29 December 2006

The Service Provider Blues

The biggest problem with trying to sell yourself as a service provider is that people expect you to be one. Gamers expect their VWs to be unavailable regularly. We don't expect the electricity or ISPs to do so. We expect responsive customer service, trouble ticket updates, service stability, speedy failure recovery...

I'm musing about the advantages and dangers of market positioning. Interesting stuff. You aren't going to get the PR machines, hype, and hopefully investments if you're "just" a game, but if you aren't prepared to either handle the maintenance burden or pass it on to your customers you're on borrowed time. If you pass it on effectively enough, the financial niches for you seem to be as a hosting provider or "expert" ... would those be viable enough to be worth the investment? Managing expectations - customers, investors.

For all of you who're currently dependent on SL, businesswise, socially, careerwise... I feel for you.

Added later: Pathfinder Linden put up a post explaining what was going on. I hope this level of transparency continues. Turns out they were experiencing multiple hardware failures - one of those situations where really all you can do is wait for the equipment.

Service Contracts, Bargaining, and Making Textures

I didn't even know the grid was down until this morning.

My car is facing the end of its twelve year lifespan so I went RL shopping last night. One of the strange things about SL is the lack of personal interaction during shopping - people don't bargain or negotiate deals there for objects, and the decision to purchase is a simple yes/no. We have land auctions, but as far as I know there aren't any auction services for tradable items. Hrm. Now I'm wondering if we only bargain for limited resources. Land and services are limited, most inworld created items aren't.

One of the long term advantages of decentralizing SL's hardware needs will be the end of gaps in service like this one. Anytime a machine is "Central" it hurts when it goes down. Expensive machines tend to not have onsite backups. People talk about how clustered solutions do or don't cost less than centralized ones, but I think the real benefit is the lack of critical failure situations. I've worked at a place that didn't think paying the extra $$$ for 24 hour support was worth the cost until they had something crucial running a 24 hr service break on a friday evening. That was one project where I was very glad not to be in charge!

Making the Hawaiian shirt textures is harder than I thought; I don't have a large bank of beach-themed screenshots to work from. I'm having a lot of fun doing it, but it looks to be a slow process. I'll probably release most of the textures as freebies. I rifled thru some of my old collections, but most of them are strongly themed so I don't see much point to bringing them into SL.

27 December 2006

Brain Worms

Why, Torley, WHY?!! Now I can't get making screenshot-based hawaiian shirt textures out of my head. AAAhhhHHHHHhhhh!!!

Tinies News

There's a Tinies' Camera out there now. Ever wonder what the world looks like when you're really really short? This lets you have access to the interface while still indulging in that immersive feeling. It places your view slightly above and behind your AV like the default view, but adjusted for your size. It comes with an attractive and intuitive HUD that can be worn at any of the HUD attachment points. You'll have to IM Neikrad Joffre for more information - I'm not parting with mine!

Speaking of tinies, if you've got a hedgehog avatar and want a copy of the "VROOOM" particles, IM me. I'm hoping to catch up to Daryth (the AV maker) and get it and the top hat/bow tie set into a freebie pack by the vendor.

VROOM - Making Dust!

Making the VROOM particle script was interesting. Most animation overriders use a very short timer to check what default animation your avatar would be using because rotation doesn't trigger the moving events. I wanted the roadrunner-style smoke to appear only when moving fast, so I skipped the timers.

Turns out the moving events are a little cranky when used with attachments. At first, I'd get a single moving_start event right after compiling, then nothing. With a little exploring I found the wiki comments for the moving events are all on the moving_end event page. To make the moving events fire correctly, you have to add the script to the attachment, take off the attachment, then wear the attachment again. If you're changing the script while it is in the attachment, you recompile it, then remove the attachment, then wear the attachment.

llGetAnimation() returns a string telling you what activity the avatar is doing at the moment. I wasn't seeing smoke every time I wanted to, so I dropped a llOwnerSay() into the script to find out what my AV was up to. I'm not sure what Striding is (as opposed to Walking) but that was the animation state I needed. I also noticed that I get moving events sometimes while the avatar is standing still. *shrug*

26 December 2006

Stuff and Stuff

Been playing with prim torture and exploring interesting prim shapes. I dropped a couple things made from them into the Freebie Hat at my main store.

Helped a pleasant person making bigwheels script their first vendor. I don't like handholding while teaching past the basic stages, but when I'm working with someone who's doing their thing and asking a couple questions now and again it is a lot of fun. I guess I mentor?

My hedgehog now has a smoke trail behind it whenever I'm running or going real fast. Particles are so handy. :)

Saw a lot of people using Moopf's iceskates. Looks awesome.

Still haven't gotten around to making the next wave of poodle-phernalia, but I am thinking about it. I think I've gotten everything else done except making a tent vendor. The new animal eye textures look nice.

I saw Sound Prims on a shelf at NCI. Gave me a warm feeling. :)

21 December 2006

To you!

*taps the mike*

If this Google Analytics stuff is accurate, there's been 200 unique visitors to this blog in the last month. (And less than 25 went straight for the Sound Prims post!) I'm bemusedly honored to have caught your attention.

Blessings to you and yours on this longest of nights.

20 December 2006

Town Hell Meeting

Wow. Repeaters weren't working, and people can't stay anywhere near on target. And I swear half the people couldn't phrase a civilized question that doesn't sound like an attack. Remind me to skip Town Hall meetings from now on.

EDIT: Here's links to the transcript. I think I'll stick with those from now on.


Torley's doing more mad-science graphics. I'm not much of a scrapbooker, but I've learned a ton of little SL interface tips from the tutorial articles.

Turns out you can take pics without all the "camera" noise! (and hopefully the delaying after-animation.)

Open the Client menu. Press Ctrl-Alt-D (you may need Ctrl-Alt-Shift-D on some PCs). It appears at the top of your screen, next to the Help menu. Select Client menu > Quiet Snapshots to Disk. This assures you can take many snapshots without bothering those around you with the whirr-click! noises, and it also feels more responsive.

On my list of wants is for the screenshot tool to have an address book so I don't have to keep typing email addys. If there's some sooper-sekrit way to do this, TELL ME!!!

Town Hall later today

Grabbed my repeater for Cory's thing today. 2:30pm SLTime. I'll see if I can get onsite, but I'm not counting on it. The repeater's kinda cute; looks like an old fashioned radio. I rezzed one in my park by the pool, so if you're looking for one you can copy that one or just hang out there during the Town Hall.

19 December 2006

Virtual Privacy

The little RL gestures and such that we bring with us fascinate me. The desire to seat our avatars during long conversations. How we space ourselves while conversing, and how we handle facing. The methods we use to suggest a desire for privacy.

I've got an Impractical Tent on my park. I've had someone apologise for "appearing in your house" after a sour TP, and a friend who pulled a conversing group "inside" for more serious talk. Into an unenclosed virtual building with no door that's made out of what looks like translucent cloth. Apparently it has enough of the symbols we use to suggest a desire for privacy. I wonder if a gazebo would have the same effect. If I had a more substantial looking structure there, would people perceive the tent like they do now?

I'm tempted to do a "Language of Privacy" build. Put up a bunch of spaces and builds with a mix of "privacy" symbology in them for people to explore. Doors/doorways/curtain or bead door hangings, walls, windows in different states, roofs, caves, sound effects, room contents ( beds, sofas, sex pose balls and other sex-activity related items?, toilets, pictures of different things ), a tiny 4x4 parcel with its own ban lines, signs requesting privacy... What if obvious vendors are added to those spaces? Or a growling dog on a chain?

How many of the symbols used are culturally specific, and how will expressing a desire for privacy change as virtual spaces become internationalized? Is there an international symbol for it? The only thing I can think of is a red ban circle-with-slash with a stick figure inside it. Will the concepts of "Private by request" be handled distinctly differently from "Private by force" in future virtual worlds? How will our expectations of privacy change?

18 December 2006

Rambling about the money game and land

It is a weird feeling knowing that I'm bringing in more than enough lindens to cover my costs. Rent on some vendor spaces, a tiny bit to land tax, and USD 7.50/month membership. I added some SLX "listing enhancements" to two of my items to see if it makes a difference. Ended up making my costs before the end of the second week this month. I could probably sell my coastline 1024M2 for 28K at this point if I wanted to move.

I'd be looking for more land if the market wasn't so tight. I'm tempted to check out rentals after the new islands get online - with the island pricing issues there's likely to be a glut after January. I wish there was an easier way to peruse the contracts and covenants. Any large space of mine is likely to have times when it is a chaotic sandbox. I like the mainland for the most part, but I wish there were roads or open waterways or something of that sort. It'd be nice to be able to fly around without constantly slamming into ban lines or being so far up that I can't see the sights.


