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(This post is about building and scripting, of course. Just in case you thought it was about something else. You didn’t, did you?)

Whenever I talk to people in Second Life who are thinking about building or scripting, they seem to feel guilty. “I should really learn how to build things,” they often say. Well, but why? Sure, if it’s fun and interesting to you, but otherwise, forget it and get on with whatever gets your motor going in Second Life!

The dance floor I built for our house; it fades from night to day and back.

One of the arguments for building and scripting is money. There’s kind of the idea out there that building something yourself can save you money, or that once you build it you can sell it and make money from it. True! But also misleading:

For example, Eris and I built a spa. I suspect (wild guess) it took about three and a half hours of work, not counting the shopping for and setting up of some extra pose balls and plants. How much would the spa cost if we had bought it instead of building it? At a wild guess (I seem to like those!), maybe L$1750. So if I don’t sell the spa, we made L$500 an hour … $2 US per hour, in other words. We “saved” six dollars. I could have made more by working a little extra time in Real Life and saved us a lot of the building time! But of course it was fun to make the spa, it’s fun to have something unique that we can show off, and I *will* probably try to sell it before too long.

As for the selling, well, that’s more complicated than it might seem. First you have to make sure what you’re selling is not at all flaky, so you won’t be wasting your Second Life on complaints. Then you have to figure out how to package it, do photography for the box, create the packaging, and set a price. You have to double check your permissions, too, to make sure that your customers will be able to use the thing but that you’re not inadvertently creating an infinitely copyable freebie.

Then you need a place to sell it! Even if you already have a store, that’s not necessarily an easy thing. For instance, I have a store that sells women’s embroidered border t-shirts with dirty comments on them (like “Buy me that and I’ll **** you senseless”). It’s not necessarily a good venue. If you don’t already have a store, or if your store isn’t a good fit, you either need to rent/buy a store or convince someone who has a store to sell it for you.

Another good option, either along with a store or instead, is selling it on SLExchange (if you’re not fed up with them over supporting greifepreneuring) or SLBoutique. For these you have to add some extra steps of adding descriptions and keywords.

And then, many times, after that your product doesn’t sell! Nobody’s ever heard of it, and if it doesn’t stand out and fill a need that really had to be met, or just enrapture anyone who sees it, nothing happens. All that time and investment, and nothing to show for it. In terms of learning, failure is as good as success. In terms of not having a sucky Second Life, failure is worse than never trying in the first place (or maybe it just seems that way sometimes)!

The other thing about building and scripting is that it takes you away from loved ones. Sure, you’re there and theoretically available to talk, but you’re not going to be doing a lot of typing if you’re trying to painstakingly fit a little stained glass window into a skewed oval gap on the side of your mechanical elephant temple. (If you build a mechanical elephant temple, by the way, please IM me to come see it! I’ll even burn peanut incense. 🙂 ) This absence-through-being-busy is nasty sometimes. If you’ve ever been on the other end of it, you probably know what I mean: your friend or spouse or lover or master or what have you gazes off into space, makes noncommital responses to your chat and IMs, and seems to have forgotten/never cared that you exist.

Working on the Tempest Ariel at our sky house. As you can see, I’m wearing
my formal building gown.

Of course, that’s not going to stop me building and scripting at all. I love being able to play with the world, to make things up out of nothing. Right now, among other things, I’m working on an airship, the Tempest Ariel. Here’s the hull, roughed in. Eris is making the wings and fin and maybe the sail, and then we’ll need to add textures, pose balls, a ship’s wheel and … well, never mind about the other things. But it should be an interesting travel experience. 😉