Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So You Bought Some Land...Prologue

I always get lots of questions from new renters and buyers about their land. So I am going to start posting a series of articles to help you get the most out of your SL home.

First, why get your own place? Owning your own place (or renting) in second life is an amazing thing. No where else on the internet can you actually call a place your own! You may own your own house in RL, but can you build your own house on it? Can you change the house every week? Such freedom in SL Most residents of SL do not own their own land, but personally I can't imagine not having a place to call my own. I got my first place just two or three weeks after rezzing. I had been making clothes (my first project here was as a clothes designer) and I was making a prim skirt in some sand box. A bunch of boys started harassing me, and I just lost it. I spent the next few days looking for rentals, then stumbled on an 8192 sq meter lot that was nicely priced. I took only 1024 sq meter for myself and rented the rest. The rental business was successful and I made enough to pay for my own parcel. Any of you that know me, know that I have continued to expand this business and now am a sim owner.

I was young, and most of my friends were young, and my house quickly became a hang out, love nest, work shop and refuge. I've moved to some bigger places since, but I actually still live in that same place! After setting it up with some nice sounds, I would often even log in at work, park my avatar in my hot tub and relax....aaaah. Not many people can work form a hot tub on their own tropical beach!

Sounds nice huh? Well, then your first choice is to buy or rent. Renting has two main advantages, 1) you can walk away from the land easily 2) many land lords will provide houses and other amenities. In the long term however, buying is usually cheaper and you usually have much more freedom. I'll focus the rest of this post on buying as that is the most committing.

If you have decided to buy you have lots of decisions to make. Main land or estate land? Mainland or Linden Land is owned by Linden Laboratories and you pay Tier (monthly usage fees) to them. Estate Land is Islands owned by Second Life residents, many of whom go on to sell it to other SL residents like you. You pay Tier to them. Estate Land is usually cheaper to buy, but tier may be a bit more.

For residential living I will always choose estate land with a GOOD sim owner. Mainland (or Linden Land) has no covenant. You can do anything you want to do. Sounds great! STOP! So can your neighbor, and he has a porn addiction and demonstrates it with large posters everywhere. He is very fond of his 20 story purple penis. The woman to our left thinks she is a scripter and seems to script primarily for lag. There is no covenant! Nothing you can do. Better is to look for estate land, that is well managed.

If you have decided on estate land, you should do your homework. CAREFULLY read the covenant. There are three common things to check. Make sure you can resell the land. Many sim owners "sell" you the land, but really you just pay for the privilege to rent. The price may be less than actually buying the land, but there are plenty of great rental properties out there where you don't have to pay anything but rent. Next, make sure the purchase price on the land is what it says. Many sim owners sell land for 1L but this is just to "reserve" the land. You have to pay the full price later to actually buy the land. Finally, check to if you are allowed to subdivide or join parcels. Many sim owners do not allow you to sell land subdivided. I think this is a good thing. You don't want to buy a nice 4096 sq meter plot then have your neighbor sell off his land in 16 sq meter parcels to people who will live in card board boxes! There may be other rules too, the sim may have building restrictions, a theme and so on. This is all up to your taste.

You should also scan the about land info, make sure it is all as you expect. Make sure you get the normal number of prims for instance.

Phew! Big decision! Everything checks out. You've found the parcel of your dreams, the sim owner has a good reputation, the view is amazing, the neighbors are nice. If you are like me, you even IMed the sim owner just to see if she would respond. You showed the land to your friends, they all like it. Well now its ready for the easy part. Right click on the ground ( or click on the land info on the top of your viewer), and click "buy land" on the general tab. DOH! You forgot to buy lindens. Buy your lindens, now...click on "buy land " again. Click the check boxes after reading what they are asking you...then hit OK. Suddenly, you are standing on your new home! But there is nothing there! The next few articles will discuss how to get the most of your new home.

So You Bought some Land...Part 1 (Deeding Your Land)

So you bought some land, from me or anyone else. You are ready to terraform like no one has seen before, put your dream house down and landscape a place so nice, traffic will instantly put you on the top 10 list! STOP!

Before you delve into all this you should do two things. First: create a land owners group, Second: deed your land to this group. This is absolutely mandatory people starting a rental business, but also almost necessary for anyone else. What does this do for you? For all land owners, this allows you to control access, object creation and entry. If you don't do this, griefers are sure to find your land eventually and cause all sorts of problems. For people running rental businesses, you must deed your land if you want your tenants to be able to run their own media on their rented parcels. So, how do you do all this? Lets start with deeding your land.

First, what kind of group should you create? If this land is your own personal land, you may already have a friends and family group. If not, make one! Set roles and abilities so that only people you trust can do bad things to your land but other friends can maybe rez objects for instance (setting up groups, group roles and group abilities deserves its own post, so I will just assume you know how to do this for now). For rental properties, a rental group makes sense. Again, you should set up your roles and abilities so no one can do you no harm, but your renters can do what they need (such as deed objects so they can deed their radios).

