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Build Quality and Babbage Standards

As an offshoot from another thread, I am going to rant a bit about builds here.   Realize, please, that these are my *opinions*, you don’t have to agree with them, and it’s always remotely possibile that I’m wrong about some small detail. :P

First off, in my opinion, the overall quality of builds in New Babbage has gone down of late.   I suspect this is due to the fact that there is more available land, and just filling it up has become something of a task.

However, Babbage was built by and for builders, and has always stood as an example of what they could do.   Rarely do you go about the mainland or estates, and see residential sims that look anywhere near as nice as Babbage does.   It is one of Babbage’s calling cards, and a major draw.

Personally, I would rather see Babbage be four sims of great builds, than a dozen that are average.   And I think we have a growing number of just average builds around town.

So please, in addition to just following the covenant and reading the guidelines, try to make your build something special, whether it’s a factory, shop, or home.

I don’t mean you have to be a great builder, but *think* about what you are building.   Are you building another square brick building with a flat roof?   Is there something characterful you can add to it?

Think about spending prims for looks.   Seriously, spending a few prims on an honest-to-god hole-in-the-wall window with a separate pane of glass and a frame, is going to make your build look so much better than a flat textured-on window. (for example).

A good build is as much about the idea as the execution.

If you want opinions, or build help, just ask.    Ask the community here, or either chat channel, or any of the EMs.   Everyone will be helpful and polite, or else. :P

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  1. Zaida Gearbox Zaida Gearbox May 12, 2011

    But, keep in mind that there are a lot of new builders in Babbage who might be building the best their skill level allows.  How many times did I rebuild Church of the Holy Innocents as I learned how to do more things?  Probably at least six.  Even now, sometimes I’ll see something and think I’d like to do it to the church.  Insulting them will do wonders to get them to not only give up and pack up their shi–stuff and leave town.

  2. Doctor Obolensky Doctor Obolensky May 12, 2011

    Well, again, don’t be offended, this is MY PERSONAL OPINION here.

    Learning is fine….but.   you can learn building from making something in one of the boat slips, or making dollhouses in a rented flat.    Or even go to some other land and build scary things.

    But I think Babbage should (and does) have a minimum quality line.  “Your build must be this good to be below 1000m”.   I just think that line has been getting lower lately.


  3. Mr Tenk Mr Tenk May 12, 2011

    sadly, it seems like the majority of sl’ers take any kind of critique as a personal attack, and some of them over the craziest things. part of that is the tone data that is missing in text chat – we tend to insert a voice of our own creation onto the avatar that is talking.

    what i can’t get over again and again the fact that people jump to the worst conclusions about intent of the speaker. it makes me wonder what sort of world they live in where they expect people to attack them like that. i’m not putting your dog on the menu, really. objectivity? please?

    that’s what you get when you are dealing in fantasy.

    • Zaida Gearbox Zaida Gearbox May 13, 2011

      I always appreciated the critiques and help YOU gave me with my buildings.  Well, there was one time I thought you were being rude on purpose, but that’s gone and you were probably having a bad hair day.  But, there are some people who critique other people’s builds without saying, “Well, you know you could improve it if you do this….”  They just come along and say, “Wow!  This build sucks!” and there’s no way to take that but as an attack.

      • Yang Moreau Yang Moreau May 13, 2011

        I do too, though sometimes I wonder by the quiet if I’ve done an okay job or a good job. ::chuckles:: Sometimes it comes across as a feel of “not impressed”, though I try not to read anything into the quiet.

    • Beq Janus Beq Janus May 15, 2011

      It is this aspect, that I see all too often in software development too, (we nerds are a sensitive bunch you know) which the Kata/Dojo concept I refer to in Mr Harvey’s thread helps enormously. It takes people out of the “this is my creation, thou shalt not say a thing about it” situation. they are there to experiment and learn what makes it work.

      That said, telling someone their baby is ugly cos its head is funny shaped is never gonna win you friends. Howeverm showing them that a cute crochet hat makes the kid look ever so sweet, is often the better course of action.

      I know that quite often the grumpy old men at the back like to tell it how it is but at the same time, we all hate the sight of empty lots.


  4. Victor1st Mornington Victor1st Mornington May 12, 2011

    I still think prefab builds as a choice for new residents is the way to go with the option of the new resident putting down their own build.

