Saturday, April 3, 2010

but there was no loyalty to hope

So far, Easter weekend has been disturbing, and somewhat depressing. For starters, everyone who wasn't already involved in a gridwide hunt starting Aprille 1st has decided to have an egg hunt. I understand why, but March was so punishing for large grid-wide hunts that many of us are still burnt out on finding things. Which makes what happened yesterday all the more distressing.

We start at Twisted Thorn Textures. Now, before I say anything else, I like Twisted Thorn Textures. I've pretty much made them my first and primary resource for textures for anything I'm building, because Nighty Goodspeed, and her small but growing crew of talented artists, are doing magnificent work with shading, aging and pleating. I can't recommend them enough. I've even reserved a profile pick for them.

That having been said...they had an egg hunt yesterday. Now, I'm used to missing notices from groups, it's still a bug in the notice system, and my IMs frequently cap. After a bit of chatter in the Twisted group, I went to notices, and found the notice for the hunt.

I switched tags, and went to the sim, and was about to descend on the fabric store, when the first confused concerns showed up. The eggs weren't working, was said over and over. (It was an issue of sim lag, people were told. Go away and come back later; or take off all attachments and try again.) This would have been fine--it happens--but then other complaints surfaced, on how even stripped down to the bone, with almost all features of the world turned off or turned down, clicking on found eggs did nothing.

Were they wearing the right tag, these folks were asked. Yes, they responded; all of them are wearing their Twisted Thorn tags.

Oh, came the reply, that's not the right tag.

What?

Over the course of the next two hours, the truth came out. And first the truth was, Oh, these were set out under the Lovely group. Switch to that. Search was held. There is no "Lovely" group that ties to Twisted. Oh, sorry, we meant the Lovely Designs group. Search was held again. There's no "Lovely Designs" group.

So I looked it up. Turns out there is a "LovEly Twisted Designs" group, but at that point, I'd had it. Because when I went to the group profile page? There was no way to sign up.

Apparently, there was a group join sign on the ground, but...wait for it...it wasn't working effectively due to lag.

So, to summarize:

* Twisted holds a hunt.
* They make their hunt eggs touch-only, and group-sequenced, so if one is not in the right group, one cannot gain the prize, but if one's environment is lagged, the asset server bounces the requests for product.
* They make their hunt eggs for a group people cannot join freely.
* They put out a hunt sign later for the group, to allow group invites to be sent--but the sim is lagged enough at that point that the requests only work half the time

And the ultimate, in my opinion:

* They said none of this on the notecard.

Oh, not the lag part, we all know about store sim lag, at this point. Twisted is beautiful, but it's also a texture shop with a lot of click-to-change scripted vendors. They have a fishing area. This all combines to up lag, and that is understandable, that is acceptable.

Expecting people to wear their Twisted tags to get eggs that were put out under another group title and then not telling anyone what the group was...that was massive fail. And I think unreasonable expectations, because barring everything else, they're asking people to sacrifice a group space. Most people on the grid can't do that spontaneously, they don't have the group space.

So that was bad; I ended up staying away from the entire hunt because the whole ball of fail just irked me, deeply. These are not stupid people; these are bright, funny, creative, artistic people. They had no excuse.

Then came the Violent Seduction hunt. Violent Seduction put out a new, and very cute, bunny avatar; she called it Elspeth, and I actually want it a great deal in spite of the tonnage of pink gingham that forms its structure. The designer's also put out another mini-sale of older product, which I think ends after the weekend is over; don't quote me, I'm not sure on that.

But yesterday, she had the first part of the hunt, and a friend of mine participated (I couldn't; I was out in the front room on the netbook, my twice-sprained ankle elevated; there was no way the netbook could deal with that level of unbearable lag). She found one of the dresses she wanted and was overjoyed. She left the sim.

Then Miss Aichi declared a part two of the hunt, and this time, had tossed in some blue gingham Elspeth avatars to find. I was trying to sleep (that turned out to be my exercise in complete fail), and ended up getting up again about an hour into the second part of the hunt. I figured, everything was pretty much gone at that point (and it was; though I don't consider my time spent poring over their virtual earth wasted--I found a two-pack of Aura Falta's Tacky Star Loli skins, in a pink egg, and bought that; I felt that was more than worth my time, and I'm quite thrilled), but I'd heard the same friend had gone back to part two of the hunt, had found a second outfit that she wanted, had bought that, and left the sim again.

At which point, all hell broke loose.

You would have thought someone had elected to remove the designer's limbs with a chainsaw, while beating her in the head with a hammer. She was so outraged that my friend had bought two--and let me make this plain, here, two different outfits, from two different hunts--eggs. Even though nothing was in the rules stating so. Even though nothing was in the rules indicating she should have bought one egg, and not come back. I read through the notecards; it's NOT there.

I still wanted to go and poke around, but my heart wasn't in it. Not only had I managed to miss both hunts, but now the hanging taint of controversy obscured any joy in the hunting process I might have. I spent about forty-five minutes in the sim, found the Tacky Star egg, bought it, and left.

Let me contrast the parsimony of one designer and the baffling inconsistencies of another with the gleeful, encompassing gifting going on at Builders' Brewery. First of all, the Brewery, like the Ivory Tower of Primitives, and the Particle Workshop, exists primarily to offer tools and textures to builders, by offering completed scripts, prims and sculpts in a store, and offering classes from beginning to advanced on building, scripting and texturing. They've always been a great resource, and they're very friendly people.

So, about one or two weeks back, they started sending out egg sculpt packages. Fill the eggs with whatever one wants to; texture the eggs; put them out somewhere. Anywhere, in fact, that's not the home parcel of the sim's owners. Just wear the Builders' Brewery tag, and go.

The only codicil? If you're putting out an original item, or Lindens, then rez the prepared egg, and touch it to activate it to the sim. Then anyone who finds it gets Lindens transferred, or gets that original item.

There are over a hundred eggs, of varying sizes, most in plain sight. They're everywhere on the sim. Sure, for those who think they have to find everything to declare a hunt over--or for those of us whose inventories were already groaning from previous egg hunts--this is a little daunting. But you can literally start anywhere and wander around their beautiful sim picking up eggs. It's very nearly relaxing.

And no one's yelling to put that back, or that we can't buy that, or that we're not supposed to pick up more than one...actually, most of the egg sculpts are scripted to allow just one gift per person. If you--by accident or deliberation--click on it again, it will tell you in green spam that it's one to an avatar, and apologize.

And people are still putting out eggs. It's become very nearly a celebration, albeit a quiet one. The organizers (and owners of the Brewery) are overjoyed at the largesse of gifting, and the sheer number of eggs that are going out. Honestly, all things considered, it reminds me of the Twisted Friday giveaways at Twisted Thorn Textures, that same sense of building out of love and giving back out of friendship.

Pity the other two hunts weren't run the same way.

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