I live in a house with a flat roof, the sort that – if I happened to reside in a country with a balmier climate, somewhere in the Mediterranean, would perform all the functions of an additional room, with the added benefit of plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze. However, this being the not so sunshine state of Britain, my roof has one function, and one function only – it’s there to keep the rain out!
I remember from the dim recesses of the past, when as a youngster I was subjected to the horrors of Sunday school, that pretty much the whole Bible revolves around people having flat roofed houses, (with stairs outside)… But maybe that’s a slight exaggeration!
Those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to live in sunnier climes, or American cop shows requiring regular chases across tenement block rooftops, tend not to think about all that space above our heads going to waste, unless it’s sprung a leak or is in urgent need of repair. It doesn’t even cross our mind that it’s there.
Despite being unaccustomed to rooftop living in RL, I do spend quite a lot of time inworld, quite literally, on the tiles. In a world where such normally inaccessible areas are just a hop, skip and jump away, it seems only natural to take the opportunity to explore them in the same manner we would any other part of the virtual environment.
There are many reasons why you might want to forgoe ground level in favour of a more elevated situation – to begin with, you can gain a whole new perspective of the virtual world around you: Familiar scenes take on an element of freshness, and the different viewpoint can inject vitality and add interest to a scene that has become overly-routine.
Rooftops in SL can be fascinating places too. If you’ve always stayed at ground level, you might be surprised at what you’re missing. The amount of effort that people will often put into the detail of structures above ground can be surprising. Pipes, ducting, fans and all the paraphernalia of the real world urban environment are often featured heavily, as are the occasional unexpected doorway, ventilation shaft, and mysterious secret rooms, otherwise inaccessible from elsewhere. You can have as much fun exploring up top as you can down below, and the chances are that you’re not going to have to contend with other avatars getting in the way and spoiling the view, just as you’re grabbing that inspired urban grunge screen shot.
That’s another of the big benefits of not hanging about at ground level – it’s peaceful and away from the public eye up there. I’ve spent many a relaxing hour simply hanging around on rooftops, relaxing whilst the world passes by below me. It’s a great place to spend time quietly alone, or to spend time with a friend for a long chat, without being interrupted or hassled. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to hide away in, and even if someone does spot you up there, there’s a good chance that they’ll leave you in peace.
The tops of buildings offer more than just a retreat or sanctuary however – they make a great vantage point from which to dispense mischief! You can loiter up there with intent, spy on what’s happening below, and use your position to your advantage. Thanks to rooftops, I’ve been an SL sniper, a maker of mischief and a spy, and it’s all good clean fun!
So, don’t feel you have to limit yourself to ground level: There’s far more to what goes on up top than might initially meet the eye, and it’s well worth checking out if you fancy a bit of a change.
Who knows… You might bump into me while you’re up there!
On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there, the world below can’t bother me
Let me tell you now
The Drifters – Up On The Roof