    Even though the bar for babbage builds has been lowered a bit over the past two years, the build inspection does put a few people off from buying land in the city.  Running Brunel Hall over the past year and a half and having the majority of the residents stay in that place on some occaisions for more than a three month stretch cause they are “too scared to buy land” (words of several residents) is a testament to that.

    Babbage is well known as a city of excellent builders…but that comes at a major price, and the price is what that other thread is all about…poor foot traffic, little to no interest in social events outside of the keystone events (like Breezys piermont partys), merchants pulling out due to little or no sales.

    Theres only so many times a “tourist” will come back to a city to look at the builds before getting bored and not coming back.  What needs to be done is getting those tourists to stay in the city…prefabs built by folks from Babbage would help a lot. The new resident gets a ready made house, the house fits in with the theme and the city overall gets a new face walking around.

    I’d have started building prefabs but for some reason they all turn into mock tudor buildings…better not let me do prefabs…

    • Mr Tenk Mr Tenk May 13, 2011

      i am aware of the ‘too scared’ attitude. sometimes i end up building those lots.

    • Arconus Arkright Arconus Arkright May 13, 2011

      Not only is purchasing prefabs from master builders a good short term solution, the chance to pick apart and get a detailed look at a good build is an excellent education for novice builders. Win win.

  5. Heliotrope Lionheart Heliotrope Lionheart May 13, 2011

    Mr. Harvey’s overworked in RL this week but he bids me pass on that he’s working on his own prefab concepts and has put feelers out.

    I didn’t know rabbits had feelers.  Hrm.


  6. Edward Pearse Edward Pearse May 13, 2011

    Perhaps it’s worth reviving the build classes in the Academy?

    Even after many years in SL I’ll find a new way of twisting prims that I hadn’t tried before. Yes adding a prim window is a good idea (apart from doing away with the dreaded alpha clash) but it can also be worth looking at how prims can be reduced.

  7. Grendel Footman Grendel Footman May 13, 2011

    I know I’d be interested in how prims can be reduced without sacrificing the look, i have so many projects I can never rezz anywhere as they’re about 500 prims alone


    and never really got the hang of sculpties

  8. Verlia Bilavio Verlia Bilavio May 14, 2011

    I follow one main rule: think outside the box. Literally. More often than not builds start looking like boxes with doors.

    Additionally, I think a few building classes in the Academy is a great idea, Mr. Pearse.

  9. Grendel Footman Grendel Footman May 14, 2011




    my first attempt at a non-factory, actual house, inside looks like crap though, try as I can, the textures won’t line up

  10. Mr Tenk Mr Tenk May 14, 2011

    prim 2 texture repeat  = (prim 1 texture repeat  / prim 1 length ) * prim 2 length

    offset = +- (repeat – nearest odd integer) / 2 , much of the time.

    i’m sure there’s an easier way in one of those newfangled viewers you darn kids are using.

  11. Lady Chronometria Cogshine Lady Chronometria Cogshine May 14, 2011

    I was recently chatting to Mr Tenk regarding rental options and he propsed the idea of a houseboat. In the end i favoured the barrel house, which i found rather charming, but the houseboat was a very good option. It offered a good size, it had character and was in a place where it would see some passers by. The suggested rent was reasonable indeed, a little less than an excelsior hotel room.

    I think it would be a good idea to add the option of houseboats to the “spike” list of real estate options in the city hall. I did not know it to be an option till Mr Tenk suggested it and i think that other newcomers looking at that list would be tempted by it.

    Additionally, while a novice builder may struggle to make a good house, making a decent houseboat seems a less daunting and perhaps more interesting project. Offering the chance to build a boat as opposed to a house might work out well.

  12. Lady Chronometria Cogshine Lady Chronometria Cogshine May 14, 2011

    Additional to the above and on the issue of prefabs. Might i suggest, as i briefly raised in chat, the idea of partial pre-fabs, or building blocks and parts?

    Giving a new builder help with a framework or other tricky building “bits” rather than giving them a whole fully made house would mean that they could take the parts and use them to produce a work that was unique compared to the prefab down the road, but which kept a consistent style.

    Support in this way will help learning and will be easier than having to supply people with ready built houses. It also has the advantage of letting newer builders see good styles and “bits” that they can tweak or use in their ongoing project without forcing ideas upon them.

    I`m no builder, but when i raised this, someone suggested walls and windows to be a stumbling block and maybe this would help there.

