A Word on Environmental Design

When it comes to Second Life, good looks still do matter, and that’s not only true for avatars. In nearly every case a person will recognize something by its visual appeal before anything else and that is usually what sticks with them in memory.

Here at Lionheart we aim at fostering attractive building and land design and our sim architecture, both residential and commercial, gives example to prove that.

What is attractive?

Attractive design means just what the word says; attract.

We consider a build to be both attractive and made with good design when it positively affects the environment around it. An idea of this is things which generate a reaction from people in the manner of “ooh” and “ah.” It is said that everything we do affects other people. In Second Life, everything we build gives a person a reason to think twice.
In which direction they think, positive or negative, is left up to you.

Can you give an example?

Sure.  If you see someone put up a building with non-angular walls, doors that are out of proportion and a variety of “loud” colors that makes it so distinctive that hardly anyone can stand to live by it, would you be influenced to design something similar? Of course not! Chances are you wouldn’t want to reside nearby in the first place. Well if that is true, then the same would apply from the opposite point of view. A new neighbor moves in beside your parcel. Now you’ve never had reason to believe that your home’s design is inadequate. Suddenly, this neighbor who moves in puts up one of the most amazing houses you’ve seen. The colors are well suited, exterior decor is appropriate for the general setting of the sim, and the build is fit for the parcel’s size, not overlapping the property lines. In what way would this affect you? Surely, it might influence you to rethink a way for improving the design of your own land and build. Now you start plotting ways in which you could remodel your home and reshape your land. You’re a homebuilder, so this shouldn’t be hard, right? Wrong!

The challenge

Great design doesn't have to be prim-costly.

As a homebuilder, it becomes challenging to be both efficient and innovative with design. Not only are you limited by the factor of parcel size, but the real land commodity of Second Life is primitives. At a time you may want to go out of the way to do something really spectacular with your property, but then you suddenly realize the great expense it would cost to do so. We’re not talking about expense in currency, but what it would cost you prim-wise. You might soon become over-frustrated to think that the only way to realize a great design would be by expansion. However, who wants to buy more land if they can’t afford to? Good point, but buying more land isn’t always necessary.

The more land you acquire the greater the complexity to fill it with objects. However, you may suffer this same problem with the current plot of land you have. One person suggests making more use of the natural landscape. It might even be a good idea to improve on the garden. You don’t have one? Build one! It doesn’t take much, a few plants here, a few rocks there. It is understood that gardens are not exactly low-prim. Then you have another problem… or not really. You can make use of one-prim flowers and or Linden plants which makes life much easier. It’s more about the aspect of art than anything, in trying to create a natural balance between what’s already there in the environment and what you place down as a building.

Breathing space

Keep a little breathing space, you'll feel better later.

It is also advised not to use a building whose size completely fills up the parcel. Such structures may have a nice look, but they leave little room for added decor. If you’re not the garden-designing type, you can always get away with something more subtle. You’ll find it amazing what a couple of Linden trees and a bush or two can do for your land. All of these suggested items can be found in the Library > Objects folder.

In this way your land can look nice and you can save some L$ to go shopping with.


The overall point to keep in mind is that your land is your factory. What you create from it is your own design. There’s no real “wrong” way to do it if you’re satisfied with your work. You just want to remember that with any product created from a factory, if you plan to sell it or get it approved by others then its qualities must also be appealing to others. When you move into a community, you acquire new neighbors. Your neighbors must share the environment with you and everyone else. Each parcel grouped together makes up a product line. The brand is Lionheart. We want to keep Lionheart as a remarkable place to visit and remain inviting to others. It’s a community of people with a variety of different talents and personalities. However, just because we all vary in characteristics doesn’t mean we can’t work together to create a nice environment.

No matter what size of land you have, large or small, your corner of the Lionheart continent matters and it will stand out of the ordinary. Do you want it to stand out for being welcoming, or for being something utterly disfavored?

Stay tuned!

This article may become the first of a series on the topic of designing for environment in Second Life. Next time, we might cover more in focus on designing for a business property. To make sure you don’t miss out, subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.

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