Any powerful search needs to be able to access inworld information. If you put a piece of land up for sale, it should show up without you having to tour the web updating listings. If you put up an inworld classified, everything from that ad should be accessable to the search. If people have to hit five different websites to list everything, most of them won't bother.

Most people will never bother to find out there's other ways to search SL content if it isn't staring them in the face when they hit that Search button.

If something isn't integral and obvious, most people will never discover or use it.

Here's my "dream" search scenario.

Hit the search button. It'll pop up an embedded web page, like your Profile currently can.

If you've never used Search before you'll get the default LL search along with a configuration page of links for other search engines. You choose the ones you want on your page - all of the available ones are in a list right there with their own little checkboxes waiting for you to pick them.

If you've already configured your search page, it'll show you a page of Google Gadget-like versions of them in the order/arrangement you chose. The top or bottom of the page will have a link to the configuration page, with a little icon for "new searches!" when ones have been added to the list since the last time you looked at the configuration page.

Nice, huh?

All it would take is a way to get data from those parts of the DBs. Serve up that XML, Linden Labs, and set yourselves free of the Search burden! There's some suggestions of something like this - LL is already feeding the events listings at Eventful.


I did some experimenting with llGetParcelFlags. While several of the unlisted flags are being used, I was disappointed to not find a "for sale" bit among the unlisted flags.

17 December 2006

weekend overview

* I got the skins up on SLX, the home shop, and my two furry venues. Added the Sound Prims package to both of them. Still need to explore and see if there's any "neko" specific market areas.
* Made a group so my RL friends and I can have group chats.
* Still getting used to the new interface controls.
* Ended up helping several newbies. I'm honestly not sure why my black poodle avatar is such a magnet for them.
* I found Search to be having intermittent problems.
* checked out the SL Public Land Preserve - I have pics of the St Paul's Cathedral build here.
* Got talked into making a top hat and a bowtie for a friend's hedgehog avatar. Too cute!

I'm still tired from all the RL holiday partying Saturday. Too much alcohol-laden jello I guess.

15 December 2006

todo list

Weekend SL plans:

* finish up adverts for the rest of the new skins.
* list them on SLX.
* check out the SL Public Land Preserve
"I have a November activities and donations report on the SL Public Land Preserve available in notecards in the tree house at Botany's Grove, use SEARCH to find it and tp there."


* examine inworld skins sales ideas
* particle scripts for HH - vroom, mask "dragon breath", maybe flaming spines?
* main shop rebuild. (Park is 32x32m)
* read up more on how groups work
* email resume to LL, said they'll consider telecommuting software engineers.
* concept work on season's poodle-phernalia. leather vest maybe?
* set up a one-prim tent vendor?
* make some new Animal Eyes

14 December 2006

Worms in the news.

The big dragons of Isle of Worms will be available on Friday the 22nd at noon and midnight. I've gotten a couple pics of the dragons there the last couple days - they're in my snapzilla pics.

I also talked to a guy with a goldfish rotating around his head. Gave him a bunch of newbie landmarks, but forget to grab a picture.

In the vendor area there's now a couple outfits and accesories for the hedgehog avatar. I got a dragon mask for mine.

Today was all socializing, no content creating. Some days that's just what ya need.

Interface Changes

Ack! The camera controls are changed!

ALT - arrow keys move the camera around. If you want to raise and lower the camera, hold down CTRL as well.

13 December 2006

Advertising, and the wo ting bu dong

Been experimenting with using the Classifieds forums to advertise products. I get a lot more views, but I'm not sure they translate into sales. One of the things I've noticed is that the Poodle AVs tend to get an increase in views for 2-3 days before someone makes a purchase. This makes sense to me; avatars are a very personal thing.

Thinking about trying the "pay for a special listing" in SLExchange. Posting about the Doll in the forums garnered a lot of views, but they haven't translated into purchases at this point.

The Sound Prims are very popular. I'm hoping the instruction notecard gets translated into other languages. zhong-wen bu hao. I don't even know how to ask for a beer in German.

Right now it must be frustrating trying to shop for things other than clothes if you don't read English well. Working with notecard configured or voice controlled scripted items is painful enough without language problems.

Chantal turned on autoreturn. We had to mess around with Group features until we found a way to keep the vendors around. You set the land to Group (but don't deed it) and set the items' Group to the same group. I noticed that items removed via autoreturn aren't reliably returning to my Lost and Found folder in a reasonable timeframe.

Must investigate!

LSL exhibition?
Daydream SE Islands (237, 37, 24)

Must investigate!

EDIT: Well worth remembering. LSL 101

12 December 2006

Remove hovertext

How to remove hovertext from a prim:

Enter Edit mode, go into the Contents tab. Pick "New Script" and open the script. Paste the following into the script.

default {
state_entry() {
llSetText("", <0,0,0>, 1.0);

Save the script. Watch it compile.

I get asked about this a lot.

Child AVs

I (as the black poodle AV in the top pic of the blog) was messing with the landscaping of my park when a child AV got mistakenly TPed in. There was an awkward long moment of furry/child meeting, then we clarified where she was. She let me shoot her from the cannon and went on down the mainland. I've only seen a handful of people wearing child AVs, and this is only the second one up close. The base AV model seems to do some weird things to the way shirts fit, and there's some decidedly odd pinching around the waist. It ain't perfect, but the variety of human shapes the base AV can mimic impresses me.

I have to wonder though... do all child AVs have that same skipping animation?

I do wonder what SL would be like if most of the grid didn't seem to have the assumption that anyone in a child avatar was into "ageplay". One of the more surreal things about the grid is the lack of children and old people.

11 December 2006

Rolling fast and Rolling content

Going exploring at "Run" speed as a rolling bouncing hedgehog is wacky fun. I highly recommend it. I'm tempted to make a "turbo" attachment for that avatar - vrooom! The "Hedgehog King" found me and signed me up with a hedgehog group.

Came across a sim where the water isn't where it should be. Seeing a coastal boat scene without the water is a little creepy. I ran into the teleport problem once. Picked up Torley's new texture pack. Glad to see Torley doing something to unwind; this past week had to be hellish.

Been "generating content" when I'm not racing around as a hedgehog. Experimenting with skins - graduated color changes, spots, stripes, etc. I'm learning a lot about layer masks and image templating. Interesting tricks with Gaussian Blurs. By the end of this I'll probably have a bunch of neko/furry skins in garish colors for sale. I'm also learning where the skin pattern deforms differently on the base male and female models. I expected the differences caused by arm width and the area around the sides of the breasts. The shoulder blades and especially the eyebrows surprised me.

09 December 2006

Hedgehog cuteness!

Isle of Worms is selling the cutest tiny hedgehog avatars inside the cathedral. I'm rolling around in one now!

08 December 2006


Despite the current issues, the Linden continues to hold or even increase its value to the USD. This depresses me, because the avarious part of me would find delight in scooping up a bunch of lindens on the cheap.

Looks like a lot of people are using the Products forums while Search is damaged. I'm getting more activity thru SLX too.

Some of my newish-to-SL friends wanted to try shopping for prim hair last night, so I took them to Taunt. We may have bemused a few customers, but we had a great time.

I made a Plumeria Petal generator a couple days ago for my parkland. I have a cluster of the bushes and the way they move in the wind demanded petals. It is fairly subtle, I'm really pleased with it.

07 December 2006

Searching for clarity

So, anyway, I'm laying odds that Prok is close to right on Search.

I expect it is being moved outside LL. What I still don't know yet is whether it is going into a single set of hands, or whether we'll all potentially have read access to the information currently used by Search. I haven't seen any discussion of Search on the official scripter mailing list. I suspect some of the Electric Sheep know something, the answer I got was intrigingly NDA-alicious. And the timing of that post... It is also possible that read access will be opened up, but that some organizations will get the first crack at it. Features showcase much better when there's a polished toy using them, and LL has given economic advantages to favorites in the past.

My biggest fear right now isn't who may have it or first access to the information. I'm worried with the suggestion that it is coming out of a libSecondLife project. When it comes down to it, I'm neither for nor against the project myself. I'm a realist. People are going to reverse-engineer, the question is whether or not they're comfortable letting the public know what they're doing.

What concerns me up is if new search capabilities come out of reverse engineering instead of thru open access. Unless the client is passing a much wider search than is reasonable (ie, if the SQL for various searches is embedded in the client) then any created search is going to be adding quite a load to the DB. Even if the client is passing a wide search, it is possible the DBs are optimized for the current ones. Unoptimized searches of large DBs eat resources.

