Linden Homes: recent expansions future thoughts

Welcome to Bellisseria

Since their introduction in April 2019, Linden Lab have released more than 10,000 new Linden Homes across Bellisseria, including the southern extension to the continent and southwards towards the Mainland continent of Jeogeot. They represent an extensive mix of themes: “traditional” homes, houseboats, campers & trailers and Victorian, all of which have proven very popular – as evidenced by the speed with which releases have tended to be snapped up.

The more recent updates have seen the southern section of Bellisseria that arrived with the release of the Victorian type of home directly connected with the northern, and additional off-shore expansions that place Linden Homes in the waters off the north-west coast of Jeogeot. The latter do so by offering what might be seen as the first “cookie cutter” element of the new Linden Homes, duplicating as it does the original houseboat expansion, together with a couple of the sand bar layouts from elsewhere around the continent.

Victorian Houses and the railway in the southern extension to Bellisseria

These extensions fulfil Patch’s promise that the new continent for Linden Homes would directly connect Jeogeot with Sansara to the north, providing water access (including the coastal waters of Bellisseria) between the two, and which goes well beyond the narrow corridor of water originally linking Jeogeot to Bellisseria.

In addition, the extensions close to Jeogeot also encompass one of the earliest Mole builds – Pyri Peaks. It was designed to offer anearly attempt at an interactive adventure involving a storyline, a fun fair and a network of underground tunnels and chambers. It is a setting I wrote about in 2013  with Pyri Peaks: the mystery of the lost Moles (2013), and whilst it is perhaps a little long in the tooth by today’s building / design standards, it is good to see it folded-in to the new Linden Homes in a move that might encourage interest in this part of SL history.

Pyri Peaks: home of the Pyri Fun Fair and now within sight / reach of Linden Homes

Whilst there are still houses within Bellisseria yet to be released, just where any future new locations for the homes might go raises an interesting point to ponder. One doesn’t have to look too far west of Bellisseria to note the number of private regions lying in that direction, together with the likes of the recently-arrived SS Galaxy, the QA versions of the Shop’n’Hop regions as well as the actual shopping event regions.

While these latter regions might be relocated to provide a little more western room to expansion, it would seem the the eastern side offers a far better opportunity, although this runs the risk of sliding into the open space to the east of Jeogeot, which might eventually lead to that continent looking crowded-in and limit expansion somewhat. So, might the Linden seek to offer a new continent elsewhere at some point in 2020? If so, will it see further home types?

Campers and Trailers in the Linden Homes regions extension just off the coast of Jeogeot

Offering new styles of Linden Home certainly helps maintain interest – but it comes with a potential risk: new houses could encourage those with Linden Homes to vacate and rotate from type to type, making it difficult  / frustrating for others who have yet to claim a home and who want to get one of the newer styles (something that has already been the case).

That said, were I to be asked, and given the potential for a more “offshore” style development alongside Bellisseria, I’d love to see something along the lines of houses built along a network of canals, with each house having a modest boat house or mooring space within the parcel and suitable for a small boat or two. Admittedly, it would require careful design to provide a mix of houses, waterways and footpaths (rather than roads) to connect everything together (and likely require a fair number of bridges), but such a design could generate interest and provide something more unique in terms of layout and options.

There are still regions in Bellisseria awaiting release to user, such as this area of Traditional Homes, sitting in the hills overlooking the southern extension to the continent

I’m pretty sure others have ideas for what they’d like to see, if there are to be further Linden Home types – feel free to comment with ideas! I’m also sure the Lab has plans of their own in terms of house types, if more are to be offered. In the meantime, as noted, there are still numerous regions in Bellisseria and the southern extension still to be finished, and the LDPW are once again back at work to get them finished and available as part of the weekly release cycles.

Bellisserian Victorian Homes now available

The Victorian Linden Homes are now available

The team has been hard at work over the past several months putting together what we think is our most stunning release to date.

Nearly 1600 Victorian homes will launch this week, the majority of them happening today (Monday, 16 December, 2019). Plus another 500 coming before the end of the year!

