Rapid Architectural Prototyping in Second Life

Second Life architect Lordfly Digeridoo has posted a great video of the process of designing a site plan in Second Life for a real-world site in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Because of “massive procrastination,” LF says, he had only a week to do it. His video compresses that week into less than 10 minutes of high-speed SL work, and it’s pretty compelling to watch. There’s even a great sense of suspense in wondering what the finished product will be like. An excellent look at the methods of a master builder.


  1. Prokofy Neva

    Keystone, as you yourself know, anybody who makes a movie of building that is then speeded up will make just about anything, even building a box, look cool and futuristic.

    So the moral of the story is: hire the massive procrastinators for virtual worlds stuff, hire the kids who didn’t procrastinate for real world stuff.

    Somehow, I’m sorry to see Lordfly’s famous clocktower design sold out to the man to help sell beer, or whatever it is that is being sold with this corporate build.

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  5. Prokofy Neva

    @Lordfly and…who is going to be using SL for rapid prototyping? If not corporations?

  6. Prokofy Neva

    @Lordfly, um, you don’t see many of those in SL, they really don’t have either the budgets or the exposure to the technology such as to have the presence. So you don’t mind selling your original design out to the highest bidder?

  7. Lordfly Digeridoo

    @prokofy: I don’t know what you’re talking about regarding “selling out to the highest bidder”. There are plenty of non-profits in SL, there are real urban planners doing simulations and builds in SL (albeit not public), there are lots of architects, universities, and so on doing prototyping in SL.

    The benefit of SL is you don’t really need much of a budget to do this. 5000 bucks a year is a drop in the bucket for most medium-sized cities and universities.

    Where I work and what I do for school are two different things right now; they have no correlation.

  8. Apple

    I think, Prokofy, people still have the licence to do a video of something they think others will find interesting, and show it, without having to be accountable to a third party (in this case you) as to the greater ramifications of their act, so long as said act does not have an immediate and long term impact on the community or the aforementioned third party.

    I’ve never been really either for or against your stance, but in this case, your comments and their undertones seem to paint you as the kind of totalitarian authority you claim to be against. Someone does something innovative and cool for a school project, and next thing they have you on their case; thats not cool and even if seeing this video did give rise to some kind of new theory or idea or concept, something you want to write about and have us think about, there are better ways to do this than just jumping on here and accusing him of selling out, or whatever.Try writing a proper post someplace, maybe an article for 3pointd or wired, or something that isnt bashing something else. Create, dont hate.

    With all the media coverge SL has gotten recently, you really think *this* video will be the ‘killer app’ that suddenly gets the corporations flooding in? Are you picturing a twisted scene from back to the future? ‘hey, chuck, you know that rapid protyping tool you’ve been looking for? well look at THIS!’ (hold phone out toward johnny b. goode)…

    Personally, I applaud this video in the context of what I believe it was meant to show; that you can use SL as an effective tool in your education at school.

  9. Ishan

    The project’s awesomeness is undisputed – if indeed the aim was to create the most banal piece of design in the shortest time possible. Loved the video, but half-way through I couldn’t help wondering why so much time (and acreage) was wasted on parking; why most structures were low-rise, low-density; and why everyone seems blind to the fact that the resulting masterplan is in fact, pretty hideous. Sorry, but neither technology nor SL can save us from poor design.

    For everyone’s information, SL is NOT a rapid prototyping tool – rapid prototyping refers to the automatic construction of physical models, not digital ones.

  10. tadao

    sorry… but it’s just a modeling performance, personnaly i can’t see here something wich is called architecture!!! it would be intellectually correct not to choose such a tag.

  11. Lordfly Digeridoo


    The design is pretty banal, I agree — we had to base it off of the real-world site’s limitations and the local zoning ordinance (which called for 500+ parking spots for the retail). In all of the proposals, there is an overabundance of parking; this is a result of the zoning ordinance, and not due to my supposed lack of design prowess — althoguh that may still be an issue ;)

  12. Bill Bounds

    WOW! that was really cool to watch thanks for posting! I liked how you drew the plan over the google map data. Perhaps this is common but I had not seen it before. Thanks for sharing.


  13. Lars

    I agree — we had to base it off of the real-world site’s limitations and the local zoning ordinance (which called for 500+ parking spots for the retail).