Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Low-Hassle Castle -- And 200 More Prefabs

One thing I don't like about buying from vendors is the chance factor. You could be shelling out big money for a not-so-cleverly disguised remake of one of the founding Lindens' freebies, paying for a misspelled product, or in some cases, not even getting it. And while I'm on that last issue, I'd like to thank the item seller who "refunded" my money by running L$100 through my vendor -- and getting back 90% in commission immediately.

And the other thing I don't like about vendors: the ton of no-mod stuff out there. Come on, I know how to make a floating text script, so you don't have to hide it from me. And maybe I'd rather not have a no-mod Library texture spread across my purchase like an oil spill.

But on a more positive note, I came across designer Sara Sullivan's Mind's Eye Prefabs while looking for a good building or two to sell on Apez. I liked the cut of the Mounier's jib, even when all I could see was a single photo. And to paraphrase Victor Kiam, I liked the castle so much I built a business around it.

A lot of builds in SL are cavernous, boxy, and give you the impression you just paid a lot for three or four textured stiff prim sheets.

Not so with the Mounier.


Now that's an arrow slit.

When Ms. Sullivan came by to rez the castle, I was amazed. At under 350 prims, I still had a LOT of prim space to play with on my rented 4096. And it was massive, too. No rinky-dink slap-togethers that looked more like plastic or plywood than solid, immovable stone.

Sara's architectural expertise matches that of my friend JC Anvil. She's loaded the castle with twists and turns, passages and towers, crenellations and chambers. Spiral staircases wind, lengthy corridors give the impression of luxurious, unhurried design, views from the side and central towers are magnificent. If you're put off by the puniness of a lot of builds that don't match the scale of RL builds, come by today and wander around for a while. The Mounier maximizes its roominess inside without giving up the solid walls you'd expect to rely on in medieval times. The ramparts and rooftops make for great tactical battles, and I've been inspired to modify my CGB script to allow realistic structural damage.

And for those of you who prefer a darker build, there is also the Ruxton Castle for sale in the heart of the castle. You can make as many copies as you like for just L$4000... less than a week's pay at my old job.

Flagons of mead, coming up.

There are a few very minor things I would improve on the Mounier. The railing and top door seem a little thin to me, the frail stained glass seems a mite out of place in this megalithic masterpiece, and a legion of hearty warriors ought to be able to sit at the table together in the dining hall. But the best thing about the Mounier Castle is that I can fix these things with just a texture here and there, rip out the dining table, drop in an archery contest, wine bar and banquet table, and my guests and I can enjoy the rest of what truly is a fine build.

To see the copiable/mod Mounier and Ruxton castles and 200 buildings from ~L$200 to L$120,000, come to Oliva's Homes and Mansions at

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