 large ground floor rooms, linked by a rear hallway with back door, and a central front hallway / reception area with stairs to the upper floor. This has two large rooms, one with gabled windows to the front and rear, the other with large windows to one side aspect.
  • Alpenrose: a two-storey house with offset front entrance with vestibule, three ground floor room, one with a side door to the garden. Stairs from the entrance hall provide access to three upstairs rooms, each with windows to a side aspect and either the front or rear.
  • Reizend: a single-storey cottage-style chalet with front porch opening directly into one of them, with doorways serving the other three rooms, one of which has a side door to the garden.
  • Edelweiss: a two-storey house with front entrance to one side serving the stairs to the upper floor and giving access to the single open-plan ground floor room, which also includes a side door to the garden. A landing upstairs provides access to two bedrooms, each with widows to a front or rear aspect, and to the side aspects of the house.
Edelweiss style of Linden Home

All four designs are presented in a wooden frame with white stucco exteriors walls finish (hence the mock Tudor comment above), topped by tile roofs. Each has window boxes with some of the windows and planters on porches, all of which I assume are part of the final designs.

Whilst all four house designs are well in keeping with the name of one – reizend (“charming”) – the names of the remaining three strongly evoke visions of snowy mountains, deep valleys and little villages of houses huddled on slopes. However, here that are presented in a flat landscape that, with the large windmill at the centre and the roads / red-bricked footpaths (sidewalks), seems to suggest The Netherlands.

The Reizend style of Linden Home

This actually  – to me and those I mentioned it to – actually put the houses at odds with their setting; whilst throwing up mountains and glacial valleys isn’t a practical proposition, these are still designs that would benefit from being within a  more undulating setting, allowing them to be grouped together more to give something of a village feel rather than just setting in what feels like an urban tract. Obviously, space is limited within a single preview region – but I would hope that when made available, these are houses that are placed within an environment that more imaginatively meets their largely Alpine names.

At the time of writing this piece, I am unaware of any release date for this new theme, particularly given we’re still awaiting the roll-out of the Stilt homes, so the best place to look for updates on both this theme and the Stilt homes is likely to be Patch Linden’s Linden Homes Update thread.

The Matterhorn style of Linden Home

Following this article, Patch dropped me a line with some further information on  the preview that had not be made available through the Destination Guide:

They are known as fachwerkhaus. Tudor is close, but fachwerkhaus is specifically what they are prototyped after, and we took our inspiration from a local village near where I live known as the Alpine Village of Helen Georgia (in the northeast Georgia Mountains). This made it convenient to gather RL imagery along with having some German and Dutch based Moles on the team helped greatly too. Hills, mountains, valleys and such as backdrops to come.
Oh, and there’s 8 floor plans, 4 were featured today, the other 4 are “open concept” floor plans of the same homes.

So there you have it folks!

SLurl for Preview

Note this will only be available while the SL Christmas Expo is running

A Chocolate Factory in Second Life

Chocolate Factory, December 2020 – click any image for full size

Justice Vought, co-owner of the excellent :Oxygen: (see: Getting some :oxygen: in Second Life), and who earlier in 2020 lightened hearts with his homage to Second Life’s famous Greenies (see: Once upon a (Greenie) time in Second Life) sent an invitation to Caitlyn and I to visit his latest creation, an it is once again a setting that is likely to bring a smile to many faces with its sense of fun and interaction.

To put it in a nutshell (which will undoubtedly be assessed by squirrels…) Chocolate Factory pays homage to 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, and 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp and Freddie Highmore and, most broadly, to Roald Dahl’s timeless story.

Chocolate Factory, December 2020

It does so by presenting visitors with a tour of the legendary chocolate factory (golden tickets available, but actually entirely optional), which takes you from the gates to the factory through its various rooms and assorted places, and back to the the landing point. Along the way, there are rides, things to do and try, and vignettes that pay homage to both films, with perhaps a lean more towards the Gene Wilder version, all of which should be visited with local sounds enabled (the starting point also recommends the audio stream be on, but this isn’t strictly necessary).

The starting point is a little town square where sits a shop in which you can try your hand in obtaining a golden ticket via a L$1-a-go gacha machine. For once the gods of SL fortune were with me, as I got one first go, although Caitlyn received a Wonka chocolate bar she could nibble on while we explored. From here, visitors (with or without a golden ticket) can pass through the warning sign and follow the road towards the factory – reached via a short tunnel – which also offers a chance to pop into Charlie’s house along the way. Once at the factory, visitors should proceed through the gates and into the factory to Wonka’s office, where an Anywhere Door will start them on their adventure.

Chocolate Factory, December 2020

The Anywhere door is the first of the teleports that carry visitors through a series of rooms / locations representative of elements from the story, including a blueberry / bubble room, the squirrel room (where the aforementioned nut assessments take place), the TV room, and so on. These are visited in a certain order (but at the end of the tour there is the opportunity to teleport back to any one of the locations visited, and the teleports between scenes work both ways). note that teleports might be doors, portals of other objects – the latter indacted by 3D arrows.

The Anywhere door delivers you to s Candyland, evocative of the production values fro Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Here one can follow the chocolate path over the lush grass and across the bridge spanning the  river of chocolate that flows from high falls to split the landscape before vanishing into a dark tunnel. Candy sticks and multi-hued mushrooms mark the land and giant butterflies flap their wings. Those with quick eyes may spot the Wonka boat rezzer sitting in the flow of chocolate – but don’t be too hasty to rez one and sit: there are numerous things to discover in this seemingly simple garden – from taking the twizzler rope across the river as an alternative to the bridge, to body surfing in the chocolate or simply sitting on a chocolate biscuit love seat – and more besides – be sure to mouseover things carefully, and not always at ground level!

Chocolate Factory, December 2020

When you’re ready to proceed, rez a boat (if you have problems spotting the rezzer, look along the flow of chocolate near to where a group of coloured balloons are sitting, close to the bridge) and jump in – you may have to be quick, as the boat doesn’t hang about. This will take you on through the tunnel ride to the fizzy pop store where you can have a light refreshment (emphasis on the “light” – for which I should perhaps use the American “lite” – you’ll see why whn you ignore the warning and take a bottle!), then follow the teleport arrows through the window and onwards.

I’m not going to spoil things here by describing every place you’ll visit, suffice it to say you’ll encounter the odd Oompa Loompa or three along the way (actually starting in Candyland) and experience (as noted) aspects of the films, each with its own interactive elements, including a further ride atop a Wonka Chocolate Bar to reach the final location and experience teleport.

Chocolate Factory, December 2020

A light-hearted homage, Chocolate Factory makes for a fun visit, and if you’re feeling like you’ve had enough of the year or are feeling the onset of Christmas Blues, a visit could be just the ticket to cheer you up (did you see what I did there? 😀 ).

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