Modding a Linden Stilt Home

My Linden Stilt Home on an evening …

One of the things I like doing in SL is messing around with houses and homes, kitbashing and modding – as I’ve often yabbered on about in these pages. This fiddling has also included those Linden Homes I’ve utilised, again as I’ve tended to record here as well, as a part of my general coverage of Linden Homes in general.

I currently have an over-the-water Stilt Home, to which I applied a modest amount of modding to produce something a little more individual. However, the release of the Chalet style of Linden Home with its open-plan variants of each house style got me thinking about doing something more extensive by way of mods,  notably with the Tortuga style of Stilt Home, the single-floor, largely open-plan layout of which just cries out to be played with.

So, over the past couple of days I’ve been fiddling around with ideas and looking at what might be done with the design.

Now of course, given the time the Stilt Homes have been out and available, there are likely a lot of conversion / add-on / bolt-on kits for this Theme that can be had through the Marketplace – just as there are for the Houseboats, et al – and these can provide the easiest solution. But fiddling for yourself can result in something far more personal, particularly if, like me, you having a rezzing system such as Ydille’s Multi Scene Rezzer & Multi Scene Erazer Pro V5 (reviewed here) in which to store your layouts so you can swap back and forth between them whenever you wish.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Tortuga Stilt Home is a single-floor design, with a large primary room and single separate room to the front. That large room, split somewhat by a rectangular arch is simply ideal for modding. In fact, that’s where I started: putting in a “proper” dividing wall and door within the existing arch.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

However, rather than put in a solid wall, which would look odd given the wooden trim around the archway, I opted to put in two wood-framed windows and matching sliding door. To achieve this, I used the 2 x 6  windowsfrom the ER Sunroom Windows Mesh Multipane kit by Ecko Riven (EckoRiven). At L$200 full permissions, this is an excellent and flexible builder’s kit that I’ve used in a number of my own conversions and scratch-builds. These I rotated through 90° to stand them vertically, with a third offset to form the central sliding door for which I wrote a simple script – if you’re not up to doing so yourself, take a look on the Marketplace, there’s bound to be a script there that will work for you.

With the “window” sections linked, a simple room divider of this nature weighs-in at just 3LI. And as a side note, given the additional doors provided by LL for use with the Stilt Homes come in at 3 LI apiece, I opted to duplicate my “sliding door” and use it for the single additional room in the Tortuga, changing the “glass” texture on it for something more “frosted” as I use that room as a bathroom. So, for 1 LI more than a supplied Stilt Home door, I gained a room divider and two doors.

As I said, a simple solution, splitting the Tortuga along obvious lines to provide a large “main” room space and a “bedroom” space. But for me it was just the start – the “main” room still felt a little too big, so I opted to split that as well.

Again, this was most easily done by following the shape of the house. With it’s “stepped” design around the front door, it’s easy to put in additional walls to create a “vestibule” area between the front door and the rest of the house. So as not to have this feel too claustrophobic, I extended 2 solid walls part-way across the space, then created a rectangular archway in the same style of the one built-in to the house. This allowed me to again add elements from the ER Sunroom Windows kit to keep things feeling somewhat open between “vestibule” and main room, particularly as I didn’t add a door.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With the divider mentioned above linked to the new wall sections, I’d taken what was effectively a 2-room house and split it into a 4-room space.

From here it was just a matter of adding wall décor and other bits to the basic layout to give a more homely feel. Things like rugs, pictures on the wall, light fittings, and so on – even the fireplace – were all  carefully linked into the overall design, helping to reduce the overall LI (see the notes at the end of Modding a house in Second Life: tips and pointers for info on what to look for when linking items like this if you’re unfamiliar with the technique, and what to avoid).

With an exterior chimney added to the exterior and in line with the fireplace, I had a complete interior for the house at 42 LI, sans actual furniture and kitchen fittings, but including a lighting system that follows the parcel’s EEP Day Cycle. The completed space offers a vestibule (which I used as a “home office”), a large open-plane lounge / kitchen / dining space in the main room, and a good-sized bedroom space.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nor is this the only option.