06 December 2006

05 December 2006

Land and Politics

The group that bought up most of the coastline is now selling it off in small parcels. I hope that it stays in small bits; I really don't want to have to move if we get a club. If the land wasn't coastal I expect Chantal would buy it; but the cost is pretty steep.

I decided to check out the often-criticized Feature voting page. Wow. That needs an overhaul.

Why doesn't land sales listings allow you to search by sim? Prop. 2468.

I was musing about mainland zoning, but honestly it'd be a nightmare to enforce. The closest you could get to auto-enforcement would be to block the "BUY" ( money event ) in a sim. Prop. 2469. You'd end up with a mix of residential and service builds.

Communal geekery

I'm excited. Peri's getting into SL and building. I love well made interactive content. P's also a lot more used to using web servers in things than I am. We're musing about making an amusement park and some tutorials for useful things not currently covered in the main inworld ones. I'm also eyeballing costs; we could offset some of them with little shortlived buyables like moopf's gum or copies of toys to take home. Could probably make money if we were willing to take on content-generation gigs; we're both software developers in RL.

04 December 2006

Sitting revisited.

There's two kinds of sitting. Sitting with a sit-target defined (via script) and plain old "click here" sitting. A casual user can't tell the difference. Both kinds will protect you from those annoying public sandbox griefer attacks.

You can't tell by looking in the editor. You could tell if you sat on it, got up, flipped it upside down, and sat on it again. If you're upside down the second time, it has a sit target.

LSL lets me detect someone sitting on my prim if I've previously defined a sit target for it. If I haven't defined one and they sit on it, I don't get a change event triggered, and llAvatarOnSitTarget() returns a NULL_KEY.

If you need to know if someone is sitting on your object, you must have a sit target defined.

I need to try llGetNumberOfPrims() and see if the two kinds of sitting give different results. Since I'm not getting a CHANGED_LINK message when doing untargetted sitting, I don't expect they're actually linking.


Early SitTarget article.


Caught up with some RL friends in SL last night. We talked, they shot themselves from the cannon, fell in my pond a lot, and Peri and I talked geek.

I did some shopping for fish for my pond. Most of them seem to be llTargetOmega beasties though. I don't mind that for little fish, but I like my koi a bit more interesting. So I started experimenting with a one-prim flexi version. I did shoot a "Koi bullet" across the sim and lost it. Hopefully the little guy'll find its way back to my inventory. Did I mention how thankful I am that I have such nice neighbors?

Neat, but still a little pricey... a 3D printer.

03 December 2006

command line settings for SL

Command line parameters.

-login is my new baby.

I'm thinking -settings may be handy for taking fancy screenshots.

I'm a windows sort, but for the mac users here ya go!

Sound Prims - Get yours now!

Free on SLX.

Do you want to add sound to your creations, but scripting makes you cringe?

Sound Prims are super easy. You drop the sounds you want to hear into the prim, and you're done. You can do whatever you want with the prims (you get full permissions) so go wild! Link them into your builds!

Want to use a sound? Put it in the prim. Changed your mind? Take it out of the prim. Sound Prims are that easy.

You get a collection of prims with different abilities.
- Loop a sound. This only makes noise if you have ONE sound in it. If you have two, it is silent.
- Intermittent prims play one of their sounds every couple minutes. Great for environmental background noise!
- Intermittent Day prims act as Intermittent during the daytime only.
- Intermittent Night prims act as Intermittent during the nighttime only.
- On Touch prims play one of their sounds once when touched.
- On Attach prims play one of their sounds once when attached.

These are scripted, so they will be silent if you are in a "no scripts" area.

For the daring: The scripts are open so you can view and change them. Loudness and time intervals are clearly marked at the top of the scripts so they're easy to modify. The scripts are included separately as well, so you can turn your existing prims into sound prims.

Official Stuff:

Any products that you make using Sound Prims and Sound Prims Scripts are yours to do with as you please. Sell them, give them away, wear them on your head, do whatever brings you joy.

This Sound Prims package is meant to be free to all. If you ended up paying more than 1L for it, let everyone and their brother know who the worthless scum-bucket was that sold it to you. Give copies of the Sound Prim package to your friends and neighbors. Pass it out to newbies. You're welcome to include it, whole and unmodified, with other packages of freebies.

01 December 2006

Sound Prims Update

The Sound Prims work, they're simple, elegant and nifty. I'd love to give them to you right now.

Permissions, however, are totally f*cked tonight. I can't give something away with full permissions.

Sound Prims

I've been thinking about the lack of an easy way for people who don't script to add sound to prims since this. If I get a couple minutes in SL this weekend I think I'll have a solution that's simple enough I'll feel comfortable spreading it as a freebie. I keep wondering why I haven't seen something like this available already, and what kind of impact it'll have on the grid.

30 November 2006

PG - Mature Rating Detector, and Xcite!

I made a freebie HUD that helps you remember whether you're in a PG or mature area. Grab one.

Turns out that becoming an Xcite! partner may be free. Chantal and I were talking about it. I'm dropping them a note.

29 November 2006

PG or Mature?

llRequestSimulatorData() is how to get the sim's rating.

I've been wondering how to get that.

Patch Day, and more updatable content musings.

I'm excited by the new list of features for today's patch. If this is a stable build, I'll be full o' happy! Here.

The fact that LL's been adding new features to LSL is both heartening and a downer; I like new capabilities but it reinforces the idea that something like the oft-promised mono is very far away.

Musing over the possibilities with llLoadURL() and updatable content. Along with the new webpage profile feature. In-chat URLs too - I want to see if object chat can create them. I'm not sure how valuable that would be since objects can make http calls themselves, but there might be a time and place for them.

27 November 2006


If you use Google Gadgets, here's your invitation to have a SLURL generator. You'll have to add this one by URL.


Blogger is quirky about GGadgets, but you can see a sample at the very bottom of this page.

25 November 2006

Vending babble

Finally got around to making a bamboo cage. Now I've got another 1 prim vendor like the one for gift boxes that sells cages. Spent a bunch of time today tending to my vendor sites and SLX.

I suspect that tightly themed "next" style vendors will be a lot more effective than ones with a mishmash of items, but only time will tell.

Vinyl love in an artificial world

I'm now selling an animated blow up doll, made to look like the vinyl ones you always see in jokes. You can check it out on SLExchange if you've got mature search enabled, or drop by Chantal's home shop and play with a demo.

There's a lot of things I could say about virtual sex, blow up dolls, sex in SL... but I think I'll pass for now.

22 November 2006

Dog AVs

I had a duh moment. The poodles didn't have the words "dog" or "canine" in their SLX listings. I need to alter my classifieds listing the same way next time I'm inworld.

I'll have to look up whoever did the aussie shepard AV, I've been thinking it would be a good idea to join up with someone who makes canines. We both have just a handful of models for sale, have a similar overall style, and leave the base eyes visible. Hopefully they'll be in the classifieds; the only place I saw one of their vendors was Taco and they aren't listed in SLX. I miss Taco.

I'm a lot better with textures now. Maybe I'll go back and make a proper skin for the unfinished scottie avatar. I think with a properly wire-haired looking skin he'd be releasable. Might add ear-flicking and tail wagging scripts, maybe a nostril flare. I could make a couple gestures to go with them to lay the ears back or wag the tail on command. I'm not sure what to do about a female version, maybe make it white?

20 November 2006

Gift Wrap Boxes

After messing around with giftwrapping something for a friend's birthday, I decided SL needed an easy way to take care of such things. A transferrable textured prim (sometimes two if there's a bow.) A script that on the owner's touch pops up a personalized notecard and any sound you choose. Automatically places the contents into inventory. Simple idea, simple interface, and a whim purchase at 10L.

I've set them up in a one-prim vendor with a slightly more effective set of textures than you usually see. I don't expect to have more than one item in a prim vendor, so a little graphical manipulation was a must. No more excuses - the GIMP is free.

The vendor is a 50-50 deal, so other people can place them wherever they want and get a little money. If you sell transferrable items, buy one of my giftwrap vendors. Make money from my labor! ;)

html-on-a-prim : not a tech problem?

Maybe the reasons we don't have html-on-a-prim aren't technological. I'm more than a little surprised to find that upload charges were 23% of the total economy drain in October. Even if we could only link to text and textures, it'd leave a huge mark on the linden economy. If they gave us that functionality today, the linden would devalue hard.

