Saturday, July 12, 2008

Homestead Rental FAQ

UPDATE (2010.12.18): The information here is largely out of date. Please see our new Homestead and Full Sim Rental FAQ.

Here are answers to questions I frequently get from current and prospective homestead tenants. Some of my answers apply to any homestead sim rental anywhere in Second Life, while others apply only to those in Desperation Isle Estates.

How much does it cost to rent a homestead sim?
If you rent from Desperation Isle Estates, the cost is L$7750($30 USD) a week, or L$31000 ($118 USD) a month. This gets you a complete 65,536 square-meter homestead island with 3,750 available prims and protected open ocean views on all sides. We do not charge any "purchase price" other than the first week's rent. If you want us to order a new island for you, we typically ask for two weeks' worth of rent up-front, but nothing more unless you have naming requirements.

We also offer discounts to residents with two or more islands:
  • Two islands: Each island L$7500 ($29 USD), 4 weeks L$30000 ($115 USD).
  • Three or more islands: Each island L$7250 ($28 USD), 4 weeks L$29000 ($111 USD).
Are these the same as "openspace" sims?
No, Desperation Isle Estates offers only true 3,750-prim Homestead sims and regular 15,000-prim sims for rental. As of 2009, the term "Openspace" refers to regions that support only 750 prims and 10 avatars. We do NOT have any 750-prim Openspace sims. Homestead regions are limited to a maximum of 20 avatars on the island at the same time.

How are homestead sims different from regular sims?
Homestead regions support only 1/4 the number of prims as full sims, and can support a maximum of 20 avatars simultaneously on the island, whereas full regions can have up to 100. A hidden difference is that homestead regions share their physical servers with more sims than regular sims do. There are only 4 regular sims on a given physical server, whereas there may be up to 16 homesteads on the same server.

Can I get more prims?
A homestead region has a hard limit of 3,750 prims, just as a full-sized sim has a hard limit of 15,000. While you can have additional islands, prims do not combine between islands. If you had two homestead sims, each one would have a max 3,750 prims. This is a technical limitation of Second Life.

Can I choose the name of my island?
I like to have uniform names so that people can easily identify my properties, but if you would like to select a unique name for an island we can do that for a fee. If we're talking about a brand new island, it's a non-refundable L$13,750 fee, and I will order the island with the name you requested. If it is an existing island that you are already renting, the fee is L$27,500. The reason for the fee is it costs $50 USD to change the name of an island, and I will need to rename the island in the future if you ever move out. The fee for existing islands is double because I'll have to pay $50 to give the island your name, and then $50 later on to return to the old name. I do not make any profit at all from these fees.

The name you use must follow Linden Lab's guidelines for private region naming:
Private Region or Estate names:
  • Must be more than 3, but less than 25 characters (spaces count)
  • Must contain three words or less
  • Must use only alphanumeric characters (no punctuation)
  • Must not be the name of a real life city (however, "New York Island" or "Los Angeles City" are fine)
  • Cannot include SL, Linden, Linden Lab, Second Life etc in the name
  • Must be PG
    Offensiveness guidelines: You may not select as your Private Region name or Estate name:
    • The name of another person to the extent that could cause deception or confusion
    • A name which violates any trademark right, copyright, or other proprietary right
    • A name which may mislead other users to believe you to be an employee of Linden Lab
    • A name which Linden Lab deems in its discretion to be vulgar or otherwise offensive (obscenities in any language or any form of spelling, racist, sexist or otherwise derogatory in nature)
Must not already be in use

Linden Lab reserves the right to change any Private Region or Estate name for any reason or no reason.

Can I get a different default shape for my island?
While you will have full terraforming abilities on your homestead island, I can upload a different default terrain for you at your request, for no extra cost. Please see the Available Island Designs section of this announcement for our current selection. Also, if you create or buy your own RAW file, you can email it to me, and I will upload it for you.

I thought that the terraforming limits were +/-100 meters, but I can't sink the ground more than 20 meters below sea level.
The +/- limitation really means that you can terraform up to 100 meters above or below the contours of the default terrain, with the limitation that you can never go below an elevation of zero. If you want to make a really deep hole, you should terraform your land very high and then use the region tools to set a higher sea level, giving you more underwater area to work with. The default sea level for any new sim is 20m.