For example, if you’d like to keep more of the open plan feel to the house and don’t mind having a smaller bedroom, you can put a divider across the smaller section at the back of the house, creating a bedroom space that still has access to the rear deck, thus leaving you with a through room, allowing you have a separate kitchen, if you prefer or whatever else takes your fancy (in My case, room for my baby grand piano!).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You could even, if you wanted, split this part of the Tortuga two ways, to provide an additional room between the “bedroom” and “bathroom” (if that’s how you use them) – but to me, this felt again very claustrophobic and can can leave the camera on the wrong side of one of the added walls / dividers.

I’ve admittedly not looked at the other Stilt Home styles to see just how amenable their interiors are to a similar degree of customisation – but I doubt the Santiago really gives much scope given its interior design, whilst both the Lauderdale and Havana both off some room for fiddling in the larger ground from room found in each. I might get around to having a play at some point, but to be honest, I think the Tortuga really is the most flexible of the four styles for those who like playing with things.

Possibly Useful Links

Lab announces Linden Homes Chalet Theme released

The Linden Home Chalet Theme and a public space

Tuesday, March 30th saw Patch Linden announce the release of the Chalet style of Linden Homes for Premium members.

First unveiled in December 2020, this latest style of Linden Home has something of an Alpine edge to it, with the official forum post noting:

Chalet theme homes are modelled after stylized European alpine wood-timbered houses (fachwerkhaus), of a type that you might expect to find in mountains of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, or northern Italy. These are not rustic buildings, but contemporary homes ready for 21st century living.
The Linden Home Chalet Theme and a public space

As with the majority of the Linden Homes releases, these houses come with 1024 sq metre parcels (only the Campers and Trailers have thus far diverted from this footprint size). However, unlike previous Home releases, there are effectively eight variants that are available for rezzing, something Patch originally indicated to me when I previewed the theme back in December.

In short, the the chalets come in four exterior styles, each one of which is offered with either a “complete” set of rooms, or an “open plan” layout with minimal pre-built internal walls. The latter is intended to offer those who like designing their homes more flexibly with interior design. Each of the eight variants is distinguished by a unique name:

  • Matterhorn: 2 large ground floor rooms, linked by a rear hallway with back door, and a central front hallway / reception area with stairs to the upper floor. This has two large rooms, one with gabled windows to the front and rear, the other with large windows to one side aspect.
    • Moritzburg: open plan version of the Matterhorn: fully open plan on the lower floor other than three walls supporting the central stairway. A single separate upper floor room with large open-plan space at the top of the stairs.
  • Alpenrose: a two-storey house with offset front entrance with vestibule, three ground floor rooms, one with a side door to the garden. Stairs from the entrance hall provide access to three upstairs rooms, each with windows to a side aspect and either the front or rear.
    • Albus: open-plan version of the Alpenrose, featuring a single large lower-floor area partially divided by a stairway supporting wall. Two upper floor rooms, one with door door access from the stairs.
Linden Homes Chalet Theme – the path and road leading to an inebriated rodent 🙂
  • Reizend: a single-storey cottage-style chalet with two open-plan rooms, the front porch opening directly into one of them, with doorways serving the remaining two rooms.
    •  Ravensburg: open-plan version of the Reizend offering a single individual room and a large open-plan space combining the remaining three, with partial dividing walls.
  • Edelweiss: a two-storey house with front entrance to one side serving the stairs to the upper floor and giving access to the single open-plan ground floor room, which also includes a side door to the garden. A landing upstairs provides access to two bedrooms, each with widows to a front or rear aspect, and to the side aspects of the house.
    • Eikelen: open-plan version of the Edelweiss with the same ground-floor design, with and open-plan, door-less approach to the upper floor spaces.

The setting for the Chalets isn’t “Alpine” mountainous, but it is ruggedly hilly with plenty of changes in elevation that keep the landscape rolling. The roods are paved, with rez zones (where available) clearly marked. The footpaths are finished in red brick and a nice contrast to the concrete road surface, while the coniferous flora helps with the higher altitude feel to the regions.

Die Betrunkene Maus

Those who visited the demo region back in December may recall it featuring a windmill – and several examples are scattered about the new Chalet regions, together with open public spaces with parasol shaded seating. Those fancying a more noisy time out might try a visit to Die Betrunkene Maus (“The Drunken Mouse”), the new community centre and hostelry for the Chalets. When I dropped in, Xeno Mole was suitably attired in a feathered cap and giving it a bit of wellie on an accordion.