– Patch Linden, Monday, December 16th, 2019

With these words, via a forum post, Patch Linden stirred up considerable excitement as the latest and newest type of Linden Home was made available in what is (for the time being at least) the “Bellisseria Southern Continent”. This is currently separated from the rest of Bellisseria by a region-wide channel of water, but the general landscaping and the design of the Bellisseria SSPE suggest / show both are to be connected at some point.

The Victorian Linden Homes are integrated with the Bellisseria railway

I previewed this new type of Linden Home in The “Victorian” Linden Homes theme and a chance to win one (December 5th, 2019). As with the previous releases, the Victorian comes in four styles, three of which offer 2 floors of accommodation (the Shelley, Hardy and Verne) with a single floor house rounding them out (the Doyle). All offer different external styles (although the Shelly and the Verne have a superficially similar turreted look) and individual interior layouts.

With the his announcement, Patch reveals this latest Type of Linden Home is integrated with the Bellisseria railway network – something I noted in Bellisseria extension: new homes theme takes shape(?). They also flow into the coastal area of the region – with some being surrounded by sand, rather than grass. However, and like the coastal Traditional Homes, they do not provide direct access to the waters in or around Bellisseria – such direct access remains unique to the Houseboats.

One of the public spaces within the Victorian Homes regions

Landscaping within the regions for the Victorian Homes is in keeping with the theme – gas street lamps, kerbed footpaths and cobbled (or at least brickwork) roads. Bridges within the regions are equally as distinctive, being somewhat hump-backed in form, while community facilities within public spaces offer influences the Victorians drew upon – such as Greco-Roman style architecture, as seen around the public pools and fountains.

In all, some 1600 Victorian Linden Homes were promised for release at the start of week #51, with a further 500 promised later in the week, together with a further 1600 Traditional Homes, Houseboats and Campers (in fact some of the Houseboats can be seen from the Victorian Homes already available).

Two of the new houses on their own little island, with a new batch of Houseboats beyond. Some 1600 new Houseboats, Traditional Homes and Trailers and Campers are due to be released in week #51 2019

As Patch notes, the Victorian theme is perhaps the most stunning Bellisseria Linden Homes release to date, and I’m looking forward to finding a rez zone and tootling along some of the railway lines. However, as nice as they are, the Victorian Homes – lacking as they do the direct water access, even when on the coast or along a river bank – won’t see me jumping to one from my Houseboat – at least, not just yet!

The New homes are available to Premium members via the Premium upgrade page / their Premium Linden Home page at secondlife.com. The same rules of abandonment and swapping apply as will all Linden Homes (you can swap up to 5 times in a 24 hour period), with house types listed subject to their availability¹.

The Victorian Type of Linden Homes and landscaping
  1. Note that at the time of writing, it had been requested that people avoid abandoning their homes due to a queuing issues – check the release forum thread for updates.

The “Victorian” Linden Homes theme and a chance to win one

 

Linden Reveal and the 4th new Linden Home theme

On Thursday, December 5th, Linden Lab unveiled the promised 4th theme of Premium Linden Homes that will soon be made available on the Bellisseria continent, alongside the existing Traditional, Houseboat and Trailers & Campers themes.

The preview has been made available as a part of the American Cancer Society  / Relay For Life of Second Life 2019 Christmas Expo, (and I’ll have an article on that event available shortly), with the preview also offering the chance for one Second Life user to win a special Premium Subscription / Linden Home auction package featuring one of these new homes.

The Shelley

The new theme is called “Victorian”, and as with previous releases of Linden Homes offers Premium members a choice of four individual house styles within each parcel, all selectable as required from the “mail box” fronting each parcel. As with the Traditional homes, this new theme features wooden-clad houses, with the styles as follows:

  • The Shelley: a two-floor Queen Anne style house, complete with circular turret and a covered porch on three sides of the house with rooms laid out in a 3 down, 2 up configuration.
  • The Doyle: the one single-storey home, offering four rooms.
  • The Hardy: a two-floor house that might be considered a folk-style house, offering a large front-to-back through room that could easily be split into two individual rooms, and two smaller rooms on the ground floor and three rooms upstairs.
  • The Verne: a two-storey house with an octagonal turret (were it complete on all sides) which is suggestive of Gothic Revival (but could also fall into Queen Anne), comprising two ground floor rooms (one of which could easily be split into two) and two rooms at the top of a circular staircase.
The Doyle

Those of a literary bent might also note the houses are named for period writers: Sir Percy Shelley, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy, and Jules Verne.

