Looking at the Linden Homes Premium houseboat update

The Jolly Roger – one of the updates to the Linden Houseboat designs released on December 8th, 2022

At the SL19B events in June 2022, Patch Linden indicated that among the on-going work related to subscription plans, the Lab and the LDPW would be re-visiting some of the original Linden Home designs associated with Premium Subscriptions, starting with the Traditional Homes to update them and offer additional , new, floorplans (see: SL19B MTL – Patch Linden: Premium Plus and more + video for details of the announcement).

This work started in November 2022 with the Traditional Homes, and on December 8th, with an update to the Houseboats theme. As I’d swapped back to the Houseboat theme a couple of months ago, I’ve been interested in taking a look at the new designs since their release. However, it has only been in the last few days that I’ve had the time to take a good look at them – so I’m now going to bore you with my thoughts on them!

In all the new update to the Houseboat theme includes:

  • Four new Houseboat designs, with a custom tinting system, controlled via the house control panel.
  • Updated House controllers to reflect the addition of the new designs; which now give the details of the theme, name of last house rezzed and parcel centre in their description field; use a common communications protocols with the rezzer and with houses on the parcels with which they are associated, so that all themes (except Fantasy) may safely be mixed and matched.
  • The addition of the Linden Homes scripted house numbers have been added to the Contents Pack.

Again, just to be clear – this is an update to the existing Houseboat theme, not a new and separate release of houseboats; so if you already have a Houseboat as your choice of Premium Linden Home, you’ll find the new designs available in your houseboat rezzer.

The Dock Holiday Premium Linden Home Houseboat design, with inset to the lower left, a view through from the front room to the rear stairs 

The four new designs included in the updates are a very clear departure from the original four. Whilst the latter might be said to have their emphasis on the boat element of “houseboat” and looking as if they were specifically built for a life on the water, three of the four new design might be said to emphasise the house part – take away the hull underneath them, and they’d look as home on dry land as (say) any of the Traditional homes.

Not that this is a criticism per se; houseboats come in many forms, after all. However, I do wonder how sloping rooftops will look among the original designs, and whether their looks are just a little too “housey” for some. Along with the new designs has come a series of names which continues the use of word play which has marked the naming of groups of regions within Bellisseria; thus we have the Dock Holiday, the Shore Thing, the Knot Shore and (perhaps not quite as punny), the Jolly Roger.

To start with the Dock Holiday. This is a 2-storey houseboat of moderate size and featuring a large deck to one end, with a mooring-side front door and double doors accessing the large deck. The lower floor comprises two rooms, one accessed through the front door and the other connecting to the deck via the double doors. Both rooms are linked via an archway, with the deck-facing room perhaps offering a good lounge area and the larger, rectangular space possibly ideal as a kitchen / dining area. Upstairs is a single room roughly half the length of the lower floor.

The Shore Thing Premium Linden Home Houseboat design. Inset is an interior view of the main room looking through an open door of one of the rear rooms, and a view of the stern of the houseboat and its walkway and window-doors accessing the two rooms to the rear of the design

Both the Shore Thing and the Knot Shore are single-floor designs with a superficial similar, with the Knot Shore offering a slightly longer, narrower house form compared to the wider Shore Thing.

The latter has a total of four rooms – a large main room with access to a large forward desk shaded by an overhanging roof, together with two smaller rooms at the opposite end of the houseboat, each with doors opening on to a small deck area. Between the front and rear rooms is the fourth, offset to one side, allowing space of a short hallway to reach the front room for the main side door.

The Knot Shore Premium Linden Home Houseboat design, release as part of the theme update on December 8th, 2022

Knot Shore, meanwhile features three rooms, two larger rooms to the front and rear, and a smaller room between the two, again offset to allow a hall to link the front and back rooms. A large exterior deck runs along two sides of the design. Overall, this is probably the smallest of the new designs in terms of internal floorspace.

Of the three thus far noted, I’d say the that Dock Holiday offers the greatest flexibility of use overall, thanks to it’s large, semi-open lower floor design and upper bedroom area. However, all three are liable to feel cramped in comparison to the fourth design: the Jolly Roger. To call this “roomy” would be an understatement, and its design is made all the more flexible by both the lower and upper floors being directly and easily accessible from dockside.