With the regions stretching up to Satori, the Chalet homes form the bridge between that continent and Bellisseria, forming the much requested contiguous access to the major southern continents – Satori, Sansara, and Jeogeot, with Bellisseria sitting in the middle.

The Chalets and their regions are an attractive addition to the Linden Homes range – each iteration of the homes tends to be an evolution, and I particularly like the idea of adding open-plan variants of designs into the mix – hopefully we’ll see more of this in the remaining themes that will be appearing through the year.

Linden Homes Chalet Theme

But that said, I have to admit these aren’t for me – although I’ve nothing against the theme or style. It’s just that it took me a fair while to finally make the jump from a Houseboat to a Stilt Home, so I’m not about to leap elsewhere!

As with other Linden Homes, the Chalets can be obtained by Premium account holders through their secondlife.com dashboard and the Linden Homes page available from it. Those who do fancy one of the Chalets are asked to note the following request from Patch:

As a general reminder and to help facilitate the release process, please do not play “game of homes” by taking and releasing homes during the initial phases of launch. Also it is extremely helpful to refrain from rapidly switching through different home styles to give the regions time to settle and not overload the back-end systems.
We hope everyone enjoys the latest additions to the Belliseria continent and community!

Name Changes: new last names released

© Linden Lab

On Thursday, February 11th, Linden Lab announced the release of a new selection of last names for Premium members as a part of the Name Changes capability.

As with other updates to the last names list, the release comes with the retirement of a number of the less popular names that had been on the list. The update also come on the heels of Keira Linden indicating during the February 2021 Web User Group meeting that the Lab were hoping to get some new names out in readiness for Valentines Day – and some of the new options could be said to reflect this.

Absinthe – Amore – Aviator – Blackwood – Bunny – Caboose – Dakota – Darkheart –  Evergarden
– Incognito – Knickers – Nebula – Orlando – Suki  – Venus

Of these, Amore, Venus, Suki (to like / have a fondness for) and Darkheart also appear to have the promised Valentine lean – and Darkheart itself was suggested at the Web User Group. All the rest are a more general mix, although I confess to finding Knickers and Caboose raising a smile, given their relationship to underwear and the human rear end – as such, a part of me is anticipating some more …. imaginative … pairings of these two names with first names!

Up until now, changes to the list of available names has been somewhat infrequent – this is only the second update to the list since the capability was introduced in April 2020. However during the Web User Group meeting, Keira further indicated that the Lab would like to issue updates somewhat more regularly – although how regularly had still to be determined.

In terms of how names are selected for addition to the list, this appears to be through the use of two main sources: names selected from the entries received during the 2019 Last Names competition (which saw several thousand suggested names submitted), and names selected by the Lab. Future lists might also see “normal” last names from the physical world added to the list, whilst there has been a suggestion that there has been some debate within the Lab  about returning legacy last names to the mix, which had previously been rued out.

About Name Changes

Name Changes is a Premium-only benefit that allows Premium subscribers to change their first name, their last name or both their first and last name on the payment of fee (US $39.99 + VAT  / sales tax, where applicable at the time of writing). Through it, users can opt to use any first name of their own choice, while last names are selected from a pre-defined list.

If you are unfamiliar with the capability, you can read more via the following links:

A personal look at the Linden Stilt Homes in Second Life

My over-the-water Stilt Home parcel at Bellisseria, with the Tortuga style house rezzed and furnished

Back when I previewed the Linden Homes Stilt House theme, and again when the theme was released at the end of 2020, I mentioned it was the first theme that might tempt me away from the Houseboat theme, which has tended to always win-out against the subsequent Linden Home releases in terms of desirability.

While swapping homes wasn’t high on my priority list, I have to admit that the temptation to just give the Stilt Homes a try had been growing over the Christmas break. And so, while it did cause no small amount of anxiety – my Houseboat location was really very good – at the start of the week, I decided to make the swap, trying for an over-the-water Stilt Home.

