Wednesday, July 13, 2011

well, I can't stand to look at you now, this revelation's out of my hands

Scattered musings from a stressful night.

Under v.2: there is NO. WAY. to make the camera controls NOT opaque that is at all workable. I know. I've tried. I can't be the ONLY person using camera controls to get around in SL. (Though Fawkes says I am.)

There is a way to make the camera controls more transparent--but it ALSO makes every other "active" window even more transparent along with it. By the time the translucency is enough for me, I can't see chat. For me, that's not unfortunate; that's a goddamn design flaw.

Under v.2: When I've been telling people they need to go to the top of the bar, and click that, and they'll get the About Land menu, NOW I know why they've been staring at me. Because there's no way to do that, either. On default v2, you can no longer do that. You CAN click the "i" icon and get a 'Place Profile', which will give you About Land.

That is incredibly, INCREDIBLY cumbersome for anyone who deals with land--working on it, living on it, selling it, buying it--INCREDIBLY cumbersome.

You can also get there by World > Place Profile > About Land. This is absolutely ridiculous, when they HAD a working one-click, and they've managed to replace it with one system that goes through two clicks, and a SECONDARY system that goes through THREE clicks, to do the same thing that opened on one click before!

This is dumb, Lindens, really dumb. You're making people work harder to do the same thing one click did before. And you have the gall to be surprised when they stay with the older viewer, or worse, various third-party viewers (from trustable to complete hack jobs) because it does what they want. Dumb!

We are now working on tracking down the code line in the .xml file that will make the inventory that opens be the new inventory window that is separate from the UI dock. We're not sure if this will work. But it will most assuredly help. Because when I open the inventory off the UI sidebar, I can't move. Lag kicks in and I literally can't walk around, I can't open windows, nothing. But if I split the inventory window off by undocking, or create a new inventory window--miraculously, I can move again.

That? Right there? That's another design flaw, people.

Also, windows--when left open, like, oh, say, the new inventory window that I undocked--get sleepy. I have to wake them up to move them again. Takes about a minute and a half.

Lindens, you are making people work harder! DUMB!

We went through the sidebar, just to bring me up to date.

Place Profile. I am told that this information is 'focused' for the 'average' user, and the 'About Land' button--inset into the Place Profile--gives further, more 'in-depth' information.

This is crippleware. Why wasn't all the information put into Place Profile? Needless duplication, here!

Now, the UI sidebar itself (which I still despise utterly and want to burn in the fire of a thousand suns, I hate it, I will hate it forever, it needs to die): the arrow brings me to the last tab I had open; whatever, I deal. Maybe that's a good thing.

The Linden hand takes me to "Home". Bwuh? There are other places to retrieve ALL that information. Absolutely unnecessary.

The folder with the little guy is my profile; web profiles suck; we move on.

The little people icons are just that--People. It seems to be a combination mini-map and radar system. I don't know why it's there; it seems fairly useless. There's apparently a lot you can do with it, and Fawkes says it's better than Firestorm's radar system, or Mystical Cookie's MystiTool; the only thing is, while it will show people, it won't show how far away they are, which is kind of the whole point.

There's also a debug setting called 'nearmerange': this will change the active range of the People search feature. I dropped mine down to 101.000 (just because it was a fairly nice even round number, ish) but Fawkes has his up over 1000.000.

'My Friends' shows friends (duh); 'My Groups' show groups, and also, if you select the group, and move down to the bottom and select the check mark, that makes that group active.

There's another little Profile icon to the far right of each group, and clicking that now brings up the group profile. (Yay?) And the only real difference there is that now they're on drop-down menus--what Fawkes terms "accordions"--from the 1.x tabs.

The globe, again, brings you to the Place Profile.

The suitcase is the inventory, which now has the inventory total (and at 67,973, I really need to gut my inventory again).

