31 January 2007

29 January 2007

Impact of open source on virtual land values

Usually about twice a week there's a "current" topic that flows thru SL's blogsphere. You'll see anywhere from three to twenty of the frequent bloggers focus on it, and often a couple articles from one of the SL newspapers. The current metaverse discussion is about the future of virtual land value.

What interests me about the current conversation is the black/white element. If the plan for making sim server code free works, then people will make lots of land and the value of existing land will plummet. That seems to be the conversation anyway. Along with "we're being set up" and "internet bubble" and "well duh!" comments.

If the SL server arrangement becomes free to set up, I don't see any reason why there'd be an explosion of land. The servers aren't going to be EASY to set up and run. Compiling the viewer source is a process rather like making a fancy wedding cake. I cringe wondering what the first Sim release will be like. There'll be a couple of personal server projects, some "continents" put up by metaverse corps for renting and showcasing, and some private corporate sims for IBM and the like to experiment with. Over time a group of hosting service companies will form, self-destruct, and eventually settle out. Fifteen years later there'll be an Ubuntu metaverse distro that almost anyone can download and run.

Sims run by experienced and competent hosting services will remain desirable. This actually makes me wonder about LL's long term plans; unless there's about half a year of perceived grid stability before they release I suspect any plans to be the primo hosting service won't go particularly well. But they might be planning on becoming a services company, or the metaverse ICANN, or ??? I'm curious to know what they're telling the VC folks. Once the sim code is out there, what's the plan?

There's the question of connection. If the entire metaverse can be easily connected (a la PtP teleports, or World Portals, or some such) land value will be impacted as people other than LL can make connecting land. Will I be able to carry and use my avatar's inventory, or my avatar, or my money all over the metaverse? If I can make my own sims but the connections are weak or non-existant, then I doubt this metaverse will be anything more than a bunch of dead ends.

If your VWs don't connect easily... Look at Active Worlds. They don't "physically" connect, your avatar can't be expected to go from one world to another, and nothing you "own" can go with you. Except for competition for users' time, opening a new AW world has zilch impact on the existing ones. They're all independent bubbles.

Laggy Transactions History

Something's going laggy with LL's ability to post up transactions. I've got vendors that IM me about sales and the money from those sales, but my Transactions History page in LL's website doesn't have any sales after Saturday mid-evening.

Other than me being fussy, this doesn't have a lot of impact for me. I have almost no support IMs, I don't mind leaving my funds in SL for a while, and as long as I get the history eventually everything I'm doing will continue to work. But one of my vendor-rent arrangements involves a cut of sales from the site and I'm itching to see what kind of sales I got from an event they had Saturday night.

Ah! Inworld we should use World|Account History|Sales/Gifts to get transaction logs. They only hold up to 500 transactions, so check them regularly. Apparently the replicas of the DBs used by the webserver aren't updating well. Here, way down in the comments.

26 January 2007

Economies, motivations, and motorcycles

I've got a brain worm right now about economies. There's a lot of SL chat about them right now, and other than the basics I don't know a whole lot about how they work. I'd never heard of a Ponzi Scheme before. The comparisons to a gold rush are notable, with the big exception being that the "gold" itself isn't limited. The real limitations are SL and LL's ability to stay functional. If SL goes down, it all goes down... unless they open up other products that also support the Linden. That'd be interesting... I like Twiddler's comparison to cell phone rings - avatar gear is something that people buy regardless of how much they already own.

Which has me musing. I don't buy cell phone ring tones. I've always been the sort who wants to make their own. I'm comfortable buying tools and prefab parts, but I've always had a thing for creating my own personization gear. Most of the gear I have in SL is either freebies or stuff I've made. Except hair and boots. ;) It isn't usually that I think I can do better (well, sometimes lol) but more that I enjoy the process of creating. Learning new skills, polishing a concept until I'm pleased with it, manifesting it, and watching other people enjoy it.

I've pushed around the difference between markets for "stuff" and avataria (things that mod/decorate an av) and in SL I think avataria is a lot larger. With land and the ability to rez objects being restricted I can see why. Vehicles are interesting when viewed thru that lens. Is that motorcycle a tool, a part of your image, something you keep because you enjoy driving in SL, or a mix of those things?