Obtaining one took a little time – Stilt Homes-are obviously popular, being new, and the over-the-water version particularly so (Stilt Homes are offered individually as over-the-water; with pier or on land variants on the Linden Homes selection page). But careful refreshing within the page throttle limit meant I was able to eventually pick one up.

My Linden Stilt Home parcel with the Havana style house with moorings I’ve added myself

When previewing the houses, I had been somewhat swayed towards the two-storey designs (Lauderdale and Santiago). However, after re-familiarising myself with all four styles, I actually found the Havana and Tortuga better suited to my tastes, providing the best value (in my view) between living space and available water in the parcel for mooring boats, and betted options for interior customisation, having very good sized rooms (the Tortuga in particular).

Both styles are 3-roomed designs, with the Tortuga offering the slightly greater interior space in the form of two large through-rooms and a smaller room, while the Havana presents a central front-to-back through room flanked by a smaller room on either side. Both designs have a large, split-level rear deck that gives plenty of scope for sun decks and moorings.

Havana interior: the main room gives plenty of room for expression

While I cannot compare it directly with  Camper / Trailer, Victorian or Log Home themes, the Content Creation Pack for the Stilt Homes offers a somewhat greater range of options than the pack for the Houseboats, with furniture plants, textures, useful colour matching guides and other little goodies than might be put to good use. I was a little disappointed no corner posts were offered to go with the additional deck railings, or that there was no bi-fold door that might be used to split the Tortuga’s two through-rooms, but these are not exactly hard-to-overcome “shortfalls”.

Although there are already add-on kits for the Stilt Homes a-plenty on the Marketplace, I much prefer building / kitbashing, and the Tortuga with its big rooms immediately attracted me with the potential for adding my own features. So much so, that I spent several hours playing with different ideas in both rooms!

The Tortuga’s large deck area can be used for boat moorings without it feeling crowded – although admittedly, I’ve thus far minimalised décor and furnishings( a simple pergola, suitably sized, shading a couple of rocking chairs and some planters with flower to break things up

In the end, I went with the simplest approach: a free-standing “room divider wall” that splits the largest room in the Tortuga into two without actually dominating the space or looking out-of-place. One side of this became my “living room” overlooking the rear decks, with the divider itself neatly providing space for a fireplace (with added chimney jutting from the roof above!). This then allowed me to use the “front” part of the room as a kitchen / the dining area, with the long interior wall ideally suited for placing kitchen units, while the width of the room meant I could include a kitchen island, again naturally breaking up the floor space quite naturally.

While the Havana’s large main room could be similarly broken up, I found that with a little careful placement of bits, this isn’t really necessary; I was again able to include living area, dining area and kitchen comfortably into it. With the addition of decking and steps to  moorings outside the front of both (and the use of one side of the Tortuga’s deck), I have been able to provide ample space for mooring those boats I want to have rezzed (all of them otherwise sitting in my vehicle rezzer until I want them).

I’ve deliberately kept furnishings and décor on the decks of both the Havana and Tortuga to a minimum, the former having a free-standing pergola with large sofa, etc., and the latter a pergola and shades directly adjoining the back of the house (thus helping to shade the living room from the Sun) and a couple of rocking chairs  I may admittedly play with both decks a little more in the future, but for now, that’s all I really need.

I like the large main room of the Tortuga particularly amenable to being made a comfortable living space – plenty of room for a kitchen, dining area and lounge space – and even a fireplace to act as a natural room divider

As noted earlier, giving up my Houseboat did give me a moment of anxiety after I’d let it go, but over the last 3+ days I’ve become more settled with my decision; the Tortuga has been proving to be a very comfortable and flexible living space (even if only as a second home when Isla Caitinara isn’t available), and it is very likely I’ll end up saving several internal layouts of furnishings, etc., into my personal rezzer, just as I did with the Houseboat. I’m also admittedly fortunate that, like my old Houseboat, the parcel I’m on is fronted by a large channel of open water (a natural divide between Stilt Homes and Houseboats), so I don’t feel at all crowded in.

I’m not sure I’ll make use of the 2-storey styles;  while I like to look of both, they’re a little too big for my needs. But then, I might just be tempted at some point to have a play.  in the meantime, would I recommend the Stilt Home designs to someone looking for a new Linden Premium Account Home? Absolutely.