There'd be a lot of texture linking bringing calls about bandwidth and image theft, the legal staff and some inworld Lindens would be sobbing, but we've seen that even bad PR brings waves of newcomers. I'm not sure how that'd affect LL's bandwidth bills; newcomers cost, but as builders began using it SL wouldn't be pumping out as many texture files. There'd be a lot less content upload, a blessing for the overwhelmed asset servers. Over time there'd be a growing pile of broken content as webservers go down and files move.

I don't see the same kind of economical damage from having functional html links in a notecard or a new inventory type that would fire up your webbrowser and direct it when clicked from your inventory. It'd be useful as updateable instructions, tutorials with video, as advertisements, as an updatable landmark using slurls, as a link to the latest edition of your favorite inworld newsrags...

Updatable content musings

I'm thinking about adding a "So you want to build?" notecard to my Noob Pack. Landmarks to Ivory Tower, the Particle Lab, that gazebo with the textures lessons, and now Design City. It was mostly a texturing tutorial with a blurb on micro-prims. A bit arrogant with the statements of how it is the graduate school for the Ivory Tower, but there were some good demos and a couple of nice freebies. There really isn't anywhere inworld I know of to get a tutorial on scripting; the lslwiki is the best for that. Maybe a couple of the large sandbox sims... The biggest annoyance with maintaining something like that is time. The SL landscape changes so fast that things fall out of date easily. I've gotten several landmark packs where at least half of them are dead.

...You know... what we need is a way to set a landmark to a person instead of a physical location. The closest thing we have now are profile picks. I wonder if I can do something with Slurl.com or the mapping api... and that'd be an interesting new project. If we already had "html on a prim" and the like, it'd be a snap. Just run a db call in the background to match up the current slurl to the abstract one.

I could do a clumsy version. Have a server prim, client prims, and a web server. The current landmarks get stored in the server prim, and you rez the client prim to "generate" the current landmarks and such. Give it a "New here? Touch me." texture and make it C+/T+. I wonder if SLX's interface is open enough that I could do something like that... Hrm... Maybe? There's an inworld "vendor" service and a vendor affiliate kit... I'll have to look into it.

16 November 2006

!quit with the lame "art" already!

I was on a little last night. Content providers vs CopyBot. All the "!quit" broadcasts made me want to go take a nap. Ran into some strong rezzing lag on several sims too.

I saw this on someone's blog so I roamed by ArsVirtua . Totally got blown away by the lameness. A mostly empty building, a bunch of people (mostly non-SLers) talking about Chicago, and a couple white walls with boring portrait headshots of your same dull "ain't they hot?" MTV-esque avatars. Yawn. I was hoping for something that would make me think, I got Barbie and Ken blingtards. I must have missed something.

Confuse me, delight me, anger me, but please don't bore me.

How about portraits of old, child, fat, cartoony avatars? Furs and mechanical avatars? Tinies of all sorts? People who make their avatars from scratch? The evolution of (not alt) avatars (1st day, 30 days, 3 months, etc) inworld? I think it would be interesting to see how they change as people spend time in SL. Hyperrealistic SL backgrounds with RL people superimposed, and RL backgrounds with hyperrealistic SL avatars?

15 November 2006

Birthdays and CopyBot

Gave one of my friends a birthday gift last night. I took apart the freebie "birthday cake" and used the top cake layer sans candles as the base for a gift box. Turned out cute.

I've been watching the explosion over CopyBot and content ownership. With SL being sold as a money-generating platform, content issues have been getting more attention. The Prokofy-esque part of me wonders if making CopyBot public was a deliberate attempt to make LL put more effort -now- into protecting content. I adore reading Prokofy - often thought-provoking and inflammatory, always entertaining.

13 November 2006

Exploring DotSoul

SL was having problems (sim crashes, inventory losses, etc) the last several days, so I decided to explore DotSoul a bit. Based on the ActiveWorlds 4.1 code, it is a free pg environment focused on being an artistic playground. I wandered in, learned how to handle the basic controls, goofed around with a couple people, got made a citizen and gifted with a very pretty chunk of land, and generally had a good time. Lots of bad jokes, cheezy puns, and a little showing off. If you're on when people are there, it is a social crowd. I've never messed with an ActiveWorlds environment, so this'll be new for me.

10 November 2006

"Views" or "Residents"

Are newcomers now being percieved as "views" instead of residents?

If SL is viewed as a "free use" platform like TV and radio in the US, or many internet sites, then it makes an odd sort of sense. LL would then be selling islands as advertising space to companies. Marketing entities would then be the main source of income for LL. The CEO says here that he insists on making free accounts available, which would be in line with such a model.

It would make the mainland into a sort of "resident showcase" which fits with all the new talk about "mainland culture" coming out of LL lately. The raise in island fees will have a strong effect on the current "flee the ghetto" fashion of people leaving the mainland to live in structured rental communities.

LL has just gotten rid of teaching stipends. That suggests to me that LL no longer considers long-term resident retention important. I'm guessing that the revenue streams they're getting from day-trippers converting $US to $L, Governor Linden land sales to newcomers, and conversion of new accounts to paying ones are now insignificant compared to other streams.

There's suggestions that this isn't the case; the search system and classifieds inworld, the lack of LL run advertising in the client or inworld, the poor accessability of web content.

I'm wondering if this is a recent vision change, and not part of the original plan... that would explain a lot. If it had been planned for, the technical features should already be in place. They aren't.


Huge spike seen in Second Life transactions. Mea culpa. I was testing a new vending script last night. *blush*

07 November 2006

Churning out content, Vending, Compassion for Kelly Linden

My preferred sim kept going down last night. Not sure why, there were never more than ten AVs in it. I probably need to get a landmark for somewhere like Pi or Theta to go to when I'm scripting and my sim is being a pain. Less likely to get caged or pushed there. And I might meet more people who like to talk geek. Hmmm... you know how setting yourself AFK can make the words "busy" appear above you? I think I need one that says "scripting."

I also noticed a disturbing glitch; between one logout and the next, sometimes my scripts would disappear from prims I was working on. Not sure what that's about. Saw someone else commenting about it in their blog too. It wasn't too big a deal since I prefer working scripts from inventory. There's noticably more lag when you save a script inside a prim. I assume it has to do with activating the script.

Made a vending "split money" style script. I'm trying to decide if I want to make the Doll Demo also be a vending object. I think that's a good idea, I just have to redo the textures. I think I'm going to stick with that as a demo-vendor... for larger scripted objects people want to play with them before buying, at least until you have a reputation. Bet the grills will sell better in something like that. Having a built in "poster" helps a lot too. Gets people excited about your product.

Moopf has some interesting marketing and middleman talk on his blog. I'm arranging with Chantal to sell the "adult" market toys I make thru her. But I'm thinking that some of the fun stuff I may set up to sell using a middleman scheme. I may not worry about making them updatable vendors... I tend to make things that are very unrelated and wouldn't be likely to share a market.

Had my first cage sale that was -obviously- a repeat customer! They'd gotten one as a gift from someone else (re SLX) and yesterday bought it for someone else. I'm not sure I'd want to be in a relationship where you buy cages for the people in your life *grin* but the idea that I made something people like enough to seek out feels really good.

Pushing around the idea of building an Ubuntu-Apache server in RL. I've had a bunch of ideas about ways to mix SL stuff with the outside, but they all require something like that. I may also talk to some friends and see what they've got setup and whether they'll let me buy some space off of them. To be seriously selling a product I'd want backup servers...

Kelly Linden's been writing some interesting tech talk up on the official LL blog. I've been enjoying it, although I suspect Kelly's probably having a panic attack every time someone suggests writing another. If I understand right, there's a way one can "loan" land to a group without deeding it to them. When loaned, the "no create" checkbox prevents people in that group from building on the land.

03 November 2006

Rent or Buy? Run your own numbers!

I downloaded the November 2006 issue of SL Business magazine. It has several interviews, a tutorial on animations, a comic. Very pretty thing, colorful layouts, even the ads (with one glaring exception) are a pleasure to look at.

I was looking at the article on p32, "Buy or Rent." Spinning numbers is all about good marketing, but wow reading that made me shake my head. Obviously written by someone wanting people to rent. They're ignoring stipends in the calculations, and assuming that everyone pays their membership fee in the most expensive way.

Like the article, I used US dollars, and went with the assumption of L272 = $1. When you include stipends in the calculations, and take into account the monthly cost of the different membership payment methods, you get more interesting results. I ran the numbers for all three current versions of stipends - 300, 400, and 500. What stipend an account gets depends on the date the account was made.

If you pay membership, you pay no tier for the first 512m lot. This has some interesting effects on the numbers. Here. And the spreadsheet for those with a Google account.

