Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Whimsy Teleport Doors

Written 30 June, 2009

Whimsy Teleport Doors
Hidden around Whimsy are little doors like the one above. They will teleport you to other locations on the sim.

The animation on the doors is cool; you get down on your hands and knees and crawl into a spinning vortex.
Look around for a door next time you're at Whimsy. We have ten or so scattered about.

The doors, by the way, are from the great gadget shop Curio Obscura on the Rendervisions Isle sim. There you can find an orrery, a steampunk brain, and a hundred other neat things.

The doors come in two sizes and are copyable and modifiable.

Full-Perm Long-Distance Teleport Script

Written 17 June, 2009

Full-Perm Long-Distance Teleport Script

I’ve known about the Warp Pos script for a long time, but I was never able to make it work.

And besides, it didn’t work beyond about 1000 meters, which is insufficient to reach today’s building ceiling of 4096 meters.

For a long time I’ve been using a Warp Pos teleport script Peter Stindberg was kind enough to give me, but I’d been needing a script that would extend to 4096, and I preferred one with full perms. So last night I thought I would look one last time in the Forums for a long-distance (4km) teleport script—and I found one!

I jumped to a sandbox (didn’t want to lose the prim holding the script somewhere on Whimsy) and pasted in the script I had copied from the forum post.

OMG! It compiled!

The script works gets its information from the Description field. It took a few tries to get the destination vector and other parameters formatted correctly, but I eventually prevailed.

Then I sat on the prim.

Woo hoo!


No woo hoo.

I was told I wasn’t allowed to teleport.

After digging around in the script a bit I found a conditional that for some reason was disallowing me to teleport and disabled it. I sat on the script and was promptly whisked 4000 meters into the sky.

Woo hoo!

When you sit on a teleport object, it travels with you. When I arrived at my destination, I saw the prim clearly before it returned to its origin position.

So I flew back down (well, I let myself fall), put in statements to turn the prim alpha after I saw on it and visible again after it returned home, and I soon had a working teleport script.

I’m still not quite satisfied (do I want to remove the one second pauses after sitting and after teleport is complete?), so I’ll continue to tweak. Meanwhile, you can find the script here on Whimsy, or IM me and I’ll send you an object with my latest mod of the script inside it, full perm. Please do not remove the original creator's language, which is embedded in the code.

To test the script, travel to the entry area of Whimsy and touch one of the small brown destination signs. You can grab your copy at my Flights of Fancy store.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Chicken Bubble

Photos (Top to Bottom): Tulip Prices, 1636-1637, FUGly Chicken; FUGly Chicken Family, "Rare" FUGly Chickens, Insane Prices for Eggs (look closely at the hovertext

Written 27 June, 2009

The Chicken Bubble

A clever avatar has hit upon an ingenious scheme to fill the grid with prolific virtual chickens. The avie's name is sion Zaius.

sion has created a puppeteer-animated virtual chicken that can reproduce, using simple Mendelian inheritance patterns that determine color and sex. The chickens of course hatch from eggs, and the eggs are laid by hens which are impregnated by roosters. The chicks, if properly cared for, grow up to be chickens and make more chickens. And more chickens.

And before long, the damn things are crossing the road.

sion's chickens are phenomenally popular-- just type chicken in search and you'll see dozens of chicken farms. Even my good friend Marnix Maliforzik has been henfested.

The chickens must be fed and cared for and can be healed if they become sick-- of course, you must buy food and supplies from clever, clever sion.

To learn a bit about the chickens and the lag problems they can cause, see here and here.

People are spending money to feed their chickens, breed their chickens, heal their chickens, update their chickens, transport their chickens, house their chickens, buy their chickens toys and clothes-- and, what is making people really crazy, I think, is they are occasionally getting "rare" eggs. And of course selling them for high prices (the highest price I saw for an egg in my quick cruise of some chicken farms was $1500L; see the photo).

People are busily making chicken accessories and coops; I even saw a HUD that renames the chickens' colors. OMG!

The chickens are fun, but some people are going just nuts over them, thinking they'll make a fortune on rare eggs.

