Gone in 27 minutes in Second Life

Motoring through some of the new houseboat regions

A total of 709 new Linden Home houseboats were made available on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019, after a build-up of expectation.

I had wondered if the new regions, that arrived alongside Bellisseria, the Linden Homes continent might see one more move prior to being opened, but as was quickly shown, this wasn’t the case. This does leave the new regions supporting the houseboats looking – at this point in time at least, but who knows what might come in time – looking like a bit of an after-thought bolt-on to the continent, but there can be no doubting their popularity: all 709 were gone in just 27 minutes.

(l) the line-up before the release of the new houseboat regions; (r) the situation a few minutes after the launch with people at their new houseboats, even as the regions were being restarted (those in red)

The release saw a huge build-up along the north-eastern side of Bellisseria, the closest point to the new region, with two regions in particular – Graff and Dorma – bearing the brunt of the interest, each having in excess of 50 avatars in them in the hours leading up to the release. A lot of this saw social interactions, although I opted to watch via the Map while paying a visit to another region.

The Houseboats are available to select as we release them via the Linden Homes Land selection page, and access to the continent addition is open. We will have a set of region restarts to go through, so please bear with us as that happens if you enter the regions right away.

We know they will go very quickly, but as time goes on we will get more out, and hopefully faster.

Our next focus will be to bring more Traditional Homes plus more Houseboats in another smaller launch while working in parallel to a larger launch and an exciting new theme.

As usual, stay tuned here for more updates!

Patch Linden’s forum announcement that the houseboats were available

The Squishy Pickle bar: the social hub of the new regions

The houseboats were released via the Linden Homes web page at 10:00 SLT, together with a warning that some of the regions were being restarted. But the latter didn’t dampen any of the desire to obtain one of the new units: within seconds of the opening of the doors, people were literally pouring into the regions to see their new houseboat – and fortunately Caitlyn was among them as well.

In commenting on the state of play, Patch noted that there was some churn during the 27 minutes: people grabbing a houseboat, checking the location, then abandoning it in the hope of getting a better spot. How many may have missed out on an opening as a result is hard to say, it’s possible some people may have come away a little disappointed – hence the comment from Patch of the focus on making a further “smaller launch” of houseboats and houses.

The new houseboat regions and landscaping

There had also been some churn in the lead-up to the release with some people with Traditional Homes abandoning them in favour of being ready for the houseboats, as was noted on various forum threads.

I took a boat ride through the new regions following their release, and the level of activity was pleasing to see as people set about decorating their new homes, together with a large uptick in conversation and activity in the Bellisseria in-world groups – and the founding of a residents newspaper The Bellisserian – of which more anon!

In the meantime, congrats to all those who snagged one of the new houseboats!

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Linden Homes houseboat expansion arrives off Bellisseria – but may yet move?

The “houseboat expansion” regions, still with test elements in place, appeared off the north-eastern coast of Bellisseria on Monday, May 13th

Update #1: ah well, was a nice idea, but apparently, it’s been confirmed the new houseboat regions are in fact in their intended location.

Updates #2, via Patch Linden: Howdy everyone! While I’d love to give more notice than this, it is looking like we will have another batch of Houseboats ready for release within the next 24 hours.  This is as much of a forewarning I can provide, because of the complexity behind the work that is going into these releases.  Each release requires the coordination of several teams, and having all of the resources line up to hit the “go button” is pretty organic.  As soon as we are able to do so, I will post another update [in the forum thread linked to above].

The “houseboat expansion” regions appeared off the eastern coast of Bellisseria on Monday, May 13th, sparking speculation that the new regions could be made available “this week”.

However, while they might be made available soon, I’m not convinced that where they are currently sited will be their final resting place (so to speak).

The new 48-region houseboat expansion appears off the north-east coast of Bellisseria.

I say this because – as others have pointed out* – the “houseboat expansion” appears to be fairly identical in shape to an existing part of the the completed Bellisseria continent, as seen with the overall SSP region design on the world map, as shown below.

The new houseboat regions collectively share the same shape as a part of the completed Bellisseria continent as represented by the current SSP test / development regions

As such, it would seem possible that the new regions will yet make a further move prior to being make available.

Such as move would both allow Bellisseria to remain true to the original design of the continent, as presented by the the SSP test and development regions (as per the image below), and provide a far more natural location for the new regions, rather than simply “bolting them on” to the side of Bellisseria.

