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.