I’m dancing at Club Gearz in #SecondLife with my friends in Steelhead Bay listening to the radio stream on SciFi.com. My landlord Fuzzball Ortega is a DJ there and he streams live on Fridays for a regular community dance. The first half of the set is always weird stuff he finds. The chat went like this:
Now playing: Baltimora – Tarzan Boy (Original Hit Version)
Lelani Carver: isn’t this… the yodeling gargle mouthwash song?
Stereo Nacht: Hehehe!
Fuzzball Ortega: Yes
Now playing: Blue Swede – Hooked on a Feeling
Lelani Carver: Heh heh heh LISTERINE on a jungle vine!
Lelani Carver: this song got a nice boost when it showed up in the Guardians of the Galaxy
Stereo Nacht: Do I hear a theme? 😉
Lelani Carver: this really was a week for survival.
Stereo Nacht: Aw…
Andrea Jones (andreajonesms) entered chat range (18.91 m). Stereo Nacht: X-D
Lelani Carver: LOL i’m on the radios!
This last was because when Fuzzball paused to do a station identification, he mentioned my yodeling gargle mouthwash wisecrack on the air. Earlier, he played the “Coming To Take Me Away,” which I memorized in junior high… so yes, I sang along.
It’s been a hard week in RL, and a somewhat frustrating week in #SecondLife what with alarums and excursions (had to take spouse to the ER several times, recovering nicely). When I did have time to do my virtual farming stuff and attempt to sell the stuff I’ve “grown,” nothing was selling. I hate making the sales announcements, because everyone else is making the same constant group ads. So as detailed in other posts, my exit strategy is to “cook everything down” and sell much higher value items that have concentrated energy, or have collectible appeal.
This morning, before work, I gritted my teeth and posted about a sale item that I’d made last night – about 75 “meals” priced at $L2. Immediately, someone started buying them, one at a time. I sent an IM and offered to box up the remaining, and a deal was struck. I received payment, but my customer never received the box of virtual victuals. GRRR! SL!!! So I refunded her money and opened a ticket with SL support. Had to take her word for it; I didn’t give it to her in a way that’s logged by the system in a way that’s mutually verifiable. And her partner IMed me, too. Had to make that good before I could log in for my actual, real life job. Bad start. I opened a support ticket for the lost item, but don’t have much hope. The system did log that I gave my customer an item, but not the name of the item. Eh, it’s probably a loss. We’re talking pennies.
But then, things turned around a little – someone else came into my virtual shop during the day and went on a buying spree, probably getting ingredients. But I noticed that she bought 2 items that should have been priced at $L50 but sold for $L5. Some kind of glitch with the scripted vendor, GRRRR.
Later on, I checked the group chats for the DFS stuff and someone mentioned they were looking to buy a specific item, the ‘Mother’s Day Forever Maple Tree (sap)” that’s usually priced from around $L2400 to $L3500 as a “rare collectible.”
See that yellow maple in the picture? That’s the very thing, and I had set it for sale for $L2500. So I IMed the gentleman – I’ve seen him in the chats, talking about collecting stuff for his and his wife’s estate.
After some lowballing and discussion, we agreed on a price – less than I’d hoped but more than I’d paid for it 2 years ago. So I’m happy! Survived the week! Sold a silly collectible virtual tree! Win-win! Threw in some buckets of sap that I won’t have to cook down into molasses for “rum.”
The way I was blogging and posting to Mastodon from my profile feed for #SecondLife has some display problems; I think I was inadvertently duplicating content when I copied some links without editing them enough.
This post should have just one image, although there is a “featured image” specified as well.
My #SecondLife friend Cynthia Farshore was driving a cute Mardi Gras band along the route of the Caledon Mardi Gras parade and hit a bad sim crossing, derailing into a nearby lake. She frequently had to stop and reposition the train she was riding when there were tricky turns and crossings. I was “wearing” my vehicle and still had problems at crossings. Still, it was fun. Sorry, I didn’t get pictures of the dance party afterwards.
The #SecondLife community of Caledon held their Mardi Gras parade and ball a week or so after the actual holiday. The parade followed a route that was set with fleurs-de-lys that was mostly along a scripted rail line (it’s community land, so the same music could be heard all along the way).