And the little shirt icon leads to 'My Outfits', which...has some flaws. Like it doesn't seem to recognize 'default' items. Say I have an outfit that I want to wear another tattoo with beyond what I consider my 'default' tattoo. But, when I walk around normally, I have that back tattoo. When I made up the outfit, I wasn't thinking, and now it's in that folder.

Okay, just delete it; except, if you're wearing it, you can't. You have to take the item off, wear something else, and THEN delete that item from that outfit folder. Even though they're supposedly just links, not actual items, in those Outfit folders.

Plus, the Outfits seem to update, change in and out items; they don't seem fixed, at least to Fawkes. So they're somewhat quirky.

Plus, I can't wear items by double-clicking them, which Fawkes says should work, but it doesn't.

Fawkes tells me that the 1.x viewer structure was like a disease--it didn't quite kill you, but it was hell to deal with on a daily basis because it just took so much out of you. While people adapted--and we did adapt--he says it was like that self-same disease fighting all our efforts to do more than just breathe and stay sick.

Versus, in his mind, 2.x being the cure. And, because we've been sick for so long, that cure feels like additional suffering. But stick with it, he says, and it will improve. It will get easier. We will heal. And soon, we'll laugh that we thought 1.x was usable at all.

And I'm still not seeing that. What I'm thinking is...Viewer 2 is Esperanto.

Esperanto was developed by a linguist to be a language that was designed to be absolutely easy to pick up and become fluent in, even if you were an untutored farm wife in Serra da Saudade. In fact, it was mostly designed with Portuguese in mind; and if you speak Portuguese, you're pretty much golden, the sentence structures will make pretty much complete sense to your understanding.

The problem is, to the rest of us, we see the value in it, and we understand the point of it, but it's a pain to learn. And we still have other ways that work. Do they all work well? No, English is a pain to learn, too. And being superior enough to insist on a world that speaks English is pretty damned silly overall.

Except--just as over here, and in other countries, people learn Japanese (and there's a rising tide of people learning Chinese, just to be on the safe side), in Japan they learn English. In fact, if the average worker doesn't know English by the time they get their first job, there are schools designed to fast-track language learning so they can pick up the slack. The world has adapted. We can still communicate. And we didn't need Esperanto to do it.

Viewer 2? We didn't need it. Did we need a better interface? Yeah, maybe. Viewer 1.x was starting to show its age, and there were things they could definitely do better. But was the solution viewer 2.x alone?

I don't think so. And I'm not alone. Unfortunately, the Lindens aren't listening, and mesh is coming.

However, since we just did this dance where I said v.2 sucked, and Fawkes said I was wrong--AGAIN--I will formally offer up the crackhead means that I am currently using SL. I am warning you now, brains may well fall out.

Also, please click for the larger images, if you want detail--because the smaller ones just won't show you. There's just too much going on.


(from miscellaneous)
is how Singularity is structured for me. Everything translucent; everything visible; everything separated. I can work like that. I can move around like that. I can shop like that. Everything's where I need it to be. (And again, I have to reiterate: I know it's a picture, but since you can blow it up and see the characters and type them--don't click any of Jakkar Carlos' links. Really. It's just never a good idea.)

Now, this:

(from miscellaneous)

is what Snowstorm looked at it after Snowstorm and I declared a draw in the ongoing battle and withdrew to lick our wounds. Nothing is really where I want it; I'm not happy with the ugly "plain text" font; the separated inventory window keeps falling asleep; and the camera controls are both too fucking large and solidly opaque. I can't change much of it, I twitch trying to adapt, and even though I know I have to, it's like being wrapped in sandpaper--any movement, even small ones, after a while just hurt and piss me off.

And this:

(from miscellaneous)

is me trying to build in the finite and narrow window between the build menu, the inventory, and the camera controls!

Ultimately, while I do realize that Snowstorm 2.8 is the best version of an exceedingly bad idea, and that it really, truly is the best that can be still makes my soul cringe as if in the direct presence of Nyarlathotep.

You know, before I get eaten and scream my doom.