23 January 2007

What's up?

I've been in a bit of a dry spell. Some of that is real-world business, some of it is a direct result of WoW releasing their first expansion. I've been enjoying watching the open client efforts.

I've also got to get off my behind and make the next set of poodlephernalia. And update my group mailing tool.

19 January 2007

Vending rental sites

Group Liability? What's that?
Huh. I wish I'd known about that earlier, would have been nice if that was IN THE NOTECARD. None of the other places I rent charge that, they pay for their own ads. I need to run my numbers on that site anyway; I'm not sure it is profitable enough to be worth keeping. Especially after the whole build got moved down and to the right the other day - I noticed because I tend to lock prims on completed builds so I don't mess up anything by accident. I also didn't enjoy the notecard/messages drama the other week. It is a f&cking vending group, I'm not there for a dramafest.

What do I want in a vending rental site?

Very low noise on group channels. Easy payment methods. No returning my stuff without an IMed explanation. A week's lead time for any changes. Mature and timely responses to IMs. No moving of my stuff or the space I rent without announcement and lead time. If I'm going to be paying Group Liability, I want to be told before I rent, and I want to know what it has cost the last couple months.

I like areas that seek vendors of similar products. I tend to shop for X, and having a site filled with vendors selling X (and things related to X) saves me endless search-TP iterations. They're also a quick way to learn about new people creating and selling X, and to learn about a market. Perfection is when you ask strangers "where can I buy X?" and they send you there.

Speaking of which, if you come across a mall focused on boots, IM me. ;)

16 January 2007

Finished the first version of my "lucky chair" last night. Oddly fun to make. I threw in a prize of a unique cage - I made a version of my box-cage in bright pink with flower petals falling from the top. Makes me laugh. I think I'll release it on SLX as a Valentine's day special. I might set up Chantal with a couple of the chairs, they're cheaper to run and more interactive than camping chairs.

I might market the chair, haven't decided yet. I'd have to write up instructions and make some of its features configurable. I might change the prize picture functionality too - I think I want anything without a pic to show something like a question mark. I did set the chair so it won't show the same letter twice, and so it boots people off when the letter changes.


One of the people I know who disappeared months ago has reappeared as a new AV. One of the interesting things about SL is how you can make a clean start. I'm curious to see what he learned from the last one and whether he does things differently this time.

15 January 2007

Over the weekend

Met one of the new neighbors. Initial impression is very good, she's a pleasure to talk with and knows how to make an attractive site.

Carl Sagan Memorial in SL.

Sold my first octopus av yesterday. Made some updates to the cannon, for happier particles.

Talked my RL bestest buddy into coming in SL again. His first experience was a mess; he couldn't TP out of the starting area. This time he got flung into a welcome area, but after a little exploring was trapped in an endless salsa that an "animation stop" tool couldn't end and his inventory kept freezing. :P I got two crashes for trying to touch items in my inventory. SL also hit 26K concurrent this weekend.

Played a little WoW for the first time in months. I'm angry that my friendslist has been erased, but overall I had fun, after spending ten bazillion minutes loading patches. Blizzard's way of spreading their patches stinks.

14 January 2007


Dear Asset Server,

Please start working again. If there's something I can do to help, let me know.


11 January 2007

Gotta love patch day.

Got inworld once last night. Got lagged out? when I tried to teleport. Repeated login failures and teleport-disconnects after that.

Open Sourced Client musings

So I read over the Town Hall transcript. Full of interesting stuff. With all the Open Source announcements I keep seeing comments about how people don't understand what it means, and whether it will affect them. I keep being reminded how many not-cs-technical people are involved in SL.

And I'm musing about Prok's anger at the client being open sourced.

On one hand I'm thinking "WTF? We're getting a bigger say than we ever had." No more waiting around hoping that someone at LL thinks of the same thing, or reads something you wrote and gets ideas. No more wasted effort on the almost-pointless "proposal" voting system. I like the idea of not only being able to make a client with what I want, but to have the chance that those features and enhancements will be rolled into the main version so other people can share the benefits.

