Thursday, August 5, 2010

light a candle, lay flowers at the door

So, hunting about on the House & Garden hunt earlier, I ran across a Miss Sexxxual Delight. First off, if you have to stress the point that the "Delight" for which you're known is only horizontal? There is a problem, ladies and gentlemen.

But I pushed past that and read her bio:
Limits.. pretty simple..
Everything is pretty much negotiable.. send me any and all ideas . but Two non negotiables
1.) No OOC Drama.. If OOC turns into IC. I'm not gonna play like that.. I'll null and void the scene and then contact an admin..
2.) For anything you do I expect retailation or don't even bother wasting my time. Roleplay is about conflict! :)
I have an issue with this. Not the first one; eliminating mass drama in RP is always welcome! But the second.

RP is about conflict? Really? Plot devices are about conflict, nearly always. And plot can be--but not always. And secondly, think of how she's saying things to those who are trying to RP around her--no matter what I do, f'rinstance, be it handing her a daisy or shrieking at her whilst I run forward with an axe, there will be retaliation? For everything I do?

Gosh. I would not be looking forward to interacting with her. Period.

How'ver, onward we must go, because Fawkes has informed me he is going to train me how to use 2.1. Because I am, as he maintains, "using it wrong".

The first thing I notice when I log in that makes my blood boil: I was not in this outfit before. Nor was I in this skin, hair, eyes, or shoes. OR shape. This is bothersome in the extreme because I want to look how I want to look, damn it. Which should be how I looked when last on the grid, regardless of which client I'm using.

Strike one.

Fawkes says this is an issue with using multiple clients. He says there's nothing that can be done about it. There is also some confusion as to whether this has happened before--he says it has, with other third-party viewers; I say it hasn't, but in all fairness, I could be saying that simply because I want 2.0 to die instantaneously, preferably ablaze.

I could have a small problem with the 2.0 structure. This will likely not improve.

Secondly, he had me open inventory. Now, I have put significant time and effort into making my inventory line up how I want it to line up. I don't want system folders to the top by default; in fact, I don't want system folders to the top. Yet, there they are and there they stay; there seems to be no fix for this. In fact, all that careful work and time I put into ensuring I could find things quickly, easily, and with little muss or fuss--even considering my 72K+ inventory state at present--is now missing entirely. System folders are at the top, my folders are alphabetically beneath the trash folder, seventeen slots down.

Fawkes says I will need to get used to this. I grit my teeth and carefully do not scream.

Next up: I started speaking. And by that, I mean the little green lines flashing over my head, and my lips moving. So Fawkes talked me through how to disable that.

Then there was around half an hour of conversation while I got dressed. This was an ordeal. Not the conversation; the actual getting dressed part. Muscle memory, I am realizing, is something I've been relying on in SL. I know exactly how far down each folder is and exactly how many scrolls I have to go down before finding what I want, and where I find it. I keep reaching for the drop-down menu to close all inventory folders, and it's just not there anymore. Fawkes is right in this; it's like a whole new game, this browser.

And it's a game I don't particularly enjoy.

He talked me through making an outfit, and it does nicely save everything I was wearing, including eyes, skin, hair, shape, and bald cap--and it does save the prims. Of course, it also saves, under each chosen outfit, three separate categories: Clothing, Attachments, and Body Parts. To me, this seems more cumbersome, but to Fawkes, apparently, this makes perfect sense.

Then there was movement. I use camera controls. Yes, I know, I'm one of a vanishingly few people who still depends on camera controls; I like the tight control it gives me for photography, and it became easier just to leave it up all the time.

Fawkes had me take down the camera controls, and move as I'd move in virtually any other video game, using W, A, S and D keys. In 1.0 browsers, I had to disable the local chat bar. When explaining this to Fawkes, he seemed puzzled. "I don't use the local chat bar," he said.

I do. I use it all the time. But at least in 2.0, I don't have to sacrifice one for the other.

So, what are we at now, three strikes against, one point for? I think that's about close, anyway.

Then there's strafing. It sounds like an odd name for essentially hopping to the left or the right. In Team Fortress 2, for instance, A and D 'strafe' my character--hopping me to one side or another.

I told him that was why I don't use A and D to 'strafe', because if I want to move to the left, I want to MOVE TO THE LEFT, not hop for a bit and stop. Screw that; if I need to turn, I need to turn NOW, damn it, because I'm likely on fire or heavily wounded.

