Sim-on-a-Stick and Haleakaloha

It’s a long time since I messed around with my little test grid, Haleakaloha. I’ve got quite a few different OARS and I’ve saved different versions of my inventories, but haven’t worked with it much after my original installation of New World Studio got hopelessly corrupted.

So months and months ago, I started playing around with Sim on a Stick (http://simonastick.com/) and got things to the point where I’d uploaded some primitive mesh, and also imported some .dae or .obj files from Second Life or Blender.

KiplingRockmodel_002

Now it’s time to mess about in there again and actually make use of it, but I’d set it up as a megaregion instead of separate regions… and I really needed separate regions so that I could load different OARS for different projects that I have, that are somewhat vague that have been on the back burner.

Unlike NWS, which allowed me to configure mega versus separate regions easily, with Sim on a Stick you have to get more under the hood. My first attempt to edit various config files didn’t work but fortunately I have the OAR I need and the IAR inventory file saved in a safe spot. So I actually… updated to the latest version of the Diva Distro (D2) and started a whole new install, and deleted the old one. So now to make sure that it’s separate regions, I have to to more messing around under the hood.

Diva Canto’s blog on “How to Change The Default Diva Configurations

Ener Hax’s blog on various tweaks and hacks (I kept having to refer to different pages on her blog):
Forget Simona Stick, Use Your Own Name for SOAS
1 Region To Megaregion To 4 Regions
16 Region Sim on a Stick Hack
Dot’s Mega SOAS on a Mac and Kitely” (setting up a 9X9 grid, the most useful size for me)

Some other useful information about preparing megaregions for export from the OpenSim wiki.

waenhir’s blogpost “Why Pay Second Life For What You Can Get Free” which refers back to Ener’s post on how to change the default AV name to your own, but also adds a simple walk script and some other ideas.

Okay, so I think I’ve loaded up the most recent OAR, and I also seem to have loaded my recent IAR, so….

Fired up Singularity, and I’ve got 9 separate regions, although I didn’t take enough care to make sure they were 9X9 in my config file, so I’ve got 8 2 by 2 regions plus the last one up in the corner:

Maptiles

Okay, I can live with that, and I cleverly managed to rename all the regions in order, instead of “simonastick1″. When I loaded the OAR, it did seem to load correctly and asked if I wanted to join them to an estate, which I did following the instructions in the blogposts I linked. I also managed to rename my grid “Haleakaloha” in the config file, so my wifi page says “Haleakaloha” too. There’s a way to replace the default image as well but I’ll have to play with that later.

Then I realized that my fountain sound scripts needed some work, so I found some that work fine on the SL wiki somewhere. One simply plays a loop, the other is a touch start, so now my world isn’t quite as silent as it was.

I haven’t bothered with an outfit, I’m just running around in my UV Map suit for now.

Maptiles Haleakaloha_001

More housekeeping: test some of the many OARS I have to see if there’s anything worth keeping, dump a lot of the… generic and overly primmy stuff that I got for free, and tidy things up. I’ve been relying on the free content out there until I’m heartily sick of it, frankly, so I enjoyed deleting almost everything from this current version of my virtual workshop other than a bunch of textures. I’d like to rebuild my St Helens shop as mesh (I did a crap job exporting it, need to continue with my mesh lessons via the Gryllus website and my books). And I’d like to build a home of my own for my grid, because my building skills have totally gone to crap due to being busy with other stuff.

So there we are, back to Squares 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, the way I had it set up more or less when New World Studio was still working. Except now I’ve got Opensim 0.8, the latest version, so I’m not completely cluefree…

Another thing on my list of things to do is to figure out the environmental editor in Singularity (which I’ll use for OpenSim to keep the settings clean in my Firestorm viewer for Second Life). It’s got some presets, and it’s got even more presets that are under the “key” or “day cycle” section. Hmm. Wish Singularity had the quick pick thing for Windlight.

So now, on to loading up old OARS and plundering them.

Retopology with Optimo Maximo at #BuildersBrewery for #Blender

Yes, I’m being dogged (or rather kittehed) about it. I have the day off and today is a school day for learning Blender.

Currently, have read through chapter 3 of Blender Graphics by John M Blain (first edition). I’m doing some of the learning modules on Gryllus.com later today, too.

But this Retopology class came up, and as I can never attend Maximo’s classes during my normal work week, this is too important to miss.

Must not ragequit, must not ragequit. OM. NOM. NOM.

Retopology-Dress

So hey, I was able to follow along for a while, and when I got stuck, I figured out that I had some stray vertices that had to be hunted down and deleted. I couldn’t keep up with the class in real time, but I took good notes and made to the end, and beyond. This dress is a project – the original model is from Marvelous Designer and is a little crumpled and very high polygon, with random triangles. The next few steps involve adding more patches to cover the various folds with low-poly quadrangles, extend the skirt quads to the hem, straighten stuff up, and then start extending the back through the waist folds and over the derriere and down the back skirt. The class ended up with planning techniques for lining up the front and back panels and connecting them, then using Blender’s tools to interpolate the new faces to the surface. It all helps if there are the same numbers of vertices to start with on the top and bottom, back and front – say a line of 4 (or maybe 5 so there’s a middle line down the cleavages)?