But if you don't code... this does nothing for helping you change SL. You'd be a benefactor of the efforts, but not a contributor. All those other people affect it, but you can't because you don't have the skills. They can change how SL happens at a very basic level, and you can't.

I'm pleased that letting non-coders' voices be heard has been a conversational topic from the day of the open source announcement. There's the coding bounties idea - if you want a feature, offer lindens for it and let the interested parties get to work. So the financially well-off people have a voice. There's the possibility of suggestion lists, maybe with a voting mechanism and discussion areas. Blogs. Forum posts. If you're good at selling ideas, you've got a voice. Depending on how things settle out, you may be able to vote on others' ideas, adding a little popular pressure.

A lot like the real world. Whether you consider that a good or bad thing depends on how you look at it.

More people will have a voice than did before the client souce was opened up. Unlike before, those voices will be weighted on more than just the ability to sell ideas to people at LL. Change will happen faster because there are more people to do the work. LL still has final say; all changes to the official client must be approved by them.

SL is at a point where I think the overall benefits of opening the client will outweigh the detriments. I'm excited.

09 January 2007


I went online for a few minutes last night and ended up talking one of my friends thru the classic SL love scenario. You know, the one where they start to fall for someone, learn that the person behind the avatar isn't the same gender as their avatar, and flip out? Yeah.

The pain was real. And complicated. Confusion about feeling tricked and betrayed by an honest disclosure, questioning the reality of the relationship, questions about self-identity, questions about why they're reaching out to people this way.

I don't expect people to be like their avatar. There just aren't that many muscle-bound hunks, Pamela Anderson clones, or anthropomorphic bunnies in the real world. I don't even vaguely look like a two foot tall blue hedgehog. But I can see how someone might identify strongly with their avatar. And I know how easily we assume that the people around us hold the same beliefs and assumptions we do, bringing us a lot of pain.

I compare SL to a mirror or a strange sort of dreamtime. Things happen there with speed and jarring intensity. Patterns that we repeat in our normal lives over months happen in days here. So much of what happens there is clearly based on our choices... hard to blame your gender or age or weight or color or accent for anything here. What we see of ourselves and those around us isn't always easy to accept.

Collaboration and meeting new people are great, the opportunities to create and learn new skills are too. But I think that mirroring is the most valuable trait of a virtual world like SL - we see those sharp-edged reflections, and every now and then we learn and grow from them.

08 January 2007

Open Sourced Client

Yes, like all the other geeks, I'm nosing about today's source code release. They do use a little hungarian notation, but the code's definitely readable :)

05 January 2007

Yes, another one of THOSE posts. :D

Neko Oasis moved, so my shop is now in a new tiki hut at the new site. The old sim is apparently being converted into a combat sim and the people in charge of N.O. concluded that many people don't care to shop in a warzone. I ended up across from the lady who sells the wild fingernails which works well for both of us - the only similar products we have are eyes, and ours are very different.

I'm talking with Samii Itoku about vending in Rocket City - drop him an IM if you're interested. His crew are looking for furry avatar vendors and are offering very nice vendor rental rates. Since Taco closed down, I haven't found another site with an area exclusively for furry avatar shopping. I like the main build there - while it is a fairly realistic copy of a realworld hotel, it doesn't have shadow-baked textures. I don't often like them or "reflections" because the illusion shatters for me when an avatar interacts with the space.

The octopus avatar is now for sale in my main store, my furry venues, and SLExchange.

I was experimenting with tortured prims again last night. When I get bored of that, I'm going to box the interesting ones up as another freebie. While I only came up with two new shapes I wanted to keep, I did end up doing an impromptu building lesson, and I made an interesting set of flower themed outdoor furniture. The chairs remind me of a shop I saw (whose name I wish I remembered) that was full of fantastic prim-scultped plants. If I decide to polish them, I might sell them.

I was looking at what I sell and give away and see four categories of products. Furry (and related) avatars, utilities, humorous items, and things for yards and gardens. I might try adding categories to my classified listing and see if I get more visits.

I saw three (inoperative) camping chairs at Chantal's yesterday. Next time I catch up with her I'm going to have to explain how dwell percentages work. I expect she'd get better results by offering a class.