The Jolly Roger and, inset, the interior of the large upper deck seen from its curved, forward end

On the lower floor is an entry hall / room which could potentially double as something like a dining area for those wo wish, with stairs going to the upper deck, and two rooms opening off of the room which could form, say, a bathroom and a kitchen. Forward of this, via another door, is a large rectangular room which could form a comfortable living area. If you opt for a “traditional” up / down style of house layout, that is.

However, the upper floor – which runs to over 3/4s of the Jolly Roger’s overall length – is a single, large open space. This offers lots of opportunities for subdivision, should you want multiple bedrooms or more privacy. However, it also naturally lends itself to becoming the main living space – lounge, dining, and kitchen – leaving the rooms downstairs to become sleeping, etc., areas.

A possible design for the upper deck of the Jolly Roger

This is the approach I’ve taken with the Jolly Roger, the upper floor of the design providing plenty of room for me to install a living area, a dining area and a kitchen on an open-plan basis. What’s more, the size of the space means it is not in any way cramped and actually has room for some additional furniture; I’m thinking of a nice recliner / reader to go alongside the bookcases!

Nor does the flexibility end there: with careful placement, the upper deck area can be used to offer stairway to the flat roof of the Jolly Roger, which lends itself to a variety of uses – including (for me) a helipad, utilising a rezzer to call up my MC-900 Explorer whenever needed (and thus not being a blot on the view neighbours might otherwise enjoy from their houseboats or camping out on LI unnecessarily).

Another view of a possible layout for the Jolly Roger upper deck, laid out as a living area

Overall, the new houseboat designs have much to offer,. The updated house control panels mean the new houseboats have about the same options for interior décor as some of the more recent Linden Home designs, providing them with a fair degree of options for decorating.

It’s too early to say how popular these additional houseboat designs might be – scouting around my watery corner of Bellisseria didn’t reveal too much in the way these designs being put to use as yet. However, given the low-key announcement of their availability and the fact it is the holiday period, more time is really needed for them to gain traction. For may part, I’ll continue to tinker with the Jolly Roger; it has all the potential to be a roomy second home – so if you have a houseboat, why not hop over to it and take a look at the new designs yourself?

LL launch “Plus” subscription, reduce Mainland fees and more

via Linden Lab

Linden Lab have officially launched their latest subscription plan for users – and announced both updates to their across-the-board subscription plans that will benefit those liable for VAT, and new fees for holding Mainland parcels of 8,192 sq metres or more.

Details below.


As outlined by by Reed Linden at the November Web User Group meeting, the new subscription offer is called simply “Plus” (nothing else, just “Plus”), and is designed to sit “between” Basic and the Premium option.

Given this positioning, Plus obviously offers less than Premium in terms of benefits, and is being combined with the reductions in Mainland fees (see below) as an incentive for those who might want to get onto the Mainland property ladder but do not wish to pay Premium subscription rates in order to do so.

Plus Pricing and Benefits

Fees are in US dollars.

Monthly: $5.99
Annual: $65.99
Benefits L$150 weekly stipend; 50 Groups; 512 sq m free Mainland tier

Note there is no Linden Home or other benefits associated with Plus.

VAT Removed From ALL Subscription Payment Plans

As from Thursday, November 17th, 2022, Linden Lab has removed VAT from all subscription payment plans.

Annual payment plans (Premium or Premium Plus) have been VAT-free for some time. With this change, those paying on either a Monthly or Quarterly payment plan will also no longer have to pay VAT, if it is applicable to them.

Mainland Fee Changes

As from Thursday, November 17th, 2022,  Linden Lab has reduced the cost of monthly Mainland fees for holding 8,192 square metres and above, per the table below (all prices US dollars – fees for additional parcel sizes of 512, 1024, 2048 and 4096 sq m remains unchanged):

Additional Land  (sq m) Monthly Fee (USD) Now Old Fee
8192 $31.00 $35.00
16,384 (1/4 region) $60.00 $67.00
32,768 (1/2 a region) $103.00 $112.00
49,152 $142.00 $150.00
65,536 (Full Region) $166.00 $175.00

Additional Links

Lab announces Homesteads for Premium Plus, and some thoughts

via Linden Lab

On Tuesday, November 1st, 2022, Linden Lab announced that Homestead regions are now available to Premium Plus members directly from Linden Lab and without the need to hold a Full region.

