After quite a bit of consideration, and with a slightly heavy heart, I recently undertook the project of removing the sewers from the New Babbage region.

Providing a bit of background, they were the city of New Babbage’s original sewer system. Last winter, when planning for the region and what I had hoped would be a secure future for the shoppe, the sewers were a key element. Since I wanted the tunnels to be at least partially navigable, it required that the surface level be raised to accommodate the larger tunnels. During different stages of the build there have been a number of other secondary tunnels and spaces to explore, including an enormous cavern connected to one of the warehouse buildings, complete with elaborate docks and half-gutted pirate ship (in the process of being re-fitted with steam-power). As word spread of plans for a city-wide sewer system in New Babbage, I envisioned the systems being connected, and thought of additional tunnels and retro-fitting that would create a vast network stretching through the city-state.

Alas, it was the future that never was. My suggestions and requests to connect the systems went without response, and it was soon clear to me where things were heading. The traffic measurement devices at the sewer entrances confirmed that as the new system was put into place, fewer people were exploring the old sewers.

I had given thought to a few different possibilities, including the idea of creating some sort of winter wonderland ice cavern. Such a build would have been a lot of fun to work on, but unfortunately would have either required significantly more resources than I had available or not fit well within the victorian steampunk theme.

With the sewers effectively redundant, the entire north side of the region needed to be re-thought. I was excited at the prospect of Babbage getting some elevation, but the clockwinder eventually decided that BlakOpal and I were the only ones getting any altitude. At least until the region to the north came online. Unfortunately that region has been pushed back a few times in the development of New Babbage, with the last comment I’d seen leaving me little hope that it was coming anytime soon. Having a great view and being on a hill is all fine and good, but being the only guy on a hill is a little weird, and definitely not my sort of thing.

The elevation and the sewers and tunnels also present some technical hurdles, not the least of which was that we had to use a forced landing point. Due to the nature of how SL teleportation works, if you don’t force folks to a specific landing point, you run the risk of folks arbitrarily winding up below ground, stuck between levels, or generally landing in places they didn’t want to land.

So as I began the winterization process last weekend, it became clear... Level it. Sounds simple, but execution is a bit trickier. Even though New Babbage is no longer the main store, it still has quite a bit of traffic from the folks who’ve got old landmarks. Terra-forming and moving thousands of prims is a challenge on even a good day (and as Murphy’s Law would dictate, yesterday was not a good day in SL), but becomes even trickier when folks keep dropping by.

So, slowly but surely, I made the move. Actually, hundreds of little moves. Every prim that wasn’t pulled completely was dropped by anywhere from 2 to 20 meters, and then all of the typical fidgeting and fussing to get things to look and feel the way they should. Miraculously, I was able to move the shoppe itself without disaster striking. Once the builds were moved, I began the process of re-winterizing and filling in some of the spaces. It’s still wide open in a few spots, I’ll likely use some fill for the short term. While it’s a shame to see some things go, I’m quite pleased with the results so far, and excited to see what will happen next.

The snapshot below was from a hilarious moment later in the evening. As I was finishing up some of the details and getting to work on the sidewalks, I heard a loud rumbling sound. Turning to see what was the cause of the commotion, I saw that the place was being visited by a 50 foot marshmallow man! He explored he new space and continued on his sugary way - I can only hope that any future visitors of gargantuan proportions are as friendly as he.