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How To Become an Accomplished Architect in Second Life : Page 2

If you have ever dreamed about building a castle, now's your chance. Learn to manipulate Second Life graphics primitives, and the only limit is your imagination.


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Working with Land
Second life land is not always flat; however, flat land is the easiest to build on. Some land will be flat and easy to build on, such as Figure 5.
 
Figure 5. Flat Land in Second Life: Flat land is the easiest to build on.
 
Figure 6. Hilly Land in Second Life: This figure shows an initial view of the hilly land on which the castle in this article was built.
Most other land that you purchase will have hills. You can flatten small parcels of land relatively easily. However you can only raise or lower land so far. This makes it very difficult to flatten large areas of land. Consider Figure 6, which shows the hilly land on which the castle in this article was built.

 
Figure 7. A Granite Block: Here's a large granite block that will serve as part of the castle's foundation.
You will notice from Figure 6 that the land's texture varies with its height. As you move closer to the ocean the land's texture becomes sandier. This is a preset option for land, and cannot usually be changed. The only time land texture can be changed is if you own a Second Life Island. You can get more information about island ownership here. It is also important to note that this form of texture applies only to land. All other textures will not be affected by height.

I've already flattened the land as far as I can. Now I must build a foundation on which to build the castle. Basically a foundation is a bunch of large boxes textured to look like a foundation. To build the foundation, start by creating a cube of the maximum size—10 cubic meters (see Figure 7). The easiest way to make a cube that large is to choose the prim options and set the x, y, and z sizes to 10. Next, select the texture tag and choose the "Granite" texture included with the standard object library in your inventory. If you can't find it, fill in the text box at the top of your inventory and do a search. While still in the texture options, change the "Repeats per Face" option to "1" for both horizontal and vertical.

 
Figure 8. The Completed Foundation: Placing the blocks next to one another creates a solid foundation for the castle.
If you are building your own castle it is best to built it to fit your land's size. The plot that I am using for this example is 4,096 square meters. For this size a foundation will consist of 36 (6 x 6) granite blocks like the one you created in the previous step. You can quickly copy the granite block (or any primitive) you've created by clicking it and choosing "Take Copy." Copying the block adds the new block to your inventory. From the inventory, you can drag a block to the ground and quickly create more copies. Drag enough blocks to create a foundation for the size castle you want.


While you could drag all 36 blocks to the correct location, it is much easier and more accurate to simply set the x, y, and z coordinates using the prim options window. For example, the first block that I placed over the land had a z value of 36 meters. Since every block in the foundation is the same height I was able to simply enter the value of 36 for the z-coordinate of all of the foundation blocks. Likewise each block's x and y should be 10 meters away from the previous block. This is because each block is 10 cubic meters.

 
Figure 9. A Grassy Plane: After adding the grass texture to the top of the foundation cubes, you'll have a grassy plane perfect for building.
Setting the z value the same for all blocks creates a flat foundation, because each block has the same height and the same z-coordinate. Z-coordinates are zero based, where zero is a spot deep underground. Therefore, if all blocks have the same height and z-coordinate they will all appear at the same level. Some will be slightly underground, similar to a real-life house's foundation. Figure 8 shows the completed foundation.

The next step is to add grass on top of the foundation. You will likely want to walk around outside the castle, and adding grass to the foundation makes it look like a nice grassy field—a perfect building spot! To add grass, change the texture of only the top face of each of the cubes by dragging the texture to the top face of the cube. Note that each face of a prim can have a different texture. First, select a grass texture from your inventory. I like the "Islands—Grass" from the standard library. Drag this texture to the top of all of the foundation cubes. This will result in a terraformed grassy plane ready for building (see Figure 9).



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