Yes, you saw right. If you're paying yearly, own 512m or less, and are on the 500 or 400L/week stipend, you're getting paid a little interest. The examples on the sheet aren't the most effective use of tier; after 1024m2 they aren't optimized to get the most out of your tier.

I can't change your stipend. And only you know what payment plans you're comfortable using. My numbers here don't take into account the purchase cost of land, the risks involved in renting, or of having your credit card number in somebody's database, or investing in virtual property. *wink* Feel free to work those out on your own.

02 November 2006

QAvimator & Vending Babble

I finally installed QAvimator. Turns out it is really easy to make your own animations. The only bug I came across involved fps - changing it in the gui didn't affect the files generated. I had to change it in the bvh files by hand, but that wasn't hard - the files can be manipulated with a text editor and what I needed to change was in one place.

Spent much of the day working on the doll. The sound effects are hilarious. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to add one more pose/animation pair. Probably will. I also need to experiment with how temp objects behave when someone is sitting on them... iirc, a temp object will not de-rez while someone sits. Since it is a 32 prim object, this'd let me make a 1-prim sales tool (the rez base) and let someone rez up a doll to try out before they buy. Maybe an L shaped "base" with good background pics, let the doll appear inside the "box"...

Need an advertising pic to go with the grill vendor. I either got someone who wanted to see one they could interact with, or someone who wasn't bright enough to check out the holo vendor. I'm not sure whether lost sales due to the latter are something to cry over. :/

Need a "To see cannons, click HERE" sit-teleporter.

Trying to decide if I want to work with SLBoutique. They've dropped their fees and are going with an advertising model.

Oh! I also stuck a giant fan on the bottom of the shop so it has an excuse to be flying. The blades are a single prim - very weird.

27 October 2006

Puttering about

Not much going on. The new neighbors appear to be in over their heads. I built an "arabian nights" style tent where the old shop was, sold the first of my silks, took a bunch of unused inventory and boxed it up, did some shopping... Had the client crash on me three times while I was emptying my trash from inventory. There's been lots of noise as various RL companies enter SL, but except for Nissan and Reuters that noise doesn't appear to have been intended for anyone in SL. Meet&Greet events with authors, musicians, and the like are cool, but I just don't get the point of the "Hey! We have a building!" events.

I experimented with the Tinies builder kit and made a tiny poodle. Been thinking that having a tiny avatar will be useful for

Building - the normal sized AVs get in the way a lot. Pointless for some of the new sandboxes though - some of those are no-scripts which means AOs don't work. No AO == no tinies. I wonder if invisiprims work there? If they do and I can click thru them, I could make an AV that's just a floating head or eyeball...

24 October 2006

New Shop

My little shop outgrew the green pavillion. So now it floats in the air. 10Mx20M, not counting the half circle. And there's room to grow.

I've seen where people use transparent backgrounds on pictures of avatars as "mannequins" but I like the effect better when they're on cylinders. When you move around they don't go all 2D on you.

21 October 2006

Vending Poodles

I went thru my saleslist and mailed my proud poodle owners a giftbox. They also get a special off-white polo that isn't for sale. I sent them a copy of the new eyes too (the ones in this pic.)

I was flattered to see some profile pics with poodle avatars in them. :D

I spend some time updating my poodle vendor sites to include the new shirts and eyes, and updated my profile information to include shop locations.

The classifieds listing is getting teleports; the only person I saw TP in came in looking at cages... I ran a classifieds search on cages and was surprised at how few are there. I may have to make more...

20 October 2006


Saw Jennifer McLuhan's Polo Shirt Tutorial and had to make one. I made the texture white and tinted it inworld. Instead of the preppy aligator she's got a little poodle. The shirt texture has short sleeves, but she's always been the sort to cut 'em off.

I'm tempted to go thru my list of buyers and send one to everyone who's bought a female poodle AV from me. Trying to decide if that would be considered spammy or not...


Alright, the love is back. *blush* Get me in-world for a few hours, no lag, lots of time to play, made some new clothes, and I'm a happy camper again.

18 October 2006


Hooray for having 1M accounts.

The grid status page claims everything's working. I can log in and see my inventory, but my AV doesn't appear, my bank balance doesn't appear, and I'm stuck motionless in a strange underwater neverland. I've been around a couple months and have seen SL when it's working; hopefully not too many of those new account holders are sharing my experience tonight.

Building Reflections

I wandered over to the new Wired site. I've enjoyed a lot of their articles. The build left me feeling oddly disappointed. This article by Caliandris Pendragon pinned what I was feeling in a phrase. "in" SL and yet not "in" SL.

The Wired site was a total letdown for me; the motherboard and bits outside were delightful (except for the view-blocking particles bigger than my head) and creative, but inside the "buildings" were vacant and impersonal offices/conference rooms. A desk, with one chair on one side and a pair of chairs on the other. Good conversations don't happen across a desk. It felt like going on a first date with someone gorgeous who can't talk about anything other than their hair.

Many corporate builds seem to be nothing but reflections of RL. Why have miles of hallways in a world where you can teleport? Reception areas without a host/ess? Dozens of empty offices and conference rooms? A whisper travels 10M, standard talk 20M. Offices and conference rooms tend to be clustered in RL buildings - if they were being used in SL you'd have to IM or be stuck overhearing other conversations. These structures aren't designed to be used.

When my neighbors explain why they've built a fancy house complete with bathrooms they talk to me about having what they've always wanted, recreating a place with fond memories, wanting to explore a building virtually before deciding whether to build it in RL... there's a lot of motivations that go into such builds. They're reflections of both the real world and of their builders' aspirations and dreams.

Starwood's Aloft hotel build makes sense to me. It is both advertising and a conversation - "There's this hotel I want to make... what do you think?" American Apparel's store reflects how they want to be perceived and makes a handy vehicle for experimenting with RL/SL cross marketing.

When I see yet another big office building filled with unused impersonal spaces, another unresponsive block with a logo... This is a reflection of your organization, of its hopes and dreams, of its adaptability, of its willingness to explore and take risks... What are you telling me?

I've got a bit of advice for companies moving into SL. If you don't understand it, spend a little more time exploring, learn a little more about the place. Three words.

Borrow Philip's pants.

16 October 2006

Introducing Mr Thunders

I finally got around to creating a male "normal" avatar I like. Some freebie clothes, a 50L male skin from PixelSkin, and hair from Adam n Eve. Female AV stuff is everywhere, but finding male hair and skins is a total pain.

With this background, he does look a bit like an escapee from a cheesy romance novel.

Watching myself build

So I ended up building a train station. You probably already knew that was going to happen. The open design choice with a tight prim limit and physical space was too much to resist. After the winners are picked, I'll post pics. It was a lot of fun to build.

Been noticing stylistic habits showing up in my builds lately.
  • The use of sounds and scripted interactions I've mentioned earlier.
  • Few textures. Maybe in reaction to all the malls? *grin*
  • Aggressive use of negative space.
  • Obsessive. Textures align well, every seat has a sittarget, etc. This is nothing new.
  • Repeated design elements. I think some of this is the medium - holding down shift makes it simple to copy prims.
  • Strong symmetry. This last one surprises me. I've always created balanced things in every media, but this is new. It might be specific to "spaces" for me; I had a realtor once comment that the homes I liked best all had strongly symmetrical layouts.
  • A focus on the complete scene. Tying a build into the local scenery is really important to me. I wonder if this would change with a larger plot? I tend to pick plants based on what neighboring plots are using, and I like to cluster them with any the neighbors have on their property lines. The borders are there, but they aren't so... sharp.
  • Strong dislike for photo realism. I like the strong colors and clean lines common with cartoonier styles, and my sense of immersion breaks every time I examine some impressive detail and realize it isn't 3D.

15 October 2006

Last Names for Sale

Second Life last names are now for sale. And they aren't cheap! At that cost, one can hardly claim that the corps aren't contributing though. ;)

13 October 2006

So I found one of those mysterious trains

Primitive and Quaternions

llSetPrimitiveParams() is the call of choice when you're both moving and rotating someting.
For child prims, know that the rotate is equivalent to llSetRot(), not llSetLocalRot().

One of my friends is getting fascinated with quaternions and with his help I'm starting to grok them around the edges. The ability to generate reflections with them is trippy. I never went past calc in math, and while I breezed thru statistics I never did get much exposure to matrices and similar beasts. If you hear of a "Math for 3D Applications" online class, please let me know!

11 October 2006

The Sound of SiLence

Torley got me thinking about how sound is used in SL. I often use sound in my builds. Doors creak, electrical effects hum, cannons boom, water splashes, I've got environmental birdsound/crickets tied to night and day... I think part of why it is so rarely used is because of the links to scripting. People in SL for the most part seem so convinced that they could never learn to script that they won't even try. A movie without sound isn't immersive, and for me the same is true of builds in SL.

