Sunday, September 30, 2007

On the Frontier

Written 30 September, 2007

On the Frontier

Yesterday Sweetie and I did a chore we'd been putting off for a good long while.

We did a photo shoot.

And not just ANY old Second Life photo shoot, either! We dressed up in frontier Western costume and rode a covered wagon out onto the desert. We even wore bonnets.

I put a photo I took at Arches National Park on a huge prim and we set prims up for walls and the ground, then donned our finery and sat on the wagon I built and took our photos while our neighbors looked on in amazement and the Gypsy Vanner horse a friend gave me stood there placidly.

We'll be using the photos at a presentation about virtual worlds in RL.

Pele Lava Fields

Written 29 September, 2007

Re-Written 30 September, 2007 (Damn Blogger!)

Pele Lava Fields

It's interesting to live in a geologically active area like Pele.

On the plus side, there'e plenty of hot water.

On the negative side, the land isn't very stable.

This week hot magma found its way through fissures in the earth and forced its way to the surface at Pele, creating a lava field near the Pele Community Center, just at the edge of the lagoon.

The geologist (well, an av we found named Stone) tells us all of Pele is threatened. He thinks it is a new volcano in the making.

"It's my wretchedsister!" Pele cried. "She has found me again. I'm going to have to move again. She has chased me all across the Pacific, and now she has found me in Second Life!"

I gave her two valium and put her to bed.

I have put her sister on the Ban list.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Written 29 September, 2007


Today there was a vigil, a human (er, avatar) chain in the Commonwealth sims to protest the recent atrocities in Myanmar (which I am now calling Burma, since the regieme in power is the one that changed the name).

There were as many avs present as two sims could hold, and it was a wonder the land didn't crash. Everyone took off their HUDS and other attachments, and even their prim hair.

Here's a photo I took, and an absolutely wonderful shot by Sweetie, who patiently played with the Client menu until she had the perfect setup. Be sure to click on it to make it large enough to see clearly. Can you believe the photo was taken in world?

Simple Scripting for Sound

Written 27 September, 2007

Simple Scripting for Sound

As a proud graduate of the College of Scripting, Music, and Science (I worked through all the exercises), I’m actually able to write simple scripts. Well, and maybe some moderately complicated ones…

My ex-friend Aldo Zond (one day, out of the blue and without explanation, he unfriended everyone he knew except, I think, his business contacts, which is why he’s an ex-friend) was kind enough, before he became unkind, to give me a script which would play any sound I dragged into a prim with the script in it.

I used that script a lot for a while, and it worked fine.

But now I can do it myself.

Sounds are actually pretty easy, unless you’re chain-loading them.

The commands I’ve used are:

llPreloadSound (“soundname”);

llPlaySound (“soundname”, 1,0);

llLoopSound (“soundname”, 0.5);

llStopSound (“soundname”);

I think I have the syntax right.

To play a sound, you need to just make a prim, drag your sound into it, and make a New Script. You just replace the line that reads something like llSay(0, “Touched”); with llPlaySound (“yoursoundname”, 1);

Then, whenever you touch the prim, it will play your sound at volume 1.

If you use llLoopSound instead of llPlaySound, it will play the sound in a loop.

The number after the sound name is the volume at which it will play. The bigger the number, the louder the sound. I’m not sure what number signifies the highest volume.

When I changed this number in Aldo’s script, absolutely nothing happened. I would restart the script, but the volume would be the same.

It turns out you have to stop the sound to reset the volume—although I learned that you can just copy the prim (providing, of course, that your sound is copyable) and the new prim will play at the volume set in the script.

Woo hoo! Now you can make your own sounds!


Pele’s bird and cricket sounds are powered by a free full perm environment sounds script Ante Flan threw in when I bought his swell ocean waves back in November. It differentiates sounds into day and night and plays them accordingly (I believe it does so by reading the position of the default position of the Second Life sun in the sim in which it resides. It also makes some nice little fireflies—although I prefer the bigger ones made by the full perm foxfire script, which Leaf Shermer was nice enough to give me.

I’ll make sure the environmental sound and foxfire scripts are in the Pele Freebies, which can be found at the Dragon Skybar and the long stone walkway outside the Gardens at Pele. The sound script includes free bird calls.

You can replace the sounds in the environmental sounds script with your own, but you’ll need to be sure you type the names of the sounds exactly. Otherwise you’ll get an annoying script error whenever the script tries to find a sound that isn’t present.

You know, like those animation overriders that are forever complaining that they can’t find a particular pose. Any time you’re in a big group of people, chances are someone’s tinkered-with AO will be spamming the Chat.


Here's  a simple script (I didn't write it) to loop any script you put in a prim with the script (one sound only!):

integer on = FALSE;
string soundname = "";

on = FALSE;
soundname = llGetInventoryName(INVENTORY_SOUND, 0);
// llOwnerSay(soundname);

touch_start(integer total_number)
if(llDetectedKey(0) != llGetOwner())
if(soundname != "")
llLoopSound(soundname, 1);
on = !on;

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Pele is Filled with Natural Sounds
Written 20 September, 2007


Sound in Second Life is problematic. Sometimes sounds refuse to play, and sometimes they play only after a delay. Worse, they are limited to 10 seconds.

While sounds can be broken into segments and played sequentially, allowing, theoretically a song to be played, the laaaaag moooonsssterrrr makes this impractical.

And yet…

Sound contribute hugely to my Second Life experience. The sound of the wind, waves, birds chittering, frogs croaking, crickets chirping, and auditory feedback for interface actions, the typing sound that lets me know avatars are about to speak, even those annoying shoe clicks that seem to be everywhere lately—all contribute to my immersion in SL.

When I log on from a computer with no sound, or when I log on with the sound turned off because of the previous night’s Skype with Sweetie, it takes me only seconds to realize all is not right with my second world.

Pele has lots of sounds: frogs (bull and tree), crickets, more than 20 species of birds, humpback songs, chimes, gongs, bells, door slams, thunks, clicks, bubbles, hisses, instrumental tunes, steam train whistles and rolling sounds, and, upon command, ten seconds of Jimmy Buffet singing "Volcano."

Woo hoo!

I have an ancient sound editing program, the name of which I tend to forget because it's difficult to use. I don't load it at all now because someone (maybe Peter, who has URLs for everything) about the free program Audacity. I downloaded it and since then, making sounds for Pele has been a snap. I've found many free sounds on the internet, and have begun to make others, using my iRiver MP3 player, which makes high-quality sound recordings.

Sounds get short thrift in SL. They're hard to find, and, for the most part, imaginative. There are, not surprisingly, maybe one hundred passionate sex moans for every bird call you can find-- but there are some nice environmental sounds. Bliss Gardens, for instance, has a nice sound vendor, although, darn it, the bird calls aren't named for the species. The signage indicates the type of bird, but the actual sound doesn't. So I got home with six or seven bird calls, and have no idea which is which-- although I did meet, here on the grid, a real-life ornithologist. Maybe I'll invite him over and serve him a virtual supper and ask him to go through the bird songs with me.

I've been using scripts to play sounds, too. I'll do a post on that soon.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

BOG Time

Written 23 September, 2007

BOG Time

My good friend the dragon BreathofG8d Onmura came to Pele the other day for a visist.

BOG is usually on her good behavior, but she was drawn to an empty rental tiki house; perhaps she caught a whiff of avatar. My friend (and Sweetie's) Tozh Taurog had been staying there.

I was quick with my camera and caught the action as BOG stuck her head through the big picture window.

Slightly Manic Sprite

Written 23 September, 2007

Slightly Manic Sprite

My brother Mordecai had his first rez day last week, and Sweetie and I were in attendance.

The event was held at the Caledon estate of Mordecai and his bride Kacy, and included avatars from the best circles of Second Life society-- and me and Sweetie.

It was a grand event, with a birthday cake, on which I danced, and posters made by Kacy of the four stages of Mordecai's avatar: Assistant Rakehell, Associate Rakehell, Rakehell, and Senior Rakehell.

