February 11, 2008

First look: Fabb Asimov, furnished, part 1

So although I hope for Fabb to eventually offer all kinds of different prefabricated buildings for sale, from starter homes to mansions and even retail environments, I've decided at first to start on the smaller side of things; that's who constitutes the majority of prefab home buyers, after all, are beginning players with beginning plots who don't know enough yet about building to create their own home, who are willing to spend maybe US$5 to 10 for a nicely-done house but not much more than that. I've decided, then, to get a total of three small homes finished before declaring Fabb open for business; today's entry concerns the largest of these three initial homes, the one I'm calling the "Asimov."

As you can see, the Asimov will technically fit on a starter plot of 512 square meters (or 30 x 15), but is realistically designed more for estates of the 1000- to 2000-m2 size; it's a 70-prim building, after all, taking up over half the prim count of a 512-m2 plot but only a third of a 1024 one. (For those who don't know, you can only erect a maximum amount of "prims," or primitive shapes such as boxes and cylinders, on any given piece of land, 117 prims per 512 square meters; this is how Linden Lab makes sure that no particular piece of land there is overtaxing the physical server it's located on.) This is the constant battle that SL land owners are going through, then, of how much of their prim count to devote to a house, how much to landscaping, how much to furniture, how much to a vehicle, etc etc etc. And that's why this will be the largest of the first three homes as well, so as with the other ones to give land owners as many prims as possible for other things; the smallest of the three, for example, will consist of no more than 30 or so prims, which on a 512-m2 plot would leave almost 90 prims left for landscaping and furniture.

In these photos, for example, I have rezzed the house on a 1,536-m2 plot, not an unusual size at all for someone who plays SL daily and takes the environment seriously; between the home and the furniture you're seeing, I have almost all the 350 prims allowed on this space maxxed out, or in other words around 280 prims' worth of furniture alone. It's important to understand that as you look at these photos; that even though this house will technically fit on a 512-m2 plot, you wouldn't nearly have the prim count left over to rez the amount of furniture seen here. (With a larger estate, though, it's not only possible but easy.) Of course, there's also the danger of using images illegally, like I am here with this Jackson Pollock painting adorning the front patio of the house; that's why the Pollock painting doesn't come with the house itself, but is merely a decoration on the model home to show an example of what can be done with the space.

So then here's what you see to your right when you first come in the home -- the main living space, that is, around 150 square meters in size, where a person can put together a main living-room set of furniture like you're seeing here. This is an important part of owning a home in SL, I've found; having at least one space within it where you and your friends can sit around "looking" at each other while chatting, versus your avatars standing around and blankly staring into space. It's the small things, really, that most transport all the niceties and details of real life into an SL environment.

And then here's what you see at the front door if you look left; the door to the back porch, the stairs to the second floor, and of course the signature indoor landscaping space, something I'm hoping along with elaborate waterfalls to make an ongoing feature of Fabb constructions. But more on all that in a bit.

All right, so here we are in the living-room space! Like I said, this is an extremely important space to have in a prefabricated home within SL; a 3D equivalent of a chat room, that is, where you and your friends can gather your avatars when having a group chat, something that gives the physical semblance of you all sitting around and actually having a conversation, since that's what you're precisely doing at the time through text and voice. It's just one of the things I've noticed about the Grid after being there myself for almost two years, that there are certain simple elements that come up as important time and time again with all kinds of different residents; and this is definitely one of them, a central gathering space, something I encourage all virtual architects to build into their creations there.

All right, so out the back door of the house we go, and onto the back patio. And here you can see a good example of something else I hope to make a signature detail of Fabb buildings, is a complex interplay between "outdoor" and "indoor" space within finished homes; note, for example, how the roof of the second floor creates a natural cavern-like patio space here in the back of the house, an intimacy as if the space were enclosed but with it not actually being enclosed, and in fact with the option to remove the wall-sized windows if you want and make the entire first floor a breezy exotic indoor/outdoor space simultaneously. I'm hoping to build such elements into all eventual Fabb creations, something I hope especially useful for those installing such homes in forest environments as elaborate treehouses.

And then here, yet another detail that I hope to make a signature element of Fabb homes; a complex waterfall, like I said, that I'm hoping in the future to get even more complex as far as it winding in and out of the house itself, one I finally take some classes on waterfall creation and get a lot better at building them. Why waterfalls? Why not? They're just as cheap to install as anything else in a digital environment, look impressive to the easily tricked human eye (who automatically thinks of waterfalls in private homes as flashy and expensive), and are animated so even look cool within SL itself.

As mentioned, I'm purposely leaving the interior of Fabb houses as blank as possible, specifically because a big part of the fun in SL concerns interior design one you actually have a house built, and of course the subsequent shopping to go find the perfect furniture to begin with. Here, for example, I'm using a simple series of minimalist Asian chairs, envisioning a home where mostly it will be quiet conversations among friends going on out here; but you could easily place a dining-room set out here, a dancefloor, an extension to a pool or garden if you were on land, or all kinds of other things.

And here I guess I will leave things for today, contemplating yet another perfect sunset on the South Continent where I live, and where Fabb's eventual retail store will be. Tomorrow, part 2 of this first look at the furnished Asimov, detailing the second floor and roof. Thanks for coming by!

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