  13. Nathaniel Lorefield Nathaniel Lorefield May 14, 2011

    One help on the blasted textured-on windows might be to make a separate prim frame around the tex-window. Just a thought.

  14. Beq Janus Beq Janus May 15, 2011

    Prefabs are not the way forward but only a stop gap.

    If you are too scared to build or unable to build you can go buy a house, there are in fact plenty of suitable buildings on the market place, go support a craftsman, or employ someone to build for you if you want something custom.  Babbage is renowned for the builders that live here. If we end up with a majority population of people “too scared to build” and a handful of artisans holding the fort then we are living a mirage, babbage is more than the builds it is also the melting pot of ideas, the spark of creativity. You can’t prefabricate innovation.

    The lego concept works for me. Make a bunch of steampunk bits and pieces. Grendels house above could be an example. a basioc shape, a few purposeful looking pipes and appropriate textures. But don’t link it together. Just give them the parts and a set of step by step photos perhaps. As kids we had lego. you’d buy the kits cos that was all the sold. But did you build the house? Or the fairy grotto (I still can’t believe they stopped making fairy lego :-( )?  Most people built it once, then tore it apart and made something uttlerly of their own design.

    “That’s nice dear, what is it?”

    • Giles Berithos Giles Berithos May 15, 2011

      I find myself once again agreeing with Ms. Janus.  I have basic-to-moderate building skills and I can’t make a sculpt at all (except for a damn fine apple).  However, I have supplemented my build with some nice goodies from others (Dr. Watson’s very nice drainpipe being one).  Complete prefabs will only create a look of complete conformity.  Rather, let’s provide bits and pieces and let the individual residents put together their own in-theme creation.  Because, really, what’s more steampunk than Frankensteining some s#@* together?

      • Orpheus Angkarn Orpheus Angkarn May 15, 2011

        I agree with Mr. Berithos on this front. I have been working on the interior of one of those blue boxes that don’t exist, and I know I don’t have time, resources, or skill to build an original concept. However, because of the help of a fellow resident (thanks Mr. Canis) I have started to gain an understanding of certain building aspects; enough to where I am starting to be comfortable modding pre-existing builds, as well as experimenting with new ideas on combining elements. More often than not these experiments do not work (I recently tried linking a room to a scripted item, only to have that room rotate askew for no apparent reason.)

        It is late and I have forgotten where I was going with this reply. Having a New Babbage Builder’s Kit freely available (similar to the welcome kit that is readily available all over the sims) would be an excellent idea, either for people to be able to build their own buildings, or even just to take certain items to augment their own builds. I know I would have nothing to contribute, but I would love such a kit if others were able to create one.

        • Blackberry Harvey Blackberry Harvey May 15, 2011

          Another idea on prefabs to avoid conformity is to assemble a good number (say 10) prefabs and instead of the vendor giving out copies of them, have only one of each design available.  If the vendor runs out, we can make more.

    • Verlia Bilavio Verlia Bilavio May 15, 2011


      I want to share my vision of New Babbage with everyone, a place where creativity and whimsical ideas are encouraged where every citizen encourages each other to find their creative spark and develop this, a place where you can throw around ideas around one day and the next have something spring to life. (Even if this doesn’t mean building).

      I think we have two main issues here:

      • People being too afraid to build

      • Not providing support for people to expand their building skills

      The easiest thing to do would be to encourage new residents to start building, just to build something so they can get the hang of it and to provide input to those already building. I’d love to just see more people providing a few ideas to make someone’s build better (“This is great but I think you could make it better if you did this” or “It worked for me when I…” or “What if you did this..”) Overall, just more communication. Academy classes would go a long way in making this communication available at a set time, but in between then, I think there should be more interaction between builders if they want/need it.

  15. Tepic Harlequin Tepic Harlequin May 15, 2011

    Learning to make things is fun, and i enjoy trying things out – i’ve entered several of the building competitions knowing i would not win, but for the fun of making something.  It can be a bit disheartening to then see what else is there – some of you are FAR too darned good (hehhe) – but if you are building to the limits of your skill, then that’s good, you are still learning!

    The advantage of the competitions is that they are temporary, so no matter that my effort isn’t as spectacular or accurate as the others, it gives me experience, is fun, and will not be around long, so i encorage everyone to join in.  If anyone wants to suggest things on my builds, please do, i don’t take offence (may not take up the suggestion either, but…), and welcome advice to help me improve. (someone, please, give me advice! hehehe).

