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Linden Homes - little boxes ... on the hillside

Linden Homes – little boxes … on the hillside – nicely built, but no community

There has been some recent talk about the problems with the new user experience (clue – it’s not good) and the dire state of new user retention. A recent video by Skyspinner Soulstar goes some way to explaining why …

The issue is being discussed on Hamlet’s New World Notes – and Carl Metropolitan has offered some very sensible advice and suggestions in the comments – well worth reading.  He’s expanded more on this on his own blog.

The discussion has crystallised for me some thoughts I’ve had for a long while – back to a time when a group of us, including Cain Maven and pitsch Parx discussed doing something to revitalise the Linden Homes experience. And this could be adapted to fit new user retention too.

I think Cloud Party had a good idea in creating tutorials that had you learning the basics – Move, Communicate, Build – and then rewarded you with a house. The houses were a little dull though, and not geared to foster any sense of community, which I thought a weakness.

A Home in Cloudy Party - photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

A Home in Cloud Party – photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

It’s a weakness of the Linden Homes too, which are actually rather nice, well constructed little homes, and cunningly built to use the maximum space available (planting the Master Prim on Government owned land means that residents can spend the full 117 prims on decoration). But they lack any sense of community.  They are just … little boxes, on the hillside … and, too often, they all look just the same. It’s a great idea … but one feels the love ran out.  There was an attempt to create community centres and the Elderglen one is actually quite fun (you can forge metal and catch fairies) … but the Meadowbrook info hub looks like a half-hearted attempt at a country club that ran out of money …

It was this problem that a group of us discussed a few years back … and it does tie in with the new user retention.

Meadowbrook, a bleak unfinished country club

Meadowbrook, a bleak unfinished country club

I liked the idea that newcomers who went through the community gateway process at Caledon Oxbridge could then rent a place in the student dorm for a month – it helped them nest AND gave them a foothold in a lively community. That was in the days when Caledon Oxbridge was a full sim – with a community gateway.  When the community gateway programme was abruptly closed (18 hours notice from the Lab, after many of those involved had invested THOUSANDS of US dollars … that was not a happy time) Oxbridge became a homestead, focusing on education.

Inside Elderglen, a more engaging Linden Home infohub

Inside Elderglen, a more engaging Linden Home infohub

So … this is my idea.

That like Cloud Party, there’s a task/quest/tutorial route, designed by Carl and his team (or someone like him – if that is possible!). On completion of this task – whereby you have learned to walk/talk/manipulate objects – and anything else felt to be core, you are given the choice of a house/apartment for thirty days – in a choice of community styles. NOT a soulless box on a hillside, but one of a number of community choices.

Here are just a few suggestions …

A Irish fishing village, with houses grouped around the harbour, and rising up the hill behind. Everyone gets a sea view … and there’s a pub on the quay (selling only non-alcoloic drinks – but with Irish music on the stream, maybe).

Greater Ireland: Limerick - photograph by PJ Trenton

Greater Ireland: Limerick (now gone) – photograph by PJ Trenton

A set of streets with New York brownstones, two or three storeys high. Somewhere on the block, or a couple of streets over, there is a very cool coffee shop.

A lake in the Himalayas with houseboats, with a sim surround that depicts the snowy mountains.

A fairytale medieval village.

A forest with tree houses.

A futuristic city with apartments.

Whatever the type of build/community the new resident chose, they would find it came partially and simply furnished, to match the style of the community they had chosen – but still with enough free prims to allow a little creativity.

The Brownstones in Nova Albion - apartments, cafe and arts

The Brownstones in Nova Albion – apartments, cafe and arts

Each location would come with several public buildings.

  1. A community gathering place where people could hang out or party.
  2. A performance space, possibly part of the community gathering place, or separate.
  3. A gallery that could display original Second Life Art – with links to other art venues, such as the LEA.
  4. A small number of stores offering freebies or dollarbies (with links to main stores).

Each location – or group of locations – would also have a community warden.  This person would be a volunteer, but would get a special house, rent free, in return for their efforts. They would be responsible for making sure that the art galleries were properly maintained, that streams were available for performances … and generally oiling the wheels that keep the community functioning.

And I mean functioning. New residents would have the chance to participate, not just to watch. There could be building competitions, show and tell sessions, chances to organise visits to interesting places, game nights – things that the community residents might develop for themselves, with the support of the Warden.

Part of the houseboat community in Junkyard Blues

Part of the houseboat community in Junkyard Blues

So what would happen at the end of the thirty days? Well, some of the new residents would not have come back anyway. But for those who have – there would be choices. They could convert to a premium membership and keep their home as their Linden Home. They could stay a base rate member and start to pay rent at a commercial rate. Or they could move out and move on.

But the idea would be that these communities would be so successful that people would want to stay.  And more than that – premium members could choose to move there as well, using these new communities for their Linden Home. The idea, over time, would be to create communities that interacted, and also welcomed newcomers.

