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Mixed emotions - historical site updates


ChinRey
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Not sure how to put this...

A while ago I made a set of updated versions of some of Eric Linden's most iconic buildings that he made for a specific place but that has later been used all over Second Life and even on other grids. I tried my best to keep the original look and feel, only adding a few more details and of course reducing the land impact - the kind of things I hope Eric would have done himself if he had had access to mesh.

Apparently somebody thought I had done a decent job - yesteday two of the original buildings, rezzed by Eric Linden himself at the sim the were originally meant for, were replaced by my replicas.

I'm honored of course but also a bit uncertain, should historical SL builds really be updated this way? What do people think about that?

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Freya Mokusei wrote:

Always forward!

Oh yes, definitely. But without a past there is no future. Sometimes it's hard to find the balance between evolution and preservation. That's why I ask for others' opinion in this case.

 

Btw., I forgot to mention adn inc ase anybody hasn't figured out yet, the buildings are the Atoll Huts at Iris. Hmm... Maybe I shuold have made a mesh Moth Temple too while I was at it. ;)

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Preservation is for the birds. And lions. And things.

Data is data, can be in bitmap just as easily as dae and still contain the same amount of sentiment. Can tarball it and throw it down a deep hole of exFat, it continues to exist with equal ferocity. I don't see any bonus in keeping old clumps of primitives online.

This way other people (such as yourself) can become entwinned within SL history as it will be written, and the folks who appreciate the longevity that SL has had can see the "pioneer spirit" re-imagined without the blank textures and bling scripts. :P

Anyway, hope this is more clear opinion. ^^

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i dont think the op should be worried.you could always ask for a plaqard to be put in the building explaining the transition.

around where im from they do that alot when they make replicas of things like the first houses made in the area sometime in the 1800's

this is second life after all,and its hugely old.so likely second life will have to borrow some ideas from rl when it comes to handling history

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I think some iconic builds should stay the way they are, such as the original Govenor's Mansion, so people can see what it was like in the early days.

As far as 'updating' builds, if you aren't the original creator,  I think you should seek the creators permission to do that, unless the build was clearly released into the public domain.  If it was, any changes you made to it should remain in the public domain.

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As a relatively newbie (less than 2 yrs in SL) I really enjoy visiting the 'historical' sites.  One of the things I find very interesting here is the sense of history, as a place, that SL has.  I do like seeing some of the original builds, especially when they were done by some of the early well-known names.  On the other hand, if the updated build looks like the original build, it still fulfills some of the historical sense, but not as exciting as the original buiild.  (I feel the same way about RL historical buildings - the originals are always nicer, but reproductions are better than nothing.)

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

I think you should seek the creators permission to do that, unless the build was clearly released into the public domain.

It was of course.


Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

If it was, any changes you made to it should remain in the public domain.

That is a very interesting topic in itself. Ultimately every single creative work of any kind is to some extent based on somebody else's earlier work so if we take that to its logical extreme, everything should be public domain. There is no legal issue in this case but from a moral point of view, yes, this was a border case and I did consider giving it away for free. In the end I decided not to for a number of reasons. The solution I ended up with was to charge a symbolic price, make absolutely sure anybody looking at the build know the background and where to get a free copy of the original and then leave it to each potential user to decide.

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It's a rather odd topic.

On the one side, works should be left alone and be allowed to stand for themselves. To go in and alter a work because you can (or think you can) do a better job is a bit disrepectful to history.

On the other hand though, what you've done is help breathe life into older areas. It also shows that new work can be faithful to the original while being upkept. This is done all over Japan, where historical buidlings are rebuilt and restored ever generation or so in order to keep that part of history alive.

On the third hand, while it's cool to see old SL, it can be a little laughably bad. Seeing 10 year old structures hang around might give someone the wrong impression of SL and can kind of be an eyesore. I think that the original builds have a place, but I'm not sure if that's in a living sim. I went to a car show a little while back that showed off tons of old vehicles through the ages of SL. Something like this is a great way to preserve and honor the past while letting the future come.

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HarrisonMcKenzie wrote:

On the one side, works should be left alone and be allowed to stand for themselves. To go in and alter a work because you can (or think you can) do a better job is a bit disrepectful to history.

Just in case there's a misunderstanding here, I didn't replace those houses. I made those modernized versions of them because I though (and still think) the design is great and would be very suitable for many modern SL settings if it wasn't for those inevitable 2005 details like semi-transparent walls, awkward UV mapping of tapered prims and sky high land impact. It never occured to me that anybody would use them to replace the existing buildings. I used the phrase "mixed emotions" in the title, the biggest part of that mix is surprise, really.

Oh, and the person who did replace the old buildings didn't do it just because she could or for doing "mesh for mesh' sake". She really needs those prims she saved. That's another aspect of the authenticity issue btw. Unless I'm mistaken, back in 2005 you could still just pay for extra prims if you were running short. So you can say that she is simply using a modern feature as a substitute for one that existed back then but not anymore.

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Could you be less opaque about what sim and what build you are talking about?

I don't think historical builds should be changed if they have some historic significance. Like Governor Linden's Mansion. Or the Moth Temple in Iris. Sure, you could put convex hull on things, stretch out prims to 60 if they had multiple 10s from back in the day before megaprims in the viewer, etc. But then it's not the historic build anymore.

 

 

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Well, no, not all things should change. The Mona Lisa shouldn't change. The Chrysler Building shouldn't change.

 

Change can lead to things like this:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/08/elderly-woman-ruins-19th-century-fresco-in-restoration-attempt/

Sentiment and historical legacies and people's memories count for something and there's no reason to be endlessly chasing after the new and shiny when in fact there is plenty of this all over SL and plenty of opportunities to upgrade and put in shiny or mesh without having to destroy the past. 

These aren't just any builds; they are Linden builds. My God, the Lindens have the opportunity to do new and shiny over at Project Sansar, they don't need to gut their past legacy builds that imparted value to the Mainland and still do. 

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Prokofy Neva wrote:

Could you be less opaque about what sim and what build you are talking about?

Oh, I said that in my second post. At the northeastern corner of Iris there was a group of all five of Eric Linden's Atoll Huts. Three of them are original and still owned by LL. The other two, owned by the SL Public Land Preserved and were replaced by my replicas. I posted a picture in my profile if you are interested: https://my.secondlife.com/chinrey/snapshots/569e3a179934e00804000001

 

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I deal with history and authenticity in RL quite a lot. We can't compare RL to SL though, even if the same sentiments are shared between the two towards authentic history.

If one wants to change the Mona Lisa as mentioned, the original is gone, probably forever. In a virtual world this is not the case, the original (assuming it remains on the LL servers) will always be the original. (BTW how original is an SL build anyway if there are multiple copies around?)

To be short, you keep authentic objects unchanged as long as they serve their purpose. If that purpose is showing a true old SL build, not a thing should be changed, not even the physics calculation method. That way it will tell a story, it might show why certain decisions were made, it will show the limitations or possibilities there were. If the purpose is showing how SL looked in the beginning, you could change the entire build, converting it to mesh without changing its appearance..

Don't forget that anything we nowadays see as "authentic" or "original" is nothing of the sort. As soon as the environment (take this term any way you want) changes, the object changes. A car from 1890 was groundbraking at the time, today it's old fashioned. You can still use it, but not in a world where riding trains, riding horses or walking are the main means of transportation. A modern kitchen from 1920 is hopelessly outdated even compared to the most basic one you get at the discount store today. You can preserve them, but they will be museum pieces, something I would not qualify as "authentic". Even if every single molecule in such an object remained untouched, it wouldn't be the same. Objects lose their true authenticity as soon as they are built.

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Prokofy Neva wrote:

Well, no, not all things should change.

Opinion noted. I don't see any reason to protect* the things you've listed more than they have been already. Sentimentality and legacy may have value to others, that's fine. Change will happen regardless.

If this thread was longer (and about real life paintings, not prefab web content created by ex-employees) I'd probably be entertained by the thought experiment, of whether our user-generated content would be safer in the hands of an 80+ year-old or an asset server technician.