But--remember, that thing about mesh? This is the stupidity I'm stuck with. My alternative? Leave SL.


It just galls me. Am I the only one that uses the game this way? Because if I'm not, then have all the others who played this way left when they ran out of hair to pull out of their scalps?

There has to be a trick to this, to using v.2 without losing my mind entirely. I'll figure it out...or, unfortunately, I'll go back to Singularity and leave when mesh arrives. I don't see a lot of options, here.


Winter said...

It may be time to consider getting a widescreen monitor.

on a 16x10 monitor (like mine) the sidebar can remain open (and the camera can center on the remaining area) leaving a nice, familiar 4:3ish space.

Fawkes said...

I'm going to be nice and not note that a lot of what you quoted me saying wasn't actually what I said beyond this opening sentence.

However, honestly, I don't see where you feel there's less space in V2 to do your work. I look at your comparison shots and can barely see the screen behind the thousand windows you have opened blocking everything in Singularity. It's a cluttered, incomprehensible mess. And if you're okay with that, great. But it's hard for me to look at that, then look at my pretty much completely clear screen in V2 and understand what you mean.

I'm also this close to doing a "Return to 1.x" post.

Still, thank you for at least trying. I can't promise a magic bullet, but I did want you to understand the tools that V2 can offer.

Emilly Orr said...

Currently, I have a monitor that--when coaxed and threatened--displays 1280x1024. It won't go higher.

And yeah, if I shop around, I can get a 19" widescreen for as low as $70, up to a 27" widescreen for $399, but...if I had that $70? Honestly, I'd probably put it into food or power bills, and if I had the $399, that'd be rent.

But we may have to hunt out discount deals, and again--I'm having to upgrade the computer that runs streaming video just fine, and the monitor that can give me a 4000x4000 pixel working surface in Gimp, just so I can barely connect to SL?

I mean, I know they have different design specs, but I've had less lag on City of Heroes during mass battles against ships shooting me from the sky, than I had tonight trying to walk across my build platform four feet. And that says something really, really frightening.

Emilly Orr said...


Mostly I was paraphrasing. (Though you did say I'm the only one using camera controls. And that double-clicking prim items in the inventory should mean I wear them, not that that folder closes and another folder, seven to ten folders down opens--which is what's happening when I double-click. And you did say the in-Snowstorm radar is better than the MystiTool or Firestorm's radar system. Actually, Firestorm's radar system is pretty clunky by all reports. I would not know, I still can't use that viewer without CRASHING...)

But see? That's why I wanted to capture in-game shots. Because you told me, when you saw the intro shot on the Singularity viewer page, that it was unbearably cluttered for you. And I didn't get it.

Maybe now you see how I've been using it, and THOSE things--those things that to you, are blocks and obstacles and in your way--those things are the things I cannot do in v2. I can't detach windows and park them where I want. I can't move them easily from one side of the screen to the next. And while occasionally I have to click minimize on the two notecards, two landmarks, inventory window, IM window and local chat, I can do that if I need to to get more visible screen.

I can't do that in v.2, because it's just not coded to behave that way. At all. So did that at least help understanding?

(Even if you think I'm crazier about how I move through SL?)

(Also, apropos of nothing, I am NOW leaving the keys--the girl is out of the procedure, and sleeping off the anaesthesia, so I can go to sleep.)

Bill Chapman said...

It was interesting to see the mention of Esperanto here, and I'm surprised no one else has responded. Your blog readers may gain from this the idea that Esperanto is something historical or experimental. In fact this planned second language is spoken by a growing population of people across the world. Take a look at

I'm a native speaker of English, but I still find Esperanto very useful.

Emilly Orr said...


While it is very much a constructed language--because it was constructed, from the ground up--Zamenhof actually published the first Esperanto work in 1887, and while it was a slowly growing language until the early fifties, it was a slowly growing language.

