A look at the new Belli Rub – I mean BelliHub – in Second Life

BelliHub landing area and new user tutorial

On Wednesday, April 19th, Linden Lab announced the launch of BelliHub and New User Tutorial regions – a new location within the Linden Homes Continent, open to all, which is intended to – quoting from Patch Linden’s forum post – provide:

A place where they can go to find information regarding Bellisseria, meet up with residents living in Bellisseria and have all of their questions answered. BelliHub features:
  • Information: Links to pages with details on things like how to get a home, Premium membership, using the land tools, the Bellisseria covenant, etc.
  • Bellisseria Events Centre: where members of the Bellisseria Performers Group can mark their events on the calendar for all to see.
  • Demo Homes: Finally a place where residents can rez and walk around all of the currently released home themes and models.
  • Hangout: A games area for residents to hang out and interact.
The BelliHub and BelliDemo regions are a resource for everyone who wants to help prospective new Linden Home owners, or just hang out and discuss all things Bellisseria.

– Patch Linden, April 19th, 2023

BelliHub: Linden Homes demo area

I will admit to reading the place name as “Belli RUB” at first glance, hence the title of this piece – I just couldn’t resist; however, the write-up and the Destination Guide entry left me curious enough to hop along and take a look just as soon as Fantasy Faire and completing setting-up my new PC allowed.

Sitting as a part of the New User Experience (NUX), BelliHub shares elements first seen at the new Welcome Islands I explored back in July 2021 to provide a tutorial area for new users and an introduction to Premium subscriptions, Bellisseria and Linden Homes. In particular, the kiosk-style approach to information areas seen within the Welcome Islands is repeated here, together with the garden-like layout and footpaths meandering between the different locales. However – and while I have not been back to the Welcome Islands to see how things may have changed since 2021 (makes a note to try to do soon in the near future), there are improvements here over that layout as originally reported.

Signage, for example, is much improved and less in-yer-face, giving progress through the various areas a more relaxed feel. Outside of the initial tutorial area / landing point, people are invited to touch the various signs to receive information, rather than having it shouted at them by detailed signs which can feel a little overwhelming. And talking of prior Welcome / Learning Islands, those with particularly long memories might want to to give a gentle pat on the head to the parrot at the Communications area, as he once again offers a call back to the Orientation Islands of old (all we need now is the old ball-and-table – which I think I’ve said at least once before!).

BelliHub new user tutorial
Progress is also assisted by the use of blue directional lines laid out along the footpaths, giving a needed sense of order to progress. In the 2021 version of the Welcome Islands, learning was a little more random as people could wander past kiosks without necessarily taking notice of them; here, the trails lead directly to the kiosks and through the areas to which they are linked, encouraging attention be paid to the information boards without any sense of being led by the nose.

Very good use is made of video media throughout as well – complete with auto-detect volumes which trigger videos when someone crosses them / stands on them (instructions are also provided on toggling video media manually in the viewer). The videos range from those produced specifically for the NUX (hi, Abnor!) to videos produced as a part of the Lab’s Second Life University series.

The path around the hub eventually reaches a gateway titled Bellisseria, after passing a Landmarks area where those who wish to do so can continue their explorations elsewhere in Second Life. The archway marks the end of the the “basic orientation” section of the hub, and the focus turns to the ideas of land holding – both Mainland and Private – and on Premium options, with links (including a globe of the Second Life world where those wishing to do so can upgrade to a Premium subscription (the globe itself a further link to the Welcome Islands).

BelliHub: Linden Homes demo area

Given the title on the arch of the gateway, it should come as no surprise that beyond it is a focus on All Things Bellisseria including an events area which includes the ability to book the various community centres for an event by Bellisseria residents (click on the name of any community centre to open the World Map to teleport to it). I’ll admit, reading one of the calendars, I was a little concerned that the last time Abnor Mole ate anything appears to have been April 13th…); and information on the Bellisseria Covenant and what is or is not allowed in the Bellisseria continent. Beyond this, the path ends at a Where Next? kiosk with a link to the Destination Guide and some further focus. Alongside of this end-point is a small dock where a sailboat can be rezzed for those wishing to take to the water: a nice touch.

North of the tutorials / information area and within a second region, and a looped path offering the chance to visit demos of the released Linden Home themes. Visitors can either walk the path or grab a bicycle from the rezzer at the start point and ride around the path. Again, in a nice touch, the house controllers for the demos are open to the public, allowing people to view the different styles of the various themes. Just keep in mind that if you use a bicycle from the rezzer and opt to hop off to look at a house, the bike will poof.

For those looking for a little socialising, BelliHub offers a number of seating areas, some of which also include the opportunity to play chess or draughts, whilst the beach adjoining the tutorial area also offers beach volleyball, 10-pin bowling and other activities.

