Thursday, October 2, 2008

Indispensible Things

Top to Bottom: K.R. Texture Organizer, HippoTech Vendor, Kitto Flora's Steam Train

Written 1 October, 2008

Indispensible Things

There are a number of gadgets in Second Life without which I would find it difficult to live (how's that for a gramatically correct but convoluted sentence?) Here they are.

1. My Mystitool. The wondrous Mystitool, made by Mystical Cookie, is a multipurpose HUD with about 100 functions including: flight assist (speed adjustable), avatar light (also adjustable) avatar radar, sim scanner, remote sim scanner, builder’s platform, sky elevator, break reminder, color calculator, land/prim calculator, mimicer (mimicker?), anti-idle, anti-push, non-physical vehicle, animation stopper, facial animator, particle beam friend locator (you can also stand on your friend’s head), builder’s cam, channel listener, easy ban function, defensive and offensive weapons, teleport memory, UUID finder, object rezzer, and can opener. It has been described as the Swiss Army knife of Second Life.

The Mysti takes up minimal space on your screen and costs only $396 (and there is a free version!). Find it on the Blumfield sim (29, 149, 296).

2. Rez-Faux. It seems the new client interface will allow objects to be linked at distances of more than 50 meters (the previous limit was 30 meters), but even so, Rez-Faux (and its competitors) are invaluable for preserving big builds. Lex Neva's Rez-Faux is inexpensive, easy to use, is frequently updated, and, at least for me, has worked flawlessly, allowing me to rez and reposition large buildings in mere seconds. Search Lex Neva in People and go to the Picks tab in his profile to locate his store. I seem to have misplaced the landmark.

3. My Train. Kitto Flora’s steam train is a joy to own and ride. Priced at only $1200, it comes in several colors with copyable and transferrable track which allows the creation of elaborate layouts. It works perfectly, subject only to Second Life’s limitations (the engine will stop and wait when sim lag gets atrocious). Avatars come from all over Second Life to ride the train at Whimsy, and every time I get an IM from the engine telling me someone is driving it, I smile. Find the train on the Wish sim (152, 40, 30).

4. My Texture Organizers. Without K.R. Engineering’s great texture organizers, my inventory and probably Linden Labs’ asset servers would have gone south long ago. The organizers (I use the plural because they’re copyable, meaning I can create as many of them as I want) have 16 nameable categories and a 17th for temporary storage. The organizers can be searched and textures reassigned to new categories, and duplicates can be easily located and deleted. Textures can be viewed full screen, singly or tiled, lighted or unlighted, and textures can be retrieved from the organizers and placed in inventory singly or by category. Find them at Karoastoff (54, 144, 77).

The organizers are a bit primmy, but not overly so, and a HUD version is available.

5. Mahjong

I learned to play mahjong in world; in fact, it’s the only place I play it. I have a table in a sky pavilion 1700 meters above Whimsy and go there late at night and sometimes during the day to play a few games. It’s relaxing.

The table works great, and it’s free! Find it at Seacliff (236, 72, 28).

6. Outy’s Auto-Emoter

I wore a smiler for like five seconds before taking it off. I thought it made my avie look stupid. I was standing there and grinning like an idiot at random intervals.

And so I took myself to Outy Banjo’s place and bought his Auto-Emoter. It’s a HUD that sits at the top right of my screen (like all HUD objects, it can be repositioned). A click opens the HUD, allowing me to select from about 20 different facial expressions, but I usually leave it minimized, where it runs in the background, animating my avatar, parsing my chat and responding to key words with the appropriate expression.

When I say the word “afraid,” for example, my avie express fear facially. And if I type :P, I stick out my tongue.

SL facial expressions are far from what they might be, but Outy makes them practical—and effortless—to use. I never take off his auto-emoter. Find it at Epione (168, 125, 84).

7. My Zhao AO

I bought my animator from Sensual Casanova. Nowadays, it costs $850L, but it’s worth it for the value-added animations. I wore it for more than six months before I learned enough about Second Life to stuff it with custom animations.