This is very much like the tulip craze that swept through Europe in the early 1600s. Before the collapse of the tulip bubble, a single bulb could command more than the price of a house or a year's wages for a worker.

After the collapse, of course-- well, how much does a tulip bulb cost today?

The tulip craze worked through supposed rarity of variations of the shape and color of tulip flowers. This is EXACTLY what sion has done with hir chickens-- contrived a scarcity, creating "value" where no actual value actually exists.

If you like sion's chickens, have fun with them-- but for god's sakes, don't get caught with a fortune in "rare" eggs and chickens when the bubble bursts.

Because if you really think about it, sion's chickens are really really fugly!

Demo Dunces

Written 24 June, 2009

Demo Dunces

Most hair makers (and increasingly, more shoe makers) are providing demos for their products.

It’s good for customers because they’re able to see how the hair actually looks and determine whether it works well on their avatars.

It’s good for hair sellers because clients are more likely to make a purchase after viewing a demo than if only a sign had been available.

Demo hair typically has a good-sized prim of some sort that floats above the wearer’s head. It’s far enough above the hair to enable a prospective customer to get a good look at herself or himself, and obtrusive enough to stop any but the least socially and morally uhconscious person from actually wearing hair with a big hovering demo sign.

Potential thieves can’t remove the visible prim because the demo hair is set no mod. While no-mod demo hair is a pain for those (like myself) with big heads because it can’t be resized to fit, most hair can be positioned so the biggest-headed wearer can get a good idea of how it will look. Sometimes, however (perhaps because the maker builds to fit his or her own avi), the hair is just too big (or too small) to get a good idea how it will look.

For this reason a few hair makers provide several sizes in their demo packages. This helps—but sometimes it’s still not adequate to give me an idea of how I’ll look in the hair.

Some hairmakers will set a portion of the demo hair to some psychedelic texture that would further inhibit wearing the hair. This is acceptable to the consumer— if only a few strands are so tweaked— but some merchants go wild and tweak 2/3 or 3/4 of the strands. This lets the wearer make sure the hair suits the shape of their head and face, but he or she gets no real idea how the hair will look.

Increasing numbers of merchants are selling their hair no mod with included resize scripts. This fairly well sucks, as it’s important to be able to adjust individual strands to get them out of your ear or widen a strand to cover a bald spot. Resizing does absolutely nothing to fit the hair to your oddly-shaped head. For this reason, and because all those scripts in the hair can be incredibly laggy, I and a lot of other people absolutely will not buy no-mod hair.

Lately some hairmakers have been getting cute with their demos (see the photos). Yes, it’s funny for about five seconds—but it’s absodamnlutely impossible to get an idea how the hair will look. You guys are screwing the pooch. People will resent your stupid demos and a lot of people who might otherwise have bought your hair won’t. Me included.

Come on, you hair makers. How many people do you see walking around in demo hair with big boxes over their heads?

Sure, people will wear the demo for an hour or two as they evaluate it and maybe show it to their friends, but I just don’t see a plague of demo-wearing avatars, even at the newbie areas. You guys are trying to fix something that ain’t broke, and pissing your customers off as you do it.

Maybe you should find something better to worry about. Copybots, maybe? Content thieves, maybe? And maybe, maybe, giving people reasonable demos so they can decide whether to buy your hair.

Hair Fair

Written 24 June, 2009

Hair Fair

(This piece was meant to be posted before the last piece, but oh, well!)

Sweetie and I were unable to teleport to ANY of the four Hair Fair sims last weekend.

Lord knows we tried!

By some miracle Sweetie was able to reach one of the sims on Monday night, and, by repeatedly trying to teleport, I was able to eventually join her.

We took off our AOs, shoes, jewelry, and other HUDs and attached objects (Sweetie even took off her hair) turned down our draw distance, shut off Windlight and other advanced graphics features, turned off particles, clouds, water, and other not-essential-at-the-moment rendering categories, and used the Debug menu to set the maximum number of avatars rendered to three. Then we raced around (well, as much as we COULD race in a sim averaging .03 time dilation) grabbing demos.