Sweetie was a one-woman light show, switching to her energy being avatar (which she has customized beyond belief) and casing lights in all colors on the assemblage.

In his blog on his rez day party, Mordecai called Sweetie, to her delight, a slightly manic sprite.


I got only one photo, and wouldn't you know it, it was of Sweetie!

What a great time we had!

Pig Army at Burning Life

 Written 23 September, 2007

Pig Army at Burning Life

I've been visiting the Burning Life sims, which are under development (I'm afraid if I wait until the actual opening of the festival, the land will be crowded and laggy and I might not even be able to get in).

Burning Life is filled with strange and funny things, but the strangest and funniest was at a recycle center-- a basket filled with recycled newbie penises-- one of which was wiggling arouind.

"It followed me home."


Alas, no pictures.

I seem to have taken only one snapshot, this photo of an array of prim pigs. It's good I did, for I did what I often do when I see a captive audience; I took the stage. And when I get silly, guess who else gets silly? Luckily, I saved the Chat log of our conversation:

You: All right, men
You:, pigs
You: I want you to screw up your courage like you have screwed up your tails!
You: Like George Bush has screwed up America!
You: We are going to take back the Armour meat packing plant!
You: Are you with me?
You: Are you with me? Say OINK!
Sweetie: Yes Yes Yes
Sweetie: The plant is ours!
Sweetie: We'll shove 'em in their own casings and pickle their ears!

[Cheyenne plays imported elephant trumpet sound]

You: Do you hear that noise?
You: Our friends the pachyderms are showing their solidarity!
Sweetie: It is time for the pork  rebellion!
Sweetie: The swine wars are at hand!
Sweetie: Embrace your haminess!
Sweetie: And oink for your freedom!
You: We will drive them to their knees!
You: And hear them bacon for mercy!
You: No more!
Sweetie: You must screw your curly tails to the sticking place!
You: No more sausage!
You: No more kielbasa!
Sweetie: And defend your ham bone!
You: No more ham hocks!
You: No more pork chops!
You: No more pig's feet!
You: Well, you may keep the ones you have.
You: And maybe pork chops
Cheyenne Palisades likes pork chops
Sweetie: There's something disturbing about the way these pigs are staring at me with their unblinking eyes.
Sweetie: It's as if they had a message to give me.
Sweetie: From now on it's beer bellies!
You: Down with the pork bellies futures market!
You: Oh. They already closed it!
You: Up with porcine happiness!
You: You're being awfully quiet, men!
You: Pigs!
You: You are with us in this, aren't you?
You: We can't help you if you won't help yourselves!
You: Not talking?
You: That's it, I'm outta here!
You: This isn't the only place that needs organizers!
You: You can all be potted meat product for all I care!
You: I understand the Spam animals are in need of a union!
Sweetie: Blink those beady eyes twice if you can hear us...
You: You guys are just gonna have to do it on your own.
Sweetie: Let us do battle for a kosher way of life!
Sweetie: Don't wallow in your slavery!
Sweetie: Arise!
Sweetie: Arise!
Sweetie: Arise!'

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Written 21 September, 2007


Torley Linden has been putting weekly posts on the Linden Lab blog, tips of the week. Last week's talked about RenderGlow and RenderDynamicReflections, which can be toggled in the Debug menu under the Client menu.

I tried RenderGlow, and my ice dragon av was so bright I couldn't look at it. I promptly switched it off.

I kept RenderDynamicReflections on for a while, though.

It actually DOES sometimes render dynamic reflections.


Here's a photo of a shiny rock in Sweetie's reflecting fountain at Pele. You can see that the wooden frame is actually reflected from the surface of the rock.

Photo 4 shows the rocks with RenderDynamicReflections turns off, and Photo 5 shows the frame that is reflected in Photos 1-3.

Why Does This Happen?

Written 21 September, 2007

Why Does This Happen?

Back in the spring, when I was first learning to zoom my camera far away, I noticed that sometimes objects just weren't there on far view.
I freaked the first time it happened and went racing from the House of 1000 Pleasures down to Pele, and yeah, my little train was still there. No one had stolen or deleted it.