Bellisseria (l) showing how the houseboat regions might “slot in” to the continent, compared to the overall layout of the continent as seen in the develop SSP regions

The coming days will obviously reveal whether this will be the case, but given the overall size and shape of the “houseboat expansion”, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see something along these lines. Something which in turn begs the question as to how soon might it be before we see an expansion of “central” Bellisseria to match the SSP regions?

In the meantime, those interested in obtaining a new Linden Home houseboat should keep an eye on the development at Bellisseria, the Linden Homes forum category, and the Linden Homes selection page.

* I cannot provide full credit for this image, as the link to it was supplied to me sans context of posting, etc. If anyone does know who posted it and where, I’ll be happy to update this piece with proper credit.

Finding rez zones in Bellisseria – Yasmin’s free HUD

Out and about in Bellisseria on my Piaggio SG33E Roadrunner scooter (reviewed here), thanks to the rez zones and Yasmin’s HUD

On April 24th, I blogged about the arrival of the Coral Waters airstrip off the west coast of Bellisseria, the Linden Homes continent (see Bellisseria gains a coastal airstrip in Second Life), which was also marked by the arrival of official rezzing zones both on land and around the coast of the continent.

Yasmin’s Bellisseria rez zone HUD

However, with reference to the offical rez points, being aware they are around is one thing, trying to find the nearest to you can be another – a list of regions is great, if you happen to know where each region is in the overall map. Of course, if you bookmark the list (or maintain your own list of rez point URLs on a web page), you can always use your browser to find one and hop to it.  However, Having them available on a HUD would make things so much easier.

Well, that’s exactly what friend and fellow aviator  / sailor Yasmin (YouAintSeenMe) has done: created a map HUD of clickable rez points across Bellisseria, including those at the Coral Waters airstrip.

Displayed on the Centre HUD attach point by default (obviously, it can be repositioned), the HUD displays a map of Bellisseria with all of the current rez zones (as of April 29th, 2019) displayed as blue dots on it. Clicking on any of the dots will open the World map focused on the coordinates of the rez zone, allowing you to easily teleport to it.

Its simple but effective, I’m looking forward to having to update it with new map 🙂 . Wear as a HUD, or can be rezzed in-world for use on a signpost (or whatever).

– Yasmin, discussing her Bellisseria rez zone HUD

Available free of charge through Yasmin’s Marketplace store, I can vouch for the HUD, which is now a part of my inventory – although I have made one small change.

In order to be legible, the HUD does take up a fair amount of screen real estate – which isn’t a problem, if you’re using it as a quick on / off reference (as intended by Yasmin). But, me being awkward, decided having it always available while wandering Bellisseria would be easier.

So, as the HUD is modify, it was simple enough to add a scripted root tab prim to it, then drop in a script. When the tab is clicked, the HUD now slides “on” and “off” my screen from the right side. It’s not a vital requirement, but it makes for a quick way to pull out the map (when attached) whilst exploring Bellisseria should I need a rez point 🙂 .

While the HUD can be easily attached / detached when needed, I opted to mod it to have it slide on / off-screen from the right when needed

The map is simple and elegant. Whether worn as a HUD or placed on your land as a signpost for people to use, it is a definite boon to those who like exploring new locations – or who may lose a vehicle whilst motoring / sailing / flying around the new continent – so a big thank you to Yasmin for producing it.

Marketplace Link

Lab issues new Linden Homes security system

Bellisseria – New Linden Homes

Following the launch of the new Linden Homes, those sailing around / flying over the new continent quickly ran into an issue: banlines being thrown up around parcels.

On Tuesday, April 16th, 2019, the Lab responded to this problem by disabling the use of parcel banning across the estate. At that time, and to prevent the use of overly aggressive home security systems, the Lab indicated they would be providing a dedicated security option for the new Linden Homes for those who feel security options are warranted.

This new system was officially issued on Friday, April 26th, 2019, via a forum announcement by Patch Linden. In short, the system:

  • Can be obtained via the House / Houseboat Content Creation Pack available through the Linden Homes selector (mail box or life buoy) outside of each type of home.
  • Is automatically set to give a formal 15-second warning before ejecting someone from a parcel.
    • This time cannot be shortened, but longer times can be set, if desired.
    • It is intended to give loiterers enough time to remove themselves from a parcel.
    • Ejection has been selected, rather than TP home, in order to allow passers-by who may have been distracted to resume their journey.
  • Can be used in a Linden home or any skybox placed over it. However:
    • The system will only operate to a maximum of 400m above/ below its current location.
    • The system will not work between 100m and 2,000m above sea level (2,000m being the minimum height at which skyboxes must be placed).
  • Includes options for Group access and for individual white listing of visitors.

The system is contained within its own box in the House / Houseboat Content Creation Pack, which contains the security unit, an instructions note card and sample configuration note card for setting your white list, if required.

Designed to be wall mounted, the system is a simple (5 land impact) panel with five buttons:

  • The enable / disable button and the Help button (displays brief notes in local chat) either side of the status light at the top of the panel (red = off; green=active).
  • Here: sets the altitude of the panel – this must be done on placing or moving the panel.
  • Upper Limit: sets maximum operating height above the system’s current position in which it will be effective (cannot exceed 400m).
  • Lower Limit: sets the maximum distance below the system’s current position in which it will be effective (cannot exceed 400m), when used in a skybox.

The Upper Limit and Lower Limit buttons display similar dialogue boxes, allowing the range of each to be increased / decreased in 50,m 100m, and 300m increments.

The new security panel (shown alongside a house control panel) and the distance dialogue boxes. In this example, the panel is set at 23.3m above sea-level and will operate up to 23.3m above and 26.6m below its current location. Click for full size, if required

At the time of the April 16th blog post, it had been indicated that all other security systems would be outlawed from use within Bellisseria. However, as Patch notes in his forum post, this is not currently the case – so long as personal security orbs and the like operate within the guidelines set above:

We feel as a compromise, at the present you may only use other security systems that conform to the same Linden Homes Security System standards (warning time no shorter than 15 seconds, no greater detection range than 400m in height; must only work within the boundaries of your parcel, and eject instead of teleport-to-home). If we incur too many issues with non-conforming security systems, we will update the policy to prohibit the use of all non-Linden provided security systems in the new Linden Homes regions.

Hopefully, the new panels will, alongside the parcel ban list (which still functions), and the house access options for all doors, meet all the security requirement people might feel they need with their Linden Home. From my perspective, they are an excellent compromise from the Lab that allow people maintain the security / privacy they might feel they require whilst still fostering freedom of movement within Bellisseria which may in turn (hopefully) encourage a greater sense of community among residents and help build friendships and community activities.

Bellisseria gains a coastal airstrip in Second Life

Flying over the new island airstrip at Coral Waters off the west coast of Bellisseria

Update: Abnor Mole offers a list of rez points for vehicles and boats (again, as per the note below, keep an eye out for the lighthouses for the majority of the latter).

The Moles have been busy again! Following requests for airstrips within Bellisseria, the new Linden Homes continent (something I’ve actually requested in these pages as well), one has appeared off the west coast, complete with a boat rezzing area alongside.

We spotted it by chance whilst taking one of the boats out to try local region crossings; in fact, the airstrip was so new, it hadn’t actually appeared on the world Map – although we weren’t by far the first to spot it. By the time we happened to motor past it, the island was already the subject of considerable attention – some of it probably not suited to the environment (such as attempts to rez an ocean-going freighter followed by a United States Navy warship).

At the time of our initial visit (by boat – we’re loitering at the left-hand ed of the island in the photo) the Coral Waters airstrip was so new, it hadn’t even propagated to the world Map – but people were finding it!

Situated on a low-lying sandy island in Coral Waters, the airstrip has a tarmac runway suitable for light aircraft, complete with a rezzing zone off of its north end (although the mesh here can give some aircraft a little trouble when trying to clear the runway onto it).

The boat rezzing area – one of a number scattered around the region (generally on the offshore islands such as Springhurst Gulf or those with lighthouses on them) – sits on the east side of the island with a couple of piers. Rezzing time for both airstrip and piers is set to 2 minutes, which should be enough to get a ‘plane or boat pulled for inventory and sat upon.

The position of the island, with the north-south orientation of the runway means there is plenty of room for aircraft manoeuvring when taking off or positioning for a landing – just be sure to be careful if turning west on climbing out, as the island isn’t too far from the grid boundary.

Readying the TBM Kronos for take-off at the new Coral Waters airstrip – the aircraft rezzing area can prove a little rough for some ‘planes

Following our boat trip, I dropped over to the airstrip to give it a go using my TBM Kronos (see Flying the TBM Kronos in Second Life for a review). There’s not really a lot to report in this respect, other than the fact the airstrip does exactly what it does on the tin – provides space for flying out of / into for light aircraft (it’s really not suitable for jets or larger ‘planes), and has room enough from helos – again providing they are not oversized.

It’ll be interesting to see how popular the new airstrip is once the novelty of its arrival has worn off – and whether another might pop-up somewhere else in or around Bellisseria. Kudos to the LPDW for being so responsive (again) to requests!

SLurl Details

Taking a birds-eye look at Bellisseria

Plane sailing: over the Capitol Springs bridge and a boat passes under it

I decided to take a little time off on Easter Sunday and go for a flight around part of Bellisseria, the new Linden Homes continent, and have another look at it. However, rather than taking a ‘plane or helicopter, I decided to see things in a more leisurely manner, flying my Ask 13 sailplane.

Regular readers will know I picked up one of these sailplanes, made by Rene Underby and based on the Schleicher ASK 13, just over a year ago (see Plane sailing in Second Life: the ReneMarine Ask 13). Since then, I’ve been aloft in it on numerous occasions, both on my own and with Caitlyn. It’s a great way to fly in SL, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has a love of flying in Second Life.

The Winchester: one of the two 2-storey home designs n the Traditional type of Linden Home

However, getting off the ground in the new continent isn’t that easy. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, there are no airstrips, and sailplanes are not intended to get airborne off of water 🙂 . Fortunately, the Ask 13 comes with its own aerotow, so with a little cheating (rezzing the saiplane on the roof of my houseboat and then calling up the tow plane) I managed to get airborne. Not ideal, but it worked and got me up to an altitude where I could release the tow.

To be honest, I really wasn’t sure how far I’d get; as we all know, region crossings – physical or TP – have been something of a roll of the dice of late, and on a boat trip on Saturday I ended up losing my boat every few region crossings, so that  after the fourth time I ended up dumped and having to re-log, I gave up. However, Sunday’s trip was nothing short of superb.

Over the north-east coastal regions

As my houseboat is down in the south-west of the new continent, I headed east and north, tracking the local thermals and taking time out here and there to grab a snap.

One of the critiques levelled at the land houses in Bellisseria is that they are “cookie cutter”; I’m not sure this is an entirely fair assessment. Sure the select of houses is, at present, limited to four styles in a single theme, and the parcels are all fairly regularly set, but coupled with the general road infrastructure, trees, etc., to me give a feeling of suburbia. And while it may not always be obvious from ground level, the blending of the suburban housing with the coastal areas and the houseboats is actually nicely handled; there’s a good sense of the grasslands giving way to more sandy ground that gently merges into beaches and water.

The Adams, one of the single-storey homes in the Traditional range

I’m not going to cover the houses in great detail here, because Ricco Sanez has written an excellent piece on them, looking at all four styles. What was interesting in passing overhead was being able to see what use people were making of the garden / yard space, including some imaginative use of off-parcel placement of items along some of the waterways. These left me a little curious as to the view the Lab might have of them; from my perspective I felt they added to, rather than detracted from, the general environment.

Airborne also gives you a sense of how much space remains within the continent – and equally – how crowded it might come to feel, depending on the way in which future developments are handled.

Circling a thermal to gain altitude

Overall, my trip by air was fun – very much helped by the fact I managed my tour without getting thrown by a bad region crossing – actually, the second flight I’ve made over the continent since it opened; my first being a powered flight around the coastline and was actually equally successful – up until I hit the dreaded banlines whilst trying to make a water landing.

And landing this time around? Well, that was easy. After running the thermals along the western mountains before turning inland between them, and setting down in one of the undeveloped SSPE regions. Nevertheless (and to repeat my old chestnut) it would be nice to have an inland airstrip or two. These, with the odd park and hiking  / riding trail (if not already a part of the planning) could, as I’ve previously mentioned, add further attractiveness to the inland districts.

Is it a bird…? Is it a …? passing over Belliseria in my Ask 13

Note: we asked, the Lab listened. Three days after this article was written, a coastal airstrip was opened off the south-west coast of Bellisseria, as I was able to report on the day it opened – see: Bellisseria gains a coastal airstrip in Second Life.