31 May 2008

Bleached SL Birthday Bash

Hey LL? Sell to your strengths.

The SL birthday celebrations are often a source of blogging drama, but this year LL has gone to new lengths. Now offerings from SL kids, and "adult themed" communities like the Gorean ones aren't welcome. Purely aside from the community effects, this is just plain stupid on the Lab's part. SL's biggest selling point is that you can make pretty much anything - no "vetting" process, no waiting months for someone to approve your content. To deliberately hide that makes SL no more interesting than Sony's Home. There's plenty of bleached pre-fab corporately cleansed worlds out there for people who want them. Not so many where you can make and share almost anything you can dream up.

And... you've got all sorts of nice shiny new "safe" areas to send reporters. How many more of these do you need to keep recreating? Has it occured to you to look and see how many older Linden builds are falling apart? Doing the same thing over and over when you don't like the results isn't smart.

23 May 2008

Readbag, making stuff in NB, and a Giant Eye.

Torley's impacted my activity-flow by pointing out Readbag. It took me a couple moments to realize that i can just drag the "bookmarks" button on Readbag's interface to my browser toolbar and use it from there. Since I'm normally logged into Google and Readbag uses a Google login, this blends in super-easily for me.

I finally made a door texture I like for my New Babbage build. I'll grab some pics of the building later today. I still want to find or make a chaise lounge and an old fashioned sewing machine for the build.

Made a tophat sculptie with Rokuro and I've been having fun decorating it in different ways. I really need some good gear prim shapes.

I've made a couple of late 1800s themed clothes. All for women so far, although I have plans for some stuff for the guys. I need to grab some pictures, and put some of it up on SLExchange.

Met someone I'd been chatting with in the forums last night, and went biking for a bit. Came across a giant eyeball. I just had to share it!

20 May 2008

14 May 2008

Megaprim Creation Time Limited

Make those new megaprim sizes while you can! Andrew Linden confirmed today in his office hours that the ability to create megaprims will be disabled again in the next server update.

Textures and the Iron Man

Picked up an Iron Man avatar from the silverscreen sim. They're full perms, so have fun!

I've been making clothes made of patterned cloth. The IWarp function in GIMP is proving to be a useful way to narrow and widen the patterns so they look more realistic.

Musing about buying a graphics tablet. They're pricey, but I keep hearing great things about them, especially the Wacom Intuos line.

Still enjoying New Babbage.

11 May 2008

Making Textures - thumbnail viewer for windows

Working in Windows?

Wishing that the thumbnails feature when viewing files worked with TGA or PSD files?

There's a little application here that does that.

09 May 2008

Prettying up the Grid

The success of Second Life requires convincing more people to try it, persuading them to stick around, and persuading them to invest in the grid.


While positive and negative press both mean more newcomers to the grid, negative PR brings with it real world complications. Terrorism, sexual ageplay and age verification, banking, gambling, money laundering, copyright issues... it has all flowed through the mainstream media and gathered political attentions, as such things are wont to do.

If newcomers stick through orientation, they arrive on the mainland with a burning question. "What's there to do here?" That's what the new Showcase tab does; gives the tourists somewhere to go. Well, that and keep journalists from finding dens of perversion within half an hour of downloading the client.

The traffic metric was originally intended as an automated way to do this. Human nature being what it is, the metric is gamed (campers, bots) and often leads to places you wouldn't want to take the general public. A number of places benefit from the way traffic currently works - newbies brings $L, and those translate into real world money. Moving the newbie stream risks hitting the current beneficiaries in the wallet. Accusations of favoritism have plagued the Lab for years, and stating that the places appearing in the Showcase are going to be handpicked hasn't helped. If you want to benefit directly from the newbie stream, I suggest you look into advertising at places that'll be featured regularly. I think this will prove to be a far more effective way to encourage entertaining non-commercial builds than paying dwell ever did, with the side benefit of increasing retention. More money flowing, more content (both static and live). It'll also be good for Linden Lab's bottom line, in $L fees, land, and possibly memberships.

The Mainland

There's a growing effort to clean up the image of the mainland. The ability to own mainland parcels is one of the few benefits of membership, and with the percentage and number of residents with membership declining it makes sense to look at the reasons people give for not wanting to own a piece of Linden Lab's continents.

The new rules surrounding adfarms, and the creation of the LDPW look to be direct action relating to this. Individual residents have been interested in the overall feel of the mainland for a long time. Ask Marianne McCann about getting some of the public Linden builds back in good repair. There's been regular talk by vehicle fans in the forums about improving the road system on the mainland.

Many sim owners who rent space on their sims use the lack of things like laggy clubs and ad farms to attract business. Themed builds and active communities are also draws. Adding roads and other features to the mainland doesn't offer them much competition, but themed residential areas like the new Bay City might.

Personally I suspect they don't have much to worry about, unless LL decides to outsource the oversight of their planned communities. Successful themed sims require human oversight, and Linden Lab has shown a very strong preference for automation, conflict avoidance, and a hands-off approach. I expect that they're planning to use peer pressure and the AR system to enforce Bay City's theme, a combination that hasn't been particularly effective in the past. Building and maintaining communities takes time and effort, as anyone who's tried running a venue in SL can vouch for. Once a community has reached its critical mass it sustains itself, but organizing events and solving conflicts takes time and effort.

07 May 2008

Snapshots to Pics

Torley's built up a rather impressive snapshot-tips page.

Building with the Alpha glitch in mind.

Chosen has a really good explanation of how alpha glitching works. The camera's position relative to the center points of the prims is how the viewer decides what texture is in front, not the plane of the surface the alpha textures are on. It may not always be the case, but it explains why some houses and hair are almost always glitchy where others aren't.

06 May 2008

Navel Lint.

I was blog surfing. Realized that LL has been "evaluating" the traffic metric since I've been in SL. My second rez-day is later this month. Makes me feel old. I've got a lot of cards to people who haven't been on in ages.

I've been working on my new space in New Babbage. Learning a lot, meeting the neighbors. NB has a lot of builders of one flavor or another, and the people are friendly. I'm still undecided on the elevator vs stairs debate.

You know how people who're in SL for the long term go through cycles of enthusiasm? This one's strange. I'm enjoying my new neighborhood and build a lot, but my interest in things of a general Grid nature is very low.

I need to go through and adjust my blog reading lists - they're badly out of date. Thinking about trying Google Reader - I've been hearing really good things about it. I wonder if I can link up a reading list from that to the blog here.

I think I want to go through some of the vid tuts and articles and such... I have RL friends every so often who're interested in SL and I want to gather good beginner things in one place in a way that it isn't overwhelming. May take some thought. Or maybe I should whip up a couple alts and go through some of the orientation portals with better reputations and see if there's one I'd recommend.

Might refresh my plushie toys scripts to retrigger the holding animation every so often. I'm not sure if that would be better or worse. I also want to play more with the motorcycle, add customizing scripts to the boots, and a dozen other things I haven't gotten to.