I've noticed that keeping my draw distance up makes for better long distance viewing. I can zoom the camera further, and less stuff is missing-- but certain objects seem, reliably, to not be there.

These objects are scipted but some scripted objects are visible, and others aren't. I've not yet learned what, if anything, the difference is.

But anyway, here's the teleport board from 350 meters away.

Update on Pele: V. Teleport Sign

Written 21 September, 2007

Update on Pele

V. Teleport Sign

I can't remember if I blogged on this, so here goes.

Awhile back we bought Punky Nerd's teleport system to replace the aubreTEC system we'd been using. The AubreTEC was cleveryly scripted and worked well, but was a bit difficult for visitors to figure out, as it required three steps to use-- touching, choosing, and sitting.

Punky's system requires only a left click and wham! You're there!

So, yes, I'm remembering I DID blog about this, so I'll get to the meat of the matter here-- the TP board needed something, and our entry area was getting a little cluttered, so Sweetie had a brainstorm and I did the sweat work, and we came up with a display that looks, according to our friend Peter Stindberg, like a sign you might see in a national park.

Here it is.
It incorporates landmark givers, notecard givers, online indicators, a notice for students for our classes, a visitor counter, mailboxes, and online indicators for both me and Sweetie.

Update on Pele: IV. Train Upgrade

Written 21 September, 2007

Update on Pele

IV. Train Upgrade

Kitto Flora came out to Pele the other night and upgraded my train system. His new train has a serial number on the engine, and improved scritping in the engine and carriages-- and some new track, including a nice sculpted spiral for fast changes in elevation.

The carriages are following better now, and I've replaced the old beams with new ones, which have a texture on the underside (previously, they were alpha). And the engine blows bubbles when underwater, and how cool is that?

Oh-- and the Pele train is now called the Avatar Mobilization Unit.


Update on Pele: III. Signage (Continued)

Written 20 September, 2007

Update on Pele

III. Signage (Continued)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Update On Pele: III. Signage

Written 20 September, 2007

Update on Pele

III: Signage

Not long after I acquired Pele, I found myself in need of a sign. There being no way—or at least no way I knew of—to make a sign in world, I created one in Quark Xpress.

My Jurassic version of XPress has only limited ability to export files; options are the native Quark format and encapsulated Postscript—but Adobe Acrobat captures output to the printer, and so I printed my first sign to Acrobat Distiller.

It took only a few minutes to figure out that Acrobat would export graphics files, and so I made an JPG and imported it into Second Life. I pasted it on a prim, and suddenly I had a sign.

I’ve made lots of signs for Pele; for the most part, I’ve tried to keep them simple. Here are some of them.

Update on Pele: II. Waves (Continued)

Written 20 September, 2007

Update on Pele: II. Waves (Continued)

Here are some shots of Ante Flan's new V. 3 waves on Pele.

Update on Pele: II. Waves

Written 20 September, 2007

Update on Pele

II. Waves

Ante Flan has released V3.0 of his great waves, and he offers a free upgrade, so I’ve replaced all of Pele’s with his new sculpted creations. The shore waves are particularly nice, curling around prettily as they approach and then retreat from the land. His old waves are back in my inventory (well, actually I deleted the ones on the land, since they’re copyable). I added just enough sound to make the sound of the sea pleasant; previously, it was entirely too loud in places because I had thrown in too many sound scripts and didn’t know how to stop the sound (simply deleting the script doesn’t work; you have to run a script to stop the sound or else make a copy of the prim and use it to replace the original).

Because I’ve learned a lots since December, when I first threw out Ante’s waves, it was much easier to place them. I did the entire northern edge of the sim and the half of the western edge in less than an hour—and it took that long only because I was adapting them to the irregular shore line.

The new waves are striking. The long waves come with optional particle effects, which are nice to place among rocks, so the spray looks realistic, and there’s a prim that gives the water a turbulent look.