BelliHub new user tutorial

Overall, the BelliHub is well designed and considered, presenting an engaging and interesting visit for established and curious established Second Life residents as well as those coming into SL who might be directed to it, whilst for those who have invested themselves in Bellisseria and its various communities, it offers a further opportunity to socialise and – possibly – meet and help incoming new users to Second Life.

SLurl Details

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?

Visiting the Sakura Linden Home regions in Second Life

Sakura Linden Homes – Shobu Community Centre, May 2022

On Monday, May 16th, just a month after their preview, Linden Lab released the Sakura Linden Homes theme for Premium subscribers. Thanks to the prior April preview, I’ve already offered something of an overview and thoughts on the house designs within Linden Homes: Asian theme in Second Life, so what follows is a very brief recap on them, followed by more of a look at the Sakura regions as a whole, and my thoughts on now having seen the regions.

Overall, the theme is offered with both 1024 sq m and 512 sq m parcels, with a total of 8 house designs split between 4 styles (each style having two versions, one with multiple rooms, the other with fewer rooms and something of a more open-plan feel). Some of the designs are specific to the 1024 sq m parcel size, but the smaller designs are available on both 1024 and 512 sq m parcels.

Sakura Linden Homes Theme with Mount Soji on the horizon

The houses are predominantly single-floor units, with only the Himawari / Haibisukasu (available on both 512 sq and 1024 sq m parcels) and the Kaneshon / Kuchinashi (available on 1024 sq m parcels only) having upper floors.

By default the outer walls of all the designs have been given stucco / plaster finish, and all have the typical steep tiled roofs we in the west identify with this style of house. The majority of doors are of the sliding variety, either fully glazed and set between glazed window panels, or for a degree of privacy between rooms, may be opaquely screened. I assume they include the same decorating options found in the more recent Linden home releases.

Sakura Linden Homes – Shobu Community Centre, May 2022

I confess that on first seeing the house designs, I couldn’t help be feel the variants with multiple rooms tended to feel as if their interior spaces were a little cramped and in places awkward. Some of the designs still leave me felling that way, but I confess to have changed my mind somewhat on others – the Shion, for example, with its central “courtyard” potentially offers a lot of opportunities for the imaginative interior designer.

The Sakura regions offer a mix of roads and waterways running through the regions, with the houses arranged in informal “blocks” between them such that the majority of properties either face onto either a road or waterway (and in some cases both), even if they don’t provide fully open access to due to a strip / belt of intervening protected land. The roads are similar in nature to those within the Newbrooke theme regions and cross the waterways using relatively low bridges (compared to some other bridge designs seen across Bellisseria), potentially limiting the waterways to smaller water vehicles – which as actually no bad thing; who really wants a honking great cruiser crowding its way inland?

Sakura Linden Homes, May 2022

As I noted with my preview piece, the waterways all have their own footpaths running alongside them, giving them something of a canal-like feel and offering the opportunity for waterside walks. Garden spaces both on land and on the water in places), ponds and copses help to break up the houses and provide a sense of space, while both roads and waterways have periodic rez zones for vehicles. A nice touch with some of the roads is that, rather than ending short of a waterway, they actually slope down into the water quite handy if you have an amphibious road vehicle or wish to drive your boat to the water on a trailer!

However, the most attractive parts of the Sakura theme come in the presence of Mount Soji and the Shobu community centre and surrounding gardens.

Sakura Linden Homes – Shobu Community Centre railway station, May 2022
Mount Soji, seen in most of the images here, is a four-region snow-capped peak that bears something of a resemblance to Mount Fuji. It’s defined as a park, but could perhaps do with a little more flora around its lower slopes (LI allowing) – which I hope will come, as it does make for an eye-catching backdrop, one that is quite unique among the Linden Homes regions.

Shobu, meanwhile, is perhaps the most attractive community centre yet provided for a Linden Homes theme – and I’m speaking as someone who really likes the Fantasy theme community centre. It presents a marvellous mix of gardens, waterways, footpaths (complete with Torii gates), places to sit, places to meditate, water gardens and features, trees, and its own railway station (although the tracks don’t, as yet, run very far).

Sakura Linden Homes, May 2022

Within all this, the community centre itself sits as a grand, modern take on a feudal palace of old, complete with its own waterway sitting within cloister-like covered walkways. Shoji-style lanterns light the large, airy rooms inside the centre whilst stairways within either wing of the centre provide access to two rooftop spaces.

Approachable by road or water (or, eventually, I assume, rail), it’s a superbly considered design; the surrounding gardens offering an engaging series of walks. And, having been built as a part of the initial development of the theme, it very much sits at the heart of it, rather than feeling a little pushed to one side, as has been the case with the community centres for some Linden Home themes.

Sakura Linden Homes – Shobu Community Centre, May 2022

Taken as a whole, the Sakura theme – allowing for the caveat on room sizes in some of the designs (which in fairness applies to some of the other themes, such as Newbrooke and Victorian, IMHO) – is one of the more visually engaging and attractive Linden Home environments, particularly with this initial release built around Mount Soji and the Shobu Community Centre. So much so, that I’m actually tempted to make the jump from Newbrooke!