One of the things in SL I really don't like is the lack of default sound associated with water. A silent ocean doesn't do much for me.

You can set a music stream for a land parcel, but that's not tailorable to any smaller area (like only inside a building.) Potentially one could break up a land plot into tiny parcels and set each one. Might be useful for buildings. Connecting parcels with the same music station sound seemless as you cross them, so walking around outside the building the sound shouldn't stutter or go out of sync. (I hadn't thought about using mini-parcels this way before, but I think I'll have to try it!) Since parcel music streams aren't tied to a height it'd sound odd when you fly over the building. Still would be classy for no-fly zones... Land Parcel music streams can be set via script too, so one could change music streams based on the time of day, etc... I wonder if there's free-to-connect streams dedicated to environmental sounds? The background hustle of a city, wind and animal sounds in a forest, surf and the occasional sea bird, underwater soundscapes...

Sounds tied to a prim are more complicated. They have to be scripted, and they come in a max of ten second soundbites. If you loop sound, you can remove the script and (if I remember correctly) the sound from the prim's inventory while the noise continues - looping sounds have to be turned off like particles. Wonder if there's a small builder market for noisy prims? ;)

The lack of a sound-prim interface in the edit tab is another area that screams "BETA!" to me. If you only have one sound inside a prim, why doesn't it loop it by default? Or let you set a couple properties like loop, play on touch, play at specified interval, etc. ?

Train Station Design Contest

Now that concrete pads are no longer all the rage, LL is running a contest to make 10 mainland train stations into a class act. I'm wondering why SRLs of the locations weren missing from the post... laziness or an attempt to filter out people who can't use the map? I took a few moments this morning to TP in to half of them and look around. I suspect the trains themselves are fairly rare - I didn't spot one.

Many of the sites are irregularly shaped.

Bhaga (103, 26, 28) - flat mainland
Aglia (147, 146, 83) - forested cliffside
Crenulate (145, 29, 86) - forested ridges, Y track
Clearwing (255, 26, 86) - parallel tracks with the current pad between them.

One of the sites, Tenera (200, 141, 83), rubs up again a huge hunk of land devoted to the SL Helpers. It even has a little staircased path leading to the station. I suspect that one will be the easiest to design for since the SL Helpers area has a distinctive style. I wonder if that site will have the most bids - there's a lot of people invested in the SL Helpers program.

09 October 2006

Gridlock and markets

Hearing about all the grid attacks makes me glad I was RL busy this weekend. I did get around to uploading a couple of textures. The cannon now has a circus style option. My profile finally has a decent picture - but why are the picture slots for land, my picks, and profile at non- 1:1 ratios? Gotta try stretching out my profile pic so it looks better.

The way my cages are selling, I'm going to have to rethink making cheap scripted objects. The Resident Transactions by Amount (2006 September) section says that the biggest L$/sale categories are under 500L. I'm guessing that a lot of what's out there in the cage market isn't real polished either - I'm getting a lot of repeat buyers.

An article about evaluating markets before creation.

07 October 2006

Where else but in SL

can you see a shop named "Cocks and Things" ?

06 October 2006

Picture Post

A pic of the new eyes:

and a pic of the poodle AV in an unexpected outfit:

TODO list

Apply for free vendor lot. (on the official linden blog)

Set up P.Detector as a freebie.

make and apply circus texture.
attach particle effect to its own prim on the lip of the barrel.
code notecard parameters
write instructions
pack and sell.

Make/get animations
code animations/sounds together
Decide whether to add additional poses
make spin-offs
package and sell

put flyscript in its own wearable. Maybe a HUD object.


One of the downsides of being an avatar to a player(s)... logging on and finding out that you're currently an anthropomorphic poodle dressed remarkably like someone going to an 80's punk rock club.

I'll try to grab a pic tonight when I log in.

03 October 2006

Numbers, building, AVs, grid attack.

Linden Labs is opening up more numbers! Here. That's a lot of people with broadband. They talk about them every so often; I'd love to see the account creation metrics here too.

Goofed around a bunch this weekend. No serious scripting, but a bunch of building and messing with AVs.

Tossed the pirate ship and the lab into inventory, started building a 20x20x20 floating building with a mad scientist theme. Lots of particle effects. I might move the shop inside if I get a look I like enough.

Decided to build a better human avatar. Picked up a dusky skin and some prim hair. Shopping for skins was interesting - I was looking for something dusky with sallow undertones (instead of red or brown) and didn't find a lot of options. There's also very few dark brown skins. Here's a current pic.

Getting the default avatar hair to go away so she was bald was tricky. The hair prims don't just shrink and grow, they move around when you manipulate the sliders. Annoying. I decided to set the hair texture to a transparent texture. That worked, which surprised me - using a transparent texture as a skin doesn't turn your AV invisible. Probably a good thing, tattoos would be a lot harder to make. ;)

Also got around to making the builder poodle AV some blue eyes. Making eye textures is strange - they're small but there's a lot of detail to get ones that look good. She's gone full circle now; she first started as a freebie black wolf av with blue eyes. Over time I've remade everything. Pic here, but it isn't enough of a closeup to see detail.

Monday evening was frustrating. Grid attack. "Terror will rain down upon the unfit gods and the flock that they govern, from now until the End of Days." along with a billion offers of inventory. The bananaphone object I saw a couple days ago was sick but funny (it followed whoever was closest playing the bananaphone song over and over) but the things that take down the grid are just lame.

My buddy Brian and his friends got tossed out of wherever they were staying; they're looking for furry-friendly rental property. Told them they're welcome to hang around my mainland property while they hunt. Haven't seen them lately though - I wonder if they found something?

29 September 2006


Ah! so this
is why my spheres and cylinders aren't lining up anymore!

27 September 2006

It hates the holo-vendor, it does, my precious!

Well, that was frustratingly educational. Turns out
you can click on BUY, enter zero for the number of
lindens, and no money event will fire. *snarls, yanks
hair* I could make freebies sell using the TOUCH
option on the pie menu or something, but your typical
user isn't going to think of trying that. I finally
accepted that this particular holo-vendor won't sell
free items. It does IM the owner with information
about the sale now.

Lots more thinking on holo-vendors and their usefulness.

I also went ahead and took pictures of my cages and
prepared them for sale at SLExchange. Writing ad copy
makes me laugh. I'm going to wait until Friday to
enter the information on the website; I seem to get
more sales that way.

25 September 2006

Building, Vending, etc...

Scripting groups of prims to move is a PITA. The copy-paste sucks, but with all of the grid-wide script shutdowns lately I don't dare leave that info in the script's live memory. Getting the positioning info was easy - I gave each prim a unique name and a "positioning" script that had them announce their rotation and position on touch. Touch, move the group, touch again. Copy it all out of the chat history. I saved the object with the positioning scripts in case I decide to add more "animations" later. I have a LOT more respect for those people who make the giant animated dragon avatars now.

I also built a hidden laboratory to be known as the Super Sekrit Research Lab. Boring old skybox scripted to turn transparent at my touch. Gives me a place to work on scripting and building when I don't want to be interrupted. The avatar I tend to wear while building (the black female poodle with glasses and a toolbelt) is a no0b magnet. Most of the time I don't mind, but when I'm hip deep in scripts it isn't the time to teach someone to teleport.

I also built an avatar that's a bunch of metallic "eyes" and circling bits of metal. It looks a lot more like a "we" than an "I". Drove around one of the sandbox sims in it and had fun talking to some builders, and introduced a fairly new SL'er to the scripting group.

I ran into on of my buddies. He was showing off a new look and wanted a watch to go with it, so I whipped one up and we dropped a couple "bling" particle scripts into it. I hadn't really noticed before that how much faster I build now than I did a couple months ago. People who've been in SL for years must be scary to watch. *grin*

I sold a couple cages and poodle avatars this weekend. I need to prep my cages for SLExchange sale by next weekend. Writing the copy for those should be fun. *grin* I seem to get more sales if I put new things up there on friday nights or early saturday. Been pushing around taking a better set of pics for selling the poodles on SLExchange; the current ones are pretty boring.

I was wading thru the code for the holo-vendor and I'm pretty sure I know what to change so it allows me to sell 0L items. llSetPayPrice() decides you don't want a button if the price is zero, and the current code removes the "fill in the blank" option. It is already sending out a link message about the sale - I need to see if there's another script in there responding to it, and if I can put in my "IM the owner with location" script there.

22 September 2006

The LSL Wiki is back!