The preview region for the homes also gives a sense of the region layout that will accompany the theme (see Bellisseria extension: new homes theme takes shape(?) for more on the regions). Commenting on both the houses and the region layout, Patch noted:

I left the design and structure, floor plan choices to be faithful period reproductions based on the research done, and that even extends to the layout of the regions for the era.

– Patch Linden, describing the new theme to me.

The Hardy

There is currently no official release date for these new homes beyond Very Soon™ – a clue to their approaching availability might be when the regions see in the SSP continent are cloned at Bellisseria.

Note that these Victorian theme house are available within the current Premium subscription packages they are not anything to do with the Premium Plus subscription offering that will be coming in 2020.

Those who would like to both support the American Cancer Society and the RFL of SL 2019 Christmas Expo and win one of the new Victorian theme Linden Homes in a custom designed parcel can enter the One Of A Kind Linden Homes auction via the 2019 SL Christmas Expo website. The auction is open to Premium and Basic users, and the complete prize package comprises:

  • A 6-month Premium subscription package (the 6 months will be added to any existing membership for those who are already Premium).
  • A Victorian Themed house.
  • A parcel custom designed by the LDPW moles.

SLurl Details

Bellisseria extension: new homes theme takes shape(?)

What form might the upcoming Linden Homes theme take? We don’t yet know – but it would appear new regions in support of them are being developed / tested by the Lab

As those who follow the development of the “new” Linden Homes are already aware, a further theme is due to be previewed at the RFL SL Christmas Expo, and it appears that when released, this will take the form of a large-scale increase to Bellisseria’s southern extent.

This year Linden Lab, the Society’s partner in the fight against cancer, is joining the 9th Annual SL Christmas Expo. Not only will Linden Lab be decorating Linden homes as part of the Lights of Hope contest but the Expo will be the venue of the BIG REVEAL!  The long-anticipated ALL NEW Version 4 LINDEN HOMES will be UNVEILED at the Lights Of Hope!  Expo visitors will be treated with the newest premier member homes as well as some very VERY Special Linden surprises and incentives!

– from the announcement of the 9th SL Christmas Expo

The additional regions can be seen in the Bellisseria development / test SSP continent. If I’m honest, in their current form, that look like an artificial, rectangle-like bolt-on to the more organic form of the original continent – but this may well change as the new expansion grows over time. It this, it has something of the “bolt-on” feel of the original Houseboat expansion.

The new Linden Homes SSP extension regions

What’s interesting about the new extension, however, are the individual parcels. These are somewhat different to those seen with the Traditional Homes and Houseboats. Also, whereas the Traditional Homes sit alongside what are clearly roads, the profiles of the houses in the extension regions not only have a different outline, that also appear to be built around a different style of road / footpath.

Nor is that all. The south extent of the existing regions of Bellisseria show the continent’s railway line passing through a cutting in the mountains and onward into the new regions.

The Traditional Homes parcels in Bellisseria (l) compared with a parcel from the extension – note the different house profiles and road / footpath elements

The extension of the railway lines tends to demonstrate that – as promised – they will be a prominent feature of the continent and the new Linden Home theme. On the flip side, the new regions do not appear to include Houseboats – which might disappoint some – but they do appear to offer beach houses and island homes.

In his SL16B Meet the Lindens session, Patch Linden indicated that there are likely to be commercial opportunities arising in Bellisseria – at the time suggesting one of these opportunities might come with the Trailers and Campers. Such opportunities have yet to appear, and whether or not they will as a part of the eventual deployment of the new Bellisseria extension (whenever that happens) remains to be seen.

Within the development / test regions, the Bellisseria railway lines appear to be a core part of the new extension’s infrastructure

Another point of interest with the SSP development regions is the demarcation of a series of SSPXT regions (located to the east of the main continent and shown in teal or green). It’s not clear what these are to be, but one guess is perhaps the green regions will be shaped into outlying islands, and the teal regions might form some kind of archipelago. Then again, they might be something else entirely – time will tell as to whether they stay and are developed (and become clearer) or not.