Can I get another island connected to my existing one?
Yes, we can order additional islands for you and connect them to your existing island. So long as the new island is directly north, south, east, or west of your current island, you will be able to both see and cross the border into the other island. Keep in mind that you will not be able to combine prim allotments, and that each island will have its own estate settings. There is no extra fee for having an additional island, other than the rent. Each island costs L$7,200/week to rent.

Can I "back up" my existing terrain in case I make changes I'm not happy with?
Yes, if you've done a lot of work on your island design, I can "bake" the terrain so that if you make future modifications you can use the "revert" tool to go back to the version I stored for you. Just IM me and/or send me a notecard. If you want a copy of your backed-up terrain, I will need to have your email address so I can send it to you. (It's a file format that Second Life does not support.)

Is it possible to add more people as Estate Managers on my island?
Yes, I always grant the primary renter Estate Manager privileges, but I can add anyone else to the managers list for your island.

Is there anything that an estate manager can't do that an island owner can?
Yes, there are a few things that only the person who actually pays the monthly island use fee to Linden Lab can do. Only the island owner (the person listed as owner on the Covenant tab of World > About Land) can do the following:
  • Set up and manage a telehub.
  • Download RAW terrain files.
  • Upload RAW terrain files.
  • Bake the terrain. (This sets the baseline for the Revert feature of the terraforming tools.)
  • Add/Remove other estate managers.
  • Deed parcels to a group even when "Allow Land Resell" is disabled on an island. (Note: Estate managers can toggle the Allow Land Resell flag on an island to temporarily enable the ability for parcel deeding.)
I noticed a name I don't recognize on my estate's "Banned Residents" list. Why is that?
If a resident griefs any of my private or public sims, I ban that individual from all of my islands in one single action. If this individual is a friend of yours, you have the ability to remove them from the ban list on your island. But if they're not, you probably don't want them on your island anyway.

I noticed a name I don't recognize on my Estate Managers list. Who is that?
It might be my business alt or one of my partners. Illana Ireton is my business alt. Vivienne Schell is my business partner, and Kelly Walcott is my SL partner, who also helps out on the estate. If you see any other names you don't recognize, please alert me.

If I get more than one homestead sim from you, will they run on the same server?
There is no way to predict what physical server your homestead sim will run on. The way Linden Lab has it set up is this: Sims run on physical servers that each have 4 processors. Four full sims run on a single server, one processor per sim. With homesteads, 16 homesteads run on one server, one processor per four sims. (This is why homesteads are considered "light use.") Every time a sim restarts, it has a chance of coming back up on a totally different physical server. This architecture allows Linden Lab to have a more dynamic infrastructure that makes efficient use of their available hardware. It also has the added benefit of helping a sim owner fix some lag issues, because if your sim is sharing a server with some very laggy other sims, you can restart your sim and have a good chance of landing on another server with better neighbors. Another thing to consider is that Linden Lab runs several different "colocation facilities." Not all sims are located in the same geographic region. Some are in California, some are in Texas, etc. Most new homestead sims are at the same colocation facility, which is good, because being in the same facility makes border crossings smoother.

How do homestead sims perform, compared to full sims?
New homestead sims generally perform rather well for typical residential use. The one area where you tend to notice a difference between a homestead and a full sim is script performance. If there are a bunch of scripted objects running in the sim, you will start to notice delays- for example, if you have a piece of furniture that displays a menu when you touch it, you might have to wait a few seconds for the menu to appear on a homestead sim with too many scripts running on it. I have tenants running clubs on their homesteads and have not gotten any performance-related complaints, so long as people were careful about what scripted items they placed on their sims. Also remember that many avatars wear huds and other attachments that run TONS of scripts, and all of these can affect your sim. Also, every once in a while you might end up sharing a server with some laggy "server neighbors." If you encounter lag on your homestead that doesn't seem related to anything you're doing on the island, sometimes a restart will help, because your sim will start up on another server, with different "neighbors."