Even with graphics set so low (I was getting 17.5 fps), signs were terribly slow to rez. As soon as we could identify the demo buttons, we grabbed demo hair. Fortunately, even as slow as the sim was running (1 fps most of the time), everything we bought was delivered within seconds.

Then we went home and put on a fashion show for one another.

We did the same thing Tuesday night.

Two down, two to go!

Courtesy at the Hair Fair

This courageous avie put her hair away for the Fair Fair.
Her Avatar Rendering Cost was 1, and that 1 came from her avatar.
Written 24 June, 2009

Courtesy at the Hair Fair

(Written Prior to the Fuck You Incident)

Mostly because of this blog post at Sasy Pants, the majority of attendees at the Hair Fair reduced sim load by removing all attachments, even hair. It was extraordinary to see people who would usually be loaded up with attachments and carrying an avatar rendering cost above 5000 set aside their cooler-than-thou fashionista looks and walk around bald-headed with an ARC of 1.

I’m much too vain to appear bald in front of others, but I wore my simplest, lowest prim hair and system pants and shirt and walked barefoot as Sweetie and I explored.

Had the Hair Fair’s blog not asked people to cut down their personal load on the Hair Fair sims (and had it not showed them how), the Fair would have been a disaster. Instead, even as laggy as it was from the continual presence of 50 avatars, the Fair was manageable. Kudos to the planners of the Fair, and double kudos to those less vain than I who removed their hair for the event.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bubuing Around

Basic Bubu

Bubu store. I took the photo before it had rezzed.
I thought that appropriate, since the basic bubu is uncolored and untextured

Chey and Bubu in space

Ninja Bubus. The Bubu on the left (that would be me)
has forgotten to remove her system skirt.
Written 21 June, 2009

Bubuing Around

When Sweetie came online one night recently, she was on a mission: to track down some things she had read about.

Our first mission was to track down the elusive bubu.

Bubus are a type of avatar created by Logan Skytower and nicely are up here. They can be purchased on XStreet or (not surprisingly) at the Bubu store.

Bubus are untextures scupted prims that comprise a basic clunky-and-yet-cute shape. Texture maps are provided with the $250L purchase of the basic Bubu, so you can make your own overlays-- and you can select from dozens of existing overlays. Changing your look is easy-- you just pull it out of inventory-- it rezzes as a spray can-- and touch it, and pssst! you are a new Bubu!

How clever! And fun!

Here's to you, Bubu!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Robot's Day Out

Written 20 June, 2009

A Robot's Day Out

The robot sanitorium rarely allows its patients to have day passes.

It's for their own safety.

The inmates-- er, patients-- at the sanitorium are there for a variety of reasons. They're not quite... right.

This robot, for instance, has fallen hopelessly in love with the simple machine that controls the dancing fountains on the main floor. She came to the sanitorium in the first place because she had a crush on a toaster.

This robot is the victim of robotaxia. It simply cannot control its movements. Here, Chey has found it embedded in a steam pipe.

But Chey has a special friendship with one of the patients, and arranged to take her on an outing. She didn't actually get permission, but since the director is on leave without pay pending indictment, she managed to spirit the robot away.

As a date goes, it wasn't much. The first place they went, Chey's robot friend stopped, entranced by pretty lights.

So Chey took the robot back to the sanitorium and proceeded to flirt with the bugbot.

Then it was time Meds time. Chey's friend dutifully took her Robothorazine and retired to her quarters to dream happy robot dreams.

My Top 10 Wishes for Improvements to Second Life

Written 20 June, 2009

My Top 10 Wishes for Improvements to Second Life

1. The ability to have large amounts (thousands) of avatars together in one place and one time.

2. Smooth handoffs between sims (no lag, no weirdness)

3.  Increase in prim allowance (maybe 40,000, as on other grids)

4. Decrease in tier ($195 USD sounds like a fair amount for a sim. $295 is too much.

5. Longer sounds (10 seconds is just not long enough), and zero delay in hearing sounds

6. Ability to create bigger prims (100 meters is a reasonable upper limit. 10 meters is ridiculous)

7. Ablity to teleport with avatar intact to and from other grids

8. More attachment points (my sop to the fashionistas amonst us)

9. More upper and lower clothing layers (another sop)

10. Click on attachments or groups of attachments to attach them.

(These are off the top of my head. I'm sure I've overlooked something horrendously important.)