    Also, when building my camp, and recently being part of the urchin build in Wheatstone, once it was near as i (we) had imagined, Mr Tenk was invited to take a viewing.  This just set my mind are rest that i wasn’t doing something not in keeping with the City. He has always been very helpful in visiting and making sure we do not go too far wrong.  Having said that, the urchin place in Wheatstone is a temporary build, and the main building is not perfect, but is more a shell into which we could put the right feel for somewhere urchins might inhabit.  If it was to be long term, the building would have needed a lot of work.  I would encorage people to visit the urchin place, as i hope it has got that feel right, and i would appreciate any feedback.

    Oh, the popcorn machine, no, it’s not really right for the City, and we have already been thinking about Babbagising it….

  16. Edward Pearse Edward Pearse May 16, 2011

    I was musing this morning whether a semi-regular round of Primtionary might be of interest to Babbagites. While it’s not going to make you a master builder, it may get some people who are nervous of handling ANY prims over that first step, as well being good fun for observers trying to get the word or phrase.

    And it’s something that could be run at various times to cover that whole nasty timezone issue.

    • Yang Moreau Yang Moreau May 16, 2011

      I love primtionary! It’s been a while since I last played it.

        • Edward Pearse Edward Pearse May 16, 2011

          It’s like charades. The person who is “it” has a word (usually from a themed set) that they have to convey to the audience using prims. No sculpts, no textures, no scripts, no prebuilt prims.

          Raglanshire have regular sessions (which is where I’ve played it before). I know there’s an “official” Primtionary game who charge something like $L3000 a session to come to your sim but I know the Raglan one is called prim charades and is an in-house thing I think.

          I’ll ask Zayn about details.

          • Kaylee Frye Kaylee Frye May 16, 2011

            I’d say its closer to Pictionary, thus the name ripoff hehe.

  17. Jonathon Spires Jonathon Spires May 16, 2011

    Well I started building in the last year, relatively “lately” so I’ll respond. For what I know, it could be directed at me, for all I know. Always hard to tell with this kind of thread just who the finger really wags at.

    Alpha windows are a compromise. Sometimes I use them, without frames, and frankly I will seldom use sculped windows at all. Not everyone has a spec-meeting computer, and on older hardware or challenged viewers like ImpotenceImeanImprudence, sculpts load badly. So that’s one reason. Weak, but true.

    But it often comes down the prim counts. I think most of us have an idea of what we’d LIKE to build, but in the end we will typically meet a compromise point. That courtyard won’t get a fountain you don’t have the space to plunk down, that 40 prim couch with prim-screws will have to be replaced by a one prim bench, that south facing wall will get alpha windows. The alternative may be not allowing flyover rights (lack of  prims) or lack of economic break-even if someone is trying to make a go of business in-world.

    It’s not my place to say what NB can, or should be. I pay tier on a small amount of land, haven’t been here long, and don’t know the 3rd degree handshake, but I think the idea of maintaining standards is good, indeed vital. If it becomes another McSteamland, it would have no reason for existance. But not everyone builds, and not everyone wants to spend all their prims on the structure itself. It all comes down to compromise.

    • Grendel Footman Grendel Footman May 17, 2011

      full agreement, i’d like to build a highly detailed, complex structure, full of machines and devices with all sorts of working gears and components.

      with prims limited, the reality ends up being a relatively basic building, where the inside largely feels empty aside from the occasional 1 prim bench

  18. Enoch Harris Enoch Harris May 21, 2011

    I’m currently involved in my first build — I designed, somebody else built, and two of us are doing textures.

    I have read a fair bit of stuff, but my time is limited and there are other people involved so I just have to get on with it, trial and error.

    It would have been nice if there were someone I could ask for advice if and when needed… not advanced lessons, just asking if something is actually possible before embarking down a route. Or where to go to learn or take a shortcut.

    It would actually be nice to gat a visit from the building inspector during the build.

    For the record, until I get the time to learn Blender, I’m relying on what I know, which is textures. This is an art in it’s self, and having spen tabout 6 hours painting windows and testing them under different lighting, I’m a little disheartened to hear that some people feel they won’t be good enough! I hope I can change people’s minds about textures.



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