Wednesday, February 14, 2007



I moved my blog AGAIN?

You're going to have to update all your bookmarks and RSS readers?

That's insane!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Challenge #3 Response

Like many of the other people who have already responded, I've been burnt out on some particular part of SL at once time or another. And I know for certain that I have felt burnt out while in SL. But I'm not sure if I was burnt out on SL, or burnt out about something else while I happened to be in SL.

You see, I'm a creature of change, and I have to move from project to project quickly or I become bored and apathetic—not just with that one project, but with other things in my life, too. So if I get burnt out on something in RL, my mood tends to carry over into SL, and vice versa. As I've come to know this about myself over the years, I have been careful to monitor my mood, identify anything that is bothering me, and make a change to fix it.

I can distinctly remember, when I was merely a wee newblet crawling my way around the Grid as I drew sustenance from the Shelter, that I had concerns that I was spending too much time in SL. Like many other new Residents, I got hooked, and wanted to spend as much time as possible exploring this marvelous new world! I knew that if I kept it up, I would burn out and get sick of SL.

When I (inevitably) started to get tired of SL, and couldn't think of anything to do, I cut back on the hours I was spending in SL, and paid more attention to the things that interested me in RL.

I have, from time to time since then, noticed myself spending too much time in SL. When that happens, I take a little bit of time off, or just cut back my hours for a while. So far, I've always come back to SL, and always found it more enjoyable and interesting than it had seemed before.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Challenge #3: Have you ever burned out on Second Life?

The question for consideration this round:

Have you ever burned out on Second Life?

By "burn out", I mean "experience fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity."

Basically, have you ever just got sick and tired from too much SL? What happened? How did you deal with it?

I'll post my own response soon.

Plugging my 3PM Building Class at Swinside

This afternoon at 3PM PST, I'm giving a 1-hour lecture and demo at the Shelter in Swinside! The topic is prim attributes—you know, things like Twist and Taper and Hole Size Thickness, which let you tweak a prim's shape into a multitude of wootworthy shapes! If you haven't been able to make it to my Friday evening classes at NCI, this is your chance. (I might start teaching at Swinside regularly, but only if enough people show up to be taught, so attend today!)

Everybody should come at get some learnin' in their brains about prim attributes! I offer my knowledges to you for free!

And then you should stick around after the class, because at 4:30PM is the ├╝berfun Building Shelter contest, hosted by our favorite commodity, Coal Nelson! With the power of prim attributes unleashed, you can be sure that there will be some cool builds today!

P.S. I'm going to try to think up a Not-A-Meme challenge for folks today. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Challenge #2: What You Like Most About Second Life

Mera poses the challenge: Tell us what you like most about Second Life.

Dolmere wrote in his response to the challenge:

I still remember Mera exclaiming something like "I love this place. It's good to know that the skills I have spent my life learning are appreciated somewhere".
That reflects much of the appeal of Second Life to me: the sense of efficacy and satisfaction that I derive from it. The things that I love are things that matter in Second Life. And I love what things matter in Second Life.

Consider a game such as, say, World of Warcraft, the massively multiplayer online stupefacient that held my attention prior to joining Second Life. I could perform decently in such a game, but the things that mattered—the things around which the hierarchy of reputation was formed—were the ability to kill things quickly, and the ability to kill other things quickly. Rarely was there reverance for a great healer; appreciation, of course, because they helped the other people continue to kill things; but not reverance.

I was never very competetive by nature, nor was I destructive. I found more satisfaction in cooperation and creation. I did not care to organize a group of other players to attack the enemy's home cities and kill their citizens. I would rather (and did, on several occasions) organize a dance-raid: march into the enemy city and have a peaceful dance party with the enemy! (For some reason, the enemy did not usually appreciate my efforts.)

Second Life was different.

Many people take great pains to stress that Second Life is not a game. But for me, it always has been a game—of sorts—and one that I was good at (and more, enjoyed!). In this amazing new game, instead of killing things, people created things. Instead of smacking each other with swords, they joined hands and made the world better. The people who were most widely-known and respected were renowned for their creative ability or friendliness! What a marvelous thing to find!

Of course, the "rules" to this "game" aren't as concretely established as in Warcraft, and everybody "plays" a different way. But for me, every time I create a new sculpture or enjoy an activity with my friends, it's more satisfying and rewarding than killing monsters or running around from place to place ever was.

So, what do I like most about Second Life?

It's not the amazing and wonderful people I've met. It's not the dynamic environment. It's not even the building.

It's the attitude and spirit.

Create, not destroy.
Help, not harm.
Join together, not tear apart.

Everything worthwhile in Second Life is a branch on this tree.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Challenge #2: What U Lieking Most Aboot Second Lief??