Note that Linden Lab has discussed the possibility of imposing script limitations on homestead regions, but as of January 2009, no limitations had been implemented, and no other specifics were available.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Putting Your Modeling Studio To Sleep

The N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio is a very popular and useful tool for taking snapshots in Second Life. Unfortunately, it is a very script-heavy device that almost always ends up in a sim's list of "Top Scripts." Heavily-scripted objects contribute to lag, which affects everyone on the island. Luckily, the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio has an auto-off feature that shuts the studio down while you're not using it. Please follow these steps to ensure your studio isn't wasting valuable resources while you're away. The process is a little weird, but follow these steps to do it right (steps after the picture):

  1. Touch (left-click) the studio's control panel to bring up the menu.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Auto-off.
  4. Click Shutdown.
    IMPORTANT: You're not done yet! You need to follow the next steps too!
  5. Touch the control panel again.
  6. Click Settings.
  7. Click Auto-off.
  8. Click Auto-off again. You should now see a message in chat that "Autoshutdown has been activated."
With this option enabled, the modeling table will disable any lighting and special effects, and temporarily turn off the modeling table if no one is in the vicinity for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moving Large Unlinked Builds

Every once in a while you have a need to move a number of unlinked objects together, so that they all maintain their same relative positions, but just move elsewhere on your land. The example I'm going to demonstrate involves the Montana Log Cabin, designed by Cory Edo. The cabin is too large to be packaged as a single linked structure, so you need to know how to select and move all of the cabin's linked components together if you want to reposition the house.

This tutorial assumes that you already know how to use the Second Life camera controls, and you know how to edit and move individual objects.

Increase your draw distance
The bigger your build is, the further away you'll need to zoom out your camera. Your maximum zoom distance is limited by your current draw distance, however. Increase your draw distance so that you can zoom out far enough to see your build and the destination location on-screen at the same time.

Disable camera constraints
By default the Second Life viewer puts limits on how far you can zoom in and out on things. You need to turn these limits off in order to move a large build. If you do not see the Client and Server menus in your menu bar, press CTRL+ALT+D to display them. Make sure that Disable Camera Constraints is checked, while Limit Select Distance is unchecked.

Only select your objects
If you accidentally select any items owned by anyone other than yourself, you will not be able to move ANY of the objects that you have selected. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure the Select Only My Objects option on the Tools menu is checked.

Get a bird's-eye view and clean up your viewing area
Use the camera controls to pan overhead and zoom out far enough that you can see the whole build. Once you start selecting items, the camera becomes more difficult to control, so it's best to start from a good angle before you do anything else.

My screenshots are small so you can view them easily, but ideally you're zoomed out far enough that you will be able to select all the parts of your build without having any windows or other things obstructing your view or your selection area (for example, I have the edit window covering part of my house on my screen in some of these pictures, and that would cause me a problem when selecting in the next steps). I strongly recommend you detach all of your HUDs because they can block your selecting. (Notice that I'm not wearing any HUDs in any of these screenshots.)

Enter edit mode
In order to begin selecting your build, you need to select one object in Edit mode. Do this by right-clicking an object (it doesn't matter which one) and picking Edit on the pie menu.

Select the rest of the build
Once you have at least one item selected in Edit mode you can click and drag on the ground to select the rest of the items. This is where it's very important that you don't have any HUDs or windows blocking your view.

Move the build
Once all your items are selected and your camera is positioned properly, you can move things by dragging the red, green, and blue arrow handles. You can also rotate the build by holding down CTRL or by switching into Rotate mode in the Edit window.

Finalize the move
Once you have everything positioned just where you like it, simply close the Edit window.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Phase 3: Full Island Rental at 1/4 the Price!

I am excited to announce Phase 3 of Desperation Isle Estates: Full island rentals at the price we normally charge to rent 1/4 of a sim. These are special "Openspace" islands that only support 3,750 prims instead of the normal 15,000. Note that Phase 2 (multi-tenant, full-prim day/night islands) is still going strong, and will continue to grow over time.

Some people call Openspace sims "low prim sim," "sim-lite," or (incorrectly) "void sims." There used to be severe restrictions on Openspace sims: Formerly they were limited to only 1875 prims, you could only order them in bunches of 4 at a time, and they had to be anchored to another island, which meant that you couldn't just put them anywhere on the map. All of those restrictions have been lifted, however, allowing us to provide completely autonomous full low-prim sims to our tenants!