Like all ZHAO AOs, Sensual’s is a HUD. Mine sits at the upper left on my screen, where it takes up a minimum of space. There’s a drop-down menu which allows me to select among five walks, five sits, and five ground sits, turn the sit animation off in favor of the default SL sits, and load notecards with different animation sets. The notecards allow me to tailor animations to circumstances. For instance, I can call a card with modeling poses when I want, or a card with kimono animations. The cards take about 20 seconds to load, and the change in animations is seamless.

It can be a pain to get the names of the poses I want to call correct in the notecard, but that’s not Sensual’s fault. Sometimes it takes a while to get a new card tweaked, but thereafter it works perfectly.

To Sensual’s credit, she didn’t put a single stupid stand in her AO. Even with the default card I don’t act stupid, slutty, or coquettish. I move like a normal person. (When I want to be stupid. slutty, or conquettish, I use my own cards.) Find it on

8. Conover’s Advanced Object Locator HUD

When I was new to Second Life, I was forever losing prims. Sometimes I would blunder upon them weeks or months after losing them. They would be at 764 meters or at 0,0,0 on the sim, or underground, or right where I left them, but invisible. And of course, most of them were named Object.

Eventually I bought PTools, a gadget primarily for attack and defense, but with an object locator. PTools would find objects within 60 meters or so and direct me to them with a particle beam, provided I could name them.

Not long ago, however, Thomas Conover released a sim-wide object locator. It’s a HUD, and it works marvelously. It can search at variable distances, by prim name, by owner’s name, or by parcel. It rezzes a bot which points at located objects with a particle beam, and I can sit on the bot and fly right to the lost object-- anywhere on the sim..

I don’t lose prims nearly as often as I once did, but it’s no worries now with Conover’s gadget. I wish I had had it two years ago! Find it at Titian (146, 232, 351).
9. My Wurlitzer
When I first got my property, I bought Weedy Hebst's Wurlitzer jukebox. It's a controller that lets you set streaming radio stations on your land. It comes with a programmed list of stations which you can update or expand, and operates handily by voice control. It's not fancy and web-based, like some media systems, just a functional and easy to use gadget. Find it at Tuliptree (8,7, 31).

10. HippoTechVendors

When, about a year ago, I started my store (it’s called Flights of Fancy, and here’s the SLURL), I bought JEVN vendors. They worked great, but it took forever to get the first one stocked because the product name had to match exactly with the notecard. I had to track down subtle differences like double spaces—and in some cases, it seemed the names were exactly the same and things still didn’t work.”

Life got easy when I bought HippoTech vendors. Because they’re web-based and not dependent upon the clunky word processing tools of Second Life, and because they allow you to select from the objects you have placed into the servers, setup is fast and mostly error-free.

With the Hippo vendors, as with the JEVNs, one puts objects, notecards, and photos into servers. The servers can live anywhere on the grid. They communicate with vendors, allowing multiple points of purchase with no need to revist the vendor locations; updated are done from the server. Nice!

The Hippo improves on the JEVN because of the web capabilities. Keeping information in an external database has its advatages. But kudos to both JEVN and HippoTech. Find the Hippos at Hippo Technologies (110, 131, 44).


Corgi said...

I have taken you at your word on all the gadgets I have bought so far, and am happier for them. And I don't even use a fraction of my MystiTool's functionality! You give excellent advice.

Tycho Beresford said...

You are always so timely! I had a little 'accident' a while back with bullets that apparently didn't realize they were supposed to delete themselves 3 seconds after firing. What with ricochets and all we guess there are 200-250 of the little suckers scattered all over our half-sim. Conover’s Advanced Object Locator HUD looks like it will save me from the ravages of my partner, the former prim-hog.

I too resolved to use more of my MystiTool's functionality after reading your post. The texture organizers look good as well; I don't have all that many now but it will probably be good to get them organized early.