Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Rocket Flies!

"I don't like the look of that O-ring."

This is Not Going to End Well...
Written 20 February, 2011

The Rocket Flies!

It's a lot of damn trouble getting something ready to sell on the SL Marketplace!

First, you have to make something worth selling. In my case, it was a teleport rocket. You sit on it and it blasts you off into the heavens and somehow you end up at another location on the sim.

Next, you have to build it. In the case of the rocket, that meant making something that looked more than a lot like a V2 using as many prims as possible. I started with 18 and have it to 16 now, and I think I know where I can save another prim.

Then you have to texture it. People don't buy things that aren't pretty except those who deliberately buy things that aren't pretty. But they're looking for glass jars full of eyeballs and not rockets, so I had to make the rocket pretty.

Then you have to script it. In the case of the rocket that meant making a sit animation, a propulsion system, sounds, and two types of particles, and a long-range teleporter. All of that had to be tied together into a believable and reliable flight package.

So, I had a rocket and it worked. I was finished, no?


I needed to create a way for potential owners to rez the rocket and set its destination.Initially I had one rocket out; when it exploded high in the air it went invisible, transported the rider to the destination, and then warped itself back to its starting position and turned visible. It worked fine for the most part, but occasionally the rocket would hit something on the way up-- like geese-- and go astray, sometimes to other sims. When that happened the rocket would have to be located. And so I wrote scripts so the rocket could IM the owner and tell her or him where it was.

That wasn't a particularly good solution for the long term, so I did a second edition of the rocket that died after its flight. That required a rezzer and way for the owner to activate it. I found up with a complicated series of scripts that talked to one another, allowing newly rezzed rockets to retain the coordinates the owner had set.

To sell the rocket, I needed an instruction manual; simple as it was, owners would still need some hand-holding. And so I wrote it.

It was then necessary to set permissions. Thank goodness the edit menu now features a global permissions option that lets us change all the prims in a linked set-- and their contents-- but it's still easy to mess up.

With all this done, it was time to make a listing on the Marketplace. I did so, setting a price of $750 for my copyable and modifiable rocket. I put the rocket in the Marketplace box, switched it on--

-- and the first person who bought the rocket could rez only one. After it fired there were no more rockets.

I fixed that.

The next couple of folks informed me that the rocket didn't retain its coordinates. I spent a couple of frustrating hours on Saturday morning, with every old friend I know checking in and me unable to find the problem. I finally logged and took a walk around the lake beside my house (the weather was great!). By the time I got home I had figured out what to do. It took me a couple more hours to rework the scripts and get the rocket working properly.

Then I updated the notecard. I put a new copy in the rocket's nozzle and updated the rocket's box with new objects and cards and put them in the Marketplace box-- and then found I wanted to change something and do it all again.

But hey, the rocket now seems to be functioning properly for its purchasers, who unanimously say they love it. I've sold five so far at $795 a pop. A bargain, considering all the work.

To test the Kaboom Rocket and maybe join the Mile High club, see it on Whimsy Kaboom.

To buy the rocket on the SL Marketplace, go here.

No comments: