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?