In the meantime, and beyond the promise of previewing them at the 2019 SL Christmas Expo, it’s not clear when the new Linden Homes theme will become available – but doubtless, many are watching the SSP development regions with interest. However, those wishing to obtain one of the new homes – whether Premium or not – might want to enter the Christmas Expo’s One Of A Kind (OOAK) auction – on offer is a 6-month Premium subscription and one of these new Linden Homes provided on a specially designed parcel, and with extras. See EPIC OOAK Linden Home Auction @ 2019 SL Christmas Expo for more on this.

More hopping through Bellisseria

Everfaire Coffee Shop, Bellisseria

Back in May 2019, I produced a piece called On the Road in Bellisseria. At the time, it was intended to be the first in a series of “road tours” around the continent to various public places that form a part of the continent, and also a look at some of the public facilities – pubs, cafés, galleries, show homes, etc., that have been opened by Bellisseria residents.

For a variety of reasons, that idea didn’t go as planned, and given Bellisseria is a dynamic place, constantly growing in terms of physical size and population, offering a road tour isn’t easy. So instead, here’s a short list of places I’ve dropped into of late that might be of interest to those wanting to take a hop around the continent.

Many of the public places provided as a part of Bellisseria  – the Fairgrounds, for example,or Campwich Lodge, added with the arrival of the Trailers and Campers and the Bellisseria railway lines (see: Bellisseria: of Trailers, Campers and trains in Second Life) and original airstrip, together with the various bars, pool, beaches and undersea spots – are all reasonably well-known, so I’m again focusing on a handful of resident-provided spots.

Picards Wharf contains one of several undersea sites around Bellisseria, this one comprising the ruins of a sunken lighthouse in two parts, with accompanying undersea caverns (seen in the background)

These are perhaps a little harder to keep track of, simply because people have the freedom of choice with their Linden Home styles, that they can easily swap designs and purposes – so a house that might be a café for a time might later be switched back to being a cosy home, whilst a houseboat might switch from home to gallery and back again, depending on the owner’s desires. Nevertheless, the following were all current at the time of writing.

For art, two places in particular come into mind. There is Diamond Marchant’s Beckridge Gallery, and Ladmilla’s Gallery, which might be regarded as a “branch” of her much larger gallery, THE EDGE.

Ladmilla’s Gallery

Both galleries offer slightly different approaches to displaying art, with Beckridge offering a more “gallery” style environment at the time of my original visit (see: Celebrating Apollo 11 in Second Life and Sansar), where the focus is on the art, with minimal emphasis on furnishings. Ladmilla’s offers a more studio style of gallery, where her own work – including some of her images-with-poems, produced in collaboration with her SL partner, Eli Medier – is displayed in comfy settings with sofas and armchairs. Other galleries within the continent include The Little Gallery (RuffertasAlt), and Bellisseria Squirrel (Halo Rain).

Those seeking café or pub-style environments might be interested in Cain Wycliffe’s Bellis Blues Café. Taking full advantage of Chic Aeon’s add-on elements specifically for Linden Homes, Bellis Blues is presented as the continent’s only Blue-oriented café / club, and features regular events on Tuesdays (10:00 – noon SLT), Fridays (14:00-16:00 SLT) and Saturdays (20:00-22:00 SLT).

Bellis Blues Café

Staying with the café theme, those exploring the Trailer and Campers regions by train, truck or (most enjoyably) horseback might want to drop-in to Mitchel Torok’s Mitch’s Hideaway, a place that demonstrates just how versatile the trailer homes can be. An added attraction at the hideaway is the inclusion of a Teaglepet Animesh horse rezzer, allowing visitors to take a horseback ride on a choice of mounts – just remember to turn off your own AO!

Other cafés and pubs I’ve enjoyed dropping into are Soulgoodie’s Everfaire Coffee Shop and the Queen’s Head pub, run by North Crannock, one of the driving forces in the Bellisseria Citizen’s group, and which is modelled on an English country pub. A point to note when visiting resident created public places is that some may also include bicycle rezzers, giving visitors the opportunity to take a ride through the streets and along the paths of Bellisseria.