Should they all be mainland, like the Linden Homes? Possibly – although there might be grounds for partnerships here eventually with land barons. After all, they have experience in running communities.

Elegant (and low prim) Regency Homes in London, Knightsbridge

Elegant (and low prim) Regency Homes in London, Knightsbridge

Carl has offered his assistance in developing the community experience … I can offer my rolodex for contacting the designers who would LOVE to be a part of creating regions like this (and probably my cat-herding skills too).

 

 

 

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Our visit to the homage to the post World War Case Study Houses, with two of them being recreated in Second Life by the talented designer Painter Meriman is now on the web!

The Case Study Houses were experiments in American residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned major architects of the day to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United States residential housing boom caused by the end of World War II and the return of millions of soldiers. The core idea of a Case Study house was to hypothesize a modern household, elaborate its functional requirements, have an esteemed architect develop a design that met those requirements using modern materials and construction processes, and then to actually build the home. The houses were documented before, during and after construction for publication in Arts & Architecture.

Case Study House no 8 - The Eames House - interior

Case Study House no 8 – The Eames House – interior

Painter has created homages to two of these houses (both of which still exist in Pacific Palisades), the Entenza House (Case Study House No. 9) and the Eames House (Case Study House No.8). We will be looking at the buildings, and talking about the background to the Case Study Houses project – as well as taking a look at how this has inspired Painter’s latest home.

If you wpould like to learn more, you can see a short film made by the Eames family here.

Case Study House No 9 - The Entenza House

Case Study House No 9 – The Entenza House

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The month-long, two-sim Home Show opens today!

The Home Show - a shopping experience on a boardwalk!

The Home Show – a shopping experience on a boardwalk!

Believing that there is a lack of home and garden based events in Second Life, the organisers of The Home Show want to fill that gap. This summer, they are aiming to bring some of the best, well known, and up-and-coming designers together in one event and one location to give customers a great shopping experience.

Map of the Home Show

Map of the Home Show

You can visit the Show here:
Sim 1: Sponsored by Cheeky Pea, Pixel Mode, and Circa
Sim 2: Sponsored by what next, Senzafine, and DIGS

And you can read more on their blog.

home-show-sticker-copyThe Home Show was created by Valena Vacano, owner of Casa de Smurf and manager of Cheeky Pea and The Nest. She has also created Four Walls, a home and garden hunt, as well as Together For Sway.

Look out for the stickers that indicate special releases exclusive to the Home Show.

Someone has been shopping hard at the Home Show!

Someone has been shopping hard at the Home Show!

There are forty-seven participants (by my count).  But why not go over and visit this amazing collection of top Home and Garden designers for yourself?

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A Home in Cloud Party, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

A Home in Cloud Party

All right – perhaps today’s jigsaw isn’t the most exciting of images – and I could have chosen one with islands floating in the sky. But I liked the colours and simplicity of this – and the way the owner has started to customise it.

This is an example of the free house (and the land it sits on) that you’ll get if you complete the tutorials that teach you the basics of how to use Cloud Party – movement, camera, navigation and simple building (well, more manipulation of objects).  One you know all that, you can move around and customise your home. There’s free furniture to help in your inventory, and more can be bought in the marketplace – I bought a free plant pack and started planting bamboo around my home.

Like Gertrude Stein’s Cleveland, there isn’t a lot of there there yet, but in giving people the chance to nest and put down roots, I think Cloud Party have made a shrewd mood.  Would Second Life have had a higher retention rate if they had made an initial investment in something like the Linden Homes? If, to get your initial free 512 (back in the day), instead of having to compete with land bots and insanely high land prices, they had simply handed people the keys and said, “Here’s your first home”?  And what if they’d done that for all accounts, free and premium?

Cloud Party are already letting people replace the provided homes with ones of their own choice.  Could it be a winner?

Click to Mix and Solve

A Home in Cloud Party, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

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Today the talks in the gorgeous Prim Perfect Pavilion are at 3pm, when Saffia Widdershins will be talking to Honour Macmillan of Honour’s Post Menopausal View of Second Life, and at 5pm, when she will be talking to a trio of mesh-enthusiastic designers about their work (and, I suspect, other things as well!): Maxwell Graf of Rustica, Kriss Lehmann ofBotanical and Loz Hyde of Meshworx.

Meet Honour

Meet Honour

Honour Macmillan is the writer of the very popular blog, Honour’s Post Menopausal View of Second Life, for which she travels the grid finding new and remarkable places – frequently very beautiful.  She is also Deputy Editor of Prim Perfect, and an amazing organiser (and trainer) of volunteers for events that have ranged from Burn 2 to Second Life birthdays – including SL9B.