The offering was first indicated as a “coming” Premium Plus benefit during the Lab Gab session with Grumpity and Patch Linden held on October 21st – see here for a summary of that event – and the November 1st announcement builds on this.

In short the details are:

  • Premium Plus members are now able to hold  one private Homestead region from Linden Lab against their account:
  • Regions can be requested using a Support Ticket via support.secondlife.com. Tickets should:
    • Place an order via Land & Region → Order Private Region.
    • Provide a unique name for the region (in accordance with the region naming rguidelines) and a preferred location on the grid for placement.
  • The region can be held only as long as the member maintains their Premium Plus account. Should they downgrade to Premium (or any forthcoming Premium subscription level that does not include the Homestead “benefit”) or to Basic will lose the region.

There are no other changes to Homestead ownership, including the fact that anyone is able to own Homestead regions as long as there is at least one Full private region owned on that account as well, and pay the required fees.

Does This Make Premium Plus More Attractive?

Whether the ability to hold a Homestead region when taken on its own will make Premium Plus a worthwhile upgrade is questionable.

  • If you are not already a Premium or Premium Plus member, then looking at Premium Plus purely in terms of a means to obtain a Homestead region probably isn’t a worthwhile proposition.
    • When you add the minimum monthly fee for Premium Plus (US $20.75) to the Homestead region tier of US $109, it likely comes out to more than the monthly cost of renting a Homestead region from an established private rental estate.
    • Both renting privately and holding a Homestead via Premium Plus have the same core risk: paying the monthly tier.
  • If you are currently a Premium Member, then looking at Premium Plus purely as a means to obtain a Homestead region is a little less clear-cut.
    • On the one hand, upgrading to Premium Plus from Premium costs at least an extra US $12.5 a month.
    • On the other, this fee, plus the month Homestead tier will still be a competitive outlay when compared to renting a homestead through a private estate.
  • If you are a Basic or Premium member who already sees value in other Premium Plus benefits (such as the reduced fee for Name Changes, the other reduced fees, etc.), and are attracted to the idea of holding your own region, then upgrading to Premium Plus is liable to be worthwhile and cost-effective.

This last point is really the key to this offer: obtaining a Homestead is not the sole benefit available to those upgrading to Premium Plus, so it needs to be considered as a part of the overall package of benefits, and any decision made on upgrading should be made on that basis. For example, the option of holding a Homestead region is of little interest to me – but the forthcoming Premium Plus Linden Homes do. I’m therefore waiting to see what happens on that front before I make any decision on a potential move from Premium to Premium Plus.




Premium Plus gains Speedlight benefits & some thoughts

via Linden Lab

On Tuesday, October 4th, Linden Lab announced that Premium Plus members can now leverage the Speedlight client as a part of their Plus benefits.

For those un familiar with Speedlight, it is a client specifically designed for use within browsers and on suitable Android and iOS devices, one I have covered in these pages – although admittedly, not the more recent updates.

Since its inception, SpeedLight has steadily increased the capabilities it offers such that it now includes (but is not limited to) chat, IM, Group chat, inventory management, friends list functions, search options, the ability to switch between devices (on SpeedLight) without having to re-log – and basic 3D world view rendering with avatar movement capabilities. A full list of available features and capabilities is available here.

The core product is offered free-of-charge, albeit it with some limitations (log-in time is limited & requires re-logging every 6 hours). However, there is also a dedicated subscription option called Gold (and quite distinct from the Lab’s Premium Plus), which in turn can be tiered through associated Patreon options to offer additional benefits,

The benefits offered to Premium Plus subscribers have been placed between the existing Free and Gold options offered directly by the SpeedLight team, and are summarised within the Lab’s announcement as:

  • Unlimited online time at SpeedLight.
  • Access to Speedlight’s Advanced 3D World view [the cutting-edge element of Speedlight’s 3D rendering capabilities, offering options and abilities first, some of which may (or may not) eventually filter down to Free accounts].
  • Prioritised support (tickets and live chat).
SpeedLight is now available to Second Life Premium Plus subscribers with special options. Image via Speedlight

Given the frequent calls for the Lab to supply a mobile option for accessing Second Life – particularly since the stagnation of Android-based Lumiya -, and with its multi-platform reach, list of capabilities and a basic world rendering capability, Speedlight does have a lot to offer.