Now that you have your group, go to land info. You can access this either by right clicking on bare ground and choosing Land Info, or by clicking on the parcel name and info on the top of your viewer. Got to the general tab and click and click the Set button to the right of group (red highlight in pic). Then click the Deed button below that. Technically you do not own the land now, your group does. That is why you must be careful setting group roles and abilities!

accessNow that you have deeded your land lets control access. I personally don't do this on my own land, but many people do and it is not a bad idea at all. Got to the access tab and click the group box (highlighted green). That's it! Just remember, only people in your group will be able to visit your land now. So make sure and add people to your group, or turn public access back on before you TP people in. Nothing can ruin a promising romantic encounter like being denied access!
Now.. the next step you must always do. Got to Options tab and uncheck create objects and object entry for everyone. You should also turn off Edit Terrain at this time. Alternatively you could go to Objects tab and set the auto-return time to something other than zero. This will cause any objects not set to your group to be returned after a specified amount of time. The first methods will allow only group members to rez or drop objects on your land. The draw back is if there is someone who wants to just quickly make something, you'll need to add them to your group or change land options. The second method allows anyone to make or drop an object. If the don't pick it up, it will be returned to them after the time you specify. The drawback, for me anyway, is I constantly forget to change my active group on land I own, so I make something, then it gets returned to me a short time later. Usually when I've moved on to another project. For my personal land I prefer the first option. I prefer the second option for shops where customers might want to open boxes, but you don't want the boxes to linger.

So, those are the basics of deeding land and controlling access and object creation on your land. You must at least consider this before the griefers find your your land. I have found every time I forget to do this, I regret it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blackthorne Gardens Is Now Open!!

The first island in the Blackthorne Community is now open and the first residents have already moved in! The island is shaping up to be a gorgeous southern plains with a alpine meadow toward the north. A waterfall and community park are being landscaped as we speak!

A tier collection terminal will be temporarily located in the welcome center which where I will also add land sales information and other information for residents. Everyone should take a moment to meet Iosef and Elisa to see their house and Trinity's house is wonderful as well! Stephanie is busy building her dream house and Eva's adobe ranch comes with a canoe you can paddle around.

Immediate development plans include moving the welcome public access area into the sky, and including a public access club house. Additionally I will continue landscaping the public areas and add a members and residents only dungeon. I have some good ideas for the dungeon, but I think I will let you all see for yourselves when it is done! Also, once I have made enough sales I will be adding water sims with small private islands on each side of Blackthorne Gardens. Futures sims will all be added such that most every residant can sail or paddle to any other place in the community!

If you are interested in purchasing land in this new BDSM community please IM Minh Ahn or Stephanie Lindman. The Island is looking beautiful and I have completed the temporary welcome center. See the attached pics to see how its shaping up. I will be adding the club house and members only dungeon soon. Look for our grand opening event and regularly scheduled community events soon after.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tell Me More You Say?

SURE! We are currently in the process of planning and developing what I believe to be a new concept in Second Life. We have all been to clubs and although many of them are wonderful and welcoming places, the successful ones often suffer from lag, large numbers of non-interactive people and they aren't really home. Do you own land? Well, you probably do not know your neighbors, and you probably only share a little in common.

Our first island in Blackthorne Estates, Blackthorne Gardens is designed to provide a place for you to live on land you own in a beautiful LOW LAG and PRIVATE setting. We are setting aside a large part of the island to maintain a modest clubhouse, and members-only land for residents and paying members to play in. In addition to the clubhouse, we will include other communal areas for people to meet, interact and hang out. Future expansion will include water sims with private islands and navigable water as well.

You say you don't want to live by a club?

This club house is there primarily as a focus for community and social activities for our residents. The business model does not rely on traffic, and only partially on having paying non-resident members. However, we will try to make it a place where you can meet new people and get together with your friends. It is not a strip club. Our staff will be hand selected to be friendly and helpful and make your time in the club house and members-only areas fun and enjoyable. They will not be put on a stage but rather on the floor to interact with our guests. Additionally, we will facilitate BDSM role play by "encouraging" members to display their Dominant/Sub status and behave accordingly (switching is allowed of course).

We also plan to host community building activities such as live music, BDSM classes, discussion groups and workshops, D/s speed dating and other activities (these are some ideas we are working on, please don't hold us to specifics at this point!).
Some functions will be open to members only, some will be open to the general SL public. We also hope that members and residents will host some of their own events. I will be living there too, so I want to have fun!

Who are you and what makes you think you can do this you say?

Well...I have managed and owned rental property and land sales for more than a year now. I also manage a BDSM sim (Domina Island) with a successful BDSM club on it. I have come to believe that the Second Life BDSM community truly values quality and lush surroundings and truly intimate and honest personal interaction. It is our plan to bring this to you.

I will post developments soon...look for land sales to start in a week or two, depending on cooperation from the Lindens. If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to talk about pre-sales (10% discount on price) IM me in world.