Linden Homes: Asian theme in Second Life

Linden Homes: Sakura Theme preview, April 2022

On Friday, April 15th, Linden Lab opened four preview regions featuring the upcoming Linden Homes Asian Theme. In all, 16 styles are to be provided, broadly split into into two groups of 8 apiece: those with rooms throughout and those of a more open-plan nature. Also, and like the Newbrooke theme (see here for more), they are also offered with either 512 sq m or 1024 sq m parcels.

While I have not been able to confirm this, these being preview regions, I assume the 1024 sq m parcels provide a choice of both the 512 sq m and 1024 sq m designs, with 512 sq m parcels obviously restricted to the smaller footprint designs.

Although defined as “Asian” in theme, these could also be referred to as “Japanese”: the overall theme name is Sakura (cherry tree/blossom), with each house style given a distinctly Japanese name (Ajisai = hydrangea; Botan = button, Himawari = sunflower; Kosumosu  = cosmos, etc.). They are presented in a typical (to western eyes at least) urban-residential style, the houses built around a network of roads. However, sharing the regions with houses and roads are navigable waterways and canals that give the regions a nice set of options for exploration, with rez zones to be found on both land and water.

Linden Homes: Sakura Theme preview, April 2022 (nearest to furthest) – Himawari/Haibisukasu, Ajisai/Asagao and Kaneshon/Kuchinashi

A nice element of the regions is that many of the waterways are bounded by footpaths, making for gentle walks, whilst elsewhere water gardens have been created to further break up the landscape.

The houses themselves are predominantly single-floor units with stucco walls (by default at least) and the typical steep tiled roofs common to this style of home. The majority of doors are of the sliding variety, their glass either fully glazed or, or give privacy between rooms, fitted with opaque panels. I assume they include the same decorating options found in the more recent Linden home releases.

In all the, the styles of the Sakura comprise:

  • Ajisai (1024 sq m): a front entrance opening off of a full-length front porch and providing access to a hallway extending to wings at either end. One of these forms a large single room, with other forms three rooms, one to the front, two the rear, one of which provides access to the rear aspect, shared by doors from the main room and the hallway.
    • Asagao: an open-plan version of Ajisai with a large L-shaped room and second large room occupying the second wing.
  • Botan and (512 sq m): providing a front entrance to one side with vestibule accessing three interconnected rooms running front-to-rear.
    • Benibara: an open-plan version to Botan with a single large room and smaller room to the front aspect.
  • Himawari (512 sq m): front entrance providing access to four ground floor rooms, three of which are linked, with the fourth separate and to the front aspect. Stairs provide access to two upper floor rooms.
    • Haibisukasu: an open-plan version of Himawari in which two of the ground floor rooms have been linked to form a single large room.
  • Kaneshon (1024 sq m): a large house with front entrance leading to a hallway with stairs to a galleried landing. Four interlinked rooms run around the ground floor, separated by sliding doors. Upstairs, the landing provides access to two rooms, one at either end of the landing.
    • Kuchinashi: an open-plan version of Kaneshon with a large primary room downstairs with separate room to one side. Upstairs features an open-plan gallery room and a single room behind it.
Linden Homes: Sakura Theme preview, April 2022: Renge/Rabenda and Kosumosu/Kinmokusei
  • Kosumosu (512 sq m): a square house with front entrance leading to a large front-to-rear main room with two rooms opening off of it to one side.
    • Kinmokusei: an open-plan version of Kosumosu with a large L-shaped room and single small room with views to the front and sides.
  • Renge (1024 sq m): a front entrance and hall opening out into front room split into two by an open arch, with hall to the rear and side hall accessing two further rooms.
    • Rabenda: an open-pan version of Renge with a large main room with doors to the rear aspect, and two rooms to one side, one reached via a short hall.
  • Shion (1024 sq m): A square house built around a central “courtyard”. A front hall accesses a single room to the front aspect a large room to one side, a second room to the other and a further room to the rear aspect.
    • Sumaire: an open-plan version of Shion with a single large main room surrounding the central “courtyard” with two smaller rooms opening off of it to the rear aspect.
  • Tenjikubotan (512 sq m): a front entrance accessing a perpendicular hallway leading to three linked rooms, one running front-to-back, and two to the rear aspect.
    • Tsubaki: a single large L-shaped room and second room to the front aspect.

In terms of room arrangement / shape, I have to say the styles with rooms felt to me to be a little cramped, and I couldn’t help but wonder how crowded they might feel once furnished. This is an issue I’ve also had with some of the smaller Newbrooke houses. However, given that Asian / Oriental has been a frequently requested theme for Bellisseria, the Sakura range will hopefully meet with the approval of those who have been requesting the theme – and it is certainly a considerable improvement over the original Oriental / Japanese themed Linden Homes – perhaps more so than is the with the Newbrooke when compared with the original Meadowbank style of Linden Home from 2010.

