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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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 room, 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 front porch opening directly into one of them, with doorways serving the other three rooms, one of which has a side door to the garden.
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.
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.
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.
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
On June 16th, I reported on the announcement that the first set of last names for the Premium Names Changes capability would be “retired” (i.e. removed from the list of options) at the end of Wednesday, June 24th, 2020.
Those names: Alpaca, Covfefe, Damballar, Float, Jazzhands, Mainsail, Nimble, Piggins, Plumday, and Yeetly – have all now gone from list of available last names.
They have, as of Thursday, June 25th, 2020, been replaced by a new set of names that have been added to the list of available last names. These are:
In addition, and as announced by Linden Lab at the launch of the above last name options, there are three additional last names added to the list to mark Second Life’s 17th anniversary theme. These are:
Wayfarer – Rover – Wanderer
These three names will only remain available through until the name round of updates, at which time they will be retired.
Name Changes was introduced in April 2020, providing Second Life Premium subscribers with a fee-based ability to change both the first name and last name for their avatar / account. If you are unfamiliar with the capability, you can read more here: Second Life: the return of last names, and some notes.
On Tuesday, June 23rd, while speaking at the SL17B Meet the Lindens event, Patch Linden announced the next theme of Linden Home that is being lined up for release: Stilt Homes, designed to be placed in coastal setting, their stilts allowing them to sit on land, over water or between the two.
Once available – the new houses are currently only available for preview at SL17B – will again come in four styles, and will occupy 1024 sq m parcels. When they are released, they will become the sixth type of new Linden Homes to be made available over the last 18 months, with two further themes already in preparation.
The new theme is … stilt homes. They take their inspiration from south-eastern US geographical areas that basically are Floridian shore-side stilt home communities that tend to pop-in in low-lying and potentially even hurricane prone areas. Generally, they’re fairly brightly coloured; they have fairly good-sized open concept floor designs, and we’re going to offer them in three different variants. There will be an over water variant of the home, a partial version of the home that could rest over land and water. and there will be an inland version of the home, all on stilts no matter what because – you know – when the hurricane comes though you certainly don’t want to be on the ground when the flooding happens!
– Patch Linden, SL17B, describing the new Linden Home theme
The new theme comprises the following styles of home:
The Lauderdale: a two-floor unit with two large down stairs rooms, open with front door opening to a full length front porch with roof over, and sliding doors to the rear opening to a rear deck-come-dock. Central stairs lead up to an enclosed landing area with bedrooms either side, one with views to the front and rear, and the other with views to the front and side and sliding doors to a large verandah with roof over at the rear of the house.
The Havana: is single-storey 3-roomed, cross-shaped house with central front-to-back room providing access to front covered porch and rear covered deck. One side room also offers access to the deck-come-dock, and with windows to front and side aspect. Remaining room has windows to front, rear and side aspects.
The Santiago: a two-storey house with ½-porch with verandah over to the front, and an open-plan ground floor presenting space for two rooms, the larger of which has a bay window to the front and sliding doors to the rear opening onto full length deck, sans dock. A dog-leg staircase leads up to a central landing with sliding doors to the front verandah, and two bedrooms. The first bedroom is a full front-to back room with windows to the front and rear. The second bedroom has windows to the front bay and side aspect, and sliding doors serving a rear private verandah.
The Tortuga: a single-storey house with offset main room to one side with front door to a small covered front porch and sliding doors to the rear deck-come-dock. A second room, also with access to the deck / dock opens off of this, together with windows to the rear / side aspect. A small room sits to the front of the house with windows to the front aspect.
The theme itself has been a lot of fun to design and develop. We took a lot of plant life from that area and created it to be true to that geographical zone of the United States as well as varying out transportation capabilities between road and dock as well as waterway and such. And the thing I’m particularly excited about is that the home that are over water will marry up to and against regions that are also specific to houseboats. So this is going to give us a new ability to segue from area to area between the stilt homes portions of the continents to also adding on more houseboat regions out and around these continent sections that we’re planning on putting out.
– Patch Linden, SL17B
All four styles of home look like they can be used over land or water; those over land appear to have steps down to the ground from the front porch, with perhaps room to squeeze a car under them. As Patch notes the landscaping is tropical coastal and modelled on that of Florida. The houses with water parcels are either connected by sun washed board walks back to dry land and which can also provide social spaces, or – at least in the demo region – sit entirely surrounded by water, which is an interesting approach.
There is something of the Traditional Homes look to these stilt homes, so much so, that with a casual initial glance, you might be forgiven for thinking that they are “traditional homes on legs”. However, once examined, it becomes clear this similarity is more passing than anything else; something that gives these houses something of a hook into past Linden Homes designs whilst also – thanks to the large deck spaces and mix of land / water locations – being something completely unique.
Given there desk and docks, the theme also appears to have the largest general footprint of the Linden Home released to date, which might cause problems for those wishing to moor a large type of boat alongside one. Even so, I have to admit that this is the first theme that – once available – might tempt me into giving up my houseboat and trying to snag one that sits in its own “offshore” parcel. Although that said, it would be nice to see a theme that isn’t another aspect of Americana – the rest of the world has house styles to offer, after all!