I loved the Chelsea sim, Hibiscus and I had lived in one of the Imperial Warf blocks of apartments there, enjoying every minute of it. The sim had seemed a peaceful and nice place, sort of elegant and classy with it’s park just outside of the apartments and a row of houseboats along the edge of the sim leading up to the copy of the very famous Big Ben clock tower. In fact I lived in one of the boats in the beginning and it was an exciting time in my SL life when I had just started writing for Virtually London (lite), so the old virtual Chelsea was very dear to me. It felt very much like a residential area and although never having a large amount of traffic, it did seem very much like part of virtual London.
Of course times change and people have new ideas, we woke one day to find our lovely park was being taken apart to save on prims, spoiling the whole thing, then some of the houses were being turned into boxes without any attractive features, once again to save on expensive prims. The trouble with this is that the sim had to be attractive for people to want to go there, so it’s a fine balance between making sensible cuts and making a place look ugly. I would have thought that using the right amount of prims and having sensible rents would have attracted more people to live there, but then again I have always thought that about the rent situation. Instead of rents people could afford the rents in Chelsea went through the roof for less prim allowances, thus also pushing the remaining people out. The boats too had been spoiled a long time ago, for some reason catamarans took their place at first, which was a strange replacement for the houseboats, later even the catamarans disappeared.
There had been a little hope towards the end as a Jazz club was promised, but this again proved to be a compromise by putting the club in the low ceilinged fire station building. With the gloomy decor of the interior and lack of good Jazz type music, plus strange opening times for Virtual Londoners, there was nothing much to make it a success. In a way I suppose these are good lessons to be learned in SL, just like Soho you have to see what works and what doesn’t and chances have to be taken, but there is the old saying about ‘don’t spoil the ship for a ha’peth of tar’ in other words getting rid of the fine detail and solely cutting back is a none starter. Maybe Linden Labs should re-think their fees again, owning a sim is an expensive business for the majority of people and the ways to make money for the sim owners are very restricted apart from renting out shops and residential buildings.
So what am I getting at with all this reflection of the past glories of the Chelsea sim? Well there is a little excitement, a new beginning, gone are the ugly new houses and the strange looking park, no catamarans at all now float in the harbour and the depressing Jazz club has been raised to the ground! Big Ben still surveys all it sees I’m glad to say, and the Gossipgirl building and café have survived, plus one lonely house where, I suppose, the tenant doesn’t want to move out, but apart from that the sim is a blank canvass waiting for something brilliant to take shape. I am looking forward to the new area with great anticipation, I know the people now in charge will do a fantastic job as they already have the other sims doing so well!
But forgive me if I still feel a little sad for the Chelsea that it once was, I will always have fond memories of it and I still have my pictures that I took for Virtually London (lite) to remind me about how lovely it used to be before the changes came.