Linden Homes: Sakura Theme preview, April 2022

I’ve no idea how long the preview regions will be open for, or when the Sakura will be made available. For now the SLurls to the preview regions are below, and I’ll have more to say when the theme is released.

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All the preview regions are rated Moderate

Bellisseria’s third anniversary in Second Life

Bellisseria – when it opened in 2019 – blog post

Friday April 15th through Sunday, April 17th 2022, will see the Linden Homes continent of Bellisseria and its residents celebrate the third anniversary of the continent’s opening in April 2019.

Conceived as an enhancement to the Premium Subscription option for users and to replace the original (and smaller) Linden Homes and lands first introduced in 2010, Bellisseria was developed from the start as a means to both present a better product to Premium users and encourage the development of more of a community spirit among those leveraging their ability to obtain one of the homes.

The four styles of the Bellisseria Camper and Trailer homes, the first theme to offer a mix of 512 and 1024 sq m designs, June 2019.

The opening of the continent came with the release of “Traditional” Homes and Houseboats – the latter being perhaps still being the most popular (and most versatile) of the designed released to date. Initially sitting to the south of the Sansara continent, Bellisseria has grown over the last three years, generally as a periodic result of the release of new Linden Home themes. As such, it initially stretched south to connect to Jeogeot, providing the means to not just travel by air / sea from Sansara through Bellisseria to Jeogeot, but to travel down the entire western continents from Heterocera on down.

More recently, Bellisseria has extended east and north, not as a contiguous landmass but as what might be regarded as “sub continents” defined by Linden Home themes: Silt Homes, Fantasy, Chalet and Newbrooke. This has allowed the continent to form a bridge with Satori. As I and others have tracked through blogs posts and reports over the last three years, each theme has brought with it entire environments for residents to enjoy, local facilities such as swimming pools, themed community centres and individual features and updates compared to previous releases.

The Bellisseria railway has proven to be popular with locals and visitors

While the development of distinctly-themed environments for the various themes has been understandable, it has – combined with overall demand for individual themes – lead to Bellisseria as a whole becoming somewhat disjointed in form when compared to other continents. This is most clearly noticeable when looking at the continent on the map, where unfinished coastlines remain – something that will hopefully be dealt with as Bellisseria continues to mature and as the final planned themes are deployed, allowing the LDPWs to complete any remaining nips and tucks that might be needed.

In terms of inviting a sense of community, there can be no denying the success Bellisseria has attained – the Bellisseria Citizen’s group is one of the most active on my list of groups, and I’m aware of around 24 other in-world groups focused specifically on Bellisseria.

Community Centres have been at the heart of several of the released Linden Homes themes, including the impressive Fantasy Themes centre

The continent has also seen the Linden Department of Public Works and Bellisseria residents establish a mutual exchange of ideas; suggestions voiced by the latter from the start were taken on-board by the Lab and acted upon wherever possible; I well remember (and not saying I was alone in this or that it was my comment that caused it) passing a comment in the early days that Bellisseria could benefit from airstrips for those of us who enjoy flying – and a few days later, one popped-up just of the east coast. This plus requests for more rez zones in general and for things like home security systems helped cement the community / LPDW relationship.

The community has also given rise to its own ecosystem of activities, from the Bellisserian Bureau of Bureaucracy and passports, to people presenting their homes as local social centres, cafés, and boutique galleries – or simply opening them to the public as examples of what could be done with the different themes and styles in terms of general décor. It’s an ecosystem that has also extended to the Marketplace, with an expanding range of options and additions being offered to those wishing to modify or extend their homes.

One of the public spaces within the Victorian Homes regions

For my part, I’m not that active in the Bellisseria community, although I try to keep an eye on things. However, since the Homes first arrived, I’ve made use of three of the themes – the Houseboat, Stilt and Newbrooke – all of which I’ve found appealing and well suited to modding and making into comfortable homes. I’ve also written up some ideas for using rezzing systems to make using individual house styles easier and for quick swapping between styles. I’ve even been cheeky enough to model one of the house styles for my personal use!

Of the three, the Houseboat probably remains my favourite; in part because it offered the most flexibility for what I wanted to achieve, but also because I was lucky enough to grab one in a region of low density – just nine houseboats – and which didn’t seem to impact general performance. Next to this I’d place the Stilt Home, with the Newbrooke coming up third – but only because it’s the location that hits my viewer the hardest.