Mera demands: Tell us what you like most about Second Life.

Oooh, that's a toughie. Well, after thinking it over for a while, I decided that what I like most about Second Life is...

Jacek looking rather blingy


Hoo-ha-ha! Just kidding, gentle reader! The thing that I actually like the most about Second Life is...



Jacek still looking exactly the same about of blingy


Ah-ha-ha! I kill me with my own humor! I am truly slain with laughing!

Tune in again later for less silliness!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Challenge: Two Newbie Locations

If I were to name two locations in Second Life to show a new Resident, what would they be?

Well, if I'm going to be giving a newbie the ultra-premium tour de luxe of Second Life, that newbie is probably a clever one, bursting with raw creative will!! I want to expose that Resident to the amazing possibilities in Second Life, and get them started on the path to supreme excellence!

First stop: Jopsy Pendragon's Particle Laboratory!

Jopsy Pendragon is amazing. He is like a deity that reaches his hand out into the cosmos and gathers up the stars and nebulae and puts them on display for us mere mortals to gaze upon in awe. And he is a kindly god, too: his Particle Laboratory includes a free, first-rate self-guided tutorial about particle systems! How neat is that?

Jopsy's place is huge, with so many different particle-related things to see. I haven't even seen half of it, and there's more being added all the time! But there's one part in particular you definitely have to check out: the Cloud Chateau!

A still image cannot hope to capture the beautiful moving designs you will find in the Chateau; you'll have to see it for yourself. It's a great place to relax and get inspired, and I love to visit it! One note: if you try to teleport there (like from the link above), you'll be placed on the ground level. The Chateau is many hundred meters in the air, but luckily there's a handy elevator bubble that will take you directly there. Enjoy!

Next stop: The Photography Studio in Grignano!

The Studio is headed by Osprey Therian, a very cool gal with a very cool hat and a very cool gallery! There is a loosely-themed photography contest just about every month, with cash prizes (yay, money!). I've even entered a few of them myself!

There is a lot to see at the Studio. Downstairs is the studio proper, with backdrops for snapshots and a collection of "old-timey" snapshots. On the second floor to the right are a collection of books and other entertaining things. But my favorite part is the gallery, where the monthly photo contests entries hang in all their snapshot glory. Second Life has some very unique and talented artists among its population, and the Photography Studio in Grignano is a fantastic place to see the works of established as well as up-and-coming Resident photographers!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Arbitrary Prim Attributes

What a super idea! I've got the YAYZERAMA HANDS too now!!

Features like this (and other cool things, too!) could be added to the viewer client, 'specially now that it's open source, but so many features require just a little bit of help from the server to do it properly.

For example, right now there's no good way for the sim to remember "This prim has a saturation of 0.5 on all its sides" and tell that to everybody that comes by, so there isn't any way to share the desaturated goodness with anyone else! (Maybe you could store some cryptic data in the prim's name or description for other special viewers to notice, but that would be a dirty, dirty hack. Yuck!)

Sure, we could tug on the Linden programmers' shirt tails every time there's a new client-side feature we'd like the sim to store a little bit of data for. But, even if they were just twiddling their thumbs all day and waiting for something to do, there would never be enough time to add something for every feature that someone thinks up. (Plus they'd have to do a grid-wide update every 15 minutes.)

A better way would be to give each prim a little pocket where it can hold some arbitrary data to give to viewers that see it. There would be a hard limit on the size of the data (maybe 1k, or 5k), and it would be completely up to the viewer software to decide what to do with it. And of course, scripts would have to be able to read and write this data!

Ideally, objects and prims in SL should be sent as XML, kinda like this:

name="My Awesome Prim"
description="The best prim ever made."
texture_uuid="top: [uuid], bottom: [uuid]"
contents="[first_item_uuid], [second_item_uuid]"
size="8m 2m 2m"
awesomeness="23.5" />
Then the scripts could do something like this:
if( llGetAttribute( "shape" ) == "torus" )
llSetAttribute( "awesomeness", "infinity" );
Or if we had a decent scripting language, like ruby, it would be like this:
if self.shape == "torus"
self.awesomeness = "infinity"
And if you had a special viewer client that was programmed to understand the "awesomeness" attribute, the client could do something cool like write "This prim is so awesome!!" on your screen with a big squiggly arrow pointing to it.

That would be awesome.

P.S. If you're worried that this would contribute to sim load because of the increased amount of data being sent, remember that textures are the #1 cause of teen pregnancy sim lag. Plus, the sim could enforce a data size for the prim declaration, by dropping out some nonstandard attributes if it gets too big.

P.P.S. Yeah, I know this could be a big ol' security hole. What isn't? 'specially if you're using a custom viewer client provided by some homeless person down the street.