On building

I started building my first home the hard way: aligning objects one on top of the other. It took ages just to get the various parts of a wall fitting correctly around the windows. And when I was finished, ah well, the house was too small to let two people inside…

Worse thing was, I was taking so many primitives that I soon filled up my share! What was wrong? this house was a simple lodge, nothing fancy, and with one single room…

Well, the trick about building is simple: use “partial” primitives and lots of textures. Partial primitives is what you get when tampering with the primitives and create “holes” in them. Say you want a window inside a wall. Instead of building it the traditional way – 4 primitives for the wall around the window – you can get away with a cube with a “hole” in the middle (a square section). So you reduce the number of primitives to just one! The same applies to doors and other stuff.

If you need very detailed things – like a veranda’s grille, or several windows supported by a grid in iron or PVC – the best way to do is to use a texture. Use Photoshop or a similar program to get your overall image in the best detail you want. As you’re working with a texture and not with primitives you can get amazing detail. Then create a simple, thin cube and do it transparent. Now the trick is to apply the texture twice – on the “outside” and “inside” of the object. The easiest way to do this is simply to open your inventory and drag & drop a texture on top of the face. You can also do it from the object modeller (just select the radio button which says “Select Individual”).

Now you can get a very complex home with windows of all sizes and detailed texturing with just… one primitive! Draw a giant cube and don’t close it completely, you’ll need a door. Then in Photoshop create several textures, for the inside and outside, leaving a “transparent background” for the windows. If you do it right – aligning textures properly is not so easy and requires some skill – you could build a one-primitive house (well with another one for the door) just like that! Cool, huh?

In my case I gave it up and just bought a prefab home from Dominion’s 🙂 Sam Portocarrero has lots of clever designs with very nice texturing, and special types for mountainous terrain, or with a more modern look instead of a conventional one. Look him up on the map and get your new home for as low as L$150…

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About Gwyneth Llewelyn

I'm just a virtual girl in a virtual world...

  • Gwyneth, thank you for this post on building an SL house. It’s a godsend. I’m new to SL, have had no trouble finding lots of instructions on manipulating prims up to a rather basic point, but was about to despair of ever finding information about building something like a house.

    Would you please guide me to instructional materials (in SL, on the Web, in printed books) about building structures in SL? Thank you!

    Flieger Beresford in SL.
    [email protected] in RL.