SLurl Details

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.

SLurl Details

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?

A further look at the Newbrooke Linden Homes Theme

Newbrooke – Coniston rear view

On Thursday, March 3rd, Linden Lab released the Newbrooke theme of Premium Membership Linden homes, which I’d previously previewed in December 2021, and took another quick look at the release just after it was announced.

As noted in the latter of the above two articles, the preview was very quickly withdrawn for “updates” – although I could (on the surface at least) see what was different between the release versions and those in the preview. Anyway, for only the third time since Bellisseria – the “home continent” for Linden Homes started rolling out, the new designs were enough to encourage me to make the move (I’ve previously held a houseboat – which I personally feel is still the best of the themes when it comes to making something of a unique mini-home in SL, as they offer the broadest opportunities for modding their interiors with additional walls, floors, etc., – and a Stilt Home.

The “good” points about these houses are the fact they are very light and airy – a lot of windows, and a good set of variants in overall style; the mix of houses sized for a 512sq m parcel sitting on a 1024 sq m parcel offers plenty of exterior scope – and some are already starting to take advantage of that. As well as the various house styles, these home come with there own contents pack, which includes a range of furnishings (indoor and out), all very basic and nothing to write home about; together with plants and planets and things like additional wall / fence panels for those who wish to either add a boundary to their land or do something else with them (patio walls, exterior dividers, etc.).

One thing that did strike me as new – although not having held a Chalet theme home and not being a regular on the SL forums, I’ve no idea if this is new to the Newbrooke Theme, or first surfaced with the Chalets – is the updated means of changing the colours of the interior walls directly through the use of RGB codes or the use of a colour picker HUD in addition to the usual selection of colour presets presented by a dialogue box.

The personal colour options for re-tinting the internal wall of the rooms in each house style

As with the pre-sets, the custom colours option works on a per-room basis, and is accessed via the My Colors button in the dialogue displayed by the house controller panel. For those with Linden Homes who have not previously seen this, the image above provides an overview.  The only addition is that when you click the Type <RGB> button, an input dialogue is displayed, requesting the desired RGB values.

Obtaining one of the homes also gave me a light bulb moment as to why these have been referred to as “container homes”. This is because as well as changing the exterior wall colours (as per other Linden Homes I’m familiar with through ownership) you can change the appearance to the finish of some of the wall elements – which I think is new with this release as an option. The three choices are: stucco (default on rezzing), wood, and metal (hence “container”).

I have to admit that while an interesting ability, I found both the wood and metal finishes a little two “bleah” for my tastes; to my eyes the panels of the forms looks to be too big and the materials finish overblown, and the metal just made the place look weird. As with all the exterior options – colour changing for the brickwork, etc., – these three options are available as presets on the house control dialogue menus.

The three exterior finishes (brickwork is also moddable, but not changed in these images): top – stucco; middle – wood; bottom – metal

After having spent the better part of a day trying to find the best “fit” with the Newbrooke styles (all eight of them), I settled on the Coniston, a 1024 sq m design as initially best suiting my needs – although I am also swayed towards the Heaton as well.

With its large central through-room, the Coniston offered me plenty of space for a living area, display cabinets and a fireplace – and one of my grand pianos. Similarly the second through-room provides a good amount of space for a kitchen and dining area. That said I have to admit to finding some of the rooms in most of the designs to being cramped.

The main room of the Newbrooke – admittedly re-floored

Within the Coniston, for the example, the smallest room looks to make an ideal bathroom – except that when it came to furnishing it, I found myself hearing the imaginary voice of an estate agent (realtor) saying, “Now this is the bathroom. As you can see, there’s room for a toilet and either a vanity unit or a bath…”  While I got things fitted, I did find myself wondering if part of the room size “problem” is down to camera positioning, and the difference between the official viewer’s default and the adjusted, over-the-shoulder views most seasoned users employ, and which can result in cameras ending up on the wrong side of walls in small rooms.

Another slight issue for me with these houses is the use of materials – not that I have anything against materials; it’s just that in places, these do seem overly pronounced  – such as the floorboards, the individual planks of which struck my as looking either poorly laid or poorly finished. Of course, this is somewhat including with the “Contain homes” aspect of the theme – but it would have been nice to have something a little more – graceful – as an option. As it is, I opted to lay my own floors, which can be seen in the images here.

The kitchen with a personal flooring and a divider originally created for the Windlass Houseboat

As is to be expected with a new release of Linden Homes, creators are already busy producing add-on kits for the various styles of Newbrooke homes – and doubtless more will be added in time. However, these are house than anyone with a modicum of building capability can have fun playing with.

But enough for now; suffice it to say, the Newbrooke homes do have a lot going for them, and I’ll likely retain mine for a while, and will likely have a play with at least the Heaton style as well!