Linden Stilt Homes released in Second life

Premium Linden Stilt Home became available on Monday, December 21st, 2020

Update, December 22nd: it appears that a significant issue with experience keys that affects grid-wide experience is impacting the deployment of the Stilt Homes – see: BUG-229892 “[Upilft] Experiences Failures”. The issue is currently being investigated by Linden Lab.

Updated: The release is on hold due to “unforeseen circumstances” – see Patch’s update for more.

Monday, December 21st, 2020 saw the long anticipated release of the new Stilt Homes theme for the Premium-only Linden Homes.

The new homes were first unveiled in June 2020 (see: Second Life: looking at the new Linden Homes Stilt theme), but their roll-out was delayed as a result of the work involved in transitioning Second Life to running on Amazon AWS servers, coupled in the last few days by some back-end issues the Lab needed to get under control.

Over 3,800 Stilt Homes have been added to Bellisseria and will be made available in the run-up the Christmas. As with other releases, four styles of house are included in the theme

The Stilt Homes are inspired by coastal home common to the south-eastern United States,notably Florida, where such house styles can be found along low-lying (and often hurricane prone) areas. As with previous Linden Homes releases, the house come in four styles, any of which can be selected by the controller cunningly disguised as a lamp that sits adjacent to each 1024 sq metre parcel.

The four style in the theme are:

  • Havana: single-storey 3-roomed, cross-shaped house with central front-to-back room providing access to front covered porch and rear covered deck, also accessible from one side room.
  • Tortuga:  single-storey with largely open-plan design providing two room, with a smaller third room to the front. A small porch area to the front aspect, and large deck / dock to the rear.
  • Lauderdale: a two-storey unit with two rooms downstairs  and two upstairs, one with a balcony. Features a full length front porch with roof over, and sliding doors to the rear opening to a rear deck-come-dock.
  • Santiago: a two-storey house with open-plan ground floor and two bedrooms, one with a rear-facing balcony.  Features a ½-porch with verandah over to the front, and deck to the rear. A front facing balcony is accessible from the upper floor.
“Land side” Stilt Homes

Just as we saw with the preview region seen in June, the Stilt Homes are broadly split into two categories: those built on low-lying sandy land and sandbars, and those either partially or fully over water, with some of the later connected to the land via board walks. Those on land are adjacent to the local roads, and have wooden stairways leading up to them. All four designs have decks / docks associated with them, with the entire release occupying a new expansion to the the east of Bellesseria that also have some Houseboats included in the mix, for a total of 3,875 Stilt Homes and 552 houseboats.

This expansion takes the form of a series of sandy islands made up of multiple regions, with none of the islands connected directly to another, except via the water channels between them. This perhaps makes these Stilt Homes an ideal place to live for those who enjoy puttering about in an amphibious car – although admittedly, transitioning from water to land (or vice versa) can be a little tricky given the need to  avoid intruding on someone’s privacy / land. Perhaps LL should consider providing ramps into and out of the water at various public reaches of sand in the future.

Some 552 of the ever-popular houseboat theme (foreground) are also included alongside the Stilt Home release

Given the problems being encountered with various SL web properties, the release was cautious – the first region to be offered up being Alagoon, with around 22 units built over water and three more either fully or partially on land. It was presented as a test region to see how things went in terms of hiccups, etc. However, availability soon increased to other regions.

Back in June, I commented that of all the Linden Home designs, the Stilt could be the first to tempt me away from my Houseboat. Six months on and that still holds true; if I could guarantee getting an over-the-water Stilt (or at least one partially over water), I would be sorely tempted. In this I admit that an added attraction would in part due to some of the region names that have been selected, given my liking for a good (or bad!) pun.

Take for example MARLIN Munroe, Rocky Bal Boata, Otter Limits, Getmah Drift, Shore Thing, Lone Shark, Knot Atoll, Mussel Beach, To name but a few. Then there is Tuna Turner (which adjoins the water region of Immoral Porpoises, both of which are just one region over from Salmon and Gillfunkel, and more besides, include my personal favourite: Jamaica Me Crazy.  It’s clear that tongues were firmly in cheeky was putting these regions together!

