Monday, November 19, 2012


     Even though most merchandise in the virtual world is fantastically inexpensive, Second Life has its own kind of ‘expensive’ economics for all we builders and residents. It’s called counting your prims. On my sim ACC Alpha, keeping the 15,000 allowed prims in mind is a constant challenge. Or should I say 14,000 since it is advised to have at least 1,000 unused prims on a sim to reduce lag for visitors. I’m often at a deficit (currently at 740 unused prims) because I rarely stop building new things and refining my older builds.

Interior of the Pen Temple, as seen after passing through the Generator Room.


     Such was the case yesterday when creating the Pen Temple. In order to build it, I needed to walk around the sim, storing other prims into inventory. First, let me tell you that a pen temple is not a new concept to me, as I have made one in real life too. I write and scribble a lot, and when the pens run out of ink, or the pencils are sharpened down to stubs, I never throw them out. Instead, they are dropped into a ceramic building I made. Hands together in prayer formation, and an informal bow, I acknowledge the usefulness of that implement, and watch it fall into the darkness surrounded by the company of many others. If in 2,000 years, this temple is unearthed, the archeologist will undoubtedly be rather stumped. So, a pen temple is my real life invention that I bring into SL.

     An adventure movie might dramatize a temple’s entrance with dangers where the hero risks his life to reach the inner sanctum. By coincidence this is evident at the entry to the Pen Temple as well. A small, narrow room at the base of Medusa Locks has been an energy generator for over a year. (Medusa Locks is a Cliffside neighborhood). Suited with large moving cogs and a needle sharp giant clock hand, this is not a room you want to walk through. Nevertheless, the area in which I needed to build the temple was just beyond this mechanical nightmare. The whole was made phantom, so a visitor can easily pass through the machine if they realize there is something to see beyond it. And what lies beyond it? Is it a huge secret room like the Library of Darkrodin further down the Medusa Locks? Is it dark and mysterious? Actually, it is more than all that. It is common. The room is small. There is an old bed with a candle, and simple book shelves line the walls. Pens and pencils are appropriately scattered around. Why is it so small and simple? The message: in the world of ideas, not much is needed beyond the imagination. From this little room, anything can be written.

Looking into the Bookbinders work space. The centaur carries a needle to sew signatures.


     Immediately after completing the Pen Temple, I had another idea for the Medusa Locks. “Bakery on the Steps” was a fun place where you could knead dough with a view onto the bay, but with my friend, Lilia Artis’ “Cake Thieves Patisserie”, there was no longer a need for two pastry houses. What I really wanted was a book bindery. The furnishings of the bakery were taken into inventory to make room for the new establishment. It makes sense to have bookbinders residing so close to the Library of Darkrodin which is just a short walk from this cell.


     The only way to approach prim balance properly is to have a list of items that I am willing to remove from the sim in exchange for the new builds. It’s never easy. It’s never easy. It’s never easy. But every once in a while, I hit that 1,000 unused prims. There is an incentive: with the Renaissance Hunt beginning in December, I am hoping to reduce lag as much as possible for the visitors.


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