WaterMoon Breeze: stuff and scenery!

I haven’t done one of these Neat Things I Found In SL posts for awhile, both because I have been just hanging around the Rise and other familiar places a lot, and because when I do find new neat things, I am too lazy to organize about a post about them.  :)

The other night, though, I followed the usual SL chain of nice pointers and coincidences to WaterMoon Breeze, the sim and build and inworld store and probably also home of MenuBar Memorial, who (among many other things) made the wonderful crazy 50s-style Lucid Dream Together poster for Chasing a Butterfly, the machinima we posted about here the other week.

Turns out this MenuBar feller has some Mad Skillz, and his stores (inworld and marketplace) contain some Really Neat Stuff.  It’s Old SL stuff in the best way (crazy, fun, creative, offbeat, brightly colored), but also extremely polished. Not only can he script and do amazing things with particles (more on that below), but he also does graphic design like a person who does graphic design, so the offbeat brightly colored things actually look good!



See?  How brightly colored and well-done?  And there is a smart umbrella, and a Breedable Pet Rock, and Weather Devices, and all sorts of things!  Here are more of them:


Bird-things, and water-things, and all kinds of things! And if you aren’t careful, some things that sort of, well, explode…


(Hint: something about putting things into Coke…)

Spot the Pun in this one!


Witty, brightly-colored, and useful…

There is also a long swaying bridge up to a mysterious floating island…


with interesting things up top which might include, say, a zipline to get back down…


and at the bottom, naturally, a Hieronymus-Bosch-based merry-go-round.


In terms of buying things so far I have mostly bought this amazing Orb


which I have installed at one end of the Park in the Rise (as pictured) where I can sit and alternate between zoning out and wondering how the heck he does it.  (Just when I think I have a pretty good feeling for how particles work in SL…)

So that is that!  Another example of craziness and creativity in SL, for your consideration.

(Oh, and I still have a marketplace store myself, come to think of it!  But I never add anything to it, and no one ever buys from it, so that works out…)

Tiny beach shack! And non-tiny Garage! And stores!

So v talented friend Karima Hoisan saw the famous Beach Shack, and immediately said that there should be a tiny-sized version. After the customary long delay of being distracted by shiny things :) I scaled it down, and Karima very kindly is hosting the prototype version on her lovely LINC Island sim:

Tiny Beach Shack!

The copy pictured has some extra railings and underpilings because it is on the edge of a Huge Cliff, and also lots of pretty decorations an’ landscaping from the landlady :). The version that, um, I thought I had out for sale somewhere but apparently don’t yet (oops haha) is just the building itself, and is in fact just a smaller version of the usual Beach Shack.

One thing that I in fact have put up for sale is the White Wood Garage, which is a garage made of white wood, and which goes nicely with the other buildings which are also made of white wood, in a matching sort of way (see prior posting).

And while I am on the subject! I apparently have not one but two (2) tiny little stores in SL now where I sell a tiny handful of things, including some of these White Wood buildings. One is in Hughes Rise (in the bottom of one of the two-level White Wood Sheds; comfy residential quarters are above), and the other is in the little Surf Shack on the famous Rag Dollz Island (which is probably not the best venue for a little shop which mostly sells things that aren’t clothes, but I loved the location and the rental rate).

So thanks much to Ms. Hoisan for the idea of the tiny beach shack, and maybe I will remember to put it out for sale sometime! And maybe I will also remember to change the “50L weekend” thing in the Rag Dollz location, which has been the same thing for more than a couple of weekends now, also oops. :)

Wallflower :)

Here I am on the wall at VreMode, because of being a Elite SL Supermodel an’ all (I even have a group tag that says so!).

Xyla On The Wall

Not far away, also on the wall, is a vendor for the Mulberry version that I bragged about the other day, also featuring pictures of me.

And in between, and all over the place, are other lovely clothings, as modeled by other lovely persons, that you can buy! (Or there’s always VreMode on the Marketplace.)

So that’s today’s store recommendation. :)

zomg I have gone mad with ze products!

Two Level Shed

Now just the garage one queued up. Until I build more and more and more!

Another Exciting Product!

White Wood Shed

At last, Second Life residents have a place to dry their fish!

Click through to exciting Marketplace store page!

A mere 100L! Cheap at half the price!

Aw, Shen :)

This is the welcome sign at Shenlei Flasheart’s SL10B exhibit.

A Glance Back

Seems like only yesterday, and ages ago, that we were all frolicking about on Shengri La, accidentally bringing the sim to its knees when temp prims stopped being temp, watching Shen enthusiastically spike overly bitey vampires, meditating in the streams, and generally having fun figuring out what all of this collaboration among creative people in these new-fangled “virtual worlds” was all about.

Now, of course, we have it all down pat. :)

Thanks, Shen, and everybody, for the memories, and also the ongoings, and the yet-to-bes!


More White Wood

I have been having more fun building. Usually I start building something, decide I don’t like it, put it in inventory, and then mostly never see it again; but this white-wood beach-stuff theme is working out nicely for some reason.

More white wood!

Here I am in some nice griefless sandbox some day recently, working on them. In addition to the existing Beach Shack (left), there is now a Beach Garage (center, with swinging-up front doors), and a Beach Fish-Drying or Stuff-Selling or Whatever Shed (right), with swinging-down back shelf for fish or stuff.


I may eventually box these two (and the brick one, and the two darker-wood ones that I’m not sure are done yet) up to put into the Marketplace store also, once I’ve fiddled extensively with them for awhile. The shed is like 11 Land Impact, and the garage is like 21 (for some reason fiddling around with physics type isn’t helping any there at the moment). The brick one is 17, I think (and has two floors!).

Maybe I will even put up a little store (in the shed, maybe!) high above the Rise somewhere; that would be fun! Of course I might be sad if I did that and it had no customers at all… :)

Two Quick Things

Firstly, Cubey Terra is leaving SL, or actually has been gone for a few years now apparently :), but is kindly now making lots of his stuff available for 10L or 0L at the Terra Aeronautics location in the Abbotts sim; see weblog posting.

So I now own a few dozen more of Cubey’s wonderful vehicles, on top of the few dozen I already owned. :) And you can, too!

And secondly, Kyle Brondson (RL pseudonym of Kyle Beltran) is having a kickstarter to help him wiht fixing up a 1946 Spartan Manor travelcoach as a mobile studio and piano lounge and other awesomeness as described on the page there, and this is something that one could contribute to the success of.

Opportunities everywhere!

I sell houses!

Well, that is to say, I put the Beach shack, one of the houses I was talking about the other day, into my tiny and neglected Marketplace store.

Beach Shack Box Cover

Is that not exciting?

And I may box up the other three I’ve built lately (the Marketplace doesn’t actually require or even encourage boxing things anymore, but I’m used to it, and used to buying things that way, so I think I’ll keep doing that for now), and maybe even have a Combo Pack of all four at a discount, and even put a tiny vendor or store somewhere on my land, and take part in Hunts, and, and, and…

Or maybe I will just leave this on the Marketplace for a bit and see if anyone buys one. :)

Pricing is so odd in SL; some things of about this same quality are available as freebies, others would probably cost five times as much. I tried to price it so that I might consider buying it myself. Which means it’s at the cheaper end of the scale!

Fantasy Faire!

So I hardly ever go to Organized Events, at least not much; I’m not entirely sure why, maybe because there are so many more disorganized ones :) and I often like them better, and organized events tend to be crowded and/or laggy and/or drama-filled, and in general I have this self-image as being too eccentric and/or 133t to do anything that lots of other people are doing, or…

Whatever. :)

But v good friend Michele has been actively weblogging the 2013 Fantasy Faire this year, and I’ve now been there all of twice, and apparently it’s still going on at least for today (they are having a live auction of various parts of the Faire sims and builds, which seems really cool) and maybe for longer although I’m not sure, and I took a couple of pictures that I like, so here I am weblogging about it myself!

Lotus Valley Dream, harbor

There is the left half (depending on exactly how you’re viewing this) of a picture of me standing looking out at the dragon in the Lotus Valley Dream harbor; click through to see the whole thing, bigger sizes, usw.

And here is a closer-up of the Dragon emself:

Lotus Valley Dream, dragon

(or the left half, depending); enthusiastically friendly, no? Or maybe just hungry…

That’s just two shots from one gorgeous sim in a big collection of gorgeous sims in varying and wonderful styles. While I understand and sympathize with the tendency to use SL to make ourselves into our sort of RL ideals (90210-style, if you will), this is the kind of SL thing that really delights me: going beyond the RL-possible, into fantasy, and dream, and creativity, into worlds and realities beyond the ones that we happen to be born into. And the fact that it’s for a great cause, Relay For Life, just adds to that.

Also dragons are cool. :) Not to mention, shopping!

Here’s the group pool for the flickr group for the Faire, where you can see lots more. And assuming I post this in time, you can maybe still go yourself!

And speaking of Sn@tch!

I was exploring a store called “POST”, after seeing it mentioned positively over on The Train Wreck Love Life, and as I was camming about (more on that below) I saw a green dot appear near me on the minimap, and thinking it might be (say) the store owner come by to fiddle with things and I could gush about how great the place was, I pulled my camera back, and it turned out not to be the owner of POST, but instead…

Ivey "Murderdoll" Deschanel

it was Ivey “Murderdoll” Deschanel herself, owner of Sn@tch the store I was gushing about in my last post.


So I fanboy’d all over her in IM (well, I tried to be restrained), and she was humorous and friendly. I’ve spoken to a celebrity! :)

The store POST is very neat. Here’s the Marketplace version, but I really liked the inworld one. Both the store and the products are very well and subtly textured, as Emilly says, and there’s a sort of early-1800’s Europe / Russia feel to it all. Lots of good use of mesh in the objects, so they are low-prim, and many of them are art or book related in some way. Prices range from 0L for various random things lying around here and there, to multiple hundreds for more elaborate objects and structures.

Any store that sells (or gives away!) a copy of “Salome” left open face-down on the floor, a copy of Picasso’s “Ma Jolie” for the wall, and an open notebook with sketches from the Voynich Manuscript (as well as nicely worn rugs, sidetables…) is marvelous in my book.

(Tip for Firestorm and probably other viewer users: you can apply a filter and have the Area Object Search show you just things that are, for instance, for sale for between 0 and 50L, and sort them by nearness. Great way to look for bargains!)

Fishing, Shopping, and Art

I have been doing lots of things, just not weblogging about them. :) I did some tiny bit of the Twisted Hunt, and Steam Hunt 8, and I’ve been building some houses for fun. Might even put some of them up on the Marketplace or in a store or something. But that’s for another post. :)

This one is about fishing while shopping! And Art!

Fishing At Sn@tch

That is me fishing! While shopping! Or actually while waiting to see if any Ds will come up on the lucky boards. As it says under the picture on Flickr, Sn@tch is one of my favorite guilty pleasures in SL. It’s a big sprawling clothing store, not high couture in the slightest, a bit punky and trashy, but a huge variety, much of which I love (I have to ration my trips to the outlet annex for the sake of my clothing budget).

AND they have this great Game Room with lucky boards and mobvends and gatches, and a 7Seas fishing pool where you can catch not only the usual 7Seas fish and stuff, but also parts of special Sn@tch outfits. A great place to just veg out in consumer mode.

And where but SL could you fish casually while waiting for your letter to come up in a clothing store?


Then less rabid-consumery, here is a great short film about Gracie Kendal and her RL self and their art: A Comfortable Skin. Definitely worth watching!

And that is all for now, off to fiddle with houses more.

Horns on the street in Costa Rica

So I still don’t use voice to speak of (haha!) in Second Life, for pretty much all of the reasons I gave so long ago; but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad, and when good things happen I do like to mention them.

The other night I was hanging about as usual, and some of us were on voice and some weren’t (which is always an interesting dynamic), and gradually noticed this sound of distant music.

“There’s someone playing a horn out in the street outside my window, can you hear that?” someone said; someone who happens to be physically RL-located in Costa Rica, which is a place far away from here.

“Yes!’ We could indeed.

And that was extremely neat.

I took a little online survey about SL the other day, and the first question was like “What do you primarily use Second Life for?”, and the possible answers were things like education and training and business networking, and buying and selling, building and scripting, and stuff like that. I had to check “other (specify)” just to write in “social interaction”.

If the second thing hadn’t happened before the first thing, maybe I would have written “listening to the horn from the street in Costa Rica”.

(This is why I’ve said in various places that virtual worlds will be important for business not primarily because they are directly useful for business, but because they will revolutionize the way we live, the ways we interact, and that means big changes to revenue streams, and that means business.)

But business aside, this is the kind of thing I love about SL; lying around writing scripts into parts of the world that didn’t used to do anything, watching fireworks on demand, sitting listening to live music and browsing the audience’s profiles, and talking to friends I’ve never met, hearing in the background of their voices the sound of horns on the street in Costa Rica…

Good customer service: Chop Zuey

I don’t usually talk about stores and things here, ’cause this isn’t a stores and things sort of weblog (it’s more a “scripts and pictures of amusing weird things” sort of weblog), but I thought that in this case one good turn deserves some publicity…

I got an email about three things that were incoming from the Marketplace (“Items will be found in the Objects folder”), but in fact they were not found there, or anywhere else. I looked in Recent, and in Objects, and in my entire inventory by item name, and by suspected creator, all to no avail.

I waited overnight and searched again. I cleared cache and relogged and endured the wait while all (hem hem) 75,000 or so inventory items reloaded. And still there was no sign of them.

From the web page in Marketplace I found the owner’s name, and read the instructions in her profile about what to do in case of nondelivery (including clearing cache and relogging), and (per instructions if all else fails) I wrote a notecard with a copy of the email and dropped it to her.

And the next day I had an email saying that I had had three items redelivered from the Marketplace (“Items will be found in the Objects folder”), and lo and behold there they were, and there was also a now copy of my notecard with a brief note from the store owner saying that they had been redelivered and I should let her know if there was any problem.

And that was good!

The store in question is Chop Zuey, who makes Couture Jewelry, as in say:

(That is, needless to say, not me there.)

So if you are looking for some nice couture jewelry, especially of the big festive sparkling type, and you want to frequent a place that is nicely responsive to its customers’ problems when they have them, this is a place to put on your list.

(And as to why the Marketplace messes up deliveries so often that store owners have instructions on what to do prominently displayed in their profiles, well, that’s a whole nother thing…)

Life after Google

There’s certainly lots of turmoil within Google right now, between the clever and non-evil people who made it successful, and the “Google Plus At Any Cost, we will own the world!” people; and there’s no telling how it’ll come out.

But at the moment the g+ fanatics seem to be winning. (Even this Official Google Announcement was apparently posted only on Google+, so I can’t give a real link to it; but hopefully the URL there will continue working and pointing to the right thing.)

Over the next week, we’ll be adding support for alternate names – be they nicknames, maiden names, or names in another script – alongside your common name.

If we flag the name you intend to use, you can provide us with information to help confirm your established identity. This might include:
– References to an established identity offline in print media, news articles, etc
– Scanned official documentation, such as a driver’s license
– Proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following

We’ll review the information and typically get back to you within a few days.

(Gotta love that “typically”.)

And for anyone that’s nervous about sending their driver’s license to strangers, we are assured on mashable that

Google will destroy all documentation you send them once the account verification process is complete.

Everyone who feels they need more quasi-governmental agencies in their lives, demanding proof of identity and scans of your driver’s license, and assuring you that their random employees can be trusted with your information, raise your hand…

Didn’t think so.

There are at the same time reports that in order to sign up for any Google service these days, you have to also sign up for Google+ (including, presumably, telling Google your real name, and being prepared to offer official documentation for any nicknames you might want to use); and Google’s search results are starting to return Google Plus pages even when they are by no measure the best hits, which is incredibly stupid and the techs are already telling us how to get around it.

So there are clearly two things going on:

  • The Google Plus people at Google either don’t understand Internet culture, or think that they can change it (with themselves as the central storehouse and universally trusted driving engine of that change), and
  • Someone with power at Google thinks that (unlike Wave and Buzz, which were allowed to die when it turned out no one really wanted to use them) Google Plus is so important that all of Google’s other services can be taxed to supported it, by forcing anyone wanting to sign up for those other services to also sign up for Google Plus (and, if they don’t want to sign up for Google Plus, to go off to Yahoo or someone instead), and even corrupting search, which is Google’s base offering and frankly the only thing (well, maybe webmail) that we really want from them.

Of course Google may still save itself from these people; it’s far too early to give up.

But what if they don’t? Where will our bellweathers go to escape the stupidity, leading most of us along with them? Facebook for social stuff presumably, because that’s where everyone is anyway. But who will we use for search, and for webmail? And whatever else Google does that I’ve forgotten to mention?

Maybe the best thing would be for us to fragment again, and have there be more than one Big Obvious Search Provider, and more than one Big Obvious Webmail Provider, and even more than one Big Obvious Facebook-thing, and so on. If nothing else, Google’s failure would be a lesson on the dangers of bigness and obviousness, and the arrogance that tends to come with that.

On the other hand, Google’s implosion would open a very big opportunity for someone else to come in and take its place, by doing the good stuff without the dumb mistakes. Not sure who that would be; opinions welcome. What’s Yahoo doing these days? I tend to think of them as an old company that fell into the “web portal” rathole and never really returned, but maybe there’s potential there.

I really ought to make some bold prediction here, so that if Google does implode and my prediction turns out to be right, I can prove how clever and prescient I am. :) But for the moment I will just cross my fingers and hope that someone smart and powerful over there decides that shilling Google Plus isn’t worth corrupting all of the company’s other offerings, and that Google goes back to being the good guys. ’cause I am always an optimist!

(I will get back to the Combat System Scripting eventually, I promise! Or at least I have a good-faith intention to. But you know… shiny things!)


Well, the news has somehow leaked out that today is my fifth rezday; it’s been five years since I joined Second Life (presumably on 22 November, 2006).

I remember some time back (must have been quite awhile) I was lucky enough to attend a Fifth Rezday Party for Washu Zebrastripe (the inventor of prim hair!), and we were all astounded that anyone could have a Fifth Rezday Party. Of course, as I recall, this was shortly before SL5B, and for a Resident to be older than the world itself is pretty amazing.

I can’t claim that distinction. :) But I do have a last name (or a dot in my name, depending how you look at it), and I remember when the Grid used to go down like every Wednesday (at the very least), and when we had real lag, not these tiny slowdowns that youngsters complain about these days. (We didn’t have none o’ these “sculpties”, either; flexi-prims were new and shiny enough for us!)

I thought I would take a few minutes’ break from the fireworks and parades in my honor and so on to say how great I still find SL, and scribble down my thoughts on some of the reasons why.

It’s very significant, I would say, that I’ve just starting taking a serious look at PvE combat and combat scripting in the last couple of weeks. And similarly that I just started breeding my first breedables in the last few months. Two things, each of which have been around for a long time, each of which are The Big Thing about Second Life to a significant number of people, and yet it’s taken me Five Years to get around to them. And there are still more things waiting for me that I haven’t tried at all yet; probably haven’t even heard of yet.

On the other hand I haven’t played World of Warcraft in weeks (months, maybe); because I’ve done everything that I want to (one 85 DPS, one 85 healer, one 85 tank, all the raiding experience I felt like getting). I may get lured back in for awhile to play a Pandaren, and to get my main toons up to level 90, but then I will probably get bored again.

And dearly as I love Glitch for its humor and quirkiness and art, I haven’t been doing any more recently than poking my head in, tending my little garden, squeezing my chicken and milking my butterfly, maybe gathering a few beans from the nearest bean-trees, and leaving again. There’s a complete encyclopedia of everything there is to do there, and I’ve either done, or decided not to bother doing, just about all of it. I know the devs will be adding stuff, eventually, and then maybe I’ll come back to look at it.

I occasionally get messages from other virtual worlds I’ve tried, like Blue Mars and Twinity and all, about how a new shopping mall has been added, or how they’ve added a new beach where there’s a vehicle you can drive around. And these make me laugh, because they’re so trivial. Can you imagine getting a piece of mail every time someone made a new model of car or motorcycle in SL, or opened up a new shopping mall or public beach? Talk about information overload!

The reason, the only reason that Second Life has been able to hold my interest for five years, is that users can create stuff.

(The people I’ve met there also hold my interest, but that’s interest in the people, which could have been maintained via Skype or email or even (gasp) actual visits, even without SL.)

So this is going to be another post like my original UGC FTW post (three years ago, I see!), only somewhat less organized. :)

User-generated content instantly gives Linden Lab a huge staff of unpayed (and for that matter of paying) content developers, who produce the content that keeps people coming back to the world, and keeps them wanting to live there, and keeps there being brand-new stuff all the time, driven by the Invisible Hand of the Market to cater to users’ wants. User-generated content isn’t just about the creators; in fact it’s not even primarily about the creators. It’s primarily about the people who see or get or buy or otherwise experience the work of the creators, and thereby find the world an interesting and enjoyable place.

(I say it’s “primarily” about the content consumers rather than the content creators because, with a few exceptions, we all consume more content than we create; we all enjoy more stuff that other people make than we make ourselves. I create lots of content that I like and that I hope other people like, but I experience orders of magnitude more content created by others.)

I think this is the key thing that most of the people tossing around the weird little milkshake analogy lately are missing. (The original article, headlined as it is “Why Second Life Failed”, of course seems to me to be coming from some Zone of Deep Cluelessness, since as far as I’m concerned SL is doing just fine thank you.)

All of this “milkshake” thing seems to boil down to saying that you can figure out which products are going to succeed by figuring out what they are for, and then seeing if that is something that people want. (Deep, eh? I wish I could think of deep stuff like that and then write books about it and all.)

I think this is actually wrong and/or stupid in many cases; I would argue that most innovations have been potentially able to do lots of different things, and the reason they succeeded is that their owners were able to figure out pretty quickly which of those things people actually wanted, and bend them in those directions. (In fact even the original milkshake example shows that, if you consider the product to be the store and its services as a whole, rather than just the milkshake line.)

And that’s exactly the right way to think about Second Life. It’s not designed to provide one specific thing; it’s designed to let people create and provide to each other whatever it is they want (within the capabilities of the platform). That general approach can’t lose. The platform has to have good enough affordances for people to actually use it, it has to have good mindshare and stability and so on, it has to be sufficiently funded to survive dry times, and so on; but the general principle is just pure win.

From this point of view, it would be exactly wrong to try to figure out what Second Life is, or should be, designed to do, except for the very high level “to enable people to create and experience stuff that they want to create and experience”. As we (and the Lab) notice some kinds of things that people are using it to create and experience right now, we can definitely make sure that the world is, and stays, good at those things. But that doesn’t mean we can decide that those are The Things, and focus only on those. Enabling User-Generated Content in general, and keeping the world good at that, in general, is in my very strong and pronounced opinion the right way forward. If Linden Lab doesn’t do that, someone else will; and whoever does do it will win.

(And that will eventually mean lots of money, as I’ve observed before.)

So anyway. :) Those are my Fifth Rezday Thoughts on why it is that I’m having a fifth rezday at all, and why and how Second Life has held my interest for all this time, and how it can keep doing that, for the Good of All.

Now, back to the cake!

Is Frogger More of a Virtual World Than Second Life?