Naturally, people turned up with all sorts of transport. There were two elegant whales, a kilted centaur, and the Caledon Air Force was represented by someone who hovered in a steampunk helicopter at difficult sim crossings and tricky turns. The course was set to go by well-known builds across several builds, and there were some memorials set up here and there to remember those who the community has lost. We raised a virtual toast in their memory.
I had to chuckle when I saw the texture on the floor of the starting and ending points – I make a hat with that very texture plus others as it’s a texture-change type deal. (SL Marketplace link)
The Caledon Mardi Gras parade about to step, slither, or swim off. Nice kilt, Centaur!
No matter where your interests lie, there are a lot of fun activities to do in Second Life. One of those SL activities that has been garnering a lot of interest is farming. Enter Digital Farm System (DFS), which started way back in October of 2016. DFS isn’t just farming, though. It is so much more.
This post isn’t being sent to Mastodon; I’ve been slowly cooking up a plan, an exit strategy if you will, for easing out of the Digital Farming System inworld game in Second Life. The essay linked and quoted above has been on my mind since I read it. It’s altogether enthusiastic, positive, and not really disclosing the risks and pitfalls a simple farming-and-cooking game poses to players.
The SL Newser article was reader-submitted, by someone who is clearly enjoying DFS, and more power to her.
It’s easy to get started with DFS. The DFS community as a whole is extremely friendly and open to questions. It is not uncommon to see people starting out in the DFS system by offering their assistance as farm hands, volunteers, and hired cooks. It’s also common to meet new people learning about DFS by visiting some of the many auctions that are held each day.
I don’t know much about the auctions, but I suspect that they are one of the only ways that some players can hope to earn back or profit from their investment of time and money in DFS. If you want any of the cool collectible stuff (and “cool” is a flexible concept here), you have to spend some serious money. The writer of the article did do a good job of describing the basics of gameplay within DFS, the use of the HUD to cook or craft things from your harvests of plants, animals, trees, etc. But she didn’t mention the amount of time it takes to grow all the ingredients you need in order to host a nice party for your friends… unless you just buy the ingredients rather than spending weeks and weeks to gather enough baskets of wheat or fruit to make whimsical desserts and main courses.
The auctions are a way for people to gather in a pressure-cooker environment, submit their stuff to be auctioned off by people using special scripts and timers, and they are designed to separate people from their money. They must be one of the most efficient and profitable way to get rid/sell your most valuable DFS items, which are usually the crazy-looking specialty items that get used up or expire, like water barrels and animals that end up as steaks and pork chops. I suspect that if you sell a good “lot” of collected produce, along with some rare stuff, you might get a nice windfall, but I also suspect that the auctioneers (and the places they run the events from, kind of like roving DJs) get a nice cut of the proceeds. That’s fine, it’s a way to make money off of the game, and there’s a hell of a lot of it in the DFS game economy.
There’s a lot to like about the game, but it takes over your inworld time. It’s relaxing to pretend to plant crops and harvest them, but you need fertilizer, which means either feeding male animals (and a lot of them, if you have a big farm) or you buy fertilizer in bulk (shifting the cost of production to someone else). And you have to feed the animals, too.
I was “away” from Second Life for 2 years, and as soon as I came back and realized all my DFS stuff was still rezzed out, I jumped right back in to tending, watering, trying to figure out what to plant, what to cook, and if I had enough milk, butter, cream and other ingredients on hand. A lot of things had changed – I was somewhat irked to find that they had changed some recipes and added some “limiting factors” that require the DFS cook to buy extra boosters or items that are ONLY available from the DFS main store, not on the (very active) secondary market. Just before I left before, the creator of the DFS game had changed the timing of how and when female animals “give birth” and in the case of cows, give milk. The original cows, paired with a bull, gave birth every 6 days, milk starting the 7th day, and live 30 days (0-29, really). .If the age timer hits 30, you get a “DIED OF OLD AGE” hovertext. You still “request the meat” though. Yum, yum. Then with the change, cows gave birth on the 9th day, and milk the day after. So that means 3 “crates” of milk lost per month. You had to rezz out new cows more often so that you didn’t have a big gap in age when your oldest cow reached Day 29 (and hopefully you got milk that day if the timing was right).
Milk is pretty important to a lot of recipes – many of them call for butter, cheese, cream, yogurt and so on. So throttling back the supply of milk may have helped with a glut in the market (too much milk), but really hurts smaller farmers who don’t have dozens and dozens of animals rezzed out on mega-farms. It’s definitely got parellels to real-world factory farming and Big Dairy squeezing out family farms.
I’m a proud smallholder – and working toward being an even smaller smallholder by October, when one of my paid accounts is up for renewal. By October, I have to decide if I’m paying another $99.00USD, and keep the 1024m of land tier that the account contributes toward my group owned land. If I don’t renew that account, I have to reduce my holdings, attempt to sell that amount of land, and go on a strict prim diet.
I’ve been “cooking my inventory down” into a form that I can sell off in “lunchboxes” that are consumables players can rezz out or wear – if you don’t pay extra for (oh LORD this sounds insane) “clickies” that save your energy when tending animals. And yes, I pay extra for “clickies,” fertilizer, and scripted trowels that speed up the time tending fields. I was thinking about reducing that, too – but the next level down doesn’t include the fertilizer. I’d have to cut back on “field” crops and stick to the relaxing “Bees, trees, and chickies, and planties” model to keep playing, with probably 4-6 fields instead of the current…ye gads, 29 or 30 fields (I have a few more in inventory). It’s a hell of a way to downsize, but I’m gathering ingredients for my “core” meals and that takes time, and virtual acreage. Now reconsidering the “buy ingredients in bulk instead of farming them” strategy.
So tonight I bumped up against yet another unpleasant change – the male animals now have to be at least n-days old to be “ready to breed.” I had 2 cows also ready – nothing happened. Why? Because I recently sent a 29-day bull off to my butcher block, and the 3 day old guy doesn’t have what it takes. Someone could make a lot of money offering stud rentals of 9-day and older bulls, I’m just saying. And also, the other change, is that the old brown cows and bulls are “retired.” When the cows give birth, you get brown-and-white “Ayrshires” instead. Fortunately, my old brown bull could give satisfaction – it hadn’t occurred to me that I’d have to plop down an Ayrshire bull to pair with the…. this sounds absolutely INSANE.
Here’s a picture instead.
There they all are, with their feed and water – I’ll have to make sure I have plenty of both but fortunately they are into the Slow Food movement still.
And here are my fields. Currently I have about 3 or 4 times as many as I should have under my “simplify my Second Life plan” – as I’m gathering specific ingredients to be cooked down.
However, it occurs to me that this is simply an addiction – duh. The acquisition of fields, tools, gadgets, “special” ingredients, it’s all just a distraction from what I should be doing in RL, and the better creative work I ought to have been doing in SL.
I recently saw an uptick in sales of my older texture-change hats, partly because of Mardi Gras, partly because my stuff may be more searchable now that I’m active again (and paying a small amount for searchability on my shop parcel). I also got a very kind review from a young SL friend on Mastodon, who posted a photo of herself in the hat in front of my event-dependent shop in Flox:
It’s a beautiful shot and it’s her style – she favors the lighter palette. I’m more of a jewel-tones gal myself. Anyway, the hat is cute but it’s based on an old sculpt, and the mesh hat I made 3 or 4 years ago isn’t quite as nicely shaped. So I have to knuckle down and and get through the process of re-learning all the most useful keyboard shortcuts in Blender, and watch all of the Blender School videos by Goon. And to have the inworld time to do this work, I need to cut back on the farmie-clickie-cookie-tendie stuff in DFS.
Which somehow has resulted in having more fields now than I ever had in the Bruda Plateau, when I sold my farm and contents off and “just kept a few fields, 8 or so.”
Yikes, it’s an addiction.
I’ve been gradually “turning off” some of the scripted trees and plants, I turned off the beehives, and today after I harvested a few things, I started to “pick up” a few fields. My friend Wyvvern sells some very cute floral raised-bed items that seem well suited for my funny old squashed mesh cubes that I’m using as field borders; more of my parcel is going toward “decor” and away from “farm.”
Can I dial it back to a reasonable, sustainable level? The one thing I prefer to avoid is posting the “leaving DFS, everything must go” notices and watching the locusts descend, I’ve seen too many of those lately to want to go through that.
It would be really nice, though, to actually SELL some of this stuff. I’ve been posting notices, I am gradually getting the high value “rare” collectibles I stupidly bought 4 years ago listed in my Caspervend vendors… but they really sell better on the SL Marketplace, which takes a cut. Eh.
I’ll keep making announcements (I hate marketing) and eventually people will start to crack loose.
