Saturday, 28 April 2007


Perhaps you have already read about the Reperes giant head office, created by my friends at Virtuool.

Last night my wolf friend Joshua Culdesac contacted me to let me know that Virtuool, in effect a 2-person company, have now taken the plunge and acquired their own island in Second Life: Celestial Isle. I went along to see what my chum has been up to - as he's always got something interesting tucked up his sleeve, or in his inventory.

The first thing he showed me was his kitchen planner. This is a logical extension of the graphics facilities offered by specialist RL kitchen planners. In short order, Virtuool can construct your dream kitchen for you, using supplied plans. You can then walk through and check out its suitability, with adjustments possible in real time to address any shortcomings or problems with the plan. The intention is to offer the facility for use by RL kitchen planners, but of course it can also be used to design your ideal SL kitchen.

Next on the tour was the low-prim house. The house clocks in a 70 prims - perhaps not ultra-low, but nonetheless useful for the many SLers with tiny plots of land. As with most Virtuool builds it is also heavily scripted. It offers secure door access, privacy and visitor logging, but the most interesting scripting is in the teleport that allows you to move from one floor to another. This has been designed to minimise the prim count and eliminate the need for the transport to be unlinked from the rest of the house. However, you need to Joshua to explain how it works! Virtuool have also been designing a basic shop structure, for sale to budding SL entrepreneurs.

Also on the island you will find the opposite end of the housing market - an ultra-high prim house. This is not as bizarre as it may seem. The house has been designed and built using architectural plans for a US East Coast property company and, like the kitchen, is intended to offer virtual walk-throughs for prospective buyers of the RL house. Therefore, it needs to be as good a simulation as possible (right down to the micro-detailing on the front-door keyhole!). Joshua is also planning to produce a low-prim version for sale to SL house buyers.

The last main feature at ground level is the showroom, showcasing a number of the objects that Virtuool have built in the last few months. A new line is the Surprise Luggage, a range of suit-cases and valises that, when opened, reveal something unusual and amusing. For reasons best known to them, Virtuool have also been working on a range of spoof doctor's equipment. I can particularly recommend the thermometer!

Virtuool's main development area is a gigantic hangar, floating high above the island., where even the high-prim house is dwarfed. It was here that Joshua showed me the last of his gizmos - and one which I think could have a lot of uses. It is a set of presentation tablets, with one master (used by the lecturer or presenter) and a number of slave tablets. As slides are loaded into the master tablet, they are automatically displayed on the slave tablets. Once the sequence has been loaded, the slides are in effect buffered, so performance is optimised. What I found intriguing was that the slave tablets could be up to 100 metres from the master - giving the option to replicate a presentation across a number of slave displays set within a circle of 100 metres radius. Very useful for large-scale presentations, as well as smaller lecture venues.

I know Joshua is taking a calculated gamble with his move into building in Second Life, and I wish him and his colleague, Piper, all success. I like their "take" on things - there's usually something fun and quirky in their builds that makes you (a) smile and (b) wonder how they did it. OK... and sometimes (c), why did they do it?!

For more information contact Joshua Culdesac via IM or use the contact details on the website.

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