[I'd like to hear the wish lists' of my readers.]

Thanks, Greg and Vivien!

Written 20 June, 2009

Thanks, Greg and Vivien!

Our friends Greg Paslong and Vivien Janick gave us this great Nessie Explorer submersible by Carrah Rossini as a sim warming gift. It's perfect for exploring Whimcentricity.

Thanks, you two!

Sweetie and Chey Get Drowsy

Written 20 June, 2009

Sweetie and Chey Get Drowsy

Last night Sweetie and I journeyed to Drowsy, a sim I read about in New World Notes, where we took these pictures. Click on them to zoom in, as I've not yet fiddled with them in Photoshop.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Testing Island Designs

Kaboom Prims Sent up to 1000 Meters
Overhead View, Hamora Island Design by Sweetie
Written 16 June, 2009

Testing Island Designs

This morning I raised every prim on the surface of Whimsy Kaboom one thousand meters. The ground is bare.

We’re ready to rez a variety of terrains on the sim.

Over the last year Sweetie has used the off-world Mac program Backhoe to design a variety of terrains. The first, Whimsy, was a collaborative project between the two of us; the rest are purely hers.

We’ve put her terrains briefly on the land so we could look at them, but now we need to get them ready to sell. So for a few weeks we’ll be rezzing her various designs, checking and tweaking them, and putting down vegetation and houses to take photos.

Sweetie’s work is unlike any other designer’s— so don’t be surprised by what you see on Whimsy Kaboom.

And if you’re looking for the prims that used to be on the ground, fly up to 1000 meters. They look strange sitting up there.



When my friend Leaf Shermer visited her parents in Texas last week, she drove thirty miles out of her way to take these photos in recognition of my recent decision to no longer refer to my material existence as my first life.

What a hoot!

Thanks, Leaf! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Poor Harry the Humpback!

Written 15 June, 2009

Poor Harry the Humpback

Over the weekend we tested one of Sweetie's terrain designs on Whimsy Kaboom. The water was replaced by a large center island.

We raised lots of palm trees and the deck on Kaboom, but I figured Harry the Humpback II (the original is on Whimsy) would fare okay. Bad call.

Whimcentricity Arrives!

Written 15 June, 2009

Whimcentricity Arrives!

Leaf Shermer has reactivated one of her former homestead sims. It's now called Whimcentricity and is located south of Whimsy and north of Leaf's Eccentricity sim. This means that either Whimsy has been pushed one square north on the map, or Eccentricity one square south-- no matter, as all landmarks still work.

We will be sharing expenses with Leaf.

It's nice to fly up on Eccentricity from the ocean, and similarly nice to get a view over the ocean from Whimsy's south side. Frame rate is better on both sims, since graphics cards no longer have to render textures from both sims.

Whimcentricity will be mostly water, with some land masses for renting or building. The actual design has not yet been decided, as Leaf is away seeing family with a poor internet connection. When she returns we'll collaborate on ground textures and design.

Meanwhile, why not play?

In its initial incarnation, there's a wonderful underwater labyrinth that takes forever to walk, making Whimcentricity seem frigging HUGE!

The labyrinth was born when I took Sweetie to see the Virtual Native Lands, a multi-sim memorial to the native peoples of the Americas. She was enthralled by an overhead photo of a serpent mound (click the image to get a good look).

She couldn't wait to make something similar in Second Life, so when Whimcentricity arrived, she designed the labyrinth offworld in Backhoe and e-mailed the resulting RAW file to Leaf, who uploaded it onto the land.
Whimcentricity's labyrinth is at this point entirely landscape, except for a few marker prims, but it's well worth seeing, as it gives a sense of distance rarely seen in Second Life.

