Sunday, April 8, 2012

Retro SL: The Wright House

Another Retro SL classic structure is the September 2003 House In A Box: Wright House — 282 prims (finished) inspired by Real Life architect Frank Lloyd Wright's famous house, Falling Water. It is a complicated build from the modern view because it is not in a build rezzer nor is it assembled as an unlinked coalesced object (i.e., you drag it out from your inventory while in Build mode so all the unlinked parts hold together). It is boxed with detailed construction instructions for aligning six "position pins" that are eventually unlinked and deleted. For some reason the instructions don't mention the idea of snapping the first part to a specific point on the grid then entering the same position coordinates for the subsequent pieces. Not that works any better than working by eye, though, as the parts dont align properly when following the directions.

 However, several warnings come first in a note card appears as soon as you rez the box to unpack it:
There are a few things you'll need to know and understand before you begin.
1. This is a fairly large house, and it will cost you a pretty penny to build. Depending on some customization choices, the actual building can cost as much as L$3000, and your maintenance taxes will be considerable. This house is better suited to someone with an established income than a first-time Second Life homeowner. packed before the idea of grabbing a coalesced object existed?
"... cost you a pretty penny to build ..." Remember that at one time, it cost homeowner L$10 per prim just to rez the structure — plus L$10 to rez the packing box just to get the pieces out. Each positioning pin was L$10, too. Total cost from start to finish if you use one copy of the extra decorative lamp: L$2,900 plus land costs (the maintenance costs mentioned).

Eventually the directions tell you to link everything together, except the doors, and run through how to use the window and door controls, then admonishing that you take a backup copy:
As a safety precaution, copy the entire completed, linked house object into your Inventory: Right-click > Acquire > Take Copy. This way if something goes wrong with your customization, you can delete the old house, pull out a new one and start over. 
Which begs the question "Why wasn't it all linked in the first place?" The answer may lie in the ten alternate textures included in the box. Every Resident was a Builder back in the day and Bill Linden the maker of the Wright House, probably thought folks would customize his build. Second life was a frontier and we were all homesteaders taming the wilds. Most regions like my home sim Nangrim didn't even have roads.

At the end of the assembly process, after deleting the position prims, I had to align the windows properly then the doors, and I was still left with what really appears to be a half-finished building with a poorly anchored roof strip, just like a few years ago when I built the first one. I fixed a couple prim overlaps and thought about the changes I made the first time ... adding an elevator, making a proper roof, etc. ... just as Bill Linden probably wanted.

The Wright House was way too prim intensive when it was "new" to use on the wee bit of land that I had at the time, so like today I built it in a sandbox, had my way with it, then deleted it and moved on to other things. And other houses were far nicer and far more land-friendly though I lived in a small cave when I wasn't on the Isle of Lesbos. Even today I wonder why people have houses, but that is another post and I have more structures from the early days to build and blog about.

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