He explained how, in 2.1, I could click on my avatar and hold down the left mouse button, and that would move my character too; in fact, I could combine that with W, A, S, and D to move both my point of view and physically move me, as well.

Which, by the way, is the only thing in Second Life I've yet found that kicks up my nausea, graphics-wise--that sort of jittery camera motion is why I can't play games like Doom and Quake--it was slightly better in UnReal, and I even worked my way up to UnReal Tournament before I realized how crap I was at the game.

So that's a point against 2.1, or at least, my ability to handle rapid graphical shifts.

"The point is not to depend on the controls so much," he said. Why? I like the camera controls. I like the precision the camera controls offer me. He tells me SL is the only game that has a separate camera control menu.

I tell him that's part of what I liked about SL, when I discovered it.

Now, the keyboard version of the camera controls, he explains, might be easier for me to cope with, and it is, a bit, because it responds like the camera controls: hold down Alt, then use W, A, S and D to rotate around the focus point, and use E to tilt and C to pan (up and down, essentially). He says that it's just like using E and C to fly up and down.

"The hell you say," I tell him. "Page up to fly up, page down to fly down."

"E and C," he repeats. And F to turn off and on flight directly.

Huh. Now I have to relearn flying?

Okay, so I sort of have the hang of the basics, now, and I ask why I'm doing all this, if I can do all this in 1.0-structured clients. He says it's because nearly every game out there uses these controls, or at least an easily grasped local variant. My question is, if I can use what I learn in 2.0 to adapt to other games, then why am I in SL? If I hate their browser so much, why don't I just go off and play something else--where I can have this control set and like the game more?

Yeah, I have no idea either. But those are the basics. And I'll work on them. Gives me something to do, I suppose--beyond everything else.

"Now let's deal with some of the errors made by Zha in her blog," Fawkes says. Hmm.

We start with inventory. At the very bottom of the sidebar, the little white gear, opens a smaller sub-menu. The top of that menu says New inventory window. I pressed in, and three seconds later, I had a separate, independent inventory window. Well, good gods, why didn't they show me that in the first damned place? Why do I need the sidebar?!?

...Oh, because I can't MAKE THE DAMNED THING TRANSPARENT. Gods, I hate the programmers behind 2.0.

We moved on to Appearance editing. To get to the new Appearance menu simply, just right-click on your avatar and it opens up on the sidebar. You can then make changes "live", as t'were; in fact, as Fawkes pointed out, I can walk around, port, shop, talk to people, whatever--all while editing my shape, or my hair, or my eyes.

Here's my problem with this, but to be fair, this is my problem, because I have a five-year-old computer: with the Edit Shape window open, I can't move well. My movements--the world's movements--slow down terrifyingly. I had to take a lot of time to explain this to Fawkes, and the best way I found was--there were two of us, alone, in a sandbox, and movement was fine; I pull open the Editing Shape window, and suddenly, it's like we're at a heavily scripted club with sixty-five dancers and everything animated and tossing particles--I mean, an insane and sudden amount of lag from nowhere.

I do not like this, but I can't straight up say it's a flaw in 2.0, much as I want to.

There are some cool features in 2.0. Editing "live" does allow you to check out how a shape looks with your AO movements; this isn't a bad thing. There's also an onboard height meter that can be read in meters, or feet, to tell you how tall (or short) you are. The problem is it doesn't work currently. You have to multiply that number by 1.1 to get the accurate height in 2.0; it doesn't work yet.

We started pulling up profiles. I loathe the new structure but I did notice something profound is missing from my profile--the "My Notes" section. It's gone. "You never could edit that," Fawkes says. I beg to differ.

Notifications Fawkes says, is both right and wrong on Zha's blog. For one, there's no differentiation between IMs from a resident, group notices from that resident, and notecards sent from that resident. On the other hand, I tend to be extraordinarily anti-social in SL under 2.1, because I cannot, absolutely cannot stand the IM windows, the chat windows, and receiving notices. Pop-ups that I can't control drive me spare, and having the name of the person THEN whatever they're saying, two lines for EVERY single damn line of chat, makes me homicidal. So I tend to close everything as fast as it comes in and don't answer people because I will throw things at them and spray acid just for contacting me.

Fawkes did say I can change this behavior in 2.1, which is good, because it restores the two-goddamn-lines-every-single-two-goddamn-lines to one, and one not separated; this is guaranteed to reduce the amount of vitriol and hatred spewed at anyone who dares say "hello" of an evening.