Third Anniversary

For the third anniversary weekend, events will be focused on the Bellisseria Fairgrounds, the venue for events and activities in the region. It will play host to a range of entertainment (see below), and also the starting point / location for a number of activities, including:

  •  How well do you know your moles contest? Name the moles (in their human form) as pictured on the board and win one of five L$500 Gift Card prizes.
  • Bellisseria Easter Egg Quest – win a Bellisseria anniversary cap.
  • The Moles special Bellisseria 3rd Anniversary Display Area.
  • Three different styles of Linden Home to offer suggestions for interior décor to residents – and to show non-Premium members what some of the homes are like from the inside.
  • Take a scheduled air tour of the continent, courtesy of H. Quimby Aviation.
A Linden Homes caravan is one of the style on display at the third anniversary celebrations

Schedule of Entertainment

All times SLT.

  • Friday, April 15th:
    • 10:00 – 10:15: Patch Linden Opening Speech (have voice turned on but microphones muted)
    • 10:15 – 11:30: DJ Krys rocks the fairgrounds.
    • 11:30 – 13:00: Dj Floyd hits the stage for more party tunes.
    • 13:00 – 14:00: live music – Reality? Maybe.
    • 17:00 – 19:00: Hooten Haller Contra Folk Dance.
  • Saturday, April 16th:
    • 10:00 – 11:00: DJ Freddie starts the day of celebration.
    • 11:00 – noon: Mole versus Residents boat race.
    • Noon – 13:00: DJ Stephanie continues the festivities!
    • 13:00 – 14:00: The Greatest Showman Particle Show by Delain Canucci
    • 19:00 – 21:00: DJ Dulcinea will bring in the evening with some spectacular sounds!
  • Sunday, Aril 17th:
    • 10:00 – 11:30: DJ Chuckey brings in some Easter Celebration.
    • 11:30 – 13:30: Hooten Haller Contra Folk Dance.
    • 13:30 – 15:00: DJ Fuyuko picks up the tunes and the party rocks on.
    • 15:00 – 17:00: DJ Gabi will bring the celebrations to their height and close it out with fireworks.

The 3rd anniversary celebrations are open to all, not just Bellisseria residents. So, if you’re curious about the continent, its homes and its residents, why not hop over and join the fun?

April at Windlight Gallery in Second Life

Kultivate Windlight Gallery: April 2022

I dropped in Kultivate Magazine’s Windlight Gallery in the week, which is recently opened its April ensemble exhibition and – for the time being – is hosting a long-running exhibition by Elise Sirnah on the upper level. The ensemble exhibition opened on April 10th, with the featured artists listed as Jaime Poutine, Carmelia (captainofmysoul resident), Lucas Tiros, Johannes Huntsman, Tempest Rosca and Veruca Tammas.

Occupying the centre and right sides of the exhibition space, these six present engaging mix of art bringing together avatar studies, SL landscapes and physical world art in a combination that immediately captures the eye. In this, I admit to being particularly drawn to the selection by Lucas Tiros, an artist whose work I don’t think I’ve encountered before (he states he’s been absent SL for a number of years and is now just returning, so that could be the reason why).

Kultivate Windlight Gallery: April 2022 – Lucas Tiros

A professional photographer in the physical world, Lucas here presents ten images in what might be said to be three groups, all of which are utterly absorbing in their content, use of colour, expressiveness and emotion. From portraits through landscape to wildlife, these are ten pieces that carry within them a captivating deep of life and vitality.

While is not to say the work of the other artists is not also worthy of praise and appreciation; all offer much to admire as one come to them, and  – as noted – all six together offer a rich and complimentary mix of art that is guaranteed to please. This is also true of a further group of artists waiting to be found on the left side of the gallery’s lower floor.

Kultivate Windlight Gallery: April 2022

Although not listed on the April exhibition advertising (and so might actually be from an earlier exhibit, and so might be subject to vanishing soon), Jamee Sandalwood, Reya Darkstone, Pam Astonia, Kalina Sands, Anouk Lefavre, Jesie Janick and Vanessa James all – at the time of my visit – added a further engaging mix of SL landscapes and avatar studies.

On the upper level of the gallery (again, as she noted above, at the time of my visit) Kultivate presents The Art of Elise Sinah, a selection of predominantly avatar-focused pieces mostly offered as moments-in-time photographs such as might be found in a personal album.

Kultivate Windlight Art Gallery: Elise Sinah

Some are joyous celebrations of life (Dog Walk, Penalty, Coffee, An Oasis), some are considered studies designed to further engage both the grey matter and the emotions (Head in Clouds, Thoughts, Cling, Friend Hugs) whilst other offer a more personal glimpse of life and desires (and for some might be considered NSFW). All, however, are beautifully lit, framed and post-processed to convey their narrative and depth, demonstrating the eye for balance and nuance that marks Elise’s work as both a photographer and region designer.

Two (or three, depending on your point of view!) exhibitions that are well worth viewing whilst they remain available!

Kultivate Windlight Art Gallery: Elise Sinah

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