At this point, nearly two million people in over one hundred countries speak it, and as of this writing, there are now dozens (if not hundreds, or even thousands) of native speakers of Esperanto, being trained from birth by adopted speakers of the language.

However, I still think the point is valid. Thinking of v.2 in disease terms, or in terms of absolute discomfort, isn't helpful, as Fawkes wisely pointed out. Thinking of it as a completely alternate language set is; there are people (unfortunately, I'm one of those people) who just cannot master the language set, and are trying to struggle along, making v.2 fit the v.1 mold it was specifically designed not to be.

Fogwoman Gray said...


I completely feel your frustration and rage. And being so pissed off and aggravated with having to change from "ok, it sucks but I have it working for me" to "WTFWTFWTFWTF". I understand that I frustrate hell out of everyone who tries to help me with v2 because NOTHING is where I have trained my brain and fingers to look for it and EVERY time I try to do something and can't find the f***ing button, link, menu, whatever new damned shiny they hid it in I explode in rage.
I am obviously not receptive at this time. Yes, the interface is "better" than it was when released. Just like a Yugo is "better" than an Edsel. Ugly as shit and lousy to drive.

Fogwoman Gray said...

...and the Estate Management tools were what drove me over the edge.
Just imagine you are sitting at your sim and suddenly you have some assclown moving from region to region dropping self replicating prims that are screaming obscenities.
Or B02153RV Resident has just rezzed a house in the middle of your event and is banging away on his naked partner.
Your IM screen fills with people screaming for you NOW!!
That, for me, is when I need those reflexes to kick in. My brain should not be trying to find the goddamned places that the controls I need to get a handle on the situation are located.
In v1 I can kick, ban, AR, possibly turn off sim physics and get cleanup going within a few minutes of being aware of the problem.

Trying to explain this to someone who things SL is about shopping and chatting makes my brain hurt.

Emilly Orr said...

That, for me, is when I need those reflexes to kick in. My brain should not be trying to find the goddamned places that the controls I need to get a handle on the situation are located.

THIS. Exactly. I had Fawkes telling me last night that most people on SL don't need to get to About Land or the Estate Management tools right away, because they don't own land.

And, okay, if they never plan to rent land; never plan to own land; or have zero need to get to any of those tools for a Lindenhome; fine. But there are a lot of land managers, land owners, and just plain land renters out there--and having those toolsets be harder to reach is insane.

Edward Pearse said...

I agree with Fawkes on the camera movement. You must be the only one in SL moving around like that. Arrow keys and mouse for the rest of us :-)

Emilly Orr said...

See, here's the thing. I don't move using camera controls. I move the camera around my av if I want to see something, or get closer to another av, or to a world detail, because alt-left mouse click is imprecise and I can only swivel using alt-click, not move up or down.

Now, to Fawkes' credit, he did try to tell me how to move using keyboard controls, and I did take notes on that...which are saved on a textfile somewhere on the computer...

But as of now, I purely don't remember them, and I can't figure out how to drop the chat bar in Snowstorm, so I can't move using W-A-S-D. So I rely on arrow keys and the camera controls when I need to.

Sphynx Soleil said...

Sideways movement:
1) ALT-Leftclick
2) Move mouse
3) Enjoy :)

Adding up/down movement:
1) CTL-ALT-Leftclick
2) Move mouse all over
3) Enjoy :)
(This -adds- vertical movement, it doesn't take away sideways movement)

I don't use W-A-S-D, but I have a positively gargantuan keyboard that has a separate set of arrow keys which I use all the damn time instead. :)

Emilly Orr said...

Sideways movement? Like, literally, just crabwalking to the side?

So far, all ALT-Left-clicking is doing for me is camming (sort of) around my avatar, drunkenly.

Sphynx Soleil said...


ALT-Leftclick means exactly that - hit the alt key, and CLICK the point you want to center the camera at.

Doesn't have to be your avatar. Click the vendor board in front of you, click the door behind you, click the ceiling...

"movement" in this case being the camera movement, not your avatar movement.