I still hate that I can't make the window transparent. That deeply, deeply bugs me. I view it as a very personal intrusion into my life off the keys for every single big opaque block the viewer tosses onto my screen. It's annoying beyond reason.

Back to the popups for a moment...Fawkes calls these "toasts". I have no idea why except that's also what Second Life calls them. They bug the crap out of me.

Now, how I have been arranging SL chat and IM windows is to tear them off and move them to the upper left hand corner of the browser. Because in smarter structures--like 1.23--those windows transluce when anything else is clicked. This works for me.

Instead, I have a choice of not docking the windows--in which case, moving them up where I've been keeping them in 1.23 means I lose all sight of the sky with more than one conversation, or I can "dock" them. When I "dock" them, I lose the ground when they're active, and when I've clicked anything else, they disappear--or, at least, reduce to small tiny image sets on the lower right hand corner of the taskbar that are hard to read and annoying. Yay?

This is not a plus for me. (Apparently, those teensy little images are called "Chiclets". This is also not a plus for me.)

Another new thing--there is no "keep" anymore; there is "Show", "Discard" and "Block". Block most likely will block the item and mute the sender, but I'm not sure; "Discard" is self-explanatory, and "Show" means auto-accept and take me to that place in the inventory by opening the sidebar. More loss of screen acreage, yay...

I hate this browser. It is not getting better. I really, really, want to stab it with knives and dig a deep hole and toss it in and cover it in lye. None of these feelings are getting any less severe. Honestly, I'm scaring myself a little, here.

Sending objects remains basically the same, it's just the terms for them that altered. Also--an odd trick--if you right-click on an object, and click "Share", apparently you can share with anyone (within 130 meters), friends from your friends list, or searchable individuals--if they exist in world, they can be sent whatever you want to give out. I suppose this is a good thing, but I think there's far more potential for abuse.

I think part of the struggle, for me, with learning 2.0 is the atavistic phobic reaction from the first time I used 2.0--when all media was auto-on, and I suddenly had four inputs screaming for attention and I flatlined into dead emotional trauma. (Anyone out there who's OCD may understand this; for everyone else, all I can say is it's what I did then, and this memory just hasn't departed yet; I still remember shoving the headphones off my head, shaking in distress, tempted to turn the computer off and walk away entirely for the night without word to anyone. I didn't, but I was highly tempted.) But there's another part to this struggle, which is all bound up in how I behaved on IRC.

I developed, quite likely, a lot of bad habits on IRC. My main two were: I didn't want to talk with people I didn't know, which made me quite the hostile little ball of insanity on IRC, and two, if someone I didn't know DID talk to me, I gunned after them with the ferocity of a thousand razors. If spraying them with mace and chopping at them with a rusted hand-axe didn't drive them from me, I'd get mean. (Miss Sphynx can verify this; she was there on more than a few occasions.)

Now, when I hit SL, I was quite gregarious. (Oddly gregarious, and likely, that first year or so, more than was good for me, frankly.) I've never had that hostile I-hate-you-get-away-from-me-DIIIIE reaction...until 2.0

2.1 hasn't changed this. People IM me; I close the windows. Group chats open, I growl and close them. I get notices, my hands tighten into fists and I have to breathe and let the stress go.

I'm serious, it's a physical reaction, and I don't know why, but this must be what bigots feel like with the skin color they most despise; I mean, if I had the base code in front of me I would burn it without a second thought. It's intense.

All I know is, now I know how to do more things in SL, and this may influence things when I go back to 1.23; but I'm going to resent every single moment I lose to SL 2.1, until (and unless) it gets better.

And better for me means transparent windows; resizeable sidebars; smaller camera controls; and a folder architecture where system folders aren't automatically and always on top. Is this me being hidebound to the old structure? Likely. Am I going to change my opinion? Not likely.

But I will keep chipping away at it. It's important to Fawkes that I not hate this as much as I hate this, so I'll try. It's important to the Octoberville creators that by October 2011, if SL exists then, I have 2.1 fluency so I can go in and experience Octoberville-on-a-prim. And I do want to do that, if that's the only way I can hunt there October after next.

Still. It remains distressing, invasive, and annoying beyond all things. I don't like the structure. I don't think the improvements were necessary. And I wish they'd just taken some of what does work in 2.1 and applied it to 1.23 and everyone could be happy.