03 January 2007

Particle Misbehavior and PSYS_SRC_MAX_AGE

Aha! I've been seeing some odd stuff relating to particle effects that use PSYS_SRC_MAX_AGE. They might start firing again after a sim change, or someone comes near and they go off again... In an oddly embarassing occurance, sometimes when I'd teleport while wearing the octopus avatar I'd spontaneously shoot ink. Didn't see anything about this on the lsl wiki. This forum article had info for me though.

If you use PSYS_SRC_MAX_AGE to make the generation of particles 'time out' after a period of time then anytime that object comes into view for someone it restarts the particles. Whether it's rezzing, crossing sim boundaries or just someone coming into range.

I typically use a combination... I'll use PSYS_SRC_MAX_AGE to force the particles off however many seconds after they start, and then I'll have a timer function sent for some period of time slightly longer which calls llParticleSystem( [ ] ); to force the particles generation all the way off.

Can also use a llSleep() call followed by a llParticleSystem([])

02 January 2007


I noticed when I was messing with the octopus HUD that I was able to zoom in and out on the HUD positions using the mousewheel, which makes adjusting positions a lot easier. I'm not sure when that feature appeared, but from a comment in the wiki I suspect it was a stealth-feature, perhaps introduced as "various UI enhancements." 1 2


I was wondering about the mystery that is dwell. This transcript from a town hall is much more useful.

Every user gets a point to give out during the 24 hours between midnight and midnight. Any parcel of land that the user spends more than 5 sequential minutes on gets counted as a place that they spent time. The user's point is then evenly divided between those parcels.

So, if was online for 1 hour and spent 20 minutes on resident A's parcel and 40 minutes on resident B's parcel, resident A would get 0.333 from me and resident B would get 0.666 from me. Alternately, if I only spent 5 minutes online and spent all of it on resident A's land, she would receive 1 point from me. Those raw point totals are what is reported in the find window.

Interesting. Attracting people who are already here doing other things isn't worth as much. You get the most benefit if they log in, spend at least five minutes on your parcel, then log out. Doesn't matter how long they stay. You don't want visits from residents, you want exclusive visitors.

On the surface, that makes camping chairs and the like rather pointless. But when you add free alts to the mix, alts which are typically "parked" at a site and are used to camp or dance endlessly for lindens... I am amused at the idea that an unused alt with an anti-idler is worth more than an avatar with a person behind it.

I'd be more interested in an "number of visitors" stat, and maybe a "total AV hours" stat.

land and the sights.

Watched the land on the ocean side of the park change hands at least twice yesterday. I'm waiting until there's a longer term resident before reshaping that side of my land. The prices on land have inflated impressively.

A lady who makes a circus cannon dropped by. We talked shop. All we need now is a circus. ;)

Went cruising in the octopus AV last night and met someone with this impressive spider AV. It is big, and startlingly realistic. The pictures on the ad don't do it justice. I'm surprised the ad doesn't mention the leg movement.

Some unseelie (unseemly?) elves have moved in down the coast. They've put up ban lines, so I had to turn my cannon around since people were bouncing off of the angry red lines. Musing about making the cannons their own flying platform. I'm real tempted to see if I can aim one so that people fly thru one of the rooftop doorways in Chantal's mall.

Bax is trying to convince me to make an inflatable sheep.

01 January 2007

Octopus AV

Lots of flexi, invisi-prims, a couple custom textures, and an ink effect that's controlled by a one-button HUD. And of course, pictures.

It's moments like this that remind me how awesome SL is. The ability to create complicated content with included and free tools is amazing.

Login Blues. Time to learn the Sax?

*sigh* I haven't been able to log in today. Don't know why. The grid appears up. Dropped a support email here. I'm pleased that the link was easy to find, and that they've got an autoresponder on it.

Anyway, I heard from a bunch of SL friends yesterday - it is good to learn how people are doing. Chantal's back, and Amad's become rich from making gambling machines, and everyone I caught up seems content. :)

Been making an octopus avatar for one of my RL friends. The only one I could find inworld looks like it was made before we got flexiprims. Once I'm back inworld I'll post some pics. There's been more than a little texture magic with this one.

Added later: Fixed.