Meet the Designers

Meet the Designers

Last week we had a fantastic discussion with Max and Loz, and Kriss eventually joined us on stage. It started at 3pm SLT – the host bailed at 7pm, whimpering it was 3am in the UK, and the guests carroed on with the audience until 8pm!

So we’ve invited this energetic, informative, enthusiastic and hugely talented group back for a second session of talking to and with our audience.  And Saffia reserved the right to go to bed at a …erm … reasonable hour – after that, it’s up to you!

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We have a full programme of talks coming up at the Expo – make sure that you don’t miss them! And please note that there have been a couple of recent changes … including one “back by popular demand”.

Date Time Interviewee Topic Interviewer
Thursday, December 6th 3pm Heavenly Villa & Honey Lusch Home & Garden Market Village Saffia Widdershins
Friday, December 7th Happy Hunting! taping
Saturday, December 8th 3pm Auryn Beorn Scripting & education in Second Life Cinders Vale
5pm Isla Gealach Cheeky Pea and The Nest Saffia Widdershins
Sunday, December 9th 3pm Cain Maven Meshing about in Second Life Saffia Widdershins
5pm Maxwell Graf, Charlotte Bartlett and Loz Hyde Mesh creations Saffia Widdershins
Monday, December 10th 3pm Judy Chestnut Dwarfin Cinders Vale
Tuesday, December 11th 3pm Froukje Hoorenbeek Dutchie and working with mesh Saffia Widdershins
Wednesday, December 12th 3pm Rosamoo Mendelsohn & Xia Nishi Hunting! Saffia Widdershins
5pm Jessii2009 Warrhol Nexgen Aviation & Tribute Cinders Vale
Thursday, December 13th 4pm Callie Cline Business in Second Life Saffia Widdershins
6pm DeeAnne Dufaux Builder’s Brewery and Park Place Cinders Vale
Friday, December 14th Happy Hunting! 3pm Happy Hunting! show (with an interview from the Expo, and the final episode in this season of The Blackened Mirror)
Saturday, December 15th 3pm Candy Cerveau and Malkavyn Eldritch Strangelings Cinders Vale
5pm Mal Burns & Tara Yeats TV in the Metaverse Saffia Widdershins
Sunday, December 16th 3pm Heavenly Villa & Bill Kaye Centre for Business Development Saffia Widdershins
5pm AGrid Aftermath/Cytherion Revnik Yumis and Games Cinders Vale
Monday, December 17th 3pm Honour Macmillan Blogging Second Life Saffia Widdershins
5pm Maxwell Graf, Kriss Lehrmann and Loz Hyde More about Mesh! Saffia Widdershins
Tuesday, December 18thSaffia 3pm Edward Pearse Christmas Traditions Saffia Widdershins
Wednesday, December 19th 3pm PARTY!!! DJ’d by Victor Mornington

Come along and learn more at 3pm and 5pm SLT! And we don’t think we are too hard to find …

Christmas Expo 2012, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Christmas Expo 2012, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

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Home and Garden Market Village Winter Fair

Home and Garden Market Village Winter Fair

Today’s jigsaw comes from the Home and Garden Christmas Market, which is celebrating the season with a Winter Fair, which runs from December 1st – 14th.  The whose region has been made over for Christmas, and special events have been planned.

The region is the centre of the Home and Garden Market Winter Fair Hunt – although hunters will also have the chance to travel to other sims as well, as some designers have outlets at the market, but have the gifts hidden in their main stores.  And there is a 10L Mystery Sales Spot which has has been updated with some great Christmas/Winter themed home and garden items.

And from the 8th – 14th December there will be a teaser for a new sales event starting in 2013 – the Fab Four Sales Event, where every two weeks the Home and Garden Market Sim will host an event of new home and garden items sold for 50L for four days only. The Winter Fair teaser will see special seasonal items sold at this special low price.

They will also be hosting live music and a skating rink at the winter Home and Garden Market Sim – so bring your mittens and skates and enjoy the wonderful Winter Fair!

But first … let’s do a jigsaw.

The Home and Garden Market Village Winter Fair

The Home and Garden Market Village Winter Fair

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

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Asian Inspiration

Asian Inspiration

You may have noticed that – at the end of all of our jigsaw posts – we invite you to add your pictures to our Flickr group, and say that we hope to use some of them here as jigsaws.  There are some very striking photos posted to the group – and today’s is one of those.

It’s by Emerald Beningborough (whose photos you can see here), and it’s a photograph of one of her styling projects for the new Inspirations book – the amazing source book for interior design that’s the brainchild of Pitsch Parx and edited by Persia Bravin.  This is the from the second part of the Second Volume – and the whole is the most amazing and visually ravishing treat. Do go and take a look. And also a discreet tissue top mop up the drool …

Let’s take a deep breath and do a jigsaw!

Click to Mix and Solve

Asian Inspiration Book Vol 2 by Emerald Beningborough

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

Read Full Post »

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