16 comments:

Sphynx Soleil said...

...Which should be how I looked when last on the grid, regardless of which client I'm using.

Strike one.

Fawkes says this is an issue with using multiple clients. He says there's nothing that can be done about it. There is also some confusion as to whether this has happened before--he says it has, with other third-party viewers; I say it hasn't...


Newp, it's not a multiple client issue. Hasn't been a problem for me, old machine OR new. I have separate cache deposits for each client though.

...I don't want system folders to the top by default; in fact, I don't want system folders to the top...

Now that I don't mind - I put system folders at the top in 1.x clients already.

...move as I'd move in virtually any other video game, using W, A, S and D keys....

You can do that in SL? Not that I play any other video games where I'd USE that, but still... didn't know.

...Which, by the way, is the only thing in Second Life I've yet found that kicks up my nausea, graphics-wise--that sort of jittery camera motion...

Yea, me too... I never EVER travel in "mouselook" mode - or do much of anything in it - as a result.

...I like the precision the camera controls offer me. He tells me SL is the only game that has a separate camera control menu.

It's probably the only game where photography can be more of a profession as a result, rather than "Oh hai, check out this gnarly scene!"

...He says it's because nearly every game out there uses these controls, or at least an easily grasped local variant....

Oh, so THAT is the problem! The designers think it's a glorified video game! No wonder the 2.x client is so asstastic.

...I pull open the Editing Shape window, and suddenly, it's like we're at a heavily scripted club with sixty-five dancers and everything animated and tossing particles--I mean, an insane and sudden amount of lag from nowhere....

I don't remember it doing that on my old box? It might be a 2.x problem. I haven't noticed a lag increase on the new box either, even minorly. (Though that lag-on-teleport-in/out bug is REALLY goddamn annoying...)

...I loathe the new structure but I did notice something profound is missing from my profile--the "My Notes" section. It's gone. "You never could edit that," Fawkes says. I beg to differ.

Yes, you could. And you can tell him I said so. I was always dumping notes in my own profile notes page.

*blinks*

"Toasts"? "Chiclets"? What WERE those designers smoking?!

Rhianon Jameson said...

Miss Delight did not want you to confuse her with her (non-identical) twin, Miss Intellectual Delight.

Icterus Dagger said...

WASD? I've always used the arrow keys. Is that a left-hand convention, Miss Emilly?

I've never used the HUD-ish camera or movement controls. I confess to occasionally clicking my avatar to swivel it, but mainly I use the left and right arrows (and shift left and right if I want to walk sideways without turning - is that strafeing?)

Otherwise I dislike 2.x for most of the same reasons, and simply can not WAIT *cough* for the next iteration - you know, after the Lab listens *cough again* to all our feedback.

-iD

Emilly Orr said...

Sphynx,

See, that's something I really NEED to be proactive on: I don't always set up separate caches. What kills me, though, is--every time I log into 2.0 (or now, 2.1), it does something RIGHT off the bat that makes me crazy. When I first logged in, it blasted my eardrums with multiple media. Next log-in? I couldn't build. Log-in after that? I was flipped back to an outfit I hadn't worn on the grid since October 2009. Time after that? I was flipped back to an outfit (and skin, hair, shoes and eyes) that I'd worn two weeks back.

It's infuriating.

Also, yes--most other games, from Runes of Magic to WoW, use W-A-S-D or some minimal variant to move forward, turn, backwards--whatever. I think the 2.0 group threw that in to make it more "consistent" with other virtual spaces.

I have no verification on whether opening Edit Appearance caused that level of lag on 2.0, because I never did it. I also don't know if it's due to not being older-system compatible (because it's clearly not). I just noticed it because it was so odd, and because Fawkes was asking me, for about twenty minutes, to open the Edit Appearance screen every couple minutes or so. And every time, it would cause that sudden, inescapable lag.

As far as the toasts and chiclets thing, I have no idea--the "toasts" are what they call the little window popups that tell you when friends are online, when people say things, when you get notices--and, when you minimize those, they're called chiclets, because they're little squares of content on the lower taskbar. Where did they get these names? Noooo clue.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Jameson,

There is no Intellectual Delight, but amusingly enough, there are:

* INADAZE Delight (born 10/28/2007, no info on profile)

* Inbed Delight (born 10/28/2007, no info on profile)

* infinite Delight (born 10/30/2007, no info on profile, and I'm wondering if these are all the same person)

* Innocent Delight (born 1/1/2008, no info)

* insane Delight (born 10/24/2007, no info)

* Intense Delight (born 10/26/2007)

and

* International Delight (born 11/5/2007)

Wau. Lots of people had fun with that name.