Mitch’s Hideaway

Further places of interest within Bellisseria include the The Drowned Mouse Arcade for video games, Jupiter Projects, promising “a series of limited engagement interactive environments” and the Pearl Dreams Business Compound, offering a “Surf Shack Café & Bakery, with Chopper Tours” and other elements. I can’t really vouch for any of these or how active they might, be as I’ve only paid them very brief visits courtesy of a landmark list provided by PrudenceAnton.

As with my previous piece on places to visit in Bellisseria, this article is hardly complete – and as noted, places may change purposes over time. However, whether you have property in Bellisseria and want to explore more or are simply curious about paying the continent a visit and looking around, hopefully what is listed here might help you. Those interested in events in Bellisseria might want to take a poke at the Bellisseria Citizen’s Group, which is free to join.

The growth of Bellisseria

Pootling through some of the new Bellisseria continent regions by rail

It’s been a few months since I last wrote about Bellisseria, the Linden Homes continent. At that time, the trailers and campers selection of homes had just been deployed – and proven as popular as the Traditional homes and Houseboat ranges before them.

Since that time, as has been reported elsewhere, the continent has been expanded with a lot of new regions slotting into the southern side to fill out much of the “missing parts” when compared to the SSPE “test continent” used to initially develop Bellisseria’s layout.

These new regions have dropped into Bellisseria fairly close to where my houseboat is located, and I’ve tended to take the occasional look at them as things have been under development (see A little Culprit Moonwalking in Second Life, for example). However, as this a is quiet Monday, I decided to drop in to the regions at a time when I’m unlikely to get in the way of the Linden Department of Public Works (LPDW) as they continue to build-out the regions with everything from landscaping though flora and infrastructure to the Linden Homes themselves.

The new regions bring together a mix of Houseboats, Traditional houses and Trailers and Campers

The majority of the regions continue with the current themes of Traditional, Houseboat and Trailers and Campers homes. This means – on the surface –  that the new regions could be dismissed as “more of the same”, but as my Monday trip through some of them – by rail and horse – shows that while they may contain the same types of houses, they have their own unique character and look.

Take, for example, the Bellisseria railway. While this was introduced with the release of the Trailers and Campers, the extension to the continent illustrates it in not to be restricted to regions containing these types of Linden Home – as has been hoped would be the case. Within the new regions, the tracks pass from “camping” regions into Traditional homes regions, and back into “camping” regions once more. Along the way the tracks also branch for what I think is the first time, presenting two potential rail routes through the regions, and one of the new Traditional homes regions has markings for what might be a more substantial station than seen elsewhere (or at least one directly served by road).

The new regions see the Bellisseria rail lines extend into Traditional house regions

Given the continued popularity of the Houseboat styles, it comes as no surprise that the coastal regions offer more moorings for houseboats – some of which have already been populated. But again in what might be an interesting turn where popularity is concerned, the new regions offer an extensive reach of the camping parcels along the coast, presenting people who like the Campers and Trailers with the opportunity to enjoy coastal living, rather than being restricted to just the banks of inland waterways and lakes.

The new regions also offer the first real “blending” of Camper and Trailer regions and Traditional House regions. Until now, the boundaries of the two have tended to be denoted by water. With these new regions, the two types of Linden homes draw together more naturally, sometimes with just low mounds between them, sometimes abutting almost seamlessly.

Trailers and Campers move to being along the coast with the new regions

There are perhaps one or two little things that it would be nice to see. The rail tracks for example run through the regions, passing Campers and Trailer and houses alike running over and under bridges and through deep cuttings; but there are are no tunnels – it would be nice to see one or two in the more hilly areas.

Similarly, while the Traditional house regions and the Trailer and Camper regions do more directly abut one another, the roads of the Traditional house regions and the tracks of the Camper and Trailer regions never actually come together; rather they each end abruptly with a stretch of grass between them, it would be nice to a a more natural joining, asphalt gradually giving way to a narrower, rutted track, for example. Or at least have a fence and (open) gate between them, rather than curbstones, footpath and pristine-looking grass.

Food for thought for Linden Lab, perhaps?