This morning in the tub when I was trying to think of some more headlines that would make Second Life sound bad without being too obvious about it, I decided it was again time to make some subtly negative comparison of SL to something else. And the perfect example was right there on the bathroom wall, on my poster of old arcade games: I would make a post saying that Frogger is more of a virtual world than Second Life!

Now this might seem weird at first glance, since people don’t usually consider arcade games to be virtual worlds, but the thing is, there’s no one agreed upon definition of “virtual world”, so really I can write anything that pops into my head, and no one can say that I’m wrong. So nyah-nyah in advance to all you negative commentors!

In order to make Second Life look as bad as possible, I think it’s useful to think about all the ways Frogger is more or at least as much of a virtual world than Second Life, and not think about any of the things that suggest the opposite. Here’s at least eight:

  • Frogger is geographically contiguous – Second Life is not. Long ago, it was possible to walk from one end of Second Life to another. Now, SL is dominated by thousands of private islands, many of which are artificially inaccessible. By contrast, you can hop from one end of Frogger to the other, if you don’t get run over, just like it’s possible to walk from New York to Australia in the real world.
  • Frogger has an internally consistent, universal physics — Second Life does not. In some areas of SL you can fly; in others, you cannot. You can even change the position of the sun, and soon, the very way light is filtered. And so on.
  • Frogger has a pre-existing ecosystem of flora and fauna — Second Life does not. Alligators and speeding trucks thrive in Frogger. Outside of virtual pets and the rare virtual ecosystem, SL is mainly bereft of animal species, and has none that exist independent of their human creators and owners.
  • Frogger is self-contained and relatively separate from the the wider Internet — Second Life is much more integrated with the web, and therefore, arguably less “worldly”.
  • Frogger doesn’t have much dynamic user-generated content — but Second Life doesn’t have “natural” dynamic user-generated content either. In Second Life, user-created objects artificially instantiate out of thin air; also, Minecraft is better than Second Life, too.
  • Frogger is a single unified experience of a world — Second Life contains multitudes of very different world-like experiences. A “world” that contains, for example, space marine shooters, fantasy MMOs, urban roleplay, furries, Goreans, real life educators, metaverse artists, and so on and on, seems less like a world, than a platform for multiple worlds. The real world, after all, contains only one kind of thing, not many different ones!
  • Frogger has not stubbornly continued to be successful despite my constant sniping — Second Life has. Not that I’m bitter or anything. But someday SL will finally fail, and then people will stop snickering at me behind my back, pointing and giggling about Blue Mars! Someday they’ll all pay!!11!1!

Ehem. Sorry.

Of course, none of this suggests Frogger is superior to SL, oh no not at all, didn’t mean to suggest anything like that, any more than I did in my “Why call it Second Life when it has a low retention rate?” story, or my “Coffee and Power can succeed unlike SL which is a pathetic failure” story, or my “Second Life has failed due to poor execution and market timing” story, or my “Second Life is doomed because I am not in charge of it” story (parts 1-27). But I will say this: If you’re interested in widening the market for virtual worlds (and I am), it’s a good idea to widen the definition of the category, preferably enough so that it includes some CEO that will reliably return my calls.

For us mainlanders, how about raising tier limits?

So the other weekend the Lab had a big sale on estates; waiving the renormous setup fees that they usually charge, for all normal or Homestead estates sold on the weekend.

Which is nice, if a bit gimmicky, if you’re someone who wants to own an estate. (Or if you’re a speculator who wants to buy a bunch and them flip them next week for people who missed the sale, for a reduced setup fee, or something Wall Street like that.)

Less gimmicky, and for the benefit of Mainlanders like me who love living in the thick of things, I would recommend that the lab raise the amounts of (main)land that people can own at each level of tier. In the current schedule, for instance, someone paying US$40/month in tier can own up to 8,192 square meters of mainland (plus 512 square meters of tier-free Premium land). At US$125/month, it’s 32,768 (half a sim); at US$8/month, it’s 1024 (one sixty-fourth).

Mainland is quite cheap now, 1L per square meter or under in many places without direct water access. And even at that price, lots of it sits around unsold, I suspect because tier is inflexible, and hasn’t gone down with the falling economy like land prices have.

One approach would be to just lower the prices at each tier, of course; make it US$30 and US$100 instead of US$40 and US$125, or whatever.

I think it might be more interesting to raise the allowed amount of land at each tier, though, and leave the amounts the same. It more or less amounts to the same thing, but psychologically it’s simpler. Someone currently paying US$40 per month and with their tier maxed could immediately go out and buy more land, without having to think about it; whereas if the tier for their current holdings just went down to US$30 instead, they might take that extra ten bucks and buy a fancy new yacht, or even (horrors!) a couple of RL coffees.

What would the benefit be to the Lab? In the short run it’s revenue-neutral, in that they are still getting the same tier payments, and all they have to part with is lots of unowned mainland that isn’t doing them any good right now anyway.