However, I would be remiss if I did not mention the graphics used in the Lab’s announcement. Placing a full-feature in-world image of Second Life on both a laptop and mobile device screen might lead to misguided expectations among some (e.g. users relatively new to SL) that SpeedLight offers the same graphics fidelity as an actual viewer; something the SpeedLight team would be the first to acknowledge is not the case. So perhaps a footnote stating the images are not from SpeedLight might be in order to avoid this and accusations of misrepresentation?

That aside, this is an interesting turn in Premium Plus subscription benefits. Not so much the SpeedLight offer itself, but rather if the move might signal a start of other “partnership benefits” for Plus subscribers – such as with creators / businesses from within SL own ecosystem, or with some of the Lab’s content partners. If this is the case, it’ll be interesting as to what might come next.

Related Links

SL Name Change fees updated & service extended to Basic accounts

via Linden Lab

On Wednesday, August 3rd, Linden Lab announced a significant update to the Second Life Name Change service, previously only available to Premium Accounts.

Name Changes as a service was launched in April 2020, at a cost of $39.99 (+VAT, where applicable) for changing a either an avatar’s first name, last name – or both.

As most know, first names are free-format (choose whatever you’d like – within reason!), with last names selectable from a pre-defined list that is updated semi-regularly (e.g. with general or “themed” names to mark a time or year, SL or physical world event, etc).

With the deployment of the new Premium Plus subscription option in June 2002 (see: Second Life Premium Plus launches + some notes; updated), it was indicated a new lower fee level for Name Changes would be one of the follow-on benefits for Premium Plus subscribers, to be introduced some time after its initial launch.

With the August 3rd, 2022 announcement, the Lab not only provided details on this Premium Plus fee, they also revealed Premium members would see their fee lowered, and the service is now extended for all account types – Basic, Premium and Premium Plus.

With this announcement, Name Change fees are as follows:

  • Basic: US $49.99.
  • Premium: US $34.99 (reduced from US $39.99).
  • Premium Plus: $14.99.

Basic members who are not familiar with Name Changes can find out more via the following links:

Second Life Premium Plus launches + some notes; updated

via Linden Lab

On Thursday, June 23rd, Linden Lab officially launched the new Premium Plus subscription package (or membership package, if you prefer), offering a new range of benefits and bonuses to those who wish to avail themselves of them. Some of the benefits come into effect immediately for those taking out a Premium Plus subscription, and others will be deployed in the near future, with further benefits also being added over time.

Alongside the announcement (but not linked to it at the time of writing this) this Lab released a FAQ page on Premium Plus.

What is Premium Plus?

  • Premium Plus is a new subscription package that increases the benefits and options to those taking it above those offered within the Premium package, as well as sharing some benefits in common with Premium.
  • It does not replace Premium, which continues as a subscription package for anyone who prefers it.
  • It does not change the Premium subscription package in any way, all benefits found within that package remain “as is” with the launch of Premium Plus.
  • It is open to any Second Life user – you do not have to be / become a Premium subscriber before becoming a Premium Plus subscriber.
  • It brings the total number of options for using Second Life to three: Basic, Premium and Premium Plus.

Premium Plus Benefits Comparison with Premium

The following as a complete a list of Premium and Premium Plus benefits I have been able to assemble based on available information, and should hopefully provide a direct comparison be tween the two. It may be subject to update.

Note that √ in any field means an unchanged benefit from Premium to Premium Plus.

Benefit Premium Premium Plus
45-day L$ Sign-up  Bonus¹ L$1000 L$3000
Weekly L$ Stipend² L$300 L$650
Free Tier³ 1024 sq m 2048 sq m
Linden Home Option4 Up to 1024 sq m Up to 2048 sq m
Group Slots 70 140
Off-Line Message Cap 80 160
Upload Fees (textures, animations, sounds) L$10 per item Free
Name Changes (+VAT if applicable) $39 $155
Event Listing Fees Single: L$10; Recurring L$50 Free
Group Creation Fee L$100 L$10
Land Experiences (Experience Keys) 1 2
Voice Morphing
Animesh Attachments 2
Support Live Chat Live Chat + toll-free ‘phone (International: use Skye or similar)
90-day transaction History
Premium Gifts √ + Premium Plus exclusives
Premium Sandbox Access √ + Premium Plus Sandboxes
Preferential Access to High-Volume Events

Table Notes:

  1. The 45-day sign-up bonus is open to both Basic and Premium membership upgrading the Premium Plus.
    • Note this is a first-time sign-up bonus only, it will not apply if you downgrade and then re-up later.
  2. The Premium Plus Stipend – L$650 is a flat rate; there is no upward adjustment for those currently receiving Grandfathered stipends of L$400 or L$500.
    • However, the Grandfathered status will be re-applied if the subscription is subsequently downgraded to Premium.
  3. Free tier can be used against Mainland land holdings; or against a Premium Plus Linden Home (coming soon); or a mix of Linden Home and Mainland land.
  4. Linden Homes:
    • Only one Linden Home can be held per account (Premium or Premium Plus).
    • The new Premium Plus Linden Homes will hopefully start to be deployed in late 2022.
    • Once available, 2048 sq m Linden Homes will have their own themes / styles, and the 2048 sq m parcels may in the future be able to leverage versions of the Premium Linden Homes for those who would like a smaller house and more yard / water space.
    • Premium Plus members will be able to go via Land Support to request they are given a specific Linden Home parcel this is not currently part of the automatic Linden Home assignment system (i.e. being handled by the Linden Homes ordering web page).
    • Update: Patch Linden, Meet the Moles [video 37:31-39:08]: Premium Plus homes are to have completely new ground-up themes / implementation, rather than being pre-planned (as per the Premium home themes).
  5. Name Changes:
    • Premium Plus subscribers can change their name for US $15, but this has to be done via an Account Issue support ticket (subtype Change Account Details).
    • The first name remains free form, but the Last Name must be from the current Last Names list.

Premium Plus Fees Compared to Premium

All prices US dollars – see the section below for upgrading from Premium to Premium Plus.

Premium Premium Plus
Monthly Billing¹ $11:99 $29.99²
Quarterly Billing¹ ³ $32.97 Not available
Annual Billing4 $99.00 $249

Table Notes

  1. Monthly and Quarterly billing are subject to VAT where applicable.
  2. Those taking a Premium Plus subscription in the first 30 days following the launch will be charged $24.99 for their first month and $29.99 thereafter.
  3. Quarterly Premium billing is only available to those who were on the billing plan prior to it being discontinued on June 24th, 2019.
  4. Annual billing is VAT exempt in those countries that normally charge VAT.

Upgrading from Premium to Premium Plus

Premium subscribers can upgrade to Premium Plus before their current subscription expires on prorate basis. So, an annual Premium membership that has 30 days remaining before renewal. This value is equivalent to $8.10 of the $99.00 Annual Premium membership they originally paid for. This would be credited towards the initial Premium Plus membership payment at the time of upgrade, either Monthly or annual.

Note that if the credit to be applied towards proration is larger than the value of the Premium Plus membership being upgraded to, Linden Lab will extend the renewal date for the Premium Plus membership to account for the additional value.

Personal Thoughts

Patch Linden’s initial (and incomplete) outline of Premium Plus during his Meet the Lindens session as SL19B did not garner a good response within the forums, largely on the basis of pricing. And, in fairness there are reasons to feel the offering is over-priced; but equally, there are cases where it may be viewed favourably.

Take the free tier offering, for example:

  • For those seeking modest mainland space or wanting to put the tier to Group use, an outlay of US $249 a year doesn’t come off well against promoting an alt account to Premium and paying a total of US $198 a year for the same free tier.
  • For someone (like myself)  who has both a Premium account + a modest amount of privately rented land (at US $10.50 a week), or someone on Basic paying (say) $15-20 a week for a moderate parcel, it is possible that – once available – the Premium Plus Linden Home with their double Land Capacity and fewer-per-region density over Premium Homes might be an attractive proposition.

Similarly, while the rest of the benefits look to be middling – I personally have little need for 70 Group slot, let alone 140! – others might will be appealing, such as the $15 Name Change fee, particularly among those who swap back and forth between names almost monthly (and there are some – I know a few!). However and overall, whether people find the offer in keeping with Brad Oberwager’s “give two dollars of value, but only charge a dollar” philosophy or not, is liable to be hotly debated.

For my part, would I move from Premium to Premium Plus? Quite possibly; as noted above, depending on how Premium Plus Linden Homes regions are presented (e.g. themes, water access), then there is an attraction for me in upping to Premium Plus and dropping the $530+ a year I spend on renting a small private island.