A neighbor's mall, vending, and headaches

My inland neighbor has been building a small mall, primarily selling poseballs and sex-related toys. We talked some yesterday, and she's offered me a little space in her building. Claims to be getting over 500 unique visitors daily. Among other things, she talked about how she wished she had some "sub cages" to sell. Really, all they are is a box with a locking door... so I built one. 5 prims, 2x2x3M, a door that opens and closes to the touch, a door that locks and can only be unlocked by the owner, a squeaky sound for door movement, and a sound of rattling when someone tries to open a locked door. Keeping to the metallic theme, I made them in black, gold, and steel. They're being sold as Copy only, so I decided to price them at 69L. If I sell a couple I might list them on SLExchange. Pushing around making an "asian" themed one with bamboo bars too.

She also had another idea for a scripted product she'd love to sell... I might have to try making it just for the challenge. Very, er, adult market. *wink*

I'm not satisfied with the base holo-vendor. I use the Hibrid 1.5c. It works well, but I want to make a few changes. It does not vend free items, something I consider a problem. I like mixing freebies into my vendors to encourage people to look at all the items. The vendors don't suggest to the casual brower what's being sold - they have to interact with it to find out. I'm considering changing the base into a large poster showing a composite picture of all the items. I need to change the _HOLO script to have the item llOwnerSay() if the spawned holo is not temporary - I've messed that up twice. I also want it to IM the owner when it makes a sale with its location.

On my ship, there's now a pile of cannonballs to go with the cannons. There's a poseball in there masquerading as a cannonball. I found a free sitting pose that makes AVs look like they have a terrible headache and I just couldn't resist using it.

21 September 2006

Look at me!

*laughs* I got mentioned in the web version of Popular Science Magazine. I'm mentioned in the 8th pic too.

20 September 2006

If they're screaming, you're doing it right.

I was reading this article and it got me thinking. It is a common pattern with MMO games (like WoW, DAoC, EverQuest, etc) that fans tend to savagely and repeatedly attack the company running them in forums, blogs, and the like. They call you nasty names, rant about your incompetence, comment on your lack of brains and your likely ancestry. Who wants to be on the receiving end of that day after day?

If you get a lot of hate-mail you're doing something right. It shows your product has earned commitment and passion from the people using it. People are emotionally invested. As your customer base becomes invested in your product, they want more control over how it works, how it grows, and how it is administered. They aren't passively watching TV; they want to participate. In Second Life, whether or not it was intentional, this commitment is actively encouraged - the client comes with building and scripting tool, and people are encouaged to create content. It is "your world" as they say on the front page.

I've heard several times (with WoW, DAoC ) that roughly 10% of regular players even look at their MMO's company hosted forums. Fewer than that post. You have to log in with your account information to read SL's forums. Linden Labs potentially knows who and how many of their users read their forums. I'd love to know how many different accounts logged into SL over the last month, how many logged into their forums, and what the overlap ratio was.

I understand the desire not to spend more time and money on moderating the forums, but they are moderating their new blog as well, so I'm not sure how much of a savings this will prove to be. Trying to protect your team's morale while still appearing (and hopefully being) accessable to your user base isn't an easy task. The move away from Linden sponsored forums may be worth it in the short term; the new blog format doesn't thread, so I expect long-winded "conversations" will move to other venues.

18 September 2006

Cannons and other scripted toys, and a whole day to play!

I logged on Sunday at four in the morning (insomnia again) and had the whole sim to myself.

Completed the cannons in their basic form - they shoot in whatever direction they're facing, there's a nice "boom" sound and some flaming particles, and whoever's in it flies. Uploading the boom was a pain; I learned that sound files become much quieter after loading. To get the angle of the push I'm now using the location difference between the hollow cylinder of the cannon and the curved prim that closes the back of the cannon. You can aim the cannon up or down and the force follows suit. If you know someone who wants one, or if you want to be shot thru the sim, IM me. I will probably add a circus texture option and maybe a flaming wick before I start selling them.

I added a switch and some link messages to my ship so that all the runway lights turn on and off as one. Did a cute timing trick so that the particles seem to turn the corner.

No exciting scripting, but I redid my anchor arrangement and raised the boat another 30M. Gets me away from the view of my neighbor's little mall with the giant glass wall, but low enough that other people's skyboxes don't feel too close. I added some boat pics to Snapzilla, but the camera doesn't love me.

One of my european friends was on, so after letting me shoot him from a cannon, I helped him troubleshoot a scripted toy he'd bought that was an incredible example of awkward user configuration. If you expect you users to configure a tool using notecards, design your project so they'll know how to do it right. I've had free AOs and holo-vendors that were far easier to configure. What about contacting the maker? My friend did. Telling your customers that they're stupid is not the path to a good reputation.

I took some free bird and insect sounds and made a script that randomly plays the daytime sounds during the day, and the others at night. A little ambience. I need to explore the distance the sounds travel; if I decide to give this away I don't want to aggravate neighbors.

Gorilla and his friends (a group of neighbors) decided to invest heavily in the sim. They've bought up all the remaining coastline that was for sale and plan to keep it open and available. I'm happy about that - some of the plots were large enough that they could have supported casinos.

Torley got back to me. Said that scripted prims were a big source of lag. Textures too - small, few, and repeated are good. Whether they are library or not doesn't matter. The built-in skirt doesn't add lag. I wasn't sure about that since it was added later. She also pointed out this article as a resource on the wellbeing of sims.

EDIT: This article explains why custom skins and no-prim clothes and the like don't add to lag. So clothes, tattoos, makeup, etc are merged together into the same number of temporary textures regardless of what you use.

15 September 2006


Sometimes I love amazon...

Advertising, graphic design, and SL

Torley's music archive

A vast collection of resources! Classroom style.

Thoughts on my first crowded event

Last night was the first time I've been on a sim with over 100 avatars on it. Only crashed once. I got to "see" Jonathan Coulton, get attacked by a giant squid, and hear a lot of music.

Instead of listening to the music thru SL, I attached WinAmp to the music stream. I encourage you to try this - if/when a sim goes down, you can still enjoy the music.

We've all heard about how large events encourage participants to remove attachments and active scripts, so I whipped up a no-prim avatar. I was surprised to see many long-time residents didn't do the same. They didn't ask us to remove anything; I don't know whether that would have kept us from crashing or not.

I'm wondering if it would be worth making up a line of no-prim, no-script avatars to gift people with at events. Concert Carmen, Event Ernest, White Noise, etc... Would people use them? Would it significantly affect sim lag? Time to email the watermelon-decorated Torley, and see if I can get some Linden wisdom on this.

13 September 2006

Baby, what'd I do? Please come back!

Oh scripting wiki
Why have you forsaken me?
I flail helplessly.

The lsl wiki is a wonderful resource. I came to SL knowing how to program, and it gave me the information and examples I needed to satisfy my building urges with ease. To the people who made it what it was, I thank you.

The old scripting wiki remains down. The new site isn't up yet. The available mirrors I've found are either out of date by six months or more, incomplete, or the links all lead back to the original wiki. The frustration is unbearable. I scream, rip at my hair, rend the flesh from my body. All is futile. *sobs*

I forsee a lot of private copies, assuming it returns.

In other news, I should quit acting antisocial and go join the SL group called "Scripters of Second Life."

11 September 2006

Cannons and Taking Shots at the Newbie Experience

Sunday was a busy day for me. I redid the boat into a boat-platform. I must remember to take pictures. It has three sets of lift balloons, the anchor, a 20m x 20m platform with railings and marquee lights, and a triangular covered front area with metal rimmed portholes suitable for cannons. There's an attractive sitting poseball hiding in one of the portholes. (Speaking of which, I highly recommend Thunders Animations. No relation.) Being a ship, it required a wheel to steer it. The wheel uses llTargetOmega() to spin for a few seconds in either direction when touched. And then there's the cannon...

It isn't complete yet, but it does load, make a "boom" sound, and launch people in the direction the cannon faces. I am fortunate to have such tolerant neighbors. *grin* There were a couple bouts of scripting agony; the Lindens have taken down the LSL wiki site to do upgrades. Having never used llPushObject() before, this made the cannon's scripts a bit more challenging than I had planned. I still do not understand the meaning behind having both "impulse" and "angular impulse." In the end, I resorted to setting the angular impulse to <0.0,0.0,0.0> and working with a normalized impulse vector (to describe the direction to fling people) multiplied by a predetermined "force."

