While the majority of last night's Tabula Rasa event took place at Britannia Manor MK II, the festivities came to an end at the site of Britainnia Manor MK III, Richard Garriott's new Texas castle, 10 years in the making. During a gap in the presentation, Garriott took some time to explain why his new house is going to be an 8 year-old's wet dream. First off is the tower, which is pictured here. Excuse the darkness of the shot, but it was taken at nearly 1AM by a large sweaty man wearing a hard hat. The five story tower will form the central point in the sprawling manor, and will consist of an observatory at the top, planetarium underneath it, and a giant room-sized elevator that travels the bottom three floors. Why a giant elevator? Well it figures in to the design of the attached main hall. It will be a massive, ,three-story structure comprised of a dining area on the second floor and a balcony on the third floor, overlooking said dining area. Not content to have just two stories for dining, the second floor will be able to transform itself into a balcony overlooking the first floor for maximum dining occupancy. The attached elevator will be used for entertainment. He could use the first floor for a dressing area for performers, having them rise to the second floor via the elevator to surprise guests. When the dining hall is opened up for all three floors, the elevator room could house the main dining table, allowing the host to visit any of the three levels as he entertains guests.
Underground passageways also figure big into Garriott's plan. The house will eventually consist of three separate buildings, connected via a network of underground passages. Then the swimming pool will also have passages you can swim through to come up in any area of the house. The manor's air-conditioning system runs underground as well, and Garriott had it built with metre-long cement ducts, so the entire thing is crawlable.
Many other surprises will lie in wait for visitors to Britainnia Manor MK 3 when it is finished. Guests rooms will have swiveling walls to allow beds to move from room to room in the middle of the night. Secret doors will contain elaborate lock mechanisms that require you to reach into a hole to fiddle with the lock, with a pneumatic clamp snatching your arm until the lock is properly open. He's dug a 100 foot pit on the property to make a tunnel that leads to the river bordering the property.
Garriott is an 8-year old with no parents and a ton of cash to throw around, and I think it is just fantastic. He creates these places some would call silly and others would call magical, purely out the passion for adventure that drives him. When we get our own Kotaku castle built, we are totally going to war with him.