I still need to work on the Gryllus learning modules – based on the notation in the book, by now I need to have done 1-6 and some of 8.

The class today will be helpful in getting my head around retopologizing that damn hipster hat, which will be out of style by the time I actually fix it, probably.

Time to grab some lunch, supposed to meet my partner Rock outworld for a bike ride… but feeling much less like a rage-quitty kitty at the moment.

Tips For a Writing Useful Group Marketing Posts

If you’re going to sell virtual products, you’ve got to market virtual products.

I get a LOT of emails from various marketing groups (I have IMs set to go to emails). Most of those messages are about new products, and they get deleted immediately, because the SUBJECT LINE tells me nothing about the new product. Most inworld marketers waste the title or subject line by using it to say “New! At Mystore!” Or they say “Brand Name at Big Shopping Event” or even goofy messages like “Check notecard for the new stuff! Kiss-kiss!”

What??? I have to go inworld to find the notecard, or check past date group notices? Tell me what it is and why I might want to visit your store to get it, I might not be inworld right away.

When I do get a new product out, I try to follow a consistent format so I don’t forget an important detail, like a SLurl. I market to a few, well-targeted groups (most of my stuff is pretty niche).

That subject line has to make the new product POP. Adding extra detail in an attached notecard with product pictures and landmarks is great, but tell your potential customers about your great new product in the (limited) message area of the group notice.

Here’s a good example of a “new product” group marketing message:

SUBJECT [SHORT PRODUCT DESCRIPTION]

Group Notice From: [Well-Targeted Group of potential customers], (Your Avatar Name)
[Short Greeting]
[New Product Information at Store/Brand Name!]
[Greetings]
[Additional interesting detail, related products, fun features only found at your inworld store]
[Store group joiner or subscribo location]
[Freebies, hunts, or group gifts available]
[Thank your customers, add best contact method]
[SLURL to your inworld store]

I can’t believe how many store owners post to shopping groups with only a “New at Brandname” subject and “Details in the notecard” in the message. Same for store groups.

Had to make a memo of this for the next time I release a product, or improve an older one. That reminds me, Dhughan needs to get on the stick about his sticks, too.

Blender: Stop Whining And Just Do The Work, Lela

Z is for Zeuhl Hat_ Plain Buttah Yellow Tintable

This time. THIS TIME, I will make this stick. It’s a question of repetition, practice, and going through the available online training systematically. When I was much younger, I learned some complicated software for work from scratch by just being dogged, using it as much as possible, and repeating lessons until I had the moves memorized. As I gained skill, it became less “work” and more “play.” To this day, when I’m trying to get something done that doesn’t look possible, I tell my caller “let me play with it a little,” and I almost always succeed in getting something to work. I have to give myself permission to be in that n00b mindset again and just frickin’ DO THE WORK.

I did manage to make the hat form – barely, but have been stalled out on trying to make it better, because as it is now, the LOD is crap and it’s way too inefficient – not to mention badly textured because I’ve never actually gotten around to unwrapping it properly.

When Loki Eliot was first learning Blender, before mesh was fully deployed on Second Life, he made a list of all the things he had to learn. Now as he learns he adds to his Making a Mesh category. My new Blender category, is, well, Blender. His essays on LOD, for example, ought to be an SL learning standard.

So as of today, July 1, I’m working my way through the Gryllus.com online course by Neil Hirsig of Tufts University, and reading the companion book by John M Blain (the link is actually the second edition, I’m using the first edition.). I’ve been taking a lot of notes and unlike previous tentative stabs at the material, I started at the beginning and made sure to highlight stuff I either missed or didn’t grasp well. Up to chapter 3 now, having worked steadily at it this morning and evening. The internet connection was down this morning for a couple of hours, so it seemed like a good time to do something productive (and not just reading blogs and web fora on my phone).

From the Introduction:

The 3D Design Blender course is intended to offer students an introduction to the world of computer generated 3-D modeling. As an introductory course, it provides a basic understanding of the skills and techniques employed by 3-D designers in a wide range of applications. In this online course, we will explore basic mesh modeling, texturing, lighting, animation and rendering. This course should provide a good basis for further independent study in architectural, engineering, game, theatrical and character modeling.

via Blender 3D Design Course – Syllabus.

I’ve been browsing the actual lessons online tonight after dinner, but I took time to play around a little in GIMP:

KeepCalmandDontRagequit

If you’re wondering if I’ve rage-quit Blender before, you’re right; I have quit in a rage numerous times. Most recently, I was in a class given by Optimo Maximus at Builder’s Brewery, and was managing to keep up with the mechanics of making a simple mesh door. But once I goofed up my project with poor selection techniques and couldn’t get it to look like what was on the screen, I shut down (emotionally and mentally) and then closed everything up, irritated with myself. I just… can’t keep up with voice classes, because there’s always something so basic that I don’t know yet, and my tendency to not retain information given verbally usually means that there’s some critical step missing. Not being able to scroll back when I’ve messed up, or gotten distracted, or had to run to the door is just so frustrating, so it’s very rare that I complete any class conducted solely in voice, Blender or not. But I reserve a special kind of rage-fear for Blender that’s been holding me back.