We will be putting several rental houses on Whimcentricity's islands. Faithful readers who would like to  live in paradise should visit the sim, and, if interested, should IM me, Cheyenne Palisades.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tiny Empires, Revisited

Written 13 June, 2009

Tiny Empires, Revisited

I bought the HUD-based Second Life game Tiny Empires a long time-- maybe a year-- ago. See here and here for info on T.E.

By patiently working the HUD, I worked my way up to Duchess, and even finally managed to acquire a subject.

Building a downline is critical for success in Tiny Empires; otherwise you just plod onward and slowly upward. But there's a downside to a downline, for if one or more of your subjects is enticed away by a bribe or otherwise jumps ship, you can be downgraded in rank.

I'm happy to plod, for I know the acres I save and buy are mine and the rank I attain is permanent and not contingent upon keep my subjects loyal to me. I may never become the queen of all creation, but at least I no longer live in a hovel and burn dung in the hearth. Life as a Duchess is good. Just give me my HUD and let me make my decisions.

But Tiny Empires is by nature a social game, and most people who play it use it primarily for the personal relationships they can form. Through the HUD you meet people and socialize with them; some of them become your friends. You hangout with other T.E. players. Many players hook up in SL and even, eventually, on Earth.

For these reasons I would heartily recommend this virtual virtual game to new citizens and to older citizens who are perhaps a bit bored and  looking for something to do.

I, however, keep myself pretty busy in Secone Life. While I'm always open to meeting new people, I would usually prefer not to drop whatever I'm doing and rush off to a Tiny Empires dance or to meet a new member of my line-- and besides, it's all beginning to bug me.

At first I couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me, but last night it hit me: a lot of Tiny Empire players are like Amway people-- fanatical about what they are doing. They want you participate, and they want you under them in the pyramid, and they absolutely WILL NOT give up their efforts to recruit/indocrinate/brainwash you. They won't take no for an answer-- and not heeding a person's wishes about their own affairs is profoundly disrespectful. I hate it when people try to work me to get their way.

Last night, while busy in world with Sweetie, I was getting simultaneously harangued in IM by three friends  all of whom are perpetually insistent that one day I will be in their downline. "We can make you a princess tonight!" one said.

I said, "I don't want to be a princess tonight, "I want to get there the hard way."

At the same time I was getting IMs to come to a dance held by the queen of my line (Laurelin). I wasn't anxious to go because pregnancy is running rampant on the kingdom's land and talking tummies make me want to strangle someone, or at lest use my Mystitool to make the virtual fetus say something like, "Baby Snookums: Hey, Ted Bundy had to be reincarnated SOMEwhere!"

So I took the HUD off last night and came within an inch of putting it the trash and emptying the trash. I would have, had it not been for a friend who has achieved high rank in T.E., seemingly without being crazy.
For now I'm going to doggedly work the HUD. I'll gradually increase my 477 acres to 1000 and become a princess, and then I'll put the HUD away again.

Because, you know, princess is good enough.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Selling From Cutouts

Written 12 June, 2009

Selling from Cutouts

I've noticed an increase lately in the numbers of merchants who sell clothes from cutouts as opposed to say, signs.

I find them difficult to buy from, as you get rather less of an idea what the garment really looks like until the final rez:

Even rezzed, it's difficult to get an idea of what the clothing looks like:

As with all things new, there's evolution. I've seen some stunning displays that use cutouts. Witness this from (I believe) Sey:

I can live with cutouts like the above.



Verse in a Haiku Metric

Oh prim of plywood
Six sides .5 x .5
You are forever

The Zen of Landmarks

The Defunct Playboy Sim Will Linger in the Memories of Men Everywhere
Written 11 June, 2009

The Zen of Landmarks

Sweetie and I were talking about my colossal achievement of having sorted through more than one thousand landmarks. I was lamenting all the places that were no more.

I needn’t have worried. It seems Sweetie had been pondering the issue of broken landmarks, and had developed a theory about them.

Call it the zen of landmarks.

“So long as a single landmark exists somewhere, no place is gone. It’s still there, in the ether, in our hearts,” she said, giving me a serene look.

To preserve all these vanished places, Sweetie has decided to create a landmark conservancy. In that way, Svarga, Pioneer Space, and that sex club you liked so much will endure forever.