Emilly Orr said...

Mr. Dagger,

It's more of a game convention, honestly; as Fawkes pointed out, nearly all gamers fall into two types: mouse jockeys, and keyboard jockeys. (I apparently am neither, because I move somewhat independently between both styles, and in SL, I use the camera control HUD). The W-A-S-D movement style is generally for the keyboard group, the one that opens up Preferences with Ctrl-P, f'rinstance, over Edit > Preferences (as an example).

I don't know if there's an option to remap keys in SL; I do know you can remap keys in other games, so if W-A-S-D bothered you, or you weren't ambilateral, you do have the option to pick other keys, so you could set it up as I for forward, J for left strafe, K for backing up, and L for right strafe, f'rinstance.

Samantha Poindexter said...

A couple of notes:

(1) I have tried (and switched between) any number of third-party clients, including Nicholaz, Cool Viewer (both Boy Lane and Henri Beauchamp's versions), Imprudence, Emerald, and various other official, beta, and third-party clients. I've never experienced ending up in a different avatar and/or outfit than I was in when I logged off with any of them.

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, without changing clients at all, I found that while my last (baked) outfit still appeared on me when I logged in, the inventory system believed I was naked. Indeed, as soon as I added one item of clothing, the rest disappeared. Other people reported related issues that night, leading me to believe that some sort of server glitch was in play.

(2) SL 1.x has supported both WASD and the arrow keys for as long as I can remember. Personally, I've always used the arrow keys. I gather Fawkes prefers WASD. Either way, this isn't something 2.x has changed, to my knowledge.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Poindexter,

For the second point, yes, both versions have had standard key movements for a while. But, whereas 1.x browsers require the closing of the local chat bar to move by the keys, 2.x doesn't. That's actually an improvement in their favor.

For the first, 2.0 (and then (2.1) is the only browsr that's "flashed backwards" to outfits I'd worn weeks--or entire months--previous. It's odd, unsettling, and I don't understand why it happens.

Sphynx Soleil said...

See, that's something I really NEED to be proactive on: I don't always set up separate caches.

I set up a folder on a non-C drive, named it, "SL Caches", then made subfolders for each viewer cache. I point each viewer to their respective subfolder AFTER I make the folders manually (I don't like tiny windows...really I don't) and yea, has saved me a LOT of hassle.

The rest? Could easily be 2.x issues, but the one or two times I've logged in with a 2.x client I haven't seen that, so... *shrugs*

I run Emerald pretty exclusively these days - speedy texture loading, less crashy for me, both are win-win.

Emilly Orr said...

Why non-C drives specifically?

But I thought this was good enough incentive (plus, I have four different clients on my system currently) to do the separate-cache thing, so we'll see how it goes.

Sphynx Soleil said...

Why non-C drives specifically?

Heh! :) Because the SL viewer is on C: - putting the cache on a different drive (well, assuming you have two physical drives) splits the drive activity between the viewer (which is pretty hoggy to begin with) and the separate cache location. Each drive only doing half the work.

I don't remember if I have 2 drives on the new box, at this point I just do it out of habit, and the machine is fast enough it doesn't make as much of a difference as it did on the older slower boxen.

Emilly Orr said...

Makes sense.

I don't specifically have other drives on this box, especially not since the hard drive fried and I got the temp veryverysmall HD...but I did slap together a cache folder and made up four sub-folders on the one external drive I have.

Down side: it's a temp drive. It goes away if I disconnect that memory stick. Up side: I rarely, rarely disconnect it, as that's holding both parts of the novels-in-progress I'm slooowly working on.

Sphynx Soleil said...

That may actually kill the memory stick in the long term, due to the frequency of write cycles in a cache.

You might want to pick up a second memory stick and back up the novels onto that periodically, so if the original dies, you still at least have the novels.

(interesting idea, though...)

Emilly Orr said...

Aaaaack.

Well, I can transfer them back to a different part of C drive...I don't have a lot of other options.

Serenity said...

All I can say is that you guys are brave. XD I just can't bring myself to do the switch.

Emilly Orr said...

I really can't either, but I keep trying. It's completely against everything I've done in SL to date, which makes it difficult beyond belief.