Abnor Mole of the LDPW inspects the newly available Stilt Homes in Alagoon

As always, all of the Linden Homes can be obtainedby Premium Members  (subject to individual theme availability) through the Premium Member’s Linden Home page at secondlife.com, whilst the regions in Bellisseria are open to general access.

An Alpine touch for Linden Homes in Second Life – updated

The new Linden Homes theme on preview at the SL Christmas Expo 2020

On Friday, December 4th, Linden Lab unveiled the next Linden Homes theme which – I assume – will follow along behind the much anticipated Stilt homes, and this time the Lab has followed popular request, and turned their attention to home styles from outside the continental United States, going for what is a decidedly Alpine feel.

I’m particularly pleased to see the move, as when reviewing the Stilt Homes I made mention that it would be nice to see the Lab cast their net of house designs a little further across the globe, and also made mention of European designs in the forums (not that I’m saying this selection of homes has anything to do with that comment – I was far from alone in making it, and I’m pretty sure Patch and the team has picked up on requests for European style homes long before I put fingers to keyboard on the subject).

The Alpenrose style of Linden Home
As with past themes, this preview  – I’m unsure of the official title, so I’m just going with “Alpine” – comprises four house layouts, whilst the default exterior finish displayed at the preview is such that you might just get away with calling them “mock Tudor”, allowing them to be seen as a more English village style of home.

The four type of house – referred to as “chalets” are:

  • Matterhorn: 2 large ground floor rooms, linked by a rear hallway with back door, and a central front hallway / reception area with stairs to the upper floor. This has two large rooms, one with gabled windows to the front and rear, the other with large windows to one side aspect.
  • Alpenrose: a two-storey house with offset front entrance with vestibule, three ground floor rooms, one with a side door to the garden. Stairs from the entrance hall provide access to three upstairs rooms, each with windows to a side aspect and either the front or rear.
  • Reizend: a single-storey cottage-style chalet with two open-plan rooms, the front porch opening directly into one of them, with doorways serving the remaining two rooms.
  • Edelweiss: a two-storey house with front entrance to one side serving the stairs to the upper floor and giving access to the single open-plan ground floor room, which also includes a side door to the garden. A landing upstairs provides access to two bedrooms, each with widows to a front or rear aspect, and to the side aspects of the house.
Edelweiss style of Linden Home

All four designs are presented in a wooden frame with white stucco exteriors walls finish (hence the mock Tudor comment above), topped by tile roofs. Each has window boxes with some of the windows and planters on porches, all of which I assume are part of the final designs.

Whilst all four house designs are well in keeping with the name of one – reizend (“charming”) – the names of the remaining three strongly evoke visions of snowy mountains, deep valleys and little villages of houses huddled on slopes. However, here that are presented in a flat landscape that, with the large windmill at the centre and the roads / red-bricked footpaths (sidewalks), seems to suggest The Netherlands.

The Reizend style of Linden Home

This actually  – to me and those I mentioned it to – actually put the houses at odds with their setting; whilst throwing up mountains and glacial valleys isn’t a practical proposition, these are still designs that would benefit from being within a  more undulating setting, allowing them to be grouped together more to give something of a village feel rather than just setting in what feels like an urban tract. Obviously, space is limited within a single preview region – but I would hope that when made available, these are houses that are placed within an environment that more imaginatively meets their largely Alpine names.

At the time of writing this piece, I am unaware of any release date for this new theme, particularly given we’re still awaiting the roll-out of the Stilt homes, so the best place to look for updates on both this theme and the Stilt homes is likely to be Patch Linden’s Linden Homes Update thread.

The Matterhorn style of Linden Home

Following this article, Patch dropped me a line with some further information on  the preview that had not be made available through the Destination Guide:

They are known as fachwerkhaus. Tudor is close, but fachwerkhaus is specifically what they are prototyped after, and we took our inspiration from a local village near where I live known as the Alpine Village of Helen Georgia (in the northeast Georgia Mountains). This made it convenient to gather RL imagery along with having some German and Dutch based Moles on the team helped greatly too. Hills, mountains, valleys and such as backdrops to come.
Oh, and there’s 8 floor plans, 4 were featured today, the other 4 are “open concept” floor plans of the same homes.

So there you have it folks!

SLurl for Preview

Note this will only be available while the SL Christmas Expo is running