With the coming changes to Second Life in the next year or two, anybody that, like me, has lagged behind with regards to learning mesh building skills is going to find themselves on the sidelines as far as building stuff (unless Future SL has truly amazing inworld building tools). I managed to procrastinate until sculpties became passe’ – so now let’s see if I can learn Blender and mesh-making just in time for it to be replaced by something else!

Firestorm Viewer QA with Lindens: The Future of Second Life

We will be hosting a very special Question and Answer meeting on Wednesday July 2nd at 7AM SLT in the Firestorm Auditorium with Oz Linden Technical Director of Second Life and possibly Pete Linden Director of communications at Second Life. Topic: The Future of Second Life.The discussion will ONLY be about the future of our current beloved platform ‘Second Life’ and will not venture into the new platform currently under development. Lets hear what LL has planned for Second Life as there is plenty of time for questions about the new platform at a later date.

via Firestorm Viewer – The Phoenix Firestorm Project Inc..

From the original source of the biggest story to hit the Second Life community since the last time everyone ran around screaming and panicking (probably the Homestead pricing debacle), a new Q&A. This time, only the future of the current platform will be under discussion. As you might expect, the comments are a mixed bag of good questions, “the tier is too damn high,” and “but can I bring my stuff with me?”

Jessica Lyons reiterates again and again that there is a future of the current Second Life platform. Yes, there is uncertainty, but we should not be panicking.
Location and time
Wednesday, July 2nd at 7AM SLT.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Phoenix%20Firestorm%20Support/171/128/4002

I’m also listening to the talk between Saffia Widdershins and Jessica Lyons from SL11B about the other future: the new Second Life, which is here, and the text transcription by Nalates is here.

Virtual world Second Life to be reincarnated, with Oculus Rift | Technology | theguardian.com

Whatever happened to virtual world Second Life after the flurry of hype and influx of brands in 2005 and 2006? You dont hear much about it nowadays.

Actually, Second Life never went away; it was the media and brands that once flocked to it who melted away. The worlds existing community of around 1m users carried on with their virtual lives much as they had before.

via Virtual world Second Life to be reincarnated, with Oculus Rift | Technology | theguardian.com.

Some on SLUniverse poo-poohed my post of this story there, since I thought it was funny to add a “What, we’re dead?” comment to the title. However, the mainstream media (or at least the headlines editor) described the next virtual world Linden Lab creates as a reincarnation of Second Life, which reinforces the idea that SL is, well, pushin’ up the daisies as far as their perceptions go.

This reminds me of another Pythonistic take on history: The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The Guardian headline made me think of that sketch, complete with “WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM!” sound effects, because after all, is Second Life dead? No, we’re not (WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM some more).

Don’t take my long silence here for disinterest or disenchantment with Second Life, and virtual worlds. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about SL and my place in it (and also avoiding chores like inventory sorting).

Much of the time during the day I’m reading SL-related blogs and news stories in my Feedly category, and also keeping up with things on SLUniverse.com. There’ve been many, many posts by lots of people on this topic.

NextWeb

My friend Mistletoe on the topic: The Sky Is Falling (again)!

Inara Pey

Jo Yardley: Ebbe talks a little more on the forums which linked to

Carl Metropolitan’s blog Offend Everyone “Ebbe Altberg speaks again on the SL platforms” (I’m looking forward to a transcript of Carl’s recent talk on remaking the new user experience at SL11B, which I missed due to having to take the monkey out for a movie).

More blogs on the issue:
Ciaran Laval

Danko Whitfield’s collection of links

I’ve just added a new Snapzilla account there, linked to my Flickr account, so you’ll see some activity. ;)

After futzing around recovering passwords on a couple of different accounts today, I will mostly be deactivating my lelanicarver AT yahoo.com in favor of lelanicarver AT gmail.com. Why? Because Yahoo! stinks! as a point of contact, since it keeps marking important stuff as spam, and spam as important. After that irritating chore, I took a break and went online in search of entertainment or distraction (or both)

I spent time at SL11B attending a lecture: Mesh-Creative group, hosted at the Fascinate! auditorium by Prim Perfect.

Mesh Creators group talk

It was very interesting, partly because someone was spamming attendees with some texture that was a form of protest against Ebbe (Altberg) Linden’s recent pronouncements on the next iteration of Second Life (better! or differenter!). After shaking off that distraction, the panel, which was moderated for Prim Perfect by Saffia Widdershins, was quite enlightening. Look for a video and a transcript soon at Prim Perfect.

Fascinate Auditorium, overlooked by the SL Newser tower

After that, I wandered at random – caught the end of a very interesting live set with a wild band called Drum! that played everything but the kitchen sink:

Drum! Everything and the Kitchen Sink

And eventually, ended up at the SLUniverse.com community exhibit, which is a relaxing pool party set right near the Cake stage.

Pool Party at SLUniverse SL11B exhibit

Tweekly Digest: 16-May – 22-May