One of my friends and renters is Feminist Expedition, for whom I set up a nice tiki house on the western edge of the sim. She was kind enough to allow me to move her house—which stand on stilts over the water—a couple of meters inland to create an unrestricted view of the waves; you can now walk in the water along the sim edge, with shore waves swirling around you and breakers crashing over your head.

Here are some shots of Pele’s waves, before. "After" waves will follow.

Photos: Pele, Ante Flan waves, V. 2

Update on Pele: I. Intro, and Prims

Newly-Acquired 3k Parcel

A Prim. Pele Has 7496 of These.
Written 20 September, 2007

Update on Pele

I. Intro, and Prims

I know I’ve not been blogging much over the past few weeks; it’s because I’ve been busy on Pele.

First, good news: Sweetie and I have reacquired the 3k parcel I sold to Nikolas Dix some time ago.

Woo hoo!

Faithful readers may remember that I bought a passel of parcels from Damian Marseille—so many, in fact, that I pretty much panicked at the thought of the tier and flipped one. But Damian had made a special price on the condition that I buy all his lots, so, to be honorable, I did. I sold the 3k to Nik within minutes, at the exact price for which I bought it.

When Nik put his Dreamlands up for sale two weeks ago, I IMed him and told him I was interested in the 3K. He set the parcel for sale to me, but at 12.5k more than I had sold it to him—and that at a time of depressed prices. I reminded him I hadn’t marked it up when I sold it to him, and he did the right thing and relisted it at the original price. Nik is an OK guy, and I wish him well on his two recently-acquired mainland sims.

It was a relief to get the new land; it really opens up the eastern part of Forsaken. I was glad to tear down the barrier we had built to screen the house of Nik’s renter, who lived in a glass house in which the windows were papered with scenes of gay bondage. Sweetie and I didn’t mind the gay part, but the bondage was unsettling—and so we threw up a big prim screen with a picture of Hawaii (alpha on Mr. Bondage’s side) and screened the prim with vegetation so it wouldn’t look TOO bad. We reclaimed about 50 prims when I tore down the wall, and of course there are more than 700 prims available with the purchase of the land. We’re prim rich, woo hoo!


I’ve been meaning to talk about prims, and this seems as good a time as any.

When I first bought the 4096 parcel that was Pele, I thought 900 +prims was a generous number. Of course, I was soon running low and looking for more. I bought a 2048 square meter plot, and then a 5120, and then other parcels; each time, the prim count jumped, and each time we had no trouble using up the allotment.

Owning half of Forsaken gives Sweetie and I a significant pool of prims from which to draw, but I suppose even with an entire sim it would be easy to run out of prims. And certainly, even with a large parcel, if you let your prim count drop below 300 or so, a single unfortunate incident can run you smack out. You can lose a tiny high-prim HUD or piece of jewelry on the land or some idiot can leave his prim-heavy Tardis phone booth on your front lawn, and wham! You’re prim poor!

Sweetie and I are on a perpetual hunt for lost prims (objects rarely get away from us nowadays when we build, but in the old days I was forever sending prims into orbit or deep underground) and replacing high-prim objects with lower-prim designs helps keep our prim count down. (Sculpties have helped greatly in this regard!) We have, luckily, always managed to keep a few free prims while stuffing Pele with fun builds. We ran out only once, when I carelessly put a non-temp object in a rezzer, which cheerfully created 8-prim giant ferns every 90 seconds while I slept, frittering away more than 700 prims. The next morning, There were 0 free prims on the land, and some of Sweetie’s objects had been returned. She was not amused.

Pele is fully primmed-out. We now have five rental properties (four are rented, anyone looking for a beautiful tiki house in a tropical paradise?) the volcano and lava flow, an under-the-volcano bath house, the Pele Gardens, a lake, a river stuffed with sea creatures, an elaborate train system, two homes, an underwater park, a beach camp, a huge night club, and hundreds of plants, but we be doing okay on prims at Pele.

Of course, we could use more!

Torii Gate

Written 21 September, 2007

Four Views of My Torii Gate

Here are four tweaks on a snapshot of the torii gate I built for the Pele Gardens.

No, I didn't do this in world. I used Photoshop Elements' filters.