There are many benefits to having your own Phase 3 island:
  • Choose your own default island design. We have a selection of various full-island templates available that we can install when you first move into your sim.
  • Choose your own island textures. We will texture your island to your specifications- you can make it a lush tropical getaway or a foreboding alien landscape.
  • Access to Estate Manager tools. We will grand the primary tenant access to the Region Tools for the given island. Tenants can use the region tools to diagnose physics and scripting issues, restart the island, send messages to visitors, and more.
  • Total creative freedom. Since you have no neighbors to worry about, none of the 'building guidelines' from our covenant apply. Make your island as beautiful (or ugly) as you wish. Specifically, sections 6.2, 6.3, 6.5, and 6.6 of the covenant mostly do not apply to Phase 3 islands.
Keep in mind that Openspace islands are not exactly the same as regular private islands. You must be aware of the following technical restrictions:
  • Total prim limit is 3,750. Once you hit your prim limit on an OpenSpace sim, there is no way to rent "extra prims" from us.
  • Limited performance. Openspace sims share a processor core with up to three other Openspace sims; they are designed to handle 1/4 the load. This makes them great for residential areas, low-script-load stores, and casual gathering places, but they are not ideal for places with very heavy script load or an unusually large number of textures.
Pricing and Acquisition
The pricing for a Phase 3 island is the same as for renting 1/4 of one of the other islands:

65536m: 3750 prims, weekly L$7200 ($26.97 USD), monthly L$28800 ($107.87 USD)

We will order Phase 3 islands on an as-needed, first-come-first-served basis. It costs us $415 out-of-pocket for every new Openspace sim we bring online, so quantities will be limited. Here's how it will work:
  1. If you would like to rent an Openspace sim, contact Wildefire Walcott directly. If she is not yet prepared to order a new island, she'll add you to her first-come-first-served Phase 3 wait list.
  2. If a new island needs to be ordered and Wildefire is prepared to purchase a new one, you will be required to make a non-refundable cash payment of L$14400 ($54.14 USD) to Wildefire Walcott. This money counts toward your rent, and any back-rent you already have on your existing rental box will also carry over once you move out of your old lot.
  3. Wildefire will put in the order for the new sim, and then alert you when it is ready. The choice of island name will be hers, but she may give you some options to choose from. (You will be able to name any parcel(s) you create on the island.)
  4. Delivery time may take 1-2 weeks, depending on how busy Linden Lab's Concierge team is. Once the island is delivered, you will be able to choose what island design to use, and select island textures. The island design options available to you are listed later. You will have to provide your own full-perm terrain textures to Wildefire if you are not satisfied with the ones in the Linden Library.
  5. Wildefire will add the primary tenant to the Estate Manager list for that island.
  6. If you are an existing tenant of Desperation Isle Estates, you will continue to pay your old rent box at the adjusted fee (Phase 3 islands have no rent boxes on them.) Otherwise, Wildefire will set a new box up for you at one of the other islands in the estate. Please vacate your old land as soon as possible (and notify Wildefire once you're moved out), so she can quickly re-adjust your rent box and re-list your land in.
Available Island Designs
We have the following default island designs available for Phase 3 islands. Four of them are the original island designs that Linden Lab uses when creating new private islands, while the others were custom designed for Desperation Isle Estates.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Desperation Isle Estates: Phase Two

In the past couple of weeks we launched our first couple of islands in Phase Two of Desperation Isle Estates. The Phase 2 islands are not connected to the original islands that surround New Desperation Isle (so there's open ocean in every direction), and they are on a normal day/night cycle. The first island, Desperation Kelly, is already full, but Desperation Vivienne still has some vacancies. Please see our covenant for a list of prices.

To find spots on our estates available for rent using Second Life's new search box (the one that's in the upper-right corner of the screen), just search for: for rent desperation. In Places Search (Edit > Search > Places), just look for: desperation. Our available parcels will all begin "For Rent:" and you can teleport directly to the parcels from the ads. Also, you can always click the Parcels for Rent link on the right-hand side of this blog.