Other than building... I talked with some neighbors, noticed that the coastline in front of my land is still for sale, modelled a spiked armband made by a friend (there's a pic of that on Snapzilla,) helped a couple of newbies, adjusted one of my vendors at Rainbow Mall, and finally got around to checking out the Burning Life displays. If you haven't been there it was... trippy. I did laugh at the one commenting on camping chairs and typical newbie behavior in SL, but it makes me wonder how much of that is because of the awkwardness of the newbie experience in SL. When I compare my first ten hours of SL to the same in WoW or other massive multiplayer environments, SL still does an incomplete job of pulling in new people. Socializing, interesting locations and events, educational resources, how to use the Search, money trees 101, links to common web resources, etc. New Citizens and groups like them help fill in the gaps, but I was well past my first ten hours before I found them, and based on conversations with newbies, my experience wasn't unique.

08 September 2006

Scripting rambles

It may be time to learn about llPushObject(). Seeing as if you own the land it'll work on any targets regardless of whether "no push" is turned on or not. *grin* My cannons will be a lot more fun!

I really wish that phantom and non-phantom objects could link together and keep their states. Having to script objects containing both so that they play well together is a pain. Either sensors or channeled llSay(). I admit, I'm overly fussy about cleanup issues - I've been setting things so that if the phantom object is deleted the non-phantom one respawns it, and if the non-phantom one is deleted the phantom one calls llDie(). And coordinating how to keep them "together" when the owner decides to move it - bah! But in the end I think the scripts are generic enough I can drop them into future projects, so it'll probably prove worthwhile. But oh was I frustrated when I discovered that llVolumeDetect() doesn't respond to things rezzing or dying!

While I'm daydreaming, the other thing I'd really like is some kind of display showing me which prims in an object have contents. Scripts, objects, notecards... I can get an "active script" view using world controls - it turns them a creepy red like the "invisibility detection" view.

07 September 2006

Optimizing focused spaces

I'm wondering what the optimal size for a partying area is in SL. Assuming avatars of standard size (You should have seen the giant robot that flew by yesterday! Bigger than most houses!)

I'd need enough space for everyone to stand around. And clustering space, people often like to go off in small groups. If the space is too large, people don't interact. You need activities, toys or a good host to provide interaction topics when people aren't the best at smalltalk. In real life, I'd add food and booze to the list - I could probably use "free gifts" as a replacement. Music helps.

Then there's the SL specific issues. Camera space, and whatever effects the distance of whispers and says have on such things. High ceilings are a must - most people don't use the "1st person" view, and the camera defaults to floating a bit above the avatar. Texture lag, and controlling view angles to reduce lag.

Boats, Cannons, and balloons

I don't like the pirate ship, the insides are too curved to be useful and it just seems like a wasteful use of space. The marquee lights rock though. I think I'm going to redo it into a floating raft. That'll be easier to resize and party on. I think I'll add a higher platform so I can keep my "climbable" rope - and I like the idea of a multilevel environment. Maybe a cannon that people can shoot themselves out of? I think I'll be twisted and keep the pirate boat theme but get rid of the boat. Aim it to encourage people to look toward the ocean and away from my neighbor's floating 10M rotating cube. (She and I talked some yesterday, she seems okay although it was a little strange watching her test a new box of sexual positions...) If I decide to make a roof and don't want people standing on it, I have to remember to make it phantom.

Now I'm thinking about that cannon... I can use llSitTarget() to go in any direction up to 300M. I want it to shoot in the direction the cannon faces, so I need the rotation of the cannon and a distance calculation to get the SitTarget location. I can probably use a default animation to show someone "loaded" in the cannon. Sit loads them, Touch fires the cannon. If someone is in the cannon it fires them into the air. I need a sound and some "boom" smoke too. Bet I could sell it.

I also want to make a free random balloon on a string vendor. Everyone should have a balloon. If I use GetInventory I can make it generic enough that I don't have to mod the script every time I add another kind of balloon.

Jonathan Coulton in SL!

The guy who sings "Codemonkey" is giving a concert in SL! Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 5PM (SL/Pacific) .
More info here. Which reminds me, why the heck isn't there a single web source somewhere to get information about events that aren't *ingo, sales, or repeats?

06 September 2006

Home, and a possible pirate hangout

I finished assembling the little shop on my land. Boxes for the poodle avatars are looking good, and I put up a holo-vendor with some freebies, my scripted grills, and other stuff in it. I added my toolbelt to the freebies, although I think I won't bother adding it to my SLExchange list. Sticking with the parkland theme I've got going, the shop is housed in a small pavillion. I need to add a lightsource to the shop. I'm still trying to decide if I want to add a little stone path from the patio to it.

I'm now dreaming of making another boat, this one unanchored. It'll be higher up (more skybox-like) and intended as a party platform. I think I'll put teleporters on the boats so it'll be easy to go from one to the other (and any others I make in the future.) Primwise, it won't cost any more than adding another level to my existing boat, and assembly should be easier since I'll only have to swap out a set of sandbagged balloons. It'll have to have a plank and a pirate's flag. I might have to talk to Gorilla about linking it with his build when it is done - he's a neighbor who's been building an entertainment park a little further down the coast.


I ran into a wonderful use of particle effects the other day. They can be set up to look like marquee lights! I got some from Big Bowie.

Speaking of llParticleSystem... It turns out to be like llSitTarget() and hovering text, you can remove the script but the particle-generation remains a property of the prim. You have to explicitly turn it off with a call of llParticleSystem([]).

04 September 2006

Sit - llSitTarget()

One of my buddies was helping a friend decorate. We both rifled our inventories looking for some kind of seating that would blend in. I came across a decent looking freebie lounge chair. Maybe I got it at Yadni's? *shrug* A couple texture changes, and WOOT it looked like it belonged. Then I decided to sit in it.

Thus began my llSitTarget() adventures.

First I hit the scripting wiki. I decide to use the basic built-in sit so that I don't have to bother with permission-to-animate.

Every prim has a "sit target" that I can adjust with a script. Looks easy enough.

llSitTarget(, llEuler2Rot( * DEG_TO_RAD));

So I whip up a new script and drop it into the base prim. I spend some time adjusting the numbers so that I'm not sitting with my shapely behind in the air. Then I drop out of the editor, and click to sit. And my rump is in the air again. WTF?

Again, every prim has a sit target. So when I clicked on a prim other than the base one, it chose the sit target of that prim. *smacks head* Okay, so how do I get rid of the sit targets on the other prims in my chair? Or do I have to set ALL of them?

The only way to clear the sit target is by calling llSitTarget(ZERO_VECTOR,ZERO_ROTATION); Ah! Good, I can get rid of all these unwanted sit targets. With that in mind, if I want a sit target I cannot use all zeros for position and rotation. I've gotten some odd results from this - if the object is big enough, something else determines an appropriate spot to sit? Not sure yet.
default // How to make a prim with no sit target.

But the multi prim chairs I've seen don't have a script in every prim. So what am I missing? If a script gives a prim a sit target, and that script is deleted, the sit target remains. Okay, it is a property of the prim, like those HoverText scripts you always see in gift boxes. Drop in a copy of the "NoSit" script, then delete it from the prim. Keep your rear end off the arms of my chair!

But, um... what'll happen if someone tries to sit on my chair and clicks on a prim without a sit target? Will they end up using the base prim's sit target or ???

If the primitive the player clicked on has no sit target, and one or more other linked objects have sit targets that are not full, the sit target of the object with the lowest link number will be used. So it will run thru the prims it is linked to until it finds one with a sit target. That works for me. Useful for benches and stuff with more than one "seat" as well.

Speaking of benches... I have this two prim bench at home... Time to teleport back to my home parcel and edit the bench. Each prim gets a sit target, one on either side of the seat. Great! I click on the base prim and as expected I sit in the "first" seat. Then I click on the other prim and I sit in the "second" seat... because If the primitive the player clicked on has a sit target and that sit target is not full, that sit target is used. Time to sit down and enjoy the view!

EDIT: More here.

Temp-rez scripting, and new experiences.

My neighbor closest to the coast decided to leave the sim. Governor Linden decided to sell of a large hunk of coastline and she didn't want to see what will become of it. I was weak and had many new experiences. I own twice the land I did yesterday, I know how to exchange USD for Lindens, and I pay land tax.

In other news, I now know that the easiest way to position a temp-rez item is using llRezAtRoot(). If you don't have anything at the root of the rezzing object, make yourself a tiny prim and place it there. Saves hours of fussing.

The balloons and sandbags on my flying boat home now rez themselves, with a throttle script in place for when the sim becomes stressed. Read the scripting section on lag sometime. I used llGetRegionTimeDilation() to determine the sim's condition, and the rezzing prims pop up a cute bit of hovering text when the script is throttled.