In the medium term there’s some opportunity cost, as some people who would have decided they really did want more land and tiered up won’t do that, since they can have more land now without paying. But on the other hand there are also more sales of Lindens as all those people who now have more land go out and buy stuff to put on it.

In the long term, I like to think that having that land occupied by people who will be doing interesting things with it, rather than lying fallow and empty, will draw more people to the mainland, and to SL in general. Retention is likely to be higher if people see interesting things than if they see empty abandoned or For Sale land. And that’s certainly a benefit.

So how about it, Labbies? Can I have, say, 12,288 square meters for my US$40/month? Be your best friend! :)

The secret is out! “Placemaker: Plazas” released to worldwide acclaim!

Well, I’m sure there will be worldwide acclaim soon, anyway. Probably!

Placemaker: Plazas / publicity shot

There is the publicity shot for Placemaker: Plazas (Basic Edition), just released onto the SL Marketplace.

For a mere 400 Linden-dollars, you can own a device capable of producing literally a whole lot of different and sometimes even interesting (and in any case full-perm) plaza-like structures!

I have no doubt if that price-point makes any sense :) but I thought I’d give it a try.

So buy it if it sounds interesting! Let me know if it works for you, if the instructions were confusing, or anything else. If I continue to find the general idea interesting, maybe someday there will be a “Placemaker: Houses”. That was actually my original thought, but that turned out to be a little grandiose to code from scratch, so I started smaller…

SL Merchants: stop with the cruft!

… and in this case I don’t mean the mediocre-quality 2007 freebies on sale for 99L.

The cruft I’m referring to here is (are) the unnecessary scripts that many of your vendor devices are delivering to customers’ inventories, with names like “Floating Text” or “rotation script” or “vendor script – delete me”.

(Or most adorably of all, “New Script”.)

Vendors all too often deliver this stuff along with the stuff that the customer actually wanted (and sometimes annoying non-script cruft like pose stands, multiple landmarks, and so on), and they (you) ought to stop. Not only because it’s annoying to customers, but because it makes you look sort of clueless and unprofessional, and because annoyed customers are that much less likely to be repeat customers.

Why does this cruft come up in the first place? A little background: there are two different basic ways a vendor can work:

  • Vendors that you buy things from with the “Buy” option on the menu, where you get a little popup that says “Buy a copy of Whatever and its contents [list of contents] from Whoever Resident for 235L?” or “Buy contents [list of contents] from…”; we’ll call these “Buy vendors”, and
  • Vendors that you buy things from with the “Pay” option on the menu, and you get a little popup asking how much you want to pay, usually with just a single button with the price on it, but no list of exactly what you’re getting; we’ll call these “Pay vendors”.

A vendor can be set up so you don’t need to select either Buy or Pay, but you just need to touch it, and it acts as though you’d selected Buy (or Pay). You can still tell a Buy vendor from a Pay vendor, though, by the kind of popup you get after you touch it: either the list of contents that you are buying, or just an amount to pay.

(Not being much of a Viewer 2 or Viewer 3 user, I haven’t verified the exact contents of these popups on those viewers, but I think they are similar; feel free to leave comments if things are significantly different there.)

But anyway!

The interesting difference between the vendors for our purposes is this:

  • a Buy vendor always delivers everything in the prim to the buyer, but it doesn’t need to contain any scripts at all, whereas
  • a Pay vendor does have to contain scripts, but it has total control over what it delivers to the customer (so in particular it doesn’t have to deliver any unwanted scripts to anyone).

So the two primary sources of cruft are:

  • Buy vendors that contain scripts that they don’t need mixed in with the goods, and
  • Pay vendors whose scripts are poorly written, and deliver stuff (often including themselves!) that shouldn’t be delivered.

So how do we fix these things?

Remove the scripts! (Buy vendors)

So Buy vendors don’t need to contain any scripts at all in order to sell things (they just need to have the appropriate “For Sale” boxes filled in in the Edit window). Then why do we so often end up with useless scripts in our inventories when buying from Buy vendors? Because sellers put scripts into the Buy vendors in order to get various effects (floating text, spinning, etc), and then they leave the scripts there, even though they don’t actually need to.

If a box that is a Buy vendor has a Floating Text script in it whose only function is to make the box say “Awesome Blue Hat 240L” in floating text above it, the merchant should remove that script; the floating text will stay (it’s like, after you paint a wall, you don’t have to keep the paintbrush around for the wall to stay painted).

If a box has a rotation script in it whose only function is to make the box rotate around in an eye-catching fashion, the merchant should remove that script; the rotation will continue. (This is true for the common ways that people make sale boxes rotate; there are some kinds of rotation that will actually stop if you remove the script, but your sale box is unlikely to be using any of those.)