:)

* "destroying" the past is a little melodramatic. Again, this thread discusses digital material. Data can be backed up, stored 'in state' and brought online again at a whim. Assume the originals still exist somewhere (for all that it matters), just not on display. Asterisking this in case it was only an accidental strawman, since the medium we've been discussing is pretty obvious.

ETA: Oooh, and also everything Kwak said. Is a bit clearer than my word selection today. :D

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In RL, cutting edge technology is often needed to preserve (or restore) from the ravages of time the essential authenticity of buildings and works of art.

We may think digital media are immune, but there's always been "bit rot" -- the loss of content to subtle (or not) incompatibilities introduced over time. Running low on prims isn't exactly the same, but when the choice is between nuking the old stuff altogether or revising it to meet modern demands, meh: revise away.

Nothing to do with historical preservation, really, but I've re-used Eric's stuff all over, and many others have too, perhaps unwittingly, including Library textures for the Atoll builds (shown in the picture from Iris) and various infohub materials. I have a build in Miramare intended as a kind of Eric Linden tribute, relying heavily on wildly re-purposed prims from ancient infohubs.

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:

If one wants to change the Mona Lisa as mentioned, the original is gone, probably forever.

Gone? Unless the Mona Lisa referred to is something in SL that I'm unaware of, it's in the Louvre, in Paris. To the best of my knowledge, the original portrait is still there, under the other portraits that were painted on top of it. Modern techonolgy only recently discovered the several portraits underneath the one we all know, and future technology may even be able to show them in their full glory. So, gone in terms of being painted over, but not really gone, and not necessarily forever :)

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Touche..maybe the Mona Lisa isn't the best example.

but

Adding doesn't necessary mean changing. So, as long as no damage was done to the underlying layers, which I seriously doubt, no changes to the original were made, only additions. If one was to remove that awful smirk and paint a real smile, we'd have a true change. (which can't be undone).

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Correction: Lisa, as in Mona Lisa, is gone, and she's definitely gone forever. She died a very long time ago. She's not forgotten, of couse, but nobody really knows who she was, or which of the layered portraits is the real Lisa. I prefer Constable paintings, anyway :)

Sorry, OP. I can't say anything about the topic of this thread, because I don't have any opinions on it. I just popped in to talk about the Mona Lisa. I did pop along to see what the shacks were, but that was just out of interest, and not of any possibility of me contributing to this thread - other than by being a nuisance, of course :)

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SirLeighBastard wrote:

Luddites!

***Call me when you have stopped living in the past

Quite interesting that you choose to use such a historical reference for a post like that. ;)

 

Seriously, it's not about living in the past, it's about recognizing it.

I can build better than Eric Linden, much better. But that is not because I'm a better builder. I'm not and I don't know of anybody else who is either. And it's not only because we have so many new possibilities. It's because he and other great builders of the past paved the way for us. If we couldn't study and learn from what they did, we'd be just stuck reinventing the wheel over and over again.

It's the same in all fields of human activity. Every single "new" idea and invention mankind has ever come up with has been based on something from the past.

So no, history not about living in the past, it's about maintaining a platform to build a future on.

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when you get the Jethro Tull reference wrote:

No, lots of new and original ideas have actually resulted from cockups and incompetents getting things completely wrong.


That's true. It's surprising how much development has come from people trying to replicate the past and getting it wrong. ;)


when you get the Jethro Tull reference wrote:

***Call me when you get the Jethro Tull reference


Wow, that's along name!

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ChinRey wrote:

If we couldn't study and learn from what they did, we'd be just stuck reinventing the wheel over and over again.

Although I agree with your post in general, this is just not true. First of all, LL reinvented the wheel themselves with their building tools; mesh is a lot older than Second Life.

More importantly, a lot of people who are used to SL and not to mesh modeling are very limited in their way of building, trying to "prim build" in a 3d program, something that makes no sense at all from any perspective. If you want to move forward in SL building, the last thing you want is to look at how things were done pre-2011.

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