Or I’ll put together an auction lot. Lord knows, there’s an auction event happening every day, almost every hour. But no matter what it all sells for, there’s little likelihood of recouping what I’ve spent over the years playing this game-within-a-game. And when I see what other people must have spent to gather hundreds and hundreds of fields, collectibles, rare items, and massive herds of exotic animals, I wonder how people make their RL mortgage payments. And pay their medical bills. It boggles the mind.
I cannot stress how much this had affected my inworld mood lately – something changed with the way this station’s stream was handled by the Firestorm viewer, and I could only listen via the web, and not play it through my parcel radio. And bonus, I can look stuff up while I’m working or cooking inworld. So now, I can invite friends over for listening parties when something really good is on – KJAC/The Colorado Sound is the sister/all music station affiliated with KUNC Greeley/Ft Collins, an excellent public radio station.
My fridge came with no-mod kitsch photos, so I covered them up with kitchen photos.
DFS often provides the ability to resize the no-mod tools so you can fit them into smaller or larger spaces as needed. But you can’t change textures, or colors. This cute retro fridge was a Mother’s Day special item that I bought used (actually it’s a freezer used for making frozen desserts, drinks, and ice). I didn’t pay too much attention to the image on the very small vendor prim before I bought it, or I might have passed on it.
It has very kitschy, kid-style drawings on it and a popsicle-stick daisy. I’m not into the family-RP lifestyle, so I covered it up with 2 linked prims (my ubiquitous mesh crate makes a handy picture frame). The snapshots are currently of my old greenhouse in Bruda and of a Mardi Gras float I danced on about 6 years ago. Problem solved, and the freezer fits neatly under my $L10 kitchen counter – which IS modifiable and has been retextured and torn apart to remove unecessary prims/bits of mesh).
Pardon any typos, RL spouse and I just got back from Best Buy, where I made an impulse buy of a new keyboard that was an open-box steal. It’s available from Amazon – to us it looked like Best Buy in our area is struggling, as the first store was permanently closed, and the second store had a lot of empty shelf space. I don’t recall if my Amazon affiliate still points at the American Diabetes Association or my church, so there may be a donation if you buy from that link.
Still getting used to the feel of this keyboard – the spacing for reaching the backspace key is slightly different from the Microsoft split ergo keyboard I used for years, but this is very quiet and smooth. I expect I’ll be blogging more of my SL activities as I speed up the typewrong… oh booger.
This entire region of “black kite” is a huge, literally immersive art installation. A well known #SecondLife content creator has a shop at the end of one of the jettys… the rest of the region has… adult interaction areas that are very artful, not at all private, and rather clever. And the music is nice.
A large version of this image may end up at Flickr later.
I used a Windlight setting called “Incongruent Truths” because it seemed to fit the setting.
black kite invites introspection. What is the meaning of my Second Life? Honestly, I just came here to check out 8f8’s store.Black Kite Visit location
It literally sorted itself out eventually. Most of the stuff showed up in the sorters that I put out, and some things sorted themselves back into the right folders. I was sweating there for a few hours, though.
Oops. I accidentally dumped my entire inventory of no-copy DFS objects into a scripted sorting prim; more than 1500 objects went in. For most of them, I had picked up the “target sortboxes” so I put them back out.
I took a class in #SecondLife last night on how to “mesh” an object created with SL’s inworld build tools and take it into #Blender to optimize it and clean it up to re-upload.
The instructor is very nice but… she had no experience with the third-party viewers that can export your own created objects to a Collada file format that Blender can read. She only works with expensive scripted tools in the bog-standard Second Life viewer.
She pretty much balked at my comment late in the class asking “why don’t we export using Firestorm or another viewer? It’s free.” She doesn’t support that and can’t answer questions about how it’s done.
So I went looking for a better answer than “Buy an expensive script and make your ability to create mesh dependent on server uptime.”
And I found it at Beq’s blog – she’s a Firestormviewer developer, and actually improves the SL export/import process herself.
After that, I actually opened up Blender and tinkered with the student project that we made in class last night. Tiny steps.
Those familiar with my blog may recall that our journey together through the art/accident of mesh making began with, and often returns to prim2mesh tools such as Mesh Studio (MS). During a period of particularly poor reliability from the Mesh Studio servers, in 2016, I made a blog post and video explaining how some of the optimizations achieved by Mesh Studio, could, with a little knowledge, be replicated in Blender.