If a box has that ubiquitous “anim SMOOTH” script in it that makes the textures on the box rotate around, the merchant should remove that script; the cheesy attractive texture animation will continue.

If a box has a “New Script” in it whose only function is to make the box shoot pretty colored sparks out the top, the merchant should remove that script; the particle display will continue. (Again this is true for the common kinds of particle-displays. More elaborate kinds may stop if the script is removed, but in that case you should consider switching to a Pay vendor instead, or moving the particle script to a different prim, or otherwise avoiding delivering it to your customers.)

The result of removing these scripts is that when your customer buys one of your products from your Buy vendor, they get only the product, and none of those baffling and annoying extra scripts. They get a more satisfying shopping experience, and you get a higher customer retention rate. Goodness all around!

Don’t deliver the scripts! (Pay vendors)

Okay, so for Buy vendors the important thing is to just take out all of those visual effects scripts that don’t need to be in there anymore. What about Pay vendors?

In a Pay vendor, there’s always at least one script involved, with the job of noticing when someone has paid money to the vendor, and figuring out what to do about that. (For Buy vendors, SL itself takes care of seeing the buy action and delivering the goods.)

The script in the Pay vendor can do basically anything it likes; it can deliver copies of the items that are in the prim’s contents, it can deliver just the single boxed item that was selected at the time, it can contact some central server that will handle the actual delivery to the buyer. (That last kind is what you are using when you use a Pay vendor to buy something, and the actual item is sent to you by “Fred’s Central Vendor Server” or whatever.)

So if the script in a Pay vendor can control exactly what is delivered, why do these vendors also end up delivering unwanted cruft? Because so many Pay vendor scripts are incredibly simple and basically just deliver everything found in a particular prim. So this can include both all of the kinds of unnecessary scripts that Buy vendors tend to deliver (Floating Text and family), and also the vendor script itself!

This is easy to fix. Typically your vendor shouldn’t be delivering any scripts at all, so you or your friend who scripts can just look in the vendor script, find the place where it’s making a list of prim contents to deliver, and be sure not to add any scripts to that list.

So for instance if the script has a place that says:

    integer n = llGetInventoryNumber(INVENTORY_ALL);
    for(i=0; i<n; i++) {
        items += [ llGetInventoryName(INVENTORY_ALL, i) ];

that is building up the list of things to deliver, you can change it to:

    string item_name;
    integer n = llGetInventoryNumber(INVENTORY_ALL);
    for(i=0; i<n; i++) {
        item_name = llGetInventoryName(INVENTORY_ALL, i);
        if (llGetInventoryType(item_name)!=INVENTORY_SCRIPT)
            items += [ item_name ];

which leaves any scripts (including itself!) out of that list.

(If you do need to deliver scripts, you can use llGetInventoryName() to find out the name of the vendor script, and at least not deliver that. More sophisticated vendors have a configuration notecard or something like that, so you can explicitly tell them what to deliver; those don’t generally have the problem of delivering extra script cruft in the first place.)

Waring: llAllowInventoryDrop (PSA for all)

As an Extra Bonus for those who have read (or even just skimmed) this far, here’s a Public Service Announcement and a warning.

There are a bunch of legacy “copied from person to person for years” scripts out there that contain the line:


I’ve seen this line in at least some Floating Text scripts; it may well occur in some other kinds of scripts as well.

While I’m sure that whoever put it into the original script had some good reason to do it given what that particular script was intended for, it’s definitely not something that you want in a random vendor.

If you have a script in a vendor that contains this llAllowInventoryDrop TRUE line, you may be opening your customers (and therefore yourself) up to being pranked and griefed in ways that might range from amusing to very harmful, depending on the prankster and the point of view.

(I’m not going to go into detail here on the exact vulnerability to avoid encouraging pranksters and griefers; a few minutes of web searching will find all the necessary information quickly enough.)

And if you do have one or more of these it’s not enough to remove the script or to remove the offending line from the script. If you find one or more vendors of yours have this line in a script, and you don’t know exactly what it’s doing there, you should change the TRUE to FALSE and re-save the script. So instead of the line above, it should say:


You should also check the contents of any vendors that you find the dangerous line in, to make sure that they don’t contain anything that you didn’t put there.

And about those posing stands…

Okay, that’s all for the “avoiding script cruft” issue. But while we’re on the general subject, I doubt I’m the only one that’s annoyed when Every Single Item I buy at a store comes in a box that also includes a posing stand with the store’s logo, and two or three landmarks for the store and its various branches (and the owner’s boyfriend’s Rock club, and…). I mean sure, have a little vendor that gives away free logo posing stands to people who want them, and by all means have a landmark-giver in the doorway, but if I buy five items from your store, I don’t want five copies of your